Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday Finds

one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Moscow Mule Gift Basket

Are you looking for a fun gift idea? I come from the kind of family where we write exact wish lists with specific items we want, and then just buy based on those lists, so I'm not always great at coming up with something when it isn't specified. I mean, give me a wedding or baby registry and I am that person who only buys things from the registry.

We got invited to a couple's "stock the bar" party for Jeff's brother a couple of weeks ago. The concept was, instead of a wedding shower, we could have a fun cocktail party instead. Guests were asked to either buy something bar related off of the couple's registry, or to bring wine or liquor to fill their bar.

Of course I waited a little on the long side to actually buy a gift from their registry (because that's just the type of procrastinator I am) but there were still Moscow Mule glasses available. I had been planning on spending a little more on the gift, so I decided to make it into a gift basket!

Our gift basket included the Moscow Mule glasses (of course), vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and limes for the cocktails. I also tossed in fun cocktail napkins, some pretty coasters, and reuseable straws. And then of course I picked out a pretty basket that was big enough to hold everything and would also look nice in their house.

Someone else had already purchased bar tools off of their registry so I didn't want to toss in more random things, but you could also add in shot glasses, beer or wine openers, a pretty cocktail shaker, or other bar tools to fill out the basket. Some other ideas I had were a mint plant (some people will muddle mint into the drink or use it as a garnish), cute dish towels, a candle, or a gift card to a liquor store.

To put the basket together, I first added in the extra items that wouldn't fit in the top of the basket, so the rest of the Moscow Mule glasses, additional bottles of ginger beer, and the rest of the set of straws. Then I added a layer of tissue paper and some pretty metallic shredded paper. I arranged everything else on top, with some extra shredded paper in the glass so you could see the limes I put inside. Add a cute card and you're good to go! This would also be a fun gift idea for a 21 year old's birthday or for a bachelor or bachelorette party.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Motherhood Monday: Would You Ask for a Push Present?

Would you ever ask for a push present from your partner? I'm guessing you've heard of push presents, but in case you haven't, the basic concept is that you pushed a baby out of your body, so you deserve a reward.

On Mia's due date! We thought there would be a baby any minute, but she decided to hang out for 8 days longer!

I used to think it was a crazy concept, but then again, I also thought babymoons were a little silly too (note: babymoons are not silly, they are awesome and you should take one if you can!). Why would you need a present from your spouse just for having a baby, especially when you are about to spend a ton of money raising a child?

Right, well then I got pregnant and my tune changed. No, I didn't want something crazy and extravagant for carrying a child, but I was starting to think that after all of the craziness my body put me through (food aversions, motion sickness, prenatal carpal tunnel, a PUPPP rash, and more!) that getting something pretty at the end would be nice. In addition to it being a "reward," I started seeing a push present as something that would always remind me of the special time in our lives of being pregnant with our first child, and all of that anticipation that comes along with it.

Once I decided I wanted a push present, I wanted the gift to be specific to the baby and to be something I would keep and use forever. I ended up setting my sights on this initial necklace with an "M" for Mia. I've seen others with this necklace for years and always thought it was subtle and beautiful. It's a bit more than I would normally spend on a necklace, but perfect for a present.

I've found in the past that when I want something, especially something specific, I have to tell Jeff directly. He's never going to be the guy to just surprise me. (After dropping hints for years about how I like fresh flowers and candy, I ended up telling him directly that I would love if he would surprise them with me now and then. Now he knows exactly what my expectations are and a little way to make me happy, so we're both happy!) So, after I decided on the necklace I wanted, I told Jeff I would love for him to get it for me, and sent him a link with the exact size and color I wanted. Mia's due date was also right after Valentine's Day and my birthday, so I told Jeff not to get me anything for those and to combine them all with a push present instead.

Jeff ended up waiting to buy the necklace because we wanted to be 100% sure of Mia's name (we waited to meet her before settling on it!), so he ended up giving it to me a week or two after she was born. It was such a sweet surprise to see a pretty little present wrapped and sitting on my pillow. And you guys, the necklace is gorgeous in person. I love that it reminds me of Mia every time I see it, and have barely taken it off since I got it. It's the perfect little necklace to wear every day since it goes with anything, and pairs well with my other dainty everyday necklaces too. It also is durable, and has stood up so far to tiny baby fists that grab on to it and pull hard! Just a note, I have the 16" in yellow gold. I see now that they have an adjustable 16-18" chain now, and definitely would have gotten that one if I realized it was an option just so I could change the length depending on my top.

Now, did I really need a push present? Absolutely not. But, it was nice to have Jeff acknowledge everything I had done to have the baby and show his appreciation and love for me. And now, whenever I look in the mirror, I'm reminded of my beautiful little girl and how happy we are to have her! And for years to come, it will remind me of this special time in our lives.

So tell me, what are your thoughts on push presents? Would you ever ask for one or expect one?

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday Finds

one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Three Favorite Handbags On Sale

You may have heard that ShopBop is currently running their "Event of the Season" sale where you can get 20% off on any order, and 25% off orders of $500+ with code EVENT19. If you've been wanting to make a big designer purchase, now is the time! I actually had been planning on making a major handbag purchase next week as I'm getting my annual bonus (yep, in mid-April!) so this couldn't be better timing for me - I'm thinking it'll be this tote!

I honestly rarely buy designer items and even more rarely shop at ShopBop because most things are pricier than I like to spend. However, they do carry a few lines I love (like Madewell and Sam Edelman) and three of my favorite handbags are included in the sale. The sale only runs today through Friday, so move fast if you want something.

I shared a full review of why I think this bag is worth the price last fall, and I still love it just as much! It's beautiful and gets so much use, as it works great for everyday as well as dressy events. I also love that the chain lets me wear it short or long, or even crossbody. I've had mine for three years now and it still is beautiful, just a little wear is showing on the corners. I was worried the soft leather would scratch easily, but it still looks brand spanking new! 

I wore this all. summer. long. And spring. And a little in the fall too ;) It is just so stinking cute and goes with everything! I was really surprised by how much it holds, I can fit my bigger camera in there when I travel along with my phone, (small) wallet, and sunglasses! It does not have a closure at the top but I found that it sort of closes itself when it's really full. I do keep stuff in a pouch inside and clip it to the handle when I travel though to make sure nothing gets stolen or lost. 

There are a ton of dupes out there (as well as really similar bags) so if this isn't in your budget definitely go cheaper, as it is a trendier item. However I love the real deal, and you can definitely tell it's higher quality than the dupes between the weaving and materials of the bag itself and the leather strap and detailing. 

This is the newest item in my handbag collection, and I already love it and carry it every chance I get! I had been considering a Transport Tote for years but couldn't quite stomach the price, but a big gift card from Christmas changed my mind! I love the zipped top for safe city commuting, and love that it's big enough to haul anything and everything, including my laptop and all of the cords, or any number of baby items. I sprayed the heck out of mine with a leather waterproofing spray to protect it from stains, and definitely recommend it if you get a lighter color since they can stain - I've seen some pretty beat up transport totes on the train! 

Have questions about any of these? I'm happy to help!

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Black Floral Spring Dress

Dress - J.Crew Factory / Sweater - LOFT / Booties - TOMS / Bag - Tory Burch / Sunnies - Amazon

Look you guys, an actual outfit post!! And I'm not even trying to get dressed around a gigantic bump anymore!

Jeff's parents hosted a little engagement / stock the bar party for his brother last weekend, and I used it as an opportunity to break out a pretty new spring dress. I love little dresses like this because they work so well dressed up or down. I wasn't really sure how dressed up people would get for the party, so it was nice to be able to sit at middle ground. By taking this dress that could be perceived as "dressy" but adding casual elements like the cardigan and booties, it perfectly toes the line. And it was good I went this route too, since some people showed up in dresses and heels and others were in jeans and tee shirts.

I also love black floral print dresses for spring in Chicago because you can still easily pair them with black tights. That doesn't work quite as well with pastel floral dresses. I am not a proponent for freezing your butt off during Chicago's "spring" days, so tights are a must for me! Turns out as you get older, you really just want to be comfortable all the time.

In case you were wondering, this dress does have a hook and eye closure so it does work for nursing. That's something I've really been looking for in dresses for spring and summer. If I'm in a tee and shorts I can still figure out how to feed little Mia, but I've realized that if I'm in a dress that doesn't open easily I basically have to get naked for her snack time, which I don't think will work quite as well out in public ;)

Dress - J.Crew Factory / Sweater - LOFT / Booties - TOMS / Bag - Tory Burch / Sunnies - Amazon

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Friday, April 5, 2019

Friday Finds

Happy Friday!! This weekend, Mia, Jeff and I are headed to an engagement party for Jeff's brother. There's a lot of family in town for Mia to meet - I'm so excited! I ordered about eight different party outfits for Mia so who knows what she'll end up in haha ;) How many clothes does a baby need again when she spends most of the day asleep?

Here are my finds for the week:

one / two / three / four / five

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Instagram Lately

Oh hey there! We haven't been taking outfit photos while I get this #mombod whipped back into shape. (Is #mombod a thing because it should be? Also I'm completely relying on breastfeeding and going on walks here. I literally just stuffed a cupcake into my mouth.) But, I have actually been sharing a lot more of my day-to-day outfits on Instagram than I usually do. It was very handy having my photographer (read: husband) on hand for a month straight ;)

I always think this type of round up will take less time than a full outfit post, but it usually ends up taking more time because I have to hunt down all of the links! You can always shop my Instagram by clicking the link in my Instagram bio, which takes you to the Shop page on my site where I link everything up through LikeToKnowIt. But, some websites don't work with LikeToKnowIt and I know some people don't like to use it, so I'm sharing additional links here.

My robe (looks like my exact print is sold out, but I freaking love this robe, so soft and comfy, plus it packs really small for your hospital bag) / Mia's swaddle and headband

Sunglasses / Coat / Similar Shirt / Similar Bag / Jeans (same cut different wash) / Sneakers / Carseat / Carseat cover / Mia's hat (these are the only ones we found that would stay on her head!)

Hat / SweatshirtJeans (same cut different wash) / Sneakers / Bag

Sunglasses / Sweater / Tee / Jeans (same cut & distressing but different wash) / Booties (also available here) / Carseat / Carseat cover / Mia's hat (these are the only ones we found that would stay on her head!)

Hat / Coat (currently on sale!) / Solly Wrap

Sunglasses / Coat / Shirt / Jeans (same cut different wash) / Sneakers / Stroller / Car seat

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Monday, April 1, 2019

Motherhood Monday: Best Baby Gear for Newborns

The background in the photos I've been taking of Mia is actually her crib sheet, available here.

Jeff and I have been parents now for a whole month (!!!) and so obviously are now experts and have a lot of opinions on baby gear. In addition to what we registered for, we got a lot of hand-me-downs from Jeff's baby sister as well as borrowed a few things from my sister, so we've gotten to try a lot of different things. Now, of course, every baby is different. What worked for us might not work for you. But I thought I'd share what we're loving so far.

1. Matimati Baby Bibs. It turns out, most bibs don't seem to really work, they're too thin so liquid soaks right through them. These are super thick and have a double layer, so they actually keep Mia dry when she's eating out of a bottle and letting milk run everywhere! Plus they don't go over her head (baby trama alert) or have velcro. It turns out you don't want velcro on your baby gear because you have to wash it often, and the velcro will stick to other things in the wash and ruin them. And these are so adorable and have great patterns - definitely keepers!
2. aden + anais Burpy Bibs. These are also bibs for when the baby gets older, but when they aren't snapped they're actually huge burp cloths! They are the only ones I reach for at the moment, as they are actually thick and absorbent (very important when you have a particularly spitty baby!) plus they contour to better fit your shoulder and are big. I'm considering buying more of these as I'm constantly washing them to have one on hand!
3. SwaddleMe Original Swaddles. I'm pretty dexterous so I thought I'd be able to swaddle with blankets no problem. Nope nope nope, it turns out swaddling blankets are the worst and babies can break out of them no problem and then wake themselves up and get mad. We have a ton of different types of swaddling blankets that were hand-me-downs so we got to try out a lot of them, and these were hands down the best for right when we got home from the hospital. You just have to pin the baby's arm's down and velcro, and voila, you're good to go! The small/medium size did only work for Mia though for as long as she fit into newborn clothing, as soon as she was too big she was able to snake her hands out again.
4. DockATot Deluxe+ Stage 1 Dock and Cover. I bought this last summer on impulse during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, not knowing too much about it but hearing from a few bloggers that they loved them. Then I looked it up and saw that the safety guidelines are basically that you aren't supposed to let the baby sleep in it unless it's on the floor. I was worried we wouldn't ever actually use it, but oh my goodness was I wrong. She's basically in it whenever she sleeps during the day. We decided that she is okay to snooze in it on the couch when we're in the room with her, and she will sleep in it for hours. I think it must be super cozy, like being held. It means we can actually get stuff done instead of just holding her all day! It is hands down the best baby purchase we've made.
5. Solly Baby Wrap. We've used this wrap a couple of times to hold Mia when we go out to eat, and she falls asleep basically instantly when we put her in it. She just gets to snuggle with her mama in there! I was a little intimidated to try to get her in there the first time as I've heard other moms say they don't feel like the baby is secure. The trick is to just make sure the wrap is really tight on your body before you put the baby in. I definitely recommend watching this video on how to tie it on repeat before you give it a try! I'm planning to use this more now that Jeff is back at work for when I need to run down to CVS or a coffee shop, as it's less of a hassle than getting her down the stairs with her stroller since we live in a fourth floor walk up.
6. Love to Dream Swaddle UP. When Mia got too big for her SwaddleMe swaddles, we tried a bunch of different ones again and found an immediate favorite in this one. It allows her to be swaddled with her hands up, which is how she sleeps when she isn't swaddled. In this swaddle, she can self sooth by putting her hands in her mouth. She has managed to sooth herself back to sleep when wearing it, and has done some 6-8 hour stretches in it!
7. Magnetic Me Footie. These onesies are magical. Instead of snaps (hard!) or zippers that bunch up, they close with magnets! We just have one, but I've been washing it repeatedly so we can use it at bed time.
8. Luvable Friends Booties. It turns out, no baby socks stay on. Parents had told me this, and yet I did not believe them, but it's true. No baby socks stay on. These booties actually do! They can go on over socks or replace socks to keep babies toesies warm in the winter.
9. Boppy Pillow. This works perfectly for keeping baby in place for breastfeeding and means I can actually keep one hand free, you know, for scrolling Instagram. I recommend brining it to the hospital with you so the nurses can show you how to position your baby for breastfeeding with it.
10. Changing Pad Liners. It turns out, Mia likes to pee right when I try to replace a dirty diaper with a clean one. We have these on top of the changing pad so that when she inevitably gets things messy, I can just pull one off and put it in the wash instead of having to wrestle with a new changing pad cover each time. We have six total of these and can regularly go through all six in two days. 

Do you have any baby gear must haves that we should check out? Let me know!

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