Monday, September 7, 2015

VAN ARLO TURNS ONE


WE HAVE A ONE YEAR OLD!

Back in August, we celebrated Van's first birthday with family and friends. It was a really amazing day filled with tons of fun, lots of laughs and a whole lot of excitement! Josh and I had a great time and most importantly, our boy had an incredible day. Here are some of our favorite photos from Van's very special first birthday.


Van had a 'geometric' birthday theme, or as Josh likes to call it, 'shapes and shit'. Ha! To make our own shapely garland, we painted poster paper with co-ordinating colors, cut out various sizes of shapes and sewed them together. I used kraft paper as a backdrop behind the food table. 

We made up fruit and veggie trays, cheese and crackers, confetti rice krispie squares, cupcakes and cake pops to serve. [Cake pops are tricky to make, but oh so worth the trial and error and frustration!] To drink, I put out blue raspberry lemonade and Pic-A-Pops. [Oh and beer for Josh and the boys, of course.] We also custom ordered these fabulous geometric cookies from Sugar Fairy Tales. I love how they tied in to the theme!


If you follow me over on Instagram, you may have seen my #weeklyvan posts. Every week, I took a photo of Van, all in a similar style. I missed about 7 weeks, but at the end of his first 52 weeks of life, I had all of his weekly photos printed out to display at his birthday party. 

Inspired by this pin, I used hemp twine and gorilla tape to string up this amazing geometric display. It was one of my absolute favorite, most meaningful party details. [I may have left this #weeklyvan shrine up for a week or two after the party because I loved it so much!]

Another favorite detail was the photobooth backdrop - once again, inspired by a gem of a DIY I sourced on Pinterest. However instead of using canvas drop cloth, I used kraft paper to create the dimensions I wanted. We also affixed it directly to our deck using gorilla tape. It was surprisingly windy the day of the party, but it held. Gorilla tape is ahhhhmazing! 

We used the same paint colors for the backdrop and all of the shapes used for our party decor. Tip: Ask for the sample sized cans of paint! They're around $5 a can and I still have plenty of paint left over for the next time I get a DIY itch to scratch. :)

We set up a space outside to open gifts and have Van eat his birthday cupcake. It was a lot windier than I had prepared for! Balloons were blowing around, decorations were flying all over the place, but none of that mattered. The day was perfect!


Van loved his cupcake, well, the icing at least! Josh happily finished whatever leftover cupcake that Van wasn't interested in.

Van received some really amazing gifts from friends and family. We're so thankful to everyone who came out to celebrate and love on our boy with us!

Josh and I got Van this 3-in-1 bike from Wishbone Design for his first birthday gift. He absolutely loved it! [He still loves it! We got him a helmet and he cruises up and down the street on it. We're going to get some really great use out of it over the next few years as it grows with him.] The look on his face when he saw his bike and started riding it - priceless!


Van's first birthday was a wild success! Our boy has such an amazing day, and so did we. To see your child's face light up, to see them getting excited and enjoying themselves, it's such an incredible feeling to know that you play such a huge role in their joy and happiness. 

I just had to squeeze this non-professional iPhone photo in somewhere because, love.

Happy Birthday Van Arlo. You are fiercely loved, treasured and adored!

I'm looking forward to putting together many more birthday parties as our boy continues to grow. It was so much fun! I couldn't have done any of it without my husband's help and support. [Thanks Josh!] What a wonderful day! I'll always hold this special day and milestone near and dear to my heart.

Photography: Ariana Tennyson
Custom Birthday Invitations: Pixel Paper Hearts
Geometric Cookies: Sugar Fairy Tales
Van's #1 Tee: Whistle & Flute
Van's 3-in-1 Bike: Wishbone Design

Monday, August 10, 2015

MAMA & LITTLE




I discovered Mama & Little on Instagram about 6 months ago. My son, Van, had just cut his very first tooth. We were in the trenches of teething! Some of our no-fail teething remedies include round-the-clock breastfeeding, continuous babywearing and taking lots of naps. [Teething is tough. Especially so for baby, but also for mama!]

I found Van constantly gnawing on everything in sight. His toys, his fingers, you name it! When I stumbled upon Mama & Little's modern, fashionable silicone teething jewelry, I knew that I just had to get my hands on a piece. After taking far too long to decide what I wanted to order, I purchased the Teresa Silicone Teething Necklace in Mermaid - one of Mama & Little's signature, most loved, best selling pieces.

A Solly Baby Wrap + Mama & Little Necklace = The Perfect Combination

I was so incredibly happy with the purchase and Van was immediately OBSESSED with the necklace. Straight into the mouth it went! I found that wearing the necklace while babywearing to be the perfect combination for us. Van could be comfortably snuggled up to me, and take out all of his teething frustration on the necklace. The teething necklace kept him content and occupied while we continued to navigate his teething phase together.

A 6 month old Van chewing on my necklace.

During a bout of teething, I never leave the house without our teething necklace. Because of it's modern, hip design, I don't feel like I'm wearing a teething necklace at all. Mama & Little's fresh, trendy designs go with anything! I can't tell you how many times I've been asked where my necklace is from, only to answer and have people be surprised to find out that it's teething jewelry. [I've even had a few girlfriends, without kids, tell me that they were going to buy a piece to wear for themselves!]

Great for baby. Hip for mama!

More recently, we've discovered another function of Mama & Little's jewelry. The teething necklaces are an amazing distraction if you're trying to curb your nursling's nipple twiddling tendencies. It can give your baby something to play with and focus on while breastfeeding if you find that they are easily distracted or if they need to be twiddling something in their free hand.

Because I love Mama & Little and their multi-functional, modern line of teething jewelry so much, I've partnered with them and we're giving away a $50 store credit! Come find me on Instagram for details on how to enter the giveaway!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

DESK SPACE & FREE PRINTABLES


I've been working on giving our office a bit of a makeover. For the past year or so, our office had become more of a storage space, rather than a functional workspace. Every time I went into that room, it completely stressed me out. It had gradually turned into a place to hide all the junk and miscellaneous piles of documents/information we meant to organize in the future, but really just needed to store out-of-sight for the time being.

In June, I resigned from the full-time job I had before I went on maternity leave, so that I could stay home with my son full-time. [YAY!!!!] Staying home full-time is a dream come true for our family and we worked really hard to make happen. I couldn't be more thankful.

Being a stay-at-home mom isn't the only title I've adopted for myself, but as of earlier this month, I added WORK-from-home mom to my list of designations. [I'll share more details on that another time very soon.] Working from home meant that I would need a functional workspace where I would be able to be focused enough to get things done. Thus, my desire to embark on giving our office a motivational, inviting and inspiring makeover was ignited. I still have some work to do with the rest of the room, but I wanted to share my desk space and some FREE printables with you.



Thanks to a little bit of 'pinspiration' I found a creative way to hang the miscellaneous cards and prints that I have been wanting to display. The Dignitet Curtain Wire from IKEA and a little bit of washi tape, did the trick wonderfully.

The amount of colourful prints/cards that I hung shocked me. Afterall, I am a very black/white/gray type of gal! Most of the colourful prints you see here, I received through my monthly Happy Mail subscription created by the A Beautiful Mess team. If you like creative cards and adorable stationary items, I highly suggest signing up. The 'F//CKING AWESOME' card and the black and white 'RAD AS F//K'  print were designed by my talented friend, Charisse of Pixel Paper Hearts. I can always count on Charisse to design something that's edgy and modern. If you like cool sh/t, check her shop out!

Finally, to balance out the overload of colour, I whipped up two prints of my own to add to my workspace. If you know me at all, you know that I worship LOVE Beyonce. It should come as no surprise that I would ask myself, on the daily: What Would Yoncé Do? If you find yourself asking the same daily question when faced with virtually any decision, you can download this WWYD? print for FREE by clicking here.


I also made up this simple print with one of my current mottos:


If you share the same sentiment and you'd like to print this one out for your personal space, please do so for FREE by clicking here.

Thanks for taking a peek at my desk space. If you happen to download the prints, make sure you show me how you used them by tagging me on Instagram!

**Dimensions of FREE printables should be 8x10 or 8.5x11 for best results.

Friday, May 1, 2015

BRANCH TO NATURE


Branch to Nature is a mother-daughter team dedicated to creating natural products with the synergy of essential oils and herbal extracts. All of their products are, proudly, sulfate and paraben free. 

I was fortunate enough to sample a few products from the Mommy Collection. The Mommy Collection features products geared towards pregnant, nursing and active mothers who are conscious about what they use on their bodies. 

I've been on the hunt for a natural deodorant [that actually works!] for quite some time. I finally found what I was searching for in Branch to Nature's Lavender & Chamomile deodorant stick. In addition to the soft scent of Lavender and Chamomile, I immediately picked up, and was drawn to, the beeswax scent that is included in the deodorant sticks's blend of natural ingredients. The scent is appealing, without being overpowering. And the best thing about the deodorant stick is that it works! I feel well protected and covered without the harsh presence of aluminum and triclosan, often found in drug store deodorants. 

I have also been using the Lavender & Chamomile Body Wash on a daily basis. This body wash leaves my skin feeling fresh, clean and well hydrated. The blend of Lavender and Chamomile found in the body wash is perfect for quick morning scrub in the shower or a relaxing evening soak in the tub. And because of it's natural ingredients, I feel confident using the gentle body wash on my son's skin during his bath as well. 

Branch to Nature offers a number of other products including a men's line, a clean home collection and a kids and baby collection coming soon. I'm eager to try out their Signature Thyme Collection, a skincare line, as I continue to search for more and more natural products to incorporate into our every day lives. 

Have you tried any of Branch to Nature's products? If so, which are your current favorites? If you haven't tried any yet, which products are you excited to try out?

Disclaimer: I received a free product from Branch to Nature. However all thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own.