Tuesday, December 31, 2013

{31 Before 32} Introduction

Since it is New Year's Eve, it seems the perfect time to talk about a little tradition I have every year.  I'm not much one for resolutions, per se, but I do love setting goals for myself each year and challenging myself in little ways.  I like to focus not on the calendar year, but on the year between my birthdays.  Each year, I create a list of the things I want to do before my next birthday.  Since my next birthday I'll be 32, the list is "The 31 things to do before I turn 32" list.  Last year it was "The 30 things to do before 31" list, and so on.  I thought it would be fun to chronicle my experiences this year as I try to complete my goals, and to talk a little about each goal, why I chose it, and how I completed it.  For this first entry, I'll share my list and a little about how I came up with my list.

As you can see from the list, none of the things I want to do are in any way earth shattering.  They each have a purpose in their simplicity, however, that adds to my life.  I want to make sure I take the time to appreciate the people in my life, like my baby E, my husband, my family, and my friends.  Doing things like a supper club (#24), hosting a party (#18), and being a bridesmaid (#13) are ways to celebrate my friends and spend more time with them.  Taking a break from social media (#20), making time for date nights (#23), and going on trips (#25) are ways to spend more quality time with my family.  It is also important to me that I never get stagnant in my life, and so I like to do things like learn new skills (#9), visit new places (#3 & #4), and read lots of books (#6).  While each goal is, in itself, easy to accomplish, all together they will hopefully create a memorable year and lots of great memories.

Look for updates on my progress throughout the year!  

Here's to a great year, everyone! May you accomplish all you wish to in 2014. :)

{Mommy Style} Everything's Coming Up Poppies

For this edition of Mommy Style, I thought I would focus on all things poppies.  The bright-hued flower is kinda my "thing," as you might have been able to tell from the name of the blog.  I love poppies for their color and whimsy, and am starting to own my fair share of poppy themed items.  Here are a few which I've been wanting to add to my collection.

1.  J. Crew has my very favorite knit tees, and their new line of Artist tees comes in this vibrant shade of poppy red.  

2.  Who wouldn't want a soft, dewy, just-pinched look on their cheeks every day? With Benefit's Posie Tint, you can have just that.  It makes me look nice and fresh, even if I've just come from an early morning wake up with E.  Just a few dabs of the poppy pink serum and my cheeks are glowing and I actually look awake. Win!

3.  I'm not much of a phone person, and usually never put a case on mine.  Since Ethan loves to hold my phone, however, a case is necessary since it gets dropped more often than I'd like to admit.  This poppy wildflower case from Rifle Paper Co. is just my style, and is a case I'd shell out a little more for since it is so pretty.

4.  For all of the perfume wearers out there, Coach's Poppy fragrance is a light floral perfect for every day wear.  The fact that it comes in a super cute bottle and is pink doesn't hurt, either. 

5.  A couple of years ago Essie came out with a gorgeous and fun "Poppy-razzi" line of colors, and I love them all.  The pinks, reds, and oranges are so bright and fun, especially for toes.  Nothing perks up the winter blues like some colorful polish.

6.  When I get my bake on, this Marimekko apron will do the trick to keep my clothes clean in the kitchen.  Bring on the flour!

7.  Rainy season is upon us (although we haven't gotten too much here), and these poppy rain boots are a fun way to sweep the clouds away.

8.  Mike and I are in the middle of redecorating our powder room (pics and details coming soon!), and this white poppy vase from Anthropologie is a must for the new decor.

9.  I'm still toting a diaper bag, but when it's time to switch back to a purse, this glossy red bag from Coach's Poppy collection will do the trick nicely.  It even has little flowers on it - perfect!

I hope everyone had a great holiday.  Here's to a wonderful 2014!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

{Color Crush} Shades of Red

A few days ago my girlfriends and I were getting manicures for a holiday party, and we started talking about our favorite shades of polish.  For me, it is always classic red.  I'll occasionally get another color to match a certain outfit, but no matter which other color I choose, it never compares to red.  There is something so classic and beautiful about the color, and, as my friend said, it is so ladylike. In honor of the classic color, which is also perfectly suited to the holiday season, here is my December color crush page on all of my favorite things red.

1.  I have always been a sucker for a bright red coat, and this one from Original Penguin certainly fits the bill.  The peplum bottom is so flattering and feminine, and the color is perfect and classic.  Although you can't see it in the picture, the lining on this coat is amazing as well.  I love this coat so much I even wear it on days that aren't super chilly, just because. 

2.  Essie Nail Polish in Lollipop is my all-time favorite shade of nail polish.  It is the only bottle of nail polish I've actually used all of the way up and had to buy a new bottle.  Love, love, love it!

3.  For a little bit of a dressier or more dramatic shade of red polish, or to match things that aren't classic red, I love Revlon in the shade of Saucy.  It has subtle streaks of a gold sheen in it, and looks great with pinks, dark reds, and even shades of plum and purple.

4.  If this dress had been available a few weeks earlier, it would have totally been my pick for my hubby's holiday party.  I love the vintage shape and the gorgeous sheer floral pattern at the top.  If it goes on sale I might have to get it for another event - I don't know which one yet, but I'm sure I could find something to wear this to, even if I have to host a party myself to do so!

5.  My favorite tee of the winter is my Seamed Scoopneck Tee from Anthropologie.  It is so comfy, and makes jeans and boots look a little more put together than if I were to wear any old t-shirt.

6.  Winter is rainy season in Northern California (where I live), and although this year hasn't been particularly rainy yet, I'm sure we'll have more rainy days to come before the weather settles into its normal sunny days.  These red rain boots from Hunter are beautiful and practical, too!

7.  This LRD (little red dress) from Anthro is another item I've been coveting.  The shape is so pretty, especially with the little ruffles on the sleeve.  I feel like I could even wear this when I go back to work, either by adding a little cardigan or a long sleeve tee underneath.  

"Beauty, to me, is being comfortable in your own skin.  That, or a kick-ass red lipstick." - Gwyneth Paltrow

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

{Child Style} Holiday Edition!

A couple of days ago I posted on my Mommy Style for the holidays, and now it's time to share all of E's adorable getups for the Christmas holiday!

For the night before Christmas and the next morning, these fleece footed jamjams from Target will do the trick.  On Christmas Eve they are perfect for cuddling up by the fire and reading Ethan's Night Before Christmas, munching on freshly baked cookies, and then heading off to bed so Santa can visit.  The next morning they will keep Ethan toasty and cozy as he gleefully rips apart wrapping paper and plays with his new toys.  And eats more cookies. ;)

For Christmas day, I just want my little boy to be comfy and cozy as we relax around the house.  A red thermal from Gap Outlet (I couldn't find a picture, but the one above, from Old Navy, is pretty much the same minus that cute little bear Gap puts on their kids' clothes) and a pair of skinny jeans will do the trick.  Add in some homemade red glitter knit booties (thanks Gigi!), and we will be set for a day of playing and movie watching.

For our special Chinese food Christmas dinner, I thought E should look just a little more put together than a thermal and jeans, so we went with this knit sweater from Target (currently sold out online) and flannel lined khakis from Gap.  I'm pretty sure my husband wishes he could get away with wearing a shirt with a built in tie ... that is, if he ever wore shirts with ties!

As usual, Ethan totally outshines us all in the cuteness department!  May all the kiddos out there have a cozy and festive holiday!  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

{Mommy Style} Holiday Edition!

I LOVE the holidays, and one small part of that is getting to plan outfits for all of the festivities.  We have a few fun things coming up this month, and since I haven't done a Mommy Style post in awhile, I thought now would be the perfect time to do so.

The first event on our horizon is Mike's annual company holiday party.  This is an event where we get to dress up and have a night out on the town.  While the party is never black tie, it is something that men tend to where suits and ladies put on something fancy.

Piperlime was having an excellent sale, and I managed to nab this Pink Martini dress for only $50, which was half off the usual price.  I already own the rsvp brand pumps, and I already have the gold pearl earrings.  In person, the dress has a really nice vintage shape to it and I am totally loving the black and gold trend I've been seeing lately.

The holiday party is on the twenty-first of December, so the next festive event we have is Christmas itself.  On xmas we usually just hang around the house all day, eating monkey bread, baking cookies, and watching holiday movies.  For all of those low-key activities, there is no reason to wear anything but comfy jeans and a tee.

My favorite jeans are my Old Navy Rockstar jeans, purchased months ago on sale for $19.  A plain white tee (not the band, ha!) and a red scarf are perfect for curling up with E and Mike and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Elf, and all of our other holiday faves.  If I ever am to venture out of the house, I'll put on my green ballet flats to complete the holiday look.

Since Mike and I live across the country from our families, we don't typically do anything special in terms of a Christmas dinner or anything like that.  Since we have lots of friends in the area who also live far from their families, we thought it would be fun to go out for a big dinner at a local Chinese food place to celebrate the holiday.  The restaurant we have in mind decorates and is really pretty, and, if the dinner turns out to be a success, we can make it a tradition with our friends and any family who is visiting.  

The restaurant we are going to isn't super fancy, but I felt like since it is Christmas, it would be fun to dress up a little for dinner.  It doesn't get super cold out our way in Northern California, so short sleeves are fine.  This little red Old Navy dress does the trick, especially with green ballet flats.  

With only ten days until Christmas, the excitement is building!  Our house is decorated, the Christmas music is playing, and we are definitely in the spirit.  Keep an eye out for a Child Style post on E's holiday looks, and a little post on our holiday traditions coming up soon.  :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

{Memory Lane} Ethan's First Year Book

The past year with Ethan was the best year of our lives, and we wanted to make sure to document all of the moments in it, whether they were big or small.  Since my hubby is quite the talented photog, and since I took hundreds of photos on my phone, we had tons and tons of pictures of E from the past year. I was looking for a way to showcase them all, and decided to make a Shutterfly book.  It was such a fun trip down memory lane sorting all of the pictures and picking our favorites! Although, to be perfectly honest I'm not sure that we weeded too many pictures out - the book totals 77 pages!  Here is a little peek at the book of Ethan's first year.

Photo Book Tip: Create an adventurous travel photo album at Shutterfly.com.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Super Hero Birthday Bash!

For E's first birthday, I really wanted to go all out and make things super special.  I want all of his birthdays to be special, of course, but turning one year old is a big deal!  Since Ethan is too little to really have preferences yet (or at least, preferences in terms of party themes), we went with a superhero theme since he loves his Superman, to the Rescue! book, getting flown around the house by Daddy while the Superman theme song is playing, and he totally rocks his Superman t-shirt.  

With no further ado, here are pics from Ethan's first birthday Superhero Birthday Bash!  

We found some great superhero wrapping paper at Target and wrapped the front door to welcome guests.  The Spiderman mask topped it off, with a speech bubble made from construction paper telling guests to come on in.

This is a photo of our dining room, where the food and cakes were.  The table had a two-tone tablecloth with Superman accents made from cardstock.  The centerpiece is from Oriental Trading.

Our living room.  It took awhile to make those paper chains hanging from the ceiling, but I love how they look.  I also made construction paper circle fans for the mirror, and we draped Ethan's Superman quilt over the back of the couch.

This is a close up of the buffet in the dining room.  We made the backdrop by covering the wall art that is usually hanging up there with bulletin board paper (the blue), and then adding black buildings (also made from bulletin board paper), yellow stars and windows (construction paper), and a giant E (construction paper).   The inspiration for this backdrop is from Pinterest (found here).

The snack tower was purchased from Oriental Trading.  It came with the little cones and everything.  We filled them with birthday cake flavored Oreos and birthday cake flavored Goldfish.

The plates, utensils, and the polka dot napkins are from Party City.  The Spiderman cups are from Target, and the Superman napkins are from Amazon.

My stepmom made this E out of cardstock.  It looks amazing and was the perfect decoration for E's highchair!

The amazingly delicious cake from Icing on the Cake bakery.  E got his own little smash cake, so we picked a flavor we thought everyone would like.  Banana cake is the top seller at the bakery, so we got that.  Aren't the decorations cute?  They did such a nice job.

Another view of the buffet.

The food table.  We went with Chik-fil-a catering for ease and for tastiness.  Plus, Ethan loves chicken nuggets, and we thought they would be pretty kid friendly.  We also had a mini sandwich platter and a salad platter.  To round things off, there are graham crackers with cinnamon dip, and a fruit plate.

This is a table with items for a time capsule.  Each card had different questions on it about the future, both E's future and the future in general.  Guests were asked to fill out the cards and place them in the box.  We'll open the box when Ethan turns 18 years old.  Super fun!

A shot of the favors.  The Spiderman cups are from Target.  I filled them with superhero gummies, superhero rubber duckies (from Oriental Trading), a Batman pencil (from Party City), and a glitter star bouncy ball (from Amazon).

A close up of our fireplace mantel.  The figures are Fisher-Price Lil' People E got from his MomMom Cindy.  The garland I made using strips of fabric tied around a piece of bias tape.

A bigger view of the mantel.  The collage over the fireplace was made by covering the existing painting with bulletin board paper.  Next, I took the covers off of fifteen vintage comic books (purchased at the local comic book store for $1 a piece!), and then cutting out bigger pictures of Superman from unused covers.  The letters at the top were cut out of construction paper.

A little decoration for the side wall - pics of E with circle fans made from extra pages of the above mentioned comic books.

Superman!  He was hanging from the middle of our ceiling fan.

We put pics of E everywhere, even clipped to this decorative piece above the tv!

More paper chains decorating the banister.

Photos of E decorating the stairway.

Guests were asked to bring a donation to Toys for Tots in lieu of a present for Ethan (who would rather play with a tube of Chapstick than anything else).  This pic was taken early on, but by the end of the party this whole bench was covered with toys for donation.  We are so grateful to our friends for that!

Ethan's smash cake!  It was vanilla with vanilla frosting.  

Ethan covered in graham cracker crumbs rocking his Superman shirt!

A bit suspicious before the cake smash ...

...  and he was most definitely not a fan!

And that was E's first birthday bash!  Our little super baby had a blast playing with his friends and family, and we had a blast getting to be this little boy's mom and dad.  Off to more adventures!

A huge thanks to my dad, stepmom, and hubby for all of their help prepping for this party.  My stepmom made pretty much the whole backdrop behind the buffet and stapled literally dozens and dozens of paper chains together, in addition to making the super E for the highchair and Ethan's "1" cape.  Dad picked up the cake, glued on all of the windows on the backdrop, and helped to hang all of those paper chains.  My amazing hubby made the picture wall going up the stairs, and helped with all of the hanging.  Love you guys tons. xoxo

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ethan at Twelve Months

Ethan is officially ONE!  He had a busy month leading up to his first birthday, with travel, holidays, and one super birthday bash.  Here are the highlights.  Oh, and by the way ... the past 365 days with E have been pure. joy.

He can

Stand on his own, without holding onto anything.  I am so proud of him.  He will even push himself into a standing position from kneeling and sitting down.  And did I mention he'll stand on his own and dance? Adorable.

Wave "hi" and "bye" appropriately, like when Mike or I enter a room or are heading out of a room.  He still doesn't always wave back if other people initiate the waving, but I love, love, love seeing his little hand wave to me when I come downstairs.  Who could ask for a better welcome?

Use a spoon to eat his own yogurt.  Not that he's always in the mood to eat his yogurt, mind you, but when he is, he spoons the yogurt out of the cup on his own and puts it in his mouth.  He also likes to dip things, like his graham crackers into cinnamon dip or his chicken nuggets into sauce.

He knows

Where his head is.  We'll say, "Ethan, where's your head?" and he'll put his hands on either side of his head.  We'll clap, and then he'll clap, too.  After all, knowing where your head is is pretty exciting stuff.

He eats

All his usual faves, but we've added veggie sausage into the mix and he gobbles it up.  He's actually chewing food and swallowing it now, too.  I don't know that he's actually swallowing all that much, but food is being chewed and swallowed, so I'm one happy Mama.

He went

On a little trip this past month, for his Uncle Kevin's wedding.  We flew into Philadelphia and drove around Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware for the wedding and then visits with friends and family.  Ethan did so incredibly well on the plane.  He had his own seat and he napped, ate his snacks, and watched Sesame Street like a good boy the entire way there and back.  It was great for him to visit with family, and we had a blast showing him all around Philly where Mike grew up.

Trick o' Treating!  Mama picked a shark costume for E's first Halloween outing.  I didn't think he would want to wear the hat part, but he was actually fine with that but hated the body part with a passion.  We ended up taking the body part off and just walking him around with the shark head - still pretty cute, if I do say so myself.  He didn't really get the idea of Halloween at all, but we did go to about ten houses just for the fun and experience of it.

On a road trip with Mama and Daddy to southern California to pick up our new puppy.  He was a total trooper for the four hour drive and entertained himself by pulling tissues out of a box and taking in the views.

He says

Lots and lots of gibberish.  He is working so hard on his sounds, and putting sounds together.  I feel like we're going to get some more consistent words really soon.

I am 80% sure he is trying to say "Elmo."  Whenever Elmo comes on the screen during the opening sequence of Sesame Street, he makes the exact same sound, unique from other sounds he makes.  It's kind of an "Eeeehhhhhllllll" noise, but hey, "Elmo" isn't the easiest thing to say.

He celebrated

Halloween!  The only candy he wanted was a Tootsie Roll, which he preferred to chew on through the wrapper.

This is E showing us where his head is in between bites of Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving!  He ate sweet potatoes, turkey, green beans, and asparagus.  He loves veggies and I'm pretty sure he actually swallowed a decent amount.

His birthday!  We had a party for him the weekend before, and on his actual birthday we opened presents and went to his fave restaurants.

He sleeps

Totally through the night, as per usual.  He still sleeps on his belly, often with his booty scrunched up in the air.

He plays

With his Fisher Price CD player, a new fave.

His Peter Rabbit stacking blocks.

A lot of non-toys, like kitchen things and random items he finds around the house.

He loves

His chapstick.

Veggie sausage.

Getting flown around the house by Mike while the Superman theme song is being sung.

Dancing and music.

Sesame Street.

Going on walks.

Riding in shopping carts and his stroller.

He hates

Getting his face or nose wiped off.

When Mama or Daddy leaves the room.

Apparently birthday cake. ;)

In honor of E's first birthday, I'll be doing a series of posts celebrating my little boy.  There will be posts on his birthday party, a "day in the life of E" post, and some others. Thanks for reading about our first year with Ethan and all of his milestones!

Birthday presents!

What could they be?

An Elmo lunchbox

Handmade Dr. Seuss quilt from Gigi

Chomping on a Little People lion

Little People Noah's Ark and Elmo lunchbox 

On the move!