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It’s officially gift bow season is it not? What kind of a gift-giver are you? Are you the type that thoughtfully selects sentimental gifts for everyone from your mom to your second-cousin’s landlord’s dog? (Thanks for making us all look like thoughtless b-holes…Wink wink). Maybe you give the practical gift. Yay for toaster ovens! You could be the DIY type where each gift is handmade and heartfelt. I usually fall somewhere between practical and DIY. Like a handmade quilt…practical warmth but all the awkwardness of a handmade blanket. You. Are. Very. Welcome. Handmade can be a great way to cut costs and up the thoughtfulness. I am kinda proud of this handmade DIY gift bow mug I made with my Cricut Explore™. It pairs well with hot chocolate and those 5 pounds we gain every winter (both for warmth of course!). Let’s make a custom DIY gift bow mug together!
What you need:
- Mugs in the color of your choice. This holiday season is all about neutrals and metallic around here this year.
- A vinyl sheet in the color of your choice. I’m all about creative liberty, obviously.
One of my absolute favorite things to do in my non-existent free time is work on house projects. For the record I know that I could re-align my priorities to have free time, but then what would I complain about if I wasn’t busy . But, like I said, I really love working on my house. And for some reason I have to decorate by rooms. What I mean is, I can’t buy a rug for the living room, paint the walls in our master bathroom, and tile a back-splash. My decorating is methodical and I’m pretty sure that’s the OCD in me. I like to start and finish a room completely before I take on the next project. In my house now all I have complete is Liam’s room and Charlotte’s room. I plan to post a tour of both rooms when I’m, you know, not sooooo busy .
Liam’s room is a rich burnt orange with touches of teal. I’m really quite proud of all the DIY projects that made his little room all come together. One that I shared on HGTV Design Happens is this DIY Framed Bulletin Board. As it turns out finding a framed bulletin board that is affordable can be a bit of a challenge. But I did need somewhere to hang Liam’s watercolor/marker/sticker art work (side note, does anyone else have a house covered in stickers. Stickers ev-ry-where). Creating my own frame for a cheap department store bulletin board was actually an easy solution!
I love maternity pictures. I love them especially when they are of realistic pregnancies. I mean the kind of pregnancies that don’t end in a Victory Secret runway show (I’m talking to you Heidi Klum). Looking back on your own maternity photos is the best for someone who is obsessed with recording life’s moments and stages…I’m raising my hand!
One of my favorite things to remember is my pregnancy nose. It’s true. When I am pregnant my nose grows wider, but only during pregnancy and then it somehow finds its way back to its previous width. It is my special “growing a baby” nose and I want to record it. Also…pregnancy knees. I somehow gain weight on my knees when I am pregnant and I can’t say it is my favorite but I appreciate my non-pregnant knees more when I have photo proof that they are indeed lovelier than pregnancy knees.
And growing a human is magic. I am not a huge fan of all the physical, emotional, and mental side-effects of pregnancy. But my heart is completely overwhelmed with the blessing of being able to carry and deliver a little person! That’s something worth documenting.
Most of all I love this photo session because it was the last moment in my life when there was just 3 of us. Just me and my boys. Life with two little people has been a whirlwind of diapers and gratitude. But this moment with my boys was truly a special moment.
Last month I had the rad opportunity to put together a little blogger event at Tai Pan Trading. What’s Tai Pan Trading you ask? Well it’s one of the largest home decor and holiday decor stores in Utah, Idaho, and California but what we bloggers got together to celebrate was their growing fashion department. Tai Pan has been know for it’s mind-blowing Christmas decorations, but soon it will be a regular stop for fashion shoppers too because they bring in some the cutest fashion items I have seen in a while. We are talking name brand lines, purses that are flying off the shelf, and so. many. accessories. What Tai Pan and I wanted to do was introduce our local bloggers and you this growing department, because it’s drool-worthy and all.
To make the event really special I enlisted the help of some of my favorite local shops for flowers, amazing tacos, and the best pastries in Utah (I swear by it). Check it all out…
Fall florals that I could die over were created by Lizy’s Lilies . Flowers at events are always always always one of my very favorite parts of the party and Lizy’s skills in floral arranging are jaw-dropping. She’s also one of my favorite people ever.
Beautiful desserts by none other than One Sweet Slice. Chocolate raspberry cupcake is transcendental and I am not even being dramatic at all.
Fresh and inventive tacos were provided by Masa. And like I said…Amazing tacos! In fact I went out to their restaurant the next night for more!
I put together the sweet botanical photo backdrop and I think it may be my favorite photo backdrop I have ever made. I wish that I had a good reason to use it for another event because it looked even more lovely in daylight.
The goodie boxes I wrapped in Tai Pan Trading wood wrapping paper were a huge hit. To make the flower gift box toppers check out THIS POST.
And let’s all address the massive elephant in the room…I was massively pregnant and like this pink billowing cloud floating around the party. slightly sweating.
Guests were invited to shop and socialize, but perhaps the real star of the show was the metallic foil tattoos. I went ahead and bought a pack of these suckers because they are way hot right now. I’m jumping on this temporary metallic tattoo train and I’m not looking back.
Charlotte’s birth story is real and really special to us. I’ll try to be completely honest because I believe natural childbirth is an incredible journey and story worth telling. I didn’t spare too many details, just so you know , but it’s her story and I hope to tell it with honesty and respect for her journey.
Our little Charlotte was due to arrive on Halloween, but she was ready to come into this world earlier and we were anxious to meet her.
On October 14th I climbed into bed, exhausted and mentally prepared for another restless night. With my Lottie filling up my entire abdomen I was having difficulty breathing regardless of how many pillows I crammed under my back, belly, and limbs. This night, however, started off more restless than others. At about 12:00 AM our little lady started to toss and turn in my belly like I had just washed down four cups of coffee with a 42 oz. Coke (I don’t drink caffeine so I’m suggesting that she was movin’ around…A LOT).
There was a one-woman circus going on in my tummy from 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM when the first hints of labor started to register in my sleepy head. While peeing for the 11th time that night I noticed some bloody show (sorry for the details, but this is a real birth story after all). I have never had any bleeding during pregnancy so I knew that something big was happening and I quietly rustled Clint awake to share the news.
“I think we need to pack for the hospital”, I whispered.
“Where’s the list?” he asked…ready to get the party started. I, like the neurotic organizer I am, had prepared a list of all items we needed for the hospital so that Clint could pack while I labored. He is a really good packer while I am in labor. Very thorough.
Almost immediately after I woke Clint, my Braxon Hicks intensified into real-life contractions spaced several minutes apart. In the dim lamp light we packed our bags and I paused for contractions. We deliver our babies using HypnoBirth techniques so during each contraction I try and relax every muscle in my body to allow the contraction and my body to work together throughout labor. When those contractions hit I would collapse onto the floor and ride it out. Picture me in my PJs on the floor of our closet/bedroom/bathroom every few minutes. It took me much longer to pack than Clint, naturally.
Bags packed I climbed in a warm tub to listen to Rainbow Relaxation (for anyone who does HypnoBirth, does her voice drive you as crazy as it drives me? “And now, it’s time, to relaaaax” ). After 45 minutes of imagining mists of color I could tell the contractions were intensifying in frequency and pressure. Once they became 60 seconds long with only 2.5 minute gaps in between each surge I felt a little bit of urgency to get out and get to the hospital.
I pulled on some clothes and we loaded our groggy little Liam into the car, dropping him off at our neighbor’s house around 6:00 AM. At 6:20 AM we arrived at the hospital, excited and ready to meet our girl. With Liam my water had broke at home so they checked us right into our labor room, however, with Charlotte my water had not yet ruptured so I was guided to triage where I labored from 6:30 to 7:45.
Checking into a hospital while you are laboring is kind of a comical experience. There I lay on a slightly inclined bed and answer dozens of questions about my health history, health habits, blood type, birthing history, and so on. They also monitor my vitals and the baby’s heart rate. But I am also pausing every 60 seconds to relax completely into a contraction. I imagine to the nurses it feels a lot like interviewing someone with severe narcolepsy. I also tend to be really goofy during the early stages of labor, telling lots of jokes that warrant courtesy laughs. I probably seem a little crazy and sleepy.
In triage they told me I was dilated to 5cm and 90% effaced. They also told me that my lab results indicated that I was Strep B positive and needed to receive one dose of antibiotics during labor. I was off to the labor and delivery room for 30 minutes of IV antibiotics. The hep-lock wasn’t my favorite part of labor, it’s kind of creepy and uncomfortable having a needle stuck under your skin for hours on end. While receiving antibiotics I remember complaining several times that I just wanted to get in the tub. Contractions were really starting to intensify and I began to moan through them, which helps a lot with the pain. From my experience with natural delivery, it is a journey in surrendering to your instincts. You have to let go of some social rules and just allow your body to take over the show. It’s a little scary to think about and an empowering accomplishment at the same time. I moan through contractions because that’s what my body tells me to do, even if it seems silly in retrospect.
At 8:30 AM I climbed into a warm bath and continued to labor from 5 cm to 7 cm. Clint sat at the tub side and poured cup after cup of warm water over my contracting belly. It felt good to labor in the tub, but only lasted until 9:00 AM because I began to convulse with something called labor shakes. This was a totally new sensation to me. Labor shakes are when your body kind of freaks out from all the changes that occur during labor. It felt like violent shivering without feeling cold. Then when I got out of the tub I was actually very cold and the nurses and Clint helped pile blankets on me until my shivering slowed. I remember questioning why I was shaking so much and saying something really smart like, “wow…this is trippy how much I am shaking!”
From 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM I labored hard sitting up in the hospital bed. The back of the bed sat straight up to support my back through contractions and they came powerfully for a solid hour. I sat at 7.5 cm for that long hour and then told my midwife to break my water to get things going. I wasn’t going to sit at a 7.5 any longer. She broke my water for me and suggested she “help me dilate” during contractions, which meant she would coax my cervix along when contracting. That, my friends, was in-tense. I went from a 7.5 to an 8 with her help, but I was anxious to get to a 10 and start pushing. At 10:00 AM I climbed on my knees and faced the back of the bed that was positioned straight up. Hugging the back of the bed, my contractions became so intense that I’m pretty sure I started to scream through them rather that moan. My midwife and Clint reminded me to lower my voice, which would help with the intensity. After 5 to 10 minutes of laboring on my knees I had reached 10 cm!
Then I felt the need to push. And when I say I “felt the need”, I mean that my body started to push without any mental permission from me. It was like a convulsion. Nobody and nothing could stop my body from pushing that baby girl out. This, by far, was the craziest part of delivering Charlotte. I pushed for only 5 minutes, and it was probably only 5-10 pushes total, but Charlotte was not a small baby and pushing her out really tested the limits of my mental strength. My body, however, was confident that it could bring her into the world. Good thing my body just took over.
At 10:19 AM Charlotte Paige Adams was born. She was 8 lbs 5 oz and 19.5″ long. She had chubby cheeks and chubby legs. Light brown hair covered her head and she had the longest pretty fingers. She was beautiful and very pink. She was immediately lifted to my chest and before they even cut her umbilical cord she was looking to nurse. Charlotte was just the perfect little delivery to our family.
Recovery for me was good. I required no stitches and I feel like that is one of the biggest blessings ever granted me.
I don’t think I could make it through labor and delivery without Clint. He is my biggest hero and supporter during those intense moments of labor. Something about bringing a new person into this world makes you more capable of loving others and loving them more deeply. I love Clint more and more as I watch him father our children.
We are truly blessed to have Charlotte as a part of our family!
Hello there friends! Thanks for stopping by on this lovely Sunday. Today I am really excited to join in the celebration of my dear friend Ciera’s blog-iversary/business anniversary! Ciera Design is turning 5 years this month and to celebrate this accomplishment I’m teaming up with some other lovely sponsors to give away a gift to our readers! One lucky person will receive a $400 prepaid MasterCard that can be spent anywhere in the world that accepts Debit MasterCards!!! Yep, I said $400.00! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter and gooooooood luck!
Friends! Today I am really excited to be sharing a project I collaborated on with my friend Courtney of Fry Sauce & Grits. It’s all about loving yourself, loving your boobs, and breast cancer awareness. Some of my very favorite people have been affected by breast cancer and we all feel pressure from society regarding women’s bodies and breasts. This topic is one that is close to my heart and, as you know, I have no problem talking about boobs . In fact, you can check out my other boob-related posts here:
On a serious note, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so please treat yourself to a little breast love and remember to get mammograms regularly (think pancake-flat love ), party with those who have survived breast cancer, and remember those who’ve lost their lives to breast cancer. That’s what October is all about! Women embracing our bodies and all the qualities that make us beautiful, unique, and what defines us as women.
Like I said, my friend Courtney from the eclectic lifestyle blog Fry Sauce & Grits started a movement called LOVE YOUR BOOBS, LOVE YOURSELF. Courtney is a bra fitter, bra educator, blogger, and is passionate about women issues. She created a video where she interviewed a group of women (one of them is me!!!) and asked them questions about their relationship with their breasts, how they’ve experienced breast shame, how they feel the media depicts breasts, and how we as women can come to love and accept and love our breasts.
Courtney’s inspiration: “I find that most women have a hate relationship with their breasts and that makes me really sad. They’re either small, large, lopsided, saggy, or too wide, and it made me realize that we need to stop this breast and body shaming because our bodies are beautiful and powerful. I hope to inspire women with this Love Your Boobs, Love Yourself video that to completely love ourselves as women, we need to love and accept our boobs. There’s a direct relationship between our self image of and the relationship we have with our breasts. Breasts don’t define us but they are definitely a part of us. I want to bring awareness that this dysfunctional relationship we as women have with our breasts and with our bodies are directly stemmed from what the media portrays to be what is perfect and the ideal of beauty. I want to push the message that we aren’t defined by our breast size and how we as women are defined by something greater.”
Me along with a group of other blogging women from different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, ages, shapes and yes breast sizes have decided to come together and to love ourselves and our breasts! You can join in this movement too by sharing a picture of yourself and type what you love about your breasts and what defines you as a woman! You don’t need a blog either! Just tag your photo with #LoveYourBoobsLoveYourself on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and search the hashtag to see who else has joined in.
So go ahead and watch the video, it will truly inspire you to stop breast shaming and start loving your breasts and yourself more!
Below are other brave and beautiful women who are sharing their stories of breast shame, breast love, what they’ve learned from their breasts, what they mean to them, and how we as women we can learn to love our breasts and ourselves more! So don’t stop here. Get clicking around, its a blog hop! I hope as you click around you will feel the importance of women loving themselves, the empowering effect sharing each of our voices will inspire others in some way.
Are you ready to share your story? Make sure to tag your picture with the hashtag #LoveYourBoobsLoveYourself and @courtney_frysauceandgrits to participate in this powerful movement to inspire women to completely love themselves!
Holy smokes has it been a while or what? I guess I have a great excuse…having a baby and all . Yes our little baby girl was born on October 15th (the most perfect of birthdays don’t you think?) and we are smitten. Little Charlotte Paige is sharing the spotlight with her big brother these days and I am already admiring how women juggle life with more than one child. Whew.
Halloween has been sort of neglected around here as a result but worse things have happened . I’ll be sharing lots of family and Charlotte updates this week and next (plus a continuation of the nursery project)! But today in honor of getting back into the swing of things I wanted to share one of my favorite Halloween DIYs ever. These honeycomb spiders are an instant favorite of mine because 1) I love how the twig legs look like crawling hairy spider legs (veeeeery creepy), and 2) the twigs and honeycomb are such an unexpected combination that totally works (like denim jackets and tutus). You can find these honeycomb spider decorations I crafted on For The Love Of and make some of your own!
Wonderful news friend of mine! My DIY “love” sign Cricut craft project has been selected to be one of September’s top 10 Cricut Design Star projects. I just feel so honored and grateful to be nominated among so many very very talented bloggers. It would mean the world to me (and more) if you took a few seconds to VOTE for me HERE! You can vote once a day and until Oct. 3rd at 12:00 PM and I will shower you with metaphorical confetti and hugs!
Okay let me just say that I am totally in love with this suitcase. It looks A-maze-ing in my nursery that needed a hint of gold (but then again, doesn’t every room need a hint of gold?). The back story with this little gold number is that it was a gift from my mom. She thrifted it from a thrift shop in Sun Valley and gifted it to me! My mom’s a pretty good thrifter-gifter. And I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to getting vintage pieces. I’m just soooo easy going that I let her give me unique and lovely home decorations for free.
If you can believe it, this suitcase started out a faded navy blue color. The edges were this yucky yellow tinge that I am sure was once a bright white. Not even a magic eraser could remedy the fade and wear so a fresh coat of paint was the solution!
Want all the detes on this adorable gold suitcase makeover? I spill all my painting secrets and gold-loving guts on HGTV Design Happens today! Check it out!