May
03

DIY Mother's Day Gift Basket

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May is one of my favorite months: flowers, sunshine, the return of our neighborhood farmer's market, my birthday, and of course, Mother's Day! Mother's Day always seems to sneak up on me, so in case you're the same, consider this your warning: it's THIS Sunday! But don't worry, I have you covered with an easy last-minute gift basket that can be totally customized for your mama. Store-bought gift baskets often look cheesy and impersonal, but a DIY gift basket that's tailored to your mom's style? That's unique and thoughtful. I picked out some items that I would love, for a perfect relaxing evening. Head over to the Kendall-Jackson blog for more photos, and a few other ideas!

DIY Mother's Day gift basket

What would you put in a gift basket for your mom?

Thanks to Kendall-Jackson for partnering with me on this post.

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May
02

Make Room For What You Love

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Happy Monday! I'm excited to participate in the book tour for Melissa Michaels' newest book, Make Room for What You Love...and I'm in good company with a slew of other awesome home bloggers. Melissa asked each of us to talk about  a way that we're simplifying our home and life, making room for what we love. For me, the topic was easy: making room for our first baby! I realized that part of the reason we've been so eager to buy a house is that we have TOO MUCH STUFF. We think we're outgrowing our rental, when really we just need to cut down the clutter. Eventually, we will "need" a bigger house. But for now, our current place is perfectly sufficient. It's 1200 square feet, with 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a den. That is more than enough for two adults and one tiny baby! Some people in New York and London raise families in homes that are half that size! I admit, I want to buy a bigger house...but we don't need to. So last weekend, we decided to "make room" in our current house. We went through every single room and consolidated closets, made giant Goodwill piles, and threw away junk we were storing for no good reason. We do a little spring cleaning every year, but this is the first time we've ruthlessly gone through everything--and it felt gooood.

Make Room for What You Love

The result is that we were able to clear out the entire extra bedroom for the nursery! We'd considered renting a storage unit for the stuff in there, so it was VERY satisfying to cross that off (and save ourselves $60/month).

Make room for what matters most to you--in your home, your budget, and your schedule.

Going through the house also made me realize that I have enough clothes, shoes, pillows, and decorative tchotchkes to last me a long, long time. So going forward, I want to be really deliberate about anything new that I buy. I recently heard a saying that I liked: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." I'm not going to stop shopping altogether (we still need diapers and clothes for our baby!), but I want to be way more critical about every purchase, especially since we are entering a new season of life where money is going to be tighter. I realize that "making room for what you love" can apply to lots of things. Not just physically making space in your house, but also making room in your budget, schedule, etc.

Rethink luxury

For example, we've decided to both take three months of maternity/paternity leave when the baby is born. Half of that time will be unpaid for me, and all of it will be unpaid for Ben. But we think it's worth it, because we'd rather have that time together as a new family, than the money we would make (or the stuff we could buy with that money). I'm sure becoming parents will lead to many more decisions like that, where we learn to prioritize what matters most, even if that means letting go of something else.

What are some ways that you've made room for what's important in your home/life?

For the rest of the book tour, check out these lovely bloggers:

Eleven Gables / At the Picket Fence / Fieldstone Hill Design / Julie Blanner / Southern Hospitality / Beneath My Heart / Thrifty Decor Chick / Reluctant Entertainer / My Sweet Savannah / Domestic Fashionista / 320 Sycamore / Sunny Side Up / Craftberry Bush / Happy Happy Nester / The White Buffalo Styling Co / Sweet and Simple Home / Finding Home Farms / In My Own Style / Fox Hollow Cottage / The House of Silver Lining / Infarrantly Creative / Shabby Nest / Today's Creative Life / Sarah M. Dorsey Designs / Emily A. Clark / Just A Girl

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Apr
29

Babymoon Planning: Vancouver Island & Victoria

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We have less than a month until our babymoon! I'm super excited to take a week off from work, spend some quality time with Ben, and give ourselves a break from all the baby preparations to just enjoy ourselves. We decided on Victoria, BC as our main destination, but also added on a couple nights on the coast of Vancouver Island. I'm super excited for both places! Neither Ben or I have been there, so it'll be fun to explore a new area. I thought I'd share what we've planned so far and see if you have any suggestions for restaurants, coffee shops, things to do, etc. Or just general babymoon advice, like...are we trying to cram in too much? Haha.

Tigh-na-mara resort, Vancouver Island

First off, the Vancouver Island coast. We'll be staying at the Tigh-Na-Mara resort for three nights, which is on Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville, BC. We got a sweet deal on an oceanview room, and I booked us massages at their spa (I cannot waaaiiiit...the bigger my belly gets, the more my back hurts, so a professional massage sounds like heaven). Other things we're planning to do around there:

Planning a trip to Parksville, BC

Relax on the beach, drive around and look at lighthouses, do a short hike to Englishman River Falls, check out Cathedral Grove, and visit Coombs (where supposedly goats graze on the store roofs?).

Victoria, BC

After that, we're heading to Victoria! We'll be staying there for four nights. I found us a great Airbnb downtown, and with the U.S./Canadian exchange rate right now, it was a total steal. Here are some of the things we're planning to do there:

Planning a babymoon in Victoria, BC

Visit the Butchard Gardens, walk along Fisherman's Wharf, check out the Empress Hotel, and do a whale watching tour! Ben's birthday will be during that time so I'm also looking up restaurants. Someone recommended Il Terazzo to me and it looks super cute and yummy. Any other recommendations for things to do and places to eat in and around Victoria? We'll have our car so we're up for short road trips too. I think the Fisgard Lighthouse looks cute, if we aren't sick of lighthouses yet.

Putting this post together just got me even more excited for our babymoon! This will probably be our last getaway until the baby comes, and our last vacation with just the two of us for quite awhile. Did you take a babymoon when you were pregnant? I feel like most people of my parent's generation have never heard of the concept, but I'm glad it's gotten popular lately. I'll take any excuse for a vacation!

Images sources: 1 / 23 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11

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Apr
27

"DIY" Colorful Ball Clock

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You guys have seen the George Nelson ball clock, right? It's a modern design classic, super gorgeous and fun...but at nearly $400 it's also dang expensive for a clock. Well, when I was putting together Ben's home office, I came across this clock which looks very similar but costs waaaay less. So I got it! The only problem? The black balls--they're just not as cute as the colorful ones. I always had it in the back of my head that I could paint them, so when we found out that we're having a baby boy I decided the clock would be perfect for our nursery!

DIY colorful ball clock

Here it is: the easiest "DIY" clock you'll ever make. It's as simple as painting the balls to match the color scheme of your room! I also added a layer of varnish to lock in the paint and make the balls shiny, but really, it's the easiest project ever.

Easy DIY: Painted ball clock

P.S. We haven't started setting up the nursery furniture yet, so this is not the final spot where the clock will go (or any of those other pieces, for that matter). But good enough for a photo!

"DIY" colorful ball clock

P.P.S. It's worth mentioning, if you like the colors on the George Nelson original, hayneedle now has a replica with the same colors. It wasn't available when I got mine or I'd have probably just gone with that. But I'm still glad I got to do a custom color scheme for our baby! That's the nice thing about a DIY...when you're doing the work yourself, you can make it exactly what you want.

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