October 2014 | Olive and Tate

Can't Live Without It

Stop the Presses.

I have been searching for the bootie that I felt cool enough to pull off for a year.

I wanted a shade of grey, easy on and off, a wedge for day that could transition to night and a reasonable price point. Comfort and ability to tolerate Maine precipitation would have to be a bonus.

But just last week I found them.

All of my dreams come true in one bootie.

And best of all?

They are half off.


An Ode to my pre-baby Boobs

Dear Pre-Baby Boobs,

I'm so sorry that I ever wished for you to be bigger, that I never appreciated your ability to hold yourself up in a strapless dress or be supported by a thin tube top.

You were always there for me, happily pointing in the same direction and easily corraled by a cheap bra from the Juniors section of Target. 

I'm sorry that I never paid you more respect, bought you the good bras from Nordstrom, had you professionally measured or bragged about you more. Forgive me, I was young and naive.

I thought I spared you. You couldn't feed the baby and I didn't resent you. Instead, I celebrated the prospect of you bouncing back to your old selves and me being able to drink all of the wine.

I'm sorry for what happened to you.

The doctor told me that I gained just the right amount of weight, but you bore the brunt of the pregnancy flux. My pre-pregnancy jeans can stretch to manage the load that is my hips but those pre- pregnancy bras are not match for you.

I miss you.

Will you come back?

I promise to buy you nice things, to treat you with kindness and the respect you deserve.

I'll be here waiting, silky backless top in hand. You know where to find me. 

Please come back.

I love you.


Strapless dress, no bra. 

Single tear.

8-12 week baby faves

8-12 week baby faves

Ok, kids, here we go again! 

Our 8-12 Week Baby Faves run the gamut from infant outerwear to bouncy seats. What can I say, I have ya'll covered! As usual, we own and use every single item on the list - I would never recommend anything that we don't own and use on the reg.

Let's start with the baby detergent shall we? My MOH sent me a huge box of goodies for my 30th - some for me, some for Justin, some for the dog and some for the baby. One of my absolute fave items in the box was this detergent. I love the soft smell and stains are no match for this stuff. This is silly but I also think the bottle is really cute. Don't judge me. 

Oh, baby mocs. I would like to state for the record that I think it's awesome that FP started out with a mommy blogger hand sewing each moc and is now in Nordstrom. Seriously, that is the dream (and hey Nordy's, I know a headband shop that would love to stock your shelves). But, it has to be said that the prices of FP are a bit steep. There are a million moc shops out there and they all feature the same basic look. G isn't walking yet (duh) so he puts very little wear and tear on shoes - my only concern is how fast he grows and how little use he may get out of them if he hits a growth spurt. With that in mind, I found these babies on Amazon. That's right, I found the perfect shade of Clemson orange, Prime elligible, $25 leather baby mocs. And I am super pleased with them. Side note: it appears that the Clemson orange is sold out, but the other colors are adorable 
(we may just need the red ones!)

Ok, if you're traveling and your baby is formula fed, you muuuust pack these bad boys in your diaper bag. Single use (you may need to double up if you have a piglet like I do), tiny packages and easy to tear open with your teeth? Um, yes please. I made the rookie mistake of not taking these on my first solo flight and I can assure you that I will never do that again. Sorry to the man who sat next to us and ended up with formula powder all over his pants after I attempted to scoop a bottle while holding a screaming baby in a tiny airplane seat. 

I've had a tough time finding true outerwear for a baby size 0-3 or 3-6 months. I realized that the baby shouldn't wear puffy outerwear in his car seat, but it's cold here and our kid needs to layer. Thankfully, I found this precious vest size 0-3 months....it is the tiniest thing ever. Bonus: it's fleece lined, warm and cute as all get out.

We bottle feed so our dishwasher is always running. 
We toss all of our bottles into the top rack of the dishwasher and this little gem keeps our nipples and the rings that hold the nipples (nipple rings? no, that's def not it) all together in one place. When the dishwasher finishes the cycle, we open the basket and dump it out on our drying rack. Justin prefers that we put them all back together and then store them in the rack but ain't nobody got time for that.

I'm going to go out of order form the graphic and talk about our swing.
Our baby effing loves this thing. Sorry for the semi swear, but I want to ensure that his feelings are appropriately articulated. He naps in his swing every day, twice a day, It's his absolute fave. It plays music, vibrates, can be cranked up to resemble that giant boat ride at Busch Gardens and has a little bear mobile. Plus, I have it positioned just right so that he can watch Dr. Phil while he's dozing off. I'm a nice mom. Bonus: the design is very clean and the pattern is gender neutral and decidedly not babyish. As far as a swing goes, I love ours. Buuuuuuut.....we bought this particular model because it has a bouncy seat attached. That sounded like a great idea - two products in one. You can pop out the bouncy seat and it vibrates and bounces all over the place. But once you pop it out, you lose the baby bear mobile. There isn't a single thing for the baby to watch, attempt to grab or gnaw on. Gray lost interest in being in that bouncy seat after he was a few weeks old. 

So, off I went to find the cheapest bouncy seat of all time. I felt like we invested a ton in the swing/bouncer combo and I didn't want to buy another expensive thing for him to sit in. I literally bought the cheapest bouncer with toys attached that I could get my hands on - I used a Cartwheel and a store coupon which brought the price down significantly. Also, Wal-Mart has cheaper bouncers than the one I bought, which I did not know at the time. Anyways, ours vibrates, is light weight, tacky and full of dangling noise makers and mirrors. G loves it. We actually move it from room to room - and can bounce it with our feet to keep him happy. It's basically the only way we can eat dinner together anymore. 

And, for the grand finale, our infant car seat.
I love this thing. 
It has amazing safety ratings, is so, so easy to get in and out of our car and is easy to adjust as he grows. We took him home from the hospital in this car seat and the day he out grows it I will literally have a mommy meltdown. 
Seriously, huge fan over here. When he does grow out of it, we will stick with this brand for his big boy car seat because we've been so pleased with our current model. 

And there it is - another baby rec list in the books! 
As always, let me know if you think I missed something!

Pack it Up, Baby!

We are so excited to be moving back to the South that we can't see straight.

This has been somewhat of a long process (you know, Corporate HR hold ups and all that jazz) but we finally have the official papers in hand, so it's as real as it can get.

We've been asked a ton of questions and quite honestly, I really don't have many answers, but I'll do my best!

Blowing the Popsicle Stand that is Northern Maine FAQ:

When are you moving?!
As soon as we sell our house! 
We hoped all of this paperwork would have wrapped up a month or so ago because the window to sell a home in Maine is very tight, thanks to the seasons, but we've already met with our realtor and are hopeful we can sell our house before the season shuts us down. If we don't sell it then I guess we'll stay in Maine (with Justin working remotely) until next Spring when the market opens again........that would be the saddest thing ever.

How long have you known???
About six weeks or so.
I never believe any of the moves will happen until the paperwork is in so even though Justin is already working his new job remotely, I thought it would all fall through. I'm super positive.

Is Justin leaving his current company?
Nope, he is just taking a new role on a new team. The new job is very different than the work he's done since graduating but he's super excited to try out a new gig. I don't talk about it much but Justin typical works 10, 12 or 14 hour days. He goes in around 6am and works until around 7pm. This new role will send him out of state/the country occasionally but we're hopeful that his day to day hours will be a little more normal. 

Will you miss Maine?
Um....actually a little. We won't miss winter, and hope to hell that we are out of here before the first snow flies (we won't be, that could literally happen any day). But Maine will always be special to us because our baby was born here. We love the 0 humidity, perfect Falls and our home here.

Ya'll sure move a lot.
That's not a question, but yes we do. 
We moved from SC to ME right after our Honeymoon, have lived in Maine for 15 months and will head back to SC for the next couple of years. And yes, we own our homes/buy and sell each time.

What are you most looking forward to?
Being closer to our family, finding a new house and decorating the shit out of it, never hearing the following terms again:
fuel oil
frost heaves
-23 degrees (not including wind chill)
cord of wood
ice damn
forced hot air
Mud Season

And the most common question of all:

Will you rename the blog?
Well, what do ya'll think?
I think that I should and have a name in mind but others (my husband) think that re-branding is not ideal. Would ya'll be up for a name change/new Insta handle/new vibe? Or should we rock out with Newlyweds:North?

We are so beyond excited and will have so, so much going on in the next few months....I can't wait to take ya'll along for the ride!

Weekend Photos and some teensy, tiny, barely important news.

This was a lazy weekend to say the least...
nothing much happened....

we rented  movies, ate take out and drank wine on the rainiest Friday night of all time

made an emergency run to Target for the fuel that runs all baby parents: 
DD batteries and strong coffee 
(I swear if that swing doesn't swing, our world stops)

| rug | comfiest shoes similar

Devoured our favorite Saturday morning treat.
Standard Fall order: glazed pumpkin donuts and a honey bun

Prepped for the Willow Crowns Winter Collection drop 
(November 3rd....and ya'll it is so amazing)

Got all dressed up for the Clemson game Saturday night

served as a teething toy

passed out before kick off

kept up our Calories Don't Count On The Weekends Philosophy 

Escaped for some Mama time

| diaper bag | old vest similar | old flats similar | leggings | sweatshirt

and there was something else....

what was it....

I know I'm forgetting to tell ya'll something....

Oh yeah! 

We officially accepted a new job placement within Justin's company.....

 in Greenville, SC! 

I can't believe it! 
We're coming home, ya'll! 

More details tomorrow! 

Can't Live Without It

So, I'm nursing a teensy hangover from both champagne and excitement.
Did ya'll see this insta last night?

We have some crazy big news in the works and while my Husband is confident we are ready to share, I am the resident Negative Nancy in these parts and am waiting for just a bit more before I blast the news. Can you stand the anticipation? And, no, I am not pregnant. The baby making factory is closed for business for years to come. 

Thanks to said hangover, I am going to keep today's Can't Live Without It brief.

I literally could not live without my Bean Boots.

my boots | his jacket 

The weather in Maine is atrocious from November until June.
We of course have Winter, but right now we are experiencing the tail end of Fall which involves rain. Rain, rain and more rain. It has rained since Tuesday and we aren't forecasted to see the sun again until Monday. Yeah.

(18 weeks pregnant and I thought I had a bump. Ha.)

After winter we Mainers are treated to Mud Season. No, we don't call it Spring. It's not Spring, Nothing is growing, nothing is green, it's just all muddy, dirty melting snow and slush. 

It's no wonder LL Bean calls Maine home, only a Mainer would come up with something as ingenious as Bean Boots.

We're spending the weekend watching football and our only plans to venture out involve using my Husband's McDonald's Monopoly winnings for free Red Box rentals and Big Macs. 

Try not to be jealous. 

House Updates: On the Cheap

It's no secret that I love to decorate our home. I take pride in how our little abode looks and feel a little smug (sad, but true) when someone comes into our house for the first time and compliments my hard work. But here's the deal:

Making your home gorgeous doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

I like to invest money in big pieces that we'll need for a long time, like our sofas, but the details, well, I can't say that I spend much to invest in them. Truth: those babies come from The Dollar Store, Hobby Lobby and flea markets.

Recently I was on the hunt for a new duvet cover for our guest bedroom - I prefer white bedding and I wanted something that was soft but still felt luxe for our guests. Believe it or not, I had the best luck on Amazon, of all places. After searching Target (and I love Target, but I think their home goods can be pricey if not on sale or Cartwheel) and Home Goods,  I ordered this duvet on a whim and was honestly more than pleased. The cost is a fraction of what Target wanted for a queen sized duvet -which did cause me to pause before hitting purchase - but I'm (thankfully) impressed the quality.

 Um, yeah. After seeing the price point of this duvet, I can assure you that I now regret buying our Pottery Barn duvet for our king. 

After our duvet success, it occurred to me that I should probably consider using Amazon for the item I had been hunting for over the last year: white Euro shams.
Why something so simple had been so hard to find was beyond me. We received a set that was monogrammed from Pottery Barn for our wedding but the monogram has pulled out and is starting to completely unravel. It looks terrible on our bed. I wanted stiff white shams that stood up and held their shape (since they are for looking and not snuggling).
And wouldn't you know it, these babies were just the ticket. 

In the photos below, they look a little rumpled....we may or may not have been playing airplane on them.

I brought them from our master into the guest room for these pics a few weeks ago and now I'm re-ordering a set for our guest room. Sorry I'm not sorry.

And now for the piece de resistance:

I secretly hated the rug I ordered for our living room when we first moved into our house in Maine. It was too small and it shed rug fibers faster than my black lab sheds her coat. 


I knew I wasn't going to be able to convince my husband to look into another option until I found just the thing.....

Seriously, ya'll, I bought this rug in an 8x10 for $145. 

(the 8x10 is big enough to be pulled farther to the right, but we don't like the look of the rug crossing into the fireplace tiles so we left it as is)

It is surprisingly soft and the color is a warm oat (if I may be so fancy). It hides spills (baby vomit) really well and doesn't shed fibers. I will say that it is more of a rustic look with natural imperfections but if you don't like some of the more loosely woven fibers, you can literally tuck them back into the weave of the rug. 

When our friends Reid and Caroline came to visit they commented on the rug and I told them how cheap it was....and they ordered one as soon as they got home. They were previously looking at a rug in a much higher price point (rugs are flipping expensive) but couldn't resist the call of the Natural Jute. P.S. save some money and don't bother with the rug pad if this rug is going under big furniture. The rug is super thick and doesn't need it and the furniture will anchor it down and prevent slipping. 
We received our rug in a week, Caroline received hers in like 3 days, and we were both able to use the massive coupon codes on the Rugs USA website. 

While I'm talking cheap home decor, I should mention that all of the art that you can see in these shots certainly falls into the You Don't Have To Spend An Arm And A Leg category. I made the large art piece behind the stone colored sofa in the living room - Hobby Lobby canvas, store brand paints and paintbrushes - I think I spent a total of 20 minutes painting and then had Hobby Lobby frame it using their pre-made frames (wait for a sale, then they are so cheap and they do it while you wait).

The two tiny prints in gold frames to the left of the large couch are actually prints that we bought in a stand by the port in Aruba. They were $5 each. I had them framed and matted and love the way they look. We purchased another set of prints ($15 total) from a antique flea market in Newport that are awaiting the same frame/matte treatment and then they'll hit the walls too. We try to buy inexpensive but meaningful souvenirs on our travels and the prints have become one of our go-tos.

In our guest room, the bird prints are from one of our favorite festivals in Greenville, Artisphere. I think we paid $10 for each print and then I put them in Dollar Store Frames. 

So there you have it, proof that cheap can be chic! 
Ugh, I couldn't resist, sorry for the rhyming. 

Post Baby Body: Jeggings and Leggings

Dudes, thanks so much for hanging on for the emotional roller coaster ride that was yesterday's post
I am grateful for all of your words of support and so honored that my jumbled writing struck a chord with many of you. 

I won't lie, writing posts like yesterday's little gem honestly drain me emotionally. Putting yourself out there and bracing for the feedback can leave a girl just plain old exhausted. Thankfully, today's post is going to rescue us from the emotional overdrive. 

Brace yourselves for a change of pace.

Behold, the best jeggings that I have ever owned.

Yep, even better than the AG pair from Anthro....

and as a bonus, 
take a look at my new favorite leggings.

Thick, dark and with a cute zipper ankle.
I'm going back to buy a second pair while they're on sale.

And, where are these babies from?
I'm guessing ya'll are going to be shocked when you see.
P.S. check out that price point!

We all know that I somehow gained my baby weight in my thighs, and as I'm sensitive to that area, I would never reccomend a pair of pants that I wouldn't put my own behind into.

I rocked the jeggings all day Saturday (a 4 hour car ride, baby in a bar situation, football game and the longest school bus shuttle ride back to the hotel ever) and they were super comfy. I never had to pull them up or wiggle them around to get my muffin top back in (you know the move I'm talking about). One of my girlfriends commented on them and asked me where they were from....she laughed out loud when I told her. I couldn't blame her, I literally had not set foot in an American Eagle since 1993 so I had no clue they had great denim until I was wandering through our super glam local mall. What can I say? I had been gifted a little alone time by my husband and was making every second count. Dick's Sporting Goods? Sure! Claire's? Why not? American Eagle? Buy all of the pants! 

Anyway, you can see my milkshake bringing the boys to the Harvard Yard in the zippered ankle leggings in this super natural, unposed action shot. 

See any undies? 
Didn't think so.
Pro Tip: when shopping for leggings, be sure to wear red and pink striped undies. Even the best fitting room mirrors won't be able to disguise those stripes if they're showing through your leggings. 

In all seriousness, I was super comfortable and felt like all my parts were tucked in and contained in these leggings with this chambray top and an easy pair of flats

Go ahead, go try them on, you'll thank me!  

Mom Defense

Recently, I had a chat with one of my best girlfriends who is in the Inquisition Stage of having a baby. (You know that stage, the one where you pin down your nearest friend who just transformed from a fabulous hostess and party goer to a sleepless zombie and ask her all of the questions that terrify you about the entire process of hatching a chick of your own.) Her questions ran the gamut from When is the last time you got a real manicure? (answer: the day my water broke) to What if I want to only have one baby? (answer: go for it! one is hard enough, I can't imagine 3 or 4!). As she picked up speed on the Inquisition, I could tell her defenses were already up, assuming I was going to dispel some sort of New Mom Judgement on her current ideas and thoughts of how she might choose to mother her (as yet to be conceived) offspring. 

It became clear to me that I needed to share with her the one thing that I have become certain about in the last 15 weeks: None of it is wrong. 

That's right. 
None of it is wrong.

If you breastfeed or formula feed, pump or nurse, love your sling or rock your stroller, go back to work or stay home, own your own business or spend nap time writing a blog, want to have one baby or four, hope your husband takes paternity leave or that your parents don't want to stay in your house the first week of your baby's life, love your day care or hire a nanny, kiss your baby on the lips or stick to the forehead, none of it is wrong. 

In my opinion, the fact that a girl even considers these things already makes her a good mom. The fact that we stay up at night watching our baby's chest rise and fall makes us good moms. The fact that we went to the OBGYN and answered the world's most awkward questions to make sure we were ready physically to conceive makes us good moms. And don't get me started on what we go through just to keep our baby healthy and floating around in that amniotic sac for 40 weeks. 
That, for sure, makes us good moms. 

So why was she worried that I might judge her for her hopes and dreams of what her family might look like? Because mine might be different? So what?

My job as her friend, and fellow human producer, is to support her in her decisions for what is best for her future pack of hooligans. My job is to tell her she is doing a great job, what gas drops will rescue her in the middle of an endless night of fussing and what Etsy shop has the best newborn sized orange leather mocs. 

I had a moment this weekend where I desperately needed another mom to throw me the life raft that only a fellow mama can throw. 

We took our baby to his first college football game.

I was prepared. 

I had strategized exactly what to pack, anticipated what he would need and plotted our day in the hopes that everyone would survive in one piece.

We were in Boston so we took a car from our hotel to an area near the stadium to meet our friends and grab drinks and a bite to eat before the game. We had our stroller/carseat combo so the baby would ride safely in the taxi and I had the Bjorn so I could wear him throughout the day.
When we arrived at the restaurant to meet our friends, it was clear that it was not baby friendly.

At all.

We had to have the manager stash our car seat and stroller in a corner by the bar ATM, I had to strap the baby in the Bjorn in front of a crowd of on lookers and strangers kept trying to buy my husband shots for being a cool dad. I can assure you there were no women trying to buy me shots for being a cool mom. I have never felt so damn judged in my entire life, and trust me, I know some judgy bitches (and have been one myself, many, many times). 

Thankfully, we were able to get a table on the patio which was much slower paced and out of the way - I was just starting to relax and look forward to seeing our friends when it began to rain. Yep, rain. 
A cold, Boston in the Fall, rain. 

The inside of the bar was deafeningly loud and even though I had infant noise canceling headphones, I just wasn't brave enough to go stand in there with my 3 month old. So instead, I asked a table of guys if I could stand with my baby under their table's umbrella. (Our table was sans umbrella, of course.) So there I stood, by myself, holding my baby, under an umbrella, next to a table of middle aged men drinking too much before a college football game. 

And I cried.

I cried because I was That Mom. The one who had her kid at the most inappropriate place possible and people were staring at me. Judging me, assuming I am a terrible mother. They had no idea that my baby was sleeping like a rock or that I packed 4 extra layers of clothes or spent hours finding the smallest pair of noise canceling headphones on earth to keep his eardrums safe. And to say that I had my Mom Defenses up would be the understatement of the century. I just knew what they were thinking. Whether they were or they weren't - whether they were actually looking at me because they wished they were the one holding a sweet, healthy babe, they liked my scarf or because they thought the baby was cute - it didn't matter, I just knew they were judging me as a mother. And frankly, I was judging myself. Hard. 

I knew our friends were making their way through the pulsing bar music and the huge crowd of young, single, childless people and, thankfully, one couple has a one year old son (who they wisely left at home with the grandparents). I waited desperately for my fellow baby mama to show up and tell me that it was all ok, that I wasn't the worst mom on the planet. At that point, it wouldn't have mattered if my husband said I wasn't ruining our son's life or if the waitress smiled and said I was ok and not in her way, I needed another mom's reassurance.

Our friend Laura showed up to find me standing under that umbrella and told me just what I needed to hear: 

she took their baby to a bar on St. Patrick's Day when he was exactly Gray's age. 

She could have easily said that they never brought their son out when he was so young, or he never went with them to football games or around large crowds or that I was an idiot of having Gray outside when there was a 10% chance of rain, but she didn't. She supported me, without judgement. 

I hope I never forget how that made me feel - that when a girlfriend decides to do something in a different way than I would - that I support her, without judgement. That I let her know that she doesn't have to have her Mom Defenses up around me, that I love her and her baby, and I know she's got this whole mom thing in the bag. 

Can't Live Without It

Today's Can't Live Without It celebrates something any girl must have: a signature look. And, thanks to my amazingly graceful boiling water making skills, here is my current signature look, complete with accesories

Yeah, I burned the crap out of myself with scalding hot water (and yes, the baby is fine. That was my mom's first question. It's clear where I stand these days.) 

It's actually pretty tough to type with my sweet bandages so I'll work on my full Traveling Solo With A 3 Month Old for Monday.

I hope everyone has a great, burn free weekend! 

Plane Day

On Friday evening, we decided it was time for Baby Gray to get to Virginia to meet his great grandfather, my Pop Pop, and the rest of his nutty extended family on my side. As luck would have it, we were able to hop a plane from Maine to Virginia on Sunday morning for less than a million dollars. 

So we said goodbye to Fall and hello to our first time flying with the babe.....
and guess who was solo?
 This girl.

Because our travel plans were so last minute, I really didn't have to panic, over-plan and over-analyze.
I even waited until Sunday morning to pack us.
(Ha, does that come off as cool and casual? 
The real reason I had to wait was because I didn't have any clean underpants.)

Justin took us to the airport and waited with us until we checked our bag and then it was just mama and baby for the rest of the adventure. 
the photo below is my "I can handle this (please stay asleep, I'm begging you to stay asleep) face" 

Ya'll I have to admit something
I am so effing proud of myself for handling this trip like a champ.
Yeah, yeah the baby handled the whole thing pretty well (he slept both flights) but honestly, it was me who had to do all of the work.

Like getting the flight attendant to take our pic before we departed.
Sorry I'm not sorry! 

and taking lots of selfies.

In all seriousness, the hardest part of the entire process was lugging around all of the gear.
Breaking down the car seat and stroller for each flight and the security process was less than enjoyable. Especially on our last flight where the plane is so tiny you walk out onto the tarmac of the Philadelphia Airport to board. So yeah, I was out there with all of the planes and baggage people wrestling with my stroller and pretending to be calm. 

I wore him through security in my Bjorn and used the stroller to push my 200lb diaper bag around.
Once we hit our layover in Philly, the bag got the boot and the babe hung out in his carseat to have a bottle and watch mama house a Chipotle salad.

The timing of the flights worked out just perfectly that we could eat, grab a change and take a minute to play before we had to load up again. Yes, I laid my baby on the airport floor. But on our blanket that I did not let near his skin again and is now in my parents washing machine.

| tiger |
(thank you for hand making my leggings Ms. Cait!)

The play time was just enough to wear him out for our second, super short flight.
He fussed a bit but that prop job was loud as hell so no one really heard.

And now we're home with my parents.
I haven't held my kid since yesterday and I'm still in my pajamas.
There's no place like home.

Obviously, I'll work on a real traveling with a 3 month old post for ya'll.
The amount of crap I brought is enough to keep ya'll laughing for days.
Oh hey, P.S., there might be some really exciting news on my Insta feed tonight.....make sure you're following, I'm super excited to finally let this cat out of the bag! 
(and no, for the love of all things holy, I am not pregnant again.)

Most Requested Post: the not so hot list

not so hot

Ok, ya'll asked for, so here it is:
The Newborn/Infant Gear We Hated

Some of my opinions will be controversial and some of you will very strongly disagree with me, and that's cool, I'm just reporting our personal experience.

In some situations, if I hated a particular product but searched out a replacement, I'll let you know what made me happy.

I've already mentioned that while we started with Madela bottles, we quickly moved to the cheapest bottles on the block. I thought it might be stupid to add every brand of expensive bottle to a cute Polyvore image, so I'll just mention it here. 

This Rubber Duck is supposed to tell you if your baby's bathwater is too hot. It's a really great thought, at a really low price point, but it will scare the living jebuz out of a new parent because it always.says.HOT. In our newborn days, I was so tired that I honestly thought we were going to scald our baby, even though I could clearly feel that the water was barely warm. I think we probably bathed him in water that was a little too chilly thanks to this effing duck. Once the sleep haze parted and we realized that the duck always thought the water was too hot, even in ice cold sink water, we tossed that duck to the side and relied on our common sense.

I purchased this balm when the babe was experiencing a little awkward stage that involved a patch of alligator skin on his head. We confirmed with the pediatrician that we weren't dealing with cradle cap and she gave us the go ahead to treat it as dry skin....which basically means don't treat it at all. After a week or so, it wasn't clearing up with regular bathing and lotion so I purchased the Honest Co. Healing Balm. I won't lie, this shit is basically over priced Vaseline. It has no scent or chemicals or whatever but it also is very, very greasy. Like oil slick greasy. For days.
After a few days, the balm did clear up the dry skin but I honestly believe that Vaseline would have done the same, I just bought into the Honest hype.

Speaking of the Honest hype, I really don't care for the Honest Co. diapers. They are indeed cute but I have a little boy so his diaper never shows. And if I had a little girl running around in a dress, I'd put her in bloomers so that's a moot point as well. The diapers are very expensive and frankly don't seem to be as absorbent as the regular old Target brand. I just can't justify the expense for a cute print.

I think this one may throw people, but I never used our Boppy. I thought they were a mandatory baby item but I never once used it. Not when I was attempting to learn to nurse, not when I held him while I was pumping, not when I bottle fed and not when I passed him to people who were unsure with teeny babies. We did use our Boppy Newborn Lounger religiously, and still rock it daily, and in our experience, the Lounger serves more purposes, making it worth the money.  

Ok, there is nothing cuter than teeny little newborn socks. Obviously, I bought tons. I mean, who can resist them?? Yeah, I never used one pair. Actually, wait, yes I did. I jammed a pair onto the baby's hands when he was in that "I must drag my teeny fingernails over my teeny eyeballs every second of the day" stage. Other than that, they are still sitting in that cute little divider in his top drawer. 

Listen up ladies, there is no need to buy a sound machine. You know that awesome iPad that you have from like 4 years ago? Yeah, it can download a free sound machine app that will play any white noise sound you can imagine. Our baby rocks out to the straight up static sound cranked up as loud as possible. Bonus: that iPad can entertain you by playing old episodes of Big Bang Theory on the CBS app while you are nursing at 2am. 

I hate to break it to babies across the country, but a wipe warmer is not a necessity. In fact, it seems to be setting a baby up for a very harsh slap in the face when his fanny has to be wiped with a cold wipe for the first time. And that time will come, probably in the family bathroom of Target after a massive blow out. Just go ahead and skip all that drama and don't bother with a wipe warmer. 

Ok, no one panic. I am pro baby wearing. I'm pro baby holding, rocking, pushing in a stroller, swinging in a swing and wearing. Whatever works for you and your tiny tyrant works for me. I just couldn't quite get comfortable with baby wearing in this particular sling. I watched all of the videos online (because a new mom has tons of time for online tutorials) and tried many, many times to get comfortable with baby wearing in a sling. It was a no go. Thankfully, I was able to exchange my sling for a Baby Bjorn and I love wearing Gray in that. To me, the Bjorn feels much more stable and secure than the sling ever did and we rock it on the reg.

Ok, there it is.
My no go list.
Did we all survive?
Are you coming back tomorrow?

Thanks for requesting this post, ya'll!

Less than Professional Family Photo Styling

Thank ya'll for your sweet words on our family photos yesterday! 

Having pro photogs document our major life milestones is an indulgence of mine. I genuinely love and admire an amazing photograph and often hunt down photography talent the minute we move to a new place. 

Before we book a session, I always have a vision in mind. It's important that the look I've schemed up matches the style and talent of the photographer. Once we chat, brainstorm and are able to match visions, I literally cannot wait to figure out the details of our wardrobes.

I typically try to work with items that we have in our closet. 
For this shoot, we did not purchase a single item. 

It's important to me that our "look" (if we're going to be kind enough to call it that) match our setting. I've forced Justin to tolerated very formal photos in downtown Charleston, casual photos in a marsh, newborn photos in my hospital bed and now photos stomping through the forests of Maine. Each time, I worked to make sure we matched our surroundings (for example: I wore my pajamas in our newborn pics. so glam.). 

Here's what I worked up for this  "Fall in Maine is gorgeous and we're just days away from the Winter depression/our baby is 3 months old" shoot:
Fall Family Photos 2

|| mama: top similar | jacket similar | boots | denim | || baby: knit onesie | mocs similar | blanket similar | || dad: button down | vest | denim ||

I wanted to grab a few photos of just me and the babe, so I waited to layer up in my coat until we were a threesome. 

I love how soft my top and his knit onesie look together.

I like to work in a pattern here and there, but am careful that the pattern isn't extreme and distracting. I cannot recommend the Elsa top from Lily Pulitzer enough for new moms. Well, that's not true, I highly recommend it for anyone. But for new moms, this top is especially flattering. This top would kill in newborn pics. I own a few patterns and wore them to work at my old 9-5 tucked into a pencil skirt, when I was pregnant, immediately after delivery and now that my body is working itself out, I still rock them.

As a follow up to the genius "you can't pose a baby" advice, I'm a big fan of just following the lead of the photographer and letting them capture the not so glam moments. The shot below is actually an action shot of me rocking Gray while he's fussing his face off, and it's one of my faves.

In our family photos, I layered up in my utility coat (my exact coat is a few years old from C. Wonder and no longer available) and we popped a pair of mocs on the babe.

I get asked about these little shoes often and this particular pair is actually a hand me down set from Baby Gap and, sadly, no longer available.
But, I just love how teeny they are.
I am so grateful that those teensy baby feet were captured on film.
aaaaaand I'm itching to blow this shot up for Gray's baby Mainer nursery.....like, poster size.
Too far?

As a family of three, we (ha, saying "we" is funny. Clearly, I'm the only one who cared what we were wearing) focused on layers. My husband was kind enough to bring back the pattern with his button down since I covered my pattern with a jacket.

A word on props:

Personally, I'm not super into them but I do always bring a blanket or large scarf with me.
You never know when you may want to use it as a ground cover to flop down on, wrap around a snuggling couple or swaddle a fussy baby. This particular "blanket" is actually a large piece of fabric that I use as a scarf. I love how the pattern adds another dimension and lends to the rustic fall vibe.

Ok, there it is, my non professional strategy on creating a look for your family photos.

Thank you to our amazing photographer Danielle Brady.
We are so lucky that she as captured so many important moments in Gray's life.

And I promise, that's it, no more family photos. 

Family Photos, Maine Style

Our babe is three months old, Maine is spectacular in the Fall and our photographer knows how to Photoshop the hell out of a double chin.

What more could a girl ask for?

Thank you Danielle Brady, you know that my love for you and your endless patience, adoration of my babe and ability to edit away my lumps runs deep.