Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A New Addition to the Nursery

When I first found out we had a little girl on the way at my 5 month ultrasound, I couldn't wait to design our daughter's nursery. I was busy pinning images, ordering sample fabrics, looking at paint color options and deciding which vintage furniture pieces from my office (the same space) I wanted to incorporate into her room. Then I got really busy with work, pre-natal appointments and life in general and procrastinated a bit to move all the furniture out of my office (because my office also doubled as our guest bedroom where I was getting more restful sleep at the time). Needless to say, her room didn't get painted until I was 36 weeks pregnant. Sadly, the trend of putting things off continued. I had a few items set up in her room but knowing she'd be sleeping in a bassinet beside me in our bedroom, I wasn't in any hurry to have everything in its place and thought I would have time after she was born. Any new mother can tell you that is not likely to happen! I always dreamed of having the nursery finished perfectly before she was born but it just never worked out that way. I know, I know the one who decorates everyone else's homes for a living couldn't get her own finished. ;)

Fast forward several months and slowly but surely her bedroom is finally starting to come together. It began with setting her beautiful crib up when she was nearly 4 months old when she became too tall for her bassinet, I knew we would be transitioning her into her own room after another few weeks in our bed which did not provide a good night's sleep for me. I started figuring out what kind of photo frames I wanted to use in her room and shelves, etc. Now that she's nearing her first birthday (seriously where does time go?) , I'm working to get it finished. Right now we're still shy of some wall art that I still need to hang, drapery and rods, a side table that needs to be painted with chalk paint along with an area rug from Pottery Barn that is a bit out of our budget right now so I may nix the rug altogether since her room has hardwood floors anyway or use a small rug in front of her crib only. We have an older home with brown doors that we have not updated yet so I may either paint the sliding closet doors white or may cover them with a pretty wallpaper.

I've been excited to display one of the beautiful photos from her newborn photo session in her room ever since we received the proofs. I wanted it to be one of the first things I saw when I entered her room so I found the perfect spot opposite the door just above her vintage painted dresser (please excuse the chipping paint, I have to do a few touch ups where the drawers stuck). I loved so many photos that the photographer took but there is something so sweet and natural about a baby in the buff and I love the simplicity of it. The colors in this photo also match the gray walls in her room perfectly. The color scheme is pink, gray, white and accents of mint and navy. The room is actually quite light, bright and airy most days however these photos were taken on a mostly cloud covered day, I opened up her blinds to let in as much light as possible.

I had been deciding if I wanted a framed photo or a canvas for a while. I have never ordered a custom canvas before but have liked the look of them on family gallery walls and baby nurseries in particular. I ordered a 16 x 20" canvas from Easy Canvas Prints and received my package in the mail not too long after that. I was impressed with the way they packaged it and protected it in transit wrapped sturdy in cardboard with a sealed clear plastic sleeve over my canvas. Not ever having ordered a canvas before I wasn't sure how clear it would look up close or from afar compared to a traditional print but I'm pleasantly surprised! I also like that they provide various options for the side finishes of the canvas. I chose to keep the same image wrapped around the edges instead of a solid color, to me that seemed like the most natural look and I'm so glad I did-it turned out gorgeous.

As I look through all of Lily's photos from birth to the most recent as I plan to use them in her upcoming party decor for her birthday, I can't help but reminisce about the moments when she was just a wee little one so dependent on her mama. Now she's doing so much on her own. I know I'll be creating more canvas prints in the future as she grows. It was such an easy experience and it took me just a few minutes to upload, select the features I wanted and add it to my shopping cart, I now understand why the company is called EASY canvas prints.

Easy Canvas Prints is currently offering 25% off any size canvas along with free standard shipping! It's a great time to get your favorite photos off your computer and up onto your walls. I'm actually getting ready to have a couple canvases made with special summer images of Lily for our parents.

A big thank you to Easy Canvas Prints for sponsoring this post! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thanks for Reading!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Tablescape with Love Letter Napkins

Last week Paul and decided that after 8 years of not loving our current mattress that we were due for a new one. What better gift to ourselves for our upcoming Anniversary on Sept. 3rd, than the gift of a good night's sleep?! We've been tossing and turning for a while now. When we first got married and I moved into my hubby's existing home he had already purchased a new mattress not too long before we met so he wasn't ready to give it up which had me bouncing around between our bedroom and the guest room. So, this was our first time shopping for one together and when the one we chose arrived we couldn't wait to make the bed and then lay on top of it side-by-side. Lily had fun crawling all over it. ;) The first night's sleep on our new memory foam mattress was heavenly and it was such a great investment, I'm so glad we did it. While an exotic trip would have been fun to celebrate our eight years together, this will last far longer.

Since we were already in the spirit of celebrating our Anniversary early, I thought I'd whip up a casual, impromptu little romantic lunch for just the two of us after Lily had gone down for her midday nap (which is her longest one of the day). As a parent it's so important to take the time to connect one-on-one after hectic days filled with life's many demands. This weekend we got to do just that and the timing couldn't have been more perfect as I had just received a set of 4 beautiful Love Letter napkins in the mail from Uncommon Goods. It was another little Anniversary present I planned to give to Paul to open that we would use together in our our home for occasions just like this as well as entertaining another couple. Instead of wrapping them up, I just surprised him with a little lunch instead and incorporated them into our casual summer place setting.

First off, if you haven't heard of Uncommon Goods you simply must check them out! If you've ever tried to buy a gift for a hard-to-shop-for person, you will really appreciate their one of kind designs that you can't find anywhere else. They were founded in 1999 and are a privately-owned retailer headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. About a third of their collection incorporates recycled and/or upcycled materials. I especially love that most of the items they carry are made in the USA and over half of what they sell is actually made by hand instead of overseas by machines so it has a real quality and authentic look and feel.

Whether you're looking for an Anniversary gift like I was, a Christmas present or even a birthday gift, you will definitely be impressed with the amazing selection they have to offer. Plus, a lot of the items are able to be monogrammed or customized so you can present an amazing personalized gift for the person you have in mind! I have been seeing a few neat products floating around Pinterest over the past few months and then realized while I was shopping the Uncommon Goods site, that's where they were from. I will definitely be shopping their site again soon as we approach the holidays.

Take a peek at these super cute love letter napkins! They are actual letters written by the likes of Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Jack London and D. H. Lawrence. While I loved using them as napkins, you cold also frame them or sew two together and make a one-of-a-kind pillow. :) They are made of lightweight cotton and are in classic black & white so they go with everything! You can see how I've paired them below.

Their lightweight texture is perfect for spring or summer I thought (but you could of course use them all year round). I like how they paired with soft pastel colors here in my table setting. I am a big fan of 'use what you have'. So when I decided to put together this spur of the moment little lunch for Paul and I, for both our meal and the table setting I used what I had on hand. Since I hadn't had an opportunity to pop by the store for some fresh flowers and I adore peonies, I used the realistic silk ones that live in Lily's nursery. I paired it with some seashell white dinner plates and beaded pale blue ceramic salad plates. We had just been to the market, so I thought the organic white peaches were a cute little touch in lieu of a place card holder since it was just us two.

In case you're wondering, we started with a fresh summer salad which included arugula, fresh sliced peaches, goat cheese, sunflower seeds and a papaya-poppyseed dressing-staples in our fridge. For our lunch we had pesto-chicken panini sandwiches with avocado slices. Our beverage was an organic sparkling probiotic drink in strawberry-acai-coconut flavor (I later added a few fresh raspberries to our glasses). It was the perfect light fare and we enjoyed the time to catch up and talk about our weekend.

As summer winds down and we move into fall and winter, I look forward to using these love letter napkins in new ways. I think it goes without saying that they'll be used in a romantic little meal for two on Valentine's Day and would complement red, pale pink or even hot pink nicely.

You can take a peek {here} to see each love letter in its entirety by each Author on the website. These are a fun lighthearted napkin that is not only unique but can act as a conversation starter during a dinner party.

Thanks for Reading!


*A big thank you to Uncommon Goods for sponsoring this post! All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Let the Birthday Party Planning Begin!

As a new parent, people tell you all the time to enjoy each moment because the time just flies by and next thing you know your child is heading off to College. I can honestly see how this is true. I have so cherished each day with my little sweetie pea Lily and I can't believe that in just 2 short weeks she'll be turning one! Even though some days can feel really long, in some ways I still feel like I was just holding her as a newborn in my arms just days ago.

Over the past few months I've been thinking about the kind of party I wanted to plan for her birthday because the first one is so special, not so much because she'll remember it or will be aware of everything (let's face it, she probably won't remember a thing), but it means a lot to both Paul and I to celebrate, enjoy and document the day so she can look back at it in years to come and see herself surrounded by our dear friends and family who love her. Not only is it her birthday but it's also the 1st Anniversary of the day we became parents too, responsible for this amazing blessing we get to call our daughter. Although her birthday falls on a Saturday (perfect I thought!), hubby thought he'd be out of town on business but it turned out in the end that the trip is now set for October. By the time we realized this, it would not have left me with the right amount of  time to send out invitations and allow guest to properly RSVP for her actual day, so we've now bumped the date forward two weeks into the middle of September which actually gives me a bit more time to plan.

I've been looking online (mostly pinning things to a private board on Pinterest) for some ideas on decor and games for the kids that will attend the party. I debated between holding the party at a venue or in our home. I don't particularly love the home we're in for entertaining larger crowds (it's a smaller, older home and the kitchen is cut off from the rest of the main living area) but I wanted to do what would be easiest on Lily and that meant being in our home where she has the comfort of her own crib to nap in right before guests arrive as well as afterwards without a drive home in between. It's also way easier for set up and take down of decorations and food transport/prep. This is actually the first large party we're hosting in this home. Since future birthday parties for her will likely be of a child-focused theme or character she is most interested in at the time, I wanted this one to be a bit more elegant as the majority of the guests will be other adults with just a few children attending.

You can take a peek at some of the images I've pinned below, they're serving as inspiration as I plan and begin creating some DIY decor after she goes to bed each evening. I've always loved the look of paper flower pom poms, paper fringe and pretty garland so I'm planning to make all of those on my own and the fact that they don't cost a lot is a huge bonus. I also have a lot of other original ideas that I'm hoping to incorporate and I'll be sure to share actual photos of her special day in an upcoming post in the coming weeks. Here are some photos that have me all excited about planning this party. How stunning is the two-tier cake in the photos at the top of this post?! If I can find someone to make this for me locally without it costing a fortune, I would love for this to be Lily's cake. *All image links are available at the end of this post.

There is just something so simple and yet so beautiful about paper fringe tassels. I'm going to make a garland out of them and I'm hoping to reuse some of the birthday decor in Lily's room when the party is over.

Peonies are my favorite flower but they're out of season. I'll likely include a lot of cream, blush or pale pink roses, some ranunculus and some white lilies since it fits her name. 

I've always loved the simple, shabby chic look of  mason jars filled with paper straws or flowers. I'm about to buy chalk paint for another project so I can use the leftover for the ball jars. They might even double as party favors for the adults if I choose to use them for flower vases-who doesn't love beautiful, fresh flowers?

At my baby shower last July, my mother-in-law gifted me with a lovely vintage high chair that was her son's (my husband's step-brother) and she it was a gift she has given me the okay to paint it and do as I wish with it. I've always known I'd paint it mint and this photo is my favorite inspiration. I love how it combines with white and pink. I'm hoping she'll love how this highchair was incorporated into this milestone party. :)

I still haven't narrowed down the exact menu but I do know that I'd like to have something a bit interactive such as a fro-yo bar or ice cream station where guests can create their own treat. 

Sometimes the simplest touches are the most elegant. In this case, it couldn't be more true. I love the look of a beautiful gold satin ribbon tied to the end of an over-sized pale pink balloon. 

In my mind, progression photos over 12 months are a must for a 1st birthday party. Little ones grow so quickly from newborn to one year old and change so much in that short time. I like the idea of polaroid shots or simple white bordered square photos strung with clothes pegs on twine as a little banner. I'm hoping to also reuse this banner or at least the photos in her bedroom to serve as extra decor afterwards.

I've never thrown a party with a 'sweets' table before, although we did have one at our wedding, it was nowhere near  as pretty as this. I would love to offer a variety of sweet treats for guests. I actually contemplated just doing a sweets-only party such as cake and ice cream. Hubby and I talked about this along with our budget and have decided to balance it out with savory eats so our guests don't end up on sugar overload. Plus, he felt our male adult guests might want something a bit more substantial. ;) I agree!

Another great use for mason jars is for drinking glasses. Since I was planning to serve sweet tea, bottled water and pink lemonade, these would be perfect with a few lemon slices. The custom labels are a sweet touch. Cute striped paper straws are a must!

We have a door in our kitchen that leads to the laundry room that I'd like to use as a backdrop for photos, a little area where guests can take photos-a photo booth of sorts. I haven't decided upon heart garland, streamers, paper flowers or other DIY decor. I'm still working out what I'd like to create but this one is so elegant that it's definitely a front runner. I'd like to incorporate brighter pops of color to fit our theme of white, pink, gold and mint.
Candy/ice cream cups are going to be a must for our party. While planning, I've been trying to find decor in an array of places other than just traditional party supply stores and websites to stay within our budget. I love these pretty designs from Poppytalk for Target, the rose cups are especially sweet. I stumbled upon them on a  Pinterest page for home decor Canada and love that they're just $3 for a package of 10! Since they're lightweight, I may have to have one of my Canadian friends back home ship me those rose and pink cups as I can't find them here in Florida. ;)

What first birthday party is complete without a smash cake for the guest of honor? I want to do something different other than a single candle for the cake topper such as an actual number one or the word 'one' or her name mounted on top. I want the cake to be simple but pretty and it will likely be white. One of the cake designs I really like is a cake fully iced with rosettes. I am toying with the idea of an ombre pink cake too.

Speaking of cake, I've been on the hunt for some pretty cake stands that I can reuse again in the future for other parties and events but keeping with our color theme. I've also still been thinking about cupcakes for guests so I'm looking at some 3-tier stands for those as a possibility. Here are a few pretty ones I've found so far (in case anyone else is looking for a cake stand also):

I'd love to hear from you! Did you do something special for your little one's first birthday? What was your favorite party decor or most memorable moments from the big day? A party with close family + friends, a big blowout bash, a family day a the zoo?

Thanks for Reading!


Image sources: (1), (2)(3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9)(10), (11), (12)(13)

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Favorite Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

Happy Friday Everyone! I hope you are enjoying what's left of summer. :) This time of year has always been a favorite but with all the new fall fashion coming out I have to say that it's getting me excited for a fresh, new season. I can still be found enjoying a sunny beach day with my family or getting together with friends for a fun backyard BBQ but I have to admit that I'm looking forward to cool, crisp, cozy weather and wearing layers which is a rarity here in Florida.

The fabulous Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is in full swing but it ends on Sunday, so just two days left! Come and do a little window shopping along with me and you can see what I have my eye on right now, you can click on the banner bar underneath each of my picks to link directly to the products. All of these items are on sale at fabulous prices. I'm actually narrowing down some choices for my hubby right now as my birthday is at the end of this month and he asked me what I'd most like. As much as I love surprises, sometimes it's just nice to get something you pick out for yourself.

If you haven't shopped at Nordstrom online before, it's a must! They have so many amazing brands and I have to say they make everything so easy with free shipping and free returns too! With an active 11 month old baby, it's actually far easier for me to shop online during her nap or bedtime then it is to pack everything up and head to a physical store to browse and try things on with her, I'd rather do it in the comfort of my own home. Besides, who doesn't love the excitement of anticipating a package in the mail? I love knowing that if something doesn't fit exactly as I had hoped that returns and exchanges are effortless. Let's start with shoes, shall we?

I love the polished and elegant look of a pointy toe when it comes to pumps and you can't miss with an ankle strap details or lace up version. For practicality purposes I find round-toe, flat equestrian style boots to be the perfect go-to during the cooler months. 

When I think of fall I immediately think of leather, layering, zipper details, thicker materials and darker hues. I like to add a bit of edge to a more elegant, feminine look especially for evening. Likewise, I enjoy adding a bit of glitz and sparkle to an otherwise casual  look like this gray sweater.

I love a well-structured handbag, larger ones that keep their shape are essential to a polished look. I have many that I've owned over a decade and they never go out of style. I also look for cross-body bags and clutches when I'm out for a casual day running errands but still want to look polished without carrying a lot. I like this leopard smart case for my iPhone, keys, a bit of cash and a few cards. This happy poppy color is great for summer and transitioning into fall.

Can you tell I'm a bit obsessed with gold right now? I love the delicate nature of the thin pave X bracelet and yet at the same time I really like the vibe of this wider V-bar cuff too. I'm a sucker for watches with a diamond bezel look but I'm also loving this one with the tortoise shell insert.  I'm not much of a necklace gal these days with a small baby who reaches for everything. You can usually find me wearing a pair of earrings, my wedding rings and a watch or bracelet/bangles (sometimes a combination). Since ear buds hurt my ears, I thought these headphones were a stylish option.

Ever since I began wearing makeup I've always gravitated towards a minimal, natural, neutral look that doesn't look as though makeup is being worn at all. Soft, clean skin is important to me so this is my secret weapon! It removes 30x the pollution and 6x the makeup vs. water and cleanser alone. I can actually see and feel a difference in my skin each time. Also, I can never get enough of a quality moisturizer, it just keeps skin looking healthy. I've heard amazing things about this Hollywood contouring cheekbone/blush kit. I want to see if it's as good as everyone says!

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Thanks for stopping by!


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