7 Tips For Small Space Living as a Family

Last year, we moved from a 1200 sq ft condo to a 900 sq ft house in an effort to acquire more outdoor space. While I do feel incredibly lucky that we nabbed a much sought-after home with outdoor space in the school district we want to be in, I’d be lying if I said living in 900 sq ft with 4 people is a walk in the park for us. Kaare and I are both the type of people who love the city life (which for us means small spaces) yet we find comfort in things. Especially when those things are a giant art table and loads of art supplies that make our a 6-year-old happier than I will ever be. We’re not slobs, but we laughed a little when we read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — which for the record, I did read and acted on my learnings, but TBH shoes and bags bring me A LOT of joy. We both have two conflicting sides of our personalities — the side that loves a small home by the beach and the side that longs for a closet that can hold more than 6 pairs of shoes. <—- Not a typo our ‘master’ closet is ridiculously small. We’ve never lived in a large space. 1200 sq ft was a huge to us and we referred to it as ‘the mansion’, yet this small house has presented some challenges (see above comment about the closet which has an accessible width of 24 inches) and with any good challenges comes growth right? So from having a baby in our 6oo sq ft apartment in SF to squeezing a family of 4 in 900 sq ft, there’s a few small lifestyle changes we’ve adopted that have helped us make this space work…

1.) Stack things up. You probably don’t want to create ceiling high stack anywhere in your space, but look for furniture and storage units that make use of the space you do have: vertical space. I really like this which adds storage space to our bathroom. It’s narrow, but can hold a lot of stuff in an organized way thanks to the seven shallow drawers.

2.) Utilize wall space. Walls can make great storage units or work spaces. We like this book shelf for the kids room which keeps all their book organized and off the floor. The one thing I wish is that I hung it in a place they can reach it, but I don’t mind being the one to get their books down whenever they want to read. I do think keeping it out of their reach keeps the clutter down. That being said, I’ll probably be moving it closer to to the floor soon.

3.) Keep clutter out. Kaare and I clean up a little bit each day and do a major clean once a week. I usually get my tidying done in the evening after the kids are asleep. For the kids, I have a rule that whatever toys or clothes are left out of it’s place for 24 hours go to charity. It’s a little extreme and sometimes I actually just hide said toy or garment vs donate it (especially if it’s new), but it helps the kids learn to keep things tidy. Everything needs to have a space.

4.) Throw ‘no-gift’ birthdays. Maybe it’s because we live near kids/families with a similar space constraints, but I think the ‘no-gift birthdays’ are growing in popularity. Some people suggest a charity to donate to in lieu of a gift or do what we did last year for Harlowe and request a drawing or picture from each guest. Requesting art resulted in some epically cute photos and drawings of Harlowe and her friends that we will cherish for years where I am certain any toys and clothes would be forgotten about shortly there after.

5.) Embrace multiple-purpose pieces. Furniture, counter space, even closets will have multiple-uses. The kid’s closet is both a space for their clothes and is Gunnar’s changing room since he’s still in diapers. I have a dresser in the closet with a changing pad and diapers/wipes on top. That makes less space for clothes so I do #2 and hang Harlowe’s dresses on the wall with something like this.

6.) Keep colors light. One of the first things we did when we moved in top this smaller space was to get rid of a lot of stuff, most notable for us was our beloved, dark gray, bohemian bed and invest in a blonde wood platform bed. Using light colors always makes spaces seem larger. We also traded in our beddings for white linens vs patterned ones. It helped!

7.) Get outside. While we moved to a smaller house for the added outdoor space, we still find it necessary to get out of the house often. I work from home which can get claustrophobic with the kids here so we go to the park at least once day, usually twice. On the weekends we are always out exploring LA as a family which helps us both have more space but also make a lot of memories!

Bonus tip: have a sense of humor! It can be frustrating when you want to take a shower, but someone is using the bathroom. It can seem like, no matter where I am the kids want to be RIGHT there with me. I love that they are always near, but sometimes you just need to open the fridge without hitting someone in the head. The best advice I have about that, is just to laugh. It won’t last forever – soon (if they’re like I was as a teen) they’ll want to be nowhere near me, so I embrace it now and try to laugh when we trip over each other.

House stuff: couchdining room chairs, table made by my in-laws, my desk, similar shag rug (ours is from Overstock and no longer available), cowhide rug, coffee table from a flea market in LA

Wearing: Lace Top (20% off now!) / similar jeans (mine aren’t the distressed ones) / necklace

Kids outfits


The Best Cardigan Ever

You may have heard it before, but definitely not from me. This is the best cardigan EVER! It’s long, thick and goes with everything. I can’t get enough of it. It seems to be the cardigan that everyone is wearing this season too. I saw it on a friend at dinner and she proclaimed that her husband bought if for her and she’s been living in it ever since. Smart guy — this is amazingly comfortable and really so, so versatile. If you’ve been thinking about a new cardigan for Fall, I’d scoop this one up stat before your size is gone and you have not-buyers remorse.

Outfit details: Cardigan /Camisole / Jeans / Bag / Shoes /Stack Rings

More cardigans you might like:


Tips For Taking Great Family Photos

Right before I made everyone take family Halloween costume photos, I got them to sit still-ish for a few family shots! One of the tricks I learned to get good photos of us and the kids is for each of us to hold one kid and then separate by a few feet before running to each other and slightly bumping in to one another. It makes everyone laugh at least the first few times. If that doesn’t work, you can always hold the smallest one upside down – which is what we had to resort to with Gunnar (scroll down). We try to just have fun with it because as much as I love having family photos, nobody in this family enjoys taking them. Does yours? If so, let me know so I can high-five you.

As for outfits, rule #1 is that everyone is comfortable. I wrote more about coordinating outfits a while ago, but that approach requires a lot of planning which often times, we don’t have. Our typical approach is to be seasonally appropriate (read: comfortable) but to let each person wear what they want. We never coordinate colors fully, in fact sometimes, it’s straight up opposite, but I like when it looks more casual and authentic. Sometimes, we end up coordinating and I am most proud of these outfits from that standpoint. Color wheels were used there. Also, that photo reminds me, a good kid swing can bring great facial expressions too! I can’t believe how small Gunnar was. That was him at 9-weeks-old wearing size 6 months clothes!
Gunnar’s shoessweatshirt / Harlowe’s shoes, dresshead wrap / my choker (it’s actually a headband) /Kaare’s shirt

photos by: Kara

fashion, style

Dressed For Fall

bethann wagner
Hi friends and happy November! Lately, I’ve been living in workout clothes which are typically my go-to because then I always have the right thing on if I get the chance to the gym or be active at some point in the day. Earlier this week, I made a video haul on my new activewear for fall and it’s a good one! When I do have a reason to dress up, I usually reach for dresses even in the Fall. Fall dresses just might be the best dresses out there. They’re easy to layer, comfortable and make me feel great. When it comes to pattered dresses, I like to keep the print on as small a scale as possible so it doesn’t overpower my 5’4″ frame. This dress is my perfect match! Not only does it have a wonderful little print, but the colors are perfect for Fall and the I think the cut is just lovely. I love the juxtaposition of the long and elegant hem, but playful and trendy top. As you can tell, it’s pretty difficult not to twirl around in.

I wore my Rebecca Accessories heart hoop earrings yet again. They top every outfit off so well. Use code bethann to get 15% off your order!
I’ll have a lot more Fall looks to share with you soon – some cozy and some festive. Certainly a lot of dresses, but in the mean time, be sure to check out my video on Fall Activewear I’m loving! Thank you for reading!

Photos by: Kara


Gone Till November

Rebecca Minkoff Love Nubuck Crossbody Bag

Yesterday The Banker asked me if I was excited for it to be November. In that moment, November seemed like such a long way off.  Turns out, that’s this week! October is always an event filled month for us (like many of you) even if ‘event’ just means staying at home watching horror films – which we do every night in the month of October per Kaare’s request. While staying in and watching movies is nice, I totally get anxiety watching some scary movies so, yes, I am excited it is almost November, but will miss Harlowe decorating the house for Halloween.

It’s finally feeling like fall in LA which sartorially speaking, is magical. Who doesn’t get a little giddy the day they get to bust out long cardigans over their dresses like this? Warm jackets are still a long ways out, but I’m super comfortable for now. Also, this dress is ruched on the sides which makes it super flattering. Perfect for the holiday months when, if you’re anything like me, you get a little bit soft in the belly.

I’m taking tomorrow off to celebrate Halloween with the family, but you can find me on my Instagram stories. Have a great Halloween and I’ll see you back here in November!


Dia De Los Muertos

day of the dead celebrations la

Yesterday we got all dressed up for a Dia de Los Muertos celebration in Hollywood. I think getting ready is half the fun, but it’s not so easy for little ones that have to sit still to have their makeup done. We decided to leave Gunnar at home with a babysitter because it was a long day for all of us, but Gunnar being two, really starts to act like a typical two year old (tantrums, horrible bouts of screaming) around 5pm and that’s precisely what time we left the house for the celebration. He was sorely missed, but fast asleep for most of it.

Meanwhile, the three of us got some much needed Mexican food, walked around the altars and danced at every chance we got. Harlowe loved the colorful decorations; and why wouldn’t she? Her first Dia De Los Muertos Party was at our wedding reception when she was 7 months old so it’s in her blood! Look how chunky and sweet Baby Harlowe was. Hard to believe that was 6 years ago!

wedding after baby

Last year, we wrote loved one’s names on various banners before they were flown about, but this year we really just took in all of the decor and how well so many people do their makeup and costumes. It’s seriously unreal how resourceful some people are when it comes to Day of the Dead makeup and costumes. It was really fun to see everyone’s beautiful outfits and face paint – especially the people that went all out. The decor around the cemetery was also incredible.

Some final shots of us. So happy Harlowe let us take her picture this time! Her dress was a little dirty because she went straight from her school’s carnival and refused to change, but it is what it is! My dress comes in a bunch of Fall colors and is less than $80. I’m thinking of getting it in wine for the holidays!
dia de los muertos make up kids day of the dead LA dia de los muertos celebration LA
We tried to have serious faces, but Harlowe was all smiles which IMO totally made this picture! dia de los muertos family makeup

Click below to shop our clothes:

Have a great week!



Our Family Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costume Ideas For Families

For years, it’s been Kaare’s dream to do family Halloween costumes, but we’ve always had one person who reeeeaaaalllly wants to be something else. One year, that someone was Princess Sofia so we dressed as Wayne and Garth, but it didn’t quench The Banker’s thirst for family costumes. This year there really was no saying no to him. In exchange, I got these family photos and Harlowe got to watch Addams Family Values from start to finish before bed time. She would like me to state for the record that she wasn’t even a tiny bit scared.

What are you guys dressing as for Halloween? If you have any recommendations for family Halloween costumes, leave them in the comments below!

Click images below for more Addams family costumes


My Blowout Secrets

It’s no secret that I love a good blow out. If you’re like me, you enjoy the art of preserving a blowout almost as much at the blowout itself. Sure, it’s not as relaxing, but girl, you can save a lot of time by not washing that hair, right? Right. I’ve partnered with NuMe to show you how to get a perfect blowout at home or on-the-go and to ensure that it lasts just as long as you do.
I use NuMe’s Jet Setter Pro kit which has been a godsend since my family of four shares one small bathroom. Not a typo. I have to admit, I was skeptical that it would powerful enough for my mane — I mean, does size matter when it comes to blowdryers? No, it does not. It has 1200 watts and dries hair just as effectively as my full-sized blow dryer which is 1875 watts. No noticeable difference in dry time and can easily be stored in my small drawers? I’m in.

So you want a long-lasting blowout you can do at home or on-the-go? Here’s how I do it:

-Dry hair with a microfiber towel. It really helps smooth frizz, speed up dry time and allows you to comfortably procrastinate getting ready.

-Use a heat protectant. NuMe’s acts as a moisturizer making hair more manageable.

-30 min after showering, release hair from the towel and dry with your blowdryer and a round brush. The one I am using here has antimicrobial properties so your brush is always clean and a ceramic coating ensures your curls are voluminous and soft. Even better, the brush turns white when it is hot so you know it’s ready to style.

-Once dry, use a wand to create waves. You can see exactly how I make mine in the video, but essentially I move the wand back and forth from root to ends while holding the last inch or so at the end tightly. This gives the curls a looser, more lived in look.

-Finish up by straightening any curled ends or fringe to give it all that beachy look.

-Spray with a texture spray for hold and tousle your locks with your fingers until it’s how you like it.
Pro tip: I find that it usually looks best on the second day so don’t be discouraged if it looks too polished on day one.

Here’s the video outlining all the steps. I had my extensions in when I filmed this as I am sure you can tell. Sure feels good to have them out since we are having a crazy heat wave this week. Also don’t mind the time I save on my blowouts now. 🙂 Thank you for reading!


Dream Team (+ a Giveaway!)

black velvet tops

Hi Friends! How are you doing this week? It’s been unseasonably warm in LA. Maybe it’s not unseasonable (the locals tell me this is normal), but it is 100 degrees and it’s October and that seems wrong to me.  I threw on this lace sleeved velvet sweater the other day and appreciate it for being festive, but not making me sweatier that I already am. In other news, I’m giving away a pair of the earrings I am wearing here. See my instagram post for details on how to enter. These heart hoop earrings matched with anything lace or velvet are my dream team for the holiday season!


Me Too

Me too campaign

One of the things that often goes unmentioned and even forgotten, is how sexual abuse doesn’t just effect the victim for her lifetime, but for generations to come. My mother was sexually abused by someone close to her. She didn’t talk about the abuse other than to tell me that I couldn’t have a canopy bed when I was a kid because they give her bad dreams. Come to find out, she was abused in one. She has since passed away after a lifetime of dealing with depression, borderline personality disorder, severe anxiety and often had suicidal thoughts (which she acted on a number of times). I miss her terribly, but I know with certainty she is in a better place where she no longer feels the life time of pain that her abuser inflicted upon her.

Growing up with a mom that suffered sexual abuse brought it’s own struggles. Because of the trauma she endured, she didn’t quite have the capacity to be a mother (or to know that she didn’t have the capacity to be a mother). She was committed to mental health inpatient care units numerous times when I was a kid. Despite her trauma, she did her best and I’m stronger for it, but it took years and years of therapy to get to the point where I am today. I’ve spent so may years being angry at her for everything — having kids, being mentally ill, not putting the abuser in prison where he belonged, making me grow up too fast. Then, there was that time a teenage boy (son to my babysitter) asked to see my privates. I was in kindergarten and scared and I showed him. ME TOO. I mustered up all of my confidence and guiltily told my mom what I did. She said “okay” and I kept going to the in-home day care where he lived. What hurt way more than being taken advantage of at that age was being taught that it was ‘okay’.

I hated my body after that and grew ashamed of it. I developed an eating disorder that lasted almost two decades and spent the same amount of time believing I didn’t have ownership over my body. It left me deeply insecure and unable to have healthy relationships. Men made me very uncomfortable for most of my life. I saw them as potential threats vs allies (even the ones I really liked — except my husband of course). I didn’t capitalize on relationships with girls/women because I had too much anxiety and never felt like I fit in. I felt unhappy and alone for most of my life and felt guilty for feeling that way. Years later, I realized that we’ve all had trauma. Perhaps not sexual, but it’s not unlikely. That is not okay.

Sure, we can all talk about our abuse and I applaud all those who have com forward, but we need to change our whole culture if we are going to fix this. As one friend put it:

Culturally, it starts before your daughter is even born. Men, when telling their friends they are expecting a baby girl often tell each other, “better get your guns ready.” Think about what this actually means. You are accepting that men are creeps and that your daughter will be subject to some sort of predator or harassment. This is not funny. This is not something to laugh about nor congratulate each other on. Yes, it’s your job to protect her from the sad inevitably that someone will likely hurt her one day but this should not be the most defining or anticipated quality about her… give her a chance to show you that she will bring more to this world than physical attraction. Nor is she a burden, something to look out for. She is not the problem to fix. -Rachel Melby

Be conscious of minimizing the issue, by just writing “ME TOO” on social media. Instead, think of what we can do as a members of society, male or female, to shift our cultural beliefs about sexual abuse and mental health because they go hand in hand and they won’t just go away. We need to stop the silence, but more importantly, we need to show up and support those that need it and end the cycle.

Graphic by my friend Max Rosero