Saturday, May 31, 2014

Freshly Picked Moccasins

I don't think I could be more excited about this post.  As many of you know, I have talked about my love for Freshly Picked in several of my Swoon Worthy posts.  You may have also seen them on my Instagram feed, and as soon as little Ella's feet get a wee bit bigger, you will see her sporting them regularly for sure.

Freshly Picked was kind enough to send us a pair of their adorable moccs to test out and review, and not only is this line stylish, but they are well constructed, they actually stay on, and they come in a wide variety of awesome colors!

Above and beyond being an awesome baby/toddler shoe, what really drew me to this brand to begin with is that the woman who started it, Susan Petersen, started from literally nothing (you can read her story here), and this momtrepeneur skyrocketed her business into something huge!  Since starting out, Freshly Picked has been featured on Shark Tank, in Parenting and Us Weekly Magazines, and on the feet of those famous Kardashian kids. Talk about inspiring!

I am all for moms supporting moms in business, especially when the product is super cute as well as durable!

Speaking of moms supporting moms... Want to know the best part about this post?  Freshly Picked was kind enough to also work with me on a giveaway, where one lucky person will win a pair of their moccs in the size and color of their choosing... on top of that, the winner will also get one headband of their choosing from my shop, Little Peach Blossoms.

This giveaway will run from today, June 1, 2014-June 5, 2014, on Instagram (you can find me under @contemporarydomestics), or if you do not have Instagram, you may enter by commenting on this blog post below (your name will be entered along with those who have entered on Instagram). A winner will be randomly drawn on June 6th. *** Please note, you must be at least 18 years of age, lived in the United States, and not have won any other giveaways featuring Freshly Picked in the last 60 days to be eligible.

Please check out the wide array of Freshly Picked moccs on their website... and their to-die-for newly released Carryall Bag too!

{I was compensated for this review with a pair of Freshly Picked moccs, however all photos and opinions are entirely my own}

Swoon Worthy

This week I'm swooning over all kinds of random things, from baby things, to handbags, to alcoholic beverages...

1. I'm not sure if you guys have seen these yet, but Baby Jives Co makes these amazing handmade mobiles that are the perfect accessory for your little one's nursery.

2. I think it time I hop on the romper trend bandwagon.  I'm kind of loving the one's Mckenna Bleu featured on her blog, like this one from The Mint Julep Boutique.

3. Oh Joy's summer collection at Target is perfection... I love the bright, fun colors.

4. Moscow Mules are super trendy right now, and nothing screams summer more than this recipe for Strawberry Moscow Mules.

5. Every once and awhile, I like to feature something from my own Etsy shop, Little Peach Blossoms... I've been going a little bow and headband crazy lately, so check them out. The Mint Kaleidoscope Bow, pictured above, is one of my faves.

6. I'm really digging the design of these baby spoons from NumNum... I must order one for when Ella starts on solids!

7. I'm a total sucker for an oversized bag, I'm even more of a sucker for stripes.  This one I just picked up from Target fits the bill, and the price was great too.

8. I am an iced coffee fanatic, so this large batch recipe from Natasha's Kitchen has been my go to lately for keeping a pitcher full in my refrigerator at all times.

9. Jack Roger's sandals make me super nostalgic for summers in New England, so these georgica jelly versions help ease my homesickness.

10. I was just thinking the other day about how much I missed pudding pops, whatever happened to them??? Then I stumbled upon this recipe. I can't wait to try it in our Zoku popsicle maker!

Hope you're all having a swoon worthy weekend!

Friday, May 30, 2014

DIY Herb Markers

 We finally got around to planting our raised bed garden last weekend. Normally we go all out, and plant a little bit of everything, only to end up with an overabundance of fresh vegetables so large that even when we share our goods we have plenty to spare.

This year we decided to keep it simple. With a number of home improvement projects going on, and two little ones now, low maintenance is the name of the game.

I planted chives and mint in one of our 2 beds a couple of years ago, and every year they come back bigger and better than the summer before.  We always plant peppers; jalapeƱos, banana, even habanero... We like a little spice. This year we also planted zucchini, radishes, green beans, snap peas,  and carrots. We opted to plant tomatoes in pots on our deck, because we found last summer that we had better luck with them this way.


Growing fresh herbs is a must for me.  There is nothing I love more than the smell of fresh basil, and the ability to walk out to my deck and just snip a little of this and a little of that. We usually do our herbs in pots that we keep on our deck, just like the tomatoes. Last year I had a lot of fun spray painting some terra cotta pots with chalkboard paint and labeling them with the names of all of the herbs we were growing with a chalkboard pen. This year, I decided to change it up a bit.

I've seen some really cute plant markers online and in shops around town, but I love a good DIY project, so the markers, pictured above, are what I came up with.

Sculpey clay
Wood dowels
Alphabet stamps
Paint brush
Clear sealant
Glue (super glue, or a glue gun)

1. Knead your sculpey clay to soften it and make it easier to work with. Sculpey is available in a variety of colors. I'm on a gold kick, so I used "treasure hunt"
2. Break up the Sculpey, and shape your markers. I used the smooth side of a glass cutting board to roll out the clay, but you can also use parchment paper or a silpat if you have one. There's no rhyme or reason to my shapes. I made them into imperfect kind of wonky rectangles.
3. Use alphabet stamps to imprint the names of the herbs you intend on planting. I found my stamps in the dollar section at Target for $3... I love that section.
4. At this point, you will want to use your dowels to create holes in the bottom of the markers, but you will then remove them. These dowels are a yard long when you purchase them, I cut mine down to 10 inches for each marker, make them whatever height you choose.
5. Bake the markers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, following the directions on the Sculpey packaging. Mine said to bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes, so that's what I did.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
7. Using paint, fill in the letters, one marker at a time, and use a damp sponge to remove the excess paint around the letters. Allow paint to dry.
8. Paint marker with clear sealant. If you can find a sealant made for outdoors, this will be best. Allow to dry.
9. Place a dab of glue on the end of each dowel, and then stick them into each of your premade holes.
10. Place in Herb pots and enjoy!

If you make these and you're on Instagram, I would be thrilled if you'd photograph them and use the hashtag #contemorarydomestics

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Swoon Worthy

I apologize for being a few days late on this swoon worthy post. It was a holiday weekend, and my husband took a few days off from work, and well, we took full advantage of the beautiful weekend to plant our garden (more on that in an upcoming post), do some grilling, and spend quality time with family and friends.

I figured better late than never, so here's what I'm swooning over this week!

1.  I'm dying... Seriously dying over These bags that Freshly Picked just released. It's no secret that I love their moccs for babes, but bags in the same colors... Swoon!

2.  This shirt, from Target that I bought this week, because the pineapple print was just too cute to pass up.

3.  These shorts from Banana Republic... They're currently out of stock online, but still available in stores!

4.  My cousin has the most amazing foodie blog,  Something to Snack On, that you must check out. I made the blue cheese chicken salad over the weekend, and it was so, so good!

5.  Little Hip Squeaks has been dropping new prints from their line, and I swear, This dress in this print is one of the sweetest things I've seen in awhile. I think my Ella has to have it!

6.  I got a sample of This lip and cheek balm from Benefit in my Birchbox this month, and I will definitely be buying the full size version. I love these colors for summer.

7.  Yum... That is all I have to say about This macachino flavor from Suja!

8.  I'm just aching to paint some teeny tiny toenails, and This polish from Piggy Toes is about as safe and natural as it gets for little ones.

9.  If you've never experienced kinetic sand, you don't know what you're missing... This stuff is fun for toddlers, kids, and adults.

10.  This faux sheepskin rug is the perfect backdrop for baby photo shoots, and draped over the back of a chair. For under $10, I couldn't pass it up!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ella Rose Is One Month Old

I remember when I was pregnant with Max, how I used to shrug off comments like, "Enjoy every moment, it goes by so fast," or "before you know it, he'll be graduating from high school, and heading off to college." At the time, those words of wisdom weren't really relevant to me, seeing as my child was still growing in my belly, and 9 months seemed to be taking forever to pass by.

Fast forward almost 2 years, and 2 babies later, and comments like these are still getting shrugged off... This time though, it's because I have come to realize how true the statements are, and I loathe the constant reminder. Max will be 2 in a little over a month, and Ella Rose has just reached the one month milestone. If you want time to pass quickly, then have a couple of kids... This seriously has to have been the shortest month of my life thus far.

Having a newborn again, truly made me realize just how much Max has grown over the last 22 months. Picking him up after holding Ella makes him feel like a hundred pounds. Seeing just how helpless a newborn is, while watching a toddler's indepent streak grow by the day is numbing. Everything about Max now seems huge compared to Ella's teeny tininess.

I would have to say one of the greatest lessons I've learned through having children, is to document everything with photos. I am obnoxious when it comes to posting on Facebook and Instgram, and my children constantly have a camera or an iPhone in their faces, capturing a moment... But truly, nothing makes me happier then to be able to look back at photos and recall a special memory. I found this quote on Pinterst, and couldn't love it more! It's so true.

This first month with Ella has been magical in every way. It's so fun to see the differences and similarities in having a baby girl this time around. She is such a calm and good natured baby, until she is hungry, and then she lets you know with a high pitched shriek of a cry.

Her head of hair still amazes me every time I look at her... It's as if God knew that this girl's mama has an obsession with hair accessories, and gave her the perfect locks to make her the best little model ever. As of right now she has these beautiful big blue eyes... I'm not sure if they'll stick around, or if they'll end up brown like the rest of ours, only time will tell.

She makes the cuties little sounds and faces, and I could put off my mile-long to do list and just sit and watch her forever. If only time would allow it.

For now though, you can be certain that I will be catching and documenting all of these precious changes through photos. It is my way of perpetuating the whole "living in the moment" thing, and having something to look back on as this special time rapidly passes by... And when I'm not photographing, I'll be spending every spare moment I have snuggling these tiny humans while they let me, because that too is privelage that I don't want to pass by too quickly.

Hope you're treasuring the moments with your littles... Today, and every day!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Encouraging Toddler Creativity

There are times when I really question if I'm optimizing my role as a stay at home mom. It was a really long winter, and being pregnant with baby #2 only added to my lack of motivation and energy. Many days, Max and I spent cuddled up watching Disney movies, reading books, and playing with his never-ending supply of toys. Some times I wonder though, am I doing enough? Am I socializing him enough, am I sparking his creativity, am I encouraging his development the way I should be?
Sure we have our fair share of play dates, we frequent our local library and take full advantage of the amazing toddler activities they offer there, and there's no doubt that we get out and about often enough, but now that the weather is FINALLY getting nice again, I'm feeling really motivated to make a better effort at encouraging Max to get his hands dirty, to explore, to play and enjoy everything around him.
Although we're certainly looking forward to setting up our water table, and trips to the pool, now that spring has undoubtedly arrived, we decided to welcome it with open arms by painting some bird houses, creating birdseed ornaments, and making some homemade play dough.

We picked up these inexpensive bird houses at Joann's, and then hopped to it with our kid-friendly washable paints.  Due to the fact that these paints are not exactly made to withstand outdoor conditions, I highly recommend finishing them with a coat of clear shellac, such as this one, to help seal and protect your little one's creations.

Since it is spring, and the birds are everywhere right now, we also decided to make some birdseed ornaments.  Depending on the age of your child, you definitely will want to carefully monitor this project, you know, so your little doesn't go and ingest an unhealthy amount of birdseed.  I let Max help stir, but due to his past history of trying to eat crayons, I did the majority of the dirty work for this project myself, and found comfort in knowing that he will get to enjoy the final result of watching the birds dine on our handmade feeders.

Anyhow, we followed the recipe that we found here on Pinterest, and I was pretty happy with the results.

I was reminiscing about my childhood (which seems like it was a million years ago), and recalled how much I enjoyed making homemade playdough.  While Max is probably still a little young to appreciate the process, he loves actually playing with playdough, and I know that it is good for his sensory development, so we decided to make some.  We followed this tutorial, also found on Pinterest, however we omitted the scent.  I divided the dough into 6 balls to make different colors using food coloring.  I used about 7 drops per ball of playdough, and wore rubber gloves to work it in and to avoid rainbow colored hands.  I have been storing it in small tupperware containers, and it is still holding up really well after a few weeks.  Max loves playing with it, and I like it because I don't have to worry about him eating it, as it is obviously non-toxic.

Needless to say, I am feeling much better about encouraging Max's creativity lately, and we've been having lots of fun in the process.  We've been getting outside more too, playing in the sandbox, on the swing set, and drawing with sidewalk chalk.

We are all adjusting quite well, even though it takes a little longer to get out of the house, to being a family of four.


Have a lovely spring weekend!

Swoon Worthy

1.  On occasion, we like to eat Paleo... If you haven't visited Juli Bauer's PaleOMG blog, you must! She is hilarious, and her recipes are awesome. Her new cookbook, "the Paleo Kitchen", becomes available on June 10th, but can be preordered now on Amazon.

2.  These button on bow ties for little guys from Little Mr Ties, are just too cute!

3.  I am currently loving this BB Body Cream by Jergens. It gives your skin a subtle glow, while also improving its appearance.

4.  Since I've been "baby wearing" far more with Ella than I did with Max, I've been eyeing these wraps from Solly Baby. The colors they offer are beautiful, and from what I hear the material is super soft. I'm swooning over the orchid one.

5.  My cousin, who has amazing taste, sent this bathing suit as a gift for Ella... It is pretty much the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

6.  These prints from Pen and Paint, are amazing. I love the colors and designs. This lady is super talented!

7.  My husband likes to give me a hard time about my affinity for books in the "young adult" category, but a good read is a good read! I actually finished, "The Fault In Our Stars", by John Green quite awhile ago, but I loved it so much, that I read all of his books.  The movie version is coming out soon, so if you haven't already, I highly recommend reading it.

8.  It's no secret that I have been loving recipes from Averie Cooks lately, but I made these flourless double chocolate peanut butter blender muffins the other night, and they were delicious!  Best of all, they are gluten free and required no oil or sugar.

9.  I adore this tiny peach bow print dress from Little Hip Squeaks.  They have been releasing their summer collection, and it is fabulous!

10.  I'm kind of obsessed with this cookie dough flavored greek yogurt concoction lately.  It has become my go-to afternoon snack, and it's really, really yummy.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Swoon Worthy

This week's edition of Swoon Worthy is a random concoction of things... all of which I am currently loving.  Enjoy!

1.  I don't think there is a more girly/pretty baby bib out there than this one from FHJ Baby.

2.  You can take me out of Maine, but you can't stop me from loving an amazing "made in Maine" product.  These bracelets from The Ropes Maine, now being sold at J. Crew are to die for!

3.  I absolutely adore this new spin on the good old macaroni necklace featured on Anthropologie's blog.

4.  I am really into pretty much everything Averie Cooks makes, but I am dying to try this recipe for Cowboy Bark.

5.  My lovely friend turned me on to Sophie and Lili, and now I just can't get enough of these custom family portraits she creates.  Her work is amazing.

6.  For awhile now,  I have been obsessed with Mrs Meyer's cleaning products, but lately I can't get enough of this honeysuckle scent.

7.  I think I'm in the market for a new diaper bag... perhaps a Mother's Day gift to myself.  I love this one from Pottery Barn Kids.

8.  We had this super easy and super tasty salad from Damn Delicious' blog this past week, and we will definitely be having it again!

9.  I am definitely swooning over these amazing leather clutches from K Slademade... they also do monogramming... who doesn't love a good monogram?

10.  If you shop online, and aren't yet using Ebates, you have no idea what your missing.  A friend turned me on to the site, and now every time I shop online, I get money back... for free.  Seriously, go here to sign up now!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Crochet Baby Turban Pattern

After first seeing a crocheted baby turban via Pinterest, I just knew I had to make one for Ella Rose. I reviewed several hat patterns, and eventually created one of my own that resulted in a stylish mini turban that is too cute for words.

This hat requires only basic crochet stitches, and works up fairly quickly. It makes for a great baby shower gift, or if you're anything like me, you'll want to make it in about 100 different colors for your own little one.

I'm sharing the pattern in size 0-3 months. If you don't crochet, or are looking for it in other sizes, please check out my Etsy shop,

Worsted weight yarn
Size H crochet hook
Yarn needle

ch (chain)
hdc (half double crochet)
sl st (slip stitch)

ch 3, join with sl st to create ring
Rnd 1- ch 1, 10 hdc in center of ring, join to sl st into first hdc (10 hdc)
Rnd 2- ch 1, 2 hdc in each stitch around, join with sl st into first hdc (20 hdc)
Rnd 3- ch 1, *1 hdc in first st, 2 hdc in next st. Repeat from * around, join with sl st (30 hdc)
Rnd 4- ch 1, *1 hdc in each of first 2 st, 2 hdc in the next. Repeat from * around, join with sl st (40 hdc)
Rnd 5-  ch 1, *1 hdc in each of the first 9 st, 2 hdc in next st. Repeat from * around, join with sl st (44 hdc)
Rnd 6- ch 1, 1 hdc in each st around, through from loop only (44 hdc)
Rnd 7- ch 1, 1 hdc in each st around, through back loop only (44 hdc)
Repeat rounds 6 and 7 each 4 times (4 ribs), for a total of 15 rounds.
Tie off and weave in ends.
Thread yarn needle with approximately 12 inches of yarn, wrap yarn from top of first rib to edge of hat, about 12 times, and pull tight. Tie off and weave in ends.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Swoon Worthy

My apologies for missing last week's Swoon Worthy post, but I was in the hospital, because I had a baby!  In honor of our sweet Ella Rose's arrival, this week's installment involves all things baby girl and new mama... Enjoy!

Oh... and this week's 100% swoon worthy image... my sweet baby girl!

1.  These amazing swaddle blankets from Aden and Anais.

2.  These nursing tanks... I'm pretty much living in them right now.

3.  I'm loving my new double stroller, it's super light and easy to maneuver.

4.  These Tommee Tippee bottles.

5.  These super cute and easy to clean bibs.

6.  This super cute bottle drying rack from Boon.

7.  These precious handmade dolls by Sweet Littles Handmade,

8.  These totally swoon worthy baby shoes that I ordered for Ella the other day.

9.  These hand crocheted baby bows from my Etsy shop.

10.  These too-cute-for-words leggings from Candy Kirby Designs.
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