Blue + White Nursery

July 6, 2017

I always knew that I wanted to have a blue and white nursery regardless of the gender. Mostly because that's the color scheme our mama used when we were babies (Molly, our brother, and I all used the same nursery), but also because I think it is equally darling for both boys and girls. Having the color palette firmly in mind made it both fun and easy to pick pieces for the room. Our mama was a huge help as she has a great eye when it comes to interiors and I love how everything came together...the room feels fresh but also sweet and nostalgic.

Crib: There is a tradition in our family where my grandparents buy the first great-grandchild in each family their crib. Our grandparents love finding sweet ways like this to be involved in exciting moments and it really is so special and something we will always cherish and remember in the years to come and as future babies also use this crib. This is such a weird personal feeling I have, but I think cribs can often times seem a little bit cage-like, which is why I love this one so much. The acrylic makes it so you can see right in and out, with nothing obstructing the view. Our dogs are completely fascinated by it!

Dresserducduc is a furniture brand that specializes in baby and children’s furniture. Each piece is made in the USA (Connecticut, to be exact!) and is carefully handcrafted using the absolute best in terms of materials. The furniture features solid wood frames with low VOC finishes – which is something that was really important to me. Each ducduc piece is made to order and can be completely customized, which is just what we did when designing a personalized version of their Savannah Dresser. Because the mirror hanging above the dresser is a heavier piece in terms of physical presence, I knew I needed a dresser below it that was long enough to balance things out. We were able to work with ducduc on a custom length to make this happen and I’m so glad we did. Since the two bottom drawers were nice and long, I was able to add drawer dividers so that they felt almost like two drawers side by side when you open them. This has helped immensely with organization! Along with these details, I was able to completely customize the paint colors of the piece. The actual dresser is a soft white and the trim on the drawers (though hard to tell in the photos!) is a warmer, creamy white. I love the surprise of pale blue when you open the drawers (which are self-closing so no pinched fingers)! I also wanted a classic, glass knob, which ducduc does not offer on their site, but it was not a problem at all when working with the brand. I had the knobs shipped directly to them so that they could install them at the factory. The entire experience of customizing a dresser with ducduc was honestly amazing and so fun – we couldn’t be happier with how the piece turned out and I know it will be a lasting piece whenever it goes from being used in the nursery to a big kid’s room.

Glider: Bunnies are an obsession for me and I always knew that I wanted to incorporate this Hunt Slonem for Groundworks fabric in the room because I absolutely love Hunt Slonem’s work. The fabric is playful and painterly without seeming too juvenile or babyish – and it may be my favorite part of the room. The actual glider is from Pottery Barn Kids and my mom had a woman in Kansas City make a custom slipcover for it out of the bunny fabric. This way, should an accident happen, we can just take the slipcover off and wash it. The glider and ottoman are super comfy and is the perfect home to the darling Goodnight Moon pillow needle-pointed by our mama. And because I just can’t get enough of those bunnies, the fabric was used again for the window curtains.

Lighting: The chandelier in the room was one used in our younger siblings’ nursery and I love that it is white and somewhat blends in, while also being sweet and whimsical. Our mom had the shades made out of a Pierre Deux fabric that was in our nursery when we were babies . I love that this piece is a hand me down and that we included the blue and white fabric from our nursery – both make it feel extra special and sentimental. I wanted another light source in the room close to the glider but because we don’t have a lot of surface space a floor lamp seemed like the best option. This one from Land of Nod stood out to me when I first saw it in one of their catalogues. The metal frame mimics the brass hardware on the curtains, which I wanted to be sure to repeat in the room without going overboard. I like how unique the floor lamp is and that its more on the contemporary side. I’ve mentioned before how much I love Land of Nod for their great children’s pieces and this lamp is no exception!

Rug: The first rug I ever “owned” was in fact a striped Dash and Albert rug in my dorm room. Ever since then, I have had such a sense of nostalgia for the brand and a love for their durability. Dash and Albert’s original, cotton rugs are classic and timeless and come in an array of color and pattern options. The woven rugs (which is what we used here in the Sweedish Stripe) are 100% cotton which makes them safer for little ones to crawl on versus rugs made out of synthetic materials, especially since babies and children spend so much of their time on the floor! Not only this, but the woven cotton versions are also extremely durable and can stand up to just about anything…ours has been super easy to spot clean when the dogs have tracked mud into the house. We also have a runner in our kitchen from Dash and Albert that is small enough that I can toss it into the washing machine when it gets dirty, which has been a game changer for such a high traffic area! I’m telling you, these rugs wear like iron, which is highly necessary in a child’s room. I love that the Sweedish Stripe version we picked is not only functional, but sweet enough for a nursery.

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Lilly White

The built in bookshelves were actually original to the house and have been the perfect place to display little gifts we received at our baby showers, frames, animals, and tons of children’s books from my own childhood that our mom had been saving over the years. You can never have too many books!

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Using The SNOO

June 22, 2017

I briefly mentioned in yesterday's post how our most used baby item is our SNOO bassinet. We've been using the SNOO Smart Sleeper by Happiest Baby since our first night home from the hospital and have used it every night since. At $1,160 I realize that this is a high ticket item, but I thought I knew after just one night - and I definitely know after seven straight weeks of using it, that it's worth its weight in gold at this point. The SNOO was one of the first things my husband and I decided on when we were deciding what we needed for the baby and I was so excited about all the features that I shared it in this post before we even had our baby. I had high hopes, and the reviews were incredible, but you never really know how something's going to work till you use it consistently. And while I'm going to go into more detail, but I could honestly sum up this whole post in two words: IT WORKS.

This may be info that everyone already knows, but as newborns are still learning to piece together their sleep cycles, they often stir or fuss between cycles but aren’t actually fully awake….their bodies are still learning to stay asleep as they pass from the deep sleep to light sleep. The SNOO responds to these cues of wakefulness by increasing its rocking motion and the level of the white noise to rock the baby back to sleep. As a result of this, we as parents are able to sleep for longer stretches of time and aren’t having to get up and check on the baby or soothe them with every little sound we hear. Right now, my husband and I are getting a good 6 hour stretch of sleep each night with a 7 week old…and that’s something I find pretty amazing! I fully attribute this to the SNOO. *Note: I could go into WAY too much detail about how the SNOO responds to fussing, movement and cries – along with how the SNOO app works – but this FAQs page is so much more informative than I could ever be!

Aside from the nice, long stretch of sleep we’ve been gifted thanks to the Smart Sleeper, I also feel like my anxiety is at such ease each night knowing that the SNOO ensures the recommended safest sleeping circumstances. The SNOO Sacks (they come in small, medium, and large) safely swaddle your baby’s arms and zip around their legs, and also have wings attached to each side of the body that clip into the sides of the SNOO so that there is no possible way your baby can roll over from their back. Sounds complicated but it’s not. This no-roll feature alone gives me such piece of mind each night – it’s stressful being a new mom and putting your baby down each night! I am also a firm believer that babies sleep so.much.better in a swaddle because of their startle reflex that often times wakes them. I like that the SNOO Sleep Sacks are “hip safe,” which is important with a new baby. The sacks are also partially mesh so that there isn’t a concern for overheating – another worry with sleeping babies. *Note: the blanket on the side of the bassinet is just there because we often hang blankets on the side of the SNOO to grab and use during the day. We do NOT use any blankets at night with the SNOO – we only use the Sleep Sacks!

Aesthetically, the SNOO is beautiful and minimalistic and doesn’t look like any other baby item in our home. I should caveat that we love all our other baby gear and gadgets – and I’ll share those in another post – but the SNOO is just so pretty it looks like a real piece of furniture. The best part about the design (aside from how nice it looks) is that it’s lightweight enough that I am easily able to move it from its spot against a wall in our bedroom to my bedside each night (I personally like having it by my bedside so that I can peek in there periodically if I do hear anything and its so much easier to access for early morning feedings). Even with it being light enough for me to lift and move easily, it’s very sturdy and I like that I can lean on it and not feel like it will give with my weight. I only wish that we could bring it with us when we travel in a few weeks!

Between it’s incredibly technology which is attributing to a better night’s sleep for both us and the baby, the peace of mind we get from the safety aspect, and it’s ridiculous good looks (Zoolander, anyone?!) I truly cannot sing enough praises for the SNOO.

*Last Note (I promise): the dress I’m wearing is one I wore with a bump (here) and I’m still obsessed with it (it’s not maternity but can totally be worn while pregnant). Anyway, it’s on sale here, here, and here!

Pieces From The Post

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Big Gal Bed with Matouk

June 9, 2017

I can't believe it's already June...since moving from Houston back to Dallas last September so much has happened. The two biggest personal celebrations have been Sally having her baby (my nephew!) in May and me adding Rosebud the fur baby to my life in November. Surrounding those life moments are hundreds of others - some highs and lows. But mostly highs. People think I'm joking when I say this but the best thing I've done for myself this year (so far) has been getting a king-sized bed. I wrote a little bit about turning one of the two bedrooms in my new place into a master bedroom (because I'm the master of my life) in this post and how much having a king-sized mattress has improved my sleep routine (mostly because it accommodates two labs - one of which is 85 pounds).

Once I had my Loom & Leaf mattress and a bed - and new NIGHT Pillow, obvi - I started the process of dressing up my big gal bed and making the room really feel like my space. Though it took longer than I anticipated (the handmade sconces just got hung the other week) I am completely obsessed with the final look. No surprise, the beautiful Matouk bedding completely steals the show. Which was exactly what I wanted!

 

The only thing I knew I wanted for this room was “crisp and clean.” Because I couldn’t paint the walls white (anyone else just want to live in a white box of a home?) I wanted the bedding to be like a beacon of brightness on my charcoal grey bed. And in my opinion, Matouk is a master of white. Yes, they have some great printed pieces (and I clearly went that direction with my sheets) but the amount of white percale designs with various embroidered borders and decorative flanges (both available in color accents) and textured matelasse options has always made them a standout. Add in their custom monograms, bespoke embroidery and made-to-order bedding and the challenge of picking favorites becomes really hard.

But this was a challenge I was up for! Graduating to a king-sized bed and getting to work with Matouk on the linens was like a grown-up girl’s dream come true. As luxurious as Matouk’s linens are, they are also made with impeccable materials and constructed to the highest quality standards. Because I sleep with two furry babies in bed with me, it was comforting to know that even if I designed a completely white bed, everything would stand up to wear and washings. My pups are not perfect – and as clean as they are I end up washing my bedding at least once every 7-10 days. Full disclosure: I do put a large utilitarian blanket over my duvet at night to minimize the amount of dog contact and shedding. That said, the linens still get laundered on the regular and continue to look brand new…no frayed edges or corners, broken stitching, pulled threads, etc.

So here’s what I dressed the bed in and why I picked it:

  • CASSIDY flat sheet, fitted sheet, and pillow cases: even though I wanted an all-white bed, I knew it was a little crazy of me to think that would extend to the sheeting. Did I mention that my dogs sleep on my pillows like humans? Aside from that factor, I knew that I probably couldn’t keep completely white sheets looking clean between washings. I’ve liked having printed sheets in the past but mine have always been a print on a white background…I totally fell in love with the Cassidy design (it’s part of the Lulu DK for Matouk collection) and how the small white botanical pattern sits on a field of color. I went with the Azure – blue is my color – and love the sneaky pop of brightness with the rest of the white!
  • SALON duvet and king shams: I seriously struggled with picking a duvet. As I mentioned above, Matouk has such beautiful duvet cover designs and the option to do made-to-order motifs – and it defiantly took me a minute (re: weeks) to land on a favorite. After a lot of back and forth, I settled on the Salon made-to-order option. I’m not typically one that leans toward traditional design elements but I really loved how the fretwork inspired motif looked both classic and modern, detailed but clean, special but not fussy. Truth be told, it was when I saw the duvet and king shams at Linen Boutique in Dallas that carries Matouk that really sold me on the design. I love how the appliqué border on the shams matches the duvet but isn’t overkill. I almost went with white as the color for the Nocturne sateen flange and border but the thought of all that beauty getting lost was too sad and the pale silver was the next best choice for subtle impact.
  • MBM Appliqué Monogram (style #2070): I am not a monogram person. Really, I’m not. I can count the number of items that display my initials on one hand. But my anti-monogram feelings only extend to the overdone “if it’s not moving monogram it” mentality. I have a huge appreciation for appliqué monograms (fabric cut into letters is placed on the item and sewn down with a hand-guided embroidery machine) and bespoke embroidery (unique designs, stitching techniques, and thread colors). Matouk has always been known for their monogramming and though I knew I wanted some sort of monogrammed accent, I wasn’t sure where or how it would be incorporated. Once I chose the Salon duvet and king shams, I knew it was the shams that needed some beautiful initial action. I really like some of Matouk’s embroidered options but the simple, bold appliqué options are what really spoke to me. Like every step in this bedding process, choosing which option to go with took some time. I chose style #2070 – which looks kind of like a shield – because it felt like the right amount of “different” without being overly feminine.
  • BARCELONA coverlet and euro shams: a Matouk bed is not complete without a coverlet. Not to be confused with a quilt (quilts typically have two sided and a layer of batting while coverlets are usually not reversible and are a lighter layer). Matouk’s coverlets are comprised of textured matelasse and patterned pique designs that are small in scale but make for the prettiest addition of contrast with the flat percale linens. Depending on the construction, some of the coverlet patterns have a pearl-like sheen, while others have a matte look. I should note that the coverlet patterns extend into shams and bedskirts – making it even easier to layer in the texture. In my opinion, Matouk’s most popular coverlet design is the Diamond Pique. It’s lovely and classic. But I didn’t want to go with the norm so I spent a lot of time touching and comparing all the coverlet options (while at Linen Boutique) before deciding on the Barcelona for both a coverlet and euro shams. The “over-under” checked pattern was a perfect contrasting to the organic botanical design in the Cassidy sheets and compliment to the structure of the Salon duvet and shams.

Because I my bed has and upholstered footboard and sides I didn’t need a bedskirt. But if I had, I may have gone with a different texture from Matouk’s options

This probably goes without saying, but I make my bed everyday. How could I not when I have such insanely luxe linens that need to shine?! Being that I work from home and already have such a homebody mentality, by bedroom is obviously one of my most favorite rooms and my bed is a total jewel. I love the ritual of taking my pillows off, helping the dogs jump up, and climbing into bed each night as much as I enjoy tucking in the sheets, smoothing the duvet, and arraign the pillows each morning. To say that I’m completely obsessed with how my Matouk combination came together is an understatement. Going from a queen-sized bed to a king-sized situation was a game changer but adding gorgeous Matouk linens has been the icing on the cake and elevated my entire bedroom in a way I never imagined.

Picking bedding is such a personal process but it should be fun, not stressful. Matouk’s website has a “umatouk – make your bed” interactive configurator that allows you to virtually pick, choose, and swap all the sheeting, coverlet, sham, and duvet options available in order to visualize how your favorites all look together. And with over 100 boutiques and specialty stores around the country that carry Matouk, you’re able to experience the infinite options, colors, textures, and personalization options in person. But really, I’m not sure you could end up with anything that’s not stunning given the style and sophistication of Matouk’s designs.

I owe a giant and heartfelt thank you Matouk for taking me on such a personal bedding journey and outfitting my bed with linens that I will use and enjoy for years to come!

*Some side notes: I cannot say enough good things about my Loom & Leaf mattress. It’s eco-friendly memory foam and made in the US. Seriously incredible. I also still sleep with my NIGHT Pillow every night (it also travels with me) and Rosie can usually be found sleeping curled around the crown of my head…trying to get as much NIGHT Pillow action as possible. And lastly, my Photonic Studio sconces may have been the last pieces added to my room but they totally complete the puzzle in the most perfect way and I adore them.

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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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Setting Up the Snoo

April 20, 2017

Since the beginning of my pregnancy, we always knew that we wanted our little one to sleep in a bassinet in our room for the first few months. We're telling ourselves that we will do this for ideally 6 months, but I know that realistically, there are hundreds of things you tell yourself before you have a baby and that can all go out the window once they arrive!

I remember coming across the SNOO Smart Sleeper by Happiest Baby when I was very early in my pregnancy and before it was ever officially launched. I stalked the site - reading everything I could and watching testimonials from families who had been given the opportunity to try the SNOO before its launch. With each testimonial, I became completely sold that this was something special. I had heard of the well known Dr. Harvey Karp and his life-changing "Happiest Baby on the Block" methods from many friends with little ones (specifically his method of the 5 S's - meant to calm fussy babies) so when I learned that the SNOO Sleeper was the brain child of Dr. Karp and a product many years in the making, I felt sure that the SNOO should be the place where our baby sleeps in his first several months. The SNOO was actually the first baby product I decided we needed and it arrived to our home before we'd even selected a paint color for the nursery. My husband and I have been so excited to get it set up and after packing our hospital bags last weekend we finally did just that...

Dr. Karp has been an advocate and national leader in the promotion of children’s rights to a healthy and safe environment for over 20 years and the SNOO is being touted as the safest, most effective baby bed ever made – while also solving the #1 new parent stress of exhaustion. Let me explain…the sleeper is made with a “responsive, robotic system,” with microphones that respond to your baby’s cries and fussing with varying degrees of white noise or safe jiggling motions. The degree of motion (a slow swing or faster jiggles) or the type of white noise (soft rain or a womb-like sound) are all dependent on whether the baby is sleeping or fussing. These gentle movements encourage the baby to fall back asleep when they’re not fully awake – creating a habit of healthier sleep patterns, earlier. The SNOO will attempt to calm crying with fast jiggles and a womb sound for three minutes, but if unsuccessful, will stop to alert parents that the baby has other needs that must be met like a diaper change or feeding. This amazing technology is why it’s being compared to having your very own night nurse.

On top of its ability to literally run 24/7, the sleeper is also as safe as they come. Each SNOO comes with a “five second” swaddling system (in sizes small, medium, and large) to grow with your baby. The swaddle sacks are all hip-safe and made with 100% organic cotton. Each sack features wings that slip securely into the sides of the bassinet – ensuring babies stay on their backs all night long. In fact, the rocking and sounds will start only if the swaddle is properly anchored. When the time comes to transition your baby to the crib (which is recommended to do at 6 months with the smart sleeper), the SNOO has a gradual weaning feature to help make that transition as smooth as possible.

While I cannot speak for the SNOO and its abilities yet, I can safely say that it is hands down the one product my husband and I are the most excited to use. Even if our nursery isn’t completely ready or all else is up in the air (did I mention we are moving – again – and on my actual due date?), we feel quite confident knowing that we have the SNOO in our arsenal and that it’s set up and ready, should baby come early. I cannot wait to report back on our findings once our baby bunny is here. In the meantime, our family (including the pups) is quite enjoying the pretty new addition to our master bedroom. Have you ever seen a cooler, sleeker looking bassinet?  I already knew I’d love the simplistic design (in the world of baby products and devices, it’s nearly impossible to find something that blends with the rest of your home) but it  looks even better than I imagined with our master bedroom.

P.S. I wasn’t watching, but Molly did tell me that Dylan Dreyer from the Today Show is a user and lover of the SNOO. She said that her 4 month old baby sleeps 11 hours a night in this episode!

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