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 🙂

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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 Décor. 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.