August 31, 2012


photo credit
Today, I was reading an article on People Magazine's website (yes, I admit it) and I wanted to share this great perspective on becoming a mother. Joy Williams (of The Civil Wars) shared the story of the birth of her son Miles- great name, by the way!- and said: 

“Regardless of how you end up delivering — medication or not — the experience is beautiful and visceral and challenging, but ultimately really empowering.”

I couldn't agree more. Joy talks more about her beautiful birth experience here- check it out and be encouraged!

Have a great weekend!

August 29, 2012

Eight Months

I can't believe Miles is eight months old! He truly is my little treasure and my love for him grows each day. That one-year birthday is getting closer and closer!

Today we enjoyed a great day of playing and snuggling. He was sporting his new hat and booties (you can find them here) and I think they're probably the cutest things he owns. I am such a sucker for cute baby hats, no joke! And if he doesn't protest or pull them off then I think it's totally worth it.

Okay, so here's a question for you mamas out there who have babies older than Miles: what does a one-year old need? Parker's side of the family is very adamant about having Christmas wish lists turned in by September and I'm having so much fun but also a lot of questions as to what Miles will need as a one-year old! I'd love to hear your experiences.

I hope you're all having a great week!
PS I'm linking up this cute hat set with The Naptime Review's Favorite Product Fridays! Definitely go stop by and see what everyone else is loving this time around!

What I Wore Wednesday

Today was a hat and comfy yoga clothes day if I ever saw one. The weather was very summery (not my favorite- I'm definitely a fall and winter girl) and my hair was going flat as it tends to do so I added a hat, a pair of orange flats for a little burst of color, and settled Miles into his sling. It was Mama Casual at its finest!

Here are the details:

Hat: Payless 
Sling: Sakura Bloom
Top: TJ Maxx
Pants: Lululemon
Shoes: Target

As you can see, I figured out the sling! I went through the same initial process as when I first wore Miles in the Baby K'Tan as a newborn: (1) read the manual and get excited, (2) attempt to put the baby in and get frustrated, then (3) curse the piece of fabric that is somehow smarter than I am and (4) walk away to enjoy baby cuddles and calm down. I wind up not touching the carrier for a day or two and (5) come back, just to give it another chance before I return the darn thing. This is usually when (6) I figure it out for the first time and then avoid taking Miles out of the sling for fear that I will never be able to puzzle it out again. It's usually smooth sailing from there, thank goodness. I have to say that the Sakura Bloom sling is so comfortable and pretty, to boot (no annoying prints and in a beautiful linen fabric)! There are definitely more photos to come- I'm planning a babywearing post so prepare yourselves for a whole lot of cuteness (from Miles, of course)!

Happy Wednesday! (Once again linking up with The Pleated Poppy.)

August 28, 2012

Old School

photo credit
So, like I mentioned in my most recent post, I'm back at school for the semester. All my classes are online, and I can tell you that one of the most interesting aspects of taking distance courses is that you get a great idea of your fellow classmates' abilities to communicate in the written word. Maybe it's because I was brought up by the grammar police or because I've always been a stickler for correct spelling (apple meet tree?), but sometimes it's really surprising how little thought some people give as to how they come across when all the audience can see is what they've written. This had me thinking about other forms of communication that may seem "old school" but, to me, will never become outdated. Here's a couple:

Pen and paper: There's something so nice about receiving a hand-written note or taking time to brainstorm on paper (I carry a little book with me always to jot down ideas that come to mind throughout the day). Just look at Ramona from RHONY- she carries notepads and even got her taxi driver to start putting one to good use! (This is probably the first and last time it's a good idea to do anything Ramona does.) Bonus- Etsy has so many great stationery brands (I'm loving these cards from B.Impressed!)

A good old fashioned phone call: We all have busy lives and I know it's so much more convenient to text or send an email, but when's the last time you called someone just to see how they're doing? I'm making more of an effort to call friends and it's so much more personal. (If you don't have time for a full-length conversation, I suggest the Voxer walkie-talkie app for your phone. It's one of my favorite apps- I use it so much!)

What's your favorite "old school" way to communicate? If you say carrier pigeons, I will be super impressed.

August 27, 2012

Our Week (In a Nutshell)

Outfit: beanie, onesie, boots
This week has really begun to feel like fall! I started back at school on Monday, and have slowly but surely begun to immerse myself into the semester's studies. My sisters' soccer season got going on Saturday, and after their game my mom, sisters, brother, and I all went out to eat. It was grey, chilly, and a little blustery- perfect fall weather. Miles and I took advantage of the autumn feeling and enjoyed many walks together this week. He's always very curious to see the world and is always sitting on the edge of his seat so he doesn't miss anything.

On Thursday, I took my sisters and Miles to the beach. It was Miles's first time- while he loved the swings and playing in the sand, he was not a fan of the cold water! My sisters really loved holding him and showing him everything about the beach (shells, little crabs, birds- they took the job very seriously).

When the weekend came, Miles went to spend the day at his grandparents' house, Parker relaxed at home, and I went with my mom and sisters to shop for the girls' back to school clothes. Talk about shop 'til you drop- I think we were out for almost seven hours! Thankfully we had a dinner break and a coffee break to energize us at different intervals. It was really fun to see what the girls picked out for school- Krystal loves Hello Kitty and suspenders (or Hello Kitty suspenders, either way) and Krystine loves skate shoes. They both love skinny jeans. I love their different styles. 

Today I made a brief trip down to Santa Barbara to visit with my grandparents and enjoyed some retail therapy afterward at Williams Sonoma (my culinary oasis- I even found a new fragrance diffuser for the house in their Fleur de Sel scent), Janie and Jack (it's a miracle I made it out of the store without getting Miles one of everything), and a little trip to J. Crew (it's a miracle I made it out of the store at all). It was really nice to have some alone time!

Wearing mama's hat
Miles has really been working on his crawl this week- it's hilarious to see him scoot around happily. He's been very clingy this week, but of course I don't mind the extra snuggles! I bought my first Sakura Bloom single-layer sling but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get it set up. I've watched all the videos as well as the guide that came with the sling, but so far I wind up getting frustrated and looking at myself in the mirror holding up the sling like a cape. Sigh. Has anyone ever used these slings- if so, help a sister out!

Have a great Monday!

August 24, 2012

August Birchbox

It felt like the days were crawling by at a snail's pace while I was waiting for this month's Birchbox (I know, life's rough). It took a full week after I got the shipping notification for me to receive this month's box, but I have to say that it was worth the wait.

Here's what was inside:

1. A Schick razor: I was a little confused at first (what are they trying to say? I'm in between waxing appointments, gosh) but I gave it a try and loved the no-slip handle.
Where'd the rest go?!

2. Apothoderm Stretch Mark Cream: This was the only product that got an, "Ooh!" response when I first picked it up out of the box. Although I'm skeptical of any cream fading my stretchies, that doesn't stop me from using the whole darn sample. I will say, I was disappointed at how obviously little product was given. They wasted all kinds of packaging material to not even fill it halfway!

3. Jouer lip gloss: This is some great lip gloss. It's amazing. I wasn't sure about the color as it's definitely not one I would pick off the shelf without trying it first (the whole point of Birchbox, right?), but it's already one of my favorites.

4. Viva La Juicy- La Fleur Eau de Toilette: I like this perfume enough that I will use the sample, but not enough to buy a full-size. It's a nice medium between sweet and sultry, with two of my favorite scents (vanilla and sandalwood) in the mix. 

5.Shu Uemura Art of Hair Full Shimmer Shampoo and Illuminating Treatment: I saved the best for last. This haircare duo transformed my hurried naptime shower into a peaceful fifteen-minute oasis. (Yes, it's that good.) I would buy this product on scent alone, but if that's not enough to convince you it felt just plain luxurious and left my hair easy to style and with amazing shine. However, at $48 for the full-size shampoo and $68 for the full-size hair treatment, I'm going to have to sell more than a few things on Poshmark to not splurge on this set. But trust me, I will be trying to get my hands on these again someday!

Overall, I'd give this box an A. I'm glad, because last month's Birchbox was probably a C and it was really bummed since it was my first month. Definitely looking forward to September!

August 23, 2012

My Breastfeeding Journey
Since August is National Breastfeeding Month, I’m dedicating a post to share my breastfeeding journey with you all. It is my hope that any of you who are reading that are currently expecting a baby or nursing a newborn for the first time (or any time, for that matter) will be encouraged by my experience. Also, for anyone who doesn’t want to read about boobs, breastfeeding, and the word engorged, you’ve been warned.

From the moment my doctor looked up at me and said, “Veralynn, reach down and pick up your baby!” I was in awe of my body. To think that for the past nine months, my body had grown this little person and successfully brought him into the world was just amazing. To know that now my body would be responsible for his nutrition and growth was daunting, but I was excited to begin the journey. During pregnancy, I honestly hadn’t given too much thought about breastfeeding. Sure, I read Ina May’s book on the subject to make sure I had the general idea squared away, but I was so focused on giving birth that I didn’t look into too many other books or articles except one I distinctly remember emphasizing the importance of sticking out the first three or four weeks. After that, it said, everything would become much easier. I cannot stress enough how true that is! I kept those words at the forefront of my mind in the first weeks of our breastfeeding journey.

The day after Miles was born, I experienced being- ugh- engorged (I hate that word). The milk was in with full force! It was not fun. It was actually painful. The lactation consultants at the hospital came in at various times (side note: more people saw my boobs in the first twenty-four hours after Miles was born than I'd ever expected!) to talk with me about breastfeeding, and each one had a different philosophy. One said to only let him eat about ten minutes per side and then the meal was over. The other said I would probably not be able to breastfeed because I had gotten the “evil” epidural (her words, not mine). I was confused, my boobs hurt, and it was making me beyond annoyed to not have a straight answer as to how to feed my baby- Miles and I were already having a hard time communicating as to how to latch. One of the lactation consultants even went so far as to hand my husband a disassembled pump and demand he put it together before she would sign off on us being discharged from the hospital. As soon as she walked out of the room, I grabbed the bag and assembled the pump, frustrated that she had so little to offer in terms of actual advice to help me breastfeed that she was ready to have me pump instead of nurse.

Once we were home from the hospital, I spent the next two days in tears and at my wits’ end. Latching was horribly painful, and we were spending forty-five minutes to an hour trying to get things going at each feeding. I had an overabundance of milk, poor Miles was overwhelmed and unable to stay latched, and we would both end up crying in frustration. Only three days into motherhood, I spent New Year’s Eve pumping and rang in the New Year by kissing my sympathetic husband and giving Miles his feeding in a bottle. I was heartbroken but relieved (literally- I’ll never take normal, pain-free boobs for granted again!). Flipping through the papers the hospital had sent home with me, I found a flyer that showed a phone number for nursing mothers to call 365 days a year if they had any questions or needed help. I decided to call the next morning.

At Kathleen's store on New Year's Day.
I woke up bright and early on New Year’s Day and dialed the number on the flyer. I left a voicemail and then pumped so Miles could eat his breakfast. When my phone rang, I answered on the first ring. I was already emotional, but as I explained what was going on and what a difficult time we were having with latching, the response came: “Oh, honey- it shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to get a good latch and start the feeding. When can you stop by today for an appointment?” I burst into tears. Miles and I drove up to see Kathleen (author of The Nursing Mother’s Companion) at her store, Simply Mama, where she had a little area tucked away for mothers to be able to nurse privately and have consultations. Within minutes of meeting her, she found that Miles was tongue-tied (no one else had noticed) to the point that it was causing him trouble with latching. However, she also guided us with a better technique so that Miles could latch on easily within about a minute and I could manage the fast flow of milk, if I was using both hands to help him. It left me a bit indisposed, but I was so happy to be able to have Miles nursing again that I absolutely did not care- I was on cloud nine. (Another side note: when I go Kathleen's store now, I still get emotional because I so clearly remember the feelings swirling around inside me that day.)

Thus began what I like to call The Honeymoon Phase of our breastfeeding journey. Sure, I was still sore, but that began to wear off after the first few weeks and soon enough we were in a natural rhythm (just like the article had said). We even had some hilarious moments- like, for example, when we stopped on our way down to LA to nurse and it was the first time I had nursed in public. It was not discreet, milk was flying, I was in tears laughing so I couldn’t concentrate, and I have never seen Parker look more wide-eyed (at least Miles took it in stride). But on our normal days, I treasured our moments during feedings. Miles would get drowsy and rest his little hand on my chest, making contented sounds as he nursed. It was beautiful and I benefited emotionally from those quiet times together as much as he did.

Drowsy, content baby.
When Miles was a few months old, I went back on birth control (the mini-pill). I was under the impression that it would not affect my milk supply but it definitely did. The worst part was that I had no clue just how much it affected my supply until Miles had started losing weight (the worst feeling in the world). I still feel terribly about that time, but as soon as I knew there was a problem I fixed it. I went on herbal supplements; I took all of Kathleen’s suggestions (and she’s the expert!), and nothing. Thankfully, I had a lot of milk stored in the freezer so it was a gradual transition from breastfeeding to formula but it was still disappointing to me until I realized that the most important this is that Miles is happy and healthy. We have so many other wonderful ways to bond and I’m so thankful for the months that I was able to breastfeed.

That being said, here are my top 5 pieces of advice for mothers starting their breastfeeding journey:

1. Take time to prepare yourself during pregnancy: I recommend Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding and The Nursing Mother's Companion
2. Don't be afraid to ask for help (and keep searching for the right answer if you don't find it right away): This is so so important! The first lactation consultant in the hospital told me to basically give up on breastfeeding because I had an epidural- worst reason ever. Calling Kathleen was the best decision I made at a point where I was vulnerable and ready to give up.
3. Invest in good accessories: At first I used the Boppy pillow, but it didn't provide nearly as much stability and support as this one. If you're switching back and forth between pumping and nursing, this bottle is awesome and helps the transitions go more smoothly.
4. Treasure your moments breastfeeding: Because breastfeeding is a time-sensitive source of bonding (whether you only breastfeed for the first days or until toddler age), I really made a conscious effort to soak it up- this made even middle of the night feedings a joy.
5. Don't beat yourself up if things don't go as planned: I know that if Miles is happy and healthy, all is good in my universe. I gave breastfeeding the most effort of anything I've ever done and it's not the end of the world (collective gasp from all the hippies in the room). It's certainly not the end of the love and bonding Miles and I share- he loves his mama and I love him so much my heart feels full to bursting on a daily basis.
The end.  

Whew! That was long and strangely cathartic. Hopefully this will be a source of support for anyone struggling with breastfeeding- it does get easier

August 22, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with my sisters since it's their last day of summer vacation. While Miles napped, we sat in the front yard and took pictures for this week's What I Wore Wednesday, the girls played with the neighbor cat who wandered into our yard, and then they painted their nails while we watched Toddlers & Tiaras (quite possibly the most ridiculous show ever).

The girls love taking pictures. Of themselves, of the sky, of their feet...oh, the random photos I've found on my phone! It cracks me up to see their perspective of life. And they make me laugh. Because they are goofballs.

Next up: What I Wore Wednesday! (I wish this photo of me was set on a beach or something, but I guess the next door neighbor's truck will have to do.)

They even got me to jump!

So, what's today's outfit? Here are the details:

Sunnies: Chanel
Top: A local boutique in SLO
Jeans: James Jeans
Sandals: Coach
Bag: Thrift store! 

Of course, I'm linking up again with The Pleated Poppy- go visit her and see all the great outfits everyone posted this week! 

August 21, 2012

Our Week (In a Nutshell)

I have to say, I'm so glad to be writing these weekly posts because Miles is growing in such leaps and bounds that it's nice to be able to look back and see all the different stages of his life. 

This week, I've really noticed some developments as far as our experience with Baby-Led Weaning goes. Miles is much better at chewing and managing his bites, and he really hasn't turned down anything we've offered him except the brief minute I tried offering him a jar of Earth's Best baby food. The reason I tried giving him a jar of baby food was because of our last pediatrician's appointment- we weren't seeing our normal doctor, and the doctor who did see Miles was shocked that I had never given him purées, or even any rice cereal (I just want to make sure you all know that I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with giving a baby rice cereal or purées- I’m just trying a different way for Miles that I’ve seen other families use successfully as well). I asked him if it was nutritionally important that I give Miles rice cereal or purées, and he said, “Well, no. His main source of nutrition will be the bottle until he's at least one, but giving him rice cereal and purées is usually just how it's done.” I then asked him if there was anything wrong with continuing on with BLW and he said there was nothing wrong with it, however, it “isn’t how I’d do it”. So I left the doctor’s office with a bit of Mama Guilt, second-guessing myself about BLW, and decided to grab a few jars of baby food at Target and see how he liked them. Miles was not a fan- he would purse his lips and turn his face away from the spoon. But once I gave him a slice of pear, or a piece of zucchini, he would happily sit and munch away. It’s nice to see him enjoying his food and it’s really enjoyable for me too, since we’re usually eating together and having some fun bonding moments!

"She touched me!"
As I’m sitting here replaying this week in my mind, I’m realizing that this week has been full of good food and family. My husband’s cousin Andrew, his wife Amy, and their sweet girls Alice and Emma were all in town for a couple days and we enjoyed so much great food- I loved seeing so much family sitting together around the table. It’s exciting to think that these are the cousins that Miles will grow up playing with and creating mischief along side with. So many memories to be made!

Other highlights of this week- Miles becoming mobile (!), getting this month’s Birchbox (which I will be reviewing soon), going to the spa to enjoy a pedicure, and savoring one of the best meals of my life- although my husband says that I’m always proclaiming that I just had one of the best meals of my life, this really made the list- with my favorite mother-in-law and sister-in-law at Trattoria Uliveto (I was definitely having an Eat Pray Love moment).

Today I had an opportunity to work off all those delicious eats with a trip to the gym. I was all signed up to start my first of four personal training sessions and suffice it to say that I definitely reached my limit, thought I was going to hurl, and I’m going to be so sore tomorrow! As we were filling out the evaluation forms before the workout, the trainer was asking me about my fitness history so I told her that I used to be very involved in gymnastics. Her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, “Oh! So you’re an athlete!” and checked the box marked “Athlete” on the form as I sat next to her panicking, shaking my head furiously and interjecting, “Oh no no no- I’m not an athlete…oh crap.” All I wanted to do after that workout was eat a donut (I didn’t, thank goodness) and take a nap (which I definitely did when Miles took his afternoon siesta).

I hope you all are having a fantastic start to your week- thanks to everyone who entered the August giveaway (winners have been posted!) and linked up for Mom’s Monday Mingle

August 19, 2012

Mom's Monday Mingle #17

I'm thrilled to be the Mystery Hostess for The Naptime Review's Mom's Monday Mingle. I've connected with so many great blogs through this link-up and look forward to getting to know many more as I'm hosting this week!

Welcome to Mom's Monday Mingle.

Mom’s Monday Mingle
Last week we had 278 moms ready to mingle! We are so close to 300! I can taste it!

Can't wait to see what round 17 brings! If you could help promote Mom's Monday Mingle through facebook and twitter that would really help. Thanks for helping promote. It really does help make this hop a success and bring new moms to meet and network with.

Let's get ready to mingle!
Hope everyone had a great weekend! Now, it's time to show off what you did last week. You can link up a post or your blog. Whatever goes! Please return on Wednesday for Like Me on Facebook. Also, if you like to shop and like to review products return on Friday for Favorite Product Fridays. I found some great products to feature!
1. Please follow each hostess. They are 1-4 in the list!

Naptime Review-Hostess
At Home Take 2- Hostess
Little Becky Homecky-Hostess
Mystery Host
We do FOLLOW back and we really love all the comments! If you are new let us know and leave your blog address so we can return the follow ;)

2. Try to visit at least 4 blogs that interest you. Just don't throw your name into the link up, hoping to gain followers. Participate, make friends, and have fun! I know I have made a lot of great blog friends ;)
3. Grab our button and share with others. The more the merrier!
4. If you are the selected "Mystery Host." Please grab the code at the bottom and host this hop on your blog as well. Also, please return follows!
Let's get ready to mingle....

August 18, 2012

Get Ready for Fall!

I would say that fall is probably my favorite season by far. The air starts getting crisp and cool, and with the cooler weather comes hats, scarves, and jackets. As my sister-in-law and I were flipping through the phone book-sized September issues of our favorite fashion magazines, I started noticing some beautiful trends that I'm excited to try. Here are my top three (from left to right):

1. Burgundy (modeled here by Lana Del Rey for H&M)
2. Gold accents (shown here featuring the Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2012 campaign)
3. Navy blue (worn here by Natalia Vodianova)

The good news is that, while I find inspiration from beautiful ads like D&G's, I don't have to spend a haute budget to enjoy these trends. Just repeat after me: burgundy, gold, navy! 

Follow me on Pinterest to see more ideas for fall!

Don't forget to enter this month's giveaway if you haven't already!

PS Having six kids has never looked so chic! (And it's a look I'm not sure I could pull off!)

August 17, 2012

Squeaky Clean

As with candles, there is often a discussion in our house about dish soap- most of the time it's because I've forgotten to go to the store and we're nearly out, but sometimes it's about the scent. I'm not a big fan of citrus-scented dish soaps, and my husband is not a big fan of floral-scented ones (I suppose I agree when it comes to having a collision of scents- floral plus day before last's last night's pasta? No thanks).  I've been trying various products from J.R. Watkins (which I had no idea existed until recently but apparently has been in business since 1868!) for the past few months and I'm really liking the happy medium I've found with the Aloe + Green Tea scented dish soap- I even ordered in bulk from Amazon and have thus solved two problems at once (saving a little extra money by ordering in bulk and using Subscribe and Save doesn't hurt either)!  I've enjoyed everything I've tried from J.R. Watkins and have switched all of our hand soaps and now dish soaps to this eco-friendly brand.

Definitely check out their website! I didn't realize they had a line of products for babies and I plan on trying those next. 

I'm linking this review up with The Naptime Review's Favorite Product Fridays. The Naptime Review also just posted a feature on my blog which was so sweet- thanks Julie!

Happy Friday!

(PS Don't forget to enter into this month's giveaway if you haven't already!)

August 16, 2012

Rock (the) Liebster!

So, on Tuesday I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Courtney! I was surprised and excited at the opportunity to talk more about myself (only slightly kidding...) and to learn more about some of you! 

Here are the rules:

1. Each person must list 11 random things about themselves. 
2. Answer the 11 questions that the tagger has set for you, and you must also create 11 questions of your own for the 11 people you present this award to. 
3. Choose up to 11 bloggers, linking them to your post. 
4. Go to their blog and inform them of the nomination. 
5. Absolutely NO tag-backs! 
6. Remember to ONLY tag bloggers with less than 200 followers.

Here are my eleven random facts:

1. I've always been obsessed with finding out what I'm meant to do with my life.
2. My favorite food is mashed potatoes and gravy.
3. I've never been able to do a pull-up.
4. I always order my cheeseburgers plain.
5. I have a knack for meeting famous people (it's true- Nicolas Cage on a roller coaster, Sigourney Weaver in Williams Sonoma... just to name a couple!).
6. I am very competitive. Like Ricky Bobby says, "If you're not first, you're last." (I'm working on it.)
7. I love getting my back scratched. If I could pay someone to scratch my back for an hour instead of a massage, I totally would.
8. I lived in Germany a few years ago. I miss it!
9. As a third-grader, I once attempted to sneak out of school to get lunch across the street at Taco Bell. (I managed to get out of the school unnoticed, but was caught in the parking lot by a random parent. Foiled again!)
11. I could watch Bravo TV all day.

Here are Courtney's questions:

1. What color describes you? Probably red
2. What movie could you watch over and over again? Love Actually 
3. What's your worst habit? Procrastination
4. What's your biggest goal? To raise Miles as a gentleman (and a scholar). No big.
5. Who's your favorite actor and actress? Ooh- Colin Firth and Meryl Streep
6. Where's the best place you've ever visited? Definitely Bavaria
7. Where's the one place you hope to go someday? Rome
8. What's the most interesting thing on your bucket list? To be able to do a pull-up
9. What's your favorite song? Claire de Lune by Debussy
10. What kind of phone do you have? An iPhone 4S (I love you, Siri!)
11. What's on your to-do list today? To finish this blog post, find two more Lemony Snickett books for my sister, and to fill the gas tank in my car.

I nominate (drumroll...):

Chrystal from It's Fairly Obvious
Lisa from Expandng
Kerry Louise from Oh So Amelia
Whitney from The Sweetest Things
Sable from Squat Like a Lady
Sarah from Family Darr
Michaela from Au Naturel Design
Tori from Lil' Mrs. Tori

My questions for you ladies are:

1. Who is your celebrity doppelganger?
2. What is your favorite book?
3. Flats, heels, or wedges?
4. What's the hairstyle you've always thought about trying, but would never actually attempt?
5. What is your must-have beauty product?
6. Who is your favorite musician?
7. What is your favorite magazine?
8. Are you an early riser or do you like to sleep in?
9. Cats or dogs?
10. What is your dream job?
11. What's the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I look forward to seeing your answers and I'm so happy to have connected with each and every one of you ladies out here in the blogosphere. 

Don't forget to enter this month's giveaway if you haven't already!

August 15, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Gotta love the random gnome...
This week has been all about vacation. It is my golden week of freedom- yes, I really just said "golden week of freedom"- before the fall semester starts on Monday. This is my summer all crammed into a few short days (swimming, laying in the sun, doing a whole lot of nothing) and I've definitely been making the most of it, as you can see from my flowy, hippie tye-dye maxi dress- from Target, in case any of you WIWW readers are wondering.  I would never wear this out in public, but at home on my summer vacation? Sure, I'll rock it.

So, there you have it. Once again, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy.

Don't forget to enter this month's giveaway if you haven't already!
Happy Wednesday!

August 14, 2012

August Giveaway: Sibu Beauty

(Disclaimer: These products were purchased by me without incentive from Sibu Beauty or any other company. The cleansing kit giveaway is being offered by me personally, with an additional Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil being offered to a lucky reader courtesy of Sibu Beauty.) 

Ah, finally, my August giveaway! I am excited to review and giveaway a set of products by Sibu Beauty. I was doing some research on naturally-based skincare, and ran across the company online. I purchased a kit for myself to try, and was eager to see if Sibu Beauty's key ingredient, the Sea Buckthorn berry (harvested from the Tibetan Himalayas), would live up to its hype. In my opinion, it did.

I have combination skin, but I don't usually deal with acne on a daily basis. My biggest skincare concern is redness. This skincare regimen really made a noticeable difference in the redness I experience as well as my overall skin tone. I also used these products on my arms (where I also experience redness and uneven skin tone) and found that I was extremely pleased with the results, even more so than the results I noticed on my face). The soap and moisturizer have a pleasant, light, citrus-y scent and the moisturizer feels very light on the skin. Definitely a plus.

Now, let's talk about the oil for a moment. If there is one thing I would tweak about this skin care kit, it would be the oil's scent. It is unlike anything I've ever smelled, so I'm not sure what to compare it to. The closest thing I can think of is a very strong herbal tea. It's not instantly terrible, but it's definitely strong. However, the amazing things it does for my skin is such a benefit (and it's really cleared up any little patches of eczema that Miles had previously) that I don't really mind.

Time for the giveaway! I'm offering one reader the wonderful Facial Cleansing Kit which includes the Cleansing Face and Body Bar, the Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil, and the Nourishing Facial Cream. Sibu Beauty has also generously offered another reader the Seed Oil.

Here are the rules:

1. Follow Joie de V via Google Friend Connect.
2. Take a moment to visit Sibu Beauty's links below.
3. Enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter. The giveaway will be open until August 21st, and I will contact the winner by email. Good luck!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 13, 2012

Monday Monday

I have to say that Mondays have probably been my favorite day of the week lately. It's becoming the day where the three of us go on fun outings as a little family. Today, we went out to lunch and had a lot laughs watching Miles attempt to eat anything and everything off the table (he's actually doing a lot better at actually taking manageable bites- oh, the things I'm proud of as a mama). It was happiness defined.

Hopefully you all are having just as great a Monday as I did!

Check back tomorrow for the August giveaway- the day completely got away from me but it's scheduled to post at midnight. Good luck, everyone!

August 12, 2012

Our Week (in a Nutshell)

Other than saying goodbye to my grandparents (who made is safely back to Nashville), this past week has been so much fun. Miles and I spent nearly every day with my sisters, who are still on summer vacation and often looking for something to do. Right now I'm enjoying my miniature summer break- the fall semester starts a week from tomorrow- and so it was nice to not worry about having homework to do! We went swimming, played volleyball, and went to the mall to see if there was anything to catch our eye. I love those two little goofballs.

This week was huge in the motherhood category. Miles has gone from saying, "Mamamamama" to purposefully saying, "Mama!" It is the sweetest, most precious sound to my ears (although it's heartbreaking when he says it when he doesn't want to go down for a nap and I can hear a sad little, "Mama...mama..." coming from his room). 

Another new thing this week is that Miles will fall asleep right whenever he is tired, rather than waiting for a bottle, crib, and his usual ritual. This week, my friend Morgan and I (and of course our crew of littles) went out to lunch. As we were sitting there eating, I look over right as Miles eyes had drowsily closed and he'd fallen asleep. He fell asleep after going swimming yesterday- I had just laid him down on a towel with his bottle and he was out, right in the middle of all the commotion at the pool! And today, he fell asleep as my mother-in-law was holding him (usually it's more of a fuss for him to settle down to sleep than this!). I always say, "Oh, he must be going through a growth spurt!" but lately it seems like a good excuse, since he's just been needing extra sleep for something. My growing boy!

Have a great week! I'm looking forward to enjoying my last week of academic freedom...

August 10, 2012

When I Grow Up...

I was going through some childhood photos of my husband and myself for Miles's baby book, and I couldn't help but remember one of the questions I've tossed around my whole life: "What do I want to be when I grow up?" When I was in fifth grade, my teacher had us write a paragraph summarizing where we wanted to be at age twenty-five. I wrote down that I planned on being a doctor with a Porsche, living in Hawaii (what fifth-grader thinks about what kind of car they're going to drive?).

Well, obviously I'm not anywhere close to being a doctor with a Porsche, living on a Hawaiian island. I'm also not anywhere close to having a definitive answer to this question. I was inspired by Rosie Pope (star of Bravo's show Pregnant in Heels- and one of the few Bravolebrities I've ever felt inspired by besides Aviva Drescher or, of course, Bethenny. Those are some savvy, smart mamas!), who was a ballet dancer, worked in customer service, modeled, and even dabbled in studying neuroscience before finding her niche as an entrepreneur extraordinaire. It actually relieved me to know that not everyone knows what they were born to do and sticks with it their entire educational career.

Have you ever gone to the career planning section of the library? It is ridiculous. Thankfully, some books were recommended to me so I didn't have to sift through all of them! As I was on the verge of anxiety about still not being able to figure what the heck I'm supposed to spend my life doing, Parker pointed out that I am in an awful big rush to be on my way somewhere when I have no deadline or reason to be in such a hurry. My goal with Miles from the beginning was to enjoy the first five years at home with him (a true luxury), working on my education along the way. Parker suggested that I experiment with classes each semester that I think might be interesting and see if I find anything that ignites a "Eureka!" moment. I finally felt like a big weight was lifted, and a sense of relief settled over me. I have plenty of years ahead of me for my career. Right now, I'm able to enjoy Miles's baby days fully and study by night. I feel so lucky.

On Monday, I'll be announcing August's giveaway!
Have a great weekend!

August 9, 2012

The Best Sort of Day

Yesterday I did a whole lot of nothing. I didn't have any homework, I purposely avoided housework, and I enjoyed a day with my sweet boy. He's growing up so quickly! I think the new haircut makes him look even older than his seven months. For memory's sake, here are some things about Miles that I'm really loving lately:

1. His funny faces. He's very expressive (just like his mama), and has a grin, puzzled look, frown, or just plain goofy expression that changes constantly.

2. The way he explores the world around him. When we sit at the piano, he plunks down on the keys happily- then reaches as far as his little arms will let him to hit all the notes he can in either direction. When we're in a store or restaurant, he's always looking around to make sure he doesn't miss any of the action. He loves textures and will spend a lot of time just running his hands over any texture he finds fascinating.

3. He's constantly in motion. This boy loves to jump and bounce, and this definitely has me enjoying the time we have left before he becomes mobile! He's always reaching for something new, always moving.

4. He loves water. Whether it's a pool or a bath, he is perfectly content to splash and kick his little froggy legs. He doesn't care if his face gets wet- he just wants to swim!

5. The way he shows his affection. When my family was at my brother's race last weekend, my mom was holding Miles facing outward so he could see everything going on. He caught sight of me, and I went in to give his hand a kiss; as I did, he grabbed hold of my sweatshirt with both hands and actually pulled me towards him, leaning his face against mine and resting there for a moment. It was one of the sweetest moments I've experienced with Miles and to have him initiate it just made my heart want to burst with happiness.

I love you, my darling son!

August 8, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

I'm not going to lie, I had my sister snap this impromptu photo on my iPhone today as we were finishing up a shopping adventure at Target. This is my (for the most part) daily look- hair pulled back into a messy bun (as much as I try to wear my hair down more often, Miles loves to grab my hair and it's no fun to constantly be moving it out of the way!), jeans, sandals, and the diaper bag. Here are the details:

Sunnies: Chanel (can you tell I only own one pair of sunglasses?)
Top: Tresics (via TJ Maxx)
Jeans: Seven for All Mankind
Diaper bag: SkipHop
Sandals: Coach (no joke, the most comfortable sandals I've ever owned!)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! And thanks again to The Pleated Poppy for encouraging me to put some effort into my outfits!

August 6, 2012

Better Than the Same Ol' Same Ol'

The boy loves pancakes!
This morning, most of my family- except for my brother, who had to work early- met for breakfast before my grandparents started their journey back to Nashville (they're driving!). I was taking my little sisters back to their place since Mom had to go to work right afterward, but we decided to stop by the mall to ward off some afternoon boredom. The girls love taking turns carrying Miles and we had a lot of fun showing him all the different animals in the pet store, where he was intrigued by the colorful birds and baby kittens. My sister Krystine was carrying Miles as we decided to head up the escalator to the next floor, but I didn't notice until we were already a ways apart that Krystine and Miles were still at the bottom of the escalator- she was scared to get on the escalator with him, poor thing (the combination of a very wriggly infant and moving stairs was a bit too much). I only mildly panicked as I ran the wrong way back down to get back to the two of them, scooped Miles into my arms, and reassured Krystine that I would much rather her let me carry Miles on the escalator than have her worry!

When we got upstairs, we spotted the children's salon and decided to go in to see how much it would cost to have them trim some wayward strands of hair (the rest of his hair was one uniform length except for this one long bit that ran right down the middle of his head). They offered to do it for free, so Miles sat in my lap while my sisters distracted him by blowing bubbles. It all went great until he wanted to start bouncing around and I tried to calm him- then he noticed the unfamiliar clippers and stylist and began to cry. We hugged it out, though, and he was fine. They even gave me the lock of hair for his baby book. I still don't really understand the hype over the first haircut, but I'll admit he does look more grown up now!

Of course, Ernie and Parker blinked. Goofballs!
I'm glad that my sisters and I decided to spend some time out and about, because now that my grandparents aren't in town, we don't see each other as much (we were all together nearly every day for the last three weeks!). I especially enjoy spending time with Krystal and Krystine, because when we are all together we laugh a ton, talk about music (no, we absolutely will not can't listen to "Call Me Maybe" again), makeup (no, blue blush dusted across your entire face isn't cool unless you're dressing up like Avatar for Halloween), and boys (no...just no)- and they completely dote on Miles. I love my family!

August 5, 2012

Our Week (In a Nutshell)

I'm actually a little sad that it's already time to write another weekly update because this week it signifies the end of my grandparents' three-week trip to visit all of us. We've had so much fun together, they've reconnected with Miles (who hadn't seen them since he was two months old when he and I flew to Nashville), and although I know time will likely fly between now and when we see them again at Thanksgiving, I hate saying goodbye!

So what else have we been up to this week? Well, you saw a snippet of our library outing on Monday, and on Wednesday Miles had a belated six-month checkup. He is perfectly healthy, and for that I am so thankful. After his doctor's appointment, Grandma, Krystine, Miles, and I had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and it was completely delicious (I had the Garlic Chicken Pizza-mmm mmm!).

The rest of the week was mostly spent watching Olympics when I should've been sleeping, and finishing up my summer courses (I was so wrapped up in all of this that I forgot to post "This Week the Trend"- sorry everyone!)- I only have one exam left and I'm done! I'm very pleased with my grades and the six weeks went by so quickly that I'm glad I decided to stick with it even though at times it was really intense.

If she and SJP can knit, so can I!
Oh, embarrassing moment of the week: last night I randomly decided to teach myself how to knit. After shopping around downtown SLO and seeing all the super cute but ridiculously expensive Blabla knit baby toys and cute hats with earflaps, I thought to myself, "These can't be so hard to make!" Fast forward a few hours to me sitting in bed, furiously muttering under my breath (or maybe not so under my breath) to the uncooperative knitting needles who weren't magically assembling stuffed animals or cute little hats with earflaps, wondering how Vanna White came to have her own yarn line (who knew?), all while watching an episode of Basketball Wives. It was quite a sight.

Tomorrow Parker and I are starting the P90X workout again. I really do enjoy it- a lot more than the Brazilian Butt Lift workout (there's only so much "Shake your boom boom! And squeeze... and squeeze..." I can take!). Here's to hoping I don't chicken out halfway through like all the first time I gave it a try!

Stay tuned- August's giveaway is happening soon and it's not one you'll want to miss!

August 3, 2012

It's Friday, Friday...

The many faces of Miles.
I'm so excited it's Friday that I could almost burst into Rebecca Black-style song. My husband has been up to his eyeballs in work and while it's certainly nice for the pocketbook, it can get pretty lonely in the evenings once Miles has gone to bed. Although, as I told my friend Chrystal this week, that's what Bravo is for!

Speaking of TV, I found out a couple days ago that I can now watch all my Amazon Instant Video on my iPad! This news literally had me running around the house singing "We Are the Champions" with my iPad held triumphantly high above my head. Since we don't have cable, Amazon is how I get my Bravo TV fix and being able to watch it on my iPad is so awesome.

For any and all Bravo fans out there reading, I'd like to know your opinions on the new show Miss Advised (about the three so-called "relationship experts" who are completely inept at following their own rules when it comes to dating and relationships). Personally, I think it's very similar to watching a train wreck- you don't want to watch, but you can't look away! Anyone who's seen an episode will know what I'm talking about.

Image credit
Okay, back to reality. This week I've felt a lot more tired than usual. The combination of staying up late to watch the Olympics and waking up early with a certain little fellow has my schedule all out of whack! I didn't even bother trying to look presentable this morning when I drove to Starbucks this morning to grab some caffeine for Parker and myself before he left for work- I just crossed my fingers and hoped I didn't see anyone I knew.

This weekend I plan on doing a whole lot of R&R. And by R&R, I mean stay in one place as long as possible (no errands, carseats, or forgetting my wallet which I've done twice this week!) and enjoy spending time with my family, especially my grandparents who are returning to Nashville on Monday (sniff).

Have a great weekend!

August 2, 2012

So Long, Old Friend

I guess you could say that I'm not very sentimental when it comes to my material possessions. If there's something that I don't use, I'm perfectly happy letting it go- usually. Last week I sold the first Prada bag I ever owned (Carrie Bradshaw would be appalled) to Bag Borrow Or Steal Private Sale and for the first time went through a little bit of what I called "seller's remorse". On one hand, I knew that I had my fun with the bag and didn't hardly use it anymore- as much as I loved it, I was almost scared to wear it out for fear of the light-colored Napa leather getting dirty- but on the other hand, it was my first designer bag that I actually owned and didn't just rent from BBOS. It may seem silly to some, but it was a goal of mine to save up and be able to buy something that nice for myself (I don't normally buy Pradas in my ordinary day-to-day life, just for the record! I'm not made o' money!), and I did. And now hopefully someone else will fall in love with it!

Speaking of love, I'm pretty thrilled with my new iPad. I used the money from the Prada to buy it, and it's going to be so handy during the fall semester. I can rent my textbooks as E-books on the iPad and save on the cost of regular required materials. I'm looking forward to putting this new technology to work and intend on getting as much use out of it as possible!

What's your dream big-ticket item? Is it a trip? Or maybe you have your own big style goal? I'd love to hear.