Archives for 2014

December Daily



This year I will be documenting Grayson’s first Christmas season through a December Daily album created by Ali Edwards. I have just started putting together the foundation pages (in between work, naps, and playtime with my little guy). This year I have less time than ever and yet I have a stronger desire to document this season. Taking the time to count your blessings and document them is a wonderful way to slow down and both enjoy and savor these moments.  As they say, the days are long but the years are short. Grayson is quickly approaching his first birthday (yikes!) so I will take my album up to his birthday, December 27th. Hopefully this will become a tradition that one day Grayson can take part in and help build our December Daily album. This is a very special month for so many reasons and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to show my love for it all.

This month brings with it the hectic craziness of Christmas shopping, finding a perfect tree, decorating (and cleaning) the house, waiting for Holly ‘s (the Elf on the Shelf) arrival, cooking holiday treats (Greek cookies!) and many more things that I want to soak up and enjoy.

Thanksgiving via Oprah Magazine


A More Festive Feast…This is something I will definitely be incorporating into my Thanksgiving celebration this year. I absolutely love the idea of not only recognizing and acknowledging what you are grateful for but documenting it, as well. Being able to reflect on your gratitude the following year is a charming tradition to bring to the table.

Plateful of Grateful

“Pass these out during dessert and ask guests to write what they’re grateful for this year. Once everyone has read their answers aloud, pack the cards into an envelope with the date written on it so you can pull them out next year, starting an annual tradition.”

For each guest, cut a 4¼” x 5½” square of colored card stock and 2 rectangles of brown kraft card stockone 3¼” x 4½”, the other 2″ x 4½”. On one side of the colored card, glue the larger rectangle; on the other side, glue the smaller one. In the center of the larger rectangle, stamp a seasonal detail (like a pumpkin or a turkey). Above it, stamp a banner design, where guests will write their name.

(via Camille Styles)

{Oprah Magazine, November issue, p.40}

I’m back

I’m hoping to make blogging here a more regular thing…because I honestly have so many thoughts to share and ideas to explore. I am hoping to make it become a habit. A routine. I also want to have a home on the internet for creative exploration. Let’s see how this goes. For now, to have things be more manageable (especially because I have a 9 month old baby and a full time job that I love), I am going to work on posting for 30 days in a row. Just 30 days. They say that if you do something for 30 days it becomes a habit. Let’s do a little social experiment and see if works. So today is Day 1. Hopefully I will see you here tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Day Planners


Whitney English’s Day Designer, Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner and Erin Condren’s Life Planner are changing the way we look at our calendars. These three life planners (calendars, day books, agendas) are so popular that they are selling out faster than their creators can announce release dates.  I’m currently using the Erin Condren Life Planner that I purchased last year (and am planning a detailed review over the coming weeks). I am fascinated not only by these products, but the women behind them. They each have found a niche that needed filling and are creating strong, smart, and successful brands around these products.

We are consistently finding ourselves returning back to “paper” (planners, personal notes, business notebooks) and many women are finding professional success in this venue. They are designing products to help improve women’s lives, helping to make them more productive and efficient while also bringing style, grace, and elegance to the office. With more and more women working from home, building home offices that reflect their style and wanting to maintain glamour even while keeping track of appointments, to-do lists, and business plans, stylish “agendas” are high on the list of “Must Have’s.” These three women, Erin Condren, Whitney English, and Emily Ley are standouts in the world of paper. “At the end of the day, it’s about simplicity. Let’s simplify life so that we can take care of our need-tos and focus on our want-tos. Let’s ditch that standard of perfection and embrace a simpler, more what-matters-most lifestyle,” says Ley.




Whitney English: Day Designer




Emily Ley: Simplified Planner

p18fv0t11pppmp3t1lmr1jsb1ogr20Erin Condren: Life Planner

I am planning a detailed review of all three of these planners and am eager to report back on my findings. Let me know if you have tried any of these planners and what your thoughts and opinions are on them. 

What’s Your Parenting Style?


A new study out of Australia found that overprotective moms may hinder their child’s growth and development. According to the study from the Telethon Kids Institute, children whose mothers are highly protective are more likely to be overweight or obese by the age of 10. The study followed more than 2,500 children from age of 4 to 11. The lead author of the study goes on to explain that the increase in childhood obesity rates coincides with the increase in parental worry and fear. They use the example that more parents are driving their kids to school.

The Protectiveness Parenting Scale was used to rank parents’ degrees of protectiveness in three main areas:

  • How difficult a parent finds it to be separated from their child
  • How much they try to protect their child from problems or difficulties
  • How difficult it is for them to relinquish control of their child’s environment as they get older.

The Science Network of Western Australia reports that moms who scored moderately high on the scale were 13 percent more likely to have overweight or obese kids and moms who scored high on the scale were 27 percent more likely.

This type of study can be both helpful and harmful. Yes, we need to release our tight grip on our children as they age, allow them to experience life and explore their worlds, but we still need to be cognisant of the dangers that can present themselves to our children. Because a study warns that being overprotective can lead to health issues doesn’t mean you should push your child out the door and send them on their merry way. There are many factors that go along with the lives parents lead. Where do you live? Is it safe to send your child out into the yard or allow them to walk to school? Are there safety precautions you can take that would allow you to give your child more freedom but still support their safety (never let them walk alone, organize groups of children in the neighborhood to walk together)? We live in an age of information overload and this can lead to unwanted (and oftentimes unwarranted) worry. Just scrolling through your Facebook feed can bombard you with some truly terrifying, heart-breaking stories of accidents or harm brought to children. It can make any parent (even one not prone to worry) become overly concerned with even the most innocent daily happenings.

Unfortunately, studies like this can also create a backlash on “helicopter parents” who are accused of hovering over their children, giving other parents, friends, or family members ammunition. People love to comment on the parenting style of others. They love to add their opinions to the mix, often without invitation. So how does a parent balance being protective with allowing their children to grow and flourish in a comfortable, safe environment? By following their gut. Parents are going to be faced with millions of decisions during the course of their child’s life and worry is par for the course. They will question their choices and doubt their decisions but the one thing they have to continue to have faith in is themselves. Read these studies, digest them, think about how they apply to your life and your decisions and then forget them and move on. Make your own decisions and be confident. As our parents always love to remind us, they didn’t have any of these warnings and studies and cautions when we were growing up and we all survived.

Stationary Entertainers

I’m on the hunt for a stationary entertainer for my 5 month old son. We received the Fisher-Price Go Wild Jumperoo as a baby shower gift and just attempted using it the other night. The springs on three sides makes the apparatus very fluid. It provides quite a bit of movement, which is great for older babies who can get bored easily, but is my son ready for so MUCH movement? The bigger question being, is his Mom ready? So now I’m looking into an Evenflo ExerSaucer which appears to provide a little more stability. I was at Target this afternoon and they had the Baby Einstein Rhythm of the Reef Activity Saucer, which seems to provide the same “saucer-like” technique in a stationary activity toy. I feel like I need an engineering degree to decipher these toys. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Below are the current options we are considering. Go Wild is already in the rotation, it’s just a question of when.


Fisher-Price Go Wild Jumparoo

Evenflo Exersaucer


 Baby Einstein Rhythm of the Reef
IMG_3366Grayson in his Fisher-Price Go Wild Jumparoo. Is that a look of happiness and joy? I don’t really think so, but then again it was his first time “going wild.” He’s a skeptical child and likes to really investigate things before giving himself over to it whole heartedly. He’s like his Mom in that way.

I must say I am a huge fan of the Fisher-Price line. I will talk about more of our favorites in upcoming posts but overall, I’m really happy with the quality of their products.

Sophie the Giraffe

I will admit that I bought Sophie the Giraffe not knowing what it even was, I just liked the look of it and I liked that it was made in France. How glamorous for mon petite bebe! Then I started reading on some of my favorite blogs about the benefits and popularity of Sophie the Giraffe as a teething toy. Grayson is just turning 5 months (on Tuesday!) and he has developed a new game, How Many Fingers Can I Stick in My Mouth. He ends up biting his tiny fingers and drooling all over himself. Enter Sophie! Not only does he love chewing on her but he also loves holding her, flipping her around, and staring at her. She is the perfect size for him to grip and I love watching how interested he becomes inspecting every tiny detail. She’s lightweight so when he flings her around and hits himself in the face, it doesn’t hurt. She’s also very easy to wash when she lands on the floor (see above mention of flinging her around). All in all, I’m a fan and so is Grayson.

Fun little factoid, Sophie the Giraffe was created on May 25, 1961. That means Sophie will be turning 53 tomorrow!




Sophie-the-Giraffe-Box mainpic

You can find Sophie the Giraffe at any of these outlets. Target, Nordstrom, Amazon, Toys R Us.

Interesting Links


Monday was off to a slightly optimistic start. The weather seems to be brightening up (just a bit) and we seem to be heading towards warmer temps. I will keep my fingers crossed. I thought Here are a few gems I recently found and some questions I’m pondering.

Should the Breast Pump Be More Advanced?

Ergo vs. Baby Bjorn?

What is the one word that should never follow I LOVE YOU? 

Humor is a form of mental exercise.

Children and their favorite toys.

Anatomy of a Tumblr.

Top 10 Books on Simplicity because Spring Cleaning always inspires me to simplify, simplify, simplify.

Self-imposed deadlines don’t help, should I do away with my To-Do list?

Have a great week and I will be back soon!



nigella-lawson-vogue-uk-april-cover-pictureNigella on the cover of UK Vogue bare faced and beautiful.

hayden-panettiere-tattoo-brides-magazine-cover-pictureHayden Panettiere, tattoos and all.

In an age of Photoshop frenzy, we can’t pick up a magazine without seeing a star airbrushed to the point of being unrecognizable. Why do editors feel the need to create these false images? Why do they want to promote this idea of perfection that only perpetuates depression among the millions of women who DON’T look anything like the images they see in magazines? They do it for exactly the same reason we do. Take a look at your Facebook or Instagram pages. Are these pictures true examples of you on a day-to-day basis or are they the glorified version of perfection that you hope to achieve? I am just as guilty. I post dozens of pictures of my son looking like this, a sweet and content baby boy.


When life with a 3-month-old looks more like this…


Now, as his mother, I find that BOTH pictures are equally adorable. How could I not!? Look at that little hand in the meltdown photo? And the line across the bridge of his nose? He’s perfect! But I don’t share those pictures as readily. I show the glossy ones. The ones that you send out in Christmas cards and birth announcements. But why do we live such Photoshopped lives? Why don’t we share the real pictures? Are we afraid of the truth? Are we afraid that people will judge, that they won’t be impressed? I applaud VOGUE UK and BRIDES Magazine for letting these women shine in all their untouched glory. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll start sharing some of the “real” photos from now on.

photo 3

The Day My Son Won the Snowstorm

About a month ago I posted a picture to Facebook of my attempt to prepare my son for the wintry world. He was only a few weeks old and I was so worried about the cold weather that I may have overestimated the number of layers needed to keep his tiny body warm. After looking at the picture, I realized that I had turned into the mother in A Christmas Story who bundles her son up so tightly that he resembles a marshmallow. The minute I put it up on Facebook dozens of friends either liked or commented on the silliness of the photo as well as their same predicament in overprotective parenting. Although, how overprotective can you be when your baby has only been in the world for a matter of weeks? I stand behind my protectiveness and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The funny side of the story is that an editor at Redbook Magazine had seen the photo in my feed and contacted me about running the picture on their website with the caption, “Adorably Bundled-Up Baby Wins the Snowstorm.” Of course they could!


How could you not photograph and share this image? But here’s the thing about new motherhood, especially in the digital age. The minute I hit “post” on this picture, I worried. Of course, it is in my nature to worry about pretty much everything, now add in a newborn baby and I’m a bit of a mess. But I worried about the comments, the critiques, the negative statements. They can range anywhere from, “I never post photos of my kids online,” to “Why would you put your child in that position, in those clothes, with that pacifier?” etc. It can be anything. Critics are everywhere. Normally, I can handle anything and let it gracefully roll off my back, but when you are a new mother (or a mother in general), your emotions change. You become fiercely protective and also abundantly vulnerable.

There is a famous quote by Elizabeth Stone that having child is to “decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body” and nothing could be more accurate. I’m quite literally obsessed with my son and it is both beautiful and terrifying. It’s a love I have never known before and one that I absolutely cherish. But I also want to share his life (and what I am profoundly learning from his life) with others. I want to be the voice I was looking for when I found out I was pregnant, when I found out I was having a boy (panic!), when I delivered my son (36 hours of crippling contractions) and when I started thinking about when I was ready for more babies (about one minute after looking at his face – it’s true what they say about Mommy Amnesia). I’m a writer. The best way for me to understand my life, my world, my thoughts and my feelings is to write it out. Never before have my words felt so important and so heavily weighted in my heart. My son changed my life, he made me braver, he made me a mother and maybe, quite possibly, he’s made me a writer. So I’m going to start sharing my thoughts, feelings, lessons learned here in this online space. Yes I’m opening myself up to criticism and comments. But I’m also putting myself and my thoughts out there and maybe helping another young, confused, scared, lost mother at the same time. I’m documenting my life and my son’s life. I’m writing it out and therefore trusting my thoughts and words to express such a significant and sacred part of my life. To me, that seems much more important in the long run than any criticism I could ever receive. Yes, my heart is walking around outside of my body but hopefully he’ll be doing it in something ridiculously adorable.

photo-6Because I am keeping in mind the fact that I always want details from other mothers (specific details), I got this Teddy Bear Snowsuit at OldNavy. Their prices are fantastic for baby clothes. The speed with which children grow out of their clothing is unbelievably fast and not very conducive to spending a lot. For example, Grayson wore this pale blue Teddy Bear Snowsuit approximately two times. But at least I documented it so it can live on forever. That’s $15 well spent in my estimation.

Oprah’s Book Club

810MjVs1+ILWhat I’m reading:


Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 – pick #3

I just started reading Sue Monk Kidd’s acclaimed novel, The Invention of Wings because it was selected as the latest pick for Oprah’s phenomenal book club. As I’ve discussed before, I am extremely passionate about reading and anyone who promotes reading with the gusto and fervor that Oprah Winfrey does, always has my support. So I read her selections religiously. And what I find when I read a book club selection is that I’m not just reading it for the story or the characters or the writing, I’m reading it for the life lessons. I believe that we learn so much from reading. We learn who we are, what we love, what we hate. We discover our fears and we challenge our beliefs. Reading is life’s classroom.

I also feel that books come to you at certain times in your life for specific reasons. Fate brings a book into your hands and turns the pages. In the latest issue of Oprah Magazine, Oprah writes about The Invention of Wings as a book that “heightened my sense of what it meant to be a woman – slave or free.” She talks about all of the “unsung heroines who played a role in getting us to where we are.”  As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have just welcomed my first child into the world and it has changed everything. It has changed the way I view a woman’s life, a mother’s love, family and the future. Now I look at my actions as lessons to teach my son. I want to show him how to be a good person, how to be brave and strong and hopeful and optimistic. Strength and bravery above all else because this life will test you and challenge you and bring obstacles at every turn.

Kidd explains the inspiration behind the stories she writes,”I’m always captivated by stories of women who find a way to be daring – misbehaving women.” She continues, “I was interested in how my characters could invent their own freedom, their own voices in the world – their wings.” I have found that in many ways life (and the people you meet throughout your journey) can sometimes try and push you into the “normal” and “accepted” way of life. Follow the pack, do what everyone is doing, obey the rules. But sometimes this doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t sit well in your heart. You yearn to break free and live a life of your own design. To be daring, to misbehave, is often condemned even if it is what your heart desires. As Steve Jobs once said, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules…You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” What I am learning is that we are going to find times in our life when we have to rebel, we have to break the rules and be “crazy” enough to change the status quo.

“I can feel the voices of all those who yearned to be heard, to leave their marks, to say, ‘I existed.'” Don’t we all want to prove we existed? Don’t we question what marks we will leave behind? Nevermore is this more evident then when you have a child. You want to know that what you have done for them, the life you have helped them create, will be lasting, that your memory and the memories you create will live on. That you will teach them to be strong and good. That you will show them how to find happiness. That you will help them leave their marks as you have learned to leave your own.

The Invention of Wings is an open door, an invitation to see ourselves and our history in a way that allows us to heal even more,” said Oprah in the January issue of Oprah Magazine. I want to see myself more clearly. I want to step through that open door and learn from every moment of my life. I want to get my hands dirty with life and see the beauty of all that has happened to me and all that will happen.

So I am beginning my journey into motherhood, my journey into a new year, with a new book, The Invention of Wings. I want to see how its lessons can be applied to my life. I want to see if I can find similarities within the pages of this book and relate to them on a personal level. I am excited to take part in this book club and to continue to apply the lessons from books I read to the life I am living. We are all living a shared experience and literature helps highlight our similarities. There are a number of books I am looking forward to reading over the coming months (The Goldfinch and The Signature of All Things, to name a few) and I’m looking forward to relating my literary journey here, with others. Read along with me. Voice your opinions. Speak your mind. And feel free to throw out some recommendations. This blog is my journal, my space for sorting out my thoughts, learning about myself, showing my gratitude and allowing my curiosity for life to run wild.

A New Year


And my life has been forever changed.

Stay tuned for a new direction for this blog.

There will be many ways in which it will stay the same. I will still talk about things I love, inspirational thoughts and quotes, motivational ideas, and plenty of gratitude.

But now it will also include lots of things I’m learning at this stage of my life, the stage of new motherhood….and the fact that even typing the word “motherhood” and referring to myself makes me start to cry.  (Of course, that’s probably hormonal due to the fact that I only gave birth two weeks ago).

I’m thanking you in advance for joining me on this journey and I’m inviting you to throw out any ideas, advice, suggestions and thoughts. My home is your home.

This is my home.