Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

I hope you're having a truly joyful Christmas day (even if you don't celebrate). Mine will be filled with new pajamas that I got last night and I'll wear past noon, peanut butter kiss cookies and almost all of my favorite people in the world. The few favorites that I won't see today, I will see before the ball drops on 2015. 

Here is my go-to peanut butter kiss cookie recipe - SO DELICIOUS. 
Try not to eat the whole batch yourself because it would be highly unhealthy and a tad selfish...though also, probably, worth it.

As if there aren't enough reasons to be happy today, I wanted to share one of the best happy-inducing websites ever. It's called Sunny Skyz and it's all about good news and inspirational stories. You might not have time to check it out today (with all those cookies and surprises and family members milling about). But do check it out. You won't be sorry.

Monday, December 22, 2014

What My 2 Year Old Loves (at the moment)

I'm not sure what your 2-year-old is into these days, but here is what my little lady is obsessing over:

Frozen veggies - You're either gonna think I'm a genius or a bad, bad parent: I've convinced my daughter to eat (and love) frozen veggies. Straight out of the freezer, in their tasteless, frozen state. The story goes that I was making chicken pot pie a few weeks ago and I was behind schedule. My daughter was ready for dinner a good half hour before completion. To tide her over, I gave her a bowl of frozen veggies I had used in the pie. Something new and different tends to be a winner, so (in desperation) I gave it a whirl. She loved them. Frozen peas, frozen corn, frozen green beans, frozen carrots. It was just a generic brand bag from WholeFoods (they were the organic kind...I confess). She actually asks for frozen veggies now. So strange and awesome.

I get the mixed veggie pack, but I'm sure she'd love straight up peas.  Don't judge me.
(image source)

Plastic crayola scissors - Loves them. I got a three-pack this summer (very randomly...most people don't buy scissors for their 18 month olds) because I found them on clearance for almost free. In the last few weeks she's noticed them and decided she wants to cut things all day long. And she can because they're plastic and completely safe. It's like magic - they are dull to the touch but actually cut paper. Her favorite scissor game (probably not a term I should use and encourage) is using the green pair that cuts a jagged line to make "french fries".

This is the exact pack I nabbed. You can see how the green scissors would make great crinkle cut fries.
(image source)

National Geographic Magazine for Little Kids - My BFF got her a subscription to Nat Geo for her 2nd birthday and she's obsessed. It's a treat to get something in the mail just for her. They're the perfect size for her little hands to flip through the pages and they're all about wild animals, which is another thing she loves at the moment (see below: polar bears).  She also loves telling people that she reads magazines. Adorable.

What a great birthday gift - keep this one in your back pocket.
(image source)

Polar Bears - Any kinds and all kinds. Photos of them. My amateur drawings of them (which look like big guinea pigs). Stories about them. Stuffed animals, big and small. I made her "polar bear art" for her bedroom and it's a huge hit. I'll try to pull together a tutorial post if you're interested in trying it for your little one's room...or your room...or your bathroom.

She got this guy for her birthday and named him Duke.
(image source)

Cardigans - She seriously loves cardigans, which is no doubt my influence. But, really, cardigans are very lovable. She loves wearing them. She loves saying the word. Cardigan, cardigan, cardigan. She just loves them.

This is very close to the cardigan we just added to her collection. Hers is cream, but it was nowhere to be found on It must be sold out after all those hot pre-Christmas deals. This one's pretty cute though...
(image source)

What is your 2-year-old into these days? I'd love to hear about it - the good, the unusual, the highly unusual.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Popcorn, Top Chef and Babysitters

I'm back, after about two months of silence, to share nothing of substance.

What's been on my mind these last two months. Let's see:

1. Zebra popcorn
2. What to get my mom for the holidays. She's a tricky one. She gets what she wants. She has what she wants. She doesn't need much of anything.
3. Finding a babysitter
4. Top Chef
5. Babies. Shocker. It's been a real second coming with babies in my life. Everyone is having one, everyone is pregnant. It's a combo of first timers that weren't ready to jump on the train during the last trip and second timers who were ready for another ride (or who thought/think they are).

In terms of zebra popcorn, the obsession started with one of those end of aisle specials at WholeFoods...the place where all food looks (and usually is) delicious. There it was a bag of carmel drenched, chocolate drizzled, salty heaven. I grabbed a bag (I had no choice, no choice I tell you). Hours later, as I shoved fistfuls into my mouth, I was officially addicted. I plan to make a homemade batch. Tonight, actually. I found a delicious recipe on Creme De La Crumb. If you've read this far and still have no idea what I'm talking about, look below. Yup. You want some. Right NOW.

Image Source: Creme de la Crumb

In terms of my mom, I've cobbled together a few mediocre gifts. Some that I've come up with on my own, most that she's sent me via email with a link to the exact item (No Fun). So, I'm still searching for a real winner that will surprise her. Where do you get your unique gifts? What are your go to websites and stores?

In terms of getting a babysitter, mission accomplished. I got me one. And she's (so far) pretty great. I was interested in your standard high schooler with morals. I guess that's an oxymoron? Anyway, I wanted a local teenager who wasn't going to set my house on fire and who was going to bond with my daughter and keep her safe from irreversible bodily harm. A couple great notes for babysitter hunters: 1) references 2) trial runs in low stakes situations (think short day date at local spot) 3) Facebook stalking...this one is sure to weed out quite a few candidates. It shocks me what people put on Facebook, especially those immoral high schoolers.

In terms of Top Chef, I love it. And, for the record, I called Dougy as a dark horse in episode 2.

In terms of babies...this is a baby blog after all...the conversation has been all over the road and nonstop:

  • Baby showers (decor, themes, registering, non-registry gifting, the whole thing)
  • Name selection process
  • Ugly baby clothes
  • When to go to the hospital
  • Inappropriate bump touchers
  • What to do with your first born when you're delivering your second born
  • Facebook birth announcement
  • Pregnancy gifts
So, based on the list above, there's a lot for me to discuss with you. I just need to find the time to do it. Maybe 2015 will be my return to NS(A)B? 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Girl's With Boy's Names

I'm tempted to use this entire post to discuss all the tabloid/legal gossip that came out this week about Real Housewives cast members - there's just so much.

There was the sentencing of Teresa and Joe Giudice after their guilty plea to a number of financial crimes back in March. has a nice little article quoting the sentencing judge who informed Teresa that because she is almost completely devoid of any morality, he couldn't bring himself to give her just probation. So he didn't. She got a year and a half and her better worse half got over three years. In prison. Federal prison. Well, orange is the new black...

Before I move on to the real topic of today's rare post, I also feel compelled to discuss Bethenny Frankel's legal shenanigans. She was told by the judge in her ongoing divorce and child custody case to stop wearing her daughter's pajamas. You may (or may not, if you're me) have missed it this summer when Bethenny posted a photo of herself wearing her four year old's pajamas on Instagram. She caught a lot of slack from fans and haters alike. Well, this week, she also caught slack from a Manhattan judge who told her, in sum, to knock it off.

I'll let you be the judge whether this is "knock it off" type behavior
Image source: Bethenny Frankel Instagram

Okay, onto today's topic: Girls who have boy's names. Specifically, Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher and Lincoln Bell Shepard.

Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher had a daughter a few days ago (congrats to them, if they happen to read...) and they named her Wyatt. In March 2013, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard named their daughter Lincoln. Wyatt and Lincoln. They name of two very important, very masculine figures in American History. Of course I'm referring to Wyatt Earp and the 16th President of the United States. Is this the start of a new wave of boy names making their way to the girl's side?

I admit that this "trend" has been trending since...forever. Allison was originally a boy's name. True story. People love naming their daughters Charlotte and Alexandra for the sheer joy of calling them Charlie and Alex. Elliot and Cameron have been very popular crossover names in the past decade. There's Evan and Dylan and Hayden and Rowan and Taylor. The examples are too numerous to list. So, maybe the only thing different about Lincoln and Wyatt is that they're the first of their kind and in a decade or two, they will be obvious adds to the list. Maybe Ashton Kutcher is a formerly unrecognized innovator and, at last, deserves some credit...

Thoughts? Anyone in your circle who has used a crossover/unisex name? 
Do you like the trend? Hate it?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Dig That Tom Guy From Maine

First, a disclaimer: I was given a free tube of toddler training toothpaste (say that 3 times fast) from Tom's of Maine. With that being said, everything you're about to read is my own opinion.

Typically I don't accept free stuff in exchange for posts or reviews or any sort of advertisement. Next Stop Baby has never been about me getting rich quick...or getting rich at all. So, I've turned down many a handout in an effort to stick to that general idea. Don't mean to brag. Too late. I have made a few exceptions over the years and this offer from Tom's of Maine seemed like an obvious one to add to the list for two reasons: 1) I love Tom's of Maine products. I use them in my home on a daily basis. 2) It was a tube of toothpaste being offered, not a bucket of cash. So, I accepted the offer with no strings attached. Meaning, I didn't promise to write this post. But, I feel a bit of a moral obligation to give this training toothpaste a shoutout anyway because I genuinely like the stuff. Or, more accurately, my daughter does.

Toddler tooth brushing has not been an urgent issue in my house. My daughter is quickly approaching two years of age and she has only eight teeth. A few more have finally broke through her gums, but they're barely visible. I know a couple two year olds who are working with a full set plus molars. So, with only eight teeth to her name, my husband and I didn't worry too much about jumping on the tooth brushing train in a real way. Sure, we got her a cute mini toothbrush and we talked about how to use it and persistently showed her how we brushed our teeth, but that was that. For a while.

Eventually, she started "using" her toothbrush with water. Using = sucking on. I've tried to teach the concept of spitting a few times, but it has not worked. Though, as my mother says, I'm sure she'll figure it out sometime before college. My mother consoles me frequently with the phrase "she'll figure it out sometime before college". After a couple months of water brushing sucking under her belt, I got the email from Tom's of Maine and accepted. The tube arrived in my mailbox shortly thereafter:

I initially worried about my failed spitting lessons, until realizing that it didn't matter because this toothpaste is "training toothpaste" and can be swallowed by the gallon, though I don't believe that's recommended. My daughter has used it for about a month and the biggest positive affect has been her improved interest in tooth brushing. In general, it's been a great addition to our tooth brushing routine. We've made no progress on the spitting front, but (again) with only eight teeth, time is on our side.

Now, I should probably give a bit more detail as to why I like this training toothpaste:

  • Like all Tom's of Maine products, it's made with their stewardship model (natural, sustainable and responsible) in mind
  • It's preservative free and artificial flavor and color free
  • The flavor is "mild fruit" and is genuinely mild flavor. I'm not interested in my daughter brushing with something that tastes like a lollipop.
  • The tube is a "no mess" dispenser so there's not gooey paste everywhere
A downer that should be noted: it costs $3.99 per tube. Not wildly cheap. But, each brushing uses such a minimal amount of toothpaste that I can see this tube lasting us quite a while. And, most naturally derived toddler toothpastes don't come wildly cheap. I did a quick search and found some reputable brands going for $10 for the same size tube. Wowza.

Final thought: I'm so glad it's fall. Bring on the cool weather and apple pie.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hospital Bag Thoughts

This post was inspired by a recent group email between my best gal pals. One of my dearest friends is expecting her first in a couple weeks...or days...WOW time flies, and my mom friends (myself included) were offering some words of wisdom. Specifically, we were giving her advice on what to pack in her hospital bag. It was a fun exchange and got me thinking about what I might pack differently for round two.

When pregnant with my first, the hospital bag was a huge topic of interest for me. I'm very surprised that I haven't previously written about it. When it came to educating myself on the actual delivery, my efforts were mediocre. When it came to researching what items I needed with me during the delivery, my efforts were over the top. The fact that I actually researched this issue says a lot (about my sanity). It's sort of a common sense issue. But, I'm a bad packer. Really bad. Sometimes I pack too much. Sometimes I pack too little. I usually forget two essential items - like a toothbrush and underwear. I'm not kidding. So, knowing myself, I decided that I would figure out the whole breathing and pushing thing on the fly, but I needed advanced preparation in the hospital bag department.

Based on my experience and the advice given during this recent group email, here's a pretty solid list of what to include in your hospital bag:

  • Clothes - Two post delivery outfits and one going home outfit. You will still be wearing maternity clothes and you won't be feeling awesome, so don't bring skinny jeans and stilettos. Think pajamas and comfies. 
  • Hair elastics or headbands
  • Slippers and a Robe - I didn't bring slippers and suffered with hospital socks and I loved having a lightweight cotton robe for my few trips down the cold hall.
  • Flip Flops - You're going to be using a hospital shower that is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis. But, so was the shower in your college dorm. And, the blood...well...just consider bringing some cheap flip flops.
  • Toiletries - Whatever you would bring on any weekend getaway (hair brush, toothbrush, etc.), minus the glamour stuff (curling iron, eyelash extensions, etc.).
  • Pillow - I brought two. My husband and I were overwhelmingly happy to have them. Hospital pillows leave much to be desired.
  • Camera - This falls into one of my regrets. I didn't bring my Nikon SLR to the hospital. Instead, I brought my barely working snap and shoot digital. The thought process was that my Nikon is big and expensive and not worth managing during the chaos. Boo. Wrong choice. Yeah, I have pics from the hospital, but I so wish I had more and better pics.
  • Notepad and pen - There are things you'll want to write down. You can make note of which gift came from which visitor and the amazing piece of advice the night shift nurse gave you about breastfeeding and what you want on your sandwich now that you're allowed to eat and you're allowed to eat cold cuts.
  • Outfit for the baby - Your little one will have hospital provided attire for his/her stay, but needs an outfit for the ride home. Think about the season. How many layers? Blanket? Hat?
  • Baby Mittens - They start scratching right away and their nails are impossible to cut/file in the beginning, so these will come in handy immediately.
  • Snacks - While you won't be allowed to eat during your delivery (probably), sometimes you're allowed "clear" candy (think: Jolly Ranchers). Also bring a piece of fruit or your favorite granola bar for afterwards. I was starving post delivery and my only food option was pizza, which wasn't a bad one, but I would have enjoyed something more wholesome.
  • Phone and Camera Charger - Not an ideal time to run out of battery.

The one thing I remember bringing and not "using" was champagne. At my baby shower, I was gifted a mini bottle of champagne for the in-hospital celebration. When the time came, I had zero taste for alcohol and I was beginning my breastfeeding journey...I didn't want to start off on that foot. Another general consideration is not to bring your favorites when it comes to clothes. Things can get pretty messy and you may end up throwing out the underwear and pants that you bring.

There are no words to describe the excitement and intensity and awe of those first 48 hours. Nothing you bring (or forget to bring) will change that. So, bring a hospital bag but don't over think it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Favorite Toddler Books

Including A Sick Day for Amos McGee in a recent(ish) post got me thinking about all the wonderful toddler books that my daughter has introduced to me. Technically, I've introduced her to them...but without her there would have been no introductions whatsoever, so she gets the credit. Reading is our favorite activity. She is absolutely insatiable when it comes to books. Some days she wants to read the same book over and over...and over...and over. Other days, we would get through her entire mini bookshelf, if I had the stamina.

With this in mind, here are four of my favorite toddler books that didn't exist (or I didn't know of) when I was a wee one.

Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray - My daughter doesn't get the potty humor yet...probably because she doesn't use a potty yet...but I do. And it's fabulous.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt - Another excellent comedy. And full of teaching moments as in "what color is this?".

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead - This is total sweetness. It's about Amos and his best buds from the zoo.

Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis - This is a girl-power book. There's a nice message and it manages to avoid the hokiness that one would expect based on the title.

UPDATE (7/18/14): How could I have forgotten Otis? 

Otis by Loren Long - My daughter loves, loves, loves Otis and his friend the calf. This is another sweet one about friendship.

Most of these books were gifts. I guess other moms know what's up. Where do they find these gems? How do they get the inside scoop? How about you and your toddler - what do you love reading? What new books have you discovered together? I would love some suggestions, there's always a room for one more on the bookshelf...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Car Seat 411

When it came to buying a car seat, I did some research. And then I did a bit more research. And then I surveyed friends. And then I did more research. (Side Note: this was my approach to most big ticket items...crib, stroller, etc.)

Where did I research? Blogs. Informational websites, including and reviews. reviews. I also read reviews in Baby Bargains. I've mentioned this book before - it's fantastic. If I were researching today, I would add to the list. It's a (free) member's website and the gist is personal reviews for any and all baby products. I highly recommend it.

What did I research? 
  • Safety. Obviously.
  • Stroller compatibility. Some strollers and some car seats don't have great chemistry don't connect with adaptors.
  • Infant vs. Convertible. Infant car seats are made strictly for infants and expire around the 10-14 month mark. Convertible car seats last from infancy through toddlerhood. I didn't look at 3-in-1 car seats (which supposedly last from infancy through small childhood) because that just seemed like too much and, therefore, not safe.
  • Cost. I didn't harp on this one. Thanks to some good, old advice from my mom, I live by the rule that you get what you pay for. And for this particular purchase, I wanted to get HIGH quality.
  • Weight. Lugging that thing around with the added weight of your little bundle is no joke. Every pound counts.
  • Ease of Use. This included installation, buckling, stroller adaptor use, cleaning, etc.
A couple weeks ago, I was asked to participate in a survey about my car seat purchase. The website hosting the survey asked 50 mom/baby bloggers to answer questions about their car seats and recently posted the results (here). Participating in the survey and reading through the results made me think back through my intense process. Each and every baby product purchase I made in the beginning was thoroughly considered. Nowadays, I've loosened the reigns a touch. I bought my daughter a toy Volkswagen hippie van at CVS the other day, the epitome of an impulse buy...which was fine for $5.99. But, for the most part, I remain an educated buyer when it comes to anything that's for my daughter. 

We have so many choices when it comes to car seats and toy hippie vans and everything else. Too many choices. Taking the time to know what we're giving to and getting for our little ones is always a good idea. 

This (above) is on my living room floor. Pretty groovy, huh?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Hours Have Been Eaten Up!

Before another Monday, Wednesday or Friday goes by without a new post, I should update you that things around here got real busy the past couple weeks. The short story is that my husband and I bought a house. This amazing event has eaten up my time in a major way. Side note: Every time I say the phrase "eat up" (or some version of it), I think of Where The Wild Things Are. I love that book. Just read it earlier today. Back to my house! It's significantly bigger than the teeny tiny apartments I've lived in for the past ten or so years and, as a result, it's requiring a teeny tiny bit more of everything. Everything being furniture, paint, cleaning products, toilet paper...ya know.

As a result of this incredible adventure, blogging has fallen to the wayside. But (as before), I believe this is temporary. I will continue to post whenever I'm able and I hope to be back in the swing of things in a month's time.

Until then, here's another sweet book that has stolen my heart. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sharing Is Caring and Much More

This weekend a good friend forwarded me the link to an article about teaching your toddler to share...or not. The thesis of the article was something like: There's an overemphasis on teaching kids to share because, in the real world, sharing ain't all that relevant. If you don't want to click over to the article and read it in full (here), I'll give you the highlights. The author's child goes to a school where the policy is that a child uses a toy until she is finished and does not have to prematurely give up said toy just for the sake of sharing. The author likes this policy and believes it accurately reflects life. An example that she gives: you can't just walk up to a stranger and take their sunglasses or phone because it's your turn.

Well, I firmly disagree with the thesis (though I agree that you can't nab a strangers sunglasses, no matter how much you want them and feel truly deserving of them). The premise that sharing isn't a practical skill is hogwash. I share all day, every day, every minute, constantly. We all do. We share offices and time with the barrista at Starbucks and space in the elevator and books at the library. People job share and carpool. When it comes to friends and family, I share dresses and punch bowls and bicycles and wallpaper steamers. Sharing is fantastic (and environmentally friendly).

But the real point, which is why I think the article kinda sucks (there I said it), is that sharing teaches patience. Sharing is a vehicle for the lesson rather than the lesson itself. By asking your child to use a toy and then share it, you're asking her to be patient, fight the instinct of "ME, NOW" and wait her turn. While you may not agree with my characterization of waiting to order your Starbucks latte as "sharing", you can certainly agree with my assertion that patience is possibly the most important lesson of all. It's not just a virtue, it's life. And whether your little one is patient, or not, she will be required to wait on a daily basis from now until infinite. 

So, back to the toy policy at the author's school (which I kind of like by the way), whether the author believes it or not, this policy requires sharing. At some point, all toys are put down, if only because school is over. And you can damn well bet that if Timmy made Tommy wait all afternoon to use the ball on Monday that Tommy is beating Timmy to the ball on Tuesday and making him wait all afternoon. So whether it's in five minute intervals or alternating afternoons, sharing is happening at her child's school and it's a good thing because it teaches patience.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Surfs Up, (with your) Baby!

I hope your Memorial Day weekend was long and wonderful. Mine was spent in a beach town, but not at the beach...not much. The weather wasn't all that conducive to bathing suits and barefoot walks through lapping ocean water. But, we did take advantage of a few hours of sunshine on Sunday.

Last summer, my daughter wasn't mobile. Beach trips consisted of playing with stacking cups under the umbrella and pointing at seagulls. This past weekend was our first time at the beach with a walking toddler. And wow was she walking...and running. She stumbled across the dunes, shouted at the ocean, genuinely blown away by the foaming waves, she picked up shells, put down shells and barrel rolled on the sand. She was so happy and it was wonderful to watch.

At some point during her backward crab crawl across the beach, as sand caked into her pupils, I was brought back to a Caribbean vacation I took pre-baby. I remembered my childless self, sipping a tropical cocktail and reading a book under a tiki umbrella with my husband basking in the sun next to me, an hour into the worst sunburn of his life. Next to us were a couple with an adorable 6 month old. I was thoroughly impressed, and slightly confused, as to why this adventurous couple decided to bring their infant to the far off island of our destination. It seemed an impossible feat. Were they actually having a nice, relaxing vacation? I didn't ask, but I desperately wanted to.

Flash forward to my sand covered babe who is gleefully rolling across the wet beach like a frolicking seal lion. The beach is so different now. Life is so different now. And, I can't compare my two hour beach trip to a week long tropical vacation, but I can make an educated guess at what those parents were thinking - they couldn't bare to do anything without their tiny man. They derived such joy from watching him experience life that it almost didn't matter where they were. They weren't there for the drinks or the sunburns, they were there to have an adventure as a family. Of course (of course), there will be future vacations when my little one stays at grandma's house while my husband and I sip cocktails under a tiki umbrella. And I'll sleep late and read a book more than one chapter at a time and sun bathe in silence, which will be amazing, but I'll miss my daughter more than a little. I'll miss her sea lion impression.

How adorable is this little seal lion pup? My daughter has the same form.
(image source)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Very Colorful Baby Shower

Throwing a gender neutral baby shower can stress people out. Should all the decor be blue and pink? Or just yellow? Or is yellow old news and everything should be orange or gray or minty green? By removing the gender factor, pulling together a nice color scheme can feel tricky. So, how about choosing all colors? If I could do it again (I had a gender neutral baby shower), I might use the following as inspiration because I truly love it.

Where To Find These Jewels
Felt Acorns by Sewn Natural
Jones Soda from Amazon
You're My Favorite Pin by Bust My Buttons
Scalloped Color Block Napkins from Target
Rainbow Invitation by Tambo Creations
Heart Night Light by Light Box Furniture

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let's Get Personal...With Art

Taking it down a notch (or ten) from this Monday, I'm back to crafting. It's not another will be a while before I can tackle one of those again. It's some personalized nursery art. Of course it involves the artistry of your little one, making it doubly personalized (and doubly awesome). 

Again, I should apologize for the iPhone photos, though I think in this particular post it's only enhancing the free-flowing, impressionist style of my daughter's work.

The execution was pretty simple. First, I cut a letter "M" out of some scrap paper. Next, I taped the M to a piece of card stock using little circles of scotch tape. I chose card stock instead of regular weight paper because my daughter tends to paint with thick layers and regular weight paper has a hard time handling her magic. She's great at blobbing and blotching. 

Then I let her do her thing. Typically brown and purple are her favorite colors to work with, but for this particular project she went full rainbow. It's hard to see the M in the painting below, but it's there.

I let it all dry, then I gently peeled off the M. Ta Da! A sweet, frame-worthy creation. I absolutely love it.

I love painting and I think my little lady is taking to it as well. Speaking of those who love painting -  did anyone else read Taylor Kinney's interview in which he talks about how he and Lady Gaga love painting together. I bet some freaky stuff goes down in those creative sessions.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Just Wait Until...

Something super duper annoying that people say about parenting: "Just wait until...fill in the phrase". Just wait until she starts to crawl. Just wait until he turns two. Just wait until she starts preschool. Just wait until you have two kids. Just wait until you have three kids. Just wait until you have a dozen tantruming, psychotic kids.

It's typically used in response to another parent venting about the challenges of a new stage in her child's development. Exhibit A:

Mom 1 - Jane started to crawl. She gets into everything now. I can't take my eyes off her.
Mom 2 - Just wait until she starts to walk.

They are such competitive words. Oh, you think you have it hard? You think juggling twenty things at once is tricky, do ya? Mom 2 might as well say, I have it harder and I juggle more. Or even, your parenting is pie, I do the real thing. Those are the indisputable implications and they're all really frustrating.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard this sentence from another parent because it happens all the freaking time. You might even know a perpetual offender. I typically respond by affirming the assertion with "I can't imagine!" or "Yeah, that's gonna be hard." I'm a pretty non-confrontational person and I'm very non-confrontational when it comes to parenting. I try to live by the rule that most parents are just trying to survive, just trying to get it done without anyone losing limbs or eyeballs. And so, I bite my tongue and play along.

But, it's not cool. And, maybe more importantly, it's not true. Who's to say that it is more difficult to parent a walker than it is to parent a crawler. There are harder aspects and easier aspects to both stages. A walker has farther to fall to the ground and is, thus, more prone to injury. A walker is also more self-sufficient. It's impossible and short-sighted to characterize any stage as more difficult than another. Each stage of life, and of parenting, has unique challenges.

So, maybe I'll never be able to (or want) to say it in the moment, but I'll say it here - the parenting that I'm doing right now is pretty damn legit and I plan to continue being a rockstar, just wait.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Didn't See That Coming

In case you missed it, last Friday, the Social Security Administration posted a list of the most popular baby names from 2013. I'm obsessed with baby names and was basically waiting by my computer for the list to post, like a total lunatic with a disheveled side pony tail and sleepy crust at the corner of my eyes. I quickly gave you my initial reaction last Friday and today, after a full week to look through the new list, I'm ready to present some extensive cliff notes. Is that an oxymoron - extensive cliff notes? Anyway, the theme of the 2013 list (for me) is - didn't see that coming. There was so much that I didn't predict or predicted the opposite. Ooops.

Ladies First.

Geraldine - Just a month ago I told you that Geraldine was "right on trend" and would rise in popularity. Wrong. Geraldine had the 2nd biggest drop in popularity of any girl name last year. It sunk from 990 in 2012 to 1402 last year. That's 412 spots downward.

Adele - Another name that I could have sworn would rise in popularity dropped 109 spots last year. Have we already forgotten about the British song bird? Perhaps so given that she hasn't come out with a new album since 2011. Her third studio album is expected to release in August, so maybe her name will rebound this year.

Daleyza - This name increased in popularity more than any other girl name last year, times three. It jumped from 3715 in 2012 to 585 last year. That's a massive jump in popularity. Enormous. So, where did this name come from? Who or what drove the sudden and extreme popularity? After some Google research, I found the answer: Larry Hernandez. He is a really popular Latin musician with a reality TV series. Larry's daughter is named Daleyza. Aha. Clearly I didn't see this coming, I had no idea who Larry Hernandez was until writing this post.

Last Name Trend - The last name as a first name trend has been steady and strong on the boy side, but, as I mentioned last week, I never considered it to be a trend for girl names. Again, didn't see this one coming. Many of the girl names that saw a noteworthy increase in popularity last year fall into this trend: Lennon, Henley, Oakley, Hunter, Saylor, Wynter, Sutton and Carter.

The Kardashian Effect - The names Kourtney and Khloe lost popularity last year, but there were several other Kardashian influenced names that rose in popularity. Mercy, the name of the kitten that Kanye gave Kim jumped 143 spots to 854. Kaidence, the name that we all thought Kim and Kanye were going to name their daughter, had its first year in the Top 1,000. Penelope, the name of Kourtney's daughter, broke into the Top 100.

Flower Power - Many people gave their daughter flower and plant names last year. All of the following names had a big rise in popularity: Saige, Azalea, Rosie, Juniper, Magnolia and Rosemary.

Geography - I immediately noticed a trend in geography related names when I posted last week. This is a crossover trend for both boys and girls. Dallas, India and Ireland had major popularity growth last year, each jumping more than 200 spots. On the boys side, Milan, Atlas and Memphis took big jumps.

Gentlemen Next.

Jayceon - Jayceon Terrell Taylor, better known as The Game, had quite the impact on pop culture last year. His name rose in popularity more than any other boy name. The second season of Marrying The Game aired on VH1 last year. If you don't watch, it's a dating show where contestants vie to marry The Game. Spoiler Alert: season two worked as well as season one (not at all), which you may already know because two episodes of season three have already aired. So, apparently, people love The Game and his (real) name.

Castiel - I don't watch the CW television series Super Natural, but a lot of people do. I know this because Super Natural has an upcoming ninth season and because Castiel is the name of a character. Last year, the name Castiel rose 418 spots and broke into the Top 1,000 list for the first time.

Uber Masculine Names - We get it, you had a son. The rise in hyper-masculine boy names last year was the hands down biggest trend for either gender. Check out this list of boy names that jumped at least 100 spots in popularity: Duke, Magnus, Stetson, Mack, Bruno, Major, Royal and Legend. If we include boy names that jumped 50 or more spots we can add Maverick, King and Titan. 

Ethnic Boy Names - American parents have always borrowed names from other countries when it comes to daughters. More and more, they're getting comfortable with borrowing boy names as well. A big handful of boy names that had a significant rise in popularity came from overseas:  Lochlan (Irish), Thiago (Brazilian), Niko (Greek), Santana (Spanish) and Otto (German).

Hebrew Names - Hebrew and Biblical names have always reigned on the boy's side, but last year was a bit of a banner year for these names. Noah, a Hebrew name, was the most popular boy's name last year. We also saw a rise in popularity with some lesser known choices including Azariah, Jair, Yair and Enoch.

And that's that.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Summer of Andi

Juanary is long over, thankfully, and the Summer of Andi is about to begin. The first episode of Andi Dorfman's season of the Bachelorette (Season 10 if you're counting) will air next Monday, May 19th. Obviously, I'll be watching and not just because I always watch. First, Andi is pretty darn likable. She reads level headed with a bit of sass, so I'm expecting drama that doesn't involve endless weeping like some previous bachelorettes (ahem...Ashley Herbert...who's pregnant if anyone's interested). Second, Chris Harrison. When he goes rogue, which has become a regular occurrence, we get some of the best one-liners of the show.

Back to Andi. Despite her likability factor, she isn't all beauty and charisma. I was highly underwhelmed last season when she told Juan Pablo that she "puts people in jail for a living". She was referring to the fact that she's a state prosecutor. As a state prosecutor, she should know that what she does for a living is investigate criminal complaints, prosecute those complaints with sufficient evidence and seek punishment for the guilty. One could take her little statement to mean that she is disinterested in truth, innocence or justice as long as someone goes to jail. But, we'll give Andi a pass on this bonehead comment and assume she was trying to show off or that she hadn't yet had training at the District Attorney's Office and didn't actually know what she did for a living.

The highlight of Andi and Juan Pablo's relationship
(image source)

Andi's big moment, of course, was her pulling out of the competition for JP's heart and telling him, several times, that saying "it's okay" to everything in life isn't okay. I think she also called him an a**hole. This was hands down the moment she won her current title as Bachelorette and, to a certain extent, I think she milked the scene because she knew it. She could have walked away a few sentences sooner. But, I won't fault her for that because it was all so entertaining.

What you may want to know about Andi's season before it begins:

  • As always, Reality Steve is spoiling the winner. He's already figured it out and posted it. For the past several seasons I've been reading his blog and, thus, spoiling the winner for myself. I'm undecided about whether I'll go that route again. It's just so tempting.
  • According to Wet Paint, Andi is earning $50k for her role, which is markedly less than most prior bachelorettes.
  • One of the men vying for Andi's heart, Eric Hill, was tragically killed in a paragliding accident after he filmed (he wasn't filming at the time because he didn't last long). How horrible.
  • Andi has 154k followers on Twitter and I'm guessing that number will be about double by the season's end. She's a pretty active Twitterer...Tweeter...what's the word? But, she has been on Twitter hiatus due to Bachelorette filming. She'll be back in full throttle with live commentary while the episodes air.
  • Andi and Nikki Ferrell (winner of Juan Pablo's season) are apparently besties because nothing says "friends forever" like deciding to marry the guy that your BFF just publicly humiliated by calling out as a self-absorbed, shallow, Dbag. I wonder where there friendship currently stands and I wonder if Nikki will show up at any point to give Andi some relationship advice. That could be highly entertaining.
  • Episode one gets interesting when an uninvited guy shows up and wants to compete for Ms. Dorfman. Huh? Yes, this is strange. According to an interview with USA Today, Chris Harrison revealed that some guy with "knowledge" of where the Bachelorette is filmed and how production goes down, crashed the first cocktail party.

Nikki - "I'm gonna marry that D-bag!"
Andi - "Eeees okay!"

(image source)

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Made A Quilt

I took my crafting to the next level with the grand daddy of sewing adventures - a quilt.

I started in February and finished two weeks ago. I didn't work on it very consistently, sometimes I'd go a week or even two without any progress. Even so, it clearly took a while. The finished product is pretty fantastic. It's full of wiggled lines that should be straight and misaligned fabrics, but that adds to the charm. Most importantly, my daughter absolutely loves it.

It's toddler bed sized. Though, as you learned last week, I have no intention of transitioning my little lady to a toddler bed any time soon and due to her "active" sleeping she is best suited for a wearable blanket. For now, she admires it (which makes me so happy), rolls around on it and snuggles with it during nap time.

Rather than walk you through a step-by-step guide of how I made it (because I'm totally unqualified and I'm not fully sure how it came together), I'll just give you the highlights. To begin, I went to Pinterest - the starting point for all great DIY projects. A bit of searching led me to a handful of tutorials. To make the front of the quilt, I used a guide from Film in the Fridge. To make the back of the quilt and sew together the front, the filling and the back (basting), I looked at a bunch of blogs and made my own way. To create the thin border (the binding), I used a guide from Make It & Love It.

As far as my gear (my quilting gear) - I didn't get any. I couldn't bring myself to purchase all the "necessary" accoutrement simply because it was pretty expensive and I didn't want to make the commitment. I wasn't certain that I'd even finish this quilt much less take on future quilts. Not having a rotary cutter or cutting board or marking tape or curved safety pins or massive ruler didn't stop me, nor did it significantly affect my finished product. BUT, if I do it again, I will pick up a rotary cutter and cutting board. Cutting fabric with greater precision will make for a better quilt (especially if I use a more complicated pattern) and it will save me time. A lot of time.

I fell in love with the multi-color bunting fabric, which I found on, and chose the other fabrics based on the color scheme of my daughter's room (pink and red - read more about that here) and what was available at my local Joann Fabric. I played around with the order of fabric strips for a while and took a photo when I finally settled on a pattern (great tip from Film in the Fridge). One early mistake I made was not paying attention to the direction of the bunting pattern. In some strips the bunting faced upward and in others it faced downward. I realized this after I had sewn a whole bunch of strips together...and had to take them a part. So, great tip from NSB: pay attention to the direction of the pattern!

I found the basting to be the most difficult step. I found the binding to be the most satisfying. It was a great project and I'm already thinking about my next.

Friday, May 9, 2014

It's Here!!!!

The Social Security Administration's list of the most popular baby names from 2013! It's here! IT'S HERE!

It just (hours ago) came out, so I haven't had time to digest, but I'll give you my first quick thoughts. Before I do so, let's look at the new Top 10s with a screen shot from the SSA website.

The biggest changes you'll see from 2012 to 2013 are on the boy's side. We have a new leading boy: Noah. He snagged the spot from Jacob, who had been reigning since 1999. That's an impressive run. Interesting that not only did Noah dethrone Jacob, but Liam slipped into the number two spot. The other noteworthy change to the Top 10 boy's list is that Daniel is part of the pack (last year Daniel was #11).

No new girl names broke into the Top 10, this year's list is just a mix-up of last year's mix with the top two spots staying put. Olivia and Isabella switched spots, but that's nothing maj.

What else can I tell you? Let's see...

As I predicted (ahem...), Everly made a huge leap in popularity last year from a rank of 907 in 2012 to a rank of 383 last year. I wonder if Jenna and Channing Tatum are pleased to have made such an impact on pop culture or if they're pissed that their Everly may be known as Everly T. in preschool (to differentiate her from all the other Everlys). One prediction that I didn't make, or actually I did but for the wrong gender, was the popularity of using last names as first names for girls. The girls Top 1,000 list had a few interesting newcomers: Lennon, Henley, Saylor, Sutton and Hunter.  

On the boy's side, big newcomers include Milan, Atlas and Duke. I think Giuliana and Bill Rancic can be thanked for the Duke trend. Their reality series was picked up by the E! Network and their influence has likely increased. As far as Milan and Atlas? Hmmm. I'll have to think on those names. They're both sort of geographical, travel related names. Jase and Jayse are also big movers and shakers for 2013. Jase broke into the Top 100 and Jayse is a new comer to the list. Could this be the result of one of our favorite Teen Mom's son's name? Thanks Janelle! I wonder whether Janelle's name choice for baby number two will have the same impact.

That's all for now. I hope you enjoy perusing the new name list as much as I do and have a fabulous Mother's Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Help A Blogger Out

Hey Friends, Followers, Stoppers Byers, Former Coworkers, Mom,

If you have about 15 free seconds, do me a favor:

1) Click HERE and you'll be brought to a webpage that looks like the image below

2) Click to the LEFT on the owl that is speaking into the brown thought bubble.

3) When you click on the left owl, you will be brought to a website called Top Baby Blogs and you can close that browser window and go on with your day.

Explanation - Top Baby Blogs is a website that ranks baby blogs. The rankings are based on click-thrus (aka the number of people that click on the owl to the left) and everyone is allowed to click once a day. This prevents me from sitting at my computer, clicking the owl 500 times a day and unfairly (and psychotically) skewing the ranks. The loophole is that you can actually click thru more than once a day if you use different devices (so feel free to do the same 1-2-3 steps on your home laptop, phone, work desktop and iPad and whatever else you own!). 

Appreciation - Thank you so much for your support. Seriously. I'm a one woman shop with no big, fancy site designer or marketing guru or editor or contributor or whatever else bigger, fancier blogs have. Again, I appreciate your taking the time.

It's Bed Time!

The title of this post feels like the title of a Sandra Boynton board book. I think that's Pajama Time! Either way, I'm not talking about time to go to bed. I am talking about time to switch your firstborn from a crib to a bed. When it comes to this transition, I have 2 types of friends. First are those that put off the transition as long as possible, but before college because no one wants to be the parent of the freshman who sleeps in a crib. Second are those that force the transition as soon as baby number two is on the way because there's no budget for another piece of furniture with a teeny life span.

I'm in camp one - hold out as long as possible - but that may be because my daughter is not a climber. If she were scaling her crib walls, I would feel differently. Thankfully, I've trained her to believe that the only way for her to get out of her crib is by me picking her up. Or, her upper body strength isn't there yet (more likely). Either way, I'm in no rush to move her into bed land. 

But, when bed time comes, will I move her straight to a twin bed or will I transition with a toddler bed? I have no idea and would love some input on the subject. I don't know anyone who's done the toddler bed. I think this is because almost all of my friends (even those with 3+ year olds) still have their kiddos in a crib. My one friend who moved her little one into a twin bed experienced some resistance to the change (you can interpret "resistance" in whatever way you like...).

Here is my crib (check out THIS post to learn why I chose it):

(image source)

It's the Robin crib by Oeuf. And I love it. I love, love, LOVE it. It looks as good today as it did the day we got it and as it does in the photo above with that cutie doing downward facing dog. It has the ability to convert into a toddler bed that looks like this:

Comparing images, my daughter looks much closer in age to the yogi than the pirate. So, basing my parenting choice on Oeuf's marketing, I have a long ways to go before I need to purchase the conversion kit. Another thing I'm realizing is that those roll guards are very low...or is that normal height? My daughter is a pretty active sleeper. I didn't think active sleeping was possible, it falls directly into the definition of an oxymoron, but it is. Night after night she defies science by barrel rolling back and forth and upways and downways and crossways, all while maintaining a deep sleep.

With my daughter being a non-climbing, ruckus snoozer and the fact that I'm undecided on the toddler bed vs. twin bed issue, it's clear that bed time is not an impending transition in my household. When the time does come I'll fill you in on which path we choose - toddler conversion or twin bed or some other option that I'm not yet aware of...perhaps floor tent.

What's your plan? Did you already make the transition? How did it go? 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lindsay Walks Out, Tori Walks In

As the saying goes - when one door closes another one opens. Well, Tori Spelling has opened the door. Or, she walked through it. Or, she is the door. Whatever, you get the idea.

I've already told you about my questionably wasteful addiction to Lindsay (the reality show on Oprah's network). Sadly, that series ended. It was 8 quick episodes and now it's over. I'm holding out hope that Oprah does a post-series interview. There's no word of that happening and after Lindsay's less than cooperative/committed/professional behavior on the series it doesn't seem likely, but one can dream.

As luck would have it, shortly after Lindsay wrapped up, True Tori began. I'm sure you've heard all about True Tori because promos are friggin' everywhere. By "everywhere" I mean all over Despite being bombarded by clip after clip after news tabloid story about it, I still hadn't decided to watch. It was on the personal recommendation of a friend (thank you, EC) that I finally jumped on board. And what a ride...

This is Dean and Tori leaving the hospital (according to E!Online).
Tori was apparently hospitalized during this whole marriage crisis.
No clue whether the show was filming at the time.
(image source)

Lindsay and Tori couldn't be more dissimilar. Lindsay spent most of her time buying exorbitantly priced coats and perching her lips and sleeping. Tori spends most of time parenting and crying and not eating. Tori is much more relatable than Lindsay, yet manages to stay interesting despite leading the camera crew on activities like dropping her kids off at school and meeting girlfriends for coffee. Of course, the reason why True Tori is so riveting is that Tori's marriage is currently a colossal disaster. Her husband, Dean McDermott, had a 2-day romp session with a Canadian chick (Emily Goodhand...yep, couldn't make this stuff up) during which he showed said chick a sex tape of him and Tori. I've learned all this from the show. The Canadian chick shopped the story around to US tabloids moments after getting out of Dean's hotel bed and US Magazine made the highest bid. The story went public. Dean then checked himself into rehab for alcohol, drugs and depression and stayed there (without any face-to-face contact with Tori or their 4 kids) for 3 months. Whew. The show begins with Tori and Dean's reunion and is premised on their journey to fix (or end) their marriage.

After watching the first two episode, I have two major questions:

1) Everyone asks Tori the obvious question: How can she trust that he won't do it again? But, no one has asked the other obvious question: How can she trust that this was the first and only time?

2) Much of the show highlights how difficult it is for Tori to parent four young children, but let's be serious - there's a nanny. Or two. Tori and the Lifetime production team's attempt to hide the fact that Tori has help is glaring and annoying.

That's all I have for now. Please tell me that me (and EC) are not the only ones watching!?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Best of The Land of Nod

When I online shop, I'm a big proponent of checking out the "best seller" section of the website. I like knowing what others find to be tried and true products. I also love when you can sort products by customer ratings. Of course, nothing beats a personal recommendation, but I'm happy to have the readily available opinion of world wide web users.

The bad news is that the algorithm used to rank "best seller" products is often a sham. Why? Because there's rarely consideration as to the number of reviews. For example, Product A has one 5 star review and product B has twenty reviews that average to 4.8 stars. Most websites will rank Product A higher on the best seller list than Product B strictly based on the average number of stars. That's kind of bogus, right? I'd rather buy something that 20 people raved about than something 1 person thought was perfect. Unfortunately, some of my favorite baby product vendors are guilty of this poorly configured ranking system. With this in mind, I give you today's post - my very own "best seller" list for The Land of Nod. My hope is to tackle a bunch of online stores over the next few weeks and find us the TRUE best products from each site.

The Land of Nod reviews are based on a 1 to 5 star system, with 5 stars being the highest. My best seller list will include only those products who've received an average rating of 4.5 stars or higher from at least 50 reviews. And, in case you were wondering, I'm not an affiliate of The Land of Nod and I get absolutely no kick back for today's post. Let's get on with it.

Number of Reviews: 67
Average Rating: 5 stars

This crib is made of maple wood and comes in natural (above), espresso and white. For the past 6 years, people have been absolutely raving about it with review titles that include "WE LOVE THIS CRIB" and "Thrilled with everything related to this purchase!"

Number of Reviews: 113
Average Rating: 4.9

It comes in white and chocolate, it has those nice side handles and the lid is designed to hold its position at any height/angle so it never slams down on tiny fingers. 

Number of Reviews: 80
Average Rating: 4.7

This is a hand-tufted 100% wool rug with a cotton backing. Can't you just see your little guy (or girl) racing cars along those tufted raceways?

Number of Reviews: 77
Average Rating: 4.8

This adorable indoor teepee comes in four patterns: floral (above), gray and white dot, black stripe and orange stripe. The floral pattern was just added to the mix. Reviewers said that setting it up was "a breeze" and that all the kiddos think it's completely awesome. 

Number of Reviews: 185
Average Rating: 4.9

This beautiful twin bed might be the best rated product on the list. It's also ridiculously adorable if ever a bed were adorable. It comes in all sorts of colors (raspberry as seen above, yellow, azure, black and white) and all sorts of sizes (twin, full and queen). AND you can purchase a trundle for sleepovers.

Number of Reviews: 74
Average Rating: 4.8

This simple, classic lamp will work in every nursery because it comes in 11 colors. 11. The diffuser creates a mellow, cozy vibe that many (many) reviewers call "perfect".

Number of Reviews: 76
Average Rating: 5

It's a 4" shelf and comes in 2 sizes (5 pegs as shown above or 3 pegs). People love both sizes and everything think it's sturdy and good lookin' and very functional.

So, there you have it, a list of truly great products from The Land of Nod. I see the Hangin' Around lamp in my daughter's bedroom's future...

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Garland is Done, Man

It's all done. And I think it's puuurty.

So, before I give you the details, let me first apologize for the pitiful photos. They were taken with my phone on a rainy day (there was minimal natural light...and I hate taking flash photos).

Here's how part two of the garland project went down (click here for part one). First, I decided how long I wanted the garland to be. This was dictated by the number of hearts that I had made (16) and how far apart they would be on the twine (6-8 inches). I pulled the twine to the right length according to my estimation (this wasn't a precise process), but before I made my cut I decided that a single strand of twine wasn't going to work. The twine, as is, didn't seem substantial enough to do the job. My plan became to braid three strands together. With this in mind, I cut three pieces of twine substantially longer than I had calculated because I wasn't sure how much length I would lose in the braiding process.

I knotted the three strands together and used a binder clip to attach the knotted end to a chair. I intended to stand up, pull each strand taut and braid. It didn't really work because the strands were crazy long. I ended up winding each strand in circle and securing it with it's own binder clip, making each strand shorter and easier to work with. When the base of my braid hit the binder clip I would unwind some of the twine and re-clip. Am I boring you yet? Just know that this part was unexpectedly difficult and took a while.

Here's the end of my knotted twin clipped to a spindle on a chair.

Here is the finished braid.
It's a pretty lose, which was intentional.
You could certainly make a tighter, more defined braid.

Once the twine was successfully braided, I began to attach each heart. I used red thread and sewed by hand.

Above shows the twine attached to a pink heart. I chose a back side of each heart and sewed the twine on that side rather than on top (where the heart indents). I experimented with sewing it on top and I didn't like seeing the thread on the front. But, I'm a total amateur at this sewing bit so a more seasoned pro may choose otherwise because they can stitch more neatly than I.

That's what it looks like from the front - you can't see how the twine attaches. I didn't use a ruler to make sure each heart was exactly the same distance apart, I just kind of eye balled it. The imperfections add to the charm.

After about an hour of work, bringing the total project length to three hours, it was ready to be hung. Truth be told, I hung it up for your benefit and took it down shortly after taking the photos, so don't be freaked out by the fact that it looks like my daughter could reach out, grab the twine and seriously injure herself or her teddy bear. My current digs are temporary, hence the extremely sparse decor. I will give you an update post when this beautiful creation finds a permanent home in my soon-to-be permanent home.

Thanks to the low quality photographer photograph, you can't see the color gradation between the hearts, but it does exist. There are four colors in total - pale pink, coral, bright pink, red.

And that's that. 

Any crafting projects planned for your near future? I'm in the middle of a quilt - that's right a quilt. It's my first and I'd love a few insider tips if you have any. Have a great weekend.