Sunday, March 30, 2014

American Dream Builders Giveaway!

Have any of you been watching the new NBC show American Dream Builders hosted by Nate Berkus? If you haven't checked it out yet, it's a must see! As some of you know I run a home staging and e-design business so I love all things 'home', 'DIY' and 'decorating'. :) I'm super excited today to have partnered with the show and Lowe's to give away a $50 gift card to one of my lucky readers here! 

I love the concept of this show because The American Dream Home is something everyone fantasizes about. Whether it’s a new closet, a larger family room, or simply a place to put all your stuff, there’s always something we want to change about where we live! I know I do! I have a list of things I'd love to update in our home which was built in 1959 complete with the original retro yellow fixtures and tile work in the bath room.

What if you could make your home into your Dream Home? AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS – a new show on NBC airing on Sunday at 8/7c – and Lowe’s want to make your dream a reality.
Hosted by famed interior designer and best-selling author, Nate Berkus, AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS follows the nation’s top 12 designers and home builders as they compete to be crowned the Ultimate Dream Builder and take home a $250,000 cash prize. It’s the home competition that will change everything!

From the producers of Survivor and The Bachelor, don’t miss AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS, Sundays at 8/7c, only on NBC.
You can enter for a chance to win $100,000 in products and services from Lowe’s and a consultation with the winner of American Dream Builders!
Enter for a chance to win your dream renovation at
You will have the opportunity to earn 5 bonus entries when you “Dream It Yourself”! Upload a photo and description of a home project you are working on and EARN 5 BONUS SWEEPSTAKES ENTRIES.

Watch the show and live tweet with the judges!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally, follow the show on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win more prizes from American Dream Builders and Lowe’s!
Good Luck to Everyone and a huge thank you goes out to our partners Lowe's and NBC Universal for their generosity. :)

Thanks for Reading!


*This was a sponsored post by NBC Universal for the new show 'American Dream Builders' in Partnership with Lowe's. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lily's First 6 Months!

{6 Months}

Hi Everyone! Sorry for my gap in posts recently. I mentioned on Facebook last week that I would share an update with photos of Lily over the past few months since I originally shared her 1 week old photo with you after she was born when I announced her arrival here. Time certainly flies when you're having fun! And fun we have been having. It's hard to believe she's already 6 1/2 months old. It's true what every parent tells you, the time goes fast so it's important to take in and cherish every possible moment. I feel as though there have been so many amazing moments that it's hard to pin-point my favorites and yet there is so much of the same day-to-day routine too that days turn into weeks and then months, it's kind of been a wonderful blur. I began wanting to document her first year by doing a weekly photo project for the first 52 weeks but that didn't work out. After week 11 I started to run out of pretty backgrounds for the pics and making time to snap the photos and edit/re-size them, etc., on top of doing everything else with limited sleep became a bit much to commit to. So, since that time I've settled for taking a bunch of casual day-to-day photos (mostly on my iPhone) then paying special attention to each month trying to do a more structured shoot with my good camera to capture some pretty photos. We're hoping to do a family photo shoot with our photographer friend once all 3 of us are reunited again.

I have to say that every day with my daughter is truly a joy. We've had a few rough days of course but I really couldn't have asked for a sweeter, happier, more content and easy-going, peaceful baby. Every day she shows me more and more of her newly developed personality which makes me smile. She has me laughing out loud on a regular basis which then in turn usually gets her giggling too which makes me just want to smother her in kisses even more so than I already do.

Two months ago we followed a sleep training program and she caught on fast, within a few days she was sleeping through the night with the exception of a middle-of-the-night feeding which she has managed to slowly phase out and sleep through often sleeping 9-10 straight hours getting up early and then we both go back to sleep for a couple hours before starting our day. Can I just tell you that this was literally a hallelujah moment for me after weeks of her sleeping everywhere at all times of day throughout the house. I finally got a chance to have evenings to myself. While Paul was here, I actually got a few hours alone to go run errands solo while he stayed home with her.

I loved having her sleep in our room in a bassinet beside me for the first 3.5 months and when she outgrew it I wasn't ready for her to go into her own room. We live in a single level home and her room is right next to ours, we don't have a need for using a monitor (nor did we want to use one due to the EMF radiation that comes from them often disturbing babies' sleep and have been known to cause incessant crying in some as it disrupts their brainwaves), I'd rather listen for her on my own leaving our bedroom door open fully and hers open a crack. For a good month she slept in our king size bed with us in between me and a pregnancy pillow I used before she was born in the middle of our bed so she couldn't move around or fall out. Needless to say, I was sleeping horribly cramped in an uncomfortable position fearful of waking her, she flinched at all of Paul's tossing and turning so I knew she wasn't getting her zzzzz's either. At 4.5 months I finally decided upon beginning the sleep training that she needed to be in her own room, in her own crib. She seems to sleep so much better in there now without hearing us get up and move around so I'm grateful to have a good night's sleep (well as good as any new mommy can have anyway). My body still remembers our old schedule and wakes me up half way through the night to feed her even though she may still be fast asleep. Other nights when she's hungry, she'll wake me up to eat usually a few hours after I've gone to bed myself.

She spoke her first word quite early, it was 'mama'. If I would leave Paul with her for a couple hours to run errands and I came home to a hungry baby ready to nurse, she'd cry 'mum mum' or 'mama' which was both sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. Now of course, with Paul being in China she is rather attached to me and still regularly says her first word, usually it's as I'm putting her into her crib. She grabs my hand and pulls it close to her. She has never said 'dada' to this day even though I use that word often, especially when we talk over Skype. The other day she said her second word: "hi".  Upon walking into her room when she woke up, I said "I hear a little baby playing in here. Hi Lily" and she looked at me and let out a loud and very matter of fact "Hi!" which was shocking and amazing all at once. She hasn't said it since though.

My favorite thing that she does is when I pick her up out of her crib in the morning and kiss her cheeks, she sometimes tries to press in and kiss my cheek or my mouth, it completely melts my heart they way she imitates me and who doesn't love kisses from their sweet angel?

We began with solid food a week ago, I wanted to wait until the 6-month mark as recommended even though she has been trying to grab juice glasses out of our hand and attempting to grab our food off of our plates for weeks. She is certainly intrigued by food. She loves organic oatmeal cereal with fruit and I make her mashed avocado and banana puree-that's a new favorite and necessary as she's such a skinny mini. Her length is above average but she remains on the light side so I'm hoping the extra will boost her weight.

All in all, I'm loving being a mother. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Having said that, I have far less time for myself and work than ever before (which is to be expected), especially since I'm on my own with Paul being overseas. It's definitely a balancing act and I'm learning to use her nap time and time after she goes to bed at night much more wisely, knowing it's limited. I usually fall asleep about 2 hours after her so it hasn't left me a ton of time for blogging after I finish with everything else.

{6 Months}

{Lily's kissy faces}

{5 Months}

{Getting long and outgrowing her stroller bassinet-time to be seated upright like a big girl!}

{4 Months}

{New Year's Eve}

 {Christmas Eve in her new Reindeer pj's}

{Family pic at a local lake/park with swans in early January-this is winter in FL. ;) }

{A rare chilly winter day in Florida with her sleepy owl hat}

{3 Months}

{Thanksgiving Day}

{Our happy little strawberry-one day it's cold, one day it's hot}

{One of my favorite daddy-daughter photos}

{Experiencing her first bit of 'winter' weather}

{2 Months}

{First costume for a church Harvest Festival-our little ladybug}

{Striking a pose for the camera!}

{1 Month}

{One of the eleven weekly photo updates I took-ballerina style}

{Here's a look back at the original photo I shared at just 1 week old}

Above, are a few select photos from her birth until 6 months of age (it was hard to choose from so many pics), isn't it amazing how much babies change in such a short period of time? I've taken numerous videos of her, the first at a few days old, I barely even recognize her compared to today but such a wonderful keepsake to have and see how much she has grown. If you want to follow along, every now and then I post pics on-the-go via Instagram and little monthly updates on Facebook of our little Miss. We had a professional photo session done of her when she was 15 days old. There are already so many photos here though so I'll save that for a separate post as I promised to share them and some of you asked about them months ago when I mentioned it in a previous post.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit about my girl who lights up our world! For all the mama, what were your favorite moments of your little one's first 6 months of life?


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday's Thought...How a Classy Woman Conducts Herself

For all of us women of faith who strive to be our best self, it's important to remember that above all, we must be a light in this world by conducting ourselves in a Godly manner. It's in the weak moments when we're challenged by others and life's circumstances or feel tempted to go one way vs. another that people will be watching from the sidelines to see how we choose to respond. 

While we will never do it all perfectly and will make mistakes along the way, we must take a deep breath and remember the amazing God we serve. We must ask for His strength & guidance when making all decisions and also in how we reply and correspond with others. A prayer that I often pray is "Lord, order my steps and order my stops." I want to make sure that He is in the center of what I do and say, how I act/react, how I love others and make all of my decisions. Sometimes I become consumed with all that needs to be done and forget to include Him, especially with smaller, lesser important issues but He is in all the tiny details so it's wonderful to include him in those too!

Even when we feel as though we have not conducted ourselves in the way in which we wish we had, the great thing about life is that everyday is a new day to begin again. We can learn from our past mistakes, ask for forgiveness and more forward with better intentions and actions.

Thanks for Reading!


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