Monday, October 29, 2012

House Tour Part One

 As promised... our house tour! This is the first floor only, for now, since the upstairs is still such a work in progress.

First stop, the kitchen! The brick is what totally sold me on this house before we even came to see it. Wonder how much I will love it when Harper is starting to put some miles on those little wheels of hers running all around the house like a wild child...


 This view of the kitchen shows the pantry to the left, the opening to the dining room in the back right & a little glimpse of our coffee area featuring our witches cauldron coffee mugs. Coffee tastes so much better from a festive cup!


Below is my favorite view in the house, standing in the middle of the kitchen! :) Make note of the Cast Iron Bottle Opener mounted to the side of the cabinet. Probably the best idea I have ever had.
  
I love the breakfast nook, I have always wanted one & was so excited to decorate this little space. The centerpiece on the table, a reclaimed wood & cast iron caddy, is one of my favorite items in our house. They were on every table with menus/condiments in them at this little beach bar that we used to go to, I asked the waitress if I could buy one because I loved them so much, and they actually just let me have it.... boom!!

 Light Fixture, Table, Chairs belong to dining room table (set was from craigslist!)

 This is the two story family room that I literally cannot figure out how to decorate. I love the built in shelving... but the giant stairwell wall to the right may remain bare forever.

 

 

This picture helps show the layout a little more. This is the view from standing behind the couch looking back into the kitchen. The hallway to the left leads to the entryway. The doorway there in the kitchen leads to the dining room.


The dining room & formal living room are in the very front of the house. When we bought our home, I didn't think we would use this area as much, but this is actually where we spend a ton of our time during the day! The rooms have so much light and the table & chairs make a great workspace. 

I hate, hate, double hate this mirror on this wall. Seriously, I couldn't find anything smaller? This picture also reminds me of how badly we need to pick a new paint color for this room.

 Dining Chairs, Table from Craigslist (score!)

The carpet & baby gates make this the perfect play area for curious crawling baby! I still don't quite know what to do with this space, but for now, it is kid proof, and I kinda like it that way. Also, this room NEVER looks like this... it is typically scattered with toys, tupperware, blankets and baby puke.


 And last, one of my other favorite parts of the house, the entryway! I love the big double doors, our bench and mirror space that I've always wanted to decorate, and the small half bath with a pocket door. 

 Bench & Mirror from HomeGoods

Hope you've enjoyed the house tour! I included sources to most of the things that I knew where they were from... I'm sure you won't be interested in the paint color :)
I will leave you with yet another picture of my little Halloween Harpsicle!

Headband from Jameson Monroe, Gap Printed Leggings, Striped Onesie & Grey Tutu from Baby Gap last season

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Brunch & Decor

 Seriously, how much more fun are holidays when you have kids?! Not that Harper could really partake in the Halloween Brunch festivities, but it was such a fun excuse to have some friends (and their kiddos) over for some festive fun! First, let's define brunch. My husband loses his shit when he hears that word. To him, it means getting short changed on a meal ...combining breakfast & lunch into one ...Celebrating your birthday on Christmas. So in this house, brunch means breakfast food for lunch. Essentially, breakfast numero dos, and I can roll with that.

Here's what was on the menu. Chocolate Pumpkin muffins (thanks AP!) which was literally a chocolate cake mix & a 15 oz. can of pumpkin, mixed together & baked for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. We served them in our spider cupcake holders that I got from Crate & Barrel last year.  These are so delicious .. a perfect brunch "appetizer."

 

 Main course was Biscuits & GRAVEy (get it?!) and Candy Corn Waffles. Saw the recipe for these on pinterest and was totally obsessed. Super easy as well, make your waffle batter as you normally would, separate into three bowls, color two of them (yellow & orange) and then you pour them in rings in your waffle maker. Start with un-colored batter in the center, a ring of orange & then a ring of yellow around the outside. Then, when you break it into triangles.. BOOM.. candy corn!
I live for this.



Of course, what is brunch without Mimosas?! :) I bought some plastic carafes from Target, drew jack-o-lantern faces on them with permanent marker, and served the different flavors of orange juice in them.

The house is all decorated for Halloween...




.....and so is the baby!




Headband from Jameson Monroe, Onesie from the Gap last season

PS. I am super obsessed with the traditional pumpkin Trick-Or-Treat buckets (they have them at Target for $1), is anyone else still loving these over all the new monogrammed bags & such? So nostalgic for me! :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baby Registry Must Haves

I have been working on this post for a loooooong time, wanting to make sure I really was able to speak to the usefulness, reliability & our overall satisfaction with some of the major purchases on our baby registry.  I am a research nut when it comes to picking baby products, but also insist on finding the cutest stuff out there at the same time. 

I have broken the registry down into nursery, feeding, gear & essentials. I feel like these are the most important items to include on a registry (or purchase yourself of course). I have left out clothing, furniture & all extras like lotions, detergents, etc. because I really think those items vary so much for everyone (and every baby!) and honestly, that list could go on FOREVER.

Now, let's get to the good stuff! First up, our favorites for the nursery!
 

First Years Sound Machine - Great selection of white noises, can be very loud, hooks up to your ipod & can be set to no timer. An essential for getting your baby to sleep well!
Summer Infant Video Monitor - This monitor is a must have! A great peace of mind when you are able to literally see your baby breathing through the night vision camera.
Crane Humidifier - We have two of these, one in our room & one in the nursery. Especially handy for when you are pregnant (dry nose) or when your little one gets their first cold. Also, could it be any cuter?
Halo SleepSack - For when your baby learns how to bust out of the baby burrito, you'll want these on hand for bedtime. A wearable blanket so you don't have to worry about suffocation, and they keep your little ones toasty warm & cozy.
Summer Infant Changing Pad - Just happens to be the brand we chose (I think any would do) but worked out well since it fit with any changing pad cover & we were able to attach it to the changing table.
Nap Nanny - Only purchase this if you think you want your baby to sleep 10+ hours per night (insert sarcasm font here). The Nap Nanny ROCKS. Keeps your baby in a comfy, secure, propped up position for ultimate sleep-through-the-night-ness. We were so thankful to our great friends for giving us this (they can't sing enough praises about it either!) ...it was honestly a saving grace for us in getting our crazy baby to sleep (which I ultimately think taught her amazing sleep habits from early on). UPDATE: I am aware that the Nap Nanny has been recalled, however, if used properly AND with caution/supervision, it should not pose any threat to a baby. As long as your baby cannot sit up or roll over on their own, they should be perfectly safe sleeping in the Nap Nanny if securely buckled in. I stand behind this product 100% and plan to use it again in the future.
Fan - Definitely important to have in the nursery (not only as a preventative measure for Sids, so I have read) but to help regulate temperature & provide a little extra background noise. Plus, this one is really freaking cute.
Aden+Anais Swaddle Blankets - Ingredients for the perfect baby burrito! These are the best (and cutest!) blankets of all time... great for not only swaddling (and snuggling!) but the perfect lightweight carseat cover for cool weather or germ protection. We bought 8 before Harper was born & hubby couldn't understand why we "needed so many"... now he looks back & laughs saying he totally gets it now!

 Moving on to feeding essentials! Some of this will differ if you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, but these are just my recommendations! :)
 


Boppy Pillow - Great for a million reasons, but most importantly for great positioning for breastfeeding from the very beginning. Then they transition to tummy time & a comfy little prop for baby later on. Also, if you buy the boppy bare naked pillow, then you can find adorable covers on Etsy!
Medela Pump in Style Advanced - This is the breastpump that I used (and was recommended to me by tons of other moms) & I can't say enough good things about it. Although part of me would like to roast it in a bonfire because exclusively pumping SUCKED (long story...we'll come back to this another time)... the pump itself is fantastic and so worth the money. Plus, the dorky bag is extremely handy! :) TIP: Make sure you get lots of extra pump parts... when you are spending most of your day breastfeeding or pumping, the last thing you want to do is rush to clean/sanitize those parts before the next feeding. I recommend 3-5 sets of every pump part.
Lansinoh Lanolin - Your weapon against dry, cracked, painful nipples. One or two tubes was plenty for me, it is extremely thick. Also works well as chapstick!
Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads - These are absolute HEAVEN when you are breastfeeding. Like, orgasm worthy when you put them on your sore nips.
Lansinoh Nursing Pads - So you don't stain/ruin all your sexy nursing bras OR leak through your heather grey shirts in line at baby Gap.
Tommee Tippee Milk Feeding Bibs - There are a million kinds of bibs out there, but I like these the best, hands down. Keeps the milk out of your sweet baby's neck rolls but they are also super duper absorbent unlike some of the other bibs that seem to be made of waterproof material.
Avent Bottles - Everyone has their own preference, for us, these were the best. I felt like a lot of bottle nipples were too flimsy in her mouth (does that even make sense?) but these seemed to be just right. Advice, buy very few 4 oz. ones & instead get some bigger ones. Once you transition to the 6-8oz. mark, you'll be annoyed that you have to go buy a bunch of new bottles. Even though those little guys are pretty cute.
Cloth Diapers/Burp Cloths - Cloth diapers make the best burp cloths, without question. Brandon actually gets mad if I give him any other burp cloth other than these raggedy things.
Boon Lawn Drying Rack - Definitely get the lawn, not the grass. You'll want this when you have six million pump parts, bottles, toys, and the rest of the things you are trying to hand wash. We actually have both, and the little tree/blooms to accessorize. Plus, tops the list as cutest baby item ever.
Munchkin Bottle Brush - Best one out there, in my opinion. Love the spongy at the top & the nipple brush that sticks in the bottom. I literally remember standing in the bottle brush aisle for 30+ minutes before Harper was born...and ended up leaving empty handed. Thank God, again, for our good friends (Paul & Jen!!) that gave us all of the best baby items so that we didn't have to make these "hard" decisions ourselves.
BabyGanics Bottle Soap - I wasn't going to put any soap/lotion/etc. type items on here, BUT, you will be so thankful to have tons of this on hand. New moms, you'll freak out over germs and be hand washing everything in sight. This stuff is the bomb.com & you can truly never have enough. TIP: Before you bring your babe home from the hospital, have a designated "baby section" (maybe a cupboard and drawer) closest to the sink AND a big bowl/tub that you can use in one side of the sink (with your Boon drying rack next to it) for all of your hand washing, sanitizing & storage needs. So glad we did this, the thought of their bottles being washed same side of the sink as your forks & then stored on the counter next to the microwave will drive you insane.
Boon High Chair - Disclaimer: we do not actually have this high chair. I have read a million reviews on a million high chairs and have deemed this the best. We bought one from Ikea for $60 (which I'll admit, totally grew on me, and is really suitable for bigger babies, it is called the Blames, I think..) but I probably wouldn't recommend it. Looking to purchase this one for Harper soon, or at least for baby number two someday.

Aprica Playard - Also on our list of favorite baby items EVER. We love this so much. It is so much sturdier & muchhhhh cuter than traditional pack n' plays.
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Car Seat - I insisted in having an all black car seat (so this may seem totally unreasonable to you) but I wanted something very neutral (and I hate "tan") so this was almost an obvious choice for us. It has extremely high safety ratings & is SO easy to latch in and out of the base (and the straps are super easy too!). We were between this and one of the Britax infant seats, but this fit in the BabyTrend Snap n' Go stroller frame that we also got as a gift (which was also awesome, but not necessary if you have another stroller), but the Britax did not. Only complaint, it is a bit on the heavy side, but it didn't bother me too much. We have been really happy with it
Baby Jogger City Mini - Love this stroller so so so much. It is so awesome to push, comfy for baby & probably one of the cutest strollers out there for the price. I have professed my love for this stroller enough on my blog, so I won't keep going on and on :)
Fisher Price Swing - Everybody probably already knows how valuable a baby swing is... this is the one we got and totally loved it! Harper still naps in this on occasion... plus the neutral colors make it an obvious choice if you want to use it for a boy or girl & plan on it looking good with your home decor! :)
Fisher Price Bouncer - Same goes for the bouncer, these are amazing and I wish we could have one in every room of the house. Harper lived in these for the first 3-4 months of her life.


I call these the "essentials" although some may totally disagree. (ok, maybe Sophie really isn't an essential.. and moms may even like it more than babies do... but the rest are definitely essentials in my book!).





Sophie The Giraffe Teether - Harper really loved this (as do most babies) so Sophie gets my vote. You can watch the HERE about why everyone loves Sophie so much! :)
Aden+Anais Security Blankets - These are the most perfect sized, sweetest little blankets to give your little one at nap or bedtime. I wish we would have gotten these sooner. They are so great for soothing babies to sleep ...Harper loves to suck on the satin edging or put them over her face when she is tired. Plus, the lightweight muslin material makes for a perfect blanket that you can actually let them take to bed at night. Also... adorable!
Storksak Diaper Bag - I love this diaper bag for a million reasons (other than the fact that is metallic grey... can that be my favorite color?) ...it has a ton of pouches & pockets for optimal organization PLUS stroller straps that will rock your world. You can read more about my diaper bag and it's contents HERE.
Puj Tub - Having a great folding tub that you can plop into the sink is pretty much the best thing ever when you have a newborn. This one rocks. Eventually you will need to upgrade to a different tub but what's most important on your registry is one that you can use right away, since bath time is a must when you are trying to establish your bedtime routine.
Diaper Genie - I know a lot of people that hated theirs, but we honestly love the diaper genie! This can be substituted by a trash can in the garage where you can ditch poopy diapers, but if you are in a small space where it is important to mask the smell right away, this will totally do the trick! TIP: We only use this for poopy diapers... if it's just wet, it goes in the regular trash. Otherwise you will fly through the refills like no other.
Diapers - Needed to include diapers as part of the registry of course, but I know every mom has their own preference on brand (and disposable vs. cloth) but we use either Pampers or Huggies, whichever is cheaper at the time, and have never had a single complaint. You can order them from Diapers.com usually for $5 off each box and next day shipping, which is the best.
Pampers Sensitive Wipes - Same goes for wipes, we have always used these & think they are the best. I actually did use a few other brands (from traveling or stuff we got at our shower) and never liked them as much. Feel free to register for one hundred thousand boxes because you can never have too many.
K'Tan Baby Carrier - I love this carrier so much! It is super easy to put on & I felt like Harper was always so comfortable & secure while I was wearing her. Plus, it comes in the size that YOU are instead of your baby, so you can comfortably wear your babe from newborn to toddler with just one wrap. Highly recommended!
Exergen Temporal Thermometer - I know the hospitals recommend that you use a rectal thermometer, so you definitely will need one of these as well.. but these are extra important. The first time your child gets a fever and they fall asleep... and you know they need to sleep but you are stressing about their temp... you will be so glad you have this. You can sneak in their room and take their temp in their sleep without even waking them!
Nuk Pacifier - These are going to be different for every baby, but we tried TONS. I really wanted the gumdrop ones to work because they are cute and we got a bunch free from the hospital... but at the end of the day.. she liked these the best. And to be honest, most of the babies I see that are older (which means they have definitely picked a favorite paci) use Nuks. Also, can never have too many of these because they disappear like socks & ponytail holders.
Brica Baby Mirror - Got this at my shower & so thankful for it. Allows for you to see your babe in their rear facing car seat.... so great for first time moms that are nervous about driving with your baby for the first time. Now that Harper is older, she loves it because she can see herself in it! :)

WHEW! Long winded to say the least. I know that I loved reading about baby registries when I was pregnant, so I hope you found this helpful! :) I am not an expert by any means, these are just items that we loved & that worked for us... most of them started out as recommendations from other moms too! Also, may not be necessary to include on your registry, but we have come across many of our new favorite baby items as Harper has grown! You can find them by month here:

As always, feel free to post your baby registry must haves in the comments! I love reading about what other moms find most important for a happy & healthy (and stylish!) baby! :)