Archive | July, 2012

Off the registry.

23 Jul

I’m that guest. I rarely purchase shower or wedding gifts off of the couples’/parents’ registry. I always like to find something more unique and personal. This is especially true when I know the person/couple well.

Baby and wedding season are in full swing. I have several friends that have recently had babies or are expecting. Not to mention a few upcoming weddings and showers. So not only am I on the hunt for unique gifts but I’m also trying to find some cost-effective options as well.

Since I go off the registry, I feel added pressure to make the gifts really special (to justify my defiance). When it comes to babies, you just can’t go wrong the personalized/keepsake items. When I had Myles I had all sorts of grandiose plans about how I would memorialize and commemorate his birth and subsequent milestones. Not surprisingly, none of it got done. So now I like to give something to new parents that has the key birth stats.

Recently, I’ve come across some great finds on Etsy. The customization options are endless and I think this is the type of gift “that keeps on giving.” These prints can be used for years. In fact, I ordered some for Myles as well!

I love just about everything at Etsy Shop, Mateo & Tobias.

But I settled on these two adorable prints.

Personalized Alphabet ABC Wall Art via Mateo & Tobias

Each print is $16 (frame not included). I will explore custom framing options but worse case I should be able to find something at Michael’s or even Ikea.

Opaque Name Modern Birth Announcement via Mateo & Tobias

Another cute birth announcement type gift is this pillow. These run about $50 each. Not terribly expensive but I have no less than 5 shower/baby gifts to buy and I just don’t have $250+ to spend.

The colors are so vibrant and the backside can be made with a fun print like, Chevron!

Birth Announcement Pillow from ThreelilStitches

I’m also loving these customizable onsies. I think all moms are obsessed with clothing that has their baby’s name on it (or is that just me). These simple white onsies have a great pop of color and would be perfect for pictures! And how cute would it be framed?

Personalized Onesie via SundayRookery

For bridal showers I really like to get something personal for the bride. This is my new favorite and as I bride-to-be I certainly wouldn’t mind getting one of these for myself!

available at Nordstrom and katespade.com for $78

Not only do I stray from the registry but I’m notoriously bad at getting wedding presents prior to the wedding, although etiquette says you have up to 6 months after the wedding to send the gift. But after the wedding the registry is usually  slim pickings so I’m forced to go rogue. I have a few tried and true items from Crate & Barrel but new to my arsenal are these Mr. & Mrs. pillows.

$49 from Pillows4Fun on Etsy

There is nothing like having your first child or getting married to bring out your most sentimental side. My hope is that these gifts add something to those sentiments.

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It is HOT.

20 Jul

While most of the country was experiencing a crazy heat wave in June and early July, temps here were pretty mild. Now we’re officially baking. Despite spending most the day snoozing comfortably in the air-conditioned house, Venus continues to struggle with the heat. This dog must have a night gig that we don’t know about. What is she so exhausted from?

Drama.

Aside

Happy 2nd Birthday Baby!

18 Jul

Dear Myles,

Love is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about you. You are the best thing I’ve ever done. Every single cliché about a mother’s love is 110% true. You amaze me on a daily basis. I laugh when you laugh, I cry when you cry (when there is actually something wrong) and I believe that my life is infinitely better with you in it. You are everything I never knew I wanted.

I don’t think anyone could possibly love you as much as I do but you father and grandparents will tell you different.  You have brought so much joy and love to all of our lives. It has been so fun to watch Grammy and Grandpoppy with you (because they were never like this with me). But the 8am Tootsie Rolls need to stop. Period.

You are such a special child. And I’m not just saying this as your mother. There is something so different about you from other kids. You’re so observant and intense. Everyone says you have an old soul. You are so smart and so full of personality. You talk all the time and the things that come out of your mouth are the funniest, most random and sometimes very poignant.

Here are some of your favorite things (that change almost daily):

Favorite foods: tomatoes, cucumbers, spaghetti and chicken meatballs, blueberries, mango, waffles

Favorite toy: anything that isn’t actually a toy like our shoes, the remote, our phones. But you also love your little suitcase and a Radio Flyer scooter that you call your skateboard.

Your favorite tv shows: Yo Gabba Gabba and the Fresh Beat Band. Elmo is coming in at a close third.

Your favorite person: Daddy (your very best friend)

Your favorite place to go: anywhere you can run around freely and you’re quite the people watcher

Your favorite book: Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too and Llama Llama Red Pajama

You also love to sing, dance and play your guitar or “rock out” as you call it.

These past two years have been a joy. It’s also been exhausting, hard work and an enormous challenge trying to balance being the best mom I can with working and keeping some semblance of being my own person. But you are so worth it all.

We probably have thousands of pictures but here are just a few of my favorites from the past 2 years.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY PRECIOUS PUNKIN’! I LOVE YOU IMMENSELY. THANK YOU FOR THE BEST 2 YEARS OF MY LIFE.

only a few hours old and already “looking at people sideways”

one week later….

7 months

one year

two years!

Save or Splurge: kids’ table & chairs

15 Jul

The time has come to reclaim our family room and create a designated space for Myles to play and keep all of his toys. Part of my vision for his “play corner” is a table/chair set where he can eat, color, play, etc. While it needs to be toddler friendly, I want it to function well in the space and not scream “kiddie table.”

I regularly peruse the Buy Modern Baby blog for inspiration. She posted some very cute options but at this time I’m looking for pieces that are a little more budget friendly. But I absolutely love these oversized number tables. They would be a cute addition to any playroom. These Tambino tables retail for $185. The oversize number 2 is my favorite!

via Tambino.com

 

I found these adorable table & chairs at the Land of Nod. The table is $149 and the chairs are $69 each. I love the bright, fun colors of the chairs paired with a white table. Great contrast!

White Here, White There, Anywhere Table @ Land of Nod

 

White Parker Play Chair @ Land of Nod

 

I found a nearly identical set at IKEA. The SUNDVIK table and chairs are $39.99 and $19,99, respectively. Unfortunately, this set does not have has many bright color options. It comes in white, espresso and grey/brown. However, any toddler chair could be paired with this table to add color and I’m sure the chairs could even be painted.

SUNDVIK children’s table

SUNDVIK children’s chair

Watch for the play corner reveal to see if I decided to save or splurge!

Dinner Winner!

12 Jul

I really enjoy cooking! I would not call myself an amazing cook but I know my way around the kitchen. But a huge problem for me has been getting dinner prepared in a decent amount of time. It’s not unheard of for me to spending upwards of 90 minutes or even 2 hours on a simple lasagna or enchiladas. I didn’t believe that you could actually prepare a full meal in 30 minutes or less (partly because I’m not a fan of Rachel Ray, just saying…). So last night I decided to give this recipe a try from Bon Appetit.

I had some chicken thighs marinating because I had planned on just throwing them in the oven but we really prefer the skin to be crispy which never seems to happen when I bake chicken. So I was very excited to make this:

Perfect Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs via bonappetit.com

Unfortunately, because my chicken was too wet from the marinade my thighs came out like this:

However, they were still delicious! In the future I will forgo the marinade for just salt and pepper and be sure to “air dry” the chicken in the fridge for a few hours. I paired the chicken with a roasted vegetable medley from my recent farmer’s market trip. Some olive oil, salt, pepper, a dash of balsamic vinegar and about 25 minutes in the oven – so simple!

All in all this was about a 35 minute meal. Chicken thighs with the skin is certainly not the most healthy cut of chicken but it’s an inexpensive option and with recipes like this, a very tasty option too! Bon appetit!

Haute Stuff: July Birchbox is here!

12 Jul

My July Birchbox has arrived. This month Birchbox has teamed up with Glamour magazine and the collaboration brings some hits and misses. This box is supposed to be about “celebrating the five senses” and provided products that guarantee a “multi-sensory experience.”

For the me the Hits are the:

  • Eyeko London Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in black (presumably full sized)
  • Color Club nail polish in Blue Ming (very reminiscent of  the popular Turquoise & Caicos by Essie)
  • Tea Forte Minteas breath mints (I usually hate getting food items but I always like having breath mints on hand)

The Misses are the:

  • City Sunscreen Serum (this sample is useless and doesn’t come close to the recommended amount of sunscreen application which is supposed to be something equal to a full shot glass. These tiny pouches might be enough for my hands)
  • Harvey Prince Aeu Flirt (this is a new perfume, too “woodsy” for my taste)

On the fence:

  • ear buds (they are a fun cobalt/hot pink color combo but not something I would ever buy or even grab for free. But I suppose it never hurts to have an extra pair of headphones handy)

So 3 out of 6 Hits is good with me! Usually if just one product gets me excited I consider it a good month for Birchbox. These haute beauty products will help me stay cool and pretty this July!

Here’s a couple more pics:

Let Sleeping Babies Lie

12 Jul

Nap time is one of the most welcome times of the day! Myles is SUPER busy, on the go every second that he’s awake. His naps are a welcome opportunity to eat, shower, or even just sit still for a few minutes. I used to run around and try to be “productive” during his naps but now I take it as “mommy time.” I like flipping through a magazine, perusing wedding sites and now blogging.

But for all the parents out there – have you ever been paralyzed with the fear that your kid will wake up “any second” and therefore you get nothing done? I’ve seen many hours of precious time slip away because I was fearful of starting something when it seemed like Myles was on the verge of waking up but then ended up sleeping for 2 hours as I stood there in anticipation almost the entire time. Sometimes I do enjoy just watching him. I think God made babies exceptionally cute when they sleep so that you forget just how much they test your patience when they’re awake!

But I’ve learned to enjoy all time to myself, be it 5 minutes or 3 hours. I’ve also taken the pressure of myself to be “productive.” No big deal if I don’t work, clean, cook, do laundry etc. I’m embracing and enjoying this down time. Now, when will it no longer be frowned upon to enjoy a glass of wine at 1pm? =)