Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spend vs Save - Seaside Style

It's no surprise what's been on my mind lately.  I think 4 out of 5 posts are related to decorating. Those who are here for the baby updates, apologies, and those who were here for this stuff prior to kid stuff taking over, again, apologies. 

Of course, in my search for things to add or make mental notes of for our home, I've come across lots of high and low look-a-likes.  

I actually saved this blue coral diptych last week when scouring art pieces.  I'm always drawn to blues and sea themes, I later found this great framed coral art, but was able to find a great dup on etsy for a frame I already own .  I ordered it last night!

We already own a Pottery Barn Beachcomber tray, and I would love to add a similar style basket (or two) on the bottom shelf of the bookcase in our family to store blankets and conceal some toys and books. But I definitely don't want to spend the Pottery Barn price for a basket.  These container store ones are the perfect replacement for a fraction of the price.

The drapes are fairly self explanatory (high / low), I'm actually looking for similar ones, but in indigo or navy.  I ordered the ones I previously mentioned from Nordstrom, but they were too short... I forgot we had a sunken family room, oops. 

And lastly, the mirrors (high / low).  We decided we are putting the dining room on an indefinite hold until the floors are put in, but I still would love to hand a simple circle mirror over a sideboard and flank it with some sconces we have in storage.  Someday. 

Have you saved on anything lately?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Insta-spired... Photo Dump

privateaccount | @megawat | privateaccount

Just another instagram dump so I can get some room back on my phone.  

Love the simple holiday mantle, sometimes less is more. Some great uses for essential oils for the winter months.  I love saving pictures like that so I actually can reference it when needed! Cute and organized workspace.  I think tortellini soup in on the menu, especially because of the snap next to it :)

Have you checked out Kate Spade Saturday?  I'm a bit late to the party, but really love some of the items.  I've been looking for some hanging plants, love this geometric air plant holder.  Gray Malin, already mentioned his photography last week, but this is where I found him.  And then note to self, if I want to own his art, I'll probably go by way of Lauren Conrad and get his cell phone case.  Also note to self, upgrade phone because my iPhone4 is older than Ashlynn. 

Frozen cookies, in case we get a party request in a few weeks.  And the interior shots, that reflect my true style.  I'm trying to make a concerted effort into investing in pieces that make our home OUR home, and not a pinterest, blog, or instagram home (ironic?).  I know chinoiserie is a current trend, but it's something I've always liked since I was long (we had a vase on our piano I still remember and some other pieces from my grandmother) added with that, my love of blues and navy as a timeless neutral, I'm trying to gather inspiration.

What have been your favorite IG accounts lately?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dressing for my Thirties

With my closet makeover in process, I'm in major purge mode cleaning out my closet and dresser.  We got all the shelving and now are just waiting for the snow storm to clear so I can grab some bars at Lowe's and finally hang everything back up.  I cleaned out a good amount last summer and even made a donation around the holidays, but alas, I have a good bag and a half filled and am not even done yet.

I got rid of a handful of semi formal and cocktail dresses back in the summer, but after another look I've decided to purge more.  At 32 years old wife and mom of two, I feel my style has changed.  I'm more aware of dressing appropriate, which doesn't mean frumpy or dowdy.  Just a bit more reserved compared to the college formal days that some of my old dresses hail from, know what I mean? (yikes!)

Not that I'm currently purchasing new dresses to replace the old, I'm still having some fun finding some new styles that fit my slightly bit more conservative style that are still stylish, and maybe a bit of sexy too.

I love these maxi dresses for a Spring or Summer wedding, especially the floral one in the middle.  the halter silhouette is super flattering - more so then my old friend strapless - and the best part, it's comfortable.  Putting an end to tight and uncomfortable dresses!

  four | five | six

And if I was still in the working world and needed to dress business casual, I would definitely embrace the shift dress.  I love these patterns and styles, they remind me of Lilly - but for less!

Do you find yourself dressing differently in your thirties or as a parent?  You can find more dresses like the above and the newest releases in the Eliza J Lookbook.  


Thank you to Eliza J for sponsoring today's post.  Follow Eliza J on social media for the latest news and updates.

Friday, January 23, 2015

My Art History

I have always thought there was a difference between being artistic and being creative.  My mom was a fashion and art history major in college and yes, is artistic.  My brother was always able to draw amazing pencil sketches of things like fighter jets and comic book characters, amongst other things.  I on the other had used to trace my Looney Tunes coloring books into my sketch book and then show my parents as if I drew Daffy Duck and the Tasmanian Devil freehand all by myself. Turns out, while I don't have a natural talent for art (fine arts), I do have a knack for crafting and being creative.  I'll own that, and usually correct people when they call me artistic, I suppose as a reflex as knowing I'm not compared to my family members.

Anyway, fine art has always been a bit of mystery to me.  Not that I don't appreciate it, but yes, I'm that person who doesn't get how a painting of a black dot could be worth so much.  In high school I became drawn to Van Gogh and early impressionist work (I did a three day report on Art History for a class final), I liked the technique and how the pictures looked.  Other than that though, going to the art museum staring at different paintings wasn't really something I 'got'.

When it comes to decorating a house with art, I'm overwhelmed.  In our first house we bought some cheesy cookie cutter contemporary art to decorate (mostly from Target).  After a few years (and pinterest), I realized it was not my style and that we only bought it because that's what we thought grown up homes were supposed to have, not what we wanted to have.  Since then, I pretty much just frame family photos and the occasional printable from a blog.

Art can be really expensive (obviously), so while we still haven't purchased any because we prioritize places to sit like sofas and other furniture over one thing to hang on the wall, I've finally narrowed down some of my favorite pieces and artists.

For a long time, I wasn't sure if I liked some pieces I was seeing because they were pinterest or instagram popular, so I took the approach of "don't buy (or be interested in) anything unless you love it"/"the art makes you feel something".  That's a line from a movie right? But it's true.  Not only do these works fit my decorating style, but I could just stare at and not get sick of them.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
6 | 7 | 8 | 9
10 | 11 | 12

Thankfully, almost all these options are for sale on One Kings Lane which makes them more tempting, financially speaking.

Jennifer Latimer was the first artist I found a few years ago (GildedMint on Etsy) who I just loved right away.  I've actually featured her in a few design boards.  Since, I've been following Michelle Armas on instagram and Kellie Morley and Britt Bass, as well who all share similar abstract techniques, though you can clearly see the difference between their works.

And of course, I'm always drawn to beach art.  Probably because I grew up at the shore, in high school and college my walls were plastered in surf posters (usually taken from the local surf shops) and rip outs from surf mags.  My early apartments were a bit more mature with just beach photography prints, thanks IKEA!  And while I sometimes question how a beach print would fit in a house that isn't at the beach, seeing interior design work like this makes me see it does work.

Dream house, btw.

So how do you feel about art?  Target and Homegoods work for you or do you look for a few pieces to collect? Hopefully one day we'll get a piece for our mantle and another for our dining room and officially be 'grown up homeowners'.  Got to have goals, right??

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Did You Know?

Just some little nuggets of wisdom, and by wisdom I mean random trivia that might help you at Quizzo... if it's being held at Chuckie Cheese. And a few other fun finds too!

Voice Recognition

Do you ever hear a commercial voiceover and automatically pick out who the celebrity is behind it?  Like Phil Dunphy, Ty Burrell, in the Verizon Fios commercials?  Well, a few weeks ago, Doc McStuffins was on and yep, there's Phil Dunphy again!  Ty Burrell voiced Big Jack, the Jack in the Box who needing fixing for his father son juggling act.  I thought it was funny since his TV daughter, Ariel Winter, voices Sofia from Sofia the First (did you know that?!) And thought maybe she got him the Disney in.  Well turns out, there are more famous voices than just Tim Gunn (Baileywick) voicing the show.  Keeping it in the modern family, Eric Stonestreet (Minimus) and Nolan Gould (Elliot) have also voiced characters.  And so many others too, Sara Ramirez (Queen Miranda), Wayne Brady (Clover the bunny), Ellie Kemper (Crackle the dragon), and others like Viola Davis, Jeffery Tambor, Megan Mullally, Alison Hannigan, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Kiernan Shipka.

Who knew these already successful actors were keeping themselves busy with voiceover work for the House of Mouse?

The cast list for Jake and the Neverland Pirates is pretty impressive too!

Deals Deals Deals

Okay, this might be old news, but I love finding as many deals as I can before buying things online.  I always first check if the retailer is on Ebates, so I can shop through there for quick cash back.  Typically, Ebates shows all the current coupon codes being offered as well, and I usually do a quick check on retailmenot for any other hidden finds.  Then, before pulling the trigger, I double check on to see if the item is being sold elsewhere for less.

You'd think that'd be enough, but I just found out about CamelCamelCamel.   Do you know about CamelCamelCamel?  No?  It's a site that tracks all the prices for everything (almost everything?) on Amazon.  You can import your wishlists or just enter the product url and you will see the past price history, when it's fallen and peaked, and you can set email alerts for when prices drop to your desired price.  Pretty amazing.  Again, maybe this is old news, but if you need me I'll be watching prices shift pennies like it's 2003 and I'm in a bid war on eBay.

and some other recent fun finds...

The Brother XL2600I Sewing Machine is currently on sale for $79.99.  It's retail price is $149.99 (47% OFF!), however, it's a bit misleading as it generally floats in the $100 range on Amazon, but it's still a great deal for a great machine for beginners.  It's the one I have, and learned on, and I have found it really easy to use and it rarely gives me trouble.  The one time I had trouble when I was first learning, I was quickly found my solution with a youtube search.  I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking to take up sewing.

This Tassle Trim Top (shared by Natalie) is on sale for $34.99 and you can get 50% off the sale price with code ENDOFSEASON.  I mean, $17.49 for a J.Crew blouse??  Yes, please.

Lastly, this Melissa & Doug Medieval Castle is basically half price and super cute.  We recently had a play date where one of Ashlynn's friends, a boy, was loving playing with her princess castles.  After they left I searched for some non-pink options and found this one.  I love that it's almost a "dollhouse" and opens up so boys AND girls can play with knights, princesses, dragons, horses, you name it. Melissa & Doug always knock it out of the park for toys that are gender neutral and fun for everyone.

(...and if you have Amazon Prime and want the free two day shipping, let them know you found it cheaper elsewhere and they'll price match!)

Any random nuggets or finds you'd like to share??  Let me know, share the wealth... or savings.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I feel like I have a giant list of projects to share, yet, none are in their complete state.

The master bath renovation is still waiting for the glass for the shower and the backordered light fixture.  The fixture was supposed to be back in stock last Friday, but I still haven't received a shipping update and the glass was prolonged when the subcontractor was sidelined over the holidays due to a family member in the hospital.  We are hoping both are in before the end of the month because this is really starting to drag out.

Over the holiday break, I started tearing down the broken wire shelving in my closet.  We are lucky enough to have his and hers walk-in closets.  They both have wire shelving and they both are in bad shape.  Over the weekend, we finished ripping down the rest and repairing all the holes, painting the closet and trim, and got half of the new shelving with a trip to Ikea.  The husband is planning on heading back later in the week to get the last piece since we wouldn't have been able to fit in the car with the kids with us.  I can't explain how good it feels to know my stuff is going to be nice and organized.  The last set up was always a mess with the lined up shoes on the floor constantly being piled up as Ashlynn loved trying on all my heels, going through my baskets of belts, bags, and nail polish, etc. I was a constant state of disaster and most of my clothes were never touched because I rarely ventured into the closet long enough to pick out an outfit because of the stress looking at the mess would cause me.

Our master bedroom is still incomplete.  We finally were able to grab the curtain panels from Ikea this weekend, since they were sold out the last time we were there a few months ago.  We have the curtain rods ready to go, we will probably hang them this weekend (hooray for privacy!... oops)  We still want some blinds or shades, but that will come later.  Once the curtains are up I'll feel better about hanging some frames over our bed and other art around the room.

The mudroom, was a project we started the Spring after we moved in two year ago.  It's still in limbo, but we finally have a plan.  We are most likely holding off until we purchase a new washer and dryer, since we will be putting down some tile floor in place of the dated (and damaged) linoleum and we'd just like to do it all at once.

Of course, we are still working on are basically bare and furniture less dining and living room, but we are waiting to get hardwoods down in there first.  The goal is to have that done this summer.

Finally feeling like we are making this house our own.  We have done so much already in the last two years, mainly major fixes - replaced the roof, water heater, sump pump, painted almost all the rooms, replaced the range and dishwasher, renovated the basement, installed hardwoods in the kitchen and foyer, fixes some plumbing issues like toilets and fixtures, major landscaping, the list goes on.  We are pretty sure the previous owner would already say the house looks completely different, because it does, but it's not finished or styled in a way that feels like "home" yet.  It's definitely a process that moves at a snail's pace (got to save up that dough!), but it's always rewarding when a project is completed.  Hopefully, I'll be reporting back LOTS of completed projects soon!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ashlynn at Two and Three Quarters

I wasn't sure if it was too much to do a 2 and 3/4 update for Ashlynn, but I figure in the name of consistency, I'll keep up with the quarterly updates for year 2.  There really aren't too many crazy changes since she turned two and half, other than she definitely seems more like she's 3 than 2.  Even just looking her, while still really short for her age, she just looks more like a pre-schooler than a toddler.

No crazy milestones passed in the last three months, but I'm pretty sure we cleared everything we could in the first half of her twos.  She's pretty much having full blown conversations with us, using correct pronouns, contractions, possession, etc.  Well, aside for claiming things as "mines".. as in, "this is yours, and this is mines".  (I just realized I included that in our last update too, still going strong) Yesterday I said, Okiedokie, and she replied,  What does that mean? with a touch of teenage 'tude.  I'm already not cool.

My least favorite verbal skill is her version of no - "Don't!"

"Don't turn on the light"
"Don't close the door"
"Don't turn off the tv"
"Don't get my coat"
"Don't put on my shoes"
"Don't flush the potty"

and if it's not don't, it's "I'm not"

"I'm not going to bed"
"I'm not taking a nap"
"I'm not going to school yet"
"I'm not getting dressed"
"I'm not taking a bath"

Lots of independence is being asserted around here. She fully dresses herself. Puts on her shoes and coat.  Goes to the bathroom on her own, and even insists on washing her hands though she can barely reach the faucet.  She gets in her carseat and buckles the chest clip. She turns off the tv and brushes her teeth (thankfully she still lets us help get the back).

One of her funnier quotes is anytime you call her a name, she'll say "I'm not".

You're a _____ (insert: princess, angel, smartypants, stinker,  cutiepie, etc)
"I'm not an angel.

....I'm Ashie Hazel Ourlastname"

We just got her progress report from school this past week.  Her teacher said she's really starting to socialize more with the other children, and she's meeting or exceeding almost all her other milestones.  She loves going to school and is always excited.  She was invited to a classmates birthday party next month, and I'm actually looking forward to meeting some of the other parents.

We haven't had her in gymnastics since the Fall, but I am looking into starting her again for the Spring session when she turns 3.  I'm also looking into soccer leagues and dance classes.  I never took dance growing up.  I did gymnastics, but I only liked tumbling not the equipment so my mom put me in (competition) cheerleading instead.  I only cheered until 5th grade, when I finally started playing every team sport I could (soccer, field hockey, basketball, etc etc).  So I never really pictured putting my own daughters in dance, but I know she loves dancing (what toddler doesn't) and that she could benefit from class and then let her choose which she'd rather continue gymnastics or dance when she develops her own preference, not mine.

Last update, I had said how she really starting to enter the "terrible two" phase, not with truly being terrible, but just the meltdowns.  Well they definitely have continued.  She is a drama queen.  Between her independence and knack for consistency and order, she'll just fall to the floor crying if you try to help her or do something differently.

She's definitely entered the picky eater phase.  I don't really stress about it too much since she still eats pretty healthy even if it's always the same things.  Fruit (berries, bananas, peaches), cereal, oatmeal, waffles, peanut butter and jelly, yogurt, cheese sticks, fruit snacks, graham crackers/bunny rabbits, mac n' peas, nuggets, noodles, pasta, quesadillas with black beans, lasagna, pizza, veggies, meatballs, and occasionally fish.  So while nothing fancy these days, it's still better than a bunch of processed food.

Her sleep habits are still about the same.  Procrastinates bed as long as she can and tries to call us back in for random or annoying requests.  However, once asleep she rarely wakes until morning, except for the times she was sick and needed to blow her nose.  She generally wakes between 6-630 and goes to bed between 7-730 (but usually 8 by the time she's asleep.  She will not nap in her bed.  She will nap in my bed or on the couch, usually I get her to in mine.  She'll sleep anywhere from 1-2 hours.

She's doing better with independent play.  I'm not sure she's really doing imaginative play like making her dolls talk to each other, but she's definitely doing pretend play with making everyone meals with her kitchen toys or ice cream cones with her duplos.  She also loves swapping all the dresses of her magiclip princesses and that's probably her favorite toy at the moment.

As for Kenley, she's doing a lot better in terms of pushing her.  She used to push her away if she came too close or took a toy.  She still will occasionally rip a toy from her hands, but it's something we are working on and she occasionally will ask before grabbing (progress?).  She's also good about giving Kenley something else if she wants to play with a toy she has.

I can't believe she's so big.  I look at her and marvel how fast time has flown by and how my little (really little) baby is so big and is really her own little person already.  We definitely have moments and days where I long for her to be in that easy phase Kenley is in or skip ahead until she's a bit older, but I know how fast it will come so I try to enjoy all those other non-crazy moments as best I can.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Loving Lately

Just some things I'm loving that are too good not to share...

Xhilaration Pom Pom Throw - I originally grabbed one of these throws for Ashlynn, the purple color is (or at least ours) is more radiant orchid than purple grape (above).  However, I became obsessed with how soft and cozy it is and I frequently take share it during her nap.  While perusing Target yesterday child free (a mom's favorite getaway) I found a white one marked down to $14, not that the original $19.99 tag breaks the bank when comparing to most throws (like this, and this one is fun too)

Threshold Double Gourd Lamp Base - Another Target steal.  Planning on grabbing one for our bedroom.

Kensie 'Caitlin' Window Panels - Seriously, curtains can be so expensive and so often when you think you are getting a deal (eh hem, West Elm) you are only getting one panel, not two.  These panels, two of them, are are sale for just about $30!  I'm waffling on getting them for our family room to change up the feel in there.

H&M Padded Vest - I've been on the hunt for a new down vest.  My black one is, no joke, from my sophomore year in college (eek, twelve years ago - ohmygodimold!).  A friend of mine sent me the link to this one and I bought it right away.  This one is definitely a little on the light side for colder climates, more for Fall or Spring, but definitely a steal.  Comes in Navy too. (H&M does run a small, I got a 4). 

You can also get free shipping with code 2773.

J.Crew Canvas Overnight Bag -We received this neon colorblock tote when Kenley was born, monogrammed, as a gift from our friends.  I realized the other day I don't think I ever shared it on here, but it is such a great bag.  It's not a giant duffle bag, but really the perfect overnight size.  Not mention a great price point, and super cute, for gifting.  It also comes in navy, too!

Don't forget to use Ebates for cash back on at Target, Nordstrom, and J.Crew.  Not a member, sign up here for free money back on online purchases!

What are you loving lately??

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Around the house

After the Christmas tree came down, I couldn't wait to clear all the clutter from our home and start making some long overdue updates and re-organizing things from where I previously organized them, so I can promptly forget where I put them and feel as if I need to organize again in the Spring.  ;)

When we ordered the light fixture for our master bathroom, we also finally grabbed the pendant we wanted for our eat in kitchen.  Nothing earth shattering or on the cutting edge interior decor, just a trendy filament bulb globe glass pendant.  We love it and already feel inspired to continue making the very needed updates to our poorly DIY'd by previous owner kitchen.

Another thing that has bothered me forever is our mantle.  I would love to get a reclaimed wood mantle to replace it, or cover it, but in the mean time, we decided to stain it from the orangey tone to a weathered gray to fit in a bit more with the book case and mirror over the sofa. 

We sanded it lightly and did a few coats of stain.  It didn't take as well as we would have liked, but it was nice color fix while we wait to find the right piece of wood to make the full makeover.  Next up, is finding the right art and accessories for the mantle.

We also started the annoying task of little reward of repainting all our doors and trim.  The back of our front door was pretty beat up and the new baseboards we put down after installing the floor didn't match.  So we painted the door to give it that fresh pop, and now we want to fix all the rest trim just to give it that clean, fresh feel.  The sad part is that it will barely be noticeable to anyone, including us, but still something that should be done to give the house a bit of new life.

The last task is finally getting the curtains for our bedroom so we can hang them and subsequently hang frames and art.  And I'm also planning on updating my closet since the shelving has been broke since we moved in and it's a total disorganized mess, which is pretty unlike me.  I'm looking to simplify and have a nice clean organized space.

What are your January to-dos?

Monday, January 12, 2015

[Design Board] Toddler Room for the Little Lumberjack

We have plans to get Ashlynn an actual big girl bed when she turns three in April.  She's been sleeping like a trooper in the converted crib toddler bed since August, aside from the whole protesting of naps, but other wise the transition went well.  I mean, maybe, just maybe, having her own big bed like mommy and daddy's will convince her it's cool to nap in there, too.  But, either way, she's getting big enough to have her room updated for her.  

So I've been searching around here and there, seeing what kind of options are around for headboards, bedding, the usual.  However, I keep coming across items that inspire me to dream up other rooms to design.  I love getting my creativity flowing making inspiration boards, and I've made a few I'll share over the next few weeks while I narrow down which one will actually be ours. Maybe a boy mom out there would love to use this to inspire their nursery or "big" boy room. 

I was inspired for this room after coming across the rustic marquee light and the buffalo check bedding, which is a pretty insane deal for a duvet cover and pillow case.  I love the pinstripe sheet set, it almost looks like woodgrain from a distance.

The graphic rug with navy detail, is another steal.  It also brightens the space against the wooden furniture.  Usually I'm drawn to mixing furniture surfaces, upholstered headboards, wooded dressers, metal night stands, etc.  But since I was feeling the woodsman/outdoor vibe, I though sticking to the reclaimed style wood furniture would really set the tone and not be overdone since it's not a matchy-matchy set.  (dresser, night stand, headboard)

As for the accessories, the natural storage basket, woodland bear, and playmobil animal park pull together the theme together and keep it youthful.  The gold desk lamp is a great substitute for the popular Threshold gold lamp from last season and fun modern take on a classic alarm clock.  I would also paint the walls a moody gray based navy, like Benjamin Moore Westcott Navy.

Of course the books came directly from my book display ideas from last week.  Again the books are (from left to right) Oh No, George! | Stuck | Hot Dog Cold Dog | Gaston | Once Upon an Alphabet 

Do you like dreaming up ideas for rooms you'll never design?  

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sick Days

Today Ashlynn is taking a sick day from school since she was diagnosed with a double ear infection yesterday after being up most of Tuesday night complaining her ears hurt and then battling some high fevers yesterday.  She seems on the mend, but keeping her home so she can recoup and get better.  I swear it feels like these kids have been sick since Thanksgiving, probably because they have.

We seem to be in a constant rotation of sniffles, coughs, and fevers around here.  Thankfully nothing to damaging (as in a case of the pukes), but still draining nonetheless.  Between the two of them of I've been up a handful of times each night for a month, blowing noses, getting blankets, finding pacis, and rubbing backs.  I finally broke out my diffuser this week, silly me putting it away before the holidays and therefore forgetting to use it.  Hoping the OnGuard running during the day is building our immunities (at least mine!) and running Serenity last night finally seemed to let Kenley get some more solid sleep.

Add in the near record low temps of 8 degrees or whatever it is (and trust me, I realize that's warm for any folks in the mid-west or new england area) we seem to be getting serious cases of cabin fever too.

Unrelated, I'm ever since packing up Christmas the weekend after I've been on a mission to start completing some of the rooms around our house, or at least, get moving on doing some of the smaller projects.  I'll share tomorrow some of the little things we did over break and sneak peek of the master bathroom.  It's all done except for the backordered light fixture and the glass for the shower surround.

I'm also trying to be better just organizing myself.  I know a lot of bloggers get the big organizer journals, like the Erin Condren or Emily Ley planners, but I've never felt like I could drop the money on a planner that might not be functional to me. I feel like I'd be super into filling it out the first month, then trail off because it'd be too much work to keep up with instead of just daily lists.  I'm a HUGE list maker, I go through at least four  little Greenroom notebooks from Target a year (which might add up to the price of a fancy planner), but I find it's a quick way that works for me.  I recently read about Bullet Journals and actually feel like this is a way I can implement more organization, since it's basically what I already do between my monthly calendar notepad and list journal.

Does anyone use the Bullet Journaling technique?  Any tips?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

[Child Style] January Blues

I have been pretty underwhelmed by Gap Kids latest offering through the Fall and holidays, but I have finally seen some items that are worth buying in their newest arrivals.  I love the grey-blue colors that fit the Mid-Atlantic January skies so well.

I might also be partial to putting my blue eyed girls in blue clothing ;)
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

What's your favorite color to wear?  Do you find yourself drawn to certain colors during certain months - January blue, February red, etc.?

Get 35% OFF sale prices with code EXTRA and don't forget to get 2% back with ebates, sign up here!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kenley Drew - 13 Months

Kenley turned 13 months old last week, and continuing with the second child syndrome, I won't be continuing Kenley's monthly photos.  However,  I'm going to continue with updates in the same style I did Ashlynn's toddler months for comparison sake.  

"Elsa" (says E)

Climbing, running, stomping, dancing.  MagiClip Princesses, her blankie,  bathtime, and cuddling after waking up . Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, and Sandra Boynton Books, specifically ones with cows (just like Ashlynn) and the Going to Bed Book.  Itsy Bitsy Spider, Taylor Swift, and Let it Go. Minnie Mouse and running into the mudroom at any chance to play in basket of shoes.  

Having things taken from her, especially if ripped from her hands by a toddler.  Being put down if you are holding her, not being fed quick enough, being put into her car seat.  Having face or nose wiped.

Wakes every few hours for her paci.  Goes down pretty easy for naps. Naps twice, 830-10 and 1-2. Needs her blankie and bink, and usually her bear.

More than me!

(typical day)
Breakfast - milk, waffle, handful of fruit (berries)
Lunch - turkey or pb sandwich (broken up bite size), banana, cheese stick.
Snack - yogurt, puffs, leftovers
Dinner - whatever we are eating. 

Does:walks, runs, climbs, tries to jump by bouncing (can actually get feet up on trampoline).  Turns on TV/obsessed with the remotes (or motorboats as Ashlynn calls them).   Uses a fork (not very well). Scribbles with crayons, and attempts to draw with closed cap markers on the chalkboard.  Copies everything her sister does, claps when daddy's favorite songs come on. 

I really love this stage of baby/toddler hood.  I'm trying to be in the moment the best I can and enjoy the late night (and early morning) snuggles since I know they'll be over in a blink of the eye.  At the same time, I'm so excited to watch the bond between sisters bloom.  I hope this year doesn't go by too quick!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Judging a Book by it's Cover

I recently realized one of my only saving graces from having to re-read the same books over and over again for my kids, is the fact that children's books have pictures.  Of course, I pull the skipping some pages and paraphrasing paragraphs from time to time, or all the time, but sometimes I love looking at the illustrations as much as the girls.

And another great perk of pretty illustrations is having a book display acting as art and decor for the nursery or kid's room.  I swap the books on Ashlynn's ledges from time to time; when her comprehension starts to improve, when I notice she stops requesting certain titles, and of course we pick up or receive new ones.  Which also helps the parent trap of repeated re-reads that you can spout off without even opening the book.  

I know the book display is fairly big trend in children's rooms, and I love that it's something that can continue to grow with child.  You can color coordinate the books to the room, stick to classics or your own childhood favorites, or ones with beautiful cover art as if they were coffee table books for your children's walls.  

We have a number of the books below and majority of the rest are on our wishlist.  Many of them are Caldecott Medal winners, best sellers, or classic stories every child should know.  

children's book cover art decor

children's book cover art decor

children's book cover art decor

children's book cover art decor

children's book cover art decor

children's book cover art decor

children's book cover art decor

children's book cover art decor

children's book cover art decor - little golden books

Classic Little Golden Books

What are your current favorite picture books to read?  Do you display books solely for the cover art?  I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Lots of unintended silence over here, but we've been enjoying our vacation time and staying somewhat busy, which usually ends with a correlation of less time spent snapping photos with my phone and opening the laptop.  It's actually a nice way to end the year, a bit unplugged.  It also goes to show that the days I'm the most active on social media, means I'm probably the most bored in real life.

I don't have any outright resolutions, goals, or words for 2015 (yet), but if the last sentiment shows any lessons, it's that I'd like to try to "live" more.  Live in the moment, live by doing, going, seeing, etc.  It's been a hard three years, not to be misread as a bad three years, they have been the best of my life, but of course challenging in ways I didn't expect or even realize until this year.  I've been lost in the trenches of babyhood and like a lot of moms - that I never thought I'd become - I lost myself.  I consumed myself with motherhood, and putting my children first in every insistence, I put all priorities related to myself last.  Being a stay home at home has so many wonderful perks, but it can also extremely isolating if you allow it.

Which I did.

I thrive on routine, and moreso the kids.  Actually, I thrive on the fact I can know what to expect if we stick to the routine.  So planning playdates, storytime, and target runs around naps, meals, feedings, and illnesses, can really limit time spent with others over the age of 2.

So, without sounding selfish, it's actually what I need to be.  I need to accept others to help and pitch in when offered instead of declining, to get out solo or with friends - regularly (regularly meaning a couple of times a month, not a couple times a year),  and to go out on real actual adult dates with my husband - not grabbing quick bites to eat with the kids in tow.  I need a more balanced life, where taking care of myself is as important as taking care of my children.

That got a lot longer than intended, but I guess my stream of consciousness is leading me to the goal of a more balanced life and now that the kids a bit older without needing ten naps and a hundred feedings, getting out - with and without the kids - has gotten much easier already.   This vacation alone I got a hair cut, went shopping and for sushi with my husband, and ran a few errands with two free hands and lighter bag sans sippies and snacks.

Turning 32 today seemed a bit lackluster, a like a meaningless birthday...32.  As in, oh yeah, it's my birthday, hold on, I have to swap the laundry.  I hope 32 surprises me - in a good way.  I look forward to lots of adventures this year, hopefully making some new friends, and catching back up with the old.  Worrying less, exercising more.  I'm so grateful for the life I have, now it's time to really live in it.

Happy New Year, Friends!