friday favorites – summer bubbles

Hello, Friday! I have summer clothes for the kids on the brain lately.  After a long winter spent hibernating indoors with a stir-crazy 2.5 year old and a new baby, we are more than ready for fresh air and sunshine. I’ve started scooping up clothes for both kids as the spring / summer items have started to appear in my favorite stores, and most of what I’ve gotten for baby girl are variations of the classic bubble romper. Is there anything cuter than chubby baby legs? I can’t wait to see our baby girl’s pudgy little thighs hanging out this summer. I find myself looking at more “trendy” kid clothing options since I have a daughter to dress now, but I keep coming back to this style – cute, comfortable and appropriate for pretty much any occasion I can think of.  Here are a few that I’ve added to her closet recently, plus a pair of sweet Sea Wee sandals in silver that will go with everything! What are your go-to’s for your littles this season?


chambray | yellow | coralaqua stripe | blue seersucker | silver sandals from J.Crew Baby

the best excuse.

Here she is…the best excuse I have for completely neglecting my corner of the interweb since last July. She is a little ray of sunshine, and has added more joy to our lives than I could have ever imagined.

photo courtesy of Bella Bambino Photography

photo courtesy of Bella Bambino Photography

Ann Ellis arrived five weeks early, after a fairly easy but completely exhausting pregnancy. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, as every pregnancy is exhausting. But the last couple of months before she arrived, between work, chasing my very busy two-year old and trying to get the upstairs renovations finished, I was in bare-bones survival mode.  I have so much respect for those mamas out there that seem to do it all – juggle multiple children, keep up lovely homes, and maintain the wonderful blogs that I look forward to reading every week. I don’t know how they do it.

Our sweet baby girl is four months old today, and I finally feel like the baby fog has lifted enough to allow me to get back to some non-essential activities…i.e. the blog, wearing makeup when I leave the house, etc. I have lots of big plans for this little space. Thanks for sticking around!


{at home} baby girl’s nursery

BabyGirlNursery_v11 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | | 9

We confirmed last week that baby girl is indeed a girl, so Project Nursery is full speed ahead. Well, the project is moving as fast as anything else moves for me these days – snail’s pace at best. As of this week, we have four months to make it happen.

I am not big on themes or the idea of pink walls, so I just chose an assortment of things I love and hope that the room doesn’t look like a design disaster when I’m finished. My color inspiration came from these beautiful crib sheets from Candy Kirby Designs. I’ve had my eye on them for months, and they are frequently sold out. When we found out new baby was a girl, I started checking the website obsessively until I caught a restock.  I bought both the Evie and Watercolor Ikat sheets and matching blankets, and plan to switch them out. Both fabrics go really well with the aqua paint samples, and they are even more beautiful in person than they are online. Obsessed. I may have also gotten the matching beanie hats.

We’re going to use our existing dark wooden crib (Pottery Barn Kendall Low-Profile; highly recommend it if you’re a shorty like me), and a tall, dark wooden dresser that was mine as a little girl – it just needs some fun glass knobs. I decided against a changing table in the nursery for this baby. I have used the changing table in the nursery maybe two times. We will also be using our existing nursery rocker – a light yellow velvet swivel glider from Best Furniture Co. So cozy, and looks brand new after two years of use. We’ll be hanging a small beaded chandelier in the center of the room…if Pottery Barn ever stops changing the backorder shipment dates.

Paint colors are always my biggest source of indecision. Should I use a more saturated color that will really stand out against the white woodwork and white curtains, or do I stick with a more muted version of the same color? Today I’m leaning toward the lighter shade but we’ll see.

I can’t wait to see how this sweet little room comes together. I want it to feel clean, cozy and fun, with soft textures and pops of bright colors. Girly, but not over-the-top girly. Pictures of progress coming eventually…I have closets to clean out first!

{At Home} Big Boy Bedroom Plans

MHBBRoomBed – Crate and Barrel | Bedding and Sheets – Pottery Barn Kids | Dragon Throw Pillow – Land of Nod | Aqua Triangles Rug and Navy Book Shelves – Pottery Barn Kids | Monster and Tractor Prints – Etsy | Zinc Letters | Anthropologie

I’ve completely neglected the blog lately, but for good reason (at least in my mind). All of my spare brain power has been directed at the three rather complicated home improvement projects we have in the works right now – big boy bedroom, transforming our boy’s nursery into a darling little girl nursery to accommodate the new addition we are expecting in November, and making a fun play space for the kids out of an attic room we have been using as hoarder storage for the last five years. I am probably going to have to stop going to bed at 8:30 p.m. to make all of this happen.

The big boy bedroom is the first project on my long list. My goal is to have our boy firmly established in his new room a few months before baby sister arrives so that transition doesn’t make the big brother transition even harder on him.

The soon-to-be big boy bedroom in our house is a blank slate. It’s much larger than the nursery, with a huge walk-in closet and a bank of windows.  The walls will be neutral, and I plan to add fun pops of color with the rug, bedding and a wall gallery of mixed pictures, art prints and canvases. My inspiration board is above. I’ve been working on this for so long that we’ve already purchased everything in the picture except the book shelves, some of the frames for the wall gallery, and the white room-darkening shades I need for the windows. Next on the list – choosing a paint color. Brown gray? A variation on contractor tan? Darker? Lighter? I’ll keep you posted. Right now, I’m off to start slapping sample paint colors on the walls. Our painter hates me but it’s the method behind my madness. Updates to come!


Copycat Rendezvous Meat and Cheese Platter

RendezvousFor anyone not familiar with Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous in Memphis, TN, you are missing out! Stop what you are doing and go immediately. Best barbecue ever, and as a barbecue lover, I don’t make that statement lightly. The restaurant is famous for ribs, slow-cooked in a charcoal pit. Just typing this brings up memories of that amazing charcoal smell and the amazing meals we’ve had there.

We try to make it there at least once a year since we only live a few hours out from Memphis. We usually get ribs when we visit, but we always, always get the the meat and cheese appetizer platter…or two of them.  My sister-in-law introduced us to her copycat version of the meat and cheese platter several years ago, and it’s a family favorite for appetizers or an easy dinner.


1 lb kielbasa (turkey or beef)

8 oz block cheese (sharp cheddar or havarti – we like havarti best)

Rendezvous sauce and seasoning

Pickles and saltine crackers for serving

They sell the Rendezvous’ own barbecue sauce and dry rub seasoning at our local grocery stores, or you can order it online if you can’t find it.

Slice the kielbasa thinly at a diagonal. Toss it in a skillet with a couple tablespoons water (or beer), and sprinkle liberally with Rendezvous dry seasoning. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the kielbasa is browned and the seasoning sticks to it.

While the kielbasa is cooking, slice your block of cheese into thin slices about the size of a saltine cracker or a little smaller. Arrange the cheese on a platter, and add the kielbasa. Sprinkle everything with Rendezvous seasoning. We like to eat ours with saltines and Wickles sweet and spicy pickles.

Not exactly like the Rendezvous version, but close enough to satisfy a craving when you don’t have time to make the trip. Enjoy!

Easter Basket Happies

I had so much fun picking out happies for our boy’s Easter basket this year.

Last year, he was only six months old at Easter so he got a Berenstain Bears Bible, sippy cups, Ella’s Kitchen cookies and a bath toy. He was less than excited about the basket contents and posing for Mama, or maybe he was less than excited about his Easter outfit…a smocked bubble that his Daddy and cousins insisted on calling a dress.


This year’s haul is much more interesting, and I can’t wait to see his sweet little face when he discovers all of his treats!

The Easter Bunny is bringing a Corduroy Lift-the-Flap Easter book, a DVD of  The Chipmunks Big Adventure (my favorite movie as a kid so maybe this is more for me), bubbles, a tiny bubble gun, an Easter Bunny Mr. Potato Head, Easter Play-Doh, and a toddler-sized monogrammed baseball cap.


Happy Easter!


The Easiest Easter Project Ever

DSC_0497Easter is in a few short days, and the only attempts I’ve made to decorate our house this year were to get out our plastic eggs from last year (now strewn all over the train set and mixed in with the dog toys) and to make this sweet little Easter scene in an apothecary jar to grace the buffet in our kitchen.

I’ve seen a hundred (better) versions of the chocolate bunny in a mason jar on Pinterest. This is my version. I gathered up an old apothecary jar from the closet, some multi-colored Easter grass from Target, a bag each of Cadbury Mini Eggs and Easter Whoppers (used approximately 6 of them and ate the rest), and some tiny little chocolate bunnies. Insert grass into jar, and place eggs and bunnies into their happy little Easter grass nest. And there you have it – Easter decor, the minimalist approach.



Book Nerd – Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

51GNCj1Pf3LI just finished this book last night, after a few days of frantically reading a chapter here and there between work and the day-to-day business of keeping my family alive. This was one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. I love Joshilyn Jackson’s funny, intimate and whole-heartedly Southern way of telling a story. She has a manner of describing painful subjects in a non-awkward and somehow relatable way.

Without giving too much away – this book tells us about the life of Shandi, a young single mother, and a life-changing event that makes her re-evaluate some truths she’s been telling herself that aren’t exactly true. It’s about her search for closure and love. Her story intersects with the story of a man who sees the world a bit differently than most and has experienced a loss that colors the way he thinks about love and life. The book addresses the all-important themes of love, happiness, faith, family, and truth. The characters are sufficiently deep and interesting, and the plot twists enough to keep you guessing about the possibility of a happy ending until the very end.

This line from the book has been stuck in my head since I read it. It’s actually part of a line from an Emily Dickinson poem, and I think it’s beautiful!

“Hope is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

Loved it. Read it, and let me know if you enjoy it as much as I did!

Washington DC – A Long Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, my husband had work-related meetings in Washington DC and we made a long weekend of it. We stayed downtown, a stone’s throw from the White House and very close to the Capitol building. I’ve never been to DC, except for a brief Dulles Airport layover ten years ago. Excuse the terrible iPhone pictures – I thought carrying my giant camera while I wandered around alone would be the equivalent of screaming “I’m a tourist, please mug me.”


I think I had more free time that weekend than I’ve had in the last five years. I didn’t know what to do with myself! In the absence of a schedule, I did a little shopping, a little site-seeing and a fair amount of napping. This is stating the obvious, but there are so many things to see in Washington DC. It was amazing to visit the landmarks and historical sites that I’ve only seen in books.

I made a quick visit to Ford’s Theater, the site of President Lincoln’s assassination. It’s still a working theater, so I didn’t get the grand tour because they had matinee performances the day I was there.


My favorite place was Union Station. It was built in 1907, and the architecture is unbelievable. It’s crazy to think about all of the people that passed through there when trains were the way people traveled. I also noticed the inscriptions on the outside of the building’s columns, and (obviously) this is the one that caught my attention.











I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I’d have liked because the icy cold weather forced me inside each day after a few hours of exploring. I’d love to go back when the weather is above 30 degrees and the cherry blossoms are blooming.

Other trip highlights included cocktails at the Round Robin Bar in the Willard, sushi happy hour at the Hamilton…and a pair of Jack Rogers wedge sandals I found on sale.


Simple Toddler Valentines – A Big Hug

DSC_0134I knew I wanted to do something cute and simple for Max Henry’s Valentines this year. Key word being simple, because February has completely gotten away from me between our mini-vacation and going on a work trip with my husband. We have a pretty big age range to accomodate, so our happies needed to be something that would work for either toddlers or big kids.

I found the sweetest printable “Bear Hug” tags on the facebook page for Bloom Designs Online. If you “like” their Facebook page, they have a ton of free, super cute printables for Valentine’s Day and other occasions. I spent the better part of an hour looking at her website – it’s amazing.

I added our boy’s name to the printable tags using Photoshop, and printed the tags on heavy white cardstock. Clear cello bags, red and white baker’s twine from Etsy, plus assorted Teddy Grahams and a 3 lb bag of gummy bears  (not to be confused with the sugar-free version, also known as “hell bears” that are described here), and we are ready for delivery!


The hardest part of the whole process was using a paper clip to poke the hole through the card for the twine. Super Mom couldn’t find a hole punch so we had to improvise.

Easy + cute = project success. Happy Valentine’s Day!