That's Life: It's A Picnic // The Video

Photo by  Kendall Town

Photo by Kendall Town

The other day I decided to invite some friends over for a picnic/photo shoot. My friend Eddie, who has put together some amazing videos for me in the past, had this fleeting window to hang out and do what he does best before he jetted out of town. At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to do and was frankly blasé about the idea because I’m so over styled shoots I could puke in my mouth. (Yes, I acknowledge the hypocrisy of that since I’ve been doing them consistently for 10 years now, but that was before they, ahem, became such a “thing.”)

Don’t get me wrong. Styled shoots are beautiful to look at and they do serve a purpose in business, but there’s something that just gives me the ‘ughs’ about them now.

It’s not only because they are everywhere but because it is ultimately feeding into this frightening cultural movement driven by social media that makes us feel like we can only share our life when it looks perfect. That’s not real life, people!

So here’s the weird thing that I’m having a hard time reconciling in my head…this was a totally thrown together little picnic where I literally just invited some friends over and said bring the kiddos, I’ll dress you in some Nest clothes, and we’ll have a picnic. Nothing fancy…boiled eggs, carrots, and my son’s favorite: watermelon. (The kid can put down some watermelon. You’ll see in the video.)

Photo by  Kendall Town

Photo by Kendall Town

But when Kendall Town comes to photograph it, suddenly my crazy impromptu picnic looks like a fairy tale dreamland.

When you look at these pictures, you’d never know that as my friends Breanna and Ali and their boys were filtering in, I was running around my house like a crazy person because I had a guest at my house who was lovely enough to play with Owen that morning so I could sleep in. And sleep in I did because you take advantage of opportunities like that when you have a 3 year old that insists that it’s time to wake up once any sliver of light starts peeking through the window. Although well-rested, I ended up being totally behind and unprepared. I was going to get fancy and make fresh watermelon cucumber juice with my vintage avocado green Champion juicer for godssakes!

But I just ended up boiling some eggs, had Ali cut some watermelon and off we went into the Verdi forest, 2 camera-loving, bologna-vulture dogs in tow. There was nothing that felt glamorous about this shoot. Shit, I didn’t even end up brushing my hair!

Photo by  Kendall Town

Photo by Kendall Town

And why did I pick Breanna and Ali?

Because I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I’d like to. Yes, they are absolutely gorgeous individuals—inside and out—but they’re not professional models, even though they look like it here! I don’t use professional models in my shoots. I use my friends and customers because they are real people! And what better way to capture what life is really like than to just do life how we do?

The Nest Vintage Picnic Girlfriends

Yes, it turned out dreamy because Kendall is goddamn magic, but this is real.

I invite friends over, and we do picnics. No, I don’t normally dress friends in Nest clothes when they come over, so this was a bit of a special treat for them. Ali walked away with that ever-elusive treasure of a pair of perfectly fitting cutoffs. And that vest on Huck? C’mon, it must’ve been made for that kid!

And honestly, I love picnics. I do them at least once a week, even if it’s just my son and me outside on our grass. (Although we adore it when friends join us!)

The Nest Vintage Picnic Swinging Kid

Anyway, all that to say, we had a picnic. It was fun. Here’s the video of it. We’re not models. It wasn’t styled, per se. It was just a couple friends hanging out, watching kids run through the woods (sorry Calvin, you’ll be running soon enough…).

Kendall and Eddie just happened to be there capturing it to remind us that even though sometimes we think our everyday lives aren’t that glamorous, they really are fairy tale beautiful. No freshly squeezed watermelon cucumber juice needed.

Without further ado…

Special thanks to Vokab Kompany for letting us use “That’s Life” as the perfect soundtrack to our outing!

Macramé Making A Comeback


It’s common for era-inspired fads to come full circle (or never actually go out of style in the first place), so we love that this wildly popular 70’s fad has made a comeback in a big way some 40+ years later!

It doesn’t take more than a quick glance on Pinterest to know that we are all obsessed with the macramé wall hangings and plant holders popping up all over the place. But did you know they would be so much fun to make yourself?! Ok, they definitely required a bit of dexterity and patience too, but what a blast! So much fun that all of our inaugural macramé classes sold out.

Thank you so much for your support. We are so excited you joined us and always appreciate your enthusiasm for trying something new. We hope you love your hanging planters + we also hope you sign up for more macramé classes when we offer them again (hanging macramé chairs, anyone?).

In the meantime, here’s some pics from the past two classes…

Photo credit: Kendall Town and Alexis Turner

And pretty puhlease if you didn’t get to sign up for one of these classes but still want to, leave a comment below! If there is enough interest, I can put together another class sooner rather than later. And it doesn’t have to just be macramé either—holla at ya girl about what classes you’d like for me to put on!


photo credit: Kendall Town

photo credit: Kendall Town

Mothering.  I often say it’s the hardest job you’ll ever have…with the easiest application process.  

And, boy, is that ever true.  And possibly becoming more and more true as my kids turn from cute little babies into tantrum ridden three year olds and sullen, mouthy teens.  

“Your kids are so beautiful…cute…calm…respectful…happy,” people say when out and about.  

Yes.  True.  But they are fire breathing dragons at home so don’t ever come over. 

photo credit: Kendall Town

photo credit: Kendall Town

Mothering is tough.  I’ve recently been reading through blogs and journal entries I’ve written from the past 11 years of mothering, and it has tugged on more than a few heart strings.  The ever-growing beauty of it all, though, is that I find myself being drawn more and more into the story of mothering itself: the narrative of womanhood and the role of the feminine, aligning myself globally with the raw strength of this tribe of mothers.  And on that note, with that depth, I find myself letting go of so many of those judgements I used to harbor about ‘how to mother right’.  

Because, I want to believe we are all fighting the good fight.  And with every perfectly posed Instagram moment or with every toned gym body ‘I actually look like I never had a baby’ moment or with every arms-laden-with-groceries-and-pulling-a-screaming-kid moment or with every fist bump, tears shed college graduation moment, we are all totally in this together and need each other, each and every one.

The Nest Vintage Picnic Mommas

So, yes, we threw together what appears to be a perfectly styled Mother’s Day picnic photo shoot complete with cute kids, beautiful mothers, healthy food and incredible vintage goods + it was gracefully captured in all its golden-lighted glory by Kendall Town.  But, when I sift through these, there is so much more of the story.  I see a breath of fresh air, maybe, in an intensely demanding mothering season.  I see the choice to sit and smile with friends in lieu of fussing over soon to be watermelon-stained vintage Osh Kosh B’Goshes.  I see intentionality and wisdom through a loving physical gesture toward a rambunctious son.  I see all the challenges you have overcome and all the ones yet to be hurdled. I see you, Mama.  I see you.  

And you are doing a damn good job. 

written by: Ali Denney

photo credit: Kendall Town

Mother's Day at The Nest

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Join us SUNDAY, May 12th to celebrate you with tailor made in-store pop-up shops and a special gift of:

20% off in store for moms






Another little gift for Moms: FREE professional photos with your mom and/or children! As moms, we always seem to be the ones behind the camera instead of in front of it. We want to honor you and help you remember this special time with your loved ones. So, dress up (or down if you prefer) and bring your family for a fun photo booth experience!



Multi-talented owner of Epics Photo Booth also makes these awesome concrete planters for succulents and air plants and will have lots of unique containers and home decor items for sale. Because flowers for Mom’s Day are nice, but a succulent in a concrete planter has staying power!



Totally Baked is woman-owned business specializing in handmade and locally baked French Macarons. She has over 20 unique flavors all wrapped up in environmentally friendly packaging. If nobody happens to be doing something sweet for you on mother’s day, do something sweet for yourself and stop in for a treat. You totally deserve it!!




Hope to see you all there with your moms and chitlins!

Green Cleaning Products You Can Make At Home


Ali, here, with some spring cleaning must-haves.

Spring definitely has me in that cleaning mode, but so does the fact that my youngest daughter has been sick lately. Not feverish sick, not throwing up sick, but nagging runny-nose-dry-cough-not-at-the-top-of-her-game sick. It isn’t the first time this has happened and when it does, my go to remedy is stripping her sheets, ditching old stuffed animals, washing her clothes + breaking out the cleaning products to rid her little habitat of anything and everything germ-y. But, we just can’t seem to kick it. We finally went to the pediatrician and her diagnosis was ‘allergies’. We went on a month long routine of allergy chewables, nose spray, etc. Her symptoms lessened temporarily, but recently came back with a vengeance.

I’m pretty conscientious about what goes in and on those little kid bodies. I’m not helicopter mom carrying sanitizer with me everywhere, but, I’m thoughtful about healthy eating habits, washing hands, natural ingredients, etc. However, after this recent bout of coughing and a blurb about VOC’s, or Volatile Organic Compounds that can cause nose, throat and respiratory irritation (an article I read in a magazine at the pediatricians office, of all places), I finally decided to give these oft talked about homemade cleaning products a try. Maybe there are things lurking around, even in a clean environment, that are agitating her.


There are a plethora of cleaning products you can make at home ranging from dish soap to toilet bombs, but I simply stuck with an all purpose surface cleaner I found on a blog called Live Simply. Mostly because it said you can make it ‘right now’ with ‘3 ingredients’. And, hey, I had all 3 ingredients, so, sounded perfect. Here’s the details:

Castile Soap Surface Cleaner

Safe to use on any surface (always test in a small area first):

  • 2 cups distilled water

  • 2 TB castile soap up to 1/4 cup (based on how ‘soapy’ of a cleaner you want)

  • 15 drops essential oil (lavender, tea tree, orange, etc.)


Mix everything together. Clean with it. Feel like you’ve done something good.

Seriously, there isn’t much else to it. Fill an empty spray bottle with the ingredients. Shake it a little to mix the oil and water and spray away. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that there was literally no residue and that my hands didn’t feel like they’d been gnawed on by a colony of hungry fire ants when I was done cleaning. Castile soap is plant derived, so it is non-abrasive and essential oils are, well, oil, so you do the math. For this cleaner, I used Tea Tree Oil (for it’s natural disinfectant properties) and Lavender Oil (because it smells good…oh, and because that is what I had!).


I don’t know anything about essential oils except that my mom uses them for everything + when my daughter was an infant my mom mixed up a tummy serum we lovingly called ‘belly juice’ that kicked my babies colic to the curb. I was sold at that point. Calming down a babies colic within minutes is hard proof that these things pack a punch and gives me even more reason to be excited that we are hosting a class with the amazing Lynell Garfield on essential oils and incorporating them into your cleaning routine. Lynell has spent the past 5 years working with essential oils and teaching others how to wrap their lives around natural health and wellness. I personally cannot wait for this. Stay tuned for class details.

All in all, I think this was a win. I’m left with a clean kitchen countertop that my daughter can run her tongue along if she wants. I hope she doesn’t want to, but 3 year olds are hard to predict. I’m also left with the hope that ‘greening’ my cleaning routine may help that little nugget kick whatever allergens or agitators are doing her in and allow us a little more ‘green’ in the pocketbook (those over the counter eco-friendly products I used to buy are breaking my bank).


Updating a 1920's Art Deco Dresser

I’ve been itching to get crafty, lately.  To paint or build or make something with my hands.  And, it comes as no surprise that precisely when I’m in that mood, things start popping up in ads on my computer or social media with Pinterest boards of updated dining chairs, revamped vintage tables, etc. ( all that overboard, privacy-invading marketing that really freaks me out).  Now, I’m no Pinterest perfect crafter.  In fact, I’m no Pinterest worthy anything and I’m totally okay with that.  But, I’ve been eyeing these vintage dresser remakes with more than a little interest.  So, I’ve kinda sorta been scouring craigslist to see if I can find a total hunk of junk of a dresser that could use a fresh face. 

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I’m a Mid Century kind of gal, so I mostly look for pieces from that era.  These are never cheap unless the seller has no idea what they have on their hands.  That being said, Mid Century furniture never quite fits my DIY budget of well, $15.  So, when I found this ad on craigslist, I switched from Mid Century minded to 1920’s Art Deco and went and scooped this up out of someone’s yard 30 minutes before the trash haulers were going to take it to the dump. 

This needed ALOT of work.  Maybe, just maybe, I got a little too excited at the word FREE in the ad and ended up biting off a little more than I could chew. Needless to say, this dresser landed in my garage.  If anything, I could just put it right back on craigslist and make a couple bucks, right?  Right. 

What follows in this post is a few DIY triumphs and a lot of DIY snafu’s.  Hopefully you can learn something from both and don’t let those snafu’s bring you down.  I problem solved my way through every single one and learned a lot in the process.

1. Pick your piece

I got lucky and found a piece of history that was on it’s way to the junk pile.  I may have saved an old woman from rolling in her grave and I may have saved the planet from one more tree being harvested.  Can’t guarantee either of those, but I definitely saved the junk pile from one more item.  What’s one man’s junk is another woman’s treasure.

Some people loathe these 1920’s + 30’s waterfall dressers.  They were for commoners.  Every home, apartment or hotel had them in some fashion.  Some were fancier than others with chevron or tiger lined veneer + detailed corners and bases.   Some were unadorned.  Either way, they were practical.  They held your stuff. 

(And that’s what I intend on it doing in my house too.  And I like it, so poo poo on those who say waterfall dressers are boring.)


I have a crush on pieces of furniture that have historic merit.  I look for items with good lines, interesting details and loads of character.  I picked this dresser because it was free and because I was totally in love with the waterfall front and the lion drawer pulls on the top drawer.  No other reason.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Pick something you need for your own home or something that ‘speaks’ to you.  Furniture really does speak, you know that, right?  Inanimate objects can take on very animate qualities when you let them…or when you have a 3 year old shopping with you and she says something like wanting to ‘save that dresser from being so sad’!


2.  Assess your piece

Every piece of furniture will need something different.  My dresser really was in ‘sad’ shape.  

Which is where I hit Snafu #1: Desire vs. Ability

My desire to make something beautiful out of this old thing far surpassed my abilities to actually do it.  This dresser needed a lot of work, real work, not just a new coat of stain.  The drawers were totally warped, didn’t slide well, covered in multiple layers of contact paper and completely fell out when pulled; the frame was cock-eyed and uneven; the veneer on the drawers was badly chipped and the stain faded and worn.  I realized that I didn’t have the time or means to completely sand, refinish and rebuild despite how much I knew that’s what this piece needed.

So maybe step 2 and step 1 should be combined.  Go figure.


3.  Map out a plan for your piece

Do your homework. 

Look up the history of the piece, ask Siri how to rebuild a drawer or fix chipped veneer.  There is a plethora of information on the internet for just about everything you want to do to a piece of furniture.  Figure out what you need to do and find the information you need. 

Figure out your workspace

My workspace was my garage.  However, my garage also doubles as a gym for my 16 year old football stud, our laundry room, my husband’s workshop, our ‘office’ with printer, files, etc., a playground for my preschooler and our storage unit for things I really need to be going through and purging.  So, it was a little cramped and I sorta pissed off the male side of my family when I cramped the already cramped space with a ratty old dresser, splaying my drawers and tools all over the place.


Which brings me to Snafu #2:  Time + Space to get’er done

This was my project that now had to be everyone’s project because it required expertise I didn’t have and space that was not just mine, but shared.  I’m not a builder, but hubby is.  I thought I could rely on him to help me with fixing the drawers.  I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  He was super irritated that I took on the project and vowed not to help me with it, no matter how ridiculous I looked trying to figure out how to get the battery off the nail gun and no matter how much of a piecemeal, amateur job I did of getting the drawers to not tip out.  And the space issue, dictated in the previous paragraph just irked everyone, including me, because I had to completely clean up every time I needed to take a break to let things dry.  Pain in the, you know what.  And the time for things to dry?  Double the factory recommended time amount due to living in SoCal humidity.  This project took twice as long as it should have.

Figure out your tools. 

Being that we are still in remodel mode, we have a lot of tools around, including a battery powered nail gun (that I was super excited to get to use to give my drawers a little more stability) and also a plethora of leftover stains, paints, sandpaper, and other products from previous DIY’s or failed attempts at a DIY.  I thought we were all good on tools and shouldn’t need to buy anything.

Enter Snafu #3:  

The tools and products I did have were not quite the exact tools and products I needed.  The stain didn’t match the current stain, our sand paper was too fine, the refinisher I knew we had had evaporated since the last project and the wood putty had hardened due to a half opened can.  I spent close to $100 on new products.


Prioritize your steps and workload. 

Items on my To Do list included: fix drawers, fix frame, clean out drawers, fix chipped veneer, strip, remove previous finish, sand, stain, apply topcoat, re-line drawers, polish hardware.  My only problem with this was that I changed my mind about a thousand times as to what I actually wanted to do with this dresser.  Completely restore it?  Paint it?  Do a less invasive refinish and stain?  I flopped back and forth so many times I ended up doing some things twice because I decided to slightly restore then stain with a gloss coat and hated it, so I had to then remove all the work I had done and re-do with other materials.  

Decide and stick to your decision

Or, like I did, end up doing and redoing and doing and redoing and finally just being done with the whole thing even though you should have done and redone it again.


4.  Get to work

I followed my To Do list in no particular order and got to work on everything I thought I needed to do and everything I didn’t actually think I needed to do, but did need to do.  Sand, stain, paint, top coat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

I painted the frame with GF black milk paint, which I really liked + stained the drawers with GF gel stain in Antique Walnut, which I also really liked.  However, I didn’t like my staining ability and realized that I would have done a much better job if I hadn’t rushed through everything and if I would have watched the ‘How To Stain With Gel Stain’ tutorial ahead of time.


Snafu #4: Impatience

I decided I was only going to do a ‘less invasive’ refinish of this dresser, mostly because I’m impatient.  I didn’t want to completely sand, stain and refinish because I wanted it to be done and in my house immediately.  Instant gratification has it’s drawbacks, for sure, and I’m not super happy with my staining job on the drawers mostly because I rushed through the whole process.

Working with wood can be challenging, especially working with antique wood.  It is rewarding, but I think my dresser would have benefit from someone with a little more talent than myself.

I took the drawers out and fixed them to the extent I could without completely rebuilding them.  It was obvious that I was not the first person updating this piece.  There was previous wood glue and nails all over these things.  The drawers were really warped and the dovetail joints just exploding apart.  I used some more wood glue, some nails from that awesome nail gun and a some fingernail power to rip off that old contact paper.  Pretty much everything I did was in an unconventional manner, so you probably don’t want to copy my exact moves.  But you get the gist of it.


The drawers were nasty inside so I had to line them.  I wanted to buy some super dope Art Deco stick on wall paper, but my pocketbook wouldn’t let me, so I tried some left over fabric I had laying around then craft paper (failed on those) + eventually decided to go with good ‘ol fashioned contact paper in a really bad pattern.  It worked.  I don’t really like it that much, but by that point, I was just really done with the whole thing.


Being that this dresser is nearly 100 years old, the drawers were made to glide on side rails, which I’m sure worked at the time. Now, they stuck, tipped and got all wonky when trying to move them. I went to the woodworkers store and bought two wooden center rails and secured them in the middle two drawers. Still a little wonky, but definitely better then before!


I filled in chipped veneer and holes from previous hardware with plastic wood. I didn’t do that good of a job and my patches stick out like a sore thumb. But I decided since I wasn’t doing a complete restore, I was gonna have to be ok with it.


I polished those awesome lion drawer pulls with Brasso until they shone like the noon day sun. It was obvious that this was not the original hardware, the style that was on the dresser when I got it was from a different era. But, I liked the lions and had faux brass pulls I didn’t use for our kitchen cabinets left over in the garage. So, I drilled new holes for those and put those on. I’m keeping the floral looking ones that came with the dresser for something more feminine and fancy.


And… the big reveal at the end of it all?! A very handsome and functional piece of furniture with a story to tell for the next few generations. The cool thing about this sturdy antique wood furniture is that it will continue after I’m long gone. Maybe the next owner will completely un-do everything I’ve done thus far and completely take it back to it’s original state. Or maybe paint it bright orange or something. Who knows?! But the fact that more and more people can still use this is a win in and of itself.

To my surprise (and quite possibly to yours, also), at the end of it all, I decided that the scope of this project was far bigger than I was prepared to take on.  I was totally unhappy with my work and decided to sell it instead of keep it. 

This dresser had issues to start with… I was ready to cancel my subscription to it’s issues.

However, I learned a ton and will definitely be taking on another dresser makeover soon. 

AMENdment to the Dresser DIY

Shortly after writing this blog and posting this dresser back on craigslist, I did a little more research on staining wood with gel stain. Yes, I should’ve done that research ahead of time. Resounding yes. That being said, I decided to give it one more go. I re-did the entire process one more time. Remove old finish, sand, patch, stain, top coat + reline drawers. Aside from my patch jobs (that stand out like a sore thumb on the lighter stain), I’m a lot happier with this version. The drawers are still a bit wonky, but I love the fabric in the drawers and the lighter stain is much more in tune with the original ‘blonde’ color of the veneer. Now that I’m happier with it, this one might be sticking around the house a bit longer.

I totally anticipate doing another one. Less invasive, for sure, but I love the manual labor of sanding, etc. Dresser therapy!!