Vintage Baby Cradle

img_6132If nothing else, at least Baby Blackwood has a place to sleep when he comes home for the first time.

All of these projects have been so slow moving because 1) I procrastinate…my mom will attest to this and 2) I’m a perfectionist. However, I am absolutely IN LOVE with this little corner of our master bedroom for baby. Everything about it is very simple, just the way I like it!

I started with a vintage cradle, which was actually used by both of my little sisters! I love this, that Landon will use something passed down from Auntie Nikki and Auntie Mae Mae🙂

img_6043I was searching baby cradles online before I started this project. I found this exact same cradle for sale on a common baby website for $480…my mom bought this cradle for $60 over 25 years ago!

To update the cradle I painted it with…you guessed it…white chalk paint. Surprise, surprise!
I painted the cradle with 3 coats of paint…
Heirloom Traditions Chalk Paint in A La Mode
Then topped it with a layer of protective wax…
Heirloom Traditions Clear Soft Wax
Finally, I used 150grit sandpaper to distress and rough up the edges.

img_6162I used a simple cradle mattress and sheet, knowing that I was going to order a DockATot for the baby to sleep on.
Babies R Us Cradle Pad
Babies R Us Knit Cradle Sheet – 2 Pack

I have heard AMAZING things about DockATot and how they make baby comfortable, mimic the feeling of the womb and help babies sleep better and longer. Those all sound like positives in my book so I thought we’d give it a shot. They are a little spendy but it is essentially a spot for baby to sleep that can be moved to our bed, the couch, his crib, it can basically be taken anywhere. This way, he will feel like he is in his bed no matter what!

img_6152I bought the DockATot Deluxe in Dream Weaver. The Deluxe is for Newborn through 8 months old, there is a Grand size for 9 to 36 months. You can also buy different covers to change up the color and designs.

For a little added dĂ©cor, I hung up the super adorable mobile that we got from Restoration Hardware, the Chambray Animal Mobile and then added a faux garland, the Fern Garland from Michael’s, for a little green.

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DIY Spa Bathtub Tray

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I’ve been wanting to do this project for a while. Especially because I’ve been spending so much more time in the bathtub these last few months. I wanted the spa-like relaxation but, truth be told, I also wanted a place to set my laptop so I could get some blog work done while I’m unwinding. And, after baby comes, it’ll be a handy place to set my wine glass too…can’t wait for wine again!

This project was SO quick and easy. I think it took maybe an hour total. It should be pretty easy to customize it to your own bathtub since the measurements are so minimal.

Supplies
Pine Project Board
(To find the size that best fits your bathtub, you’ll need to measure across the top of your tub and keep in mind you’ll need a few extra inches in length for it to hang over to attach some “feet” to help hold it in place. As far as the width, that can just be your preference. I used a 1″ thick x 12″ wide x 48″ long board, linked above. I wanted plenty of width for my laptop as well as all the pretty bath supplies I was about to buy)
1×2 pine board
(This is for the feet, the length you need will depend on how wide you main plank board is. Example, my board was 12″ wide so I needed 24″ of 1″x2″ board to trim out the sides of my tray)
handles
(You don’t have to add handles to your tray but it’s a nice decorative touch. You can get simple drawer pulls at any hardware store or if you want something with a little more style, World Market, Hobby Lobby and Anthropologie are great places to look. I got mine at Anthropologie and linked them above)
jigsaw
wood glue
1 1/4″ finish nails
measuring tape
pencil
drill and drill bits (if you are adding handles)
paint color of your choice

Step 1: Measure the exact width of your plank board and cut 2 pieces of the 1×2 pine board to that length

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Step 2: Lay your pine board across the top of your bathtub, place one of the cut 1×2 pieces up against one side of the tub, flush with the edge of the pine board. Hold the pine board in place, hold a piece of 1×2 against the side of the tub (on the opposite side) then use a pencil the mark a cut line on the pine board. Cut the pine board along the cut line.
Step 3: Attach the 1×2 “feet” to the pine board, flush with the edges using wood glue and 1 1/4″ finish nails on the underside.

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Step 4: Drill holes for handles. Choose a drill bit that is just slightly larger than the screws on your handles. Choose the location for your handles, I placed mine so they would sit just inside the edge of the tub.

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Step 5: Paint in color of your choice and distress. I used Heirloom Traditions chalk paint in A La Mode then sanded the edges slightly with 150 grit sandpaper.
Step 6: place across your tub and add all your favorite bath supplies

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I’ve always loved Anthropologie but lately I’ve been extra obsessed with all their home dĂ©cor, especially their candles and giftable items. I knew they had a cute little bath & body care area so I decided to look there to stock up on supplies for this project. The brands are a little spendier than say Target, however the packaging, quality and scents are incredible and well worth the money for this type of thing…in my opinion. Here are links to all the products I purchase…

Barr-Co Original Scent Bath Salts
Barr-Co Bubble Elixir
Mediterranean Sea Silk Sponge
Baudelaire Cedar Bath Brush
Voluspa Glass Maison Candle in Bourbon Vanille

Hope you enjoy your swanky spa space as much as I’m enjoying mine!

Blueberry Coconut Popsicles

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Roller coaster really is the best way to describe this pregnancy. I envy the woman who have had pregnancies with little to no issues because this has been one of the most challenging times in my life thus far. Also, is it normal to feel like you are ALWAYS complaining about being pregnant? I guess this is just my place to vent and get things off my chest…

Just when I get past one seemingly “annoying” pregnancy symptom and am able to have a couple of good days, or dare I say, good weeks, something else tends to pop up in its place and I have struggled to live my normal day-to-day life, let alone get prepared for the arrival of this little peanut.

I found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks and was so excited when I had nearly no symptoms in the first trimester. I got to the 2nd trimester and thought…this is going to be a breeze! Mistake #1.
By week 14 I had developed intense daily headaches. I have always struggled with migraines triggered by hormones and my cycle and the pregnancy hormones magnified that 10X. These headaches were around when I woke up, would lessen just a bit when I ate breakfast but by the end of the day would ramp up and I’d be lucky to just get home from work and make it into a hot shower or bath than off to bed. I did my best to stay super hydrated, I took Tylenol a few times but that usually didn’t do much to lessen the pain. Looking back, had I done a better job of snacking consistently throughout the day, that may have made a difference in keeping my blood sugar consistent. Eventually, the headaches subsided and by week 19 I was feeling pretty good.
Almost immediately after, around week 21, I started to have bad Sciatic nerve pain as well as general pain in my hip joints. Well, this sure is magical. The Sciatic pain was tough to deal with and not much would alleviate it. I did a lot of stretching and yoga poses that lessened the hip joint pain and rolling on a tennis ball did help with some of the nerve pain but I couldn’t get it to go away completely, and there were a couple of days I could barely even walk. Being that I’m on my feet and moving around all day at work, this was a bit of an issue. Eventually the stretching began to have an effect and doing the stretches every night before bed was the key. If I missed 1 day, I could tell a difference the next. The pain finally subsided by week 26.
Enter my last blog post, at week 28, sitting in the waiting room of the hospital lab, having my glucose test done. First of all…gross! I HATE orange soda and the glucose drink is like chugging the most sugary version of orange soda in a matter of minutes. Wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep that down. Right after my glucose test, I had my 28 week check-up and because I have everything done at one hospital, my doctor was able to see my results right away. My glucose test was a 2-hr test, blood draw before the drink, then a blood draw 1 hour and then 2 hours after the drink to see how your body is processing the sugar. Apparently, mine was not. As the doctor is looking at her computer screen she says “Oh, we have some of your glucose results already. It looks like you DID NOT pass the fasting or 1 hour blood draw.” (She didn’t say ‘DID NOT’ in a way that warrants my putting it in all caps, that’s just how it sounds in my mind when I replay the scene).
I’m sorry…what? How did I not pass? What does that mean? Can I take another test? Am I diabetic? I had SO many things racing through my mind in that moment. The doctor seemed a bit shocked as well and mentioned we’d wait for the third blood draw result to come back and then talk again that afternoon. She left the room and I lost it. How could this be? I eat relatively healthy? Stay away from bad carbs for the most part. Sure I have dessert now and then but who doesn’t? This can’t be right. I felt like I had failed my first test of motherhood. And my poor husband, I don’t think he even know what to do with me, sitting on the exam table, wanting to let the tears flow but trying to hold it in because the nurse still had to come in to give me my Pertussis vaccine.
For the next couple of days, I just walked around in shock. I went from upset to embarrassed (how could I have let this happen? I grew up around diabetes, I know the affects it can have. I eat well. I haven’t changed my diet since being pregnant or if anything it’s gotten better! Have I been diabetic this whole time and just not known?) to angry (again, I eat well! no fast food, no soda, little to no starchy carbs). I just really didn’t understand. My doctor said she felt confident that I could control my gestational diabetes with diet but wanted me to go talk to a diabetes nutritionist…I reluctantly said ok (again, I was in the angry phase and didn’t think a nutritionist was going to tell me anything I didn’t already know).
Talking to the nutritionist was actually a great thing and I learned quite a bit, not only about gestational diabetes but about my diet in particular.
First of all, they had me write down what I eat on a daily basis. Because of this, the nutritionist said my gestational diabetes has little to do with what I’m eating and more to do with how the pregnancy hormones have affected my body and how it processes sugar. The hormones have caused my body to slow down in how it processes and on top of that, my metabolism has changed because I went from being highly active before pregnancy to little to no working out during pregnancy due to all the different sicknesses and pains I’ve experienced.
Next, she talked about the actual foods I was eating. My breakfast generally consisted of fruit, granola and yogurt. That’s healthy, right? Well, I was using yogurt with honey…sugar. And, for someone whose body doesn’t process sugar well, dairy and fruit are not the best options for your first meal when your metabolism hasn’t gotten it’s kick start for the day. Her suggestion was to eat eggs and veggies first thing in the morning and have my fruit/yogurt/granola as my morning snack. She also told me to make sure I had a veggie, a protein and a carb (good carb) in every meal or snack. Umm…you want me to have a carb with EVERY meal or snack? The carb is what is going to keep you full for more than an hour, just have to make a good carb choice and keep the portion limited to the correct size. Finally, she addressed my love of Jamba Juice…I work at a mall and am always busy. When I eat out, I try to make good food choices. Smoothies and energy bowls are good choices! Aren’t they? She asked what I usually ordered and looked them both up on the Jamba Juice menu😩 Turns out, my daily smoothie and energy bowl of choice each had over 90 carbs!!!!! You’re kidding me?!?! The smoothie listed its ingredients as Kale, Lemon, Peaches and Pumpkin Seeds. Seems ok to me. Actually…they use lemonade and peach juice with sugar, not frozen lemons and peaches. (insert annoyed look here).
The last thing we talked about was portion control. She went through a chart with good carbs, and what portion size of each was acceptable. Above all, she said one of the biggest things that would help me would be eating 6 small snacks and meals throughout the day to keep my blood sugar consistent as opposed to eating 3 large meals which would create spikes and drops in my blood sugar.  This means making food at home and taking it to work with me, but if it means keeping me and baby healthy, I’m in. And, I don’t have to “stay away” from desserts, I just have to be smart about them and the sugar content. If it’s a traditional dessert with a lot of sugar, portion size needs to be about half of the usual portion.
By the end of the appointment, I felt much better about my diagnosis, what it meant for my pregnancy and my baby and how I was going to control it for the next 12 weeks.

It’s the middle of summer, it’s hot out, and more often than not, my only craving is dessert. Which is why I decided to make these 3 ingredient popsicles! These are easy and healthy and I have no fear of eating them every night…if I wanted to🙂

Blueberry Coconut Popsicles
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup vanilla coconut milk

1. Put blueberries in a blender and blend until smooth, leave some chunks so they are not completely liquid
2. Mix yogurt and coconut milk in a bowl, stir well
3. Fold blueberries into the yogurt mixture
4. Pour mixture into popsicle molds
5. Freeze popsicles for 30 minutes, insert popsicle sticks, continue to freeze for 4 hours

Enjoy!

Inspired by…Anderson Cooper’s Brazilian Vacation Home

As I sit here typing this post, I’m in the lab waiting room in the middle of my glucose tolerance testing. What a fun way to start the day…got here at 7:30AM, had blood drawn and then drank the nasty sugar liquid. I think they should have to give at least 2 flavor options. As a child who NEVER liked orange soda, seeing that bottle of orange liquid made me a little sick just thinking about it. Then again, if option #1 is orange flavor, option #2 would probably be grape or cherry…and that wouldn’t get me anywhere. Guess it is what it is. On the bright side, I have 2 hours to sit here and get some work done and my selfless hubby is sitting next to me, enduring the boredom so I don’t have to be alone. Actually, who am I kidding…he’s not bored…he’s on his I-Pad watching old clips of Seahawks games, getting excited for the upcoming season where I’ll no longer have a husband on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights.🙂

I also had baby shower #2 on Sunday and it left me feeling happy, loved and so excited for our little guy to be here. The amount of love and excitement our friends and family have for him and for us is so sweetly overwhelming. It would be hard to not be excited after a celebration like that. One more shower to go and I have so much organization, unpacking, washing and folding to do! It’s going to be a very busy 12 weeks!

Just stepped away to get the 2nd blood draw. One more in an hour and then hopefully all goes well and I don’t have to come back for the 3 hour test…yikes.

I saw the photos of Anderson Cooper’s vacation home in Brazil a while back and knew immediately that they would be my next inspiration post. The home was built in Trancoso, a remote village overlooking the ocean and was designed to look and feel like the village it is nestled in, with rustic architecture and minimalist deign. Cooper used designer and real estate expert, Wilbert Das, to desing the home, and it is nothing short of a tropical paradise.

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Original article and photos from Architectural Digest

Green Goddess Sandwich

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I started painting my kitchen cabinets about 7 months ago, right when we got home from Hawaii. Also, around the time we found out I was pregnant. The problem, I went to continue painting after finding out a baby was on the way and was of course concerned with the chemicals I was using. I found that the paint de-glosser I was using was EXTREMELY harmful to pregnant women and children (and probably everyone else, but not on the same level as a child’s developing system) so I didn’t continue the project, thinking I was out of luck until after the pregnancy.

Fast forward 7 months, nothing gets you wanting to finish and complete projects around the house like a baby 12 weeks away! Not to mention, a baby shower at my house this weekend!! I did some research and found a safe, non-toxic paint stripper to finish the job. Mind you, I was not even half-way done with the project and now I’m trying to finish it in 4 days…we’ll see how this goes.

I made this sandwich at the beginning of summer and was OBSESSED! It is so fresh and so delicious!! I literally ate it for lunch for a week straight. I thought I’d finally share the recipe with you and you can enjoy it for the rest of summer with all the fresh veggies. The recipe is from www.jillianharris.com who I have a slight girl crush on. She is a Canadian fashion/food/home blogger with great style in all areas, and also one of the hosts of HGTVs Love It Or List It Too.

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Green Goddess Sandwich
whole grain bread (I used Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed)
goat cheese, crumbled
white cheddar
fresh spinach
fresh basil, thinly sliced
zucchini, thinly sliced
avocado, sliced
margarine or butter
large handful of parsley
juice from 1/4 of a lemon
1 garlic clove
salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Put parsley, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper and olive oil in a bullet or small food processor to make sauce

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2. Butter bread on both sides
3. Layer all ingredients on bread and grill in a panini press or grill pan until brown and crispy

Enjoy!

Dressing the Bump

I have a confession…when I first found out I was pregnant, I said again and again, I’m not going to wear “maternity clothes”. I had this idea in my head of the look and design of maternity wear being frumpy, not cute, not fashion forward. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some maternity items out there that are…how should I say…dated? However, you get to a point of being pregnant when clothing cut for your average body is just not comfortable. I started searching online for maternity brands, there are a lot of well known brands doing maternity lines but I think the brands I loved the most were those who are solely focused on maternity wear and nothing else. They get that pregnant woman are already feeling “not cute” no matter what they have on and tend to have a much better selection for whatever style you are looking for.

One of the best brands I came across was Pink Blush Maternity. Pink Blush has a GREAT selection of dresses, tops, bottoms, active wear, sleepwear, hospital robes, nursing accessories, and now, baby accessories too. And the best part, everything is so affordable! Because when you are only needing these items for 1 season, the last thing you want to do is spend a fortune!

I decided to try out one of their maxi dresses, the Overlay Chiffon Maxi in Light Pink, and was so happy with the fit and quality. This dress is going to be a staple for me this summer.

By now you probably know my absolute favorite photographer, J Soltman Photography, who shot these gorgeous photos at Pittock Mansion in Portland. We had fun walking around the grounds, seeing all the friends, couples and family enjoying the views and having picnics. You can hike up to the mansion from the trails below for a fun day or half day hike or drive up and stroll around or tour the mansion.

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My advice to fashion forward mamas-to-be…
1. Don’t be afraid of maternity wear, it has come a long way in the last few years. One of the most important things is your comfort; dresses, tops and maternity jeans that are made to fit your bump will do wonders for your comfort level.
2. When choosing a flowy style dress, choose something with a waistline just above your bump or a fabric that drapes well over the bump. This will help accentuate your new “accessory” without making you feel large or wide.
3. Don’t be afraid of fitted dresses. I have felt the most confident in fitted t-shirt dresses that are gathered or ruched on the sides. Own that bump, be proud of it.
4. Flowy tops with skinny maternity jeans are a great idea! I know it’s summer and I’m all about dresses in this heat, but if you want or need to wear pants, the contrast of a skinny jean with a flowy top will have you loving your bump style.

I’ve already picked out some of my favorite items from Pink Blush that are going into the rotation for the rest of the summer!

Ivory Grey Striped Fitted Short Sleeve Dress

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Black Hi-Lo Dress

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Ivory Crochet Tie Front Boho Top

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Colorblock Halter Maxi Dress

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Enjoy dressing your bump and have fun with it! Something tells me I will miss it when it’s gone🙂

DIY Vintage Scoreboard

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Nesting has officially set in…I’m feeling to pressure of the timeline and that this little munchkin is only 14 weeks away. Man…when I write it down like that, it seems even closer! I really haven’t done much in the nursery yet other than getting the crib, a light fixture (which is currently sitting on the floor) and some wood blinds (also not installed, still in the box). Next big focuses are the closet and changing table before I really start to decorate. I have been trying to wait until after all the baby showers. Yes, I said “all the baby showers”. This is one lucky little baby, there are 3 showers lined up over the next 4 weeks to help celebrate him. I’ve been holding myself back from buying too much until after the showers but it’s getting so hard. I just want to start buying stuff off my own registry and feel settled in the room and ready!!

As you might be able to tell from this project, we are going with a vintage sports theme in the nursery. I have never been big on themes so it will be subtle with just a few sports touches, we’ll see how it evolves throughout the decorating process. One thing I did know, I wanted a vintage looking scoreboard hanging somewhere in the room after seeing some online. This is what I came  up with. I didn’t map out the measurements beforehand and it wasn’t big enough for what I initially had planned (a baseball scoreboard that had 5 lines of writing and numbers) but I quickly decided that wasn’t going to fit. The design changed a bit as I started painting the words, especially after writing the first line so big…Landon Stadium…anyone catch on there?🙂

I’m thinking this will hang above the crib and I’m so excited to see how it looks with the crib bedding I picked out!!

Supplies
1″ x 24″ x 48″ stain grade pine panel
3 1″ x 2″ x 4′ pine board
furniture nails (color or finish of your choice)
3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ wood rectangles
paint colors of your choice (see below to find my choices)
paint brushes, one medium for overall color, one small for lettering
120 grit sand paper
wood glue
1 1/4″ finish nails
measuring tape
pencil
jigsaw

Step 1:
I started with this pine panel and 3 of the 4 foot pine boards for the trim

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Step 2:
Paint the pine panel with your base color. I used Heirloom Traditions Chalk Paint in Naval. You don’t need to get the edges perfectly as these will be covered by the trim board in step 3. After painting the pine panel, I painted the inside edge of the trim boards with my paint trim color, Heirloom Traditions Chalk Paint in A La Mode, before attaching the trim boards to I didn’t have to worry about painting the edge next to the blue once it was already attached.

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Step 3:
Measure one long edge of the pine panel from end to end and cut 1 trim board to that length. Attach the trim board using wood glue and 1 1/4″ finish nails making sure the edges are flush. Do the same on the opposite long edge. Now measure the distance exactly between the 2 trim boards on the shorter edge and cut the trim board to fit snug between them. Do the same on the opposite short edge. All edges should be flush and smooth. Once attached, you can finish painting the front and outside edges of the trim.

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Step 4:
Paint the wood rectangles with the paint of your choice. I used Valspar Chalkboard Paint to create a vintage chalkboard look. Once dried, I used 120 grit sandpaper to sand and rough up the edges and front of each square.

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Step 5:
Distress the scoreboard and hand paint letters and numbers! I wanted the base of the scoreboard to look a bit weathered. On the main panel, over the blue I used Heirloom Traditions Patina with a dry brush. Using a tiny bit of patina in the lid of the paint jar, a paint brush and a dry cloth, lightly tap the paint brush in the patina, then dab the brush on the dry cloth before lightly brushing it on the wood surface. Using another dry cloth, blend the patina by rubbing the cloth over the wood surface.
On the white trim edges, I used Heirloom Traditions Soft Wax in Muddy Pond to create a worn look. After applying the wax with a dry brush, I used 120 grit sandpaper to sand the surface and edges.
Finally, I hand painted the lettering on the scoreboard and the numbers on the wood squares using A La Mode and 1/2″ flat paint brush. I decided how many rows of lettering I wanted, measured the whole panel and used a pencil to draw lines for each row. I penciled in the letters for a visual before I started so I had an idea of spacing but other than that just kind of winged it. I wanted it to look raw and natural so don’t worry too much about the letters looking perfect. If you need to, you can always use a stencil.

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Step 6:
Attach the wood squares using the furniture nails. There are many different colors and finishes available in these at Lowe’s. I chose the Nickle finish. I also used the Muddy Pond soft wax over all the lettering and numbering, then went over each with the sandpaper one more time to give the letters and numbers a faded look.

Also, sidenote…my crib is from Wayfair.com. And I am OBSESSED! I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted in White…of course…so I bought this Viv + Rae Rocco Kokopelli Convertible Crib, painted it white and distressed it. I love the shutter look on the end panels!! And it was on CRAZY sale for only $177!

Can’t wait to get the part of the nursery all put together!! I’ll share photos as they come🙂 Happy Friday everyone!

Inspired by…Sag Harbor Country Home

I’ve been working like a mad woman on so many different things…baby shower details, baby registry lists, nursery design, plus getting some random projects finished up around the house before baby arrives. Planning for baby is so much more overwhelming than you originally think it is. I want to tie up loose ends on things that have been sitting that I know will not be a priority after baby arrives, plus baby classes, all the things you have to think about and buy (some of which requires research into the best of the best, if you’re crazy like me) and on top of that, not always feeling the greatest while doing it. Not to mention working a full-time job. I’m tired just typing this!

Anyway, I feel like this blogging journey has been a juggling act since I went back to work…how do I run a household, complete DIY projects and remodeling, post to the blog and have time for work, family and friends. I guess it sounds like I’m complaining but a part of me loves juggling it all. Blogging for me is a bit of a release, a happy place. I get to do, write and post about things that I love. So while it may make me crazy from time to time, I do it because I love the feeling of accomplishment I have after finishing a project and posting about it.

Adding to that, a new baby and all that comes with it, I have been feeling even more like, how do I do it all. My friend Janine sent me a link to a You Tube video by one of my favorite bloggers, Damsel In Dior, and it was a great reminder of how to keep it all doing when you’re trying to do it all. So for all my fellow bloggers out there, or if you’re thinking about starting a blog, watch this video…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDI2U5EM3DI

I came across this Sag Harbor country home on My Domaine. The photos and original article are from the August 2016 issue of Elle DĂ©cor. The home is owned by Mona Nerenberg, who owns a home design shop, Bloom, in Sag Harbor, NY and was co-designed by Mark Cunningham. I may very well do a separate post on Bloom because it is the chicest little rustic shop I’ve ever seen! And side note, it is frequented by Martha Stewart and Gweneth Paltrow…NBD. Anyway, this is home is the epitome of chic, rustic, country charm and looks like the kind of retreat I could hideaway in forever!

Excuse me while I go house hunting for a country cottage just like this🙂

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4th of July Menu

Happy 4th of July weekend!! With a 3 day weekend this year, I’m sure a lot of you are celebrating with friends and family and indulging in food and fun filled BBQs so I thought I’d compile a few of my favorite past recipes that we continue to go back to again and again, especially on the grill or when we have friends over! Have a safe and happy weekend and I hope I helped you find something to add to your holiday menu!!

Mini Caprese Salads
(Makes 25 salad appetizers)


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8 ozs Mozzarella pearls packed in water
25 basil leaves
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
25 toothpicks
2 cups balsamic vinegar

1. In a saucepan, over medium heat, simmer 2 cups of balsamic vinegar until it is reduced by half and begins to thicken, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before step 3.
2. Slide on a toothpick, 1 Mozzarella pearl, a basil leaf (cut smaller or folded), and cherry tomato cut crosswise.
3. Plate the “salads”, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with vinegar and serve.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates
(Makes 24 dates)

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24 large pitted dates
12 slices of bacon, halved crosswise
1/2 cup blue cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place 24 toothpicks in a small bowl of water and let soak for 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit with a wire rack, set aside.
2. Slice dates lengthwise, be careful not to cut all the way through, to make a small pocket for the cheese. Place a small amount of cheese in the center of each date. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date. Secure bacon with a toothpick.
3. Place dates on prepared baking sheet. Bake until bacon is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

Moscow Mules
(Makes 1 drink)

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Ice
1/4 cup chilled vodka
1 Tbsp lime juice
6 ozs ginger beer
1/4 of a lime, cut into a wedge
1 sprig of mint leaves

Fill copper mug with ice. Pour vodka, lime juice and ginger beer over ice, stir. Squeeze lime wedge into drink, drop squeezed wedge in, stir and garnish with mint leaves.

Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs
(Makes 12-13 ribs, depending on size of rack)

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1 rack pork spare ribs
1/2 cup pork rub
1 cup BBQ sauce

1. Rub entire rack of ribs with pork rub, front and back. Double wrap in foil and refrigerate for 5 hours to allow the flavors to blend.
2. Prep a grill and set heat to low. Place foil covered ribs on grill and allow them to slow-cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once at the 40 minute mark.
3. Open foil, slather ribs with 2/3 cup BBQ sauce, close foil and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
4. Remove ribs from the grill, place on a large cutting board and cut ribs apart between the bones.
5. Drizzle with remaining BBQ sauce and serve immediately.

Rib-Eye with Mustard Butter
(Makes 2 rib-eyes)

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Rib-eye
2 rib-eye steaks
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp finely chopped cilantro
Mustard Butter
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp dry mustard or mustard powder
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard

1. Pat the steaks dry and rub them with the salt, chili powder, and cilantro. Refrigerate the steaks, uncovered for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours. (I think I did for 5 hours)
2. To make the mustard butter, in a small bowl, mash together the butter with the dry mustard and the Dijon. Form it into two mounds and chill on a plastic wrap-lined plate.
3. Heat a grill to medium heat and grill to desired temperature. For medium cooked steaks, mine were about 1″ thick and I cooked them for 8 minutes per side.
4. Remove the steaks from the grill and put on plates. Top each steak with half the mustard butter, allow it to melt a bit, and serve with a big pile of herb fries (recipe below).

Mexican Corn-on-the-cob
(Makes 4 ears of corn)

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1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 clove garlic minced (approx 1 tsp)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 ears of corn, shucked
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Light a grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes, clean and oil grate before grilling corn
2. While grill preheats, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, chili powder, garlic and cilantro in a large bowl.
3. When grill is hot, place corn directly over heat to cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all side, about 10 minutes.
4. Once corn is cooked, transfer to a plate, coat each ear of corn evenly on all sides with cheese mixture. Sprinkle each ear with extra cheese and chili powder, drizzle with lime juice and serve.

Sweet Potato Fries w/Lime Mayo
(Makes 4 servings)

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2 large sweet potatoes cut into 1/2″ strips
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 tsp fresh lime juice
chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss sweet potatoes and oil on a foil-lined large baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.
2. Roast, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, 25-30 minutes
3. While potatoes cook, whisk mayonnaise, lime zest and juice in a small bowl. Refrigerate until fries are ready to serve.
4. Season fries with salt, top with cilantro, and serve with lime mayo for dipping.

Red, White & Blueberry Popsicles
(Makes 6 popsicles)

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1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cup raspberries
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

1. Use a food processor to puree the blueberries. If they come out a bit more purple than blue (like mine did) just add a spoonful or two of the Greek Yogurt and a few drops of blue food coloring until you get the desired shade of blue. When you achieve the right color, you want to make sure the fruit is pourable, if it is too thick, try adding a tablespoon of water. You can also puree your raspberries ahead of time, adding 1-2 tablespoons of water. Place pureed raspberries in a separate bowl and keep refrigerated until use.
2. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the  blueberry mixture into the bottom of each popsicle mold. After each pour you’ll need to do a little clean up, you don’t want too much extra on the sides of the mold as this will cause your stripes to look a little mangled. Don’t get too fussy because you want it to look a little rustic.
3. Put the mold in the freezer and freeze for 1 hour.
4. Remove molds from freezer and add a small stipe (about 1 tablespoon) of vanilla yogurt to each mold. After you’ve added the first layer of yogurt, insert your popsicle sticks, trying to push them into the layer of blueberry a bit. Hold the sticks in place by placing a piece of tin foil over each mold. Place back in the freezer for another hour.
5. Remove molds from freezer, remove foil and add a small stripe (about 1 tablespoon) of raspberry puree. The sticks should stand on their own at this point so you won’t need the foil any longer.
6. Continue alternating white and red stripes, freezing for 1 hour after each, until you have filled the mold (I had 1 large layer of blueberries, 2 layers of raspberries & 3 layers of yogurt).
7. When you are ready to serve, hold the mold under hot running water to loosen (be careful not to let water splash near the opening), after about 30 seconds you should be able to easily remove the popsicle from the mold.

Breakfast Nook Table

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So it’s been a month since I’ve posted😩 #1 I can’t believe it has been that long! #2 That also means that this pregnancy is moving along insanely fast! In just 1 week I will already be 24 weeks!! I’m starting to panic about all the things I haven’t even begun to tackle in the nursery yet, not to mention finishing my registry, researching daycare/nannies, take some baby classes…the list just keeps piling up!

I’m beginning to get the nursery design underway. I have my design scheme and have picked out a crib, chandelier and rocker with glider. Good start, right? The biggest project in the nursery is going to be designing to closet layout which I’m going to start tackling in the next week or so.

In the meantime, I finally finished the table and chairs in my breakfast nook! We won’t talk about the fact that I started this project when we got back from Hawaii (also about the time I found out I was pregnant) and my projects all went downhill from there. It feels good to complete some things that have been sitting for so long, I feel so accomplished!!

You might recognize this table from my entry way. When we first moved into our house, I found this table at a thrift store for $40 dollars and painted it white. The chairs came from my old dining table and were black before. I painted them with 3 coats of Heirloom Traditions chalk paint in A La Mode. I put on 1 coat of Heirloom Traditions soft clear wax and then lightly sanded the edges so the black paint would show through a bit.

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I searched FOREVER for these chair cushions!! I couldn’t find anything I liked. Then, one day, when I wasn’t even looking, I spotted these at Home Goods and had to snatch them up! They are actually outdoor cushions but this area gets direct afternoon sunlight so outdoor cushions are actually great because the fabric won’t fade from the sunlight.

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White pitcher: Homegoods
Faux fiddle fig leaf stems: Z Gallerie
Wood Tray: Target

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Honeycomb Chandelier: Cost Plus World Market

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Last things to be done in this area are crown molding, a new exterior door and hardware to the deck and new flooring. I’m hoping the new flooring will happen in the whole house in the next year…it will really change the look of the house and complete many of the rooms. Stay tuned!!!