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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This Month at Babble


In case you missed it, here's what I wrote at Babble this month!

A 15 Minute DIY Skirt - SUPER easy! I'm thinking I might make myself a pineapple print one next.

A DIY Summer Scarf - A great activity to do with kids if you're stuck inside because of the heat.

6 Ways to Style a T-shirt Dress - If you attempted my DIY t-shirt dress I showed a few different styling options!

6 Stylish YouTube Channels - YOUTUBE. It's full of good style stuff! Who knew? (I live under a rock)
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back to School on a Budget (PLUS Helping Kids in Need)

When I was in elementary school I was part of an after-school program called GATE. The first year was fantastic! We did rotating units on different subjects like first aid, music and art. The program brought in outside experts to teach us new skills and topics and I learned a TON. Going to that program was the highlight of my year.

My dad was in a serious accident a couple years before this and this picture made my mom feel ill. But I thought it was super cool!


The next year was different. It was taught by a teacher from our school who did her best but the units weren't nearly as cool. I remember doing a lemonade stand one that was supposed to teach us business basics that dragged on for ages. As a 4th grader I was confused and frustrated. As an adult, I realize that funding must have gotten cut. And it stunk.

Which brings me to Schoola. Schoola is an online consignment store dedicated to recycling brand-name children's clothes, with a portion of the proceeds going to schools in need. 

You can get rid of stuff your kids have outgrown, pick up a few super affordable things for this coming year, AND help schools in need get funding for the programs that make school fun and truly enriching. Win/win/win!

Yick Wo Elementary is just across the bay from where I grew up in northern California so their story touched my heart. My boys and I have been digging through their old clothing looking for stuff to donate. It has been a great chance to talk to them about helping and serving others and they're super excited about it!



Visit Schoola to donate your kid's outgrown clothes or do a little shopping for the upcoming year- either way you're doing a great thing for schools in need!


DISCLAIMER
This post is brought to you by Schoola, the best place to buy discounted kids clothes all while give back to schools in need. Click here to learn more about Schoola. Click here to see what people are saying.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

A Nursery Snippet | Forward Facing Bookcase



I bought this forward facing bookcase* when I was pregnant with Stinky over 6 years ago. I LOVE it...except for the part where it matches nothing in my house. Other than that, it's fantastic! When my boys were really little I kept a rotating collection of books in it and they could easily choose what they wanted because they could see the covers (rather than the spines, which they couldn't recognize as easily). It's not very tall so they could select a book AND put it away afterward.

My boys have since been upgraded to a full-sized bookcase so I was excited to pull the forward-facing one out again for the new baby. I had to make some changes though. I've never liked the fire-engine red, which doesn't mesh with my vision for the nursery anyway.

I took it apart and used a seam ripper to unpick the fabric slings. I lined it up on my new fabric (a curtain I thrifted! Goodwill had 3 of them for $6 apiece. The other two panels will go up around the window), cut, and used the old fabric to figure out where to sew the channels for the dowels.


I lightly sanded all the wood and gave it a quick coat of white paint (which we're using on the planking beneath the chair rail in the nursery so I already had it on hand). I let it dry then reassembled the bookcase and voila!



The whole project took me less than 2 hours and it was immensely satisfying to finally have a more neutral version of our beloved bookcase. I let the boys pick books from their bookshelf for their baby sister and we ended up spending a couple hours reading together and talking about the baby (and looking up age-appropriate baby development and birth videos on YouTube. They have started to ask QUESTIONS and I...do not know how to answer those questions. Bless YouTube).

*still available! Also, they mercifully now carry a cheaper, more neutral version

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Bump Style | Date Night Edition

Aaron and I are terrible about A. going on dates and B. doing anything remotely creative with our date nights. We rotate through the same handful of restaurants and go to movies at the same theater whenever we manage to get out. Not that there's anything wrong with doing dinner and a movie within the same 2 mile radius every single time but it is kind of nice to branch out.

Pictures by the lovely Lydia of Photography Hill

Camille's blog focuses on the fantastic dates she and her husband, Jacob, do every week. So when she invited us to get a little fancy and see a The Book Club Play at Actors Theatre in Phoenix we jumped at the chance. Look at us! Branching out!



When I came out in this skirt Aaron asked, "Are you...comfortable?" And I was like, "Yeah, why do you ask?" "Oh nothing, just looks a little tight." I responded with an eyeroll. And then every time I sat down for the rest of the night I ended up unzipping the top few inches so I could breathe.

Whatever, Aaron.


I'm having a mint moment. Just got this necklace from Hautelook and my nails were matching in Sally Hansen Jaded. As someone who rarely paints their nails, it felt like a major style victory.

I DID pack flats in my bag in case I started to get uncomfortable in my heels. That turned out to be very wise.


Prom pose!

Mint nails! Also, let this picture be a lesson on the importance of lipstick. #undead

We stopped for a pre-play snack at Tacos Sonora Grill right down the street. It was super sketchy but 5 stars on Yelp can't be wrong! It was delicious and pretty much a dead ringer for the street tacos in Rocky Point, Mexico.

The play was even more fun that we expected. At one point Camille and I were snorting hysterically over a bit about Twilight. The whole thing was so funny and very well done. I was a little worried about how Aaron would feel but he actually really enjoyed it! Sigh of relief.

Brittany and her husband Jesse snuck in a few minutes late.

After the play we went to Cibo. It was only a few minutes away so...duh. Arrancini and pizza for all!

If you're local, the summer season for Actor's Theatre of Phoenix runs through August 17th and it's located right downtown by lots of fantastic restaurants. It makes for a perfect date night in the city!

Disclosure: Tickets were provided by Actor's Theatre of Phoenix. All opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Importance of Thank You



I'm normally the type of person who uses January 1st as an incentive to make a fairly long list of resolutions to work on over the course of the year. I love the chance to evaluate my life, my successes and my failings and make goals accordingly.

Not this year.

When January 1st rolled around I knew that 2014 would be crazy. We were under contract for our new house, which we knew would require a whole lot of work. After years of waffling we finally decided to see if a 3rd baby was in the cards for us. I knew any resolutions I made would be forgotten as soon as we closed on the house or I got a positive test, whichever came first (it was the test. Plus a lot of vomiting).

I did make one goal though: write more thank-you notes. I bought a box of cute notes in January and was determined to send them all out by the end of the year.

The first few months of the year were rough. This pregnancy reached its most difficult and scary time right as we were preparing to load up the borrowed trailer. I found myself with piles of boxes to pack, move, unpack and TWO houses to clean plus fresh doctor's orders to take things very easy. Not to mention a family to feed and care for. I was exhausted, nauseous, and completely overwhelmed.




People stepped up. Friends and family came over to help me pack. They made us dinners. They carried things too heavy for me. They cleaned. They wrote notes and brought flowers when we found out one of our twin babies no longer had a heartbeat.




I wrote a lot of thank-you notes. Through the fog of grief, exhaustion, and nausea, writing those notes helped me, more than anything, to recognize the good that was going on around me so that I didn't dwell quite so much on the hard things. I wasn't perfect at it (I missed a lot of people!) but I made it through that box of thank you notes in less than 5 months. I originally set my goal just because it was good etiquette but I kept up with it for totally selfish reasons. Writing those notes was the perfect therapy.

Tiny Prints just sent me a whole new stack of pretty, sparkly gold thank you notes to start working through. Life has calmed down a lot lately but I've got a baby shower coming up (and, you know, a baby!) so I've got plenty more thank you note writing opportunities on the horizon. It's a habit I'm glad I've picked up!

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