Photo Gifts + Pancakes for Mother’s Day

April 25, 2017

Each year we ask our mom the same question, "What do you want for Mother's Day / Christmas / your birthday?" And every time she has the same response, "Pictures!" For someone who loves giving and receiving gifts as much as our mama, this simple request always makes us smile. She literally just loves having new photos of her kids and family and being that we're the more technologically savvy generation (and generally the ones with tons of pictures), she turns to us to fulfill her photo dreams. You would think that given her love of having fresh photos we would nail each gift-giving occasion in spades...but you would be wrong. We're constantly brushing aside her wishes in favor of other things we think she would want or need. Usually she is surprised and delighted - but she still has no trouble reminding us, "You know I would have been perfectly happy with some photos, right?"

This year the two of us started thinking about Mother's Day early and we determined that this would be the holiday where we would finally give our mama what she really wants - photos. Of course, we could have just printed her a selection of favorite shots in a few glossy sizes for her to pop into the collection of frames she has at home...but we wanted to get a little more creative. Naturally, we turned to Shutterfly and their selection of photo-ready products for us to personalize. Once we got started choosing favorite pieces, it became clear that we needed to do more with the finished products. We realized what we designed worked perfectly for hosting a little Mother's Day breakfast for our mamasita!

 

If you’ve ever perused the available options on Shutterfly, you know there’s a lot to be had. The company is of course known very well for their printsphoto books, and selection of paper goods (cards and stationery, calendars, etc.) but the array of gifts, home decor pieces and entertaining must-haves makes it a really one-stop-shop when shopping for sentimental, personalized items. We got really inspired when investigating their Design Studio and it emboldened us to do more than just upload family shots…

That being said, we did start by choosing pieces that we wanted to use family photo on. Sipping coffee or tea in the morning is as much of a ritual for the two of us as it is for our mom. When the three of us are together – whether at home in Kansas City, on vacation, or in one of our houses in Dallas – it’s a cherished time to wake up and visit before we start our day. We wanted to get our mama a few of the photo mugs and loved the idea that she would think of us when using them. Shutterfly has some really cute mug designs you can choose from with multiple-photo layouts, words and sayings, etc. but we went with the classic single image design and opted for colored handles and insides with hues that complement whichever photo was on the mug.

After selecting the mugs, we wanted to see what other table top pieces were available and we really liked the look of Shutterfly’s melamine plates. Our mom is a collector of dishes but she’s recently re-vamped her backyard and has been dining and entertaining al fresco more often. We figured that having a set of dishes that are non-breakable and dishwasher safe would be a great addition to her entertaining arsenal! Though we loved the idea of putting a cropped picture of each family member’s face on every plate, we wanted to give her a set that would be suitable for non-family functions (family faces don’t always look best layered with food on top!) and different from anything she has. The two of us had the idea of making the plates look like calcutta marble. The mostly white coloring and organic variations would look sophisticated and elevate the whole casual dining experience. We found a large jpeg photo of marble via google, cropped random sections of it into squares and individually uploaded them for each plate. It was super easy and we’re obsessed with how they turned out.

Once we had mugs and plates, we figured a pretty serving tray was the next must-have for the celebratory breakfast we were envisioning. Shutterfly has some super cute options you can personalize – fun borders, initials, multiple-image designs – but we chose to do a single image tray without any overlaid text. We went back and forth on whether we should pick a photo of our family (there are some great ones from our brother’s wedding last summer) but in the end, we figured that something bright but without faces would be better. The image we uploaded was a shot by Leslee Mitchell of one of the flower displays from Sally’s wedding. Our mom put so much love, creativity, and time into Sally’s day – and we were all SO obsessed with how the flowers turned out – that it felt like a perfect shot to put on display. The best part about the trays is that they’re lucite and completely waterproof!

To complete our Shutterfly order, we wanted to create something that really did fulfill our mom’s simple request of receiving photo prints. So we uploaded another shot of flowers from Sally’s wedding (also taken by Leslee) and used it to make a personalized frame to hold a black and white photo print of the three of us from the wedding.

Waiting for our order to come in was like counting down the days till Christmas….and getting to see all the completed pieces was so rewarding. We’re obsessed with how everything turned out and so impressed with the quality. Although we are spoiling the surprise for our mama by sharing early what gifts she’ll be getting this Mother’s Day, we were too excited with how our vision came to life and how it really tells a personal story. We’ll definitely be turning to Shutterfly again and again for gifts (Father’s Day is just around the corner – June 18th!) that are as fun to make as they are to give!

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Stripe Maternity Sun Dress

April 24, 2017

I love ASOS as a place to find pieces that may be a bit "trendier" for a lower price tag. This has been especially true with their maternity pieces - they have lots of great items for under $100, even under $50 like this dress! Come spring and summer, I find it hard to resist a great blue dress. Make it striped and I'm bound to like it even more. I was pretty pleased when I found this guy because most (ok, almost all at this point) of my casual blue sun dresses from last year are currently a little too small for this bump. This one was able to fill that void for the duration of my pregnancy and at a really reasonable price tag.

We’re now a week out from my due date, but know that it could still be even two weeks before this baby decides to make his appearance. Although we truly felt “ready” for a baby since the very beginning, the end seems completely surreal. Its hard to believe that it really could be any day ​now that we meet our little angel boy who has been growing in my tummy for the past 9 months – who we’ve been talking to, singing to, playing music for, and visualizing in our lives.

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This + That // Sales + Steals

April 21, 2017

Even with a baby due in less than two weeks, things are anything but slowing down around here. Which I actually kind of like. I think sitting around all day would make me go slightly crazy. Although I definitely need an afternoon lie down most days, I'm still trying to stay busy by getting things on my never-ending to do list done and walking the dogs at least once a day. I had been working out up until this week and even pulled into the gym for my class on Tuesday morning only to decide that maybe I needed to take it easy and skip the classes from here on out. I'm hoping the regular work outs will help with an "easy" labor, but who knows! We have a busy weekend planned with family and friends who happen to be in town for the weekend which will be SO fun. (read on to get the sales + steals)

This + That:

Some Sales:

  • Ann Taylor: The warm weather warm up – 40% off select full priced styles with code WARMUP.
  • Anthropologie: Extra 25% off sale items! (Love the black version of these – the price is SO good.)
  • Ariel Gordon Jewelry: Get 25% off between now and 5/4 for Mother’s Day! Use code MAMA25 at checkout!
  • Banana Republic: The iconic spring sale – extra 40% off sale. (The back detail of this is so pretty!)
  • Bloomingdales: Private sale – take $25 off on every $100 you spend with promo code PRIVATE. (These are super cute – love the heel height and tie detail.)
  • Calypso St. Barth: Friends and family – enjoy 25% off full price styles with code FRIENDS17. (I would like to own this in every single color. Thank you very much!)
  • Club Monaco: The mid-season sale – up to 60% off when you take an additional 30% off all sale styles! (The sleeve details on this – love, love, love.)
  • Gap: Last call – super spring sale. Up to 75% off! Plus, 40% off everything, no exclusions with code FORME. (Still obsessed with this guy.)
  • H&M: Free shipping over $40 with code 0040. (This is SO pretty and would make for a great spring/summer wedding guest dress.)
  • J.Crew: In stores and online – 25% off your purchase + extra 40% off sale styles with code HOPTOIT. (Love a good white top and this one is especially amazing.)
  • J.Crew Factory: In store and online – 40-60% off everything! (These scalloped camis are such a good buy and great for layering, too!)
  • kate spade new york: Enjoy a handbag charm with a full-priced handbag purchase of $278 or more!
  • LOFT: 40% off everything! (I think I would wear this daily if I had it in my closet.)
  • Old Navy: Online only, through today – 30% off your order! (This comes in white! Such a great summer, throw on and go tank.)
  • Roberta Roller Rabbit: Friends and family sale! 25% off with code BFF25. (Molly and I went into our Dallas store yesterday and stocked up on a few things for baby – two onesies and two coated cosmetic pouches to keep things organized in the baby bag.)
  • Serena and Lily: Everything ships free! Use code FABULOUS. (Can’t get enough of this.)

Some Steals:

1. Roberta Roller Rabbit Heart Onesie ($40 → $30 with code "BFF25" at checkout!) // 2. J.Crew x Dragon Diffusion Small Tote Bag ($300 → $173 with code "HOPTOIT" at checkout!) // 3. Mango Gingham Off The Shoulder Blouse ($49.99)

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Nellie is Nice

April 20, 2017

At this point, our/my love for all things HATCH is no secret. I had really tried to limit my maternity purchases and make what I had in my closet work, up until discovering the brand, which is now my latest obsession. What I love most about HATCH is that their products are made to fit you before, during, and after your pregnancy making it the best possible purchase while pregnant. I remember visiting our local Pea in the Pod to buy jeans and watching women spend so.much money on items that they could only wear while pregnant - items super specific to pregnant women. Although these pieces are great and practical, I just couldn't wrap my head around doing this - with the exception of my jeans of course, which are a no-brainer and truly not optional! I wanted to be able to make items in my closet work or spend money on pieces that I could wear after giving birth. This has been easy with HATCH because I know that every piece from them is an actual investment piece that I can wear now, postpartum, and later on. Each style is also timeless enough that they could be worn for future pregnancies, which I love. Even with only a few weeks left in my pregnancy, I am still pining for pieces of theirs because I know that I would actually continue to wear them!

HATCH’s Nellie dress has become an instant favorite of mine. The swingy, light chambray dress is comfortable and flattering in all the right places. The darling grosgrain-trimmed, ruffle sleeves are right up my alley and the perfect compliment to the chambray. I love the fact that it has pockets, too, which is always an added bonus in my book. I have absolutely zero doubts that I will continue to wear the Nellie dress throughout the summer here in Dallas, seeing as I’ve already worn it once a week thus far! HATCH truly does make it easy to feel put together while pregnant, even at 38+ weeks!

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