Motherhood Musings: The Ghost of Christmas Present

November 30, 2018

We're a week out from Thanksgiving and that feeling has set in...the one where even though it's the most wonderful time of the year I start to panic about creating "THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER" for my family. I got out my planner the other day and plotted out our holiday activities (the cookie baking, gingerbread house making, holiday festival attending, twinkle light viewing, perfect picture getting, meeting Santa Claus kind of activities). And then the lists. The lists! The gift lists, the errands lists, the decorating lists...the to-do list that are the conductor's sheet music to said "BEST CHRISTMAS EVER." And I'll admit that I love the hustle and bustle. I love that our weekends are filled with things that keep my family close and bring joy to my kids, but it's so easy to spend SO much time and effort planning perfection that you overextend yourself and forget to stop and soak each moment in.

It's like motherhood in general; I'm continuously learning that I cannot do it all at once. If my house is perfectly cleaned, then my children probably hung out with their electronic babysitters a little longer that day. If I spend the whole morning building lego cities and reading books with my babies, there will probably be dishes in the sink and an extra load of laundry (or 5) tomorrow. Chasing perfection is exhausting, during the holidays and otherwise, but I find that the more I focus on the present moment, the closer I get to being perfect at what I'm doing right then and there. And if we can only be "perfect" at one thing at a time, then the lists can get a little shorter to make way for snuggling and the camera can be put away to spend more time looking at the real life magic right before our eyes.

Holiday Gifting 2018: For the Baby

November 20, 2018


Today's gift guide focuses on the tiniest recipients and, let's face it, is there anything cuter to shop for than itty bitty baby items?! Not a chance. If you know someone who just had a baby or is expecting, let this guide help you make the perfect selection in gifting this holiday season. The featured items have all been loved by my littles and also stand the test of time- most are on baby #4 in my house and still in great shape! None of these items are things I would categorize as baby "essentials" (with the exception of the swaddles), but since an expecting mama usually has necessities on her brain it's fun to find something here to spoil her and her little one on the way this holiday season.

1. This doll from Anthropologie which is a darling playmate for baby and makes for equally sweet nursery decor.

2. This teething toy which is a diaper bag classic and such a "must-have" gift for any new mama to receive.

3. These sweet gender neutral onesies which I've purchased in both short sleeve and long sleeve for our littlest guy. I love how soothing these colors are, they hold up great in the wash and the kimono style makes quick changes a snap. My advice is to skip the newborn size and opt for buying a couple sets in various larger sizes so that mama has new onesies to enjoy as her little bundle grows.

4. These leather moccasins range in price based on color-way (many are on sale right now for Black Friday) and may seem a little pricey, but you truly can't beat the quality and, surprisingly, they stay on baby feet! I prefer the gender neutral color options since I've been able to reuse them for all my babies ("Weathered Brown" is my absolute favorite). Again, I would skip the newborn size and help get the baby stocked up with footwear for when he or she grows out of all those baby shower gifts.

5. This brand of swaddles is my favorite, hands down. The prints continue to get cuter and cuter by the year, they get softer with each wash and, honestly, this is one of those items you can never have too many of. They can be used as swaddles, blankets, bibs, burp cloths, sun covers, the list goes on...these are a great gift that are both fun and practical to give and receive!

6. There's nothing better than snuggling up to read a book with your baby and I love helping a family grow their children's book collection during the holidays. It would be fun to give this classic book (one of our favorites!) as a little set with these matching pajamas.

7. Another little lovey that I thought was too cute to pass up, this sloth would make a great gift for a baby on the way or one celebrating their first Christmas. The entire collection of plush toys at Anthropologie is actually adorable (think llamas, flamingoes and mermaids); I suggesting perusing if you have time!

8. If these pajamas came in my size, I would seriously buy them. Just like the swaddles by the same brand the comfort is out of this world and the prints are so sweet. I want a matching pair of these for each of my kids in the "Lovestruck" print.

9. The last two gifts are similar in sentiment, but I love that these milestone cards encourage new parents to take photos of their babies at other memorable moments in addition to the typical "month-by month" photos. Each card is darling and there is no sweeter way to create a baby book than one filled with pictures of the actual star of the show.

10. This gift is a little more classic simply featuring milestone cards for each month of baby's first year, but it comes with a matching blanket to take perfect pictures on (and one that's great for snuggling with far beyond baby's first year).

Are any of these gifts going to be wrapped under your tree this year? What are your other favorite items to give to your favorite little ones during the holidays? Tell me in the comments below!

Styling Tip: Borrow from the Boys

November 14, 2018

There are a couple things that belong to my husband that I love to borrow: his phone charger (sorry babe- I can't find mine!), his shaving cream (I find the scent to be far superior to "Ra-ra-raspberry") and his flannels. Once you get used to the buttons being backward, I think you will find that the styling opportunities with men's flannels are endless and they have a few advantages over the women's varieties. While the cut might feel intimidating because it's a little more masculine, if you pair it with items already in your closet (and your own beautiful personality), I think you will find that they fit juuuuuust right.

1. They are warmer. Seriously, I think men's clothing is designed with functionality in mind first and while I love to put together a cute look any day of the week, I live in Michigan where frigid is an understatement once the first snowflakes fall. I actually need to be WARM in my cold weather looks and it's true that a men's flannel delivers where sometimes a women's design just doesn't make the cut.

2. They are naturally oversized. I like wearing oversized silhouettes. Are we still referring to this as "boho?" Either way, I find that most pieces that are designed to be oversized come with a price tag to match. The cool thing about buying a men's flannel is that you are paying for the regular old thing, but since men's clothing is cut differently it will be oversized naturally. Think more length and roomier sleeves. If you are worried about boxiness, style the flannel around your waist, tuck it into some high waisted denim or layer with a jacket that has a nipped in waist. Presto, boho chic on a dime. And at home? They make the BEST lounge wear.

3. They are timeless classics. When it comes to print, scale and colors, men's items usually tend to stick to the classics whereas women's designers love to play with the latest trends. Now that's not to say you can't find a classic in the women's section or that you shouldn't indulge in a trendy colorway or embellishment this year, BUT if you want an item at the right price that you can wear season after season it's a sure thing you will find one where the boys shop.

How are you styling flannels this season? Whether you swipe one from "his" closet or buy one for yourself, I think this is a fun way to borrow from the boys!

Holiday Gifting 2018: For the Host

November 08, 2018

'Tis the season for gift giving and since shopping can become a bit of a headache with so much on your plate during this most wonderful time, I'm doing the work for you and putting together Gift Guides for those people and occasions we hold near and dear to our hearts.

First up: gifts for the host. With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, the holiday season is in full swing and starting with Turkey Day, my calendar fills up pretty quickly with parties and events to attend. Nothing says "Thank you" to your host/hostess quite like a little something that they can enjoy once the last dish is cleared. I've curated a selection of gifts that will give your host a sweet reminder of how much you appreciated their hard work and perfect planning every time they use it. And the best part is- everything on this list rings in at $25 or less (which is crucial as the gift giving list starts adding up), so you can pick up a few of these items now to have on hand as party invites start rolling in. Fete on, baby!

1. Monogram Mug ($10, anthropologie.com)
2. 'Homebody,' by Joanna Gaines ($24, target.com)
3. Filt French Market Bag ($18, anthropologie.com)
4. Marble Butter Keeper ($21.49, target.com)
5. Succulent Planter ($24.99, target.com)
6. Roland Pine Incense Gift Set ($25, anthropologie.com)
7. Milk Crate Wire Basket ($14.99, target.com)
8. Two-Tone Large Marble Board ($24.95, crateandbarrel.com)
9. Garden Party Notebooks ($15 for set of 3, riflepaperco.com)
10. Slate Cheese Board and Markers ($19.95, crateandbarrel.com)

Motherhood Musings: On Turkey and Traditions

November 03, 2018

The holidays have always been my favorite time of year. From October to January you can find me at my happiest and it's been this way for as long as I can remember. As a little kid I would collect a few spare branches when we cut down our family Christmas tree and string them with lights for my bedroom. When I lived by myself I would spend hours making decorations, wrapping presents and baking goodies- even if they were just for me! Now that I have little ones, the holidays have taken on an entirely new meaning and are more wonderful than ever. This year we reached a very sweet stage in which there's even more magic to the season. Our kids were over the moon with excitement during October as we created haunted gingerbread houses, watched spooky movies and prepared costumes, so I am thrilled to think of what the weeks ahead will be like.

I think the reason that this year is different is that our kids are old enough to understand how special this time of year is and it feels like it's officially time to create some of our own family traditions. There is such a specific joy that comes along with creating traditions as a parent. It's a privilege to be the architects behind making memories that will hopefully last a lifetime for our children. The way we dress for Thanksgiving and prepare specific dishes together and write our letters to Santa, the way we decorate our tree, the treats that we bake, the pajamas that we wear...these are all the things that everyone does a little bit differently but leave such a big imprint on one's childhood and I'm grateful to see it from the other side as the elf behind the magic that we're creating in our own home.

If we're lucky, these new traditions will carry us through this next season of life (it all goes by too fast) and one day our kids will look back fondly on the way we celebrated. And if we're REALLY lucky, having traditions of our own will inspire our kids to create unique ways of celebrating with their future families- either the ones that they choose or the ones that they create- in a season filled with comfort and joy.

Friday Favorites 11.2.18

November 02, 2018
I'm pouring the last of my pumpkin spice creamer and getting ready to enjoy the colorful finale of another beautiful Michigan Autumn. It's already November and here are a few things I'm loving in the first few days of the new month:


Favorite Accessory: this set of celestial hair pins is so pretty and just perfect for the upcoming season to accent an up-do or make a simple style a little more festive. And how pretty would they look sitting out on your dresser in between uses?


Favorite Reminder: during the month of November cliches abound regarding thankfulness and gratitude, but I love them. There is something special about kicking off the holiday season thinking about all that you have to be grateful for and it sets a grounding tone before heading into the flurry of December celebrations.


Favorite Sweater (and Favorite Sale!): I was so surprised to see chenille make a comeback last Fall and even more surprised to see its return this year, but now I'm officially on board with all of the sweet home accents (throws, pillows) and sweaters in seasonal tones in this fabrication. This cardigan would be easy to work into your wardrobe, comes in several colors and is part of the current Buy One, Get One 50% Off sale that Target is having on sweaters and denim.


Favorite Song: 'Uh Huh' by Jade Bird (ok, anything by Jade Bird). This chick is a badass. Seriously, the minute I heard her voice on the radio I searched out who she was and what else I could listen to. She's a very exciting new artist with an electric energy and one of the best vocalists that I've heard in awhile. Any girl that is making a name for herself with a rock twist is alright-alright-alright in my book.


Favorite Outfit: I'll likely be living in scarves and warm layers for the rest of 2018 and this color combo of olive green and plaid is one of my very favorites. The thing I love about a simple look like this is you can interchange with so many items already existing in your wardrobe- over denim, leggings, dresses, dressed up for work or dressed down to relax, these pieces are a go.

@sweetlouiseandco