Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Goodbye, Google Reader

I realize that this little post is coming a little late, but I can't believe Google Reader is discontinuing its services this summer! Whaaaaa!

I've been using Reader for maybe three years now and I honestly don't know how I ever read blogs beforehand. Okay, I remember: I kept all my favorite blogs in the bookmarks section of Safari and would periodically click through them. I didn't know it at the time, but it was such a pain. I didn't stay up to date on my favorite blogs, there wasn't any way to mark posts I really liked, I couldn't save posts to read later... chaos. Then Google Reader came into my life and made sense of it all.

So I'm curious for all the other Reader users out there, have you switched over to another RSS reader? Feedly, Bloglovin? Part of me wants to wait on making the switch in hopes that Google will say "Just kidding guys!" (I even signed a petition) but chances are Google will stick to their guns, and I'll forget to make the switch and end up losing all the blogs I have saved. So I'm researching new reader options. Any recommendations?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Four Favorites: Springtime Hues

Happy Friday, friends! In an effort to blog a little more consistently during this crazy transitional period of life, I thought I would start a fun new column: Four Favorites. Every Friday(ish) I'll be sharing a few of my favorite things from around the web. Short and simple... I hope you enjoy it!

Today's favorites are inspired by my need for springtime weather. This week has been a long and cold one in Michigan, so I'm gravitating toward all things light and bright.

  1. This red poppy pillow by Onan Befort is like instant spring for your couch.
  2. Weekend baking: carrot cake pancakes with white chocolate pecan butter. Oh yes.
  3. I've been piecing together inspiration for baby girl's nursery, and I think I've finally settled on a palette: coral, tangerine, mustard, gray and a little bit of light aqua. At first I was afraid it would be color overload, but then I spotted alllll the colors in this beautiful quilt from Urban Outfitters. It's a done deal.
  4. Just in time for spring, artist and friend Michelle Schneider recently completed an amazing painting challenge: 12 birds in 12 days. Hop on over to her blog for more details! (my favorite is the swan couple, hands down.)

Chris and I are looking at a few houses tomorrow morning and celebrating a friend's birthday, but the rest of our weekend will probably be spent in pjs. Possibly eating those pancakes. Tweaking our baby registry. Sounds pretty good to me... enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chloe Kids Spring 2013

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, but Michigan doesn't seem to know it. Today has been filled with snow flurries and temps in the twenties -- the forecast for the rest of the week. I am so ready for sunny days, the smell of fresh cut grass and blooming flowers, but it doesn't look like that will happen anytime soon. Sigh.

That said, adorable chubby babies in white frilly dresses instantly lift my mood. How wonderful are these photos from the Chloe Kids spring look book? These pictures remind me of my childhood: sweet and natural, filled with daisy chains and just a touch of fairy magic. Exactly how I hope to raise my own daughter.

And can I have that last dress in grown up size, please?

Photos for Chloe Kids, via Design Mom.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rockabye Baby

One of the nursery items that has me stumped is the rocking chair. It's on every must-have-before-baby list and, honestly, I don't quite get it. I understand that the rocking motion is soothing to baby, but wouldn't nursing your baby in a loveseat or club chair work just as well, and possibly be more comfortable? Or maybe that's the whole point of a rocking chair... to be slightly uncomfortable so you don't fall asleep while feeding your baby in the middle of the night. If that's the case I totally get it.

Christopher and I have been on the hunt for a good nursery chair, but everything we find is so blaaa. And they're expensive... as necessary as they seem to be, I can't bring myself to spend $800 on a chair that I don't love. Fortunately, after a little digging online, I was able to find several modern, affordable (ish) rockers, with clean lines. They exist! Here are my top contenders for the nursery right now:

Eames molded plastic rocker: I've wanted this rocker to grace my house for years. Look at that mid-century beauty! When I showed it to Chris, he said it looked like the most uncomfortable thing in the world. And as much as I appreciate the work of good old Charles and Ray, I don't think I can bring myself to spend $500 on a piece of molded plastic with questionable comfort. That said, has a pretty tempting knock-off on sale for $100...

Joya Rocker:  This rocker is at the top of my wish list for a nursery chair. Those walnut legs are fantastic and it looks deep enough to melt into, even during a 3am feeding. Bonus points for being an heirloom-worthy chair with substance that would look great anywhere in the house, not just the nursery.

Luca Glider: Honestly, I haven't found very many gliders that I like... compared to the curvy, exposed legs of rocking chairs, gliders seem so heavy and boxy. But the clean lines of the Luca Glider have me sold, and I love that you can customize the fabric and piping colors online. Charcoal and yellow would be a fun combo for any nursery, and is gender neutral enough to last a few babies.

Poang Rocking Chair: Have you ever sat in one of these things?! Super comfy. I'm honestly not a huge fan of the original Poang design, but I think the rounded feet of the rocker really compliment the overall shape of the rocking chair version. Of course, Chris and I love all things IKEA, so we would have no problem picking one up, especially with the $170 price tag. I only wish it came in a color that fit our nursery palette... maybe there's an easy way to recover the original cushion?

Nurseryworks Sleepytime Rocker: I think I like this one so much because it's like a smaller, cheaper version of the Joya rocker. I don't know if the shorter back would be uncomfortable for myself or Christopher since we're both pretty tall, but I bet it would be great for a shorter parent, or perhaps in a nursery where space was an issue.

Solutions Glider and Ottoman: Ah yes, the homely yet practical sister of the group. This is the only chair Chris and I have been able to try out in-store at our local Babies R Us, and it honestly looks much better in person. It's the only one we would even consider from Babies R Us, actually. The traditional, exposed glider base is a bit of an eyesore, but I guess I've seen worse. And you can't beat the price: $230 for the chair and ottoman.

Mamas out there, do you have a rocker or glider in your nursery? Is it worth the expense? Have any of you tried out one of these chairs before? I'd love to get a little feedback!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Our Wedding Album

We all know that I love lists, so it probably comes as no surprise that I have a long list of things to-do before baby girl arrives. The tasks range from the mundane (organizing the filing cabinet) to the major (you know... finding a house.) A few weeks ago, I decided to knock one of the larger projects off that list: our wedding album.

Chris and I have been married for nearly three years and up until now, I had yet to do anything with our photos... they're not even up on Facebook! Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed. Our photographer (the talented and wonderful Amanda Fales Photography) had given us over 4,000 images of the big day, and sorting through them was a major task in itself (a task that I had started two years ago, in hopes of giving the album to Chris as a first anniversary present... ahem.)

Once we had all the photos narrowed down to our favorites, I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to design the actual book. In the end, I decided to keep things simple and let the photos shine. Every now and then, I used typography as a design element and pulled special lyrics from our wedding soundtrack (that's right, we had a soundtrack) for a little something extra. I'm so happy with how it turned out!

For printing, I decided to go with a tried and true favorite, Blurb. The whole process was super simple: I used one of their templates for InDesign, saved my final file as a print-quality PDF, and uploaded it to their website. Three weeks later, I receive the book in the mail, easy peasy. I highly recommend Blurb if you're ever in the market for a photo book (plus they have coupon deals running all the time -- I used a 25% off coupon!) I also upgraded to the ImageWrap hardcover and the premium matte paper. I've never used their basic stock paper so I can't compare the quality, but I think the matte paper looks great. It has a nice weight and a subtle shine without being too glossy.

Now that I have the actual album in hand (all 134 pages!) I can't believe it took me so long to finish it. Having a hard copy of the photos is so much nicer than the digital files. It's such a great keepsake of our wedding that we'll cherish for years to come, and I know our daughter (and future babies) will love seeing her parents on their wedding day.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

House Hunting

Oh friends. I have to admit... I've been neglecting this little old blog of mine for a while now. It probably has to do with the fact that every post I begin writing makes me sound like such a Debbie Downer. It seems that lately I have every kind of blues imaginable: winter blues, baby registry blues, house hunting blues.

It goes without saying, house hunting has been an emotional roller coaster (although that may have to do with pregnancy hormones.) In the past three weeks, we've spent all our free time looking at houses, over 20 of them so far. One of the first ones we looked at and liked sold as we were looking at it. Another one with lots of potential sold the day before our second showing. We've seen foreclosed houses with mounds of trash, houses that have been sitting empty for months and everything in between.

Then, last weekend, we looked at a cute little 1928 bungalow and I fell in love.

Adorable, right? I mean look at those scalloped shingles! Three bedrooms, a galley kitchen that was almost too large, a beautiful walk-out patio and a cute fenced-in backyard. Plus, I found bunny tracks in the snow, and I consider that a good sign. Sadly, we gave it a second look on Tuesday and ultimately decided that it's not our house. With old houses come tiny bathrooms, narrow staircases, and awkward layouts. The main level "master" bedroom was so tiny that our current bedroom furniture wouldn't fit the space, and the two rooms on the upper level (aka converted attic space) didn't really have access to a bathroom. I don't even want to think about potty training in that house, or carrying a baby up and down the stairs all the time. 

And so, the search continues. I've had to mourn the fact that we probably won't have a house before baby girl arrives (which still makes me really anxious) but I know that taking our time with this is worth it. Our perfect house is out there somewhere.