the weekly cute round-up

sunwalk

Big Allie milestones of the week include the following:

  1. Giving up her third nap. After several days of her fighting this third nap, we finally realized she had outgrown it. Though just almost—she still gets tired, but she’ll only fall asleep *by accident* if we’re on the go on a walk or in the car.
  2. Wearing her sunglasses for the first time (and second and third) and not hating them!
  3. Her first Thanksgiving!
  4. ROLLING OVER! Finally! Yes, this was her first time doing it. She’s done it five or six times since, and every time she gets this half-excited, half-confused look when it’s happening. So cute. I was glad both Ben and I were sitting right there the first time she did it so we could both see!

Here are a few other pics from our week:

things i love… friday!

Since yesterday was devoted to Thanksgiving, I’ve moved this week’s loved things post to today! Here are a few things I’m especially loving today:

  • 2013_10_22_DamselinDior10_0053-EditTypewriters for holiday cards: I don’t remember the last time I even saw a typewriter, but this post by Damsel in Dior has made me realize I am missing out! I love the idea of using a typewriter for holiday cards or really any note to a friend/loved one. Just the experience alone sounds calming, and the effort required shows someone you must really like them. Oh-so sadly, gone are the days of taking our time for things. I mean, hey, I’m all about efficiency, but I also think our plugged-in world has become less thoughtful overall. Mission: find typewriter has officially begun.
  • Black Friday online deals: I have never had the desire to go out to actual stores on Black Friday and probably never will, but online shopping is a different story! And there are some serious deals going on right now! Like 50% off at J.Crew Factory online (code: HOLIDAY50) or 50% off at Ann Taylor (code: ANNTHANKS). Some of the deals I’m loving most are for subscription boxes, my current obsession, like 30% off plus free shipping at Fancy.com* (including Fancy Boxes) with code BLACKFRI. Then there’s a bunch of codes for POPSUGAR Must Have*: $10 off 1-month subscription: GIFT10; $25 off 3-month sub: GIFT25; $50 off 6-month sub: GIFT50; and $75 off 12-month sub: GIFT75. I believe this only applies to new subscriptions, though. Pretty much every blog I follow has comprehensive lists of all the deals and coupons out there. Here are just a handful of those posts, for anyone interested:
  • Hoodies: They are just so amazingly comfortable. Seriously. Lame as it may sound, slipping on my hoodie and yoga pants after Allie goes down every evening is something I look forward to all day!
  • Living With Kids feature on Design Mom: This Q&A+photos piece gives an inspiring and pin-worthy look into the life and house of Trina McNeilly (whose blog, Lalalovely, is well worth following). So many life and design ideas I want to try!

la-la-lovely-home-23

  • A Whole New World: Yep, exactly what it sounds like. My favorite ever Disney movie and my favorite three minutes of the movie. I have watched this video at least five times just today. It still gives me goosebumps and makes me feel like a little girl again.
  • Photoshop actions: I am by no means a Photoshop pro, and I’ve been trying to find a way to quickly treat photos a la Instagram. I finally found the answer in Photoshop actions, which you can download, load in Photoshop, and easily apply at your pleasure!

BONUS LOVED THING: My new blog design. Much cleaner and more my style!

* My referral links

all the thanks

Let me tell you what: It is kinda hard to feel thankful when life isn’t perfect. At least it is for me. I have spent a lot of time over the last few months wishing and wanting—for more sleep, to get answers to all my parenting questions, to eliminate the uncertainty in our future, etc. But then I hear basically any story on the news, and I realize that I am the most ungrateful human alive. Because I have it good compared to SO many people in this world. And that just makes me feel so sad.

BUT it’s also a reason to be incredibly thankful! I remember feeling this way after reading Unbroken (a.k.a. most amazing story ever). My daily troubles and frustrations feel so small when I stop and look away from my own life. And all I can feel is so heart-wrenchingly grateful for every single blessing. Thanksgiving to me is about finding the happiness in our less-than-perfect lives. Thus, in lieu of writing a list of things for which I’m thankful, I just want to include a visual of some of the things that make me so happy:

happythings

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! May your meals be yummy and abundant in pie.

my top six: current daily essentials

Ever since we had Allie and I made the transition from purse to diaper bag, leisurely morning routine to leaving the house with wet hair (gasp, I know, the horror), my idea of essentials has changed. Actually, it is always changing based on my favorites of the moment, but there are also a few items that consistently top my need list. Just thought I’d share a few of the things I depend on these days—some long-time loves, others new flames:

  1. 32-oz. Rubbermaid water bottle: I don’t go anywhere without this thing. I got it for a few bucks at the grocery store, so nothing fancy or special, but I love that it has so much capacity, because I’m basically a water addict. If I find myself somewhere without my water bottle, I completely panic.
  2. Purlisse lip comfort: I got this as a mommy extra in the most recent Citrus Lane* box, and I’m officially obsessed. It’s super smooth and soothing alone or offers a nice base layer for lip color.
  3. Zara cardigan: I used to spend much more time assembling my outfits, but these days I just throw something together quickly, and it generally consists of leggings (of which I’ve already sung praises recently), a basic shirt, and my Zara knit cardigan. I wear this thing all the time. It keeps me surprisingly warm outside but isn’t too hot indoors, and of course it has pockets for stashing my cell phone or whatever random baby thing I need to carry around. It’s sold out now, but there’s a similar one available from ASOS.zarasweater
  4. Be Enchanted shower gel from B&BW: I discovered this through my teenage niece, so not entirely sure I’m the target audience, but I love this stuff! It’s my favorite scent at the moment and an essential part of my daily routine.
  5. Michael Stars folk art wrap: This was the hot item from the most recent POPSUGAR Must Have box*, and I find myself wearing it daily. I’m a total sucker for black & white prints, and I already own about 50 scarves/wraps, but this one just goes with everything!
  6. Adobe Creative Suite: I suppose this isn’t an item per se, but these programs (InDesign, Illustrator & Photoshop in particular) are absolutely critical to my daily life! Not just in a work context, though they are essential for work, too, but for all my projects and even just general photo editing and tinkering with creative ideas—I depend on Adobe.

So these are my daily faves at the moment (not including, of course, the so-important-it-needn’t-be-mentioned iPhone). I may revisit this list another time when my flavors of the month change!

* My referral link

fabulous finds

I am finding that I look forward to putting this post together the most each week, because I keep finding such wonderful stuff I want to share! Here are just a few things that I’ve found this week (sorted into categories this time for easier reading):

DIY

  • DIY printable accordion tags from Sugar & Cloth: Christmas present-wrapping may be one of most favorite parts of the holidays, and I always feel lame when I just do the simple folded up piece of wrapping paper as a gift tag (which is often). But these tags, my friends, are awesome! All you really need is a color printer that can do double-sided printing and some cardstock. Yay for fabulous and free printables! Totally trying these!
  • Colorful paper advent from A Beautiful Mess: I seriously love this idea. I just love advent calendars in general, and this one has so many options for customization yet is so amazingly simple—this may have to happen over T.giving break.

paperadvent-abeautifulmess

Websites/services

  • Lyst.com and Shopstyle.com: I group these two together since they are similar concepts. Both are essentially portals that facilitate your shopping experience by pulling from multiple brands. I especially love the ShopStyle offers page that collects current deals, coupon codes, and sales from various stores.
  • Worth It (discovered through The Daybook): Worth It allows you to tag items you want buy but that are currently out of your price range, and it will alert you if/when the item goes down to your specified price point. Kind of like travel alerts for shopping. I’ve only set a couple, and we’ll see if anything gets reduced, but what a great idea!

Products

  • Hunter Bubble Umbrella: Is the idea of spending $40 on an umbrella a little ridiculous? Maybe. But is this umbrella still fabulous? Definitely!
  • Airport code shirts from Pilot & Captain: I find it’s getting increasingly difficult to find classy yet interesting graphic tees for Ben. Most options out there are gimmicky or goofy, and he’s more a fan of the understated. I found these shirts through Jen at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, who luckily received one in a Fancy Box* a while back. I think they are pretty cool!

airportcodeshirts

Interesting & inspiring

  • The 13 Best Biographies, Memoirs, and History Books of 2013 by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings: I can always count on Brain Pickings for interesting content that, for the most part, is totally new to me. One of her best-of reading lists, this post has given me so many ideas for gifts and for my own wish list, telling me just enough info to know why I should be interested.
  • Illustrated place maps: I honestly cannot get over how cool these are. These are actually a rediscovery for me from a couple years ago, and when I found them again I was amazed all over again. Various artists submit these unique maps to They Draw & Travel, which catalogs them, provides options to buy them, and even lets you print them! One of these on canvas would be a really special way to remember a place you’ve lived or visited.

The fact that all this is just a fraction of one week’s worth of finds kind of amazes me. So much to discover, explore, and, of course, share!

* My referral link!

on my mind monday

It’s Monday! Yay! No, really, it’s not so bad, because it’s a short work/school week (unless you work in retail or are, say, a mom). Keeping with last Monday’s post, I’m sharing an assortment of random ramblings today. Apparently “on my mind Monday” is a thing around the interwebs (incidentally, googling this phrase introduced me to a bunch of fun new blogs!), so I’ve decided to borrow it today, and perhaps in the future. What’s on my mind today, since you’re all dying to know, is the following:

  • LinkedIn: Okay, so isn’t the idea here that you connect with people you know/have met? I’m getting all these invites from strangers, and it seems like it defeats the whole purpose. Then again, I guess this is the idea behind Facebook, too, and that doesn’t stop the creepers from friending you.photo-2
  • Risk: I haven’t played this game since childhood, but I have distinct memories of my older brother absolutely destroying me and anyone else who played him. Clearly not learning from these experiences or from my game of Set with Ben, I agreed to play Lord of the Rings Risk with Ben last night. He defeated me handily, of course (I’m the red army in the pic—go me!), but I am still in shock at how quickly he did it. I remembered this game taking at least an hour, but Ben had me killed off within 20 minutes. Either he’s just really good or I am terrible at strategy.
  • Canceled shows: Question: Who is deciding what shows stay on the air? I’m really starting to doubt their math/senses of humor, because there’s just no way it’s based on what people actually like. Granted, okay, I like a lot of shows that have been on for a while, but the tragedies of shows like Happy Endings, The Goodwin Games, and Flashforward getting canceled (this doesn’t even touch on Firefly or Arrested Development, which have garnered the appropriate public outrage on their behalf)—it just breaks my first-world heart. Or maybe Ben and I are the only people who liked these…
  • Autocorrect: The internet offers no shortage of stories of autocorrect hilariously misinterpreting our text/typing intentions or, for that matter, examples of what happens when parents learn to text. This exchange between my mom and me highlights both. But of course! I’m Ozt there pop, too, mom. Seriously, where do some of these iPhone-preferred words come from? Some secret Apple lingo?

IMG_0436

  • OCD: How many times have you said or heard someone say something like “I’m very OCD about [insert minor issue like ‘having an organized closet’ here]”? I’ve definitely said it before. I do wonder, though, if this is offensive to people who genuinely have OCD. Like turn-off-the-lights-40-times-and-lock-the-door-50-times OCD. Or scrub-hands-until-they-bleed OCD. Maybe “neurotic” is a better way to put it?
  • Offense/defense: Speaking of taking offense, it’s funny how we treat being offended and getting defensive—when other people do it, that is. When you tell someone, “Don’t get defensive,” aren’t you really the one getting defensive by assuming the other person is? And my other favorite (not): “I’m sorry if I offended you.” This is not an apology. It’s an I-pity-you-for-being-so-easily-offended-but-am-definitely-not-sorry statement.

Also on my mind is this Juicy coat Grace of Stripes & Sequins posted about today and the fact that, as much as my heart wants it, I can’t really justify such a purchase at the moment… right? Oh sigh.

baby first year book

Near the end of my pregnancy with Allie, I got all sorts of anxiety about making sure I had enough ways to document her life. I looked at several baby book options and decided, considering I spent my work days writing and designing magazine-style documents, I could do something similar for Allie. So I did! Drawing from multiple sources of Pinspiration, I created a template that I’ve been filling out each month, starting with pregnancy.

baby first year bookThe format is basically an 8×8 inch book, with a spread per month. There’s a page of text about what Allie did/what life was like that month (and stats, if I have them) on the left-hand side, with a full-page photo from that month on the right-hand side. The pages here just have placeholder text; I’ve been writing something each month but am continually editing and even swapping out the pictures (decisiveness is not one of my gifts), so I won’t include the final product just yet. It’s still very much a work in progress, but I love the idea of documenting this first year in a format of my choosing—and it’s a template I can reuse for future kids!

baby book_Page_3

The file is built in Adobe InDesign, and I will probably have it printed as a photo book through Shutterfly.

the weekly cute round-up

This week has been kind of weird. I’ve wondered if Allie is going through a developmental change or is just reacting to the cold and stormy weather. In any case, she has succeeded in being completely adorable while also totally throwing off our schedule (as I indicated yesterday).

We also had a big milestone: she tried solids for the first time! We’ve been giving her oatmeal for the past few days, and she just devours it. I had planned to wait until she turned six months to do this, but not only does she put everything in her mouth these days, she reaches for our food/drinks when we’re eating. This coupled with her ever-increasing baby strength convinced us it was time to indulge her food curiosity. We’ll eventually phase in foods that actually have flavor, but it’s fun to watch her get excited about something new!

Here are some photo highlights from the past week:

rain, rain, it’s okay

allumbrella

It has been rainy, snowy, cloudy, and cold for several days now. Pretty much constant grey. It’s hard to feel cheery and warm in such conditions, but, balancing our love of dryness with our need for outside time, Allie and I decided to grab an umbrella and brave the elements for a walk around the block.

Something about the rain makes me feel all thoughtful for whatever reason. The following occurred to me as we walked:

  1. Never underestimate the importance of a sturdy umbrella.
  2. Nothing calms my baby down like being outside. You don’t really think about it when you’re indoors, but outside feels SO different—and not just because of the temperature. It’s unbelievably rejuvenating, even on a cold and rainy day. How do we handle staying indoors all the time? Do kids even still play outside anymore? Granted, it’s near freezing and super windy out here, but I have many fond memories of playing in the rain with my friends as a kid.
  3. I wonder if anyone remembers that show “Under the Umbrella Tree” from childhood. Not sure I even remember it. Maybe it’s on Netflix. Or maybe not.
  4. I think parenthood is God’s/life’s way of trying to cure me of my control issues. Basically, every time I think I’ve established a routine or have a handle on things, everything falls apart and I have to start from scratch. I have this feeling that’s just going to keep happening forever and ever. Super.
  5. It is probably not a good idea to wear leather boots on a walk in the rain. Especially when said boots apparently have a hole in the heel.
  6. I do miss all my coworkers in DC and the perks of working full time, but not even close to enough to give up being able to take a walk with Allie in the middle of the day. I freaking love my company for letting me work part time from home.
  7. Oh look, there’s the sun coming out, as it always does inevitably, after the rain.

And when I got back I realized how many pictures I’ve pinned or tumbled with umbrellas.

I love the idea of a bit of pretty shining in the dreary.

things i love thursday

And we’re back to Thursday, my favorite day! I’ll keep the tradition alive (at least for now) of sharing things I love. These are some things I’m loving today:

  • Stephen’s Gourmet Roasted Hazelnut Hot Cocoa: I am one of those people who loves hot chocolate year-round (I also use a space heater year-round, but that’s beside the point). Short story: I love hot cocoa! And in Virginia I found my most favorite hot chocolate ever at Artfully Chocolate—the Judy, which is milk chocolate with hazelnut. As I mentioned the other day, I always miss the food whenever I leave a place, and hot cocoa is no exception! I’ve tried to recreate the Judy before (note to world: grinding up hazelnuts and putting them in your mug of hot cocoa will not result in hazelnut cocoa), but I discovered recently that Stephen’s has a hazelnut flavor, and it’s so close to the Judy it makes my soul sing. Love!
  • Daddy-daughter time: Specifically, Ben-with-Allie time. She just lights up every time she sees him. I love to watch as he dances with her, bounces her, throws her (gently) in the air—all the while she’s giggling like crazy and so happy to be with her daddy. It never stops warming my heart!

daddy-daughter

  • Citrus Lane deal*: Thanks to Ramblings of a Suburban Mom for spreading the good news that baby-toddler subscription box Citrus Lane has a special deal right now for new and current subscribers: between 25% and 35% off the normal price (normally $25/month) for a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscription. I love deals!
  • Leggings: Guys, I know. I myself am a reformed leggings-hater, but pregnancy made me a believer. And even with that HuffPo article going around, I still. love. leggings. They are just too comfortable! Every day I wear them (which is often, gotta be honest.. and possibly right now), I marvel at how lightweight and cozy they are. And how well boots fit over them. Yay.
  • isanctuary-chevronbrassiSanctuary: I’m always a fan of shopping that benefits a cause—in particular, helping human trafficking victims, as iSanctuary does. “Purchase with purpose” is their tagline, which I just love. Their absolutely gorgeous jewelry is handmade by human trafficking victims and is great quality, especially given the price. I’ve been eyeing/obsessing over the Chevron Brass Necklace (obviously). I have to thank everyone’s favorite Bachelor runner-up, Tenley Molzahn, for introducing me!
  • Washer/dryer makeover by A Beautiful Mess: Finding her laundry room to be, as laundry rooms usually are, boring, Elsie over at A Beautiful Mess took black electrical tape and decorated her washer and dryer with stripes and polka dots. I love this!

As a side note, I EXTRA love the fact that even on my worst days, I still have things to love/be grateful for. #firstworldblessings #yesijusthashtaggedablogpost

* My referral link!