Monday, February 28, 2011

Pastel Memories

Artist Tali Naven offers both print and original pastel paintings at her Etsy shop (Talchen).  They are bright and playful and perhaps a perfect addition to your nursery.  She is inspired by the innocence of a child's perspective.  And I am inspired by the tangerine-ish apricot-ish color that she so frequently uses.  Beautiful.

This piece was featured on the Etsy homepage

She makes personalized pieces as well.  An original, one-of-a-kind painting for your original, one-of-a-kind.  And, the subtle comedy of "Since 2002" is perfection.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mini Ballerinas

Last week I was introduced to a new co-worker.  The meeting was somewhat forced when her two children, Ruby and Ethan, started wrestling at the entrance to my office (I have no idea why her children were with her in the office).  I can only guess at their ages.  Maybe 2?  Maybe 4?  As a non-mother the line between toddler and young child is not always clear to me.  Right around the game ending body slam (Ethan 1, Ruby 0) was when the introduction occurred.  I figured it was the polite thing to do after her children had provided me with a solid five minutes of midday distraction.

We exchanged names and I gave a speedy hello to her kids (or toddlers).  Speedy because we both seemed to anticipate an impending tantrum and/or realization of back injury.  Ethan replied with a cartoonish gurgle and waved his hands in the air.  A simultaneous greeting and victory celebration.  Ruby made brief eye contact and then giggled wildly as she pulled her neon green tutu down over her leggings.  It had creeped north toward her stomach during the maylay.  I was surprised by her upbeat attitude given that she just had her clock cleaned.  But she was truly upbeat and extremely focused on straightening the glowy, green tulle to reveal its maximum glory.  There was no time to sulk in the physical and emotional loss.

It was a quick encounter, but made the second half of my day a little lighter and brighter.

Apparently, life's silver lining is a little easier to find when one wears a tutu.  I think this is because the tutu itself is a silver lining.  Check out these fantastic tutus by My Angels Boutique.  How adorable are all these little ballerinas!?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Babies - Last on My To Do List?

From time to time, Next Stop – Baby will feature a guest blogger who offers a new and wonderful perspective on a topic relevant to the baby craze. Attorney by Day, Baby Dreamer by Night is the first of such guest bloggers and I am wicked (!) happy that she is. Enjoy her witty and modern take on wanting to be a mom.

For generations, women played a specific role in the world - we made babies (out of our husbands and reproductively) and took care of them.  Then, in 1873, the first woman attended college and, to the surprise of many, graduated.  From then on, women slowly but surely envisioned a life beyond the four corners of their kitchens.  We set goals, and established standards.  We became increasingly educated, and accordingly, demanded more.  When we met one goal, we set another.  

Flash forward two centuries, and here lies a new definition of a woman: highly-educated, well-versed, well-paid, sassy but single, confident but sensitive, globe-trotting professional, who has accomplished it all by the age of 28.  Surely, she could not want more.  She's got it all!  Wrong.  I've caught the bug.  No, not bed bugs (though I am increasingly suspicious as I go to bed alone every night in my over-priced New York City studio apartment).  No, I've caught the baby bug.  Evolutionarily speaking, I should have popped one out years ago.  Unfortunately, I was pre-occupied. 

Birth (check)
Graduate from elementary school (check)
Graduate from middle school (check)
Make the honor roll and graduate from high school (check)
Get into and graduate from great college (check)
Get into and graduate from law school (check)
Get a good job (check) ...

(3-year intermission) ... now what?  Oh.  Baby in a baby carriage.  Sure, why not.  Seems obvious, right?  Except for one problem - I was also too busy to engage in a stable monogamous relationship that would endure the test of time and my selfish behavior.  So here I am, single, screeching my way to 30, and itchin' for a baby.  Some say, I don't really want a baby - I've just run out of goals.  Accomplished too much too early in life, and now I'm bored.  Others say, it is my inherit female nature coming out.  My hormones are telling me, enough is enough - retreat to your purpose in this world.  You weren't meant to be a bread-winner.  You're supposed to be making babies, just like the other mammals in this jungle of life. 

Whatever the instigator, I can't help but envy the moms-to-be, praying that my day will soon come!  Til then, I entertain the thought of freezing my eggs to be on the safe side.  ;-)

By Attorney by Day, Baby Dreamer by Night

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teen Mom is my Not guilty pleasure

I can't blame my love for Teen Mom on my being in the thick of this stage of life.  The baby craze stage.   I enjoyed Teen Mom well before I was married and well before all the talking about, trying to have and actually having babies was everywhere I looked.  That's because it's a good show.

For those who may not know what Teen Mom is (shameful) and who can't figure it out based on the transparent title, it's an MTV reality show about teenage moms.

Why is it so good?  

There is the teen factor.  The main actors in this real life melodrama (to whatever extent reality television can be called real life anymore) are teenage girls.  The typical individual in this demographic, the teenage girl demographic, has superior hormone levels competing with inferior reasoning skills.  The show documents these imbalanced people as they are thrust into motherhood.  The wise MTV producers know that motherhood brings about an even greater supply of hormones and requires a whole lot of reasoning skills.  As expected, chaos ensues.  When the added element of camera crew and celebrity is tossed into the mix, the result is explosive.

This explosion captivates me (and other avid Teen Mom watchers, I know I'm not the only one...).  It has the classic train wreck effect.  The physical altercations, hysterical crying and high-pitched theatrics are unending.  And all of this is happening in a variety of contexts: boyfriend/girlfriend, parent/child and friend/friend relationships.  This season there is even a teen mom who spars with her boyfriend's parents.  Thoroughly tumultuous.

Juxtaposed with the chaos and turmoil is the fact that these main characters are, again, teenagers.  They are near babies themselves.  They are largely inexperienced and unaware.  As a result, while these girls can be irresponsible and obnoxious and egotistical they can also be endearing and fragile and sympathetic.  At times it's hard not to root for them.

All of this and we haven't even touched upon the baby factor.  Adorable, innocent babies capture a good portion of the show.  They are usually the side plot, funny enough, but there presence can't help but bring comic relief or a just a cute moment of distraction.

If you disagree with me, fine.  But consider this: the Huffington Post reported that each teen mother earns between $60,000 and $65,000 per season.  Meaning, I'm not the only one watching.

For the record, in addition to loving Teen Mom, I watch political news each morning and enjoy independent film.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Decorating a room for IT (cont.) - ABCs and 123s

More fun, unisex nursery ideas.  

If an animal theme is feeling played out to you, consider a letter and number theme.  It doesn't have to be cliche and classroom reminiscent with a bright red A is for Apple poster.  There are more creative (and mellow) ways to do it.  Or, as with the posters below, the two themes can be combined.  

These prints by Potato Patch (Etsy shop) are both classic and current.  Perfect wall decor for your little surprise.  They are also a great example of how earthy, neutral tones can be baby friendly.

All three of these chenille blankets by The Red Pistachio use vintage primary colors that don't overpower, but still pop.  They are handmade (of course, this is an Etsy crafter) and machine washable.  The first two photos are a mini chenille blanket (17.5" x 17.5").  The third photo shows the full sized baby blanket (29" x 35").  Both are super reasonably priced.

Word art is trendy in general right now.  Photos of words, over-sized prints full of loosely related words, chalkboards covered in words.  It's beautiful and simple (if not overt) art.  Taking this trend into a baby's room is easy and works well with the letter and number theme.  Etsy designer Signs of Vintage makes custom wooden signs like the ones below.  You choose the word and you choose the color.  How about "happy" or "grow"?  Or "loved"?  Customizable means it can be whatever you want it to be.

Rugs at The Land of Nod - I also like the 123 and ABC rugs at The Land of Nod.  They have a slightly masculine vibe.  But, I think that could be easily neutralized by playing up the yellow and cream colors when choosing other accents.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I never heard of the term babymoon until a few months ago.  And suddenly it's a conversation staple.   So, what is a babymoon?  A babymoon is a couple's vacation with a special purpose (note the likeness to the word honeymoon).  But, that special purpose has ranging definitions.

Here are the two ways it has been defined to me 1) a couple's last hurrah before charging full force into the "trying" phase of family planning, or 2) the official kick off of the "trying" phase.  These play out into two very different vacations.  The first would be something like a zip-lining, whitewater rafting, jungle adventure in Costa Rica or a booze cruise through the Carribbean.  The second would be more laid back and romantic.  A secluded beach on St. Bart or a leisurely tour of southern Italy.

Turns out there is another, prevalent definition that I was unaware of until writing this post - a vacation that a couple takes during the pregnancy.  Some last minute rest and relaxation before the baby arrives.  I know there are rules about not traveling while pregnant.  I don't know exactly what the rules entail (please feel free to enlighten me), but I assume they don't conflict with this version of the babymoon because the trusted experts at (the online version of Parents magazine) have recommendations for the 8 Best Babymoon Trips.  These are "pregnancy-friendly" vacations.  Who knew?

Last, the Urban Dictionary has its own, unique definitions of babymoon.  Of course.  There are two definitions.  One describes the period of time before the baby is born and one describes the period of time after the baby is born.  And both descriptions involve the mother laying around and eating bon bons.  Interesting.

I'm more into the vacation definitions, though I always get a kick out of Urban Dictionary.  Any excuse for a vacation is a good excuse to me.  And I count three excuses all from one word.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Off the Registered Path - Name Gifts

Here are some ideas for personalized name gifts that probably won't be found on the registry.  The clear obstacle with these great gifts is the name itself.  Presumably you won't know the baby's name when you get the gift because the parent's haven't named the baby yet...because the baby isn't born yet.  Sometimes parents find out the baby's gender in advance and announce their chosen name.  It's rare, but I know of a couple (just one) who did this.  You could also get the unpersonalized version of the gift and then give an IOU to personalize it.  Or, you could use the baby's last name, which will likely be predetermined.

Pillow - A custom made pillow is a practical, personal and beautiful gift that will be enjoyed by both baby and parent.  And it's a gift that will stay practical, personal and beautiful beyond the baby years.  These pillows (below) are custom made by abacus @ home (Etsy crafter).  I especially love the full name version that comes with the embroidered birthdate.  And, while not baby gift relevant, this designer also makes tooth fairy pillows.  How great.

Pillow Blocks - The name blocks (below) are just one of many baby gifts made by Etsy Designer Lovin' Ewe.  They are approximately 4" x 4" x 4" and can be personalized by name and by color scheme.

Minky Snuggle Bunny - In addition to the personalized minky snuggle bunnies (below), this Etsy designer makes a rocking dinosaur, a crab by the name of Carlita and a fabulous shaggy goat.  Check them all out at Auntie Jill's Etsy shop or go to her website ( where you will also find organic versions.  For these cute bunnies, if you don't know the baby's name you could always personalize the bunny ear with "Love, YOUR name."

Off the Registered Path

Giving a gift that is not on the registry can be a big hit.  Handmade and personalized gifts from the heart often become the centerpiece of lifelong memories.  For example, a knit blanket or a scrapbook ready to be filled with evidence of milestones.  These are standard winners, although often face competition because they are so standard.  My mother asked close friends and family to each design a square of fabric, which she then stitched together into a handmade baby quilt.  I still have it.

But, these adventurous gifts can also be a big old bust.  Every now and then there is the out-of-the box choice that misses the mark (by a long shot) and ends up under the crib (or in the annual summer yard sale).  Here are some thoughts to avoid the latter.

Making the call to give a gift that is not on the registry should be largely based on the gift receiver.  And, as a general rule, if you don't know the receiver well or you're just not sure - choose a gift on the registry.  Or, you could do both: a registered for and non-registered for gift.  Just keep in mind that there are a lot of registry items that the parents-to-be truly need.  Meaning, as much as you may think that the monogrammable baby snowsuit is the truly perfect gift, don't underestimate the perfection of a basic baby gift.  And don't underestimate the happiness that essential, non-creative, non-personalized gifts can bring.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Personalized Name Gifts - A gift that is personalized with the baby's name, initials or the first letter of his or her name
  • Knit and Crocheted Gifts - These are really popular and cover a range of items, many of which can be considered essentials.  Things like blankets, hats and swaddle pods (a trend that I'm seeing and hearing about constantly these days - is it new or did I just previous miss it?)
  • Holiday Gifts - For the right family, holiday themed gifts help the baby jump right into a cherished family festivity or tradition
  • Books - These are nursery fixtures and will get tons of use through childhood
  • Handprints and Footprints - Memorializing the baby's tiny hand or feet (or both) might be right in the parent's wheelhouse 
  • Year of Firsts Book - These scrapbooks allow the parents to easily chronicle all the amazing firsts that happen in year one 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Where to Register - Eco-friendly options

In our Inconvenient Truth era (remember Al Gore was the environment lover before he became the poodle lover), ecological friendliness is all the rage.  Tree-loving, recycling passionate, organic and free trade supporting people are all around us.  The eco-friendly movement has found it's way to baby products.  For parents-to-be who want to start their offspring off with the smallest carbon footprint possible, I am pleased to list the following registry options:

Baby Earth

  • Pros - The website offers pre-made registry lists, one of which is the "eco-friendly" registry list.  With the click of a button a full registry is created full of all the organic essentials.
  • Cons - Not everything on the website is eco-friendly, so you have to check each individual product.

Naturally Trendy - update (9/22/11): Naturally Trendy is no longer supporting registries, sad.

  • Pros - This is a 360 degree eco-friendly baby boutique.  ALL of their items are fair trade, organic, upcycled and sustainable.  (Upcycled = the fancy way of saying recycling, the technical definition being something along the lines of taking something old and making it into something of greater value)
  • Cons - Be prepared for upcycled prices.  Pacifiers for example, a two-pack at one of the larger baby registry stores will cost about $5 and here it will cost $7-8 for one.

Wild Dill - Note that the registry is called a "wish list" (the kinder and more eco-friendly way is to wish for rather than straight up ask)

  • Pros - The user-friendly website is adorable in and of itself, the products are truly unique.  I'm fully smitten with the Vegesaurus onesie and hat!!!
  • Cons - The products are limited, almost exclusively, to clothes and toys

  • Pros - Lots and lots and lots of stuff to choose and good sale items too.  There is a rating system so you can identify which products are organic, safe & non-toxic, eco-friendly, good value, baby basic and any combination thereof.
  • Cons - It's almost too much, I got a little overwhelmed looking through the many pages of organic baby goodness has paired with all of the following eco-friendly stores for your registering pleasure:

  • Atlantis Natural - Specializes in products for newborns through 4T (which I just learned means 4 Toddler and, roughly, is meant to fit a 4 year old)
  • Baby Coo - Lots and lots of stuff, but, again with the oddly set up website that makes it hard to find what you want and woah expensive
  • Green Baby Bliss - Shipping is always free with a purchase over $39
  • - Eco-friendly and VEGAN stuff
  • Robbie Adrian Luxury Organics - Eco-friendly and LUXURY stuff ($$$$)

Where to Register - The Usual Suspects

Where can you register? Where should you register?  I don't know.  What I do know is the choices are plentiful and growing by the baby bump.

  • Pros - 10% completion discount for up to 6 months after the baby is born and monogramming on just about anything if you're into that
  • Cons - You are not going to find essentials like diapers, bottles and clothes and the toy options are limited

Buy Buy Baby (affiliated with Bed Bath & Beyond)
  • Pros - 10% completion discount and if you sign up for email and direct mail you get coupons...allegedly
  • Cons - Stores are located in only 20 states and the stores themselves are chaotically packed with baby everything from floor to 40 foot ceiling, or at least this was true of the store on 7th Avenue in Manhattan.  I was stressed for the first 30 minutes I tried to buy a shower gift and fully traumatizing for the second 30 minutes.  Only after the third employee assisted me was I able to find 1 of the 10 things I was looking for.
  • Pros - They sell everything and are located everywhere, the different online tips and tools make registering a pleasure and there is a 10% completion discount
  • Cons - There is a high product turn over rate so if you register too far in advance you may find that some of your gift requests are out of stock by shower time and you have only 90 days from your baby's due date to make returns so be sure to work that into your baby's diaper changing and feeding schedule.  Plus, they seem to have a bad reputation on some reviewer/rating websites (like
  • Pros - Stores are everywhere, returning registry items is easy, like all regrettable Kohl's purchases, 15% completion discount (greater than the average %10) and better (read: cheaper) pricing than many competitors

Babies 'R' Us (invision the backwards R)  
  • Pros - With each item purchased off your registry you earn "R" rewards that include free diapers and formula, money toward future purchases and super special "member-only" discounts
  • Pros - 10% completion discount and 10% "multiples" discount when you buy more than one of the same item, all sorts of products and a very cool and user-friendly website
  • Cons - Slim pickings on the brick and mortar store locations with only 7 states bragging a Giggle store and most of those states having only 1 location

The Land of Nod (affiliated with Crate and Barrel)
  • Pros - 15% completion discount (along with Kohl's, the biggest completion discount out there), good selection of sale items
  • Cons - There are a total of 5 stores in all of the US, 4 of which are in Illinois, leaving online shopping the only option for most

Baby & Child (by Restoration Hardware)
  • Pros - 10% completion discount, you will be given a $100 gift card toward a single purchase of at least $500
  • Cons - Online only for the moment, though stores should be popping up in Spring 2011
  • Pros - Upon registering you will received a $50 gift card toward a purchase of $200 or more, unique and high quality products as compared to some of the more mass merchants (i.e. target, kohl's, etc)
  • Cons - There is no store specific registry, rather Serena & Lily has partnered with so you can include their products in your universal registry, I'm not sure that this is actually a "con", the prices are what you would expect with "unique" and "high quality" products 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Decorating a room for IT

It takes some serious will power to pass up the chance at knowing your baby's gender before go time.  An impressive level of self control that I'm not sure I possess.  There is also the choice of learning the baby's gender, but keeping it a secret from everyone else - coworkers, friends, families...everyone.  But, I imagine that at some point you or your partner in crime will spill the beans to a random person on the subway or a standout friendly waiter.  I would.  Finally, there is the choice of one half of the couple learning the gender and the other half holding out for the surprise.  I would be incapable of this - incapable of not telling my husband after even the slightest of pressure and incapable of not mercilessly harassing him to reveal the scoop.  

Keeping the baby's gender a surprise means decorating a gender neutral nursery.  But gender neutral doesn't have to mean boring and yellow.  You don't have to name your future mini muffin Pat and you don't have to decorate his or her room with yellow walls, yellow bedding and yellow accessories.  Green is a great unisex color with a range of shades.  Or what about neutral tones for the neutral room - browns and creams and tans will create a warm and cozy vibe.  Or don't worry about choosing a color, though it may go against your nursery decorating instincts, and try a theme.

Most major decorating items (sheets, bedding, blankets, furniture, etc.) come off the good old registry.  Thus, the motif will probably be dictated by the options offered at the stores where you register.  Keeping that in mind, the following are some small ideas to add to what you get from the baby shower.  

You can pick a specific animal (owls are a big baby trend for the moment) or an animal theme like the jungle or a farm or the ocean.  I love elephants, hence the below ideas.

This elephant parade mobile is handcrafted by Lollipop Moon (  It comes in several colors and there are also other animal choices.  Other than the elephants, I'm particularly fond of the trendy owls.  So cute.

This is a piece of wrapping paper from  For only $2.50 you have easy, inexpensive, great nursery art.  Frame the entire piece as a poster.  Or, cut a bunch of 5"x5" squares, each focusing on a different animal, and frame it as a art collection.  Fancy.

While the giraffe and elephant knob collection are made feminine with pink, you can choose a more neutral color palate.  They come with the hardware and are ready to add originality to your baby furniture. These are hand-painted drawer knobs (below) by Sweet Mix Creations.

Finally, check out for advice from true nursery design experts.  I get completely overwhelmed on design websites, so if you're that way then be prepared for sensory overload.  But the "inspiration boards" (I think this is what they are called) are in fact inspiring.  Go straight to the "accessories" category on the left side of the homepage to view the beauty in more manageable doses.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birth Announcement - Word Choice

The standard elements of a birth announcement (also known as arrival notification), though there are absolutely NO rules:

1.  Introduction/opening
2.  Baby's name
3.  Arrival date (and time if you want)
4.  Weight
5.  Length

The introduction can be said in many different ways.  Or you can skip it all together.  Here are a few bitten and a few original ideas:

"It is our pleasure to announce the birth/arrival of"

"With joy in our hearts we welcome the birth/arrival of"

"We are proud/pleased/excited/overjoyed to announce the birth/arrival of"

"Without further ado"

"Someone new to love"

"And baby makes three (plus our dog)"

"At long last, she/he has arrived"

"We've expanded our family be two feet"

"We've added a branch to the family tree"

"Oh boy! Oh boy!  It's a girl!!!"

"We welcome with love our new daugher/son"

"A new little YOUR LAST NAME has arrived"

What have you seen and used and received in the mail?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chef's Tasting Menu, Wine Pairing and Newborn?

Last night my husband and I indulged in the six course chef's tasting menu and wine pairing at one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants.  It was an early Valentine's Day celebration and I'm proud to reveal that we spent a full 3.5 hours enjoying each bite and each sip.  This is a noteworthy accomplishment because we tend to eat every meal like it's the first we've had in a year - very fast with short pauses for breathing.

We caught up about new projects at work, about the latest word from our mothers and about what could possibly be in store for the Jersey Shore crew in the upcoming episode.  Midway through the night the discussion turned to one of our favorite topics: all the amazing trips we'd like to take - Greek isles, Machu Piccu, Thailand, Patagonia, the pyramids in Mexico (Egyptian pyramids were knocked off the list for the moment given the slightly volatile politcal climate).  We love fantasizing about extravagant world travel and the money tree that will finance each excursion.

The ambience was perfectly cozy and romantic.  Dim lighting exaggerated the flickering tea candles that were set on each table and hung along the exposed brick walls.  The volume of banter from other tables was just loud enough that it forced us to lean across the table as we spoke, making the occasional peck feel natural and appropriate.

Around hour three, just before dessert was served (gingerbread doughnuts and creme brulee icecream for me and chocolate hazelnut cake with blood orange icecream for him), I excused myself to the restroom.  By now I had finished my 5th wine pairing and it took extreme focus to weave my way through maze of tables and diners to find the door labeled "Water Closet."

Upon returning to the table I confessed that I was a little tipsy and a lot impressed by how many people were packed into the teensy dining room.  My husband admitted that he had noticed my eyes gain a slight glaze shortly after we started our fourth course and agreed that the restaurant's interior designer had effectively used every inch of space.  He is perpetually surprised by how little alcohol I can handle before my balance goes down and my voice goes up.  He laughed at me, I laughed at me and we leisurely finished our sweet 6th course.

This wonderful night would have been impossible with the added company of a baby.  Impossible.  First, mamma can't be drinking her spatial awareness into oblivion.  Not that I was even in the realm of fall over drunk, but I certainly wouldn't have trusted myself to carry a fussy infant.  And forget about breast-feeding for anywhere between 3-24 hours after all that delightful wine (my brief online research resulted in conflicting expert opinions).  Second, the cozy, romantic restaurant was less than baby accommodating.  There were zero children in attendance, much less non-walkers.  I had trouble squeezing my way to the bathroom without landing in someone's soup.  There was simply no room for a baby and baby carrier.

At a time when my world is buzzing with all the joys that a baby will bring, I can't help but also notice the things that I will no longer be able to do.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hello, I'm Alive

Your little peanut (or little poppyseed, which is what a good friend calls her unborn baby) has arrived at long last, and it's time to tell the world.  The paper product snail mailed option is a classy and classic method to consider.  Granted, much like the wedding save-the-date, anyone receiving it probably already has the information.  But that's not the point, now is it.  

Photo or not so much?

Including a photo in the announcement requires that a photo be taken.  Taking an announcement worthy photo requires that baby is home and happy and photo ready.  Maybe you want to give the bizarre baby cowlick a chance to grow out or maybe you want to memorialize it and spread the adorable hilarity.  Maybe you're laid back enough to forego the glamour shot session and snap the perfect photo with your digital camera.  Or, maybe you can barely schedule yourself to use the bathroom at reasonable intervals and the thought of coordinating any sort of photo session feels insurmountable.

Tinyprints - Photo options that are slightly more inventive than the standard snapfish or shutterfly options.

Cid Pear Stationery - Non-photo options by way of sweet, whimsical drawings

Luscious Verde - Non-photo options that are modern but still soft

THE PAPER SOURCE - my crafting obsession

I think I love it so much because it allows me to feel creative, without leaving me strictly to my own devices.  It's a little like painting by numbers - the finished product is your own hand-painted art, but there are a few careful instructions along the way (i.e. the numbers).  It offers all the fixings to make your own birth announcements: paper (duh), envelopes, rubber stamps, ribbon and other creative touches as well as full and partial templates if you're feeling less motivated.  I also love the idea using blank 5" x 7" colored card stock and writing a handwritten note on one side and sticking a photo on the other.

The options are endless and include the choice of no birth announcement at all.  My husband thinks the concept of announcing your child's birth is unnecessary and borderline pretentious.  I think it's a lovely way of sharing the unadulterated bliss.  Like most decisions in the worlds of weddings and babies, there are no rights and wrongs, just personal preferences.  As for us, I'm sure that when the time comes we'll find a happy medium, after all we did send out save-the-dates.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rockin My Baby Stella...ella...ella

I am tone deaf.  Not quite William Hung tone deaf.  But relatively close.  And yet, I have dreams of soothing my imagined bundle of joy each night with a whispered lullabye.  Or more like multiple times each night...and day.

What do you think William Hung sings to his baby?  Does William Hung have child?  I'm too embarrassed to google the phrase "does William Hung have a child?" and find out.  Watch THIS while thinking about it and let me know if you have an answer to either of these important questions.

Singing to babies is standard parent pratice.  Lullabyes are a whole category of music dedicated to little ones.  Singing about babies is also quite popular.  Sweet Baby James, to name one.  

Many a baby has been named after a song, including a few well known babies.  Moses Martin was named after a song that Chris Martin wrote for Gwyneth Paltrow.  Jude Law's namesake is the Beatles' classic "Hey Jude."  The 1951 Broadway musical Paint Your Wagon made famous the song "They Call the Wind Mariah" and Mariah Carey's parents found inspiration to name their future daughter.  Unlike the parents of Jude and Mariah, I don't think I or we (I suppose my husband should be included in this decision) have been that inspired by a single song.  I love dancing to Michael Jackson music, but I don't intend to be the proud mother of a Billie Jean.  

So, even though it would be fitting to sing "Brandy" (by Looking Glass) to my daughter Brandy, a less obvious match will have to do.  And by letting go of the apropo aspect, I could choose a song that I love and that makes sense to the parent-child relationship.  Let's face it, the song Brandy leaves a little to be desired in terms of lullabye substance ("Brandy, you're a fine girl, what a good wife you would be, but my life, my love and my lady, is the sea").  

With this in mind I came up with the part disturbing part genius idea of singing Umbrella, by Rihanna, to my future daughter, Stella.  Taking a slight lyrical liberty, of course.  

Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
Rocking my baby Stella

Rockin my baby Stella
Rockin my baby Stella

Back to the drawing board? 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baby Bears

The number of baby bears per capita has exploded over the past 6 months.

NOT this kind of baby bear.

(image here)

This kind of baby bear.

Technically, this is a mini monkey (by Cite Fuzz - see more below)  

Those who live in warmer climates may not be privy to this adorable trend, but it exists.  In fact I'm weary of calling it a trend and more inclined to call it a near over-saturated obsession.  Babies sporting eared hats are everywhere.  I have even seen the double ear effect when the baby is wearing an eared hat under a snowsuit with an eared hood.

To be fair, these eared hats are not exclusively bears.  There are baby bunnies, baby kittens, baby raccoons and I even found a baby bear clown (check it out and other absurdly precious hats by Etsy crafter NYrika).  I think that takes it too far, yes?

Some of these cute hats are finding their way onto adult heads.  I had the fortune (or misfortune) of walking on Canal Street a few weeks ago.  Along with fake Louis Vuitton handbags and Chanel perfume there were racks and racks of eared hats.  And plenty of happy customers, all of whom appeared old enough to get into an NC-17 movie without hassle.

My husband joined a rock climbing gym this January.  After his first time trying it out he came home reporting that the rock climbing was great, but the rock climbers were a little odd.  There was a shirtless guy in an eared panda bear hat who spent an hour stalking around and scoping his path to the ceiling.  Never actually climbing.  Turns out this guy is a regular at the gym and a regular with his chest-baring panda look.  I think he sounds about as creepy as Pee-wee Herman circa 1991.  But, I'm guessing he thinks he is out-hipping the Williamsburg hipster.

My vote - let's leave the eared hats to the babies.

Both of these adorable Mini Monkey hats are made by Canadian Etsy crafter, Cite Fuzz.  They come in a range of colors and sizes.  And, they were recently sported by the genetically fashion forward twins of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.  And there are organic cotton options too!

Photo by Krystyle Stetson

This Mischievous Fox hat (actual name of hat) is made by Lemonade Couture.  Each hat is individually crocheted for unique, handmade cuteness.

Check out for eared animal hats that are handmade from recycled fleece.  An option for the eco-friendly, global warming believer.  I count myself in their company.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First Post

I got married in 2010.  It was magical.  The perfect finale to a year full of weddings.  My own plus nine others made a grand total of TEN from May to November.  It was the greatest year of my life thus far, albeit expensive beyond my wildest nightmares.  My weekends were full of filet mignon, buttercream frosting, open bars and dancing until my feet hurt because I refused to switch to flats.

I woke up on a miscellaneous morning in November feeling nostalgic and slightly depressed that my wedding hayday had come to a close.  What was next?  World travel?  Buying a home?  Or a puppy?  Learning to speak another language?   Perhaps, simply basking in the glow of newlywedhood?

Babies.  Babies were next.  The summer of love had turned from real life bliss to an amazing memory and baby craze was instantly upon me.  Friends from all angles were suddenly "trying" or "officially trying" (the difference alludes me).  There was the subtle switch from coffee to decaffeinated tea and the not so subtle switch from mimosas to orange juice.

I don't know much about babies.  Not much at all.  I know even less about pregnancy.  Yet, I'm finding myself surrounded by cooing infants and sprouting bellies.  And so, it's hard not to talk about and think about what I imagine of the year that will someday rival last year's greatness (note the word "someday").  In the wedding season aftermath, I want to learn another language and maybe get a puppy.  And, I must admit, I'm thoroughly enjoying this baby craze that surrounds me.  It's a lot of fun.