November 30, 2012

Potty Training

 What have I been doing this week while the rest of the blog world is making holiday gift guides?
 Toilets.
That's right, I'm knee deep in potty training Wells.  We went cold turkey.  Boot Camp style.  Today is officially day 4.

We went with the Baby Bjorn potty chair because Wells told me she wanted to use her own little potty.  I like that it's super lightweight and portable and it's easy to clean.  I like that there aren't any bells or whistles or pretty pretty princesses that make her think it's a toy.  Because it's not a toy.  It's for getting yer bidness done.  I would have liked it more if they had sent one to me for free to review. 

While I wish I had some miraculous list of do's and don'ts for you my plan has been simple and I don't feel like we've been at it long enough to declare success.  But I like our method because it's working.  She's only had two accidents, and those both occurred on day one.

I had a few key components like a package of Dora panties Wells picked out herself and the Baby Bjorn Potty Chair already sitting out in our bathroom where she was used to seeing it.  She's not in MMO or MDO or any other type of pre-school situation where she's been actively aware that other little teeny people use the potty and not their pants when they need to go.  And while she had sat down pantsless a few times over the last several month she'd never actually tinkled in a potty before.  So when I say we went cold turkey, I mean it.  

 Monday morning we went to our little play group and I told her that her little friend Finlay was wearing big girl panties so she could use the potty and that her mommy was going to teach me how to help her go too.  She acted indifferent to this news.  Monday afternoon I mention this story to my mom in front of Wells where once again she ignores me and my tales of toddlers making tinkle in potties.  But later that night, Wells pooped in her diaper then immediately took it off and ran to her little potty to kiiiiiiinda soooortttaa finish the job and then proudly told me that she "making poop in the potty".  Pretty sure it was the peer pressure did her in.

So Tuesday when she woke up I took her jammies and her diaper off and told her we were going to use the potty now.  And she did.  And with only two exceptions, she has ever since.  No chocolate, no stickers, no reminding.  Number 1 and Number 2.  I'm feeling lucky.

On a side note, we don't have a bathroom on the first floor so I moved her potty downstairs.  It started off in our family room and the next day when my dad stopped by she moved it to a corner of the kitchen where it's been ever since.  "I need pri-acy mom."  Girl gets it.

So like I said, we're on day four and we haven't had an accident since day one.  I'm going to give it a full week before I share my tips and tricks of what worked for us.  
I'd love to hear all about your adventures in potty training.  I'm sure everyone has a funny story or some awful gory story that's scarred them for life!  Let's hear it!  And this can totally include your pets my loves.  I'm sure y'all skipped this post, but just in case you're still here I want to make it clear I don't descriminate against non-child toting readers.  And potty training puppies is worse.  Believe me.  It's worse.

November 29, 2012

Zebra Wrapping Paper with a nod to Scalamandre

So I've been inspired by Christmas wrappings and a sweet holiday message for the direction I want to take Wells' Big Girl Room.  Black & white, khakis & creams, bold pinks and lots of shiny silver and gold.  Classic patterns like polka dots, zebras, herringbone, and zigzag (not quite chevron) will ground the space.

 Did I tell y'all Wells is in her big girl bed?  Yes, about six weeks ago she moved herself right into a new room and into a twin bed.  It actually was a non-issue and she's done really great since the first night.  Even naps have improved.  Of course, she waited until the night that an eminent storm coincided with her Daddy's travel schedule to tell me she was going to sleep in her big kid bed.  Of course.
found here | purchase here

Because this switch came on unexpectedly, there's not really much progress in her room.  So far we've got a black bed, a white dresser and light grey walls.  She has black and white polka dot sheets and a white comforter.  Her black and white glider with a white pillow with her name embroidered in pink.  That's it.  It's lacking.  

I've been on the lookout for some pizazz for her walls for a while and I'm pretty sure this zebra will do the trick.  I plan to order a sheet and pop it into a large sized black ribba frame.

Kind of like a cheap version of schalamandre.

 We likey right?

November 28, 2012

White Biscuits

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...in bed.
Splattered with shades of greige and rich warm wood tones.
Call me old fashioned, call me old school or just call me plain old, but new bedding is at the top of my Christmas list this year.  It's a step above underpants and socks at least.
Where do you buy your bed linens?  I want your secrets.  Who makes duvets that hold up in the wash?  Sheets that don't need to be ironed?  Pillow inserts you'd never buy again because after two weeks they are really crap.  Spill it.



I wasn't kidding.
I want the love or hate details on non dry-cleaned or ironed buttered up biscuits*

What kind of mattress do you have?
What brand are your sheets?  What color?
On top...comforter, quilt, or duvet?
Where did you find your inserts?
Where did you buy your duvet and shams?
How many pillows do you top it off with?
Euros, standards, sleeping.

FILL ME IN!!!

*Bailey says we should call them that.  And she's funny.  Like real funny.  So her word goes.

November 27, 2012

Fair Isle Love

So how we did our bank accounts fare yesterday on cyber monday deals?
Confession:  I didn't buy a thing.  Extreme sales overwhelm me.  It's too much pressure and I get nervous.  So I sat there all day not buying things at 20% off that I'll most likely buy this weekend with no free shipping.  I'm going to work on that for next year.  Get myself better organized for Christmas.  What are your tips for scoring deals without over buying?

So I'm pretty much currently obsessed with fair isle.
 Not in the obsurd trendy way, but in the warm and cozy perfect for the holidays with family kind of way.  Maybe it was spending five days in the mountains with my in-laws for Thanksgving, but I'm 100% on board with outfiting my whole family in this classic knit.

Here are my top picks for Fair Isle.  See any you like?  I threw a few little girl sweaters in there from crewcuts being they were too cute not to add.  All around, these sweaters are at the top of my list for sure.  Who am I kidding, Wells will get one and rock it for the next two months and I'll be stuck in my same old solids.  Maybe this post will encourage you to buy one for yourself too.   Maybe elevate your own wardrobes to at least equal those of your kids.

November 26, 2012

The best skinny jeans for moms & Girls Night Out

Did y'all have a great Thanksgiving?  I pretty much sat on my butt eating pie and drinking wine.  With my in-laws around to help with Wells and Tagg I even managed to read two books and go back to bed for a few early morning naps.
Sadly, I was too busy being relaxed to take any pictures.  Boo.  But I've got a few from my girls weekend in Charleston I never shared.  Does that work? 

Friday night with Amanda and Caycee at Natalie's house for wine night.  Girl does not disappoint with her yummy cheese trays. 

Saturday night with Erin, Chassity, me, Amanda, Anna, Natalie, Katharine, and Caycee at MacIntosh and then lots of random bar hopping. 

And I know you can't really tell in any of these pictures but I'm wearing my new Rag and Bone jeans.  The skinny in Kensington to be exact.


And they are every bit as AH-MAZING as my girls have said.  They hold it all in.  They're like the perfect jean for anyone who has had a baby and needs a little help holding in the non-sense left behind.  Worth every penny.  Go find yourself a cyber Monday deal and treat yourself!
 

November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving leftovers

  Did we all get up early to score some deals this morning loves?  Unless you count a quick trip for biscuits at the country store, I most definitely did not.  Nope, my happy butt is parked in front of the fire at the cabin snacking on leftovers all day.  Can't wait to catch up when I get back to town my dears!
How adorable are these to send your guests home with.  Camille Styles has your awesome downloadable printable here.

November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving



I hope everyone is having a cozy and warm holiday full of comfort food and thankful thoughts!

November 21, 2012

cane chairs

So I'm pretty excited about my new cane chairs.  They're upholstered in pink velvet and tufted on the seat backs.  I immediately threw on my leopard print pillows from Arianna's shop and fell in love.  IN LOVE.  They're curved backs and substantial style hold their weight against my curved couch.  But they're low and airy so they don't obstruct the view.  


Even Wells gives her seal of approval on "mommy's neeeeeew bootiful chairs".  

Matthew's reaction?  He hates them.  
"They look like they belong to the golden girls.  You know, like the crap you find in the furnished beach condos in Myrtle Beach."
And while his taste meter is clearly off because these chairs are clearly fantastic, I do feel bad.
The poor man just wants a place to read a book or take a nap.  A man chair.
 
The chairs inspired me to create a whole new vision for that room and the adjacent room.  I moved our television and wing chair from the living room and our pink couch from our sunroom and created a family room.  Now you don't walk into my house and immediately get bombarded by a gigantic flatscreen and too many toys.  And it totally opens up the scenario for said man chair to live.

I'm on the hunt.

November 20, 2012

Dining Room Reveal

Not mine though.  I wish.  
My sister's house in Nashville is kick ass.  Let's face it, girl has great taste.  I've already shared her downstairs powder room and now let's take a look-see at her dining room.  And it most definitely does not disappoint!  I'm obsessed with the chandy.  What's your favorite part?

 Here on some images of the room while my sister was conceptualizing the final look.  They're not exactly big dramatic before shot's but they do show how we pulled the look together along the way.

Sources
Wall and Ceiling Colors - Restoration Hardware (Charcoal and Flint)
Floor - Slate
Dining Room Table and Chairs - Family Antique from Kentucky Farmhouse (seat cushions are a holdover from 2004)
Glass Knobs -- Oops, we need to remove these and hang the curtains a bit wider; that's a project for another day; used existing rods to save funds; not ideal but good enough for now)
Curtain Trim Fabric and custom table runners  - Quadrille - Brighton Magenta on Tint

Seamstress (Curtains and Table Runners) - Lisa Venable (she was amazing; fabric print went the other direction; chains are custom 2-3 pieces seamlessly sewn together per panel trim to achieve the chain look; all of that achieved (panels and runners) using only 3 yards of quadrille)

Concept Designer - Lori Parajanpe at Redo Your House (Inspired the Pink on Slate look as well as found the chandelier; room original had 2 ceiling fans, we removed them and replaced them with the chandelier)




November 19, 2012

Let's Get Personal: Part 3

So I'm back with Part 3 today.  Y'all still here?  

I had an ah-mazing time this weekend with some of my favorite ladies.  And I think it's perfectly fitting that my girls weekend coincided with this post because I met these girls through blogging.  And they have since become my real life friends.
Amanda, Anna, Caycee, Chassity, Erin, Katharine, and Natalie are the kind of people you want in your life and I am thankful for this blog for making that happen.  They are creative, talented, and supportive women. And they know how to get down and laugh.  The best kind of people really.


Bloggity Blog
  
Why did I start blogging?  Am I crazy to keep going?
Hmmm.  That's a good question and I'm not really sure how to pinpoint it. 
Because my overflowing files of interior design pictures were taking up too much room on my work computer.  Because I liked reading other people's blogs and didn't want to be a stalkerish anonymous commenter.  On a whim.  Because I thought coming up with blog names and headers sounded like fun.  Because it was too much effort to email pictures and updates of my life to everyone I know.  I didn't want to bother people about my day to day life and I figured an email demands attention and begs for a reply but a blog would be more like an open house, stop by if you like.  Linger or don't.  Come back or not.  Comment if you want.  Non-committal. 

I wasn't very committed to blogging for the first year and half.  I had no internet at our house.  By choice.  My husband and I were cable and internet free for almost two years and I liked it.  I might do it again one day.  You can laugh with me at some of those posts.  The ones where I'm trying way too hard and the ones where I'm clearly not trying at all.  I didn't have a voice.  I didn't really care.
We got cable and internet when we moved to Richmond so blogging was more of an every day option for me.  Sometime about a year ago I made a promise to myself to blog at least 3 days a week.  I surpassed my goal and have maintained 5+ posts a week ever since.  The sudden popularity of pinterest last winter really pushed me to try harder.  I didn't want to just do "design dump" posts anymore.  People go to pinterest for that now.  I liked the challenge of making my blog something different.
I get emails a lot from people just starting out who ask me to help them grow their readership.  How specifically did I do that?  No freaking clue.  I'm consistent and I true to myself and my thoughts and tastes.  I'm not trying too hard.  I'm friendly and real and I don't have hidden agendas or career aspirations for my blog.  I think people like that.  They can tell when you only blog about a certain bag because you received it for free to review.  Or when you passively push products on them.  I don't do that here.    

Unique Content.  
That's the buzz word now right.  It's hard to be creative and inspired all the time.  I'm the first to admit that some days I find it really hard to post.
Because of pinterest I was forced to find my voice.  Who am I and what do I want to say?  I'm still working on that.  I'm not an interior designer, I'm not a fashion or food blogger, I'm not a full on photography website, I'm not a mommy blog.  What am I?  Godbless, maybe you can tell me.  I'm not really sure what I am.  As a person, I'm a little bit of all of those things which I guess is why my blog is too.
 I've pushed myself to be more creative with layouts and graphic design and to finish little projects around the house so I'd have something to blog about.  I slowly started sharing more pictures of my everyday life. I enjoy those things.
I love the motivation blogging gives me to complete things.  I love the camaraderie and advice and friendship I get from other bloggers.  I love the instant access to like minded people with similar interests but new ideas and fresh perspectives.  I love the eye candy and the stories.  Listening to people talk about their lives and getting a glimpse into their living rooms and closets and handbags.  Blogging is my guilty-pleasure.  Along with Andy Cohen and the Real Housewives reunion shows.

Why do I keep going
For myself.  I could say it's an online bulletin board or a place to gather my thoughts.  Another creative outlet in and of itself.  Which is all true.  But honestly, I guess I like to think my opinions matter and that someone else might like to hear them too.  And I like to see concrete evidence every day that I thought about something other than if we are running low on soy milk. 

Goals for my blog
First and foremost, to be a friendly place that makes you feel good.  Somewhere you can voice your opinion and learn something.  Even if it's just where to find cheap pants or a $30 pillow.  You don't have to shower and put on makeup or curl your hair with a wand or think about about losing 10 or 20 more pounds to show up.  It can be when your kids are sleeping or during the first 30 minutes you get to work while you're returning important emails.  Or at 3am when you're up with a hungry baby or a sick child or just another case of dreadful insomnia.  Maybe you relate to what I'm saying that day and that makes you feel a little less alone or a little less crazy.

 Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier.  Mother Teresa

I'd like to find ways to grow sponsorships and do more product review posts so I can begin to justify my time I spend here.  Because it's time away from my family and that is costly.  Thankfully my photography business is growing but with that comes more time in front of the computer.  My kids are at a stage right now that makes blogging and editing pictures nearly impossible during the day.  By 7:45 when they're both finally down and out for the night I find myself jumping on the computer to get "work" done instead of sitting down to ask my husband how his day went.  That's not the kind of marriage I want.  My only other option is wait until he's gone to sleep and slip back downstairs.  I hear other women, especially photographers, mention this routine but I have yet to try it.  I like sleep too much.  This fall I have been making a conscience effort to turn off the computer.

Balance
I spent a lot of time blogging each week.  At least an hour goes into each and every blog post I do.  Minimum.  And many times much more than that if you count the time it takes to edit photographs or gather images to create boards.  That's not counting the time I spend on pinterest or other blogs commenting and collecting inspiration.  That would add probably another 1-2 hours a day.  Add in guest posts at around an hour each.  Responding to emails is at least another hour.  But I enjoy it.  I get something very large out of this whole blogging thing in many ways.  But I'm reminded daily by my growing babies how costly and fleeting time really is.  I can't do it all.

I've learned it's okay to turn down work when the opportunity cost is just too high.  I'm learning to say no.  I recently stopped contributing regularly to a baby blog because I couldn't find the time to create those extra blog posts.  I was approached by an organization recently that wanted to offer me a chance to provide mini-sessions during their fall festival for a price I wasn't comfortable with.  After some negotiations and my offer to donate my services to the cause on the condition that they provide just one picture,  they turned me down and went in another direction.  I feel really proud of myself for not compromising the value I place on myself and my time.
Balance is a tricky slope that I'm still figuring out.

Business
  That being said, if I had to choose, I'd like to see my photography business grow.  I have a passion for all things creative but I don't find the business side of interior design appealing and I don't have the heart for the constant critique involved in deeming myself an artist.  Photography feels different.  While everyone may not be happy with every picture I take, I can help them capture a memory and a feeling that will soon be gone.  It scares me how fast my own babes are growing and I'm thankful for digital photography and video cameras on cell phones.  I do struggle with the business side of photography.  Not the financial side as much as the marketing.  Which is surprising to me having a background in this area.  But it's harder when I'm marketing myself.  Asking people in constant view of a sea of other talent to choose me.  Pick me please!  I feel lame.

I could also see myself as an interior stylist or personal shopper.  Couldn't we all?  I love spending an afternoon getting lost at antique stores and Homegoods.  It's more than fun to bring back those new finds and implement them into a room to make it prettier.  I love creating new furniture layouts to make a home function better for actually living in each square foot.  My friends and their living rooms can attest to this.  Wasted space bothers me.  But my desire goes no further than that.  I'm not good with budgets or measuring sofas or spending hours online sourcing club chairs.  That's why I'm not really sure how to turn this aspect into a profitable business.  I can help you style a bookshelf but I'm not the next Kelly Wearstler.

Emails
  I'm terrible with returning emails.  Sorry.  I'm working on it.  I've tried a few systems but nothing seems to work and I end up weeks late on responding.  I blame my need to check emails at 3am when I hear a baby cry and am pausing to asses their need.  I read them and then I forget them.  I get bombarded with emails all day long and tend to respond to quick ones as they come in and wait for longer responses.  Sometimes those fall into the read it and forget it category.  I need a new system.  I've tried responding all at once at the end of the day but that's not working for me either.  I do better if I just respond as I read them, even if I don't have the full response ready.  A follow up is better than being ignored.  I need to post that on a sticky note on my computer!

Outfit boards v. Design Boards
 I love to imagine outfit boards full of stylish clothes intended for fabulous destinations.  In my own life I'm much happier in a pair of good fitting skinny jeans and flats.  I only feel comfortable in white tops which is tricky with baby spit up and sticky toddler fingers clinging to me daily.  I get nervous in a lot of color, like I'm trying too hard to be perky.  This may come as a surprise to some of you, but those pink jeans I bought and wore all summer were really out of my comfort zone.  I relate to the NYC mentality of wearing a lot black.  But I get nervous that it's too edgy or too urban which isn't me either.  So there you have it, clothes make me nervous.  Decorative pillows make me feel in control.  It's so personal and makes such a silent statement to the world about who you are.  I'm so many things and it's hard to put that into an outfit in the morning.  And I clearly over analyze things.  If you're still reading, you've probably realized that by now!

Random
 Oh, and I'm 5'8.5 and I drink sauvignon blanc.  The cheap stuff.  Rex Goliath from Kroger.

November 16, 2012

traveling in style

Thanks again for all the sweet words this week my dears.  Nice to keep it real on here.  I'm going to take a break from the heavy stuff today because Mama is OFF!
That's right, I'm heading down to Charleston by myself this morning for some much needed R&R with the ladies this weekend.  After reading yesterday's post you know how ready I am for this trip!  I'm sure there will be some pictures surfacing of the various shenanigans but I've made my loves promise no instagramming after 9pm.  This lady can't guarantee the fake eyelashes won't come unglued after two cocktails ;)

Hope everyone else has a fab weekend too!