Friday, September 30, 2016

5 on Friday

Built-in styling. I have been working on styling the built-ins in our living room for what feels like an eternity. I really don't want to purchase pieces just to fill them up. I want to truly like everything and it has been a slow road but we are almost there, I think. Here are a few of my favorite inspirations.



I usually don't eat lunch until 1:30 or so and it can be a long stretch from my 7:30 breakfast so I usually eat a snack mid-morning. At home, I like some fruit or a yogurt but if I'm on the go I almost always just have a Lara Bar. These are the only snack bars I will eat because the ingredients are so clean. Would you believe that there is a pumpkin pie variety for fall? I about died when I found them at Target this week.

Speaking of Target, I also picked up this 2-step teeth whitening system. I drink way too much coffee and red wine so I like to have a little at-home teeth-whitening routine. Usually I use the white strips but I am super excited to give this a try, too.
Can we talk about hair dryers for a moment? Mine literally exploded in my hand and filled my bathroom with a cloud of smoke before a playdate on Tuesday. I've not dried my hair since. Things are getting pretty rough around here. I'm in need of a new one and I don't mind shelling out the pennies for a nice one. I just don't know which model to purchase. I wish you could test drive them like cars. I had a T3 several years ago and it did so well with my hair but it died in under two years. And that just doesn't seem acceptable for something over $100. Help me!!!
Still not much fall weather around Charlotte. Now that we've returned from the beach, I'm kind of over summer. It just doesn't feel like fall when you are sweating drinking your Pumpkin Spice Latte. I did go ahead and do a fall mani and pedi but its just not the same when my Essie Smokin' Hot toes are peeking out from my Jacks. What's everyone's favorite fall polish colors? I pretty much exclusively do my nails at home now since there is no way Madeline would cooperate if I drug her to the nail salon. 
Happy Friday! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Five Fall Essentials - for your Closet

I think Fall is probably my favorite time of year as far as fashion goes. Well, maybe as far as anything goes. I love the crisp air, pretty leaves, and all things pumpkin. #basic, I know. While I love a pretty spring sundress, fall fashion definitely takes the cake in my book. Nothing beats being cozy and comfy. Here are five classic pieces I am loving. 
Lou & Grey sweater tunic from loft. Nothing beats a cozy tunic-length sweater in my book. I have a couple Lou & Grey items that I picked up last year and the quality is crazy good. This one is on my list for this fall.
The Frye Melissa Button boots are my favorite riding boots. Being petite, it can be difficult to find boots that are comfortable but also look good. I love my Frye boots, which were purchased several winters ago and are still going strong.
When I want to go with booties instead, I love the Tom's Desert Wedge. I purchased these last year when I was pregnant but hardly ever wore them. This year they will be getting tons of wear and they are so comfortable. The wedge provides just enough lift that these can be worn with pretty much anything from leggings to jeans to dresses with tights. This year Target has a steal version here.
Zella's "live in" leggings are the best. They are thick and great quality. Also, super comfortable. I picked up a couple pairs at the #nsale this summer but I wouldn't hesitate to pay full price for these because I love them so much and am really intending to live in leggings this fall.

I have this Target tunic-length cardigan in four colors and love it. I wore them often while I was pregnant last year and plan to wear them on repeat over my favorite tops and tees this year as well. They are a steal at the price and so soft and comfortable. 
I love mixing in textured sweaters and more unique pieces but these are the staples that I just can't live without as the weather starts to cool down. What are your favorite fall wardrobe essentials?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New Baby Must-Haves for the first Six Months

Its hard to believe we are officially past the tiny baby stage. The early months were definitely a combination of sweet, sweet snuggles and pure exhaustion. It is such a special time of bonding with your new baby and staring into their sweet, tiny newborn face. At the same time, though, it also feels like a bit of an endurance challenge. I'm here to share some of our favorite items for the early months. 

The Fisher-Price Snugapuppy swing was such a life saver, especially because Madeline started out as a terrible sleeper and went through an intense, fussy phase that lasted several weeks. It instantly calmed her and I know she is sad to have outgrown it. We even sat her in it about a month ago one last time before we packed it away in the attic and she was immediately in bliss. This thing was a life saver.

The Baby K-tan was also a life-saving device for sure. Madeline loves to be held and cuddled and this carrier allowed me to do things like take Riley on a walk or eat dinner while still snuggling her close. It is also so much easier to put on that a wrap carrier. I seriously couldn't have survived on weeks Corey traveled without this thing. Literally. I would have most certainly starved to death.

Madeline was breast fed until I returned to work, then we moved to combination feeding. We used the Comotomo bottle to give her pumped milk and I really loved this thing. It is easy to clean and she transitioned back and forth seamlessly. 

We love our Skip Hop play mat. We used it for floor time and tummy time from about the time she was a week old. She still plays on it now, at seven months. This was by far one of our favorite and most-used products.

I love, love, love my Keyfit Caddy snap-n-go stroller. Madeline's infant seat is the Keyfit 30 so it clicks right in. We also have a City Select but I found the snap-n-go to be so much easier for running errands and kept it in the trunk of my car. It was so easy to just snap the carseat in or out, especially when she was very young and would fall asleep on to go.

I used a Boppy as my nursing pillow and it made nursing so much more comfortable. It is also nice just to hold your sweet newborn in a more comfortable position. Madeline now uses it to help sit up.

Madeline has reflux so we needed lots of burp cloths. It improved around four months and it so much better now but early on we went through so many burp cloths every day. I really like the Aidan and Anais ones.

Sophie le Giraffe is a favorite toy. I don't know what it is about this giraffe that babies love so much but Madeline adores her. We actually have two. We keep one at home on her play mat and another in the carseat. 

Madeline also loves her O Ball. These are so easy for babies to grasp and manipulate.

I'm not sure where I first heard of this no-rinse wash by Mustela but it is so great to keep with little cotton rounds on the changing table for quick clean ups.

The Nose Frida might seem like the grossest thing ever but it is definitely a miracle worker for baby's first cold. This works so much better than traditional aspirators and I think it is much cleaner because mold can't develop inside. 

We loved Aiden and Anais swaddle blankets early on but Madeline quickly became a Houdini. The Woombie was a life saver early on, then we moved on to the convertible version and Halo sleep sacks around four months.

Madeline has never had a diaper rash and I credit Aquaphor Ointment and Honest diaper cream. I put the Aquaphor on at night to act as a barrier and then a little diaper cream on every morning. We use Pampers swaddlers diapers and Pampers sensitive wipes. 

These products really helped make the newborn period as smooth as possible and keep our girl happy. Mamas, what are your favorite baby products?

Monday, September 26, 2016

End of Summer Beach Trip

We snuck away for a few days to the beach over the weekend. We are usually such fans of the beaches near Charleston but decided to switch it up and try the Wilmington area this year. We decided to book this trip super last minute because it's been a busy summer with getting adjusted to a new house with a new baby and all but I am so glad we went.

In pure busy new-mom fashion I brought my nice camera and left it in the car the entire time and only got pictures with my iPhone. I also got mostly pictures of Corey and Madeline. That is something so sad about motherhood. Mamas are always taking all the pictures but not in the pictures! I'm kind of ok with it, though, because I pretty much didn't put on any make up the whole time. Even mascara.

Madeline earned a solid C in travel this time but I'll take it. When we traveled to Florida earlier this summer, she did surprisingly well until she came down with a cold on the last day. She is drooling like crazy right now and pretty irritable so I believe teething is to blame again. We had a great time regardless and it was really nice to sneak in a little vacation. We only turned on the TV Thursday night to watch the Clemson game shortly after our arrival. Otherwise, we were fairly unplugged, aside from the occasional Snap of Madeline modeling her Beaufort Bonnet. Now, that we've had some time at the beach and worn our matching Lilly one more time, I'm officially ready for Fall to arrive!

Friday, September 23, 2016

5 on Friday

Happy, happy Friday! We have a fun family weekend to look forward to. We'll be spending some time outside in the sunshine but afterwards, I'd like the fall weather to arrive. Please and thank you.

I didn't end up liking the dress I posted about last week for our fall/Holiday family pictures. So, I ordered two more. One of them has to go back because I can't hoard five million navy dresses in my closet. Thoughts?

left , right
I do have my heart set on navy because I want Madeline to wear this little number from Shrimp and Grits Kids. We both have blue eyes so this is a good fall color for us. 

I also ordered a couple off-the-shoulder tops. I think this trend is so cute. A little something extra in an otherwise basic tee. I am in serious need of updating my closet since I really haven't shopped since two winters ago. Once I found out I was pregnant I pretty much only purchased maternity necessities and clothes for Madeline. This is why she has two closets and I literally can find nothing to wear for date night. I also donated half of my closet, including the vast majority of my shoes and a couple designer handbags, in a hormone and sleep-deprivation fueled cleaning spree when we were preparing to move. 

One of my favorite things about fall is a pot of chili on the stove and a football game on the tv. I'll be sharing my favorite chili recipe soon but I'm always looking for others to try. Leave your favorite in the comments below. 

Madeline turned seven months old this past Saturday. This just blows my mind. She is such a big girl now. I am loving this age. Time, please slow down.

Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Prayers for our city.

I really have no words for what has been happening in my city over the past few days. I wish I had more insight but I know I can't attempt to understand the challenges many minorities in our country face on a daily basis. It just breaks my heart to think I'm raising Madeline in a world where there seems to be more anger and hate with each passing year. My biggest hope is that I can raise her to be accepting of everyone and to treat everyone with respect and compassion regardless of race. 

In third grade we study the slave trade, segregation, and the Jim Crow laws. My sweet eight year olds of every color can never understand how this part of our history could have ever happened. One of the most beautiful things about children is they start out color blind. It is so sad that some grow up to hate each other so fiercely. 

There is a lot of sadness and hurt over the events of the past few days. I hope we can find a way to move forward and make some positive changes. If you are willing and able, please add Charlotte to your prayers today. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Madeline Diaries (7 Months)

While on maternity leave, I shared what a typical day looked like. I am happy to report, we are in a great schedule at seven months old (although I'm completely aware that it will constantly be changing for years to come) and I'm loving being home with my girl. I'll admit I was a little naive and thought I might have a little time to relax and was really looking forward to that after feeling stretched so thin when I was working. I don't have that relaxation time I thought I would (haha) but I still am loving our days lately.

6:45-7:00 We wake up. This is an hour and a half later than I woke up for work so no complaints here. 

7:00 Madeline eats then has floor play time. I make my coffee and shake and sit with her to play. We put the news on in the background so we know what is going on in the world.

8:30 Breakfast solids. Madeline really likes everything I've given her but I think pumpkin banana is her absolute favorite right now. 

8:45 We head upstairs and read a book in the nursery and have a few minutes of snuggles then it is naptime.  Madeline has made soooo much progress in her sleep! I cannot even tell you what a change this has made in both of our moods and energy levels. I am so proud of her!

9:15 I am dressed in workout gear and starting my workout for the day. 

10:00 Quick shower and get dressed for the day. Sometimes that is just changing from sweaty yoga pants to clean yoga pants if we don't have somewhere to go. #justtellingitlikeitis. I try to do laundry every day, too, either before she wakes or right after she eats. I wash and dry one day and then fold and put away the next. Repeat, repeat, repeat. This is my least favorite chore but I find I like it better if I don't let it build up.

10:45-11:00 Madeline is awake and hungry. On Tuesdays we wake up a few minutes early at 10:30 so we can make it to storytime. 

11:00 Sometimes we play at home or go out for an errand or just take the stroller to the mall to walk around because it has been too hot to walk outside! I am really looking forward to the fall weather so we can walk outside again. On Tuesdays we go to Storytime at the library and sometimes out to lunch with some friends after.

1:00 Naptime. We read another story and then Madeline takes another nap. I always snuggle with her for a few minutes but she goes into her crib awake and listens to a little musical bunny my aunt gave her while she falls asleep.  While she is napping, I eat lunch and work. I usually have emails to answer or customers to check on for Beachbody or work to do for my Teachers pay Teachers store. This is also when I read blogs if I have time.

2:30 Madeline is awake and ready to eat. Then, we have more play time. If we are at home I take her upstairs to the play area in our bonus room so she has other toys to play with and her jumperoo. Madeline is desperately trying to learn to crawl right now and can get pretty frustrated at times that she can't do it yet!  

4:00 A cat nap for Madeline. I try to clean something and prep dinner during this nap or at least get it started. I try to clean something every day. Especially with the furriest dog alive, lots of vacuuming and mopping on repeat.

5:00 Madeline is awake and hungry. She eats her solids and we finish any dinner prep together. I either move her playmat into the kitchen or buckle her in to her Bumbo on the kitchen island with a few toys on the tray while I work. 

We take Riley out for a short walk around our neighborhood. Its still so hot that we don't make it all that far but its nice to get outside for a little while. When we get home, she usually plays with toys on her play mat or bounces in her jumperoo for a few minutes before bath.

6:15 Bathtime! Corey still runs bath when he is home and I put the finishing touches on dinner preparations and get a pre-bed bottle ready.

6:30 Bottle in the nursery. I usually give Madeline her bottle and then we go across the hall to brush her teeth. We read a story together and have a few minutes of quiet snuggles and then I lay her in her crib.

Madeline will lay awake in her crib anywhere from 5-20 minutes before falling asleep listening to a lullaby on her Sleep Sheep or talking to herself. Meanwhile, I'm serving dinner downstairs and we are enjoying a few hours of adult time. 

The early bedtime is really key to us having some time together. She needs it because she would be so exhausted if she were up any later but we really need that baby-free time, too, to enjoy a glass of wine on the back deck or watch something together on Netflix. Luckily, Corey works from his home office when he isn't traveling so he sees Madeline a few minutes at a time throughout the day. 

She doesn't sleep the straight 12 hours yet so we are up somewhere between 2 and 4 for a quick feed then right back to sleep until 7. 

I'm sure this is super boring to anyone who doesn't have kids but I can't wait to look back at it in another three months and see how our days have changed. This might be the hardest job I've ever had because I never have a minute "off" but it is by far my favorite. Madeline brings so much joy to our days and I am so very thankful to be able to be home with her. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Farewell to our first Home

Back in the spring, we decided to purchase a larger home and say goodbye to our first home. This was such a good move for our family. We really needed the extra space and our new neighborhood is so very family friendly and somewhere we know we can be for a long time. It was still sad to say goodbye to this first house that we built from the ground up. I do miss the Southpark location at times and I've been a little pouty about having to leave that kitchen that I designed ever since. Otherwise, though, we love everything about our new house. But, it just wouldn't seem fair not to give this first home of ours a proper farewell on the blog. It was home to us through a lot of ups and downs and was the first house our baby girl would ever call home.


So many great memories were shared here. Lots of parties and get togethers were hosted with friends. Many girls' nights and many holidays with family. There were things we never got around to, such as painting and swapping our some of the builder grade light fixtures but it was an awesome first home with some great neighbors who are still great friends. On to the next chapter!

Friday, September 16, 2016

5 on Friday

It is officially PSL season. I have already had not one but two and now I have completely forgotten about summer. Aside from the fact that it is still blazing hot most days where I am. How is the weather wherever you are? Anyone getting any cool fall evenings yet?
I made a little trip to Target on Wednesday. Surprise, surprise. Don't ask my husband how many times Tarjay purchases show up on our bank statement a month. I found a couple things of interest. These wedge booties look crazy similar to the popular Toms Desert wedge that I purchased last year but for less than half the price. A great way to try out the look without investing. 
I also found this cute graphic tank, which I couldn't help but pick up. I sure did love Mean Girls once upon a time and it is super soft. Is anyone else obsessed with graphic tees lately?
Madeline also found a little something during our second Target outing of the week. She recognized this Daniel Tiger toy right away and smiled and grabbed for him. So, of course he lives at my house now and sings all of the Daniel Tiger songs on repeat all day long.
All of my Lilly #APS purchases finally arrived, even the missing dress I posted about on Snapchat (username: elizabethwalen). So, I turned right around and ordered this little number for fall. It just looks super comfortable and I no longer have to worry about anyone getting marker on my clothes at work. Can't wait to pair it with my favorite riding boots.
I might even wear that dress for our Fall/Holiday photoshoot next month. Corey and I have never sent out Christmas cards. It is pretty sad. But, I've already started entering my addresses into a label template and ordered a new address stamp off Etsy so we can finally join the rest of the world in sending these out. Great excuse to show off our sweet girl to all our friends and family who live far away and celebrate our favorite holiday.