Monday, February 27, 2012

Big Girl and Big Giraffe

Our littlest lovely is growing fast and I’ve been scheming the plan for her room for quite some time. Mostly because when moved our little man into his big boy room I was a little unprepared and didn't have a clear plan, especially for the furniture. We ended up buying furniture that is ok, but REALLY generic and nothing we "invested" in, we ultimately wanted to get him in his room without spending a fortune and not hating it. So we accomplished all those things but who wants to just not hate the furniture in a room? This lesson has taught me that there is a fine line between hoarding for no reason and planning ahead. So for our little ladies room I have been planning ahead and I have scooped up some items I LOVE with a bargain price tag. Even though we don’t need these scores yet, we will! I think the result will be a unique room that we love with higher quality items for less money!

What we have and the loose plan:

HEADBOARD: The process all began when I went to barn sale (more on that here). I couldn't pass up this so cute headboard, made of REAL wood, in great condition and for $18.00!! For now I’m not planning on painting the headboard and if I do, I will probably go for a pink tone. I am hesitant because the wood is actually in BEATIFUL condition. So we will see how the room comes together first and if the wood tone doesn’t go I will get out the paint brush.

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ACCENTS: THIS Giraffe, was found by my sisters, sister-in-law this past October when we had a girls weekend in Ohio. For wait….. $8.00!! So I couldn't walk out of the antique store without it. This was also around the time we noticed our little lady who wasn't even a year old and LOVED animals! She was barking at dogs constantly and would perk up anytime an animal appeared. GIRAFEE perfection! As you can see in the pic below, he is big, I think he is close to 4 feet! YES!!! My plan for this big guy is to live on top of the dresser, I’m still on the hunt for the right one for our big giraffe to dance on.

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I spray painted Mr. Giraffe this yellow orange tone, I pictured him other colors but it just didn’t seem right so I went with the good old, giraffe’s are yellow thing. Also, I loved this color from Krylon, Bauhaus Gold and I found this yellow bedding below. Done, yellow giraffe. It looks like yellow will be a major player in this little ladies room.

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TEXTILES: Target always has awesome clearance items, but recently a Target near us converted from a regular Target to a Super Target so LOTS of stuff was on SUPER clearance. So I couldn’t resist this too cute sunny yellow quilt and sham for $17.00, these bright teal sheets for $4.50 and this great weight pure white curtain for $2.88. YUP AWESOME scores.

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To personalize the curtains, I think I will be cutting this one panel in half and doing a fun poof ball tassel treatment as seen here on Love Maegan. I’m thinking this will be a good place to add a pop of pink or purple.

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I’m also have some big plans to add some fun personality to the quilt.  I’m thinking safari animal silhouettes in graphic patterned fabric. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.

Possible Color Schemes: I’m leaning towards the first color option below, mainly because once I saw this color combination I couldn't stop thinking about a kelly green dresser! I also love the pink and purple in this combo. The only thing holding me back from going with it is that I was REALLY wanting to incorporate coral into her room. The second option has a coral color but I’m just not digging it as much, maybe it’s too serious and less whimsical? Not sure, I guess maybe I need to reserve using coral in another room in our house hmmmm.

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color view

 

Here’s a few other inspiration & possible accent ideas:

This zebra art would be a fun accent with big giraffe, the colors would work great in her room too. It’s a bit more than I would normally spend for kids art but this might just be cute enough to splurge for a special gift.

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This lion looks so friendly! My thoughts are to maybe try and DIY this guy for art on the ladies wall. I love the graphic black and white. He would also add some neutral to the hopefully color space.

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Look a big giraffe, except this guy is a decal. I do love the contrast of the black and white and I LOVE the butterfly roman shade! Not to mention the sweet slumbering lion above the crib. This room is the perfect balance of whimsy and style.

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TO DO: I still need to figure out the wall color, a dresser, the rest of the d├ęcor, a light fixture and fixing the closet doors. I’m excited on what we have collected so far and we won’t be too worried about moving her into her big girl room another 5 or 6 months. If you remember this story about her midnight crib escape, this is part of the reason we will move her out around this time. I’m thinking this will be about the time she will no longer like the crib tent and will try and wriggle her way out again. She’s been getting in and out of her brother’s twin bed without assistance for a couple months now, I think she’ll be ready.

Have you found any awesome items that you scored and didn’t NEED at the moment but knew you would in the future? Okay friends, time to help! What color should I go for on the walls? White? Teal? Purple? Pink? I change my mind everyday!!!! BRING ON THE SUGGESTIONS!

That’s my Shiny ~

J

Monday, February 20, 2012

Let Your Light Shine

I am a blonde. I was born blonde and have been blonde 99.9% of my life. I haven't always been proud of being a blonde. I haven't always wanted to be a blonde but it is now and most likely will forever be part of my identity. I didn't choose for it to become part of my identity but it happened, I have always longingly looked at ladies with deep brown hair but now realize that it is not me and it never will be. I have FINALLY accepted that.

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My issues with being blonde started probably when I was 13. Mostly due to the fact that my hair went from light blonde to dark blonde with the onset of puberty. This was a hard thing to experience along with all the crazy things happening at that time. I no longer liked my hair color and it was one of the contributing factors of losing my confidence. This is when I started to envy girls with darker hair, their hair was just so beautiful and not ashy and flat like mine had become. I got over this a little once I turned 14 and started to gain some of my confidence back and became a smidge more comfortable in my skin again. Then right before I started high school I got HIGHLIGHTS! which at the time was a MIRACLE to me. I enjoyed the sunny streaks running through my dark blonde hair. This is when being blonde became less of a physical issue for me but started to effect me emotionally.

High school. I can't complain too much about high school. I had a solid group of friends played sports, had a few jobs, got decent grades and didn't get in too much trouble. I did however struggle with self esteem most of it revolving around my self worth, my abilities and talents and not being SMART. This largely was my own issue, probably INCREASED by complacent teachers and catapulted by my friends (or frenemies) unkind words and ridicule revolving around my intelligence and being blonde.

In college I found my footing, found my confidence (thanks babe) and realized I was INTELLEGENT and had a lot of offer this world. Internal monologue "REALLY.....I'm in college... getting good grades... have a social life..... and have an internship!!" The high school stuff really made me push to NEVER allow myself to be uneducated or to EVER believe someone when they questioned my smarts EVER again. At this point I was owning being a blonde but I STILL had some misconceptions, I felt that in order to be "professional" and to be taken "seriously" I couldn't have LONG BLONDE hair. So I mostly kept my hair short while I was working. Don't get me wrong I LOVED my short hair but I definitely cut it and kept it short for the wrong reasons. Its funny since staying at home with my kids and no longer being in a traditional "work" environment and through some amazing volunteer opportunities, unsolicited job offers, and this blog, I have realized being perceived as a professional and intelligent really has nothing to do with your hair color or length for that matter.  It’s really about how you present yourself and the ability, drive and integrity that goes with it. My hair is now longer and its staying for awhile (it has taken 3 years)!

I now realize that my optimism, combine with my giggly personality and blonde hair was misinterpreted as stupidity. I have NEVER been stupid but I have ALWAYS been optimistic to a fault, I have NEVER been dumb but I have ALWAYS been happy (at times obnoxiously), I have NEVER been ditsy but I have ALWAYS been blonde.

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I have never truly realized that a significant part of my personal identity is being blonde until recently when I dyed my hair darker. I have done this a two other times in the past, with the same results. I didn't HATE it, it didn't look AWFUL but it wasn't me, the me I see when I'm NOT looking in a mirror. I realized when I visualize myself it is as a blonde. For me it is important to see in the mirror who I see in my head, she happens to be blonde. I identify with it and NOW after all this time I finally accept it and have lots of LOVE for my dark ashy blonde hair that with a little bleach and a few highlights is sunny, warm, playful, joyful and a whole lot of ME!

Lets be honest, at least I got here before my ashy blonde hair is replaced with ashy gray hair! It's only a matter of time, I found my first gray a few months ago and once the gray starts it happens pretty fast with the women in my family... at this time I will graduate from highlights to hair dye!

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I am also VERY glad I am armed with this experience and discovery because with our gene cocktail our kids have zero chance of coming out at anything other than blonde. Even though being blonde was my own self-love issue it may not be theirs. However if it is, I WILL be ARMED and EQUIPPED to make sure that they are prepared to face the stereotype and politely smash it to smithereens! Regardless of what confidence issues may creep up in their lives, I hope that we can show our children God’s love and acceptance and how to let their LIGHT SHINE by instilling in them true self-LOVE and self-WORTH! I believe singing and dancing the kitchen the moment we hear this song is the foundation of doing just that. It is our current anthem!

Have you had any self-realizations about your own personal identity? Do you have any part of your identity physical or otherwise that you've struggled with in the past but now own it? Do you feel these experiences will help you be a better parent and/or person?

That's my Shiny ~

J

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Real Deal: Spring on the Accessories

It can be a difficult and dreary task getting dressed this time of year. The long marathon of bundling up can start to get old as our shortest month of the year begins to feel like the longest. To make matters worse ALL of the stores have put winter gear on clearance and have brought out all the beautiful spring clothes, INCLUDING swim suits. If you are like me and live in the blustery Midwest this is just a big TEASE! We can't even think about wearing ANY of the beautiful colorful spring attire for SEVERAL more months unless lucky enough to be traveling to a warm spot for spring break.

Seeing all that momentarily untouchable color and pattern could just make a girl SCREAM while strapped in her winter boots. So what are we to do? Bundle up in some layers or a neutral sweater and throw on colorful spring inspired accessories!

In my opinion this is the best way to itch the spring scratch and bridge the long gap between February and spring time weather!

Here are 10 of my FAVORITE spring inspired accessory options for $15 or less:


The soft lavender color of these beautiful gold filigree earrings is so pretty and for $9.99 you can't beat that price!! Ruche $9.99
severia dangling earrings

I love the lemon yellow color of this shoulder bag, what a great way to add a pop of color to an outfit.
Old Navy: $15.00 (14% off if you order today on Valentines day!!)


These saturated colors will liven up any gloomy day, throw these on pull your hair back and brighten up the mood of everyone you see! Francesca Collection: $14.99 (all jewelry is buy one get one 50% off until the end of the day!)
Lost in Paradise Dangles


This floral scarf definitely evokes spring and would be a lovely layer to add to any outfit this time of year. Tilly's: $9.99

 
The blue tones in this gorgeous ribbon tie necklaces would add a pop of color to a little black dress or a simple white t-shirt. Old Navy: $15.95 (14% off if you order today on Valentines day!!)


This gorgeous Anthropology beaded hair clip comes in SEVERAL colors and YES it's AFFORDABLE! Need I say more! Anthropology: $15.00
Glimmering Petals Barrette Glimmering Petals Barrette


The softness of these earrings is fantastic and I just love both colors, amazing aqua and pretty pink! Francesca's:$14.00 (all jewelry is buy one get one 50% off until the end of the day!)
Daydreaming Earrings in Turquoise
Daydreaming Earrings in Pink

 
What a fun way to add a graphic POP to your wrist with this bracelet's shape, color and pattern! Ruche: $14.99
festive venice elastic bracelet



Bring on the blooms, start spring early with this beautiful flower ring.  Mod Cloth: $12.99
image of The Flower of Good Ring
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This bracelet is fun and casual with amazing texture and vibrant colors! Forever 21: $6.99

Ground hog or not we all need a little spring in our lives and in our step this time of year and what better way to do that then with a little color dangling from your ears or clasped on your wrist?

Happy Valentine's Day!
That's my Shiny ~

J


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Staple Gun Fun

I FINALLY got a staple gun! For $11 what a fun new tool! I already had the perfect project waiting for me and my new tool at home. A sweet little chair I found with my Mom when we went antiquing. The chair was $5, I bought a remnant of upholstery fabric at a local fabric store for $3, batting for $1. Not too shabby.

I was planning on only recovering the seat one night after the kiddos were sleeping and the Hubby was doing homework but once I got started I couldn't stop! I finished the seat and the seat back in probably 1 hour. I am planning on painting the chair so I will take the seat back off again when I get to that. For now I don't mind the wood and I am loving the fresh new fabric. Much better than the original holey brown musty fabric.

Before:

After:




This was a GREAT first project to tackle with my new staple gun because everything was VERY accessible and easy to take apart and reassemble thanks to the design of the chair. See the handy hardware on the back. This is actually an old school "sewing chair" so the seat lifts off and has storage underneath, EASY PEASY! I can't wait to find another project I can use my staple gun for!



The Rundown:

1. Remove seat from chair, remove old fabric from seat.
2. Cut batting and fabric 3 inches wider than seat.
3. Line fabric up straight, pull tight and secure sides with staple gun first and  work out to corner's keeping fabric tight.
4. Wrap corners like wrapping a present and staple.
5. Repeat steps above for chair back 



Stay tuned for an update on this chair make over, right now I am thinking I will paint this antique white. I am hoping to get to it next week.

Have you recently purchased any fun new tools that have helped you tackle some projects on your to do list?


That's my Shiny ~

J

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Oh Baby

Doesn't it always seem to RAIN babies? Once you hear that one person is expecting it seems like EVERYONE is having a baby! Not only do we know SEVERAL couples welcoming a new baby into their lives soon, most of these couples are expecting their FIRST!

I'm no expert at parenting BUT I sure have found a few things as a parent that have made life just SOOOOO much simpler. So all you ladies that I LOVE so much that are doing this for the first time, here is my list of things that I am oh so grateful I didn't have to live without.



A and D Ointment: Great for diaper rash, dry skin, chapped noses and cheeks, cuts and anywhere your babies skin is suffering a little. Throw out those other thick goopy diaper creams. Those creams are hard to clean (or RUB) off your babies bottom when they already have a soar tushy... totally negates the purpose. A and D will honestly turn a red bottom around so incredibly fast, it isn't stinky, it protects those cheeks from additional wetness and pretty much absorbs into the skin or is very easy to gently wipe off! The best EVER. Not only that it is also a great alternative to put on little cuts to help heal faster. I also use it on my own fingers in the winter when they are chapped and cracked, it works GREAT for a busy Momma's overly washed, used and abused winter hands.


Snack Trap: These little buddies will be your best friend. From about 10 months on these AWESOME contraptions make shopping trips better, rides in the car, long walks and really even snacking around the house. Throw in Cheerios, dried fruit, cut up bits of waffle, whatever! Snack Traps REALLY help turn the corner when moving from ALWAYS having to feed baby to the freedom of the baby feeding themselves!


Tinydiner Place Mat: These place mats make ANY visit to a restaurant feasible from the time baby can eat puffs and sit in a high chair until they can eat sufficiently using a glass plate in public (between 2 1/2 and 3).  The Tinydiner place mat even rolls up into itself and tucks amazingly into a diaper bag. We have used our place mat so much it needs to be replaced.


Sleep Sack: These little wonders give your baby a cozy warm night of sleep without having to worry about the swaddle coming undone and covering their sweet little face. Even when baby is older kicking off the covers and getting chilly in the middle of the night is pretty common, these little snugly wonders stay put with your rolly polly baby keeping them warm all through the night.


Scout or a bedtime singing friend: We have Scout and Violet (the purple Scout) for our kids. We like him because he has three time options for bedtime music, 2, 5 and 10 minutes. You can also personalize the music he plays. Not only that Scout has playtime modes too so when baby wakes in the morning they can loving play with their friend, giving you a few extra crucial minutes to get ready or snooze a bit longer.


jj Bundle Me: We didn't have one with our oldest and I always wrestled with a blanket to cover him up when he was in his car seat, the blanket always blew off and it was a lot to manage. We borrowed a bundle me with Q and WOW what a difference! It was so much easier to keep her warm and protected from the outside elements when transporting the kids to the car, it kept her nice and warm inside the car too. A bundle me really is crucial for any baby that will be in a baby car seat during the winter months.


Moby Wrap: Having a comfortable way to keep your baby close while at the grocery store, cleaning up around the house, taking a walk or really doing anything! There is ALWAYS circumstances when a stroller just isn't practical and you will need both your arms and who doesn't want that baby snuggled close. I really liked the Moby wrap, it is comfortable to wear for long periods and made outings such much easier with a toddler and a new baby.


Aveeno Fragrance Free Baby Wash and Shampoo: Our big guy C had some serious skin issues his first full winter. The only thing that kicked it was moving EVERYTHING to fragrance free. Honestly I have no idea why almost all baby products are riddled with fragrance even natural and organic washes have fragrance and no matter if it is natural or not in general fragrance is pretty harsh on the skin. So my thoughts, why wait and see if your bambino is sensitive to fragrance just do without from the get go, and REALLY they smell so sweet all on their own!


A Good Pump: Investing in a good pump can be crucial to make it for the long haul if you plan on breastfeeding, especially if you plan to breastfeed exclusively. It really is the only way to get a little freedom to say, go on a date or take a road trip that is longer than 2 hours. If you are a working Momma it IS the only option to make it work. The one time minimum $250 expense can seem like a lot of mulla, but compared to the $1700 a yearly cost of formula the pump expense isn't so bad. Also, my thought is go for a good DOUBLE pump, it really isn't the most enjoyable job so who wants to do it for twice as long?



Nursing Cover: I didn't have a nursing cover with my first but my sister found me one for our second and WHAT A DIFFERENCE! The first time around I would use a blanket or mostly banish myself to a separate room. Not the funnest. Having a nursing cover made the all consuming task a little more manageable and a little less overwhelming. It really is so much easier to maintain a little privacy when those little baby helicopter arms and legs are trying to escape!!

Additional Suggestions:  A diaper bag with a cross body strap. Being able to wear your diaper bag across your body is so much nicer than your bag constantly falling off your shoulder. It is also much more comfortable to wear for a significant period of time.  Also, find a good floor play mat. Babies love these from a couple weeks old until they are crawling or scooting around on their own. A good play mat can keep those little arms and legs swinging and kicking for hours!


Do you have any products you can't live without for your little ones?

On a VERY exciting note, one of these babies on the way will be my very FIRST niece or nephew!!! Whoop Whoop, as C said last night at dinner when we prayed for the little peanut! Yay!! I'm going to be an AUNTIE!

That's my Shiny ~

J