A Lifestyle Blog

A Lifestyle Blog

Loving Lately

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Friday, friends!

Thanks for all your kind comments on the ole blog and Instagram yesterday. Hearing about your sassy kids and your own perceived parenting shortcomings (you're all seriously rockstars) made me feel less like the frontrunner for worst parent of the year and more like a normal mom, doing what I can. So thanks for that, you're all amazing!

Here's the rundown of what I'm loving this week:

1. Family in town

My grandparents are in town this weekend for Easter and that means we've had all four of my grandparents in the past three weeks...how lucky are we? 

2. Tea Time

Having my grandmother here means sitting down for tea. Sitting down for tea always means good chats and it's a vestige of my childhood I'll always remember fondly. I used to have my own tiny porcelain tea set at her house and she'd make me tea with a little bit of sugar and milk and I'd sit down with loads of her costume jewelry on and pretend I was a grown up lady having tea with her. Olivia sat down for tea with us yesterday and while it's a little different than when I was young, it's still just as special.

3. Pink Starbucks

I know this is totally trivial, but the pink coffee cups at Starbucks are making me seriously happy lately. When they match my manicure it's even better.

4. New WC goodies

This topknot that's landing in the shop on Monday with the rest of the Summer line gets me so excited for warm summer days with sweet tea and fresh fruit.

5. Olivia's reckless abandon and zest for life

I honestly think she sees every moment of the day as potential for something exciting and runs towards it at top speed (often tripping on her own shoes and falling face first) and her love for these Easter eggs knows no bounds.

Hope you all have an amazing weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Realities of Motherhood

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's only Thursday morning and I'm wiped out for the week. Ryan's worked late every night this week, I have a toddler who's boycotting naps, and a house that won't stay clean (oh poor Megan, cry us a river). I was looking back at photos of Olivia as a newborn and I've either slipped into a fatigue induced state of delusion or forgotten how things really were, but I seem to remember the newborn age being so easy.
24 hours old...poor little love...labor wasn't exactly easy on her face, this was actually a huge improvement from right when she was born.

Maybe part of it was that Ryan was in school full time so he was home a lot to help or that we were crammed into an 800 sq ft Boston apartment that took 10 minutes to clean, but it was just easier. The nights weren't uninterrupted but we napped and made up for it during the day while we snuggled or went for strolls. 

Now she runs and runs and runs and tantrums when it's too cold to go outside. She throws food all over the floor at every. single. meal. She turns our house upside down and dumps full cups of milk on the ottoman, just to make sure gravity is still working. She sticks her hands in toilets and eats chalk and howls when you tell her no. Don't get me wrong, she's so sweet and so fun but those days when Ryan's gone from 7-7 seem long

"let me find every item in the house and throw it on the floor...I'll start in the kitchen since I just saw you cleaning in here"

Which brings me to my point - the realities of motherhood. My first "oh" kind of moment was when Olivia was two months old and pooped straight up to her neck the moment we walked into Nordstrom and there weren't enough wipes in my diaper bag (or the world) to clean it up. Those moments get more frequent (and probably funnier) as time goes on and I've realized this about motherhood (they're all kind of obvious, but humor me here):

1. It's messy
2. It's exhausting
3. It smells
4. It makes you want to be better
5. It makes you worry you aren't good enough
6. It's 24/7
7. It smells
8. It tests your patience
9. It tests your endurance
10. It's a learn as you go job

Oh yes and it's fabulous. There are days that I feel tired to my very core and wonder what I'll do if she goes one more napless day and of course I come here to whine to all of you, but it's truly the best, most rewarding, and amazing thing I think I'll ever do. Her little lips puckering up when you ask for a kiss make it all worth it, especially when she hits the "cancel" button on the debit machine at Trader Joe's for the fourth time in a row. 

So behind the whining and endless cups of Starbucks, is a mom who's so grateful to be one. I think the best way to sum up how I feel most days is exactly how I felt the day Olivia was born. Exhausted (despite having a ridiculously easy delivery -that's another story)and fulfilled. Does this say it all?

So there's my Thursday ramble for ya'll, assuming you all made it this far in my novella of a post. I hope you're all enjoying your week, and guess what? Tomorrow's Friday!

Summer Staples

With the weather getting warmer every week, I'm looking forward to Summer more than ever! In Texas we won't have much of a Spring, I'm told, it just goes straight to the 80's and keeps on rising. I never loved the heat before but I've embraced it in the past few years and now it's my favorite time of year. The days are long, the nights are warm, and it seems fun is just around every corner. So here are some of my favorite Summer staples for Liv and me to get your Summer inspiration going!

Don't laugh, because I'm completely serious. Houston is land 'o humidity which makes it land 'o wrinkled clothes the second you sit down in your car. Therefore, I starch the you know what out of all our clothes so we aren't wrinkled messes all the time. I secretly love to iron (I say secretly because I don't go around advertising it...Ryan needs to keep his ironing skills sharp from time to time) and there's something about crisp, starched clothes that really just gets my OCD going.

I swear there's no better kids clothing item for the summer. They're cool, easy to put on, just one piece, and stinking cute. I love this one from Target (can't seem to find it online)- they have so many that are so affordable so you can stock up on one for each day of the week. 

Panama Hat.
This is my top staple. I love to throw my unwashed mom hair under these and call it a day. As a bonus, it keeps my Casper pale face from getting sunburned on those 110 degree Houston days. Please see exhibits A and B for proof of much I love them. This one is from Old Navy and it goes with everything. 

Neutrogena sunscreen and sunless tanning spray are favorites for the past 10 years. I'm incredibly pale (as mentioned) so I require lots of SPF and fake tan. I love both of these because of the aerosol feature that allows you to spray from every angle for really good coverage and they both seem to play nice with my skin aka no breakouts.

Makeup stuffs: Urban Decay's All Nighter is some serious makeup holding business. It will keep your makeup from budging, regardless of temperatures, humidity, or dips in the pool. Use waterproof mascara plus this and you can wear your makeup underwater if that's your thing. Also, I'm a fan of a bright lip for Summer and L'Oreal (favorite drugstore brand of all time) has a huge range of great brights.

As I've said a hundred times, it gets really hot here (I know, you get it) and keeping Olivia hydrated is a big focus when we're outside. I got this water bottle at Target and since Olivia loves anything she can open and close and anything with a straw, this will be a home run with her.

Acrylic cups make my list because we'll be spending tons of time by the pool and glass + pool = no bueno. I got a set of 4 of these stemless wine glasses at Target (shocker) for $10 and we use them constantly, with water and iced tea, not just wine.

Finally, good flip flops. I love my Old Navy flip flops as much as the next person (2 for $5, what?!) but I also like something a smidgen dressier (like there's such a thing as a dressy flip flop?) and I got these Coach flippies at TJ Maxx. I like the bow and think it's super cute and since I love to wear black the color was a no brainer.

There's some obvious stuff I didn't put on here (sunglasses, lip balm) but you get the gist. I just can't wait for a summer like this:

Easter Fun and Remembering

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

With Easter less than a week away I really need to get it together and finish our Easter prep. Our company left yesterday and we have more arriving on Thursday so I'll be cleaning house like its my job, freshening up flowers, and trying to remember to make a brunch reservation. I do have Olivia's Easter basket done...I started picking things up as I saw them a few weeks ago and it kind of filled up from there. I have a tendency to go overboard when baskets are involved. Exhibit A, last Easter:

God I just love that bald, cone headed baby. I felt less bad about the Easter basket being so ridiculous since we gave it to her on Easter morning after a horrible night at Boston Children's Hospital and I felt like my little almost four month old needed a treat.

Speaking of last year, you all probably know that it's the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing today. We were living a mile from the marathon finish line on April 15th last year and it was absolutely devastating. We were also a mile from where it all ended and spent a scary 24 hours in lockdown with the rest of the city. Our hearts and thoughts go out to all the victims and their families today and we're so proud to have called the amazing city of Boston our home for four years.

Weekend Photos

Monday, April 14, 2014

I don't want to get all dramatic on ya'll (I'm practicing my "ya'll"s because, hey, I live in the South now) but this was the best weekend ever. Ok, maybe not ever (getting engaged, married, and going into labor were all pretty stellar weekends) but it was Darn, with a capital d, good.

Friday got off to a pretty rockin' start when these babies arrived on my doorstep. One for each state we've lived in (however briefly) as a family. Maine will always be home, Boston was where Olivia was born and raised for 5 whole months, and Texas is where we are now, folks. Love them, need them, have to have them? Amanda has them in her Etsy shop, so click click click! Also, let's give a big thanks to IKEA for these amaze frames that make everything look fancy.  Frames and prints for this wall were $105 so not too bad.

We took our round mirror down from over our bed so Ryan could use his new fancy pants laser level and hang them and Olivia promptly ran over to watch herself put on jewelry.

Saturday we had a birthday party to attend for Liv's little friend Elliot, whose mama is my dear friend Jenny of Purple Umbrella Cookie Co. Want some amazing sugar cookies in the Houston area? Check her out on IG: @purpleumbrellacookieco - you won't regret it.

Anywho, we grabbed our Starbucks and made it over there a good 20 minutes early because we're those people.

If she ever stops wearing these amazing sunglasses I will cry. I really will, they are so stinking cute.

First time in a bounce house proved successful - no injuries or hitting other children. Heck yes I'm calling that a slam dunk..way to go, Olive.

Post party, I left my sweet napping angel spastic toddler with her daddy and shopped it up. I haven't bought much for myself lately, mostly for the house and Liv, so it was nice to get myself a few things, including this amazingly comfortable silk romper from Loft which I wore for date night. Your whole purchase at Loft is 40% of through tomorrow, so take advantage!

Sunday I worked (a tres, tres exciting collaboration with Veronika coming soon!!) and tackled this dragon:

Spoiler alert: I left empty handed. There's just not enough ruching in these bad boys. I weigh less than before I got pregnant but that extra skin is stuck to my stomach and stuck hard. I'm sure some Pilates or formal exercise would help, and I have plans for that. Until then though, we ruche! 

p.s. for my pregnant readers - don't let this scare you. It will either not happen to you, or it will and it will be so worth it, I promise.

So that's it - our very exhilarating weekend in Suburbia and we wouldn't have it any other way. Bring it on, Monday!

Loving Lately

Friday, April 11, 2014

1. Everything about this photo

We had a play date yesterday in the Heights and my friend Jenny was looking for these giant lawn chairs that just sit in the middle of a street and we obviously had to get photos of the kids in them. Random? Yes. Adorable? Obviously.

2. Tiny Sunscreen

It's officially sunscreen season in Houston and these tiny little tubes (they come in packs of 12) are perfect for throwing in the car, my purse, or even a pocket to have on hand. You can find them here.

3. This Sweater

I posted this on Instagram (@willowcrowns) earlier this week but it deserves a second post. I really love loose tops and this is a lightweight sweater with a marled texture I really like. It's really great for that in between time of Spring/Summer when it's cool in the morning. It's from Target (duh) and I really wish they had it in more colors. 

4. Bedside Flowers

I started putting some fresh flowers next to my bed (because I'm so darn fancy) and really like waking up to these. They make the toddler elbow in my eye seem so much better.

5. Pool Season

As soon as we get some patio furniture, I'm going to live out here. Olivia likes watching the pool boy (Ryan) clean the pool after work. She cracks the whip for sure. We just got her a little water table for  behind the pool fence and she's completely obsessed with it. The summers here are so freaking hot that the pool/water table will be our major respite from the heat.

We'll be working around the house this weekend (bet you're sick of hearing that) and I'll be binge watching Game of Thrones until too late at night since it's my new addiction. Hope you all have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Things are a wee bit crazy around here. My grandparents left Tuesday, my in laws come today, and after they leave on Monday my other grandparents come Thursday. Phew. No complaints, though! We love having visitors and the fact that Olivia will see 4 of her great grandparents this month (she still has all 8 actually) is amazing. 

In terms of what we've been up to - working. We've been working our a double s's off around the house. We (more or less) finished landscaping our front yard and have moved onto the back. We're also putting finishing touches on our Master bedroom and are deep into construction on Ryan's new office.

This is across from Olivia's playroom (which is why it looks like you're looking out from jail). It was just a wide open space so we've walled it in, framed in the doors, mudded, and sanded, and we'll paint soon. Then it's new carpet and furniture. Editorial note: when I say "we" in reference to the office, I mean Ryan. He does all the labor and I offer moral support. The exact opposite of the gardening situation.

I made a few changes to the gallery wall in Liv's nursery because I realized the old one sucked the more I looked at it.



It's still not perfect, but I think it's an improvement. I think I need a bigger frame in the middle on the right and that will help. Decisions, decisions.

I'm kinda obsessed with Instagram lately. Am I the only one? I feel like I need some kind of cessation/support group to stop checking it constantly/wanting to post all the time. I'm just such a nosey person that I like getting a peek into people's lives, so sue me. I also love you Instamamas. You are all so creative and I like to outright steal ideas from you. Like this one I outright stole from @breegale (Hi, Bree!).

Broken up crayons melted into fun, Spring shapes? Sold! Olivia will destroy these in .2 but I'll feel like I wasn't a total slacker mom who never does anything fun with her kid, so I'm calling this a win. If you're equally obsessed with Instagram, you can find me @willowcrowns

I'm majorly digging Target's kids plates and utensils lately and this little pig bowl is so cute. I'm making a ton of fruit salad lately because it's easy and I'm lazy. Olivia recently discovered a love for cantaloupe so I'm mixing that in with her watermelon, mango, and blueberries and it's great snack for her after nap time when she flips out and screams at the world for a good 20 minutes. 

Delightful child.

I can't sing the praises of the Target dollar aisle enough. They've got great little stationary items, lotions, etc but they also have great stuff for dress up! I picked up a few little things (like this purple tutu) for $1 or $3 and am having so much fun making a little dress up box for her in her playroom. She's very interested in dressing herself lately (by interested, I mean it's all she wants to do and tried to go to bed with 3 pairs of pajamas on last night) and this is a great way for her to practice.

We'll be spending the morning at our new water table (talk about obsessed) and frantically running around to get ready for our newest wave of company. Hope you have a good one!