When I started blogging for fun (almost!) three years ago, I never imagined that blogging would result in friendships from around the country. Literally. I have formed so many wonderful relationships and even met a few other creatives in person. I have often thought about quitting my blog, and even Instagram for that matter, but time and again the friendships I’ve formed with so many people and their never sending support keeps me going.
One of those people who I connected with instantly and who has been one of my biggest cheerleaders is my friend Sarah from Cozy Little Joys. Sarah and I have bonded over everything from classic style, to motherhood and raising our two toddlers, to blue and white obsessions, a love for stripes, gin and tonics,and so much more. She inspires me daily with her positive attitude, real-life honesty, and as of most recently, her courage to share a new passion during these difficult times.
I’m so excited to share Sarah’s newest venture – the Cozy Little Prints Studio! Cozy Little Prints started as a creative outlet for Sarah to help ease stress and anxiety during a very challenging time. Cozy Little Prints is a collection of original watercolor paintings, ranging from fresh blooms, to architecture, botanicals, ginger jars, classic style, and coastal art. You can purchase digital downloads of Sarah’s artwork on Etsy, as well as working with Sarah on commissioned pieces.
In honor of the launch of Sarah’s new venture, Sarah, our friend Caitlin from Lemonade Press Blog, and myself are giving away three watercolor prints from Sarah’s blue and white lemon collection! Head to our Instagram’s to enter to win!
The joy of home ownership. We definitely love owning a home. A home allows us to create a space that is all our own. But it’s also a money sucking time commitment. Built in 1976, we bought our house in 2016. The owners prior to us kept the house updated and modern, which has resulted in minor cosmetic changes on our end.
For the past year we’ve been dealing with some issues with our chimney. Long story short, our chimney base has disconnected from our house and water has been seeping into our family room. This has caused water damage in our family room ceiling, as well as our guest room ceiling.
We’ve had engineers, masons, contractors, insurance agents – you name it – out to our home to look at the problem and the damage it has caused. We have finally hired a contractor who will be building up our foundation to connect it back to the chimney and hopefully fix this problem for good. But because this chimney problem has caused so much interior and exterior damage, we have decided this summer is the summer of value adding projects.
We were told when we bought the house that the roof would need to be replaced in five-ish years. We decided that since we are already working on chimney and foundation repairs, we might as well replace the roof while we are at it. We are going with dark gray shingles to better suit another project – painting the exterior!
Painting the Exterior Siding
Our exterior siding is currently blue with black shutters and a white garage. We’ve always wanted to paint the entire exterior navy and then replace the black shutters with white ones. I’m currently researching paint colors and Hale Navy seems to be a favorite among many.
Painting the Family Room and Guest Room
Because of the interior water damage, we have to replace some of the drywall and ceiling and will need to repaint both of the family room and upstairs guest room. Our family room is currently a grayish blue and the guest room is beige. Because the family room has no windows and only sliding doors to the deck, I’m switching the paint color to bright white to try and brighten it up. Our guest room isn’t really a guest room right now – it’s more of a hodgepodge of random items. But eventually, Lilly will probably move in there so my plan is to paint it white for now and then later we can add some color above the chair rail.
We have a large deck right off the back of the house and one of the previous owners planted some very lush gardens. Unfortunately, the gardens are extremely hard to maintain and four years in this house has still not resulted in getting them cleaned up. This year though we are committing ourselves to clearing out the gardens – literally everything and just mulching them. Next year we will plant native, low maintenance plants to spruce things up.
These are the main projects, but we are also hoping to replace our front door and purchase a comfy reading chair for our living room. Plus, we want to finish the playroom by purchasing some fun artwork.
Phew. I feel tired just typing all of this out. Although these aren’t glamorous projects, they will increase the value of the home and we won’t have to deal with any more water issues! Stay tuned for updates along the way!
We learned long ago that home projects take time, money, and lots of patience. One of the items we realized we need sooner than later in the playroom is an adult sized chair. No joke, there is no furniture for an adult. I’ve been scouring the internet for some comfy and stylish chair options that won’t break the bank. Below are the pieces I’m currently eyeing.
BEST ROCKING CHAIR
The DaVinci Adrian Swivel Glider in Cream is one I’m eyeing for style, color, and the simple fact that it has an ottoman. This chair is very similar to the chair we have in the nursery and we love it. I want something that will be comfortable and practical. This option would definitely be a good option for all the snuggles and reading. ($429.99)
BEST OPTION FOR EXTRA STORAGE
The Million Dollar Baby Classic Sadie Swivel Glider is another great rocking chair option that comes with an ottoman. The ottoman top opens for extra storage, which is always a win in my book. This option comes in three different colors and I think the white linen would match the aesthetic of the playroom the best. ($599.99)
The Newton Chaise Lounge from Birchlane is my dream chair. I’m eyeing this one for the playroom and our living room. This chair would be insanely comfortable and provide plenty of room for all the snuggles. The color is also perfect. But it’s definitely the most expensive option and quite a bit more than we want to spend for the playroom. ($827.50)
This ivory feather filled chair from World Market is definitely the best deal. And even though the color is ivory, the material appears to be pretty durable and able to sustain spills, crayons, and everything else that comes with a playroom. Crafted of pine solid wood frame with polyester-nylon performance upholstery, feather filling and swivel base, this chair looks like it will be so cozy. I’m happy with the reviews and price point on this one. We could potentially even purchase two of these which would be a win. ($279.99)
BEST IN PRICE AND STYLE
The Joey Armchair and Ottoman from Joss and Main is also a great option. It’s priced extremely well, has exceptional reviews, and is very stylish. It appears to be slightly oversized, so reading with L will be cozy and comfortable. This is definitely high on the list as a possible contender. ($299.99)
I might spend some more time looking, but these five chairs have so far been my favorites. Leave me a comment below with your favorite or send me a few other suggestions if you know a great chair for a playroom!
One of my favorite aspects about blogging is being able to connect with and partner with other creatives. This week I’m co-hosting a giveaway with some of my favorite ladies!
This time of year always makes me crave some sprucing up of my home decor. So what better time to give some lucky followers a few new items to freshen up their kitchen! The winner of the giveaway will receive a cutting board and two towels from Homegirls Boutique, a blue plant art print from Hammer Kate Art, and a recipe journal from J.Sperling Paperie! Head to my Instagram for the rules on how to enter.
Homegirls Boutique: Based in Jacksonville, IL, Homegirls Boutique specializes in home accessories, women’s fashions, and good smelling things!
J. Sperling Paperie: The goal of J. Sperling Paperie is to collect moments and create heirlooms. Whether it’s collecting family favorite recipes, navigating the ups and downs of motherhood, or sharing the pages of a correspondence journal, J. Sperling Paperie has something for everyone that treasures timeless paper goods.
Kate Hammer Art: Kate Hammer Studio offers the most beautiful watercolor botanical and acrylic landscapes. Kate specializes in gorgeous paintings of fruit (lemon and peaches), herbs, landscapes, wildflowers, and plants. She also accepts custom orders.
Time for a playroom update! We are moving along with styling and organizing this space. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen we purchased some shelves and organizational bins for Lilly’s books and toys! We might add another set of these items to the other side of the window, but we are waiting a little while longer to see if that’s needed.
We gave Lilly a kid kitchen set for Christmas and she was also gifted a set of table and chairs. So far she is loving both items and we are having so much fun playing tea, making toast, and learning our food groups.
My next step in bringing this room altogether is to begin shopping for some artwork! As of now, I don’t have a “theme” for this room. I just really want this space to be a collection of items that we love and that are inspiring.
I’m taking my time looking for artwork that stops me in my tracks. One piece I did purchase months ago is a beautiful watercolor from Bittersweet Farms, a nonprofit I used to work for that serves adults with autism. Bittersweet Farms has an art therapy program and one of the artists painted this piece. I instantly fell in love with it and I finally had the time to hang it up.
It’s that time of year where magic seems to be in the air! Christmas is such a special time for gathering with family and friends and what better way to celebrate the season than with some festive and cozy decor!
When Wayfair reached out to partner with me for their Holiday Homemaking Series, I was more than happy to share how I transform our home for the holidays.
I’m not the traditional red and green Christmas decorator. I never have been and I don’t know if I ever will. I tend to vibe better with shades of blue (shocker), silver, gold, and as of late, forest green.
My inspiration for our Christmas decor definitely comes from our current decor. Because our color scheme is already 90% blue and white, my holiday decorating typically takes on a coastal vibe. I love to decorate using shades of blue, gold and silver.
Every year I add a little more decor items to my collection. This year I was yearning for simple, so I’ve added no fuss mini wreaths, faux snow coated trees, and fresh greenery. The touches I added this year actually ended up taking on a colonial vibe and I’m totally loving the colonial, coastal mix.
Christmas is all about adding subtle touches to your space to make it feel warm and inviting. Adding in a soft throw blanket or some fun pillows (loving this ski inspired one right now) can instantly soften a room and make it feel welcoming.
One of the things I love about Wayfair is the variety they offer! Sometimes it’s hard to find Christmas pieces that vibe with my style, but Wayfair has an entire section dedicated to Coastal Christmas. I’m loving this Aegean Key Jute Tree Skirt and these white poinsettia flowers for my tree. Adding white sparkly flowers and stringing nautical rope as garland on our tree definitely gives it that coastal vibe that I so love.
In addition to its variety, Wayfair also offers tips for decorating, such as what size Christmas tree skirt you need, how many ornaments to use on your tree, and how much garland you need for the size of your tree! They have some really helpful resources if you ever need some inspiration!
Below I’ve rounded up some of my Wayfair Christmas favorites for this year. Definitely be sure to check out my picks and let me know what you find for yourself!
I can’t believe Christmas is one month away!! This year’s
holiday season totally snuck up on me (I think I was too busy planning L’s
birthday party!). Before life gets too festive though, I want to share a
two part series for shopping small for the holidays. This two part series
isn’t going to be your normal gift guide.
I’m not focusing on actual products, but focusing more on my favorite
Personally, I love shopping small for the holidays – the gifts are more meaningful knowing someone poured their heart and soul into creating something they love. This week I’m sharing some of my favorite women owned, small businesses and next week I will share my favorite Ohio based brands!
S. Lynch Knitwear
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen me sporting the coziest accessories from S.Lynch Knitwear. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing a cozy knit piece for someone on your gift list. S. Lynch Knitwear products are hands down my favorite winter accessories! The craftsmanship is beautiful, the products are WARM, and they fit perfectly. Plus, there are several styles that are “Mommy and Me” so you and your little can twin!
If art and watercolors is your thing, then Kate Hammer Studio is your shop. Kate Hammer Studio offers the most beautiful watercolor botanicals and acrylic landscapes. Kate specializes in gorgeous paintings of fruit (lemon and peaches), herbs, landscapes, wildflowers, and my new favorite – blue and white plants! She also accepts custom orders. I personally own three of her art prints and they are all hanging in my kitchen.
I discovered Sewcialite on Instagram on my maternity leave and have been obsessed since. Inspired by the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire, Sewcialite offers modern, handmade accessories that are created out of rope. Yes, rope! Sewcialite can take ordinary clothesline rope and turn it into functional art. From rope clutches and satchels, to planters and wall baskets, Sewcialite has one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone! I am fortunate enough to own one of her beautifully woven rope bowls and the craftsmanship is top notch.
Hands down my favorite hand towels. EVER. Anchors Aweigh Supply Co. is a Turkish-American business that sells luxurious seaside inspired essentials. This woman owned and run business sells high quality, handmade towels (beach, bath, kitchen, etc.), baby bibs, bathrobes, and more! Not only do I LOVE the look and quality of the products, but I also love that all of their products are 100% Turkish cotton, free from harmful chemicals, and all of the items are handmade by Turkish women using safe and ethical working conditions. AMAZING! The owner has real relationships with the women who make the towels and I absolutely love that.
If I was still working in the fashion industry, working at THOM KELLY would be my dream job! Using only sustainable materials and created right here in the United States, THOM KELLY creates classic, comfortable, and stylish clothes that are no fuss and easy. Each piece is designed to be effortless and built to wear for any occasion (running errands, wearing over a swimsuit, or heading out for date night). Button-up shirts are available for women and men and they recently launched some amazingly cozy and flattering sweatshirts for women (you better believe one is on my Christmas list!). Plus, they are members of 1% for the Planet, which means that each time you make a purchase, you will be making a positive impact on our planet. WIN.
You guys know how much I love supporting local businesses, so I was thrilled when Angela from Pineapples and Parties reached out to do a giveaway!
Pineapples and Parties is a local event planning and decorating business that specializes in attention to detail. From weddings to showers to parties and fundraisers, Angela does it all!
She also provides budget analysis, day-of coordination, event design, gift baskets, favors, florals, full event planning, guest list creation, holiday decorating, partial event planning, timelines, to-do lists, and vendor selections.
Pineapples and Parties celebrated their ONE year anniversary this summer! In celebration, I’m partnering with Angela to give TWO of our followers a Pineapples and Parties t-shirt, tote bag, and a $50 gift card to Pineapples and Parties for a future event!
Head to my Instagram for the giveaway details and to enter! (For those that live out of town, you can still enter to win and Angela will work remotely to help you plan an event!)
Home decor projects have definitely slipped to the wayside these last couple of months. In fact, we are currently undergoing baby proofing everything and I’m packing away many of my decor pieces (who knew things like vases, lamps, furniture, etc. could be so dangerous?!)
One area that has fortunately received some love and attention is our master bedroom. For the past five plus years, we’ve been using mismatched hand-me-down pieces for our side tables. They are so dinky and small, I don’t even know if they really count for end tables.
My aunt graciously gave us two Queen Anne style tables a few years ago that have been pretty much acting as storage. They are quite outdated, but their size is proportionally perfect for our bed and so I decided, what the heck, maybe they will look cute with some paint.
I decided to spray paint these white and what a difference!! Painting these bright white gave them whole new life and a fresh new look. You can finally see the sea shell detail on the front, which is just the cutest.
I used Krylon Fusion All In One Satin Primer and Paint spray paint from Lowes for the tables. I ended up spraying two coats plus touch ups just to make sure the white covered the original wood finish. Isn’t it amazing how much just a little bit of paint can transform a space?!
I am not a fan of clutter, so I love that the tables have drawers – it makes it easy to hide phone cords, chapstick, journals, etc.
I’m not sure how I want to style them yet, so I’m going to keep it simple for now with a few books and fresh flowers.
Now the question is, what should I spray paint next?!
“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.” – Anonymous
Words that were never more true. So many emotions have emerged these past few weeks as we have welcomed our sweet little bairn (Scottish word for baby for those that are not familiar – I’ve been watching too much Outlander) into this world. We have experienced fatigue like we never have before. We have felt immeasurable joy and pride in seeing mini versions of ourselves. We have experienced anxiety and despair while trying to calm a screaming baby. But most of all, we have felt love so great it brings us to tears.
Obviously when you bring a new human into the world, many things change. We have had to completely adapt to a new way of life (which we were anticipating, but it doesn’t make it any easier). There are so many things we have learned over these past few weeks and we want to share our experience with others, in the hope it will bring other new parents some hope or comfort. And hopefully this post will help anyone thinking about starting a family.
No Sleep. – This one is obvious, but you really don’t understand what it means until it happens. It LITERALLY means NO SLEEP. This has been by far the hardest adjustment for me. I’m an in bed by 9pm kind of girl who never pulled all-nighters and would beg my friends in college to leave the bars at midnight so I could go to bed. I need at least nine hours of sleep to function. Whelp, not anymore! I’ve lost count of how many all-nighters we’ve pulled in the past seven weeks.
The first week was by far the hardest. No one tells you that babies aren’t born with a built in circadian rhythm (aka, they don’t know night from day and have to learn that). That first week Miss L would not sleep at all at night, and definitely not in her bassinet. The only place she would sleep was on mom and dad. We would have to take 2-3 hour shifts holding her so the other could sleep. It was really rough.
But, everyone told us things would get easier, and it does. Each week Miss L adds on a little more sleep in between feedings. We are now up to 4.5 hours between feedings which means I can get more than an hour or two of sleep at a time. YAY!
Breastfeeding is really hard! – This was as big a shocker to me as the lack of sleep. I knew I always wanted to breastfeed, but I had no idea how hard of a job it would be. The first few weeks you are feeding that baby every two hours and it takes 30-45 minutes for each feeding. That gives a breastfeeding mom just over an hour to try and eat or take a shower or sleep or do just about anything.
Breastfeeding is also really painful at first. Your breasts are not used to being used like that, so you are constantly sore and in pain. Around week 4 I finally felt comfortable again and at week seven I actually enjoy feeding my sweet babe. I’ve come to realize what a blessing this special time is with her and I love the bonding that happens between us.
(p.s.Breastfeeding makes you extremely thirsty! I recommend all mamas who are going to breastfeed to have a glass of water next to you at all times!)
Baby is just as scared as the parents. – Realizing that being born into this world was just as shocking for L as it was for us really helped to center us when she was upset. Many people don’t realize that for a baby, this is a whole new world, filled with unfamiliar sounds, smells, and faces. It’s a shock to their system (remember they’ve been comfortably cocooned for nine months) and it takes them awhile to become adjusted. The first couple of weeks when she would cry,I would always try and remember that she was just as scared as me and that definitely helped me to cope better and comfort her better. My mom sent me this piece a day or two after she was born and I still cry so hard when I read it. It’s so painfully beautiful, but it has helped SO much when trying to comfort L.
Set a routine earlier than later. – Setting a routine for L is something we JUST started doing. I am reading the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and one of the ideas that has really stuck with me is putting baby on a flexible schedule as soon as possible. Tracy calls it the EASY method – Eat, Activity, Sleep, You (time for Mom). Babies need to be taught what is expected of them and they like a structured schedule. When I started implementing this idea about a week or two ago, I saw a huge change in how much more content baby (and mom!) have become. That being said, I’m also a huge advocate for figuring out what works for you and your family. There are so many books, ideas, and opinions coming at you from every direction and it’s really important to pause, listen to your baby, and implement things that work for your lifestyle.
Two products we have loved. – I thought it would be fun to share some of the baby items that we have come to love and use on a regular basis. The first item I highly recommend is the Boppy pillow. We have two of them (one for the nursery and one for downstairs). We use our pillows every single day (hubby even naps with them!). They make breastfeeding so much more comfortable, plus as baby grows you can use them to support their back when they begin to sit up on their own.
Another product we use daily is our rock n’ play seat/sleeper. L LOVES this seat. It has a vibrating function, as well as the ability to rock. I’m convinced she gets some of her best sleep in this seat. Plus, it folds up super easy and so traveling with it is a breeze.
We could talk all day about our experience the past few weeks, but we don’t want this post to be too long. Hopefully what we have shared will help other new parents or expecting parents. At the end of the day, having a baby is the most challenging but the most rewarding thing you will ever do. We can’t imagine life without our sweet L and cherish each day with her. She is such a blessing and a gift and we are so excited to embark on this new adventure with her.
p.s. You can shop my sweater by checking out this post and you can find the nursery details here.