Mommy Needs a Hobby

It’s official. This chick needs a hobby. There is only so many times I can watch re-runs of “Say Yes to the Dress”.

Who am I kidding I could watch “Say Yes to the Dress” all day long. Bring on an good ol’ fashioned “jack up” anytime! In all seriousness though I need to do something other than watch tv when I have free time. London is getting so much more independent nowadays. For reals though, this kid will slam his bedroom door to keep me out. I didn’t think this crap started until his teen years. On the rare occasions that I have the housework done and have free time I would much rather be productive than vegging out on the couch.

I could start knitting, sewing, learn another language, do a Pinterest project, take up embroidery, write a book, scrapbook…SO MANY POSSIBILITIES!!!

Realistically speaking I hate working with needles so that eliminates like 50% of all crafts in this world. Maybe I could take up running regularly. When I say running I mean walking but with hope to one day go fast eventually. I could take up baking but that would make the fat kid in me emerge and then I’d just be the “fat kid”. I do like reading but I usually lose interest before making it through 3/4 of a book. I could try golfing but I can guarantee I’d end up drinking a cold beer while doing doughnuts in the golf cart instead of getting a hole-in-one. I need to find something new, something exciting, something I get excited to do.

I do like watching movies but that is almost the same as watching tv and eating junk food. The only difference is the extended story line and a better soundtrack. Maybe I should try working with needles again. Our vendetta against each other might have faded a bit. Hey! I might find a book that doesn’t bore me 163 pages in. Who knows? I may already have a hobby and I don’t even fully realize that it is classified as a hobby.

I can drink a margarita like a boss, down a glass of sweet tea in record time, shop like a pro, watch a Nicholas Sparks movie and not shed a tear…


With the exception of “A Walk to Remember” that previous statement was 100% true. C’mon Nick! Why did sweet good girl Jamie Sullivan have to die? Something my 17 year old self will just never get over. Now that I’m thinking about it do I really NEED a hobby or am I just feeling guilty for being a couch potato that would rather drink a nice glass of wine while watching riveting television, like Keeping Up with the Kardashians? Moscato will always be better than macrame to me.


One day I may stumble upon the perfect hobby for me. Until then I’m content watching Harry Potter for the thousandth time. I have begun trying my hand at lego building with London and I must say I am glad I didn’t go into architecture because I can’t even design a lego house that can withstand the wrath of a toddler. London on the other hand is quite impressive in this realm though. I GOT IT! I can become a couponer. I gotta go…Extreme Couponing just came on TLC and clearly this is a sign that I have found my calling, lol, jk…well only time will tell!

London’s Toddler Room Tour

A few months back I shared our plans for London’s toddler room. You can read that post HERE. Well some of those plans panned out but most didn’t. Finally after living in our new place for almost 3 months London’s “big boy” room is complete.

I can’t say enough how happy I am that it is done. It seriously came out even better than I had imagined. Living in an apartment complex kind of limits our paint choices. We’re allowed to paint anything we want so long as we paint it back to the original before we move out. This girl is too lazy to do double painting so beige walls for us it is. Initially I thought about painting London’s room to really bring the design to life but as we’ve established I am not going near that project. My husband being that absolute doll that he is gave me full reign in the decor department so I was pumped. Usually he loves being involved and he really does have a keen eye for things. This being my vision brought to fruition made it so fun to do.

I wanted to keep it within the grayscale color palette with a pop color of red tones.

I wanted it to feel a bit more grown up but still have childlike elements, afterall it is a room for a toddler!

I wanted to utilize a bunch of things we already had.

I wanted it to have a slightly regal feel about it without being too stuffy.

Our family is infatuated with art so I knew we wanted to infuse a bit of that quality into his room. I am over the moon with how it turned out!!!

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The recliner that is in London’s room was originally from our living room but since we now live in a smaller abode it didn’t fit so presto it found it’s new home here. It works out perfectly too. The hubs hangs out with little man and plays video games all the time. It is also dangerously comfortable so when we read him books we almost always run the risk of falling asleep in it. The black dresser is actually my husband’s Grandmothers. We inherited it and when we did it was in rough shape. It was also blondish pink wood when we got it. A bit of sanding and a few coats of paint made it fabulous again.

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Glass Sculpture – ROSS

Air PlantThe Air Plant Shop

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Double Decker Bus - We got this from my mother-in-law but you can find it at Hobby Lobby

“This is London” book - Barnes & Noble

Shape Sorter - IKEA

Houndstooth Stuffed Animals - We got these at Lee Richardson Zoo (Garden City, KS)

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Pillow - World Market

Dice Lamp - A gift from my mother-in-law, she’s got good taste

Shelves - ROSS

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When the time came to put something on these shelves I was torn. Part of me wanted to put framed pictures and something ornate. The other part of me wanted to get playful, this part of me won, lol. I decided to put some toys that represented London best. The juxtaposition of this element might just be my favorite thing in this room.

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Boston Terrier Artwork - At Home

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We opted to not do “toddler bedding” since it is all super themey. Instead we just purchased a set of plain white crib sheets and some black pillowcases. The fur blanket was one we previously used at the foot of our bed. It was almost shameful that we never really used it until now because it is snuggly.

Toddler BedWalmart

Blanket - Target

Striped Penguin - SeaWorld

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Top Hat Print - Etsy (PRRINT)

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Big Ben Clock - ROSS

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London Collage - Hobby Lobby

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I love that most of these elements can grow with London, well besides the toddler bed. Another big plus is that Wee Man’s favorite color is red. Infusing his favorite color and favorite toys into the decor really makes it feel like his own little sanctuary. I cannot wait to watch our sweet little prince grow up in his new room!!!

Am I Enough?

I’ve been back and forth about this post for a while now but today I decided that maybe me sharing my inner struggle will hit home for someone. I find myself most days doubting myself. Am I a good wife? Am I a good mother? Am I doing enough? Am I enough? Most days London and I chill at home. He tends to play on his own nowadays. Some days drift by and I don’t read even one book to him. When he was born I told myself I would read to him every single day. Some days I don’t have dinner cooked until after 8pm. When I got married I promised myself I would make sure dinner was ready for my husband when he got home or at least be in the process of doing so. Some days our laundry piles up. Some days the dishes don’t get done. Some days I don’t get dressed. Some days I don’t workout. After I had London I guaranteed myself that the baby weight would be gone by his first birthday. Well he’s almost 16 months old and I still have 50 pounds of weight hanging around. Most of the time the tv is on in our home. London watches it whenever he wants. I know these aren’t problems that stop the world from turning but it still makes me question myself regardless.

I think what makes it hardest for me is seeing all these other moms doing so many cool things with their kiddos. Those crafty moms who always seem to be dressed and enriching their child’s life with imaginative activities are both my inspiration and my enemy. I think I’ve done something fun by taking my kid to the park for 30 minutes and then I see these other moms who have made a kid friendly adorable lunch, gone to the park, their home is clean and they are constantly doing projects with their kid. C’mon how is it possible to always have it together?

Instead of giving myself credit for what does get done I end up seeing things everyone else is doing and think I’m failing some how. I know deep down that this isn’t true. Every mother has her own mothering style and every child is different. My kid is going through his “I don’t need mommy” phase. I’m getting so fed up with feeling like this. Don’t get me wrong. Some days I feel like super mom but that feeling is fleeting. These own inner critiques made me think who cares if all the “to-dos” don’t get done. Who made it a competition to be the ultimate mom? In a sense I think we all have personally. I know for myself that comparisons are my kryptonite. Why is it so hard to just live life day to day without feeling guilty for leaving the last load of laundry in a pile on the floor.

I am vowing now to ignore these thoughts the best I can. London is a happy boy who is thriving both physically and mentally. Our home is usually clean other than the piles of toys everywhere. I typically get dressed, although it may not be full makeup and hair done. If I get in a shower I am pumped up! Maybe it’s my laziness at times keeping me from doing the things I had hoped to get done. Maybe it’s the underlying insane standard we as moms hold ourselves to. Nobody has a rule book saying when and how to do things. So why do we keep acting like we are following one?


It is seriously saddening to see so many wonderful women constantly criticizing themselves because they haven’t met the mark for fitting the “Mom Mold” we all think we have to fit into. I have one mommy friend who is incredible at preparing healthy meals for her family. I have another mommy friend who always seems to have the best ideas when it comes to fun activities for her kids. You wanna know something crazy? I’ve heard them both say they don’t think they are doing enough. They see themselves as failing and I’m over here seeing them as these amazing moms who inspire me. Perhaps it’s time we voice our inspirations. The one thing some moms need to hear is how good they are doing. It’s not that I think we need to constantly told “you are what keeps the world turning” or “you are perfect”. Perfection is unattainable and that’s what makes life so beautiful. I love that we are all human. We make mistakes, we fall short at times, we succeed and we find happiness in the oddest of places. Why is it that when we become moms or parents for that matter that we push that fact aside? No parent is perfect….period! We may not see those grim moments where a mom is crying from frustration just moments after posting that Instagram picture that looks so perfect. Life is a rollercoaster. We all have ups, we all have downs. This self doubting has to stop.

The next time I don’t brush my teeth until 3 in the afternoon or the next time I miss my workout because I’m exhausted, I refuse to feel bad about it. The next time London eats nothing but chips all day because he refuses anything else I won’t feel like it’s my fault that his culinary tastes are so limited. The next time the house isn’t clean when my husband comes home from work I will not feel a bit of guilt for it. I don’t plan on just slumming from this point on but I do plan on allowing myself to be human. I’m done being my own hater. It’s time for me to become my biggest cheerleader!

I am honestly blessed to have the family I have. Even on those days when I look like a hot mess, the house is a wreck and the toddler is covered in food my husband still comes home from work gives me a kiss and showers me with love. Even on those days when I don’t read a book to him, play with his favorite legos or go to the park my son still loves me regardless. I think it’s time for me to love myself like they do, unconditionally.

Happy Birthday America

Our 4th of July celebration was incredible! We knew that watching fireworks was a must do. They shoot them off the Lexington here in Corpus so when we found out we could purchase tickets and watch them from the aquarium which neighbors the Lex we simply knew this was our holiday plan. It was jam packed with people. When I say jam packed it is not even an exaggeration in the slightest.

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It was such a stunning display and we got to spend the evening with family and friends. We got to the aquarium at around 6:45 but the fireworks show didn’t start until after 9pm so we had some time to kill. London got to have his picture taken with the dolphin, pet stingrays and hang out with some of his buddies from Stroller Strides that were there as well.

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We attempted to take a family photo but it…well….someone wasn’t feeling it….see for yourself…..

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Little dude was just not cooperating but these make for some funny pictures to show him later.

As it started to get dark London squeezed in plenty of Poppa and Gigi time. With all the playing he was doing we were just certain he’d crash before the fireworks even started.

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Before we knew it the time had come for the show to start. It seriously didn’t even seem like we had been there that long because we were having so much fun. Last year London was too little to really experience fireworks but this year he was awe struck.

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Pictures can’t do this display justice. I’ve seen a lot of fireworks shows all over the country and this one rivals them all. I mean seriously how patriotic can you get? Shooting fireworks off the USS Lexington is at the top as far as patriotism goes!

We looked like total tourists taking pictures with all our phones and our camera. I’m sure we were a sight to see but every single snapshot was worth it. Here are a few of my favorites from my iphone. The one of London, my husband and my father-in-law is such a sweet photo. Three generations enjoying something so wonderful side by side. These boys are like the 3 Amigos.

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Holiday’s are becoming so much more fun the older London gets. I hate him growing so fast but seeing him really get wrapped up in a celebration brings such an innocence to everything. His little “Oooohhhh’s” and “Aaaaahhhh’s” when the fireworks were going off made every bit of sitting in traffic worth it. I hope y’all had a memorable 4th of July. We are truly fortunate to live in a country that we can celebrate freely and with our whole heart!

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Caller-Times: Closet Snoop

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be involved in something I think every girl should do, a closet snoop!


The Caller-Times newspaper does a weekly lifestyle article where they feature one person from the area and spotlight on their personal style. I was a bit skeptical at first since I typically don’t get to get dressed up anymore but the opportunity to wear some of my favorite dresses was too good to pass up. I wanted to share the article and pictures with you. I hope you enjoy!


CORPUS CHRISTI – Morgan Bartel is the social media manager for Susann’s Custom Jewelers and a stay-at-home mother.

After her son was diagnosed with a rare life-threatening genetic disorder called MCADD, or medium chain acyl-COA dehydrogenase deficiency, she became an advocate for awareness of the disorder.

Bartel enjoys starting her mornings out by doing Stroller Strides to keep her mind, body and soul on point. While her style typically is workout gear and casual attire, she enjoys getting dolled up any time she gets the opportunity.

Her favorite activities include spending time with family, meeting new friends, traveling, shopping for home décor and writing her blog, “The Bartel Chronicles.” She describes herself as a “modern-day diva meets vintage inspired lady,” and says she has a perfect mixture of class and sass.

The craziest fashion item I ever bought was a: I bought a hot pink, leopard print, satin tube dress from Cache thinking it was a risky purchase. I ended up wearing it until the pattern faded. It proved to be one of my all- time favorite purchases.

I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing: dark brown and black together. It’s a weird thing of mine; I absolutely hate wearing brown and black together. The only exception is an animal print or a saddle hue of brown. They just look awkward next to each other in my opinion.

Three accessories women definitely need are: a fabulous pair of diamond studs, a good strand of pearls and a versatile pair of nude heels.

The worst fashion advice I ever received: Dresses are only for special occasions. Please. Dresses are my everyday go-to staple.

The most I have ever paid in the name of fashion: I plead the fifth — my husband will be reading this.

My big fashion influences are: Audrey Hepburn, the Kardashians and Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex and the City.”

I’ll never throw out my: vast collection of dresses. Dresses are the best article of clothing for my body type, and I have one for practically every single occasion.

My best fashion steal to date: The best score I’ve ever come across was a 1950s vintage red fur-lined swing coat from a thrift store in San Francisco.

Funniest dressing room story: I once broke the lock from the inside of a dressing room. I ended up having to call the store from the room and wait for maintenance to come let me out. It gave me lots of time to contemplate my purchases.

Fashion advice I’d give my best friend: Every day is a special occasion, dress with that in mind.

My favorite shopping haunts: H&M, Old Navy, Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, Kitson and Susann’s Custom Jewelers.

Most memorable shopping experience: For my birthday one year, my favorite store was closed to the public so I could shop in private. It was very “Pretty Woman” meets “Sweet Home Alabama.”

I spice up my wardrobe with: You can change the look of any outfit by pairing different accessories with it. Pearls make any outfit more classic wear, as more trendy pieces can add spice to a basic number.

My favorite piece of jewelry: My all-time favorite piece of jewelry would have to be my wedding ring. It’s a green diamond marquise in a 14K white gold diamond pave’ wave setting. It’s unlike any other ring I have ever seen. My hubby did good on it for sure.

I have an impressive collection of: dresses. I’ve lost count on how many I own. I have everything from super- casual cotton dresses to floor-length evening gowns. Sometimes I just try them on and have my own grown-up dress-up session. I pour a glass of Moscato, blast my favorite music and do a mini fashion show for myself. You’ve got to love what you buy.

When I shop for clothes: I make shopping for clothes my “ME” time. Nothing is more fun to me than grabbing a chai tea latte from Starbucks and walking around some of my favorite stores.

I have a tough time shopping for: rompers. I love a good romper, but it is tough to find one that fits my body properly. They are not made with curves in mind.

My favorite designers include: Alexander McQueen, Betsey Johnson, Michael Kors, Jessica Simpson, Herve Lerger … I could go on and on.

Three words to describe my wardrobe: classic, comfortable and sassy.

My best kept fashion secret: Invest in a high-quality girdle. Even the skinniest of women can find use in one. A good girdle can smooth everything out when you want to wear a slinky dress.

I have a fashion addiction for: shoes, shoes and more shoes. I don’t get to wear them much, but I adore my sky high platform heels. When I wear them I feel so fierce and fabulous.

I can’t live without my: mascara. I cannot leave the house without mascara on. I’ll run errands in yoga pants and a wet ponytail, but you can guarantee I will at least have my lashes done.

My prized possession is: my son, London Crowne Bartel. He’s the second-cutest arm candy, only second to my handsome husband.

The best way to organize your closet is: I organize my closet by colors, then sleeve length and then I have my dresses in a separate area organized by hem length.

There will always be space in my closet for: Dresses … I may have a problem. “Hello, my name is Morgan and I’m addicted to dresses.”

My ultimate dream closet would consist of: a diamond chandelier hanging from the ceiling directly over an island that would hold all of my jewelry, and a floor to ceiling unit to hold my shoes and leopard print carpet. A girl can dream, right?

The most comfortable item in my closet: yoga pants are my favorite comfy staple.

If I were to write a book on fashion, I’d call it: Does this Come in Black?

When I’m at home, I love to wear: my comfy, casual, cotton dresses from Old Navy.

The only thing I dislike about shopping is: When I fall in love with something that is not in stock in my size.

I can reinvent my style by: accessories are the most underutilized tool to reinvent a person’s style.

I save lots of money on fashion by: shopping the sales and clearance racks first.

The biggest fashion faux pas you can make is: The worst thing is to wear something that isn’t YOU.

When I wear this outfit, I get lots of attention: My red dress seems to always turn heads. It’s clingy, shiny and fabulous.

My shopping habits have earned me the nickname: “The Timeless Trendsetter.”

One of my most recent purchases: I’m so over the moon with my new Tory Burch inspired wedges I found at Rhinestone Gal.

To keep ahead of the fashion game, I: I don’t play the game. I only buy what truly speaks to me. I’m not keen on buying trendy items.

I enjoy dressing up most for: my husband. He usually sees the crazy stay-at-home mom version of me covered in baby goo. So it’s refreshing for him to see me dolled up. It keeps him on his toes.

I can’t wait to wear my: maxi dresses, they make me happy.

My best fitting jeans: Rockstar Skinnies from Old Navy.

A fashionable find from an unusual place: I found a brand new Ralph Lauren dress with the tags still on it for $15 at a Goodwill in Benicia, California. I was pumped to find such a stunner at such a good price.

One of my best accessories: is a smile … it makes any outfit beautiful.

A must-have fashion staple: a good pair of nude heels.

My favorite color to wear is: black. My closet is predominately black.

My co-workers often tell me: “Don’t your feet hurt?” This is usually in reference to the height of my heels.

I love shopping with: My mother-in-law Karla Bartel. She’s got a funky style that has a great eclectic aesthetic. It really helps me to see the beauty in something I may typically overlook.

Most of my fashion is influenced by: Comfort is the biggest thing when I choose and outfit. If I’m not comfortable wearing something, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will not be wearing it.

My favorite fashion television show is: I’d have to say “Fashion Police.” I’ve loved Joan Rivers for years. Her blunt candor and sense of humor really make fashion fun for me.

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Bartel loves to wear dresses for special occasions and for everyday. Here she pairs a black Old Navy tube dress with Jessica Simpson heels, and black and white diamond jewelry from Susann’s Custom Jewelers.

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A silver sequined Michael Kors wrap dress and Chinese Laundry heels, and diamond jewelry from Susann’s Custom Jewelers make this outfit the sparkler of the summer.

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Bartel loves going to Stroller Strides every morning for a workout wearing Danskin capri pants, an Old Navy racerback tank, Nike Flynit tennis shoes and diamond earrings from Susann’s Custom Jewelers.

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Bartel wears a Ralph Lauren wrap dress with nude Shi heels and pearl jewelry from Susann’s Custom Jewelers.


I gotta give a shout out to a fellow Stroller Strides mommy, Britney Cuva for letting us take pictures at her beautiful home. Doing this photo shoot was so much fun. You can read the original article HERE!