Thursday, June 28, 2012

Happy Day!

You guys!  It's the last day of school and I'm so excited for my little girl to be moving on from 1st grade!  All you ladies out there that are all "don't ever grow up!"  Yeah, I'm not one of them ;)  It's been a fun and challenging year but I'm ready for us to move on and we're celebrating with a pool party.  Tomorrow my best friend from Arizona flies in but before she does I'm going to Jules' house for a little lunch and playdate - our kids finally get to meet!  Can you tell I'm in a good mood and excited?  Because I AM!!!  :) 

So it was a busy busy week for me and I also got a lot of projects done.  I wanted to share 2 in particular with you really quick before I go wake up Taylor.

Yesterday I posted a patriotic tablescape over at For the Love Of...so in case you need any 4th of July party ideas, here you go.  Included are directions for a fun craft.
Also, my contributor's post went live over at Making It Lovely and I show you how to make this darling polka dot tray!
Don't forget about the giveaway!  I've used Mod Podge all week and the possibilities are seriously endless!
 See you back tomorrow friends!  Have a great day, I know I willllllll!!!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ginger Ale, Cranberry & Limeade Spritzer

I have to say that this is the most enjoyable pregnancy I've had by far. I feel more relaxed, beautiful and comfortable than I have in the past. As I've said before, just about the only thing I do miss is being able to relax at the end of the day with a glass of wine or a cocktail, especially on the weekends when everyone is hanging out by the pool. But never wanting to feel left out, I have been playing around with making myself some fun and festive drinks to enjoy, especially as the weather heats up, and this spritzer is one of my favorites so far. The kids are obsessed with it too. It's simple to make and you can customize it to your specific juice preferences, but I've gotta say it doesn't get much better than the limeade and cranberry mix, with a large splash of ginger ale. Making this drink makes me feel like I'm not missing out on anything.
To mix your spritzer, start with a cup filled with ice. Fill the glass half full with the limeade, then add the cranberry juice till the glass is 3/4 of the way full. Top off with a heavy splash of Seagram's Ginger Ale and a squeeze of lime. Stir if you like, and enjoy! Ridiculously easy, right?
During the rough weeks of the first trimester I drank ginger ale nonstop. Ginger ale and iced cold water were about the only things that sounded good to me and were the only drinks that didn't make me even more nauseous. My taste for it continued even after my morning sickness stopped, and so I've been drinking it on its own or mixed in with juices throughout the whole pregnancy. I love the crispness of Seagram's Ginger Ale, and that it has a lighter ginger taste than some other brands. Using it in the spritzer allows for the flavors of the juices to really shine through and not compete with really heavy ginger flavors.
With this spritzer in hand I'm ready to enjoy summer, spending time by the pool and eating outdoors, relishing in this very special time in my life. I truly feel very peaceful and blessed to be enjoying this pregnancy so much, surrounded by loving and supportive friends and family. Life doesn't get much better than this right now. I'm the perfect candidate for the cool Seagram's Facebook App they just launched, called "Good To Be You." Slap a big GTBU stamp on my face, because I really do feel happy and good being me right now.

This post was sponsored by BlogHer and Seagram's Ginger Ale, but the opinions and recipe are all my own.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Personalized Summer Journals

It's been fun reading everyone's responses to their favorite thing they love about Mod Podge in the giveaway, and I was even surprised to hear that some of you have never tried working with it before.  For those of you that are brand new to Mod Podge, I wanted to share an easy tutorial to get your feet wet; these personalized summer journals.  Taylor and a friend will soon be starting a fun week at the beach for Under The Sea camp, so I thought it would be great for them to each have a special journal to keep track of memories of the week, and for the rest of summer for that matter.
The journals I found at Michael's in the dollar bin were cute on their own, but since I wanted them to be a bit more personalized, I gathered up a few supplies to make it happen.  You'll need a journal (the harder the cover the better, these are a really thick cardboard), some cute paper (mine is from Paper Source), Mod Podge in Matte, Mod Podge Podgeable Shapes, an applicator brush, letter stickers, and optional if you'd like to stencil on a shape, a stencil and paint.
Begin by tracing and cutting out your piece of paper, 1 for each side.  I liked the red binding so I cut accordingly to keep that in the design.
Cut out the corners of your paper so they fit around each corner nice and neat and fold over paper.
Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge all over the cover of the journal.  It's very important that you apply the Mod Podge first before applying your paper.  I did a trial run and forgot this since it had been a while since working with Mod Podge in this way, and I spread the Mod Podge over the paper and it just created a bubbly, wrinkly mess.
Lay your paper in place over the cover and smooth out any slight wrinkles or bubbles.  This is cimpletely normal so don't fret, just get a straight edge ruler or soemthing and gently work out the bubbles and wrinkles.  Lay a thin layer of Mod Podge over the wrapped paper to secure in place as well.
Next to personalize the podgeable name plate.  Apply your stickers, then if you wish, you can add a cute paper backing to have peek through.  Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the back of the podgeable, and then lay your cut piece of printed paper right side down.  Spread another thin layer of Mod Podge on back of the podgeable and stick in place on your journal.
Add a final thin layer of Mod Podge on the binding of the book where the paper meets the binding just to make sure to secure in place and let dry.  Once your journal is dry, you can add on your stencil if you wish.
The final result is a sweet personalized journal to give as a gift or keep for yourself.  Total project time was less than 30 minutes, not counting drying time, which is minimal.  If your layers are thin, Mod Podge usually dries enough to be handled in under an hour, but allow more time before fully using.  Let me know if you have any questions and don't forget to enter the giveaway!
For more fun ideas, visit Mod Podge on Pinterest, on Facebook and on Twitter

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts and Blueprint Social, but the opinions and ideas in this post are my own.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mod Podge Gift Bundle & Book Giveaway

*If you're new to Mod Podge, and I see that some of you are, then check out my latest project using Mod Podge to get some ideas and creative inspiration - Personalized Summer Notebooks!

Are you ready for a little Mod Podge awesomeness?  Oh Yeah!!
Ready to Mod Podge till your heart's content?  Well here's some goodies to get you started and going well into Christmas time!  The folks at Plaid Crafts were kind enough to send me a box full of the newest Mod Podge goodies, and because I can't possibly use these all myself, I'm sharing many of them with you.  Here's a shot of all the goods to be had by one lucky winner...
And in addition to the supplies, I'm also giving away a copy of Mod Podge Queen Amy Anderson's new book Mod Podge Rocks, penned after her awesome blog. 
There's over 40 projects inside, categorized by holidays, decor ideas, just for fun, etc.
I love Mod Podge and am so excited and honored to be giving away this much awesomeness!  If you need some 4th of July inspiration on how to use Mod Podge, don't forget about my Patriotic Mason Jar luminaries.

To enter to win this gift bundle, leave your name and what you love most about Mod Podge in the comments section.  If you'd like additional entries, follow my Facebook page, and follow my blog via RSS or GFC.  3 chances to win.  Winners will be announced next week and giveaway closes on Friday 6/29 at 11:50 PST.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What's Going On Over There

This past week I was a little out of my groove over at my style site For the Love Of.  I try to get at least 2 outfit posts plus a DIY up per week, but an impromptu overnight trip to Legoland, and prepping for a lot of DIY's this week left me a little out of sorts.  Still, I did get a few fun posts up, so click on over if you feel so inclined ;)
No post on Monday since we were out of town, but on Tuesday I shared my tips on surviving a day at an amusement park in functional style. 
Wednesday I shared a little of this and that, including this picture of the cutest photo bomber ever!
Thursday I shared the wisdom of my friend Amber, a makeup pro, and posted her 5 makeup tips every woman should know.  One of them was something that makes so much sense, but I had never ever thought of.
Friday I asked for help in choosing a maternity dress for my upcoming maternity photo shoot.  I think this one was a favorite all around. 
Saturday I woke up and started daydreaming about hosting an intimate gathering after baby is born, centered around wine and cheese, and this would be the perfect invitation to get the festivities off on the right foot.
Today I posted my most recent daily style post, featuring this non-maternity Tucker for Target dress I've had for 2 years now.  I love that the current silhouettes allow me to get so much use out of my current wardrobe, even at 30 weeks!

And that is that!  I'll be sharing some fun DIY's here and over there this week, so stay tuned my friends!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Free Summer Time Fonts

I'm not the best with fonts and graphic design, but I do like to try and practice my hand at changing things up a bit and could always use some inspiration.  I found this list of free summer fonts that the Frog Prince Paperie gathered up and I just had to share.  I already used the Sverige Script for a post over at For the Love Of and it's really pretty.  What are some of your favorite places to find fonts and graphic design inspiration?  This btw, was found by a pin from Merriment Designs.  She is usually busy pinning away on Saturday mornings and pins really good stuff.  You may want to give her a follow ;)  I'm on Pinterest as well and you can find me here!  Have a great Saturday everyone!

Friday, June 22, 2012

B3 Gets Its Own Room

Ten weeks to go and we've decided to do a little demo to our house to make a proper nursery for baby.  No big deal, it's how we roll.  We went back and forth so much about what to do with this baby.  We have a 4th bedroom that we use for an office, and for the first 7 months of this pregnancy we both agreed that we wouldn't touch the office.  We NEED our office, right?

Not finding out the gender made things a bit more complicated.  Our plan for a long time was to have Syd and Taylor share a room for the first year, let the baby have one of their rooms while it's napping all day and screaming all night, and then after a year, depending on the gender, we'd have two of the kids share a room.  Sounded like a decent of enough plan, but then which room do we set up as the nursery?  Both the kids rooms are unabashedly very boy and very girl.  If we set up the baby in Taylor's very pink room, and it ended up being a boy, do we switch everyone around or repaint?  Try telling a 7 year old girl you're going to repaint her room for a year, then you promise to paint it back.  Yeah, that goes over real well.

The other thing that was really bothering me was the age space between the kids, and asking them to share a room.  I grew up in a 3 bedroom house with 1 bathroom and 4 kids, and shared a room with my sister, who is 9 years older than me, until she moved out when I was about 12.  I certainly don't theoretically believe that each kid has to have their own room.  Art and I felt it was important not to disrupt our lives and cause a great deal of expense just so they could each have their own room.  But at 5 and 7 years apart, the age difference does have to be considered a bit.  Especially if this baby turns out to be a girl.  Long term, I know how hard it will be for Taylor to have to share a room with her 6 year old sister when she's a teenager, because I've experienced it.  Kids that far apart are in such different stages of their lives and they often don't intersect well. By sharing a room with my older sister, I probably found out about sex way too young. Had I still found out if we weren't sharing a room?  Maybe, but being together as much as we were in such close quarters certainly didn't help.  If the baby is a boy, and considering that boys are a bit more adaptable and flexible, a 5 year spread might not be that big of a deal, but still has to be considered.
Now I know it really doesn't matter if the baby is a boy and sleeps in a girl's room for a while.  I know if we wanted to put our foot down, we could tell Taylor that she had to put up with getting her room painted.  But the more we thought about it, it seemed like we were asking our kids to make the most adjustments and accommodations, while we were willing to make none.  At the end of the day, is it going to be harder for them to make some transitions, or us?  We decided that it would just be easier for us to be displaced a bit then 3 kids.

So for now, my desk is moving out in to a corner of our formal living room (fancy right?), and Art will just work off of his laptop.  And the baby is going to get its own nursery.  And everyone will live happily ever after right?  RIGHT?  Ha!  We'll see.  I do know that once we decided to set up a proper nursery, I suddenly got very excited with the idea of choosing gender neutral bedding, paint color, etc.  I was trying to play it cool for a very long while, but it turns out that for me, nothing spells getting ready for baby more than setting up a nursery.  My best memories of being pregnant with both my kids is setting up the nursery, and then sitting in it at night after it was all done.  Touching their freshly washed clothes, rocking in the rocker.  Makes me tear up just thinking about it :)

The one thing I do know is that decision makes me even more relaxed rather than more stressed, so I think that's a good sign.  Stay tuned for updates on how we make room for baby.  A wall has to come down and a new closet rebuilt, but all manageable and should be done in 2 weeks or less.  My biggest worry at this point is what to do with all my crazy craft supplies!  Me and my sewing machine may be moving out to the garage ;)

1. & 2. crib & changing table our own; 3. handmade quilt 4. & 5. sheet & crib skirt 6. artwork 7. light fixture 8. kid chair 9. rocking chair
In the mean time this is what we have in mind for the nursery.  The crib and changing table we held on to, but everything else will be new or borrowed.  The inspiration for the entire nursery is based off of this quilt I found on Etsy and I think is perfect for a gender neutral space.  I'll add in pops of color here and there to make it a bit more bright, but overall I want a really clean and light space with white walls.  What do you think?  Too drab?  I think colorful decor will really make the difference though between drab and boring to light and bright.  Fingers crossed!     

*footnote added that what I mean by "I learned about sex too young", is that girls having sleepovers talk.  I learned about the birds and the bees during one such sleepover my sister had with her boy-crazy friend Tricia.  Nothing horrible or dirty, just stuff I probably shouldn't have been hearing when I was 8.  I never thought much about it until I had kids of my own.  Now I know 8 is in fact way too young to learn about the birds and the bees ;)

This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I'll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories (projects/ideas/etc) with you over there! Stay tuned for more details!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I am no longer a prenatal yoga virgin guys.  It only took 30 weeks into my 3rd pregnancy for me to finally make the time to take a class.  And I shed tears guys.  Several of them in fact.  At the end when the instructor told us to lay a hand on our heart and a hand on our belly and send our baby love, that hippie, crunchy stuff actually got to me and a full stream of tears poured down my face faster than I could catch them.  WHO.  AM.  I???

As I mentioned yesterday, this pregnancy is careening perilously way too fast and out of control.  Just weeks ago I was taking the mellow yellow, go with the flow approach to this pregnancy.  But the other night it dawned on me that perhaps I've been too laid back?  Yes, I've wanted more than anything a relaxed pregnancy, and have achieved that bar none, but have I been so relaxed that I haven't bothered to stop and really make it special enough?  I think maybe I have.

So Art and I sat talking two nights ago about what we could do to cherish these last 10 weeks (he didn't say 'cherish', he pretty much said "what do ya want to do?") and make them special.  For me, for the kids, for the baby.  This is the last time I'll be pregnant, I won't be doing this again and so how do you make it momentous, especially when you're not the real sappy, sentimental type?  And especially when it's your third baby?

I started by signing up for prenatal yoga so I could take some time for just me and baby, and it was perfect.  The energy of a room full of pregnant ladies is something crazy amazing.  The other idea we had was to make a few short films of us talking to the baby, setting up the crib, maybe even visiting the doctor.  And we've already set up our maternity shoot with Miranda.

Other than those ideas, I'm kind of stumped.  I know that I don't want to read any pregnancy books.  I don't want to take any hospital tours or breastfeeding classes, the stuff you do when it's your first or even second baby.  So how else do you immerse yourself in pregnancy mode and make it as special as can be?  I'm not one of those people that really finds the need to be "present" every moment of every day (does that sound bad?), but I really do want to do everything I can to make these final few weeks as memorable as possible.

Do do any of you have any ideas for me?  Either things you did yourself to make your pregnancy special, or maybe even things you saw on Pinterest? ;)  I know you guys have some cute ideas up your sleeves!  Thanks in advance for helping me to make this mama and her baby feel special.   

This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I'll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories (projects/ideas/etc) with you over there! Stay tuned for more details!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Where Do We Go From Here?

(me - happy, having fun, feeling good)
It hit me last night that this really is the last pregnancy for me, the last time I'll have a 10 week countdown to my due date.  And it makes me horribly sad and want to stop time.  I never say that, but right now it is so true.  I want to linger in the baby kicks and the belly rubs each night and dressing this pregnant belly of mine.  I feel amazing and I want to cherish and bottle up these feelings because in 10 weeks I'll just be another mommy of 3.    

This pregnancy has changed me.  While I of course have my bouts of craziness, I also haven't been this happy in at least 2-3 years.  I finally feel at peace that I'm no longer working full time and don't have a career.  I struggled with that for months after quitting and I confess that I almost called up my old boss a few times asking if I could work part time.  I feel at peace that this is the house God placed us in, and I'm going to make the most of it.  I feel settled here, even when the freeway noise is loud and crazy parents from the school across the street are blocking my driveway.  I finally feel fully at peace with the fact that my husband owns his own business and yes, it's scary at times, but I have faith that we can ride through anything and he will figure out a way to provide for us.

I was sad a lot the last couple of years, whether it was justifiable or not, I let things effect me too much.  I'm finally learning to brush things off, give it over to God and just have faith.  It's not to say that in the last 2-3 years I wasn't ever happy, I of course was, but I also had some dark moments where I hardly recognized myself, ruled by emotions.  I looked at my life list the other day, and the top 5 things I chose to try and accomplish this year, and you know what, I haven't accomplished a single one of them.  There's a group board for all of us that went to Camp Mighty and several times a week someone will post an update, an item "checked off the list", and we all rally around them and tell them good job and congratulations.  Last week someone got a book deal, a really, really good book deal.  I think a year ago it would have really bothered me that people were accomplishing things and I wasn't.  But right now, all I care about is the 5 people in this house, and how we're all doing (of course my friends and family too).  It's a good feeling to be at peace.

Sometimes I think it's effected my writing a bit here.  Some of the best posts I ever wrote were written when I was feeling sad or reflective.  But now that I've flushed a lot of those feelings away, I almost feel a little directionless.  And then I started For the Love Of and pretty much eliminated my style posts here.  So in just a few months I eliminated sad posts and style posts, and some DIY posts, leaving me feeling a little lost on what else you'd like me to write about.  Of course I can and will always continue to write about the kids, and zombies and preppers.  But this is where I'd love to defer to you friends.

For you to continue reading, what topics would you like me to write about?  Kids, kids crafts, home projects, home DIY's, pregnancy, life with newborn, journey with faith, recipes.  These are just a few things off the top of my head.  Do you guys want me to still post some style stuff over here?  How many of you actually read both blogs and want to see completely different topics?  Do you like it when I do the weekend recaps of what I wrote about over on For the Love Of?  What are some of your favorite posts of mine?  What do you want to see more of?

I know these are a lot of questions and I don't expect you to answer all of them ;)  If you have any advice or feedback to give though, it would be greatly appreciated.  There was a very very brief moment where I thought about shutting this place down, but I really don't want to.  I'd like to keep it going, but in a meaningful way that works for both you and me.  I don't want to just post and write for the sake of posting.  I want every single one of these posts to be intentionally published with some sort of purpose behind it.  I think when bloggers just start writing posts that don't serve an end purpose, they lose their way.  I don't want that to happen here, so I'm doing a little premature intervention here.  I'd just love a little help with it ;)    Thanks in advance guys.  You are the best!

And P.S. I wouldn't trade no amount of great blog posts for the feelings of peace I have right now...

Choosing DIY Projects You'll LOVE

Hi friends, how was your weekend? I do realize that it's Tuesday and I should've been asking you that question yesterday, but in case you noticed I took yesterday day off. The family and I took an impromptu trip down to Legoland on Father's Day and came home yesterday afternoon. It was too quick, but with Art's work schedule being what it is, I'll take what I can get.

With summer in full swing for most of you (Taylor still has 8 days left of school and it's only 75 degrees here), I thought I'd write a post a little different than the norm and share some thoughts and ideas on DIY'ing. I know summer is the time when a lot of you ramp up on projects or look to start new projects with the kids, so I wanted to share some tips to help you choose DIY projects that you'll love, not get frustrated with.
I spent almost 2 hours walking around Michael's on Saturday, by myself, the rarest of luxuries.  It was glorious and relaxing.   While I was browsing, my creative juices flowed like crazy and I thought of too many projects I'd love to try.  But it was good to have time to think and be inspired.  While browsing I thought up this blog post in fact!  So friends and readers have asked me in the past, "how do you decide what to make?  Where do you begin?", so today I'll take you through my creative process and how I decide what to create, and what ideas to leave on the table.
  • first and foremost, start with one-three mediums and build from there.  For me, my primary mediums are fabric paint, jewelry, and paper supplies. These are the things I'm drawn to and so I focus my energy, time and financial resources on those types of projects.  I stray every now and then, but for the most part my projects reside in those areas.  Narrowing your focus down will save you time and money!
  • find inspiration in places other than Pinterest.  Pinterest is amazing, don't get me wrong, but you'll be surprised what you can be inspired by when you look around.  Magazines, books, browsing Michael's for two hours, thrift stores, fashion stores, beauty supply stores, whatever.  Spending too much time on Pinterest can also leave you feeling down and like your project will never be good enough, look pretty enough as A, B or C.  So get in and get out, don't linger for hours on end.
  • don't create a DIY just for a blog post (if you blog), create it because you want it or need it.  I've done this before because I think readers will love it, and I tell you, it's just a waste of time.  My most well received DIY projects are the ones I created for myself because I really did want it, or the ones I thought very few people would love (case in point this seed bead necklace and the statement necklace I created for Making It Lovely - who knew those would be such big hits?)
  • know your limits and stick with your skill level, or slightly above your skill level.  It's great to challenge yourself, so if the pattern says for advanced beginner, and you're a beginner, go for it and teach yourself new things!  But save yourself tears and agony and don't go for the mega-advanced complicated pattern, no matter how cute and amazing it is.
  • factor in your cost of supplies and time to decide if a DIY project is even worth it financially.  I was recently considering make baby #3 his/her own crib skirt, but after factoring in the cost of fabric plus the hours it was going to take me to sew something new, I decided to just buy the $60 crib skirt I found online.  I think I made a good call here.      
Creating DIY projects are supposed to be fun and enjoyable, not stressful and a time suck.  You shouldn't feel like you want to punch someone in the face during the process ;) I've learned this along the way, and am still learning when to go for it and when to keep it simple and simmer down on the crafting.  What are some other tips you could share or have found to be helpful? 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thoughts of the Week

Remember when I used to consistently write Thoughts of the Week?  Yes, no?  Well I do.  There's two things I'm not the best at when it comes to blogging; responding to comments consistently (there, I said it), and being consistent with themes and series.  Seems the only thing I am consistent on, is being inconsistent.  Sorry :-/  But I do have quite a few thoughts this week that I wanted to share...
On light bulbs - we finally installed our two new light fixtures last weekend.  I love them in every way possible, but because of their vintage feel, and see-through/glass nature, regular light bulbs look too bright, blinding really.  So I ordered vintage-esque light bulbs from Restoration Hardware and $60 later, I feel like a schmuck.  $60 for 5 light bulbs?  They better look pretty spectacular when they arrive.   
On parents - mine are driving me crazy.  They're retired now and have a lot of time on their hands.  And they might be moving, so I'm fielding calls from them all day.  If they can't reach me on my home phone (which btw, they leave messages on saying "hello, Andrea, pick up!  If you're there, pick up.  Hello?????  Well, I guess I'll try you on your cell"), they immediately call my cell, and continue to do so until they reach me.  I love them, but they are driving me bananas.  Please tell me I'm not the only one whose parents drive them bonkers sometimes. 

On paranoia - remember the post I wrote on Monday about Taylor's school and high expectations and her teacher needing to realize they're just kids?  Well Tuesday, Art drops Taylor off at school and makes mention that Taylor's teacher was a little short with him.  I immediately assumed she must have seen my blog post (she knows I blog thanks to Taylor's talkative mouth), read what I wrote and now hates me and my daughter even more.  So I pulled the post.  I'm a freak.  Turns out she must have just been having a bad day because she's been perfectly pleasant the rest of the week.

On buyers remorse - I sometimes get myself in these situations at a store where I feel guilty or awkward and buy something even though I know I shouldn't or don't need it.  This happened a few weeks ago at a makeup event I attended where I was talked into buying a $50 foundation brush, even though I already have a foundation brush.  But this one was made of sable and is oh so special.  Now I've been driving around with it in my car, trying to figure out how and when I'm going to get all the way down to Orange County to make the return.  I should just grow a spine and I'd save myself a lot of time.       

On gas prices - I'm obsessed.  I think about high gas prices constantly now, and it completely bums me out.  It now dictates where I go, how I drive, what I go do.  I strategically map out my driving plan to make good use out of long drives into LA or Orange County so I can kill multiple birds with one stone.  There's a fabric store that I very badly want to go to that's 25 miles away, but I can't figure out a time when I can go so that I can also at the same time, return the makeup brush at the store nearby.  Because making two trips into Orange County to visit the fabric store and return the makeup brush would be ludicrous.  And it's also why I went ahead and paid $11 shipping to have the stupid $60 light bulbs shipped to me because I would have spent that in gas by the time I drove to my nearest Restoration Hardware.  It doesn't help that I'm married to a man that is also obsessed with gas prices and checks on why prices are going up on a weekly basis, adding fuel to my outraged fire.  A fire in Washington a few weeks ago was in fact cause for the latest gas hike to effect California.  Obsessed I tell you!  Obsessed.

Okay, off to go take a chill pill now.  I feel much better getting all that off my chest.  So what are some of your thoughts of the week you'd like to get off your chest?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How To Have A Relaxed Pregnancy

My wish for all the pregnant ladies to be out there would be first and foremost, healthy pregnancies and babies. Second after that would be to experience a relaxed pregnancy. Yes, even above a pain free labor or super fast and easy delivery (neither of which are very likely anyhow, so might as well go for 9 months of relaxation, right?).

It's no secret that I'm usually a bit of a worrier and "the sky is falling" type of person. Well then, you can only imagine how worried I was during my first pregnancy. I read too much, listened to too much unsolicited advice, researched too much, and even made too many lists. Yes, there is such a thing as too much list making. When you add "make a baby supply list" to your "to do" list, you've taken it too far. All my fretting and worrying landed me with not much more than a fretful pregnancy, multiple unnecessary visits to the ER because she didn't meet the 'kick count' criteria, and an induced labor because by 39 weeks, I literally just wanted Taylor out of me so that I could be in control of her safety and well being, not my body. That my friends, is my very first piece of advice; keep that baby cooking in there for as long as possible because they're much easier to take care of inside the womb, than outside ;)

My second pregnancy was much more relaxed. I was still working full time and traveling a ton, so as relaxed as one could be in that situation, but in terms of the safety of my unborn baby, I overall was much more at peace with my body and the process of growing a human. In fact when at 10 weeks I suddenly started bleeding profusely on the bathroom floor, I was scared, but I had a feeling that me and my baby would be just fine. And we were.
This third time around though, I am like a different person. So much so that some friends, and even my husband are amazed by my carefree, "wing it" attitude about this pregnancy. The once controlling, type A personality has been replaced by a laid-back woman I myself hardly recognize at times. I've thought a lot about how I got here, and what purposeful steps I've taken to find this balance, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I've done that have personally helped me sit back, relax and enjoy this special time in my life.
  •  Don't read What to Expect When You're Expecting type of books.  Alright, if this is your first time, you're probably going to find it impossible to follow this advice, especially when every relative and friend gives you a copy.  So if you're going to read, just read the first happy parts of each section that describe your baby's growth and development, and steer clear of the secondary sections that explain all the horrible things that could go wrong.  I know knowledge is key, but too much knowledge in the hands of a pregnant woman can be frightful. 
  • On the subject of books, don't read any behavior or sleep books ahead of time, because it's a waste of time.  I tried to get a jump start on my parental education by reading 2 different baby sleep books and it just confused me, it was like reading Latin.  Each baby is different, and you won't know which book and bit of advice is going to suit you and your partner's style best until you meet your baby.
  • Ignore people's silly remarks and comments.  And if you can't ignore them, just agree with them because it totally throws them off.  The other day a grocery checker literally said to me "That's so weird!  I didn't know people still did that!", in reply to me when I explained we weren't finding out the sex of the baby.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I just said, "I know, isn't it strange?!  My husband and I are so loopy!"  He sort of just looked at me shocked, when he heard the words he spoke repeated back to him.
  • Have faith, whatever your faith may be.  Millions of women and babies have gone through this process before and have come out alive on the other side.  Have faith in your body that it knows what to do, and if you believe in a creator, have faith that He has a plan for you and your baby.  
  • Be wary of lists.  I laughed the other day when I looked at a "suggested baby registry list" because it was just so overwhelming, and I breathed a sigh of relief that this time around I knew what was really necessary and what to steer away from.  If it's your first time, take an experienced friend or sister along with you when registering to help you navigate through what is really necessary and what is superfluous.
  • Let go of the notion that it all has to be done before the baby arrives.  With both my first two pregnancies I just HAD to have the nurseries all in check before the babies arrived, as well as 1 million house projects completed.  This time around, I'm not even sure we'll do a nursery to be quite honest.  10 weeks to go, and well I don't know.  The point is, yes, it will be crazy and hectic after a baby is born.  But there will also be down time and hopefully you'll have help.  People will bring you meals, a mom or mother in law will come and help you do laundry.  You're hands will be busy a lot, and you'll be tired, but you most likely will also look forward to having something or some project to work on and occupy your time during the 10 naps a day a baby takes.  Or maybe that's just me...;)
  • Lastly, indulge yourself!  Take extra time for yourself, buy yourself that maternity dress that will help you feel pretty during this time, even if it's not practical.  Eat the extra piece of pizza every now and then, and for goodness sake don't weigh yourself!  No other time in your life should you take the opportunity to be a bit selfish and indulgent as when you're pregnant.  You're growing a human after all, and that's pretty darn spectacular.  You deserve every bit of indulgence you can afford.     
I hope this "list" is and can be helpful to you or a friend.  I can honestly say that aside from the normal emotional ups and downs of pregnancy hormones, this is one of the happiest and most relaxed times of my life.  It's taken me two pregnancies to get here, but for the first time I am truly enjoying being pregnant.  And please, if you have any other tips to add to this list, share in the comments!

This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I'll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories (projects/ideas/etc) with you over there! Stay tuned for more details!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Premier Designs Jewelry Giveaway

There's nothing better than simple, classic, well made jewelry, especially for an accessory dunce like me.  While I can easily pull together an outfit in 10 seconds flat, layering on the accessories is always more challenging for me.  Maybe that's why I started making some of my own accessories, to get better practice?  At any rate, I have a lovely giveaway for you today, hosted by one of my sweet sponsors Denise of Premier Designs Jewelry.
Denise is giving away all 3 of these pretty pieces to one reader.  I had fun styling these pieces, mainly because they were so easy to pair with just about anything.  You can see my outfit post here, where I wore the bangles and the necklace.  From feeling each piece with my own hands, and wearing them over the last week, I can tell you that each piece is very well made and will last you a long time. 
The giveaway includes this sweet pin that also has a magnetic clasp so you can attach it to a necklace.  
The bangle set has a slightly hammered finish with pretty gems inset.
And the 40" coin necklace can be worn as a long single strand, or doubled up for a layered look.

To enter to win all 3 pieces, please head on over to Denise's Facebook page and like it.  Additional entries may be earned by subscribing to Four Flights of Fancy's blog via GFC or RSS feeds, and for liking the Four Flights of Fancy Facebook page.   Giveaway closes on Sunday June 17th at 11:59 pst.  Good luck!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Iridescent Watercolor Lanterns

I can't believe we started these lanterns almost a year ago.  After seeing them all hung up tonight, it makes me so happy we finally finished them.  The idea for these lanterns originally came from a craft we did at our local Rancho, although the kids all used the same color of paint and hung them on the ends of sticks to use as fishing lanterns.  I've wanted to replicate them ever since, only to hang in the backyard.  Turns out the project was worth the wait.       
To make your own, you'll need some paper lanterns, iridescent watercolors in gold and/or silver, watercolor paints, and paint brushes and spray bottles.  Our paper lanterns are from Discount School Supply and held up nice to the layers of paint.  I'm sure if you handled them gently, standard paper lanterns would work just as well.  And in fact I buy all my watercolors from Discount School Supply because they have the best price on the nice big bottles.  We use watercolors a lot and these bottles have lasted us at least a year.  The spray bottles were just cheapies from the Dollar Store.
The kids begin by layering on the iridescent watercolor paint, making sure not to get them too wet.  They just need a light, thin layer to show through the paint, and the more they soak them, the longer they'll take to dry.  After they've painted on the iridescent color, let dry for a few minutes, and then lightly spray on some watercolor paint in whatever color(s) they choose.  They could also brush on the watercolors, but using the spray bottle is a novelty for them.    
While it works better to hold the spray bottle away from the lantern, spraying up close like Syd did won't harm it at all, it just won't get a "sprayed" look to it.  The kids hands will get dirty so dress them in play clothes, as sometimes I have a hard time getting watercolors out. 
Taylor does not believe in the adage "less is more", and she sprayed on 2 coats of every single color we had.  At first it looked like a big mess of one dark color, but believe it or not, all the colors did in fact peek through once the paint is dried.  So don't micro-manage, just let them do their thing ;)
They'll take a good hour to dry completely.  Once dry, you can hang them in their room, on a stick to bop around with, or on cafe lights in your backyard, like I did.  I used clear monofilament wire to hang theirs.  
Once dry, the iridescent gold and silver paint really does show through, and all that mess of color Taylor sprayed on ended up looking like a very pretty, swirly, rainbow of colors.  
A craft easy enough for a kid to do all on their own, with results sophisticated enough for a backyard dinner party at twilight.  These will surely be hung in our backyard all summer long.  
Enjoy!  And let me know if you have any questions :)


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