Holiday Gift Guide For One Year Olds to Three Year Olds

December 9, 2017

Baby favorites

 

1      /   2    /    3    /    4    /     5     /     6     /     7     /     8     /     9     /     10     /     11     /     12     /     13   

14     /     15 

1. Dig it Up Dinosaur Eggs, Bugs and Minerals  – Soak them in water to soften them up and then use the included chisel to find the item inside. These require adult help. Our three year old is obsessed!!

2. Excavator Digger Scooter So cool for construction obsessed kids to have their own excavator. We use it indoors. 

3. Personalized Name Puzzle – Love this small shop!

4. Cash Register – The kids love playing “store” so I want to add this to the lineup.

5. Shopping Cart – We use this for imaginary play as well as for cleanup to get all the toys centralized.

6. Noah the Dog from Cuddle and Kind – For each doll sold, this company gives 10 meals to kids in need all around the world. Handmade and heirloom quality.

7. Crystal Growing Kit– Our three year old has been asking for this since he saw it in a catalog. Surely too old for him but together it will be a fun project. 

8. Laugh and Learn Crawl Around Car – SO this is more for 6 month olds learning to pull themselves up but its just been such a hit for both kids so I included it.

9. Rody – You will love the fun colors and they will love getting out energy and bouncing around. 

10. Sand Box – Fun for small construction and imaginary play on the patio or backyard.

11. The Very Hungry Catapiller Scooter– Super fun and cute in your play area.

12. Magnetiles – We have something similar and lots of creative play comes from these.

13. Tonka Tinys – Our three year old boy is obsessed. These come in individual surprise boxes (you can find them at Target near the Thomas the Train toys) or here is a set where you can see the two and get one surprise. 

14. Bruder Garbage Can Set– Great for the bathtub, small enough for travel and have had SO many hours of play.

15. Dyson Vacuum – our little 1.5 year old is obsessed with this. It makes a sound when you turn it on and another button makes it really suction (although nothing like the real thing lol).

 

Lolleez: Best Natural Sore Throat Relief For Kids & a Giveaway

November 27, 2017

HEALTH

This post is sponsored by Lolleez. All opinions are my own. 

We have had so many sick days this year! Lolleez sent us these throat soothing pops to try and I was really excited to have another trick for helping these guys out when they weren’t feeling well.

The Details:

+Lolleez are organic throat soothing pops for kids 
 
+Made from USDA Certified ingredients like organic honey and natural fruit pectin 
 
+Worry-free, flat lollipops 
 
+Non-GMO as well as gluten, dairy and nut free
 
+Three delicious flavors: Watermelon, Strawberry and Orange Mango
 
+Created by a mom that wanted a simple solution to a simple problem 

 

HUGE hit here! The natural fruit pectin is what soothes their throats. 

You can shop for them in stores HERE or order them online to have them on hand HERE

Visit Loleez

Web site: www.lolleez.com
Instagram: @Lolleez_Pops
 
On my Instagram Page (HERE) you can enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card (details on how to enter located on that Instagram Post caption). Contest closes at 9PM PST on Thursday, November 30, 2017.
 

**Enter to win a free bag of Lolleez Pops by commenting below with A TIP ON HOW TO GET THROUGH FLU SEASON. I will choose a random winner at 9PM PST on Thursday, November 30, 2017. Please leave me a way to contact you (IG handle or email address).

 
 These giveaways are in no connection with Amazon or Instagram.
 
 
 

15 Beautiful Books That Will Transform Your Home Right Now

September 25, 2017

Design


Create a similar look:


All Books Linked Below:

Urban Jungle //  Habitat  //  Sage Living

The New Bohemians //  Emily Henderson Styled  //  Sunday Suppers

Domino  //  Eat Drink Nap  //  Domino

The 52 Lists Projects  // The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up //  How to be a Domestic Goddess

The Food Lab  //  Breakfast  //  Green Kitchen Smoothies

Why Books?

One of my favorite easy and relatively inexpensive ways to decorate is with books. Many of these books are under $20 and can make a big impact on your mood when you see the colors, images and titles.

Do me a favor and please scroll up to the photo with Mark on our kitchen counter. Ok, now put your hand over the basket of books. Do you see what a big difference that book makes in giving the space character and a pop? Cool!

Styling TIP!

***Think in THREES (or just odd numbers) when decorating

 

How to Style with Books

1. In a basket

I have this wire basket in our kitchen and fill it with the cookbooks I’m currently into. I swap out the front one depending on the mood and color scheme I’m feeling. 

2. Stacked

Stack odd numbers of book or line up a bunch on a shelf display. 

3. Layered with Objects

Add a pretty candle and a decorative object (keeping odd numbers of things in each group) to make a little design vignette. I found these beads at the Long Beach Flea Market from a guy selling tons of sea glass and African textiles. I love to stack potted plants on a book pile too. Get crazy, ok? Ha!

I also love to give pretty books as gifts!

Have fun and let me know about any other beautiful books you love!

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog. 

Capsule Wardrobe Fall Edition

September 2, 2017

Style



I wanted to create a practical, stylish wardrobe of clothes that I love and actually wear. 

**This is for great for anyone who likes classic pieces that last many seasons and above all are comfortable!

This is not a sponsored post. This post contains affiliate links. You can click any of the clothing items for more details. Thank you for supporting my blog! If you are reading this through a subscription email, the clothing images may not show up so please visit the blog HERE. OK, here we go!

When I cleaned out my closet recently, I found again that I had a bunch of what I call “ideal wardrobe” items that I bought but never wore. These are what I envision myself wearing in my life but don’t really make sense for the life I really lead.

Why I never have anything to wear: Well, I wear jeans and tees but I often don’t want to admit this so I only have 2 tees and like one pair of jeans. lol

I look at things linearly so I applied this to something I find completely mystifying: Fashion. Here is the method I created (that sounds like I’m the only one who’s ever done anything like this…you know what I mean).

“I am happiest when I feel prepared.” -me

Phase I: Identify 

I made a list of what I need for my life as a 37 year old stay at home mother of 2 kids (1 and 3 years old) by starting with a list of what I normally do:

 

My Very Fast and Sexy Life

Morning Walk or Jog alone/Jogging stroller walk with kids

Park/Kids’ Activites/Playdates

Errands (Grocery shopping/Target)

Date night/Date lunch (like maybe once a month)

Girls Lunch (like once every 2 months)/Family Holidays

Weekends with family (want to look a little cuter than during the week HA)

 

Categories of clothing:

  1. Leisure wear/Exercise clothes for workouts (leggings, old tees, sports bras, running shoes)
  2. Day wear for the park and errands (tees, jeans, sweaters,casual dresses, jackets, cardigans)
  3. Something cool for a date/girls lunch (blouse, nice jeans, dressier shoes, cardigan)
  4. Wedding/Family photos (dresses)

Phase II Separate

I went through my closet/drawers and put everything on a hanger (besides work out clothes/underwear). I looked at each item and had a moment of honesty with myself, asking if I would wear it for one of my activities listed above. 

I have a pile for:

  1. Sell (if tags are still on, if its expensive and in great condition). I eBay or do a consignment store drop off.
  2. Donate 

If you are interested in more detailed methods of purging or decluttering, this book has a specific clothing section:

 

 

Then organize all your items by type: pants, tees, tops, outerwear etc. 

Phase III Build

Now that I had a great looking base of clothing, I started studying the items I had been eyeing on my favorite fashion bloggers and store sites to see if they fit into one of my categories. Then I decided how many of each item I would like

  1. Jeans: already own a distressed black pair, distressed blue pair, want a dressy dark pair, a  mid priced girlfriend pair and a plain black or gray pair.
  2. Tees: 5 long sleeved for fall/winter; 5 short sleeved for layering here
  3. Tops: already own 2 nice short sleeved blouse type shirts, want a sharp looking striped blouse and a couple ruffle sweaters for dates/lunches/family functions.
  4. Outerwear: I always get carried away here but let myself go a little wild ok? 
  5. Shoes: already own Birkenstocks, Free People open toed shoes, booties, running shoes and leisure black Nikes. want white leisure sneakers for park/errands also maybe some slides/mules?
  6. Dresses: already own 2 casual dresses great for layering with cardigans. Looking for a family photo dress/wedding guest dress.
  7. Bralettes: I’m loving the trend of thin and light intimates. Sooo over my super bulky nursing bras. Ha! These are great for peekaboo details with deep V necks or slide-off-the-shoulder tops.
  8. leisure:  already own a bunch of work out leggings and tops. looking for a pair of black joggers. 

 

**These items pictured below are a combination of things I own from past seasons, the current season and items I have my eye on. 

In general, my most shopped stores are: Nordstrom, Target, Marhsalls, Madewell and a new store you will see linked below that I have been really happily surprised about.

Bottoms

These button up jeans are my “dressy jeans.” They hold me in like a girdle and feel so amazing. I had them hemmed with a classic hem even though they came with a chewed hem. I want to wear them with one of the striped blouses to a girls lunch or date. 

Tops

 

The ruffle sweaters are so soft and make me look sharp while feeling like I’m wearing a sweatshirt.  

I have a bunch of these cotton long sleeved tops in different colors (striped, navy, gray, white). I added a peplum one in white (in linen blend) to break it up. 

Shoes

I am on the hunt for perfect mule for me and these are the ones that I like out there. The white sneaker is going to be a park staple with my girlfriend jeans. 

Outerwear

I always have way too much outerwear but I love it because since i’m usually in a tee and jeans, I love how jackets/vests/cardigans can pull together a look. I also love how I could wear them at any size (pre/post and transitional baby body).

The soft brown cardigan is back this season and its so cozy and easy. 

Dresses

 

Bralettes

Leisure

I love these leggings. I also own a bunch of leggings from Marshalls because I need like 5 pairs to last me through the week. Most of my workout tops are day wear tees that are a bit worn. I just slide them into the workout drawer. I even use things like cotton peplum tanks. 

 

Accessories 

This hairclip is the BEST hairlip you will every have. Super sturdy and a very strong hold. I purchase handbags like once every 10 years and wear them every day (Louis Vuitton bag pictured in photo at top of page). I linked a couple certified used ones here. These last forever and go with everything. 

You did it!

Please let me know how you cleaned out your closet and what other pieces you are shopping for! What are your staples that have lasted many seasons? Thank you!

Please check under the “shop” tab at the top of the site to see new items in my closet.

Stokke Steps High Chair System Review

August 21, 2017

Favorite Baby Products

This post is sponsored. All opinions are my own. We received the Stokke Steps high chair system at the start of the year and have used it from bouncer to table. It is a multi component chair that evolves with your growing child’s needs. It has been so practical as well as beautiful!

Componants

So there is the main chair component with legs that works like a mini, elevated seat for a toddler. To that, you can attach either the bouncer for when they are newborns OR when they can sit up on their own, you remove the bouncer and attach the Baby Set (seat with the leg holes and harness) and tray.

  1. Bouncer (used alone or attaches to chair as depicted in image above)
  2. Toddler chair (main base that you attach either the bouncer to or the Baby Set and tray)
  3. Baby Set (seat with leg holes and harness)
  4. Tray
  5. Padding for Baby Set

Overall Design

Stokke products are BEAUTIFUL! It is very easy to clean because the tray comes off and there really aren’t any cracks/spaces where food can get stuck. It lays flat too which is nice in case you want to remove it and set in down on a surface. 

This high chair system has been created so thoughtfully. It’s just smart and easy. My baby is comfortable and I can manage to keep it clean which makes me happy!

Customization

There are now so many options to give it a look that suits your family’s personality and decor. 

  1. Select color of legs (I chose whitewash there are many great finishes)
  2. Select color of seat and foot rest (black or white)
  3. Select color of bouncer padding (I chose greige)
  4. Select color of Baby Set (the seat with leg holes and harness) black/white/pink
  5. Select color of tray black/white

Bouncer

The bouncer seat works both on its own on the floor and as an attachment to the chair as pictured. I used it to keep Mark near me while i did dishes sometimes and he loved being up high. I was super excited to get a few minutes to catch up on housework.

It was also suuuuper cool to have him in the there next to us at the table while we all ate. He loved that too. The angle and height are awesome.

Baby Seat

Plenty of room to easily pull our big baby in an out. The harness is very secure. You can also adjust the size of the baby seating area. It’s just really easy to wipe down and keep clean. The materials are so hardy and resist staining so well.

It is obviously comfortable as you can see, little Mark sometimes naps in it. Ha! The padding was awesome when he was younger and I was feeding him. Now mealtimes are a tornado with Mark feeding himself, so i have removed the pads to save myself some work.

Cost

This is a premium high chair and you definitely get a premium product for this price. I use this high chair three times a day and will use it for years. I’m the kind of person who has had the same handbag for 8 years. It looks great still and it should for the price! Ha!

The entire system is a dream. If you are wanting to put some dough elsewhere, the toddler seat, Baby Set and tray are the way to go.

It is a piece of furniture in our eating area. It blends right in. I spend a lot of time with it and I enjoy it so much!

Drawbacks

Like many high chairs, the legs spread outwards for stability and that means a few tow jams now and again. Ha!

Conclusion

Premium design for looks and function. Excellent quality. Safe. Easy to clean and keep clean. Versatile. I love this chair and highly recommend it. 

You can play with building/customizing your own here: Stokke Steps Highchair System

Shop this post: 

Check out more kids’ gear HERE 

Instagram Photo Editing Using VSCO App

August 11, 2017

Photography Tips

Although I wish more people were asking me about where to buy my infamous pink, fuzzy, birth control robe, the most common question I receive via Instagram is about photo editing. Ha! I have done this article in the form of direct messages to many people and I hope it helps you too!

Here i’ll write about the photo editing I do for Instagram photos using the VSCO camera App. The editing I do for print work is done in a program called Lightroom.

If you go back in my Instagram feed, you can see when I was using Instagram as a place to develop my photography business (models etc). The images were taken with a professional camera (Canon 5d Mk II) which makes even challenging light conditions look good. Now I focus on family and lifestyle. I now take 99% of my Instagram photos on my iPhone 7 plus (Mark’s recent bday shot was taken with my camera). 

As a sidenote, photos here on the blog are a mix. Screenshot and DM me if you have a question on a specific image. 🙂 

VSCO Camera

VSCO cam is my favorite editing program. People sometimes ask what filter I use. to get the look you desire, it first starts with subject matter, story and lighting. When you marry those with a filter with the feeling you love then there is magic! I like S2 and A6 VSCO cam filters. They have nice contrast (dark darks and light lights) and tones. 

You can select the strength of the filter by double tapping it and sliding left or right. I like the look of something around 8. If you go stronger than that, the image starts to look very filtery and I like the filters to work as enhancing instead of altering. 

Now that you have your filter, let’s make the look all your own…

Exposure

The lighting conditions in every location are different. Most of my Instagram photos are taken in our home which has VERY different lighting than our previous home. You can scroll through and see the difference. Our lives center around the kitchen and its when our kids are most photographable. The kitchen faces West. The images have very different colors based on time of day or weather (overcast or sunny). 

Pumping up the exposure can add a little more contrast and adds a cheeriness. 

Contrast

Bump up the the whites and darken the blacks/dark tones even a little more. If I use this, it’s sparingly.

White Balance

The best advice for achieving beautiful tones in your images is mastering white balance. This means making whites white and having photo that is not too green, blue, pink, yellow…you know?

This starts with the lighting situation when you take the photo. For example, my evening kitchen photos are always warmer with the setting sun coming through the windows while the morning photos have a cooler/bluer tone and then can be tweaked in the editing process. Adjust the TINT on VSCO cam to get those undertone out and whites white!

You might want a rosy/pink tone to your photos. Again, the original or “raw” image is going to make the most impact on your final product but you can give your images a pink tone or green tone with the tint adjustments or with filters. 

Warmth

I play with the warmth to get the yellow tones out of my image because I prefer cooler tones. If you also prefer cooler tones, you can play between this, filters and contrast to get those golden tones out. 

When the image is too cool (say on a cloudy day), then I add a tiny bit of warmth to make colors pop because they can be drowned out without enough natural light. 

More

There are many other adjustments you can make like adding grain to make your photo look more like film. Each adjustment changes the feeling. That film look might pair great with a vintage vibe or nostalgic feel you want for example.

Raw iPhone 7 Plus image taken in the evening/West facing room

Instagram Post After Edits

Processed with VSCO with s2 preset +7.5, Exposure +2.1, contrast +0.3, tint +0.3, temp -0.4 and cropped

Another Edited Image 

Processed with VSCO with s2 preset. This was taken in the morning with a little overcast weather.

All three photos in this post were edited very similarly. Each one had a very different raw image lighting scenario. 

*Tips

1. Arrange your most frequently used tools and presets so that they are all grouped in front for quick editing.

For tools:

  1. Open an image for editing in VSCO cam.
  2. Press and hold down on one of the tools until they all start shaking. 
  3. Hold and drag each tool to set it in the order that works for you.
  4. When you are done arranging, just hit the list button in the lower right of the screen.

For presets (AKA filters):

  1. Open an image for editing and select the filter icon (circle/lens looking icon in lower left of screen).
  2. You will see all the filters lined up at the bottom. the first “filter” rectangle on the left is “shop” and the second is “manage.” Select manage.
  3. Scroll to your most used filters and select the star icon. these will now be moved to the front of all the filters. 

2. Cut and paste edits from one image to many

Maybe you have a group of photos taken in the same lighting conditions. Edit one and then cut and past like this in VSCO cam:

  1. Select an edited image.
  2. Select the “three dots” icon in lower right hand of scree.
  3. Select “copy edits.”
  4. Select one or more images and hit the “three dots” icon again then choose “Paste edits.”

 Next

I’m working on a post about Instagram lifestyle photography next. I will also be talking about light! Please let me know any questions you’d like answered there. Thanks!