Featured on Better Homes & Gardens!

Thank you to Better Homes & Gardens for featuring our fall mantel. Check it out:

Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to decorate it this year...

Room Study III: How to Create a Sophisticated Child's Space

In the past couple of weeks we've studied six amazing children's spaces that strike the right balance between sophistication and fun. Today all three spaces are for little boys. These moms got it right:

Jennifer Chused of Dwell Studio's nursery featured on A Cup of Jo:

Color Palette - The light blue walls set off the chocolate brown fabrics and add color to a very neutral space. The touches of orange-y red throughout the room in the toys and chair add some excitement to this very soothing space.

Whimsical Touches - Toys, polka dots, vintage airplane illustrations, and a bright orange rocker make this space comfortable for a kid.

Statement Piece - Jennifer went big - filling an entire wall with art. If she had only hung three or four pieces the room would have been nice, but her choice to create an installation takes the space to a whole new level.

And speaking of A Cup of Jo, here's Joanna Goddard's son Toby's nursery, which she collaborated on with Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook:

Color Palette - The overall palette is extremely neutral, but the pops of bright blue keep the space fun for a child and add visual interest.

Whimsical Touches - The polka dot sheets, airplane mobile and hand-painted cloud shade help to balance the very neutral walls and curtains.

Statement Piece - This room goes to show that you don't need to spend a lot of money to make a statement. The shade was a basic white roller shade that was hand-painted by Joanna's designer, Jenny Komenda. Simple and inexpensive, but it really makes the room.

Last on the list is a striped boys' room from Cookie Magazine via Ohdeedoh:

1. Color Palette - Horizontal stripes can be at home in an adult's or child's space, but in this case the light blue color lends itself well to this little boy's room. Splashes of bright red throughout the space add some much needed drama.

2. Whimsical touches - The bedding and toys let us know that a child lives in this space, and if your space still isn't feeling quite right for your little one, add a mobile. They're a kids' room classic.

3. Statement Piece - The rug is definitely a statement with its bold, graphic pattern, but the piece that really screams 'little boy' here is the cowboy print on the wall. Because what little boy doesn't pretend to ride off into the sunset with his trusty steed?

I think it's interesting that if you look at each of the elements in this space, nothing is child specific (except for the toys of course). Any of these elements alone could be in an adult space, but combined they make a great kid's room.

What are your thoughts on these spaces? Do they strike the right balance between sophistication and fun?

For Your Wee Ones: Bear with Me


clockwise from top left: one, two, three, four, five, six

Bling Bling.

Hope everyone had a great weekend and that those of you on the East coast weathered the storm safely. We got some rain but otherwise no issues. Violet was cooped up inside all weekend, but we still had fun. We got to chat with her Aunt Nikki and Uncle Dan in Australia via Skype and Violet showed off her favorite shoes (she picked them out herself):

(And yeah, she rocks her onesie on the outside of her pants in the morning. What can I say, she's a trendsetter.)

Seriously, this kid loves shoes. She's a little obsessed. She tries to wear my shoes, Kevin's shoes, our visitors' shoes - you name it, she'll wear it. We were in at Baby Gap a couple of weeks ago and she discovered these in one of the bins. You should have heard her little squeal of delight. You would've thought she had found a puppy or something. Would I normally purchase my child pink shoes with giant rhinestones surrounded by tulle? No. No I would not. But it had to be done. And it was worth every penny.

Here's to hoping that this week is a little drier and safer for all.

Switching to a Sippy Cup

With Violet returning to the babysitter on Monday, we started a last-minute push to transition Violet from the bottle to the sippy cup this weekend. It's only her and three of her babysitter's kids, but one is a three-month-old and we thought that her sitter would appreciate it if she was a little bit more independent with her feedings, plus at this point she is 'supposed' to be exclusively drinking from a sippy cup anyway.

 [Our little lounge lizard]

She's done great with drinking water from a sippy cup, but whenever I would put her formula in it she'd look at me like I had two heads. Absolutely NO interest. We decided that a more firm approach was needed, so we withheld the bottle completely and only offered the sippy cup. She still wasn't interested so at the suggestion of a friend we went out and bought a different kind of cup.

It's called the three-stage sippy cup by Nuby and it worked like a charm. It's shaped like a sippy cup but has two different spouts - one shaped more like the nipple of a bottle and one more like the spout of a traditional sippy cup. We tried the nipple-shaped spout and she took right to it. The third stage is removal of the handles, but we're not too worried about that part as she does fine with or without them. I just thought I'd pass along the recommendation for anyone who is having difficulty transitioning their toddler from the bottle to a sippy cup. Now I may have to buy a few more so that I'm not constantly cleaning this one!

Friday Favorites


Gemma Bird's first birthday party looked like such a blast! What a lucky little girl.

Do you feel like your children are welcome in public places? Violet usually gets a lot of smiles and attention, but I'm wondering if this will change as she gets older.

Congrats to Chelsea on the birth of her beautiful baby girl, Elliotte! (And I can't wait to see the rest of the nursery!)

Did you see Zoe Ellen's nursery over on Ohdeedoh?! It's a showstopper:

Speaking of nurseries, Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook shared her favorite boys' and girls' rooms.

I love that I'm not the only one who sometimes feels a little lost. (Thanks to people like this and this who let us know that everyone else is just trying to figure it all out too).

And last but not least, great back-to-work style inspiration.

Happy Friday!

Mama & Baby: Aqua & Brown

Clockwise from top left: shorts, wooden top, braid tutorial, necklace, mug, blocks, blazer

Etsy Love

                                   Material Recovery

                        Jane Foster

    The Good Machinery

Money Matters: How Much Do You Spend on Groceries?

After being off with Violet for nine months without pay, followed by adjusting to the cost of child care, diapers, doctor bills, and all of the other costs that come along with having a child, our savings and budget have taken a bit of a hit.

Although I'm not excited about leaving Violet this week (I'm back at work), I am excited to say that I will be receiving a full paycheck again (finally). And on top of that our home equity loan will (finally) be paid off, so I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In the meantime we've been looking for new ways to save more money. We have quite a few goals and we need to find a way to finance them:
  1. Replenish our general savings
  2. Start some sort of college savings (Roth IRA, 529 Plan, Insurance Fund?) for Violet
  3. Start saving for a down payment on a larger home
  4. Save for me to be off again with (hopefully) a future baby
Things that we've considered are:
  1. Cutting cable (unthinkable in the Hubster's opinion, and, to be honest, I'd miss it too) 
  2. Spending less on the house (difficult for me because with blogging I'm constantly seeing beautiful new products and inspiring homes)
  3. Spending less on groceries. (We both like food!)

I always wonder what other people spend on groceries. Sure you can compare on Mint.com or ask friends or even poll people on a forum, but I always think that these comparisons can be so inaccurate because people mean different things when they say 'groceries'. For us, groceries include our food, cat food and litter, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and baby items.

When I see people say that they spend $50-$60 a week on groceries, I am floored. I know that there are some serious coupon clippers out there, and I suppose it's possible depending on what you buy. But even with coupons it just doesn't feel doable for us because we buy mostly whole fresh foods, and you just don't see coupons for things like asparagus, bread, or salmon in the newspaper or the coupon clipper. (At least not in ours!) I feel like I use this as an excuse sometimes though, so I've tried to think of money-saving options we do have available:

  • clipping (and using) coupons for toiletries/cleaning supplies/baby stuff
  • meal planning (we're not very good at this)
  • using our store bonus card
  • setting and sticking to a budget
  • comparison shopping
  • envelope system (sometimes the card works against us even though we do get rewards points) 
Right now if we manage to stay within $100 per week I am proud of us. Is that crazy? Do you have any other tips for me? Or motivating words? I'm hoping by posting about this it will hold me accountable for actually really trying.

P.S. Have you seen the tumblr Things Organized Neatly?! If you haven't check it out - it's equal parts therapeutic and insanity-inducing.

Pennies Image by Bob Dinetz Design via Things Organized Neatly
Ingredients Image by Carl Kleiner for IKEA via Things Organized Neatly

Room Study II: How to Create a Sophisticated Child's Space

In last week's room study, we looked at three spaces and talked about how the each of the rooms balanced very adult elements with the use of color, whimsical touches, and statement pieces. We're starting out today with a child's space from Lauren Liess of Pure Style home that I think gets it just right:

1. Color Palette - The neutral walls, carpet, furniture, and bedding are balanced by large doses of bright green in the curtains, rug, and throw.

2. Whimsical Touches - A faux zebra rug, toys, books, stuffed animals, and bird-shaped lamp all add to the childlike feel of the space. Large graphic patterns work great in children's spaces, like the leafy curtains that flank the daybed.

3. Statement Piece - The big statement in this room is definitely the lion wallpaper decal complete with chalkboard paint grass. These wallpaper cutouts are the perfect statement piece - the patterns are generally very grown up, but the animals shapes add the fun. (If you're looking for one, definitely check out Inke)

(Side note: If you're contemplating a jungle or animal theme for your child's space, take note of the tasteful way in which Lauren pulled it off in this space - she managed to include lions, leaves, monkeys, and zebra print without making the room feel overdone or cheesy.)

Our next room is from Viv over on Ish & Chi. She designed this amazing space for her son, Robert:

Color Palette - Whites and beige reign supreme in this room, but bright red accents throughout the space add the extra life that is needed in a child's room.

Whimsical Touches - Toys, a stunning tee pee, and children's illustrations make this space fun. And although you can't see them in these photos, Viv added the most adorable elephant sheets to the crib.

Statement Piece - A very grown-up settee is balanced by an entire wall papered in circus characters. (Another example of a theme done right. Circus enthusiasts take note!)

Last on the list today is a lovely little girls' room designed by Lotus Bleu Home Decor & Interior Design:

Color Palette - Pink and periwinkle set the tone for this sweet little girls' space. Although certain elements like the window treatments, nightstand, and even some of the pillows feel very formal, they work in a child's space because of their hue.

Whimsical Touches/Statement Piece - No toys, stuffed animals, or books are visible in this space. The cartoon-y (but not annoyingly so) elephant print serves double duty as both the whimsy and statement piece in this little girls' room.

So how are you all feeling about this group? What did I miss?

Stay tuned for more amazing spaces!

Idea Board Giveaway on Spearmint Baby

Psst! I'm giving away a custom idea board over on Spearmint Baby.

Just leave a comment to enter!

Image via Adore Vintage

For Your Wee Ones: Light as a Feather

Clockwise from top left: garland, mobile, owl plushie, dress, wings, print, featherband

A Little Zoologist

Knowing Violet's love of animals, we thought the perfect day trip would be to visit the zoo. I think it may have been the highlight of her summer. She squealed and screamed, pointed and waved. The look of wonder on her face was immeasurable. I wish I could have captured her joy and saved it forever. The day had to come to and end, but we'll always have the memories:

I love you my joyful little zoologist.




A post that I worked on for a couple of hours and finished now seems to be only half complete (and I saved it people!) Frustrating.

AND Disqus seems to have suddenly stopped working on my blog. I didn't change anything so I'm not sure what's going on. Sorry if you've tried to leave a comment. Just letting you know that I'm working on it!

Today is not my day.

Trying to Break Out of Denial

So I've kind of been in denial about the fact that I'm heading back to work on Monday. The Hubster will still be home with Violet for another week before she goes back to her (very awesome) babysitter. I love my job and I love our babysitter, but I still wish I could be home with my little girl. I'm really going to miss her and the idea of her being anywhere for 8-9 hours a day without me is tough.

 (Right after waking up with paci marks on her little cheeks)

I've been trying to get my mind into work mode this weekend so it won't hopefully be quite as shocking when I leave the house on Monday morning. I've been picking out my outfits for the week (kind of fun!), getting some information together for the babysitter, and I just ordered Violet her first lunchbox! I went with the Goodbyn original in raspberry (yum!):

I love that it has separate compartments, it's dishwasher safe, and can even house a banana and small thermos! I'm hoping that it will eventually make her lunch feel special as she won't be able to eat a lot of what the other kids are eating. And she's a little young for notes, but if it lasts a few years I can put special messages in a separate compartment as well.

I discovered it over on Bleubird and used her discount code to get an additional 15% off the price. Do any of you have a Goodbyn? Do you like it? I'm really excited to start packing her lunches!

Ferm Living Favorites: Autumn/Winter 2011

Ferm Living's Autumn/Winter 2011 collection is out and it's lovely. Here are a few of my favorites:

Isn't the color palette just perfect? I'm bummed that the candle holder is already out of stock. Hopefully it will be back in soon. And if I had a little boy I'd be all over that car lamp!

What do you think?

Friday Favorites

Rifle Paper Co.'s beautiful botanical calendar for 2012 is out - I ordered mine yesterday!

I love this post about new motherhood by Chelsea over on Us Three Birds. Certain parts feel like they were taken right out of my experience - worries about raising a daughter, and the horror of checking things out down there soon after giving birth (don't do it!). Anyway, definitely a good read.

An absolutely amazing dining room makeover from Abbey over on Aesthetic Outburst (you have to see the before!) 

I'm sure you've seen this breathtaking illlustrated plant alphabet that's been floating around the blogosphere, but in case you haven't it's a must see. (And this tree of life print is equally amazing).

If I had more money, I would totally use this skin care line - Miss James' skin is perfection.

Nine signs you might be raising a toddler.

And last but not least, I really must decide what video to create one of these flip books out of:

Happy Friday!


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