Featured Reviews Style

Quality, Comfortable Cool Shoes

cool shoesAs you know from my style posts here on the blog, quality trumps a low price tag every time. And you know how much I love a good deal! I am so glad that we found out about Merrell Trail shoes last year. While 4 out of the 5 of us own our own pair, the boys in particular have benefited from these super comfortable cool shoes.

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t want to spring the $65 that these bad boys cost, but I can tell you over a year later, that it was some of the best money I have EVER spent on footwear. What initially won me over were the great reviews on and amazon.

I’m a big believer in sharing only resources with you guys that I know will benefit you and I can stand behind.  After a year of abuse from these rough and tumble sons of mine, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about my VERY FAVORITE brand and style of cool comfortable shoes for the kids.

I kid you not, E and Biggie have worn them at least 300 out of the last 365 days of the past year!  The only reason for the days they haven’t been on their sweet feet is because it was either too cold, or they were muddy and I was in the process of washing them!comfortable cool shoesAfter I saw how rad they were for the boys I bought a pair for David and me too!  The only reason Girlr didn’t get a pair is because her feet were too small:)

I wear mine barefoot or with thin ankle socks.  They are low profile and don’t stick out like a sore thumb like a lot of running / excersise shoes I see.  They fit like a glove, which is the point apparently — hence the name Merrell Trail Glove!

Somehow Merrell has figured out a way to give them enough shock absorption so that your knees don’t get rocked on concrete and enough protection on the sole for rough trails.  I even wear mine to the gym when I go — which is not enough!

cool shoes Of coarse my favorite thing to do with them is to wear them on an adventure date with my man!

We bought the boy’s shoes at REI and our adult version at Amazon.

*Please note that the links in this post are affiliate links.  This simply means sometimes I recommend a product and if you choose to purchase that product via my recommendation, I will get a small referral commission. Of course, this is at no extra cost to you but it does help keep my candle burning so I can keep bringing you great tips! I truly appreciate your support in this way. Thank you.

Emily Oak Home Sweet Road

Featured Style

Upcycle Old T-Shirts with this Dip Dye Technique

 upcycle dip dye

I’m not sure if it’s my shape or what but I have at least half a dozen long sleeve shirts that just do nothing for me, so when I saw an Upcycle T-Shirt Project on Pinterest, using the Dip Dye method, I knew I had to give it a go.  When most people think of Dip Dye they think of coloring hair (with koolaid!), however with this project I am technically dip bleaching.

How to Dip Dye with Bleach:

  • First you need a shirt.
  • Cut it in a style you like.  For this T-shirt Upcycle I cut it into a fringed tank top.
  • If you cut fringe, pull each band of fabric so it looks natural with a slight curl on the edges.
  • Fill a bucket or large bowl with equal ratios of hot water to bleach – 1/2 hot water and 1/2 bleach.
  • Dip away until you achieve your desired color.

dip dye bleach

Why Upcycle

I love taking old things and breathing new life into them.  When you rework something, it becomes it’s own little piece of art that no one will have it.  Don’t be intimidated by this project guys, it is ridiculously EASY.  You really can’t mess up because part of the charm of dip dying is that it IS imperfect and hand made.

People pay big bucks for that look, and other than the cost of bleach – it’s FREE!

upcycle tshirt

Besides the long and short sleeve style T’s, another great classic to do this dip dye technique with is the ol’ button up.  Dipping those in the bleach/water mixture will leave you with a beautiful ombre look.


I haven’t tried doing this with jeans yet, but I have a bunch of old pants I need to either donate or work some magic on, so I will likely try my hand at upcycling a pair or two into some killer cut-offs soon!

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Favorite Things Featured Style

My Favorite – Tea Collection Clothing

Globally-Inspired Children’s Clothes
for Little Citizens of the World – My Favorite!

Tea is among my favorite brands of children’s clothing.  I have appreciated their stylish designs and use of quality and comfortable materials since the kids were little.  Despite those factors, the thing I like the most about Tea is their focus on inclusion and diversity.

my favorite

Having grown up in Seattle, a port city known for its cultural diversity, I naturally gleaned the value of difference from a young age.  It’s a value I feel strongly about passing down to our kids.  I can appreciate a company who is intentional in their focus on creating products that tell a story about the unique value and beauty that every culture has to offer.

my favorite

my favorite things

favorite children's clothing

Tea Collection’s Stylish Design:

Every year Tea takes a team of designers from their home base in San Francisco on a trip to a faraway land for design inspiration.  The designers soak up the unique aspects of the culture they are immersed in and what they end up with is a collection of globally inspired patterns and styles.  After the designs are completed the clothing is made in factories all around the world – from Peru to Bulgaria.

What I like about the international flair in Tea’s designs is that it is understated.  You get the essence of another culture without it being over the top, in your face.

For a sneak peak into the creative process and how a picture taken or sketch drawn translates into textiles and clothing designs visit and click on the inspiration tab.  They even have a few kids activities you can print out for your little ones!

Tea Uses Quality Materials:

From my experience, Tea clothing stands the test of time.  My kids are pretty hard on their clothes and since I don’t go for stuffed closets with garments spilling out, I gravitate toward simple, stylish designs that are made well.

Made of natural fibers and materials, Tea clothes wash and wear well – longer.

The Comfort Factor:

No matter how awesome something looks if it is not comfortable it is not my cup of tea!  Yes, I like a good pun every now and then.  Seriously though, there have been times that I have bought Justice the cutest dress and it didn’t feel good on her skin.  This is the point when her 3 year old self kicks in and it’s complete meltdown and pandamonium until that dress is pealed off of her body!

At this moment there is no negotiating with her, and no amount of bribery will work.  It’s uncomfortable and it’s NOT happening!

This reason is enough to LOVE Tea clothing.  It is soft to the touch and comfortable to play in.

favorite girl clothing tea collection

cool kids

my favorite things

treasure hunts

favorite children's clothing

What didn’t end up getting photographed were the fun little pockets on Jusitce’s dress.  She thought she was so smart!!! Try out the Tea Collection for yourself and see if you are as impressed as we have been!

*Please note that the links in this post are affiliate links.  This simply means sometimes I recommend a product and if you choose to purchase that product via my recommendation, I will get a small referral commission. Of course, this is at no extra cost to you but it does help keep my candle burning so I can keep bringing you great tips! I truly appreciate your support in this way.  Thank you.

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road

Favorite Things Featured Style

Quality, Comfortable & Cool Shoes – The Frye Company!

cool shoes fry bootsWhen talking about shoes and boots that will go the distance — The Frye Company makes some freaking COOL SHOES!

Before having kids that I packed on my back all over the place, I chose high heals over comfort and quantity over quality.  Just like your heart changes when you have children, your feet do too.  Your desire to be stylish gets bumped down on the priority list a bit – that’s why as a mom and a traveler, I’m so glad I stumbled upon this quality, cool shoe company.

If I had to choose between never having a good pair of leather boots again or never having chocolate again, it would be a toss up.  I kid you not.

Not because I don’t LOVE chocolate.  I do — dark chocolate specifically — and consume it on a daily basis.  For me, good leather boots are really that awesome.  My current favorites are from the Frye Company.  Frye boots are the reason behind my love affair with good leather.  That, and our friends amazing couch.

Do I sound creepy yet?!

Peta hates me.

If this is a complete foreign concept to you, you most likely do not own a pair of good boots that fit your feet just right.  I know I didn’t until just a few years ago.  I discovered them by accident and have been wrecked ever since!  I never would have looked twice at my Frye boots due to budget but the pair I found was heavily discounted and I had some christmas money to burn.  Looking back — not a penny wasted!

The ones photographed do have a slight heal – which i don’t recommend if you are going to be walking the city for hours – but a quality pair of leather shoes usually have much better support than cheap ones and I wanted to show you the ones I originally fell in love with to illustrate the point that if you do invest in a quality pair you will have them for years to come.   I have had these for around five years and while they could use a polish they are about as good as when I purchased them.

cool shoes frye company

cool shoes fryeI like mine so much I created an entire tradition around them!  I am a frugal girl for the most part but when it comes to my feet I like to get a quality pair of boots made of good leather.  After christmas each year, I take money I have been given or some that’s left over and splurge on a solid pair.  I find a style that I can dress up or down so I can get some good life out of them.  It makes me {and my back} happy.

Join me in my tradition this Christmas and get yourself a pair!  These are my current favs.  Click on the image if you want to get more info about them from amazon!


What about you?  Did your preference in shoes change after having kids?

Emily Eck Home Sweet Road



Style Travel Tips

The One Rule Every Mom Should Break when Packing for Vacation

rule breaker image

When you read articles about how to pack or what to bring on vacation you will hear the same mantra over and over again.  Less is More.  Heck, I have written about packing light myself.  It goes without saying that packing less frees you from the unnecessary burden of shlepping your non-essentials around with you from place to place.

Which is doubly important when traveling with children.

But, for me, the less is more philosophy fails me in one area.  And that is Accessories.

MORE IS MORE when it comes to them, and here’s why:

If you heed expert advice and pack smart, it’s true that you will have the basics covered, but those “experts” are forgetting one very important thing.  WE ARE MOTHERS!!!  That means it is likely one or more of the following things are happening simultaneously:

  • We have dark circles under our eyes because we have not had a proper nights sleep since we got pregnant with our first-born X years ago.
  • Our hair is a mess and we don’t have ample time do it before we leave for the day because the children haven’t adjusted to the new time zone, woke up early, and the hotel staff have already alerted us to complaints they have received from other hotel guests due to the noise level reverberating from our room.  We’ve got to get out of there ASAP.
  • We will be visiting the beach later in the day and want to draw attention away from the road map known as stretch marks which decided to take over a few years back.  While these love marks tell a beautiful story of a life given to bring these treasures into the world, we may not feel like telling that story today.

This is just a short list of scenarios that could play out at any given time on the road.  Yes, our bodies have changed, our schedules are not our own, and we may not have the same amount of time or interest in always looking picture perfect but we don’t want to look like stressed out, stretched out mamas either!

The way we present ourselves to the world does affect how we feel.

Enter accessories.

Bangles, dangles, head scarves, belts, sunglasses, necklaces, hats, colorful flats, and wraps can turn you from looking worn out to LOOK OUT in no time!

What I also love about accessorizing is that it can transform any basic outfit into something special.  You can feel like a million bucks with very little effort! No one has to know that amazing printed headscarf is hiding 3 day old hair!

That is why when I pack I usually stick to the basics in monochromatic colors so that I can mix and match throughout the trip and add in the drama with accessories.  That way you are packing light AND feeling pretty.  Works every time!

What are your favorite travel style tips?  I’d love to hear from you, so if you have any great ideas add them in the comments below:)

Emily Eck