summer lovin’

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is summer really almost over? i feel like it only just began! and so goes the story of my life these days, constantly flying by faster than i’d like. so to suppress those end of summer blues, my girlfriend and i packed up and headed to the beach today. it’s days like this that go down in my book as favorites and i look back on often. spontaneous, adventuresome and as relaxing as possible with a two year old in tow. we grabbed my sister and our best little brunette on the way and soaked up the last bit of hot summer rays. i don’t think these turkeys had any fun at all (wink).

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guide to – story time

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we’ve each got a monster in our house. book monsters that is! but no complaints here, as these monsters are adorable and story time gives us a hot minute to cuddle beside these toddlers who are otherwise always on the go. here are a few of our favorites, monsters included. what are yours? do share, as our collection is forever growing…

little owl lost + oh no george! by chris haughton – favorites in all three of our libraries. however noah particularly goes ballistic if the cover’s are in view and they’ve since been removed from this dudes nursery. mama’s gotta sleep too!

the dot by peter h reynolds – a fast fable encouraging all little’s to make their creative mark.

i want my hat back by jon klassen – a story the little’s might not completely comprehend but has us mama’s secretly smirking.

the day the crayons quit by drew daywalt + oliver jeffers – witty letters written by the crayons themselves sheds new light on how we approach our box of colored friends.

the snatchabook by helen docherty – hands down, the current favorite of our biggest monster logan who prefers to ‘read’ this mystery on her own.

wacky wednesdaythe sneetches by dr. seuss – seriously the longest stories ever, but the littles go gaga over the dr’s silly antics every single time.

alexander girard color by alexander girard + gloria fowler – duh! with designers living in each house, this colorful kaleidoscope is a no brainier.

gaston by kelly dipucchio + christian robinson – quirky illustrations tell an adorable tale about some mixed matched puppies.

snuggle the baby by sara gillingham – lo gifted this to her bgirl evie and so far, SO good. there’s a cardboard newborn tucked between the interactive pages that gets just as much love as all her other baby dolls. she’ll be changing diapers come october!

iggy peck architect by andrea beaty + david roberts – a particular daddy had this read waiting on the shelves when someone was just a wee twinkle in his eyes. she since loves the rhyme and mama loves the lesson behind the story. three wins!

monthly mini – noah

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13 month noah! as in: officially no longer a baby! as in: his mama is in complete denial + has found herself a new ritual of scrolling through photos + videos of his infancy for hours nightly because she wants to remember that fleeting infant stage with its lovable coos + chubby cheeks. but i digress. toddler noah, rocks!

he :

clings on after a bath like a tiny koala bear

says ‘i love you’

is a scrambled egg consuming monster

acknowledges cars, lights, dogs + birds by calling them by their respective names

blows kisses to strangers

wears sunglasses

once he spots a hat, he insists that you put it on your head [but refuses to keep it on his]

dances like nobody is watching

adores his cousins

does not hesitate to point out his belly button

says ‘meeee’ every time he spots a cat

knows his animal sounds, but insists that the cow says ‘baaaa’

has a mild obsession with cars of all shapes + sizes

went on his first swing ride [along side his girlfriend lo]

will say ‘no’ when he is not supposed to do something, still proceed to do it, then follows it up with ‘bad’

has 9 chompers + counting

lurks behind corners to try + scare me

has the best little belly laugh i’ve ever heard

monthly mini – evie

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blackblondebrunette | obsessedthe 52 project : a portrait of evie, once a week, every week : 2014

22 weeks of evie. this kid has been amazing lately at rolling with the punches. we are in the middle of some house projects which have temporarily taken over evie’s bedroom and playroom . she started sleeping in the new nursery without missing a beat. when i took her to see her room completely cleaned out and carpet ripped up (which happened during a nap) she just said – “uh oh”. yesterday her walls were skim coated and all the supplies are still gathered in the middle of the room for the painting that will happen today, she was only concerned with the mess. the child hates a mess. there hasn’t been a whole lot of toddler fun around here since we are in overdrive to get things in order before baby brother enters the scene. evie is happy dancing to the top 40 pop hits, coloring, or cleaning right along with us. so i’m currently very thankful that she is taking one for the team and will make sure there are some special dates in the near future for this big sis to be.

evie’s current favorites:
pigtails – if they aren’t in her hair she just pats her head asking for piggies until she gets them
“the hat”- can’t get enough of it and it is on its last leg
accessorizing – she’s been known to carry two purses at a time
shoes – hers and ours
shushing – anything loud, including the thunder
cheese – duh
monkey – which is actually a fox, her blabla doll that she’s just acknowledged after a year is now in her sights at all times
teepee – as long as the twinkle lights are on, that’s the place to be
tea parties – loves a tea set and usually has a tiny cup with her to sip out of
cleanliness – if something doesn’t belong there’s a very dramatic “yuck” until it is removed

monthly mini – logan

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52 project – a portrait of logan, once a week, every week, in 2014

this has been the month of adventure. two is treating us well and has enabled us to pick up and go for hours on end with no planned agenda. i think we’ve visited more philadelphia attractions in the past 30 days than the past 3 years. on the other hand, two is pushing the desire to add a newborn to the mix farther and farther from our radar. this poor kid may be twelve before she lays hands on a sibling. however, with adventure comes independence, and i’m not yet ready for this baby to turn big girl quite yet. her vocabulary if off the charts, the crib has been converted and pre-school enrollment has been payed for. talk about a punch to the gut. all this change has left me quiet and secretly panicked over how fast time does fly. maybe a new squishy set of thighs isn’t a bad idea after all. just kidding!

things worth remembering about 28 months:

enrolled in ‘pre’ school come september

after frequenting the zoo often this month is obsessed with the bison

painted her piggies for the first time

often asks for turner since our canadian cousins skipped town

wore pigtails for a total of thirty minutes

enjoys a nightly walk around the neighborhood (occasionally costume clad)

packed up all our baby toys and are filling our space with more engaging finds

converted the crib to bed and took the transition like a champ

requests rio + over the hedge

tells us we’re her best friend

visited the philadelphia art museum and painted like monet

joined the scooter gang

devours salmon + corn on the cob

featuring – nicole of juniper wilde

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juniper wilde is no stranger to our blog [debut here], but we love these products so much, we felt an encore was more than warranted. plus, this post is more about the power mama behind these baby gems – nicole vandertoorrn who recently shared a bit of her life with us.

juniper wilde was born four years ago, when owner and designer, nicole vandentoorn decided to open up shop and provide hip, eco-friendly products for the fashionable littles in our lives. all juniper wilde products are made using certified organic cotton material that is printed using water-based non-toxic inks. all designs are created by nicole and available exclusively through juniper wilde. when nicole became pregnant with her first child it seemed natural to dive into nursery design and decor. from there a passion was born, soon to be followed by an etsy shop and hence, some of our babes’ favorite crib dressings.

what makes your world go round?

definitely all three of my boys! first my husband dustin – we have known each other since i was 9 and he was 10. we were “boyfriend and girlfriend” (whatever that really means at that age! lol!!) back then for two years!! then drifted apart since we went to different schools. he called me randomly when i was a freshman in high school and we’ve been inseparable ever since. he is an avid outdoorsmen and such a hard working man – he is a total inspiration to me. together we have our oldest son dawson wilder coe (3 years) and beau william boone (4 months). i am one lucky lady to have these three rambunctious and adventurous boys in my life. but in addition to my guys i have an innate need to design and be creative, setting aside time for creativity is essential for me.

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are you an early bird or a night owl? 

this one is easy. NIGHT OWL!! even with beau still waking up 1 to 2 times a night i have such a hard time making myself go to bed at a decent hour. those quiet hours in the evening when both babes are in bed and i can do whatever i feel like doing, uninterrupted… i can get so much done when i’m not being constantly interrupted.

what about motherhood surprises you the most?

i would have to say how self-less you have to become, but also how self-less you want to become. when i think of my pre-baby self i have to laugh at how clueless i was about becoming a mother. i had of course heard all of the jokes about rarely showering or sleeping (which needless to say are entirely true) but i definitely didn’t fully grasp just how much work it would be and how much these sweet, innocent little people would need from me. it became second nature and now i can’t imagine my life any other way. but there is no way any book or any amount of advice could have described motherhood to me before i actually became a mother myself.

if you had a whole day to yourself, with no commitments, what would you do?

i would definitely pack as much in as possible! a couple of things that come to mind first are: sleep in, eat delicious food at a nice restaurant downtown with good friends, hit a BUNCH of flea markets and antique stores and spend hours browsing. find something outdoorsy to do with my hubby, maybe a canoe or kayak trip with a picnic lunch and lots of design mags to page through while we float.

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what was for dinner last night? 

let me preface this by saying last night we were at a 4 year olds birthday party! the menu consisted of hot dogs, brats, tater-tots, mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, snow cones and confetti cake with sprinkles on top. (yes, i did squeeze in a workout today…).

what baby essential can you (or your littles) not live without?

blankets!!!! you need so many blankets!! which is why i started my line originally. i had way too many blankets that i really didn’t like but i used them all the time anyway. you need blankets for just about every event that happens in a day with a baby! i use them for everything. even the things that you wouldn’t automatically think of; as a changing surface or to prop beau into his bouncer/activity center or highchair since he’s still a little too small to hold himself up but he’d rather be upright. good baby blankets are definitely an essential item.

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any advice or tips to share with other moms figuring out the fine art of balance? 

honestly… there is none. just do the best you can! some days i find myself feeling guilty because i worked too much and the house is a disaster and my toddler ate pb&j’s all day. then the next day i put all of my energy towards my children or home and I feel guilty because i missed some emails. i really don’t think there is true balance but if someone out there has figured it out, i could use some tips too!

what are your daily must-read blogs (or favorite instagrammers)?

i love reading Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, Emily Henderson, Oh Joy, Design Love Fest, Little Green Notebook, Young House Love, Décor8, Binks and the Bad Housewife and bfy.vintage … i’ll stop there because i could go on and on.

if you could have only one: instagram, pinterest, or facebook, which would you choose?

instagram!

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now tell us, are you black, blonde, or brunette?

black. i was born with super dark hair and have tried many times to lighten it but to no avail…. two summers ago i got it in my head that i could be blonde. well, 8 hours and LOTS of toner later i finally realized i could never be anything other than black…. with maybe a few highlights here and there for depth ;-) .

according to – jess

 

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blackblondebrunette | MS highchair hysterics

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blackblondebrunette | MS faces

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our quick weekend trip to mississippi means i have a new batch of crazy evie pics because mammy likes to snap, and i’m happy she does! we had the best time playing with our favorite cousins, splashing in the pool, sliding, birthday partying, and stuffing our faces. evie happily chowed down on cornbread, blackeyed peas, butterbeans, and corn on the cob – like a good little southern baby should. we got lucky with unseasonably amazing weather and spent most of our time outside. we are already thinking about our next trip to visit. it will be longer and there will be two kids…whoa.

featuring – cat of thrifty littles

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we like to think we’re hip + modern mama’s over here! while our personal wardrobes seem to stand still, our littles are overflowing with adorableness. honestly, who needs more than jeans and a t-shirt when you’ve got a stylin’ accessory on your hip?! with every new season comes a new size and a reason to shop our go-to favorite resources, and scour the internet for new ones. while this sounds lovely, time is minimal these days, as are our depleting bank accounts. enter thrifty littles – a lifestyle blog showcasing ‘deals + trends for the hip and modern mama’ curated by the ever adorable cat pagoaga. this stylish stay at home mama to mae does all the homework for us! not only does she share new finds but she alerts the media on deals we shouldn’t miss. case in point – this week’s ultimate backpack roundup for both boys + girls.

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we thought it would be fun to peek into the more personal side of cat’s day-to-day and just as we thought, she couldn’t have been any sweeter. if you’re not already, you’ll soon be hooked!

what makes your world go round?
my family, friends, and coffee. lots of coffee!

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are you an early bird or a night owl?
neither, i’d almost always rather be curled up in bed. truthfully i’m naturally more of a night owl but with my husband’s schedule it makes more sense for me to be an early bird. i’m super productive in the morning but i have to force myself out of bed.

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as a stay at home mom and blogger, what’s your daily routine look like?
i’m up before 6 and this is when i hunt for deals, proofread blog posts and get ready for the day. when my daughter mae wakes up around 8am, we eat breakfast and spend an hour or so being lazy before heading out the door for errands or play dates. nap time is from 1 to 3 and i spend this time cleaning, blogging, and taking care of personal items. once the husband is home we spend the evening together as a family and then i typically jump on the computer again after mae is asleep to write blog posts.

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if you had a whole day to yourself, with absolutely no commitments, what would you do?
i’d definitely start with a pedicure or message – i haven’t had either of those since before mae was born! i’d also brunch with friends, read a book, and then have a date night with my husband downtown.

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any tips on figuring our the fine art of balance?
i don’t think i’ve figured out the art of balance, but i’m working on it. if my house is put together, i likely haven’t blogged as much as i would have liked that week. if the blogging has been consistent for the week, my house is probably a mess. it just kind of goes back and forth but i’m learning to be OK with that.
one thing i do to keep balance is to only blog in our home office and to not drag the laptop all over the house during the day. this keeps my focus on mae during the day and makes me much more productive during my work hours and overall.
i also typically take weekends off from blogging and spend this time working on house projects and being with my family.

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what about motherhood and blogging surprises you the most?
being a mom is really challenging but also really fun! mae is my little side kick and we have such a good time together. It has made me much more emotional and sentimental – i tear up over everything these days.
blogging has been an amazing creative outlet and way more fun than i would’ve imagined. i’ve been able to connect with some amazing women (like you guys!) and learn lots of valuable technical skills. it’s been really fulfilling.

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we all see how adorably dressed your mae is. what’s your personal go to ensemble?
distressed jeans, black v-neck tee, slip-on sneakers, rhinestone earrings, and a top knot. pretty much every day of my life.

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what retail vendor can you not live without?
target! i swear i walk into that store for a couple items and leave spending $150. they get me every time.

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what baby/toddler essential can you not live without and what accessory is worth the splurge?
my ergobaby, hands down. mae hated a stroller until she was about eighteen months old so the ergobaby was a life saver. i carried mae in it while running errands and would even wear her around the house while i cleaned and made dinner.
i completely splurged on a diaper bag and bought a petunia pickle bottom cake. i wanted one since way before i was pregnant. it was my last splurge before leaving my job and to this day it was worth every penny.

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who are your favorite bloggers that we should be following?
oh i have so many! a cup of jo, love taza, and homemade charlotte are some of my faves. and kendi everyday is perfect for when i need some doable fashion inspiration!

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now tell us, are you black, blonde or brunette?
blonde, with a little help from a bottle.

- all photos by cat -
for more of this adorable chick check out thrifty littles - instagram - pinterest
and a big thanks to cat for playing along!

currently – brunette

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currently needing: some sun + sand. our little trio is about to travel a few hours south to meet one of our favorite clans + dig our collective toes in the sand in hopes of looking a tad less pale + a bit more relaxed.

currently slowing: down. as in no more house projects + no new ventures. i’ll be content remaining firmly planted in the familiar for now. a little routine will be good for my soul. i’m never one to remain stationary, but i am learning that my peace resides in consistency.

currently wondering: where my teeny infant escaped to + who this little chatty + uber energized toddler is. whoever he is, i am crushing madly on him, so i am glad to keep.

currently excited: for a date night with my guy. regardless of our master plans to set more time aside to be together, life wedges its way in + keeps things status quo. thanks to christian’s sister visiting this weekend, noah has a friend to keep him company while us big kids hit the town just like the old days.

currently jamming: all. day. long. compliments of that tiny animated music loving little fella of mine. the needle on our record player has already been replaced twice because it has been working overtime. the good news is that the kid does not discriminate + seems to enjoy all our musical choices. his dance moves however, are the ultimate tell when a song has earned his seal of approval.

currently – blonde

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currently freaking out: a little bit. in my head summer is just getting started but the calendar says that we are in august and the baby app i have to check every time someone wants to know how pregnant i am says i’m over 30 weeks. that gives me the total of ten weeks, if this little acrobat stays put for the suggested amount of time. so, i’m moving a little faster which brings me all the way up to “slow” to get the baby room prepared. with painters coming in a week the pressure is on.

currently attempting: the idea of potty training. evie is very aware of what she is doing and wants her “dipes” changed immediately. she will now say potty (sometimes) so we have spent many long minutes sitting on her training potty but…never a single drop. she gets the general idea, just not the part that really counts. we’ll get there.

currently reading: on the road by jack kerouac which is a nice contrast to california by edan lepucki that i just finished.  one being about adventure and discovery and the other being about destruction and despair both based in america, just completely different time frames. i may need some mindless chick lit very soon, where’d all the vampires go??

currently missing: our mississippi family. we recently took a super fast trip to hang out for the weekend. the weather was surprisingly perfect, the pool was ready for us in the back yard, and the food always makes us forget how long the drive was. we went to celebrate our favorite 8 year old’s birthday and squeeze in as much family time as possible. even if we only got a couple of days…they were good ones. (look for more pics soon, that one up top is just a teaser!)

currently shopping: for christmas! for real…no one look under my bed. when you have a newborn on the way during the prime shopping months, planning ahead is the only way to go. i did the same thing when i had evie, and since the timing is ex.act.ly. the same, i realized i better jump on it now! even santa has been busy around here.