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Gift Guide For Her

13 November 2018

How is is already November?  November is officially the kickoff to the holiday season which means the cold weather is moving in and holiday festivities are in full swing.  This season I will be releasing a series of gift guides for everyone on your shopping list so stay tuned each week!

Whether you are looking for gift ideas for yourself, your best friend or your mom, this list has something for everyone!  Allen always says he never knows what to buy me, so here you go 🙂 I am so excited for the official start of the holiday season.

 

 

1. Triangle Pouch
2. Scarf
3. PJ Set
4. Cozy Robe
5. Jade Roller
6. Packing Set
7. Bath Soak
8. Flats
9. Sunglasses
10. Skincare Set

 

Maternity Photos with Miranda North Photography

7 November 2018

I’m so happy to share with you my maternity photos that the absolutely talented Miranda North took of me recently! I’ve been a fan of her stunning photography for some time now and always wanted to book her whenever I became pregnant. Allen and I are so in love with the photos that she took of me, Jo and Casey that we’re planning on doing another session soon after Casey is born! If you’d like to book a session with Miranda, visit her page (http://www.mirandanorth.com/contact) to book a session with her. Thank you so much for these priceless photos Miranda! Can’t wait to book our next photo session with you after Casey arrives!

You can find Joey’s dress here: https://amzn.to/2qy69He

My dresses were from Miranda’s studio. They are custom made for her studio so they are not for sale.

Baby On The Way Giveaway

16 October 2018

Casey is officially almost here! Can you believe it? I feel like we just found out we were expecting. This pregnancy has gone by so fast.

I’ve been busy nesting and preparing for her arrival lately. During this time I’ve been buying a lot of necessities for her. I’ve found some amazing new brands and ones I used with Joey in the past. Today I am so excited to announce a fun giveaway with some of my favorite baby brands!

How to enter! 

Go to my Instagram page and follow me and 3 of your favorite brands that are participating.

Comment at the bottom of this post or on my Instagram post.

Winners must have a US mailing address. Winner will be announced on 10/23/2018.

Participating sponsors

Cuddle+Kind

Briar Handmade

Jean and June

Write To Me

Snuggle Me Organics

Gathre

Moss and Feather

Magnetic Me Baby

Hank Knitwear

Peach and Apricot

Joey and Casey’s Closet Makeover

15 October 2018

If you’ve been following my recent Stories, you’ll know that I teamed up with The Container Store and Life In Jeneral for another exciting reorganization project!  If you remember they worked on my garage a few months ago and it changed our lives! The garage project was so successful that I knew I needed to keep the momentum going especially while I’m in this full nesting mode.

This time we decided to do Casey and Joey’s closets. Here are some photos of what Joey’s room looked like before the re-org.

We didn’t have a system to categorize types of clothing and accessories and as Joey grew into bigger sizes, we didn’t take the time to take everything out and organize all of her newer clothes and accessories so everything started to slowly pile up. It was driving me absolutely nuts but to even think about tackling this by myself wanted me to pull my hair out!

Casey’s closet wasn’t any better. It started out as an overflow room but then it slowly started becoming just one giant pile of a mess!

These closets were giving me such bad anxiety when I walked into the room. I had spent so many hours attempting to organize these myself but I just couldn’t make the kind of progress I wanted to on them. I knew if I was going to get these closets organized before Casey arrived I needed help from The Container Store and Life In Jeneral!

Jen’s team was so helpful on this project! We first started out with a quick consultation. Kamille from her team came over the week before to assess the damage and put together a game plan for us. From there I was able to just sit back and relax for the most part!

Day 1:

Jen’s team showed up bright and early!  They immediately got to work on the closets.  First they took everything out of the closets and started sorting.  I honestly didn’t realize we had crammed so much stuff in there until it had taken over my living room. The team laid out everything for me to point out what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to donate.We ended up donating about 60 percent of what we had in the closets. It felt SO good to see everything go!

At the end of day 1 Jen’s team was able to assess exactly what products we needed from The Container Store.  We were able to sit down and order everything online for store pickup! My favorite products from The Container Store are these expandable drawer dividers and hangers.

I didn’t realize how helpful labeling everything was! These bin clip labels came in so handy.

Life In Jeneral also organized my closet a short while back and we had stored Joey’s old clothing in these weather-tight containers from The Container Store. I was able to pull them out again and start adding them to Casey’s room. It was so emotional for me to see tiny Joey clothes again!

Day 2:

This was the exciting day for me!  Jen’s team got busy file folding, putting drawer dividers from The Container Store in all of the drawers, hanging clothes and so much more!  I may have even learned how to fold a fitted sheet!

By the end of day 2, I was ready to show Joey the big reveal!  She was so excited to see her closet.  I was even a little surprised when she pulled out some of her toys and put it back where they were supposed to go.  This was a major mom win for me!

Here’s a closer look at what Joey’s space looks like now!

So happy!

Casey’s room turned out amazing as well!

How amazing do these closets and dressers look??

If you’ve been thinking about organizing that closet you refuse to open or your kitchen cabinet or your child’s room don’t wait.  My only regret is not doing this sooner.  The systems we have in place thanks to The Container Store and Life In Jeneral are systems we will be able to use for many years to come!

 

 

 

 

Create Now

17 September 2018

If you follow my Instagram Stories I am sure you saw an exciting event I was able to attend a short while back benefiting Create Now.  I was so excited to go to this event because I absolutely love working with non-profits that help children and arts!  It also helped that I was able to bring Joey along for the ride!

If you’ve never heard of Create Now they are an amazing organization that help bring art to underprivileged youth in the Los Angeles area.  They focus on the most vulnerable kids who have been abused, neglected, orphaned, made homeless, victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking, on probation, incarcerated or experiencing other severe challenges.  Through Cultural Journeys, Create Now brings thousands of challenged youth each year to concerts, plays, museums, film studios, circuses and much more

For this event Create Now teamed up with Open Foundation.  I was so ecstatic to have a chance that speak with the founds of Open, Ken Marshall and Andrew Schleicher.  Open was created to start a conscious movement of being the change you want to see in the world.  They sell tees and 50% of the sales goes back into hosting events like this one in their local communities to promo arts, education and exploration. This is so near and dear to me because I have made such a huge effort to do this within myself.  Open is a lifestyle brand that sells apparel to generate funds to put towards meaningful connections within the community like Create Now. If you’d like to partner with them, visit their website at www.beopen.us.

Our AMEX Cash Magnet Card & Why We Love It

30 August 2018

This post is sponsored by American Express. Thank you so much for supporting the brands our family truly enjoys!

Allen and I have been talking with a financial planner and he suggested that we find a credit card with great rewards to suit our needs best. And I was looking for a new credit card that had the absolute best Cash Back benefits for our upcoming summer adventures!  My favorite thing about the American Express Cash Magnet Card is the simplicity of the program! With my Cash Magnet Card, we get 1.5% Cash Back on our purchases. Let’s just say I can’t get enough of this Card!

Apply for Card Membership here: https://amex.co/2IJmEqX

Another feature I was swooning over is that the Card offers Pay It Plan It, a feature from American Express that gives you more control over how you pay for the things you buy. This was super helpful for us when we planned our summer, and as we look forward into the next chapter of our (always) busy lives.

Thanks to simple Cash Back benefits and the Pay It Plan It feature, I definitely recommend the American Express Cash Magnet Card for anyone looking for a no-fuss Card that integrates easily into your life. It lets us focus on what’s important – like farmers markets and fun!

Jo’s Favorite TV Shows & Films at Age 2

29 August 2018

Because Allen and I love watching TV and film, it’s only natural Joey would probably enjoy it a lot. We kept her away from it all for as long as we could and to this day only show her favorite shows and TV for about 20 minutes max. We try to stick to shows and films that are about nature (i.e. BBC’s Planet Earth), musical shows for kids and cartoons mostly about animals or girls who are not the typical “princess.”

Since so many of you have asked what we play for Joey, here’s a list of Joey’s favorite shows and films at age 2 (in no particular order because it depends on her mood!):

  1. Rock Dog – A film about a Tibetan dog who leaves his home in the mountains to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. Joey really liked the music in the film and I’ll sometimes turn on the soundtrack in the car to calm her down. The story is super cute and the cat character is HILARIOUS. (Watch it on HBO)
  2. Moana – Joey’s not really into this film anymore but was completely obsessed for months after we showed it to her. Love the strong female lead character played by Moana in this film! (Available on Netflix)
  3. Frozen/Frozen Fever/Olaf’s Frozen Adventure: Can’t tell you how many times these films have entertained us so. Joey goes bonkers when any of these films are playing. Disney definitely knows what they’re doing! (Available on iTunes)
  4. Ferdinand – Her current favorite movie to watch. After watching this, she keeps smelling flowers every where she goes! It is based off of the children’s book, The Story of Ferdinand about a bull who dreams of smelling flowers while the other bulls dream of competing in a bullfight. (Available on iTunes)
  5. Hi-Five House – Joey’s absolute favorite dancing kids show. (Watch it on Netflix) It’s a group of Australians who like to sing and dance to different colorful skits. Beware, the songs are very very catchy. 😉
  6. The Electric Company (the recent seasons) – One of the first TV shows that we played for Joey. It’s like Sesame Street but with an urban flair. Lin-Manuel Miranda makes appearances on the episodes too! (Watch it on HBO)
  7. Bolt – Of course Joey would love this film cuz it has dogs, cats and a hamster in it! (Watch it on Netflix)
  8. Coco – I thought for some reason the imagery of skeletons would scare Joey, but it didn’t! She absolutely loves all of the songs and is her go-to soundtrack in the car. (Watch it on Netflix) I bawled watching this film with her. It’s so good!
  9. Nella the Princess Knight – About a princess who is also a brave knight. (Episodes available on iTunes) Sometimes when Joey is scared, I remind her of Nella and how brave she is and Joey suddenly feels better! It’s so crazy how referencing these shows actually work for kids!
  10. Planet Earth I & II– Joey will watch these episodes so intensely! (Watch it on Netflix)

On YouTube Kids, Joey likes to watch live performed shows and parades from Disneyland and videos of Kinder egg surprises. The latter is the strangest thing. Literally videos of someone opening Kinder eggs with toys inside.

Are there any shows or films your toddler loves to watch?

Living Little Moments: Laundry

21 August 2018

This blog post isn’t about anything except me simply wanting to document that Joey loves helping me out with house chores lately. Whether it’s moping the floors, washing the dishes or taking care of the laundry loads. It’s so strange for me to watch Joey develop such a willingness to do certain things that she watches me do on the daily. Where did my baby go?? [Joey is now 2 years and 4 months old]

Not sure how long I’ll have before she’s not as willing to do house chores but for now, I’m going to fully enjoy these moments. 😉

I’m starting to see a very “helpful” personality in Joey. I watch her with others and she’s always asking people if they’re ok when she sees them fall or hurt themselves. She also surprisingly very good at wanting to help out with random things like setting the dinner table or throwing away trash. This is going to sounds really weird but because I grew up raising dogs, this is wild to me. My dogs have always had a limit to where they can grow in doing tricks (mainly because I haven’t taught them many haha!) so watching Joey understand what I ask her to help me out with is just nuts to me. Any dog owners, now parents understand what I’m saying? Anyway, watching Joey transform into this mature young toddler has been getting me excited for when baby C comes. I just have this gut feeling that Joey is going to be the BEST older sister.

[Side note] For those of you who are curious, our washer and dryers are the FlexWash and FlexDry. We absolutely love these machines because they’re so quiet (they’re right next to Joey’s bedroom and she never wakes up during the night when we have the machines running!) and on the washer, you can do smaller loads on top simultaneously with the larger load on the bottom and on the dryer, you can dry delicates like shoes and accessories.

 

Our Plants

7 August 2018

Can you tell we like plants??

Because we’ve been renting a home, I haven’t been able to go all out with decorating (i.e. wallpaper, paint, wall installations, etc.) and so I’ve been trying to fill up our empty space by adding as much plants as I could possibly keep alive altogether! It does take a while to water them every week but it’s my way of taking a break from work and it ends up being such a relaxing routine.

Many of you have been asking me weekly about what plants we have currently in our home and how we maintain them. I’ve been collecting plants from random places: Home Depot, small nurseries, and grocery stores. These are plants we have in our home now:

IMPORTANT NOTE! Most of these plants are toxic to either pets and/or humans so please be careful when having them in your home. Our two dogs have never been interested in ingesting our plants so we’ve been ok with having them at a floor level in our home. Because we’ve always had plants in our home, Joey’s been so used to them that she was also never interested in eating them. Even so, I’ve always kept a close eye on her around the plants. Having her water them weekly with me has also taught her how to respect the space of the plants and never to touch them unless we’re cleaning the leaves together.

If you can’t find these at your local stores, you can find them online like this store in the United States. What’s great about a lot of these plants is as they grow, you can separate them, repot them and “multiply” the number of plants in your home! When watering my plants (with the exception of the huge ones that I cannot move), I usually give them a quick “bath” in the sink or tub and let the water drain until there’s no more dripping. I do this once a week on Monday mornings. Another thing I like to do is to rotate my plants around the house every few weeks just to see how they do. When I see a plant that starts yellowing, I make sure to trim them right away and try moving them to a different location.

Here is some more detailed information about the maintenance of these specific plants above:

Epipremnum pictum Argyraeus – Satin Pothos

  • Light: Moderate light levels.
  • Water: Water when slightly dry. Drought tolerant. Too much water will kill the plant.
  • Temperature: Happy in room temperatures from 15-24°C / 59-75°F
  • Humidity: Prefers increased levels of humidity but will tolerate normal conditions.
  • Feed: Apply a weak general purpose fertilizer during the summer.
  • Height and Growth Rate: Moderate to slow growing. Trails will grow to 3m. Cut back to maintain desired length.
  • Toxicity: Mildly toxic to humans, harmful to pets. Keep away from children and animals.

Epipremnum aureum – Golden Pothos

  • Light: Medium light conditions.
  • Water: Water when slightly dry. Drought tolerant. Too much water will kill the plant.
  • Temperature: Happy in normal room temperatures from 10-24°C / 50-75°F
  • Humidity: Prefers increased levels of humidity but will tolerate normal conditions.
  • Feed: Apply a weak general purpose fertilizer during the summer.
  • Care Tips: Pinch out the tips to create a bushier plant.
  • Height and Growth Rate: Fast growing. Trails will continue to grow and grow for anything up to 20m. Cut back to maintain desired length.
  • Toxicity: Mildly toxic to humans, harmful to pets. Keep away from children and animals.

Dracaena fragrans Lemon Lime

  • Light: Dracaena Lemon Lime needs plenty of bright, indirect light to retain its vibrant colouring. Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Water: Water when the soil starts to become slightly dry at the top. Try to keep the soil moist at all times, however they are drought tolerant. Do not over water.
  • Temperature: Average household temperatures between 16-24°C / 60-75°F but can cope with as low as 12°C / 53°F for short periods.
  • Feed: Apply a weak dose of a fertiliser once or twice a month during the growing season.
  • Care tips: Wipe leaves with a damp cloth to remove accumulated dust. Cut back by removing the top of the plant if it grows too tall. Don’t use leaf shine on these plants.
  • Air Purifying: This plant filters airborne toxins and is part of our clean air plant collection.
  • Height and Growth Rate: Ultimate height 1.5-2m. Slow growing.
  • Toxicity: The sap is toxic to animals. It is not considered poisonous to humans but should not be ingested.

Dracaena fragrans Burley

  • Light: Dracaena Burley prefers medium to bright light but can tolerate lower light levels.
  • Water: Water when the soil starts to become slightly dry at the top. Try to keep the soil moist at all times, however they are drought tolerant. Do not over water.
  • Temperature: Average household temperatures between 16-24°C / 60-75°F but can cope with as low as 12°C / 53°F for short periods.
  • Feed: Apply a weak dose of a fertiliser once or twice a month during the growing season.
  • Care tips: Wipe leaves with a damp cloth to remove accumulated dust. Cut back by removing the top of the plant if it grows too tall. Don’t use leaf shine on these plants.
  • Air Purifying: This plant filters airborne toxins and is part of our clean air plant collection.
  • Height and Growth Rate: Ultimate height 1-1.5m. Slow growing.
  • Toxicity: The sap is toxic to animals. It is not considered poisonous to humans but should not be ingested.

Nephrolepis exaltata Green Lady – Green Lady Boston Fern

  • Light: Moderate light requirements, anywhere from bright, indirect sunlight to light shade.
  • Water: Keep the soil moist at all times. Water when the surface becomes slightly dry. Do not overwater and use lukewarm, soft water where possible.
  • Temperature: Average household temperatures 16-24°C / 60-75°F, but no lower than 12°C / 53°F. Avoid cold draughts.
  • Humidity: These ferns prefer higher humidity levels, but can thrive in average room conditions. Do not place near radiators etc.
  • Feed: Liquid fertiliser can be applied occasionally during the growing season.
  • Care Tips: Boston Fern may develop deep brown spores on the underside edges of the fronds. These are not pests, so don’t panic.
  • Air Purifying: A top houseplant for purifying and filtering the air.
  • Height and Growth Rate: Ultimate height 1m. Fast growing.

Monstera deliciosa – Swiss Cheese Plant

  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light but will tolerate moderate shade. Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Water: Water when the soil has started to dry out.
  • Temperature: Monstera deliciosa likes warm conditions from 18-27°C / 64-80°F. Anything lower than this will reduce the plant’s growth rate. It will tolerate 12°C / 53°F. and above but keep away from cold draughts.
  • Humidity: Happy with average to high humidity levels. Cannot cope in dry air situations.
  • Feed: Feed once a month with a balanced fertilizer during the growing period.
  • Care Tips: Wipe the leaves occasionally to remove accumulated dust.
  • Height and Growth Rate: Use a moss pole to support the plant (the roots will cling to this for support) or cut back if it gets too big. Slow to moderate growth, but depends upon the conditions.
  • Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous, keep away from pets and children.

Ficus elastica Melany – Rubber Plant

  • Light: Ficus elastica Melany prefers bright, indirect light but does cope quite well in lower light conditions.
  • Water: Water when the soil starts to become slightly dry at the top. Keep the soil moist at all times, but do not over water as this will cause leaf drop.
  • Temperature: Ideal temperatures are 16-24°C / 60-75°F. Avoid cold draughts.
  • Humidity: No specific requirements, although the occasional misting wouldn’t go amiss.
  • Feed: Apply a weak dose of a fertilizer once or twice a month during the growing season.
  • Care tips: Insufficient light or incorrect watering can trigger leaf drop. Adjust as necessary and your plant should quickly recover. Wipe the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth to prevent dust accumulation. Note: Ficus sap contains sticky latex which can be an irritant, therefore wash your hands if any comes into contact with your skin.
  • Air Purifying: This plant filters airborne toxins and is part of our clean air plant collection.
  • Height and Growth Rate: In their native environment, Ficus elastica can grow to many metres tall. As an indoor house plant, it is up to you: simply trim to maintain your desired height. Typical indoor heights are anything from 30cm to 2m. Moderate to fast growing.
  • Toxicity: Considered poisonous, therefore keep away from children and animals.

Ficus lyrata – Fiddle Leaf Fig

  • Light: Ficus lyrata prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate some light shade and some direct (but not harsh or midday) morning or afternoon sun.
  • Water: Water when the soil starts to become slightly dry at the top. Keep the soil moist at all times, but do not over water as this will cause brown spots and leaf drop.
  • Temperature: Ideal temperatures are 16-24°C / 60-75°F. Avoid cold draughts.
  • Humidity: No specific requirements, although the occasional misting wouldn’t go amiss.
  • Feed: Apply a weak dose of a fertilizer once or twice a month during the growing season.
  • Care tips: Insufficient light or incorrect watering can trigger brown spots and leaf drop. Adjust as necessary and your plant should quickly recover. Trim to maintain shape, but be aware that sticky latex will ooze from the ends of the cut stems. This can be an irritant, therefore wash your hands if any comes into contact with your skin.
  • Air Purifying: This plant filters airborne toxins and is part of our clean air plant collection.
  • Height and Growth Rate: Ultimate indoor height 3m. Slow growing.
  • Toxicity: Considered poisonous, therefore keep away from children and animals.

Chlorophytum Variegatum – Spider Plant

  • Light: Bright, indirect light. Will tolerate some shade; however, this will slow its growth rate and it may lose its stripes. Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Water: Keep well-watered, with moist soil, throughout the growing season. Less water is needed in the winter.
  • Temperature: Average household temperatures are fine (above 16°C / 60°F). These are fairly tough plants so should survive temperatures above 8°C / 46°F in winter if the soil is kept fairly dry.
  • Feed: Feed with a weak solution every few weeks during the growing season. Do not feed during the winter.
  • Care Tip: Baby Spiders can be pressed down into compost and left to self-root, giving you a second plant to pass on to friends and family.
  • Air Purifying: This plant filters airborne toxins and is part of our clean air plant collection.
  • Height and Growth Rate: Ultimate height 50cm. Fast growing.

Sansevieria trifasciata Laurentii – Snake Plant aka Mother’s Tongue

  • Light: Best in moderate to bright, indirect light but will adapt to low light conditions too.
  • Water: Allow the soil to dry out before watering, then water thoroughly and allow to drain freely. Do not allow the plant to sit in water as this will cause root rot.
  • Temperature: Happy anywhere from 15-23°C / 59-73°Fand as low as 10°C / 50°F for short periods.
  • Feed: Apply a weak dose of cactus or general-purpose feed once a month at most during the growing season. Sansevieria are low maintenance plants and do not require a lot of supplementary feeding.
  • Air Purifying: Sansevieria filter airborne toxins and are part of our clean air plant collection.
  • Height and Growth Rate: Ultimate height 75-100cm. Slow growing.
  • Toxicity: Mildly toxic if eaten. Keep away from children and animals.

Some extra tips:

  • Before committing to a plant, think about its size and how it will grow. Some plants grow very slowly and some the opposite so make sure to research before committing to a plant.
  • You can encourage growth by repotting in spring when the plant is ready. Signs that a plant needs to be repotted include roots appearing through drainage holes or a network of fine roots visible on the surface.
  • If your plant is old or particularly fragile and the soil looks cracked, tired and lackluster, you can top-dress with potting mix. Gently scrape away the top few centimeters of soil – making sure you don’t damage the roots – then replace it with fresh potting mix. 
  • When choosing a plant, choose ones that have lots of new buds, moist soil and perky leaves. 
  • Make sure not to over water them! Plants can drown especially when there are no drainage holes. 

In the photo:

The black shelf that we use for hanging our plants in our living room is from Home Depot. We used the Everbilt Shelf and Rod Bracket and a shelf to match (sold separately at Home Depot). The bar was also purchase separately.

Learning about Respecting Flowers

19 June 2018

I love how curious Joey always is and how she loves to learn by touching and feeling things in her hands. She definitely doesn’t mind getting a little dirty. Lately however, she’s been picking flowers EVERYWHERE. Anytime she sees a nice vase of flowers, she’ll want to pick at it. At restaurants, she’ll see flower arrangements on the table and she’ll go nuts. At her grandma’s house, she pulled out all of the blooms from my mom’s favorite faux flower arrangement. While it’s “cute” and all to pick flowers, I was starting to think she wasn’t understanding that flowers can also be enjoyed just by looking at them haha. The best way I thought I could teach her was to allow her to pick flowers with me from our garden the proper way so we can enjoy them.

When the flowers outside her room starting blooming, we decided to pick them out and put them into little vases. I told her how important it is to allow flowers to rest in “their flower bed” and let them grow without having any of their petals plucked. We did this once and have started making it a weekly tradition where we identify different flowers (including weeds haha) and place them into little vases. I think it’s been helping but she’s been asking for her own clippers now haha.