Monday, September 15, 2014

My Birthday Wish List

With my birthday looming, I thought it would fun to put together a little birthday wish list based off of my (way too materialistic) Pinterest board. All I really need is a great time with family and friends, good food and some sick beats to get down to and I'm good.

 
This looks like just a super cute book of the daily rituals of how artists work. I'm always adding to my book collection and quick reads are the best.
 
Why? I don't know. It's just part of my picture, perfect home and life. Everyone needs a ceramic cow creamer. An essential on the breakfast table. Probably it would make more sense if my husband or I drank coffee or even tea but hey.
 
Made in America, pure beauty. I love her collection that was inspired by the twenties. This cuff is a classic that can be worn to the office or just while out running errands at Target.
 
I love the simplicity of this print and just the reminder that it is to be thankful ALWAYS. I'd like to put this in my bedroom, near my wardrobe or even in the bathroom. The gold foil is so classy.
 
Our dinnerware and serveware collection is Fiestaware. With the collection so large, you can always be adding. Fiestaware is the best because it can go in the oven. You may not consider the value in that but think about all the times you want to just reheat one plate of food for dinner - how easy it is to make up a plate and pop it in the oven. This trustworthy brand has been around forever.
 
Wool is a natural dust repellant. I don't like dust and my husband has allergies. I love the vintage look of ticking stripes. It's basically a neutral for the bedroom.
 
This is my ultimate favorite designer bag. Understated elegance. Perfect leather. Cute ducks. Timeless. And that is all.
 
A cell phone case that reduces call phone radiation - get me one now! I'm a huge fan of lowering toxicity in and around me. Cell phone radiation is radiation so it's dangerous - I'm a weirdo but even this is pretty widely accepted. I need the rugged case - that style has been trustworthy with my current iPhone. Dropped it a million times but as long as it's got that rim around the front edges, I've never even had a scratch.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Gap's Fall Toddler Collection

For the past year and a half, I have shopped for Jack almost exclusively at Gymboree. Don't get me wrong here, I do love that store, but for the longevity of Jack's wardrobe I wanted to shop for some things that were a little less themed. I recently bought a chunk of his Fall clothing from Gap. I've been quite pleased with their collections and love the more sophisticated, little man look. As a side note, in case anyone is wondering, it's not like I buy him a new wardrobe for each season (I would love too) he really has just outgrown any clothes that would keep him warm during the cold season. OK, who am I kidding, I also just love buying him new clothes but thanks to a tip from a fellow blogger I have been stalking EBAY for my name brand toddler favs.

I love Gap's fall collection. Toddler boy clothes are just the best. Fall is my favorite season and I just love for my little family to be cute and cozy at the same time. Each year we do a little photo session at the pumpkin patch with Jack wearing an adorable plaid shirt. I'm really thinking that he needs that quilted jacket and cable knit navy hat this year as well. I already purchased those uber cute herringbone sneakers and camo pants.


Fall Gap Kids: For Jack

3 Tips to a Cleaner Inbox

 
If your anything like me, then you get a lot of daily emails in your inbox. So much so that it can be annoying/stressful/exciting/overwhelming/Fill in the blank. I am in a very bad good habit of deleting emails. I like to keep my inbox to 10 or less items. Here are my top tips for keeping that stuff moving right along.

#1 Delete. Don't be afraid to delete emails. If you receive blog posts by email, delete them, you can always go back to the original blog to read later. You don't need to save those pesky store discount email codes. (This will also save you money). If you don't delete now, you are giving yourself a future headache for that day when you decide to clean-up your inbox and you re-open every email to see if it was important.

#2 Utilize folders. I use Gmail and the service offers folders for organizing your emails. I have a folder that I call 'receipts'. I save all of my online purchases there until I receive them in the mail at which point I refer to tip #1 I delete them out of the folder. It's also important to save certain correspondence. For example, I save my emails from my auto insurance broker that way if I need to refer to something I always have it handy.

#3 Unsubscribe. Don't be afraid to unsubscribe from any and all emails. It's one (or 20) less things your mind has to think of. Trust me, you will not miss those extra 20% emails, flight deals or whatever else you may be subscribed to. If I am in the market to buy a new J.Crew sweater, I simply check out their website (there's usually a sale currently going on or if not I just temporarily subscribe until I see a good sale, buy my sweater and then promptly unsubscribe). It may seem scary but you will survive without knowing everything.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Loafers for Fall

I've had my eye on a classic pair of loafers for quite some time now. Loafers are the perfect pair of shoes. Sturdy and comfortable. Made for walking. My closet has been in need of just the right classic pair of shoes that can literally be worn with anything (almost anything). One can have a closet full of cute flats but not a shoe to wear. I need a pair of shoes that I can walk to work in and then keep on for the whole day. A pair of shoes to throw on with jeans and run errands. Or go visit with friends.

I plan on purchasing a pair on Ebay. Leather shoes can take some time to wear in and in the mean time, it can be pretty uncomfortable. As an added bonus of purchasing on Ebay, I'm reducing waste. Reduce, reuse, recycle. A motto I am trying to implement into all applicable areas of my life.

 
What are your thoughts on loafers? Where do you prefer to buy your shoes?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Getaway: Port Angeles

Labor day weekend I was determined to get out of town. After our camping plans fell through, I was more than just slightly disappointed. But I didn't know what to do or where to go. Matt came up with this great idea to drive to western Washington and visit the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim. It was both terrifying and exciting. The animals put their heads into your car to get food. While I did find the experience rather exciting, I felt bad for the animals. They are in no way, shape or form taken care of the way the animals at the zoo are cared for. And I can't imagine that eating bread all day long is really that good for them. Jack enjoyed it though, so all-in-all it was a fun new experience for us all. Oh and the trip started with a ride on the ferry across the Puget Sound.

 
We left the Game Farm and decided to visit the farm where we purchase our milk from. The Dungenous Valley Creamery. Although we could purchase this special milk from a local, natural food store near our house, it's actually cheaper to purchase through a pick-up location a few miles away at someone's house. The farm was so cute and cows looked happy and healthy. Next time, we'll have to plan it better so that we can get up early enough to watch the milking process.
 
Our trip ended in Port Angeles where we ate frozen yogurt, did a little antique shopping and walked the docks to breath in the fresh salt water air. Personally, I feel like we way overpaid for the little Red Lion Hotel that we stayed in but the chance to getaway was SO worth it! Saturday morning we woke up and made the drive up Hurricane Ridge. I had never actually been to the Olympic Mountains and it was such a different feeling than the Cascades on our side of the water. Breathtaking. I highly recommend the drive.
 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Choosing a Nanny 101

When Jack was born, I had the wonderful opportunity to take him to work with me. Perks of working for your parents. By the time he reached 8 months, it was time to stop bringing him with me. He was on the go and needed a lot more activity than I could give him in an office. Though I knew the day was coming, I didn't want to place him under the care of anyone else. Ultimately, my husband and I decided that a nanny was the best option. Jack would be able to remain in the comfort and security of his own home, have 100% of the attention of his caregiver and if I had to leave before he woke up for the day I could. That means I didn't have to get up extra early to change him, feed him, etc. BONUS.

But then the thought of allowing a complete stranger to basically live in my house and take care of my baby during the day was a little daunting. How do you find someone you can trust?

I've used multiple methods to finding a nanny and thought I would share here.

Craigslist.
You know it. I've used it. I never hired a nanny from there but I did find a family that I was going to share our nanny with. I'll be the first one to say Craigslist is completely sketchy but I post stuff on there all the time which leads me to believe there are other normal, safe people using the site as well.

Church Community Boards.
This is my second most preferred method for nanny finding. It is especially good if you actually go to the church whose board you are looking at. We found our first nanny this way and felt extremely confident entrusting her with our babe.

Other Online Boards.
There are Yahoo Mom's groups and hundreds of other parenting community forums. I've contacted nannies from all over the place.

Care.com.
I like this site. You can browse through nannies and refine your search for anything specific including key words. I have met with a couple of nannies from care and I would have hired them if it weren't for my absolutely most preferred method of finding a nanny...

Referrals.
Hands down this is the best way to find a caretaker. I've had 3 referrals and I will always hire them above and beyond anyone looking good online that I don't know. Our substitute nanny was a referral from our first nanny. Our second nanny was the daughter of a friend of my parents and our current nanny knew our substitute nanny. That referral is the biggest peace of mind you can get in childcare.

It can be really stressful trying to find the right person. Try to remember that nannies can appear available on a moments notice. What I mean is that, a nanny may be working for one family and then find out they don't need her in two weeks and then she is suddenly available. Always keep reminding friends and family that you need a nanny because they might forget and this will keep is fresh in their mind to look out for those referrals. I hate leaving my little boy for the day but ultimately, since I do need childcare, a nanny is the perfect solution for us. The nanny follows the routine that I give her, Jack remains in the safest place possible and I have the most peace of mind.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Me + TLC's Four Weddings

 (More images from this wedding here and here).

Last October I had the awesome opportunity to photograph one of my co-workers wedding. Details aside, what made this wedding unique was that the bride was selected to appear in the TLC show Four Weddings. The office has been all abuzz as we anxiously waited for her show to air. Immediately, upon my return home from my weekend away, I plopped on the couch and hit my DVR to watch the show that had aired on Friday. Pretty sure I had a smile on my face the entire time. I've joined the ranks of people who know other people who have actually been on reality T.V. My photographs were selected to be shown on the TLC website as well. It's been a pretty neat experience to be apart of and watch how the behind the scenes plays out. So if you're interested in watching, the episode is being replayed this Friday on TLC at 8pm PST.