Friday, July 13, 2018

LURVE LOAVE LUFF



Let's get right to it, shall we?
Here's what made me feel all twitterpated, smile contagiously, giggle uncontrollably, etc.

  • Acrylic Painting on Paper: Pink & Red // Need an upper? Kayce Hughes' shop is brimming with inspiration. Hop to it.
  • You An Orchestra, You A Bomb // Kate Spade fans are pretty familiar with Cig Harvey's photos. This book is a MUST!
  • Biplane Shelf // Anyone catch that corny dose of Air Force humor, or are you just smitten with whimsy? This is CUTE!!
  • Pink Cloud Creme // With rockin' reviews like these (over 600 5-star reviews on Sephora), I'm going to give this a whirl.
  • Palm Pom Bag // I know we've been down this road countless times together, but I swear this tote is really SPECIAL!!
  • Turquoise Turban Lady // I got genuinely excited when I learned about Petra Börner's work this week. Stunning.
  • "Bring a Book" Print // I've already decided where this vivid yet simple piece will go in our bedroom. It's so happy.
  • Hallie Eyeglasses // It's no secret I have a serious design crush on Gen Sohr. She looks flipping adorable in these specs!!
  • Ramblings of a Wannabe Painter // Take a mental break with this intriguing collection straight from the creatives.
  • Ruffle-Neck Top in Stripe // Some might consider this one of my go-to pieces in the summertime. It's an easy classic.
  • Ballet Flats with Cutouts // A sassy set of orange skimmers that will surely make you want to skip into the sunset.
  • Industriell // The online photos of this chair do not do the product justice. This series from IKEA is too fab for words.
  • Confetti Beach Ball // It doesn't get any better than this, my friends!! Add a little sparkle to this Summer and have a BALL.
  • Gustave Eiffel FAF Desk Pad // Call me crazy, but this is just the kind of useful elegance every desk deserves.
  • Satin Powder Blush // Beautycounter's Raspberry rouge might replace my go-to NARS shade. How perfect is that pink?
  • Crinkle Cookies // With images this gorgeous, The Farmer's Daughter has convinced me I need to bake this weekend.


Happy Friday, m' dears! Make this weekend count.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

THURSDAY'S THOUGHTS


VIA   D E S I G N L O V E F E S T

FEELING: I know it's only natural to get caught up in the comparison game when it comes to social media, but after seven years of blogging, I see all of these people bringing in BIG incomes from their online platforms and I can't help but wonder what gives?! In terms of content, I'll admit that my consistency hasn't been all that reliable for the past six months, but I'm trying to cut myself a little slack because a lot of change has occurred for us since we left Texas in December. I just wish there was a healthy balance. I don't want to be schlepping products just to make a dime, but I feel pretty confident in the content I create and believe I'm worthy of blogging growth and a little online recognition without paying for followers. If anyone out there knows the secret to social media success without selling your soul to mustard or razor companies, I'm ALL ears. What am I doing wrong here??

THANKFUL FOR: Nothing like a fresh bounty of herbs to boost your confidence and convince you that you've reached Martha Stewart status in the backyard. Now I'm having delusions of garden grandeur and I've got my sights set on a vegetable or two next year. 

LISTENING TO: These days Maxwell moonlights as a comedian. Am I a bad mom if I say that his new hobby is equal parts adorable and excruciating? It's one thing if the punchline makes sense and his delivery is on point, but you can't force someone to laugh when you consider the following a knee-slapper: 

Max: "What does a shark eat?"
Me: "I don't know. What?"
Max: "A fish."
Me: *Silence*
Max: "Laugh mommy. You need to laugh at my joke."
Me: "That's not a joke. It's a fact."
Max: "Laugh. Right. Now."
Me: "Don't tell me what to do."

This isn't Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, but I'm going to need all the caffeine I can get to survive this toddler stand-up phase.

WATCHING: I'm just SOOOOOO ready for it to be next week already. The Bravo Summer lineup is sizzling with Shahs, Savannah, and a trio of blonde besties ready to whoop it up in the OC. If Shannon, Tamra, and Vicki can reconcile as we witnessed at last year's reunion, can we at least get a return trip to Andales? Oh, and what about that awkward proposal between Lyle and Catherine on Southern Charm? Woof! If a wedding invite is in Andy Cohen's future, can we bet on Tommy and MJ?!

EATING: I've never been a dainty eater. Since I was little, you could find me nose deep in a rack of ribs just trying to keep up with my dad's stack of clean bones. If my cheeks appeared rosy, it was only because they were adorned in sticky barbecue sauce. I am a meat eater through and through, so the fact that a Fried CAULIFLOWER Sandwich served at Terrain's Garden Cafe now tops my list of favorite meals EVER is beside me. My mom and I split the sammy (Who am I? Rachael Ray??) ten days ago when we visited Glen Mills, and I seriously can't stop thinking about how amazing it was. Also, WHY the heck did we share?! Sigh. Now to convince Flyboy this cruciferous magic on a brioche bun is worth the return trip... A side of Truffle Fries ought to do the trick!!

READING: Max got a library card yesterday, and despite his shy and lukewarm appearance at our local book joint, I can assure you he was ECSTATIC by the entire sitch. I was hoping to leave with some cute illustrations and fiction options, but in true Max fashion we returned home with a bag of reading material covering topics like germs, sharks, frogs, and tractors. Because of course...       

THINKING ABOUT: Two weeks ago we had a few horrendous outings in public with Max, so I implemented a token system in which our wily wonder could earn twenty hearts for being kind and making good choices with a reward of his choice as the end goal. I mostly wanted to reinforce positive behavior, so I let him choose a prize to work toward. Without any hesitation, he decided that throwing a pie in my face would be the ultimate reward. Yes, I realize this is a pretty twisted prize for being kind, but it's what he wanted and I was happy to oblige if it meant his behavior improved. Within days he reached his goal and my mug was covered in whipped topping. We're on to our next goal of 30 hearts, but this time the reward is for an ice cream date, because I think both boys in this house enjoyed smashing my face and hosing me down a little too much. I deserve the sweet end of this next deal!

LOVING: We got a sunny set of yellow chairs from IKEA for our bedroom and the space is starting to feel really cozy. In my head I have oodles of ideas floating about and it makes me silly giddy. When we moved in, I wasn't sure how I'd break up the large space and make it feel nested, but I think we're well on our way. Call me Hannibal because I love it when a plan comes together.


Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!! 


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

LIFE'S LITTLE DETAILS


"THE DETAILS ARE NOT THE DETAILS. THEY MAKE THE DESIGN." — CHARLES EAMES

I'm wrapping up a deadline and Max is about to wake up from his nap soon, so let's get straight to the deetz...

  • Flyboy was promoted and pinned on his new rank last week. Now we get to call him Major Fine. Ha! It's just TOO good. All corny jokes aside, we're pretty stinking proud of him and ecstatic about the bump in pay. Woot woot!
  • Note to Self: When your mom suggests you have a sinus infection and you should probably see a doctor ASAP, just listen to the woman. I was sure my little cold would pass until I finally gave in and visited Urgent Care only to hear the local doc remind me that mother always knows best. Lesson learned. Now gimme ALLLLL the antibiotics and Bravo TV.
  • The secret to a successful Summer can be found in a GINORMOUS (over six-feet tall) inflatable T-Rex sprinkler.
  • Getting drenched by a dinosaur is great and all, but how fabulous are bundles of Peonies at Safeway for $3.99?! Shut. Up.
  • My parents visited last week and we made a boat-load of little changes outside our house that ended up making a BIG impact. Swapping the outdoor lights with these, along with painting our shed, and bordering the garden beds with gravel left us feeling mighty proud. With each project we complete, the space feels more like us and I love that!
  • All that work and a little play led us to Terrain for a dreamy and steamy afternoon in PA. So many treasures and a tasty treat I can't wait to tell you about. I think I'll save the rest of my rambling for tomorrow's post. There's a toddler stirring. 

Now, what have YOU been up to? I'm dying to know.

FEATURED DETAILS: POSTCARDS // DOG BED // PILLOW // HOOK // SANDALS // BLANKET // BASKET
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Friday, June 29, 2018

LURVE LOAVE LUFF




Let's get right to it, shall we?
Here's what made me feel all twitterpated, smile contagiously, giggle uncontrollably, etc.

  • Habitat Gold Extension Cord // Okay, how long has this been around and why didn't I get the memo? Pure genius!
  • Patio Rolling Cooler // I can't stop thinking about this option from Target, but the reviews are meh. Perhaps one of these from Wayfair might be a better choice?? The color options are pretty are enticing. It would look so cute on our porch.
  • Studio Salad Plate Set // Four colorful plates that are fun and won't break? This sounds like a kid-friendly dream.
  • Hip Water Bottle // Style and functionality unite for good. Who wouldn't be on board with a pitch like that?
  • Bruno Rayas Stripe Clutch // The next time I have a little "fun money" to waste, THIS is what I'm buying. Eek!
  • Orly Fireball Nail Polish // In need of a little pampering? This summery shade ought to do the trick. It's my new fave!
  • Lapcos Lip Tint in Pink // Are you familiar with this Korean skincare line? The color selection is gorgeous.
  • Cha Cha Drop Earrings // The name alone says everything. Swing and sway with a set of these adorning your ears.
  • Heart Sunglasses // These look like they would cost a lot more than they do. For $9.99, why the heck NOT??
  • Xinh & Co. Mini Basket Tote // "Xinh" means pretty in Vietnamese. I like that this tote is honest and gets to the point.
  • Tie-Shoulder Dress with Embroidery // There aren't enough adjectives to describe just how much I adore this dress. 
  • Pineapple Keychain // Scrambling for you keys never looked so sweet. Leave it to KSNY to knock this one out of the park.
  • Yay All Day // I get a lot of questions about children's books and I think Wee Society is a great place to start.
  • Pretty Okay At Life Ribbon // These would be nice to have handy and give out when someone needs encouragement.
  • Abstract Collection // Ampersand Design Studio has a new line of planners for 2018-2019 that are bold and cheerful!
  • Thumbs-Up Soap // Start your day off on a positive note with a soap that brings on lots of likes.
  • Green Sailing Ship Kite // I can't stop obsessing over these beauties. They're seriously a work of art. Which color??
  • O Boy // This Kule tee should become a permanent piece in my mom uniform. I feel like it suits any situation with Max.
  • Brass Crab // Fenton & Fenton is an Australian shop that I reeeeeeeeally wish would start  selling worldwide.
  • Ellsworth Kelly Book // This book is just is just as bold as it is beautiful. Something about his colorful work calms me.
  • Suzanne Flat-Weave Rug // I'd eventually like to find a rug for our office space. This isn't it, but we're getting warmer.


Happy Friday, m' dears! Make this weekend count.
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Thursday, June 28, 2018

THURSDAY'S THOUGHTS


VIA

FEELING: On Tuesday I went to my first therapy appointment. I think I'm going to give it another shot; however, they won't be able to see me again until mid-August. Bummer! I can't say anything groundbreaking was accomplished during our visit. Then again, what more would you expect from the initial "getting to know" you introduction? I don't have much to compare my visit to, but I couldn't help but laugh when I left the facility because it definitely checked all of the stereotypical boxes. There was a couch with a box of tissues close by (I had my Oprah moment and used a few!), the room was dimly lit, there was white noise in the background, an array of essential oils, healing crystals, and possibly a lava lamp. No matter what happens, I promise to report back to you on that last detail. I could have sworn I saw something psychedelic and pink in the corner. Don't lose any sleep on this one, but please standby. 

THANKFUL FOR: Have a kid they said. It'll be fun they said. What they didn't tell me was that I'd raise a very bright and curious child who would engage in arguments with me regarding topics like skid steers and whether they have tires or tracks (for the record, they can have both depending on the terrain). First, Ashley pre-Max would have NO interest in this sort of subject matter. Second, I've watched enough Blippi, Truck Tunes, Mighty Machines, etc. to know the answer to this question by now. So when my 3.5 year old quizzed me yesterday about the topic and I responded CORRECTLY, he told me I was wrong and recommended I check my "pooter" because it always knows the right answer. In an effort to put an end to this machinery madness, I referred to Google as Max advised and wouldn't you know I was right?! BOOYAH! Thank goodness for technology and search engines that prove moms are pretty smart.

LISTENING TO: A few years ago when BeyoncĂ© surprised us with Lemonade, it was A LOT easier for me to listen to the album and become familiar with the songs—as mom, dad, and no, were the only words in Max's vocabulary. These days I don't have that luxury, and instead of listening to The Carters in the car like I would have done in the Swell Rio days, I've relied solely on spinning to preview Everything is Love sans child. It definitely gives me something to look forward to when I workout, but it's prolonged the process.

WATCHING: If you need a pick-me-up, hop on Netflix and watch the reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. When they debuted the new cast earlier this year, I was on the fence and wasn't sure I wanted to get to know the new Fab Five, but my sister talked me into it and I'm so glad she did. They're even better than before!! I can't believe I'm actually saying that, but as a whole they're just so stinking endearing and sweet. You can't NOT love them. I'm still working my way through Season 2, but the genuine and emotional growth witnessed in every episode always leaves me in happy tears. 

EATING: What's the deal with Rita's and her "Ice-Custard-Happiness?" Is this an East Coast thing? They're everywhere around here and as an ice cream aficionado, I can't help but wonder if I'm missing out. Is anyone out there familiar with the chain? Is it worth trying? What would you recommend? One of these days I plan on taking Max for a treat, but I thought it was worth asking you all first. 

READING: One of my favorite things to do with Max is sit on the back porch with a stack of books and read together. Being in the company of a miniature version of myself, I try to give up some of the control and let him choose the reading material from time to time (Spoiler alert! They ALWAYS deal with dinosaurs and sharks.). On Tuesday morning, this decision paid off big time when he hopped up on the chair and requested I read Henri's Scissors. This was one of those children's books that I bought when I was pregnant because I just adore Matisse, and it would look super cute in his nursery.  Ha! It was obviously more for me than it was for him, so I didn't expect that he'd be so interested and engaged as I read it. I joke a lot about how I know more about excavators and tow trucks now than I ever imagined I would, but it's pretty fantastic getting to delight in some of my own interests with our little boy as he gets older. Moments like that are fleeting, but it left me feeling tickled to death that I got to share it with him!      

THINKING ABOUT: If I wasn't such an introvert, I'd totally throw a Bravo themed party and insist that Slob-Kabobs be on the menu. Dorinda is seriously the gift that keeps on giving. I love her so much. Please stay on RHONY forever!! The world needs your one-liners.

LOVING: I went off the deep end earlier this week and got all preachy on Instagram about these pants. In my defense, the Point Sur Wide-Leg Crop is kind of BANANAS, and there are a handful of other rejoicing reviewers on J.Crew's website that stand right next to me on this one. I thought the Madewell version was the holy grail, but these have made me reconsider my stance on the matter. 


Enough about me. How are you feeling today? What are you up to? Thanks for stopping by!! 

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

MAXWELL'S ROOM: THE TODDLER EDIT



When they packed up Max's room at our rental in Swell Rio, I seriously wanted to ugly cry. Actually, I DID ugly cry. It was my favorite spot in the house, which I still find hilarious because I spent the first nine months living there in a state of absolute terror because it symbolized the unknown. But as with any new chapter, I grew to adore the space and the memories we shared together over a span of three years. It was our corner of happy in the hamster wheel that sometimes feels like motherhood, and I was really proud of the nursery I created for our wily one. On those days when I felt like I was failing miserably on the "ma" meter, I knew I was killing it on the aesthetic end of things. Ha! Oh, and let's not kid ourselves, my reason for crying as the movers boxed everything up wasn't solely based on sentimental value. No, I wasn't prepared for Max to move into a "big boy" bed. That's right, we were one of the few parents we knew who had a three year old still snoozing in a crib. Gulp! In our defense, he never tried getting out on his own. Max pushed (and continues to...) limits in countless ways, but he always loved his crib and the idea of independently escaping never crossed his mind. Ka-CHING! But, out of necessity, we eventually had to make the transition after Christmas while we were living with my parents. Oddly enough, it went shockingly well — thanks to the magic that is the OK to Wake Clock!

Because it was our threenager's first experience moving, I spent a lot of time talking about the perks of our new place, especially HIS room. I didn't want to overwhelm him with too much change and I selfishly wanted to recreate aspects of his old nursery at our home in Delaware (#letthembelittle), so I integrated most of the same artwork, knick-knacks, and organization as we had in Texas. Since this is what he's always known, it felt like a very natural transition. With a refresh of bedding, a new LARGE bed, light sources, and more room for organization, I was able to give the space a few todleriffic tweaks that I think elevated the space in a way that can grow with him the longer we live here. It's colorful, quirky, and matches the overall vibe I like to maintain throughout the house.


In addition to a few other small future projects and the inevitable tchotchke, here are sources for what I used...
Vintage Pant Hanger via Etsy — Great for hanging artwork!


Note: Some of the items listed aren't in the graphic, but I've included them for reference as they may appear on the blog or 'Gram.



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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

LIFE'S LITTLE DETAILS


"THE DETAILS ARE NOT THE DETAILS. THEY MAKE THE DESIGN." — CHARLES EAMES
Happy Wednesday, m' dears! We got back from visiting my parents last week and Flyboy returned home a few days later from a two-week course in Florida—just in time for Father's Day weekend. Woo Hoo! After a whirlwind ten days in NoVA helping my mom with end-of-school year festivities and enjoying a handful of city life amenities (mostly gelato and croissants), it was nice to return to the Delaware countryside and partake in a little blueberry picking at a local orchard, yard work, evening fireside s'mores, and a trip to Bombay Hook Natural Wildlife Refuge. I think we're starting to find a rhythm out East and it feels really nice!


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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

ON A MOTHER'S NOTE


EASEL // LETTERS // NUMBERS // SCISSORS // CONSTRUCTION PAPER // CHUNKIES // VELCRO


A few weeks ago, I shared a snippet on Insta-Stories of my setup for Max and I got A LOT of questions about it. When we moved to Delaware, I wasn't really sure what our daily routine might look like, but I knew we would need one ASAP or I'd feel very overwhelmed by all the new-ness. While I don't currently have plans to home school Max, I'm always looking to find ways in which we can supplement at home and add structure to our days/week. I suppose our time together during the work week feels less daunting as long as we have a plan. Anyone else in the same boat?! What I'm about to share with you is very simple, requires minimal planning, and should cost you very little. In fact, I feel a bit silly for even posting about it, but for those interested, here's my easy approach:
  • I created a mobile learning center with the help of a cheap easel from IKEA and a set of felt numbers and letters from the dollar bins at Target. After acquiring these bargain buys, I got out a few index cards and construction paper and doodled the days of the week and weather. I wanted to give Max an interactive approach to learning and start getting him accustomed to a routine he might anticipate in preschool or kindergarten. I attached a small piece of velcro to the back of each card, number, and letter, so we could swap them out according to the day/week.
  • Depending on the number or letter we're focused on for the week, I try to look at both our local and home library to pick out a few books that incorporate each. This week we're focusing on the letter "F" and the number six, so we'll read books about fish, farting frogs, and food. Max loves to make things, but I wasn't feeling particularly creative, so we got out the construction paper, googly eyes and markers and threw some fish together on a whim. The thing about kids is that it doesn't have to be "template perfect" to suit their needs. Just let them create and they'll be thrilled to the gills!
  • I've never been someone that LOVES numbers, so you'll probably notice that our weekly lessons are heavy on the letter recognition and reading side. To emphasize math and the number of the week, I rely heavily on manipulatives. We use links like these from Discovery Toys to "graph" our numbers, along with keeping a group of popsicle sticks and plastic bear counters handy to represent the number we're discussing. Each week we add another to our grouping.
  • If the week is particularly busy with other errands and to-dos, learn on the go. Point out items that begin with the letter of the week or have them count. Our makeshift learning lab has helped a ton with Max's recognition. Whenever we're on the go, I'll have him point out the letters or numbers we're talking about on billboards, signs, etc. He especially lives for speed limit signs and likes to remind me to go the speed limit. Ha Ha! Sometimes if things get nutty, we'll extend the letter/number into two weeks. The point is, YOU get to decide the pace you want to go. There are NO rules.
  • I'm a planner, but I'm also busy and would rather spend my free time watching Bravo or scouring J.Crew's new arrivals, so I try not to over think this setup. In fact, most weeks I throw something together on Monday morning while Max eats breakfast. I get out a basket, browse his room, look for items around our house, and come up with a game plan for activities, books, or low-key crafts we can create to learn the letter/number of the week. It could include cooking or baking, building the letter/number out of play dough, collecting items that begin with the letter of interest or the amount we're focused on. Sometimes we'll scan his books to see if he can recognize the letter, or I'll have him look through One Thousand Things and pick out words that sound like they begin with the letter. One of his favorite activities includes sorting through his magnetic letters/numbers and alphabet blocks and collecting the week's number and letter with his vehicle of choice. This is also a great way of having him work individually and I can tend to laundry or drink my coffee.
  • I opted to go in alphabetical and numerical order because it honestly makes sense to organize it that way for us. While there are many opinions regarding the order in which you should teach the alphabet, I believe that symbols like numbers and letters are still very foreign to a 3 year old and Max questions the WHY to everything. If I chose just any random letter or number, he would look at a number or alphabet chart and question WHY I skipped something.
  • As most of you are aware, there are oodles of resources online so you can personalize this however you like. I personally try to stay off of Pinterest, because it can be a lot and most of the projects entail more steps or materials than I'd prefer. Instead, I stick to YouTube for catchy musical videos by Jack Hartmann, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Go Noodle, and ABC Mouse. These especially come in handy when the weather is less than ideal and your toddler needs to MOVE. A LOT.



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