Ok, Friends—this is it! We’ve reached the home stretch of the holiday shopping season. So, this week I’m sharing my final gift guide for the little ones on your shopping list. And good news, if you act fast you can still get free shipping and delivery before Christmas Day!
This will be my last post of 2016. Hello Friday will be back next year with a brand new look!
Although it may feel like the remaining holiday shopping days are quickly dwindling, I like to consider this the point in the holiday season when I hit my stride. I’m living for those last minute sales and free shipping, guaranteed by Christmas. I must get it from my mom—the woman can Christmas shop down to the wire! If you’re like me (and my mom), and you’re still working on your list, good news—I’ve still got a few more gift guides to share with you. And, this week is all about your sister and best friend. Happy Shopping!
This week I’m sharing my holiday gift guide for that hostess with the mostess, or for that special someone on your holiday shopping list who loves to entertain. Bonus: most of these items are on sale, or the stores are offering great discount codes! It’s a Christmas miracle!
Happy Black Friday, y’all! Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. If you haven’t started already, it’s now officially acceptable to start your holiday shopping. To help you navigate through the sales and check everyone off your list, for the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my 2016 gift guides. Let’s get shopping with my first budget friendly guide: gifts for him and her under $50.
I’ve admitted to my sister-in-law, whose baby girl, Madeline, is just 2 days older than Ben, that I copied her baby registry. I’m talking pretty close to item for item. But, in my defense, she has great taste, I knew she had done her research and I trust her opinions on such things. It was pretty much the CliffsNotes version of baby registry. This was helpful considering the first time Mike and I set foot into Babies-R-Us it quickly became clear that we 1. had underestimated the amount of stuff babies “need” and 2. needed a bigger place.
It’s pretty crazy just how many things it takes to successfully get us through the day. And, to be honest, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. So, I really tried to narrow it down to our tried and true favorites—“Ben’s best of.”
Just a few notes: #9 makes on-the-go formula feedings much more clean and efficient, #14 a backpack diaper bag is a must for me—being hands-free is so important, #19 these PJs were a gift from one of my besties—they are the softest, coziest PJs Ben has, #22 speaking of soft, this bamboo swaddle is our go-to for bedtime, #25 Ben sleeps in it every night and it plays music that even makes me sleepy (as if I needed any help).SHOP THE POST: 1.Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment | 2.Johnson’s Baby Head-to-Toe Body Wash | 3. 4moms mamaRoo Infant Seat | 4.GAP Bear Knit Beanie | 5.WubbaNub Monkey | 6.Ergobaby 360 4 Position Baby Carrier | 7.Bumbo Floor Seat | 8.Dreft Stage 1: Newborn Detergent | 9.Tommee Tippee Formula Dispenser | 10.Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature 5 oz Bottle | 11.Infantino Go GaGa Squeeze and Teethe Toy | 12.Sophie la Girafe Teething Toy | 13.Boppy Nursing Pillow | 14.Petunia Pickle Bottom Backpack Diaper Bag | 15.Skip Hop Owl Soother and Sound Machine | 16.NUNA ‘PIPA’ Car Seat and Base | 17.Boon Lawn Drying Rack | 18.Infantino Discover and Play Soft Blocks | 19.KicKee Pants Print Footie | 20.Motorola Wireless Video Baby Monitor | 21.NUNA ‘MIXX’ Stroller | 22.Lulujo Hugs & Kisses Swaddle | 23. Bubula Diaper Pail | 24.Room Essentials Storage Basket | 25.HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper
Good news, next week I’ll be sharing my first gift guide of the holiday season.
Today I was planning to post about my favorite mom and baby products, but since the polls closed late Tuesday and Donald Trump was named our President Elect early Wednesday, I’ve had trouble focusing on much else. I mentioned last week that I didn’t want to discuss politics here, or anywhere for that matter—and, I still don’t. But, like most people, this election has taken up a lot of space in my life—I’ve read countless posts on social media, watched hours of coverage, read tons of articles and sat through every debate. And right now I feel like maybe I’d be missing an opportunity if I didn’t address the way I’m feeling. So, those mom and baby products will have to wait until next week.
I woke up on Tuesday morning with so much excitement, so much hope. Mike and I planned to get to the polls as soon as they opened. Sure enough we pulled into the parking lot at 6:25am, with time to spare—impressive for us, especially these days. We were greeted by an already long line that extended far out the door. The wait was no problem—I would have happily waited longer if I had to. An hour later I was casting my vote, Ben right by my side in his stroller, clutching a tiny stuffed dog, dousing it in baby slobber—totally unaware of what was happening—unaware of the weight and importance that moment held. Afterwards, on the way out the door I grabbed two of those token “I voted” stickers, one for me and one for Ben. I spent the rest of the day proud. Optimistic. Ready.
Just as the first polls were closing, we tuned-in to coverage of the results. We ate spaghetti. We were still wearing our stickers. For hours we watched as predictions were made, results rolled in and eventually, state-by-state a winner was declared. We sat glued as they zoomed in and out on a map of the United States, dissecting states by county and percentage of population. Those counties, and then states, filled in with red or blue. I still felt proud. Optimistic. Ready.
But, as the night wore on, it became clear that this election would not have the outcome I had hoped and voted for. I realized in that moment that I hadn’t actually prepared for this. Sure, I knew it could happen, but I hadn’t anticipated just how hard it would hit me if it did.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I had a lot of trouble sleeping. To make matters worse, as I would lie awake in bed hoping for sleep, my mind would race and often times worry if someone who promoted such hate, fear and separation could actually become our president. After months of wondering and waiting here was the answer. So, at 1:30am, when I just couldn’t watch anymore, I carried my sleeping baby into the bedroom, sat on the bed, and I cried. And although I wasn’t ready to put into words yet why I was crying, I just went for it, I let my tears stream down my face and soak into Ben’s footie pajamas. This time thankful that he was unaware of what was happening.
On Wednesday, I watched Clinton’s concession speech, still as emotional as I had been the night before. And then I sat down to try and gather my thoughts, so that one day, if and when I needed to, I could explain to Ben why this election was so important to me and to our country, and why I was upset with the outcome. I’m thankful that Mike and I have the opportunity to raise our son with understanding and compassion. We will teach him that in this family and in this home, we do not support hate. We do not discriminate against or belittle others because of their differences, but rather we celebrate them. We’re in no position to impose upon others how they should live their lives, we can only decide how we want to live ours and then follow through with integrity and morality. We recognize that “love is love is love is love.” End. Of. Story. We’ll teach him to always go high. We’ll empower him to stand up for what’s right and good—even when it’s unpopular. By example, he’ll grow up respecting women—he’ll understand that no means no, no questions asked. And, he’ll know that yes, a woman can be president.
Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that these are my thoughts and feelings—I’m not suggesting that if you don’t feel the same way I do, you’re wrong. Being able to have different views and opinions is part of what makes the United States a great country. So, even if you don’t agree with the way I feel, or you didn’t vote the way I did, I appreciate your respect and I thank you for reading this.
Social media can be a dangerous place right now. Currently, I’m trying to steer clear of it. But, I’ve noticed quite a few posts on Facebook this election season, from people pleading for someone from the opposing party to explain why they supported their candidate, desperate to understand. I hope that need to understand is what ultimately outweighs the hate and the hurt. Although right now I feel scared, I refuse to let that fear cloud my hope. I have to hope that the good will prevail. Stay Optimistic. Ready.
“The worst thing that can happen in a democracy—as well as in an individual’s life—is to become cynical about the future and lose hope.” —Hillary Clinton
Thank you to all our veterans for your service and sacrifice.
This weekend my little family and I are headed slightly north to Raleigh, NC. My husband and father-in-law are going to a football game, so Ben and I are tagging along for a change of scenery (and because this mom’s not ready for a night without dad just yet).
We’re still experiencing summer-like weather here in Charlotte—I’m talking mid 80s. I would usually think this was great, but since it’s now the beginning of November, I’m ready for some cooler temps. I think I’ll get my wish this weekend and next week—sounds like we’re finally headed into the 70s and 60s. Then I’ll no longer have an excuse not to get outside for daily walks—which is my preferred method of exercise these days since the gym makes me want to cry. Here are a few other things I’m doing. Currently…
CRAVING | pasta
A few weeks ago, completely out of nowhere, I got a serious craving for Fettuccine Alfredo—which is really strange considering I can’t even remember the last time I had that dish. So I looked up a recipe and as I read heavy cream, butter, cheese, I was quickly snapped back to reality. But. I still kind of want it. So, I’m looking for a “skinny” version. This recipe from Gimme Some Oven looks good!
WATCHING | this is us
Have y’all seen it? It’s so good. It’s my new Nashville (although I hear Nashville is coming back to TV, this time on CMT). It comes on Tuesday nights, but the next episode doesn’t air until November 15th. So you have plenty of time to binge watch and catch up before then. You can watch all the episodes on NBC.com.
OBSESSED WITH | suárez bakery’s sugar cookies
Suárez Bakery, in Charlotte sells delicious cupcakes, pastries, donuts and pies. I’m loving their hand-iced, old-fashioned sugar cookies that come in the cutest designs. Cookies that look like pizza? Perfection.
WEARING | these slip-ons on repeat
These slip-on Steve Madden’s are one of my best recent purchases. Lately, I’m all about comfortable shoes. And, It doesn’t get much more comfortable than an easy, slip-on. This pair is a dead-ringer for a much pricier version from VINCE and they go with just about every outfit. Shop them here.
CAN’T GET ENOUGH | coffee
And it’s probably because I can’t get enough sleep. I start thinking about my morning cup of coffee during Ben’s early morning feeding. I’ve been trying to limit myself to two cups a day, but as soon as that second cup is done, I’m trying to think of ways to justify a third. The need is never ending and the struggle is real! (Print this image from Cathartic Malarkey)
PINNING | home decor inspiration
We’ll be moving next February and pretty much starting from scratch when it comes to furniture. I’ve been pinning home decor like crazy lately. I’m most excited about decorating Ben’s room! (Image found on Apartment34)
PLANNING | this year’s gift guides
Believe it or not, I’ve already started gathering items for this year’s holiday gift guides. It seems as soon as Halloween comes and goes, and November rolls around, we’re full steam ahead towards the holiday season. These items are from my 2015 “Most Gourmet Girlfriend” gift guide. Stay tuned!
READY TO | vote!
More now than ever before, I’ve taken a real, active interest in this year’s presidential election. I watched each debate and every night of the DNC and RNC—sometimes yelling at the television screen, sometimes pacing our living room, sometimes even cheering. Maybe it’s because I’m 31 and no longer feel like I have an excuse not to pay attention, or maybe it’s because now that I have a baby, the outcome of this election holds so much more weight to me. Either way, I’m ready to vote! (image from Brit+Co)
As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t pull together a post this week. I’m not quite sure how I made it to Friday, but goodness gracious I’m thankful that the weekend is finally here! So, in lieu of a post, would it be okay if I just share this photo of my little family at Sky Top Orchard a few weeks ago?
This day is such a happy memory for me—the perfect fall outing: getting some fresh, fall air with baby Ben, picking apples, eating too many apple cider donuts and drinking the best apple cider slushies.
Have a fabulous weekend and a Happy Halloween, Friends! I’ll try to get it together by next Friday.
Happy Friday, Y’all! Let’s just dive right in. Shall we? This week I’ve shopped the heck out of the internet and rounded up some of my favorite fall pieces in my favorite fall color combo: Blush & Burgundy. Like salt and pepper, chips and salsa, peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, biscuits and gravy, these two just belong together. (I really tried to come up with a inedible example but I seriously couldn’t…and now I’m hungry.) Last fall I bought a dreamy, burgundy, suede moto jacket—it was one of the best things I bought all year. And so, this year I can’t wait to wear it again, but this time I’ll be revamping the look by pairing it with a lightweight blush sweater, loafer, or statement earring. Also, while you’re in the shopping mood, if you haven’t already, check out my Fall Fashion Wish List post for some more fall fashion inspiration.
Does anyone else quote Shelby from Steel Magnolias in their head when they hear the word blush? (“My colors are blush and bashful, Mama!”) Ugh, good movie. Especially if you need a good (ugly) cry.
PSA: #6, the blush bomber, is one of my absolute favorite looks in this post and right now it’s 50% off. Go get it!
SHOP THE LOOK: 1.Topshop Soft Touch Cap | 2.BaubleBar Sohvi Tassel Drop Earrings | 3.H&M Ankle Boots | 4.Topshop Zip Pocket Boyfriend Coat | 5.Lush ‘Whitney’ Bell Sleeve Woven Shift Dress | 6.Topshop Textured Lightweight Bomber Jacket | 7.Topshop LEXI Retro Sunglasses | 8.BaubleBar Piñata Tassel Earrings | 9.Sam Edelman ‘Therese’ Leather Loafer | 10.H&M Long Sleeve Jersey Top | 11.H&M Cashmere Scarf | 12.Topshop Faux Fur Pom Bag Charm | 13.Smashbox Lipstick in Screen Queen Matte | 14.H&M Handbag | 15.Charlotte Tilbury ‘Cheek to Chic’ Swish & Pop Blush | 16.Bobbi Brown Wine Eye Palette | 17.Guess Knit Pom Beanie | 18.Michael Kors Rose Gold Bracelet Watch | 19.Topshop Ruffle Yoke Jumper | 20.H&M Slim-Fit Pants High Waist | 21.H&M Viscose Blouse | 22.Nike Air Max Thea Ultra Premium Sneaker | 23.Hinge Knit Scarf | 24.Deux Lux Hudson Camera Bag Crossbody | 25.Nike Air Max Thea SE Sneaker | 26.Topshop Long Sleeve Ribbed Hybrid Jumper | 27.Topshop Utility Peg Trousers
You might have noticed that I didn’t get a post up last week. Of course I have a good excuse though. My maternity leave ended and it was my first week back at work. And while I’m learning how to balance being a mom, work, blogging and everything else, in the first week, I just couldn’t make it all happen. Also, my mom was in town for a visit. Our time together, especially now that I’m a mom myself, is always so special to me. Without fail I cry every time she leaves. The woman is truly the best—she cooked all our meals, did the dishes, folded laundry, and rocked my crying baby to sleep. It was exactly what I needed last week—there’s no way I could ever thank her enough. Watching her spend time with Ben warmed my heart!
Hey, remember those Hello Fall posts I’ve been promising for weeks, well here we (finally) go! This week I’m starting things off by sharing my fall agenda. Like every year, I’m so excited for this season and some of my favorite fall activities. So, grab that PSL and settle in…it’s about to get reeeeeal basic around here.
CATCH UP ON MY READING LIST
I love reading. Pre-baby, I was on a book-a-week pace. But lately, I just haven’t been able to find the time. One thing I love about fall, because deep down I’m a homebody, is that everything seems to come back inside. After a summer of outdoor adventure, we find our way back into the home for low-key, cozy evenings and weekends. There’s nothing better than curling up with a good book. Hopefully, I will find some time to tackle my growing reading list starting with this one from Thyme Is Honey. What are you reading?
ENJOY WARM DRINKS
This is the time of year when I trade in my go-to, iced coffee for something a little warmer. Apple cider, pumpkin spice and hot chocolate—I love them all. Lately I’ve been getting my fix at home with flavored creamers, but I love treating myself to a seasonal specialty drink now and then. The other weekend I found a Hazelnut Pumpkin coffee at a local coffee shop. The perfect combination of two of my favorite flavors.
BAKE ALL THE SEASONAL TREATS
My mom made this apple pie last week and I savored every last slice. Although I’d much rather have her bake for me, I would like to try my hand at some fall baking this year. If you’re looking for a quick and easy fall treat, the pumpkin bread mix from Trader Joe’s is delicious. But, if you’re feeling more adventurous maybe try tackling a few of these 65+ pumpkin recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
REFRESH MY FALL WARDROBE
Now that I can fit into my non-maternity clothes again, I feel like I’m rediscovering my fall wardrobe. But, it never hurts to add a few new pieces to the mix…just to refresh things. Right? Last September I found this amazing Madewell sweater at Nordstrom. It’s seriously the softest, coziest sweater ever! But, great news, this year, although that sweater is still available, there’s an equally cozy version that’s half the price! So, I just might have bought it in multiple colors. It’s so easy to throw over any outfit and in this mild North Carolina weather, I can probably get away wearing it as a coat for the next month or so. You can find the rest of my fall fashion picks here.
FIND A FALL HAIRSTYLE
Well, I finally did it. If you’ve been following HF you know I’ve debated cutting my hair for a while now. And a few weeks ago I finally went for it and chopped about 5 inches. Verdict? I wish I had done it sooner. It’s so much easier to manage, especially now that extra time to get ready doesn’t exist anymore. Allison Webber at Element 5 Salon is my new go-to girl. She posted this pic of my hair on Instagram. Go see her if you live in the South Charlotte area!
TRY A DARK LIP
Check out Allure’s guide to the “25 Best Dark Lipsticks to Wear All Fall Long” to find your perfect shade.
APPLE PICKING, CORN MAZES & PUMPKIN PATCHES…
These are a few of my favorite (fall) things! Last weekend we went apple picking so I’ve checked that off the list. This weekend we’re headed to the nearby Hall Family Farm to find baby Ben’s perfect pumpkin!
FIND FALL-INSPIRED DECOR
It doesn’t take much to transition your home from summer to fall—a flannel throw, a few decorative pumpkins, or a fall-inspired centerpiece for your table. Target is my favorite place to find seasonal, decorative touches for the home and right now just about everything is on sale! (I don’t know about you, but I can spot those red clearance stickers from a mile away!)
PICK A FALL SCENT
The 3-wick candles from Bath & Body Works are seriously the best. I usually pick one up each fall and winter. Last year I loved the “Tailgate” scent, and although it didn’t smell like any tailgate I’d ever been to, it definitely gave me all the fall feels. This year I’m loving the Leaves candle—it’s a combination of crisp red apple, golden nectar and warm clove spice and it definitely smells like fall to me.