Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend flew by like a toddler free hour, but it was a good one!

When I wasn't prepping for the Willow Crowns Summer launch (10 AM CST Tuesday morning), we were eating, playing outside, working around the house, and celebrating Mother's Day a week early since our normal schedule is a little upside down next weekend.

Pics? Thought you'd never ask.

Not only is this cookie adorable (and delicious), I earned it big time. After a week of potty training and making literally hundreds of headbands, I inhaled this bad boy without a second thought.

My peeps took me brunching for my faux Mother's Day and fortunately our favorite crepe place happens to have some kick butt coffee. 

It's warm in Houston but not too hot yet (soon, any day soon) so we're outside almost constantly trying to take advantage. This little Radio Flyer tricycle is our favorite mode of transportation currently.

My shoes are from a local boutique, but these Melissa sandals from Nordstrom are nearly identical.

More riveting launch planning. Want to know how many attempts it takes Steph and I to agree on the three homepage images? About a thousand.

Ended our weekend with water table fun. When she was ready to go in, she fibbed and said she had to pee just to get me to take her in the house pronto. Master manipulator, party of one. Time to sharpen my maternal lie detector skills.

J Crew Factory Suit (similar style) | Old Navy Hat

Tomorrow I have a super quick and easy tutorial lined up for how I make my braids so chunky (the only time I ever want the word "chunky" associated with my name...although one more of those Starbucks cookies and its game over). 

Hope you had a great weekend!

The Perfect Swimsuit

I always laugh I when I sit down to blog about weight/shape what have you while I'm simultaneously stuffing my face. These mini packs of Trader Joes trial mix are rocking my world. It has almonds AND dark chocolate in it, so, health health.

Anywho, it's May first (and I do my daintiest little chuckle when I see the NSYNC meme about how it's gonna be May. Every time), and Summer is creeping up on us. So let's talk about something that will make you cringe : swimsuits.

Let me be frank and say I wasn't rocking a two piece pre baby, so nothing has changed there, but an appropriately ruched bathing suit is more critical than error. I rely heavily on bathing suits that will suck me in, push me up, and hide that super sexy extra skin that's lingering around my middle for a taste of the trail mix headed its way.  Fortunately, I've discovered La Blanca swimsuits and they're a game changer. I feel personally responsible for making sure everyone owns one.

I pulled this vintage snap from last year off my Instagram (@willowcrowns).

I love, love, love these strapless suits so much that I have two. The red and a navy and white polka dot. I've linked this red suit from Nordstrom (and the hat is J Crew) but before you go running off to put this amazing, flattering, and somehow still age appropriately sexy (ugh) suit in your shopping cart, check TJ Maxx or Marshalls first. I find these exact suits there constantly and even sent one to Steph a couple months ago when I found it calling her name from the rack. Nordstrom Rack also tends to get these in often, so check there too!

update: Tiffany was kind enough to comment below with a link she found to TJ Maxx online where you can grab a La Blanca! The link is here , thanks for being so awesome, ladies!

So stop worrying about swimsuits, grab one of these bad boys knowing it will hold your tummy in and show off the impressive mom guns you have going on from hoisting a 30 lb toddler around all day!

Loving Long Distance

With Mother's Day just a couple of weeks away, I've been little homesick, like I usually am when holidays/special occasions roll around. I like to think I have a fair amount of experience with long distance relationships, but it's still hard sometimes.

The two years before we got engaged, Ryan and I lived in different states, and I haven't lived-in the same state as my family for the past six years. We keep moving further away and while sometimes it seems like it's harder the more miles we have between us, we seem to keep finding more ways to stay connected. Liv knows exactly who my parents are and the day they came to visit last month, she greeted my mother at the door with "MY GIGI!!" so I'm a big believer of the power of technology.

We have a little book with everyone's photos in it, we FaceTime almost every night with my parents, and most recently my mom has set up something pretty darn cool. She created a private YouTube channel where she posts videos of herself reading O's favorite books. My sister and dad just recorded videos as well that will soon be added to what we're calling "Gigi's Library".

When I say that the nugget L-O-V-E-S it, I'm not exaggerating. She asks for "Gigi, book - boom boom!" when she wants to watch Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. This has really helped her disinterest in books and I think it's just about the cutest thing ever.

Finding special ways to keep O connected to my family is really important to me and I just loved this particular way so much that I had to blog about it! I'm anxious to know if you all have any fabulous ways you stay connected!

Weekend Wrap Up

Well. A wild weekend we did not have.

We managed a brunch or two, planted some flowers, and worked around the house.

What am I leaving out....?

Oh yeah, we started potty training, otherwise known as my greatest parental sanity test to date. 

I'll spare you the details and just send some photos your way...food, what I wore, and some pretty flowers. Then I'll be up late googling "potty training tips" on my phone. 

Cuteheads Romper | Nordstrom Rack Boots

piko tee | white denim (Old Navy) | tote is TJ Maxx | Lilly for Target wedges

My new favorite weekend dinner is chicken and shrimp tacos minus the tortilla with poblano sauce. Completely delish and our Sunday go to!

I'm just realizing this is basically all photos of my feet...which is weird. So note to self for the next post. 

Hope you had an awesome weekend!

Maxed Out

A fashion blogger I am not, but a lover of comfortable clothes? Heck yes.

Maxi dresses rank high on my list of favorite clothing items, right behind yoga pants and just in front of piko shirts. I love how simple they make getting dressed in the morning and the risk of flashing your fellow citizens when you bend down to retrieve your toddler (who is layed out on the floor of the grocery store) is pretty much zero. 

I've collected a few favorites over the years that I'm here to share today! 

I'm an equal opportunity buyer when it comes to patterns and solids, but they're all banded at the waist. I like a little definition to help out with the area of my body I'm least comfortable with and maxi's with no shape make me look like I'm wearing a potato sack. 

Almost all of these are old, but here are some similar options:

- Black and White Maxi - Fraiche By J Printed Maxi $92
- Blue Patterned Maxi - London Times Printed Blouse Maxi $99
- Blue Maxi - Gilli Inc Adore Maxi Dress $55

My current favorite is new and is the Verda Maxi from Anthropologie. The best news? Dresses are 20% off at Anthro now, so this would be the time to pull the trigger. 

I usually throw the dress on, slip on a pair of flat sandals, grab a straw tote, and put my hair in a quick braid and head out the door. I love an easy Summer look and maxi dresses are where it's at!


While I can't claim to have done any particularly impressive reading lately, I do love to read. I'd love to rattle off the snooty title of my most recent scholarly read, but my most recently devoured books, I Heart My Little A Holes and I Just Want to Pee Alone really reflect where I'm at right now.

My mom loves to read and it's something we've always shared since I was a kid. My very first chapter book was one of the Pee Wee Scout books and on Saturdays my dad would take me to the bookstore to get the next installment. It was my favorite.

Sadly, O doesn't share my love of reading. I used to read to her constantly as a baby and then the day she turned 9 months old she learned to walk and it was game over. She just can't sit still long enough to be interested. The girl even eats on the run, so reading just isn't happening. I haven't lost hope though, and am collecting some fantastic books for her in the hope that she'll take a breather from her nonstop marathon and take a look.

I've got some that are great for little kids and then I've been collecting some of my childhood 
favorites for when she's a little older.

The top 10 in her room currently:

- Make Way for Ducklings (I've blogged here about why I love this book)
- On the Night You Were Born (bought this the day I went into labor and her first photo and birth stats are taped on the inside front cover)
- The Daring Book for Girls (not intended for small kids, but I really love it)

There are more in her room, but those are definitely my faves.

These books are full of sweet stories and gorgeous illustrations, so you can't lose. I only hope someday she'll take a break from running through the house with no bottoms (potty training, you vicious B) while screaming her war cry to let me read them to her. If not? Next kid, maybe?

Another set of books I've enjoyed collecting is these Rifle Paper Company versions. You can get them at Amazon or Anthropologie and they're a little pricier being hardcover and all, but they are my absolute favorite books from when I was a kid (next to the Little House on the Prairie series which will never get bumped from the number one spot). The covers are just gorgeous and I hope she'll love them like I did when I was pre teen. 

(candle is Capri Blue Volcano from Anthropologie)

Any faves we need to add to our library?

Online Privacy and Protecting Your Kids

Holy heavy blog title, right?

I've blogged before about protecting O's privacy when it comes to the blog and Instagram and how we approach that. It's an issue that's been on my mind even more lately, since Stephanie and I have been talking about this incredibly freaky new concept of baby role playing. Have you all heard of it? It's chilling.

In addition to that, people are stealing photos left and right (how easy is it to just screen cap something and claim it as your own?) and with social media sites like Instagram and Facebook getting bigger by the day, I'm really conscientious about the content I'm putting out there.

Now, not everyone needs to take the same stance, do the same thing, or even agree with how I choose to handle this, that isn't what this is about. It's about knowing what's going on and what's available to help you protect your kids (and your hard work - blog content and your self taught photography shouldn't be someone else's to take credit for).

So a couple of different thoughts on the topics. 

Don't use head on face shots.

This is my strategy, but I know it's not for everyone. I spam my family and friends multiple times a day with photos of my kid via text and call it good. I figure that no one but my family is that interested in what my child is doing anyway, and they don't mind that the majority of my photography is laughably poor. It scratches the itch I have to share my little toddler tyrant with someone.

I used to show photos of Liv's face as a baby because I thought "oh, well all babies kinda look the same and she looks different now" but come to find out, infant photos are the most desired for these sick online games. So I deleted those (and the first 10 months of this blog) real quick. My decision is based on wanting to keep her photos from being stolen, but also because I'm not sure what photos she'd appreciate having me post for the world to see and creating a digital footprint for her without her permission. Since my profile isn't private, it's what I'm comfortable with and try not to post even non-face photos too too often. You can read more about that here, but if you don't - won't hurt my feelings. I get that one ramble is enough for the day.


An awesome way to keep your images from being stolen is to use a watermark. Apps like Marksta, iWatermark, Photomarkr, and eZywatermark lite are all great options for adding a small watermark to your photo. Putting it close to the face of your subject is the best route so it won't get cropped out. I know it doesn't make for the best, most instaworthy photos, but trust me, you'll feel better looking at a watermarked photo than a photo of your child that someone else is using and blasting to their followers. I'm not currently watermarking since I'm not showing her face, but I have a bunch of friends who love it and swear by it. Steph is actually writing about it today, so her post is a great resource for watermarking info.

The internet is an awesome place - I would never have started my business, met my best friend, or connected with all kinds of amazing women without it, but it can totally scare the crap out of me too. I try not to Instagram in real time, make sure to crop out my house number, or advertise when my husband is out of town, because I have enough trouble sleeping as it is. I know that there's a lot of information available about me out there, but I try to control what I can within reason.

That being said, putting a privacy filter on the photos I share of my daughter has made for some really fun photography learning. I've had a blast playing with different angles, capturing tiny little details, and focusing on capturing her in play, rather than trying to pose her for the perfect shot (which is officially impossible at this age). 

Taking the focus off of her also encourages me to find other things to write about, which has really helped me explore my own interests, something that can fall to the wayside once motherhood rolls around. 

So my apologies for a heavy post on a Monday, but I like to think that this space is the virtual place where we all sit down for coffee in the morning and dish, like friends. Favorite mascaras, teething remedies, and the ultimate pair of boyfriend jeans are all fair game, as well as hilarious stories about the time your kid pantsed you in Target when you had your laundry day undies on. It's where we share our frustrations, our passions, and yes, our worries for our kids. Tomorrow I'll be back to some inane ramble about the lash extensions I got over the weekend (and trust me, they good) but for today it's a girlfriend heart to heart about the ones we love most - our babies, and how to keep them safe. 
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