Tropical Garden Nursery

March 20, 2017
Over the past 2 years nurseries have quickly become one of my favorite rooms to design.  I loved pouring over magazines and Pinterest for inspiration when I was pregnant with Jack, and putting together his room brought me so much joy.  (You can see posts about his old room here, here and here, and a tour of his current room is here.)  Oh and here is the post I wrote on my baby boy nursery inspiration.  Now that I'm pregnant with a baby girl I get to create another nursery, and I'm so excited to get to work!  As I've mentioned before, we will be leaving the mainland (the continental United States) in late June, we will have to find a house shortly after arriving in Honolulu, and then baby girl is due September 1st.  We won't have a lot of prep time once we get there, so I'm planning and buying everything now so that all we have to do is set up her nursery and wait for her arrival (easier said than done).  



I'm dreaming of a tropical garden nursery, full of light pink, white, natural wood tones, yellow, green and a little bit of black.  Think Palm Beach meets Hawaii, complete with flamingos, palm prints, flowers and pineapples.  The plan is to use lots of the art I already own, I'm going to make curtains out of the extra fabric I have leftover from the "NYC Trash Chairs" makeover, and I'm going to make pillows out of the banana palm fabric I have leftover from the Chinese Chippendale bench makeover.  We are also going to finally paint our vintage faux bamboo dresser/credenza white and use it as a changing table and dresser in the nursery.  Be sure to check out my Tropical Garden Nursery Pinterest board because I'll likely keep pinning my inspiration up until our baby girl gets here.

Product Sources (clockwise from top left):

Felt Balls-  I'm going to make a mobile out of these.

Stuffed Flamingo Bust-  Just $17.99!!! 

Babyletto Lolly 3-in-1 Crib-  We have the Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 crib for Jack and love it, so I'm excited to put together the Lolly crib once we get there.

Pineapple Shelf

Striped Curtains-  I'm going to make ours but they will likely look similar to this (although the stripes will be thicker).

Banana Palm Art-  A great Etsy find at a great price.

Gold Circle Shelf-  I plan on organizing all her tiny shoes in here.

Flamingo Stuffed Animal-  I plan on perching her in a mini vintage peacock chair I found at a thrift store.

Pineapple Crib Sheet-  Perhaps one of my favorite things I've bought so far.  The print is so fun!

Palm Leaf Wall Hanging

Palm Pillow-  This one is from Society Social, but I have the same fabric some I'm going to make a pillow or two.

Lemon Crib Sheet

Faux Bamboo Credenza-  I found a similar one at a thrift store a few years ago and it's still ugly and brown.  Tom currently uses it now, but we will paint it white and put a changing pad and some organizational baskets on top once we move it to the nursery.

Pineapple Lamp

Pineapple Pillow Case

Rug-  I love how colorful this rug is!  We're waiting to buy this because I have no clue what size her room will be.



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Recent Maternity Clothing Purchases

March 13, 2017
I'm a bit simplistic when it comes to clothing during pregnancy.  I don't want to spend too much money on pieces that I'll only wear for a few months, so I try to buy affordable things that can all go together.  Simple solids, stripes and a few patterned pieces (thrown in with a few non-maternity cardigans and statement necklaces like this gorgeous "neon persimmon" one I just bought), are all I need to create a stylish yet practical maternity wardrobe.  I've rounded up many of the pieces I've bought recently, so if you're looking for a few ways to spruce up your spring maternity wardrobe then you're in luck!


Clothing Sources (clockwise from top left)

Striped Short Sleeved Shirt-  Stripes are always a good idea!

Olive Green Tank-  I like simple maternity tanks to wear underneath non-maternity cardigans (primarily my 6 years old navy Tory Burch sweater.  It's my favorite sweater in the world and it goes with everything!  It's a splurge purchase but I have definitely gotten my money's worth over the years.  I have the "Simone" in cotton which doesn't seem to be available anymore, but the navy one I linked to is super cute too.)

Distressed Jeans- These skinny jeans (jeggings, actually) are super comfy, really cute and only $34.99.  They're cuter in real life than in the picture and the distressing is great because there aren't any real holes in them (because I'm just not cool enough to pull that look off).  I bought an XS.

Cowl Neck Sweatshirt- This runs a bit big and I bought a Small.  I think it'll be better for 2nd and 3rd trimester once my belly is bigger.  I really like the blush color.

3/4 Length Striped Shirt-  Y'all know I love stripes, so had to scoop this one up.  It's on the longer side which will be nice once my belly is bigger.

Chambray Dress- I bought a darker version of this dress, but I think I like this lighter version better.

Striped Shorts- I'll admit it, I don't really like Motherhood Maternity.  Last time around I bought 2 tank tops that fit really poorly and 2 dresses and 2 skirts that were super sheer, and their styles can be a bit frumpy.  That being said, I tried these shorts on and I LOVE them!  They're really flattering and I love the stripes.  I bought an XS.

Blue Floral Dress- I was afraid this would look a little "grandma-y" but it's actually pretty cute and I think it'll be nice for spring and summer.

Striped Pencil Skirt- I got this as part of the buy one get one free at Motherhood Maternity.  Jack was having a meltdown after a long day of shopping for baby girl clothes so I just grabbed it without trying it on.  I bought a Small since that was the smallest size they had, but I think an XS would have been better.  It'll fit better once my belly gets bigger though.

Lace Dress- I'm going to be a bridesmaid at my brother's wedding next month, and his fiancée wants us all in blush dresses.  This maternity dress is super comfy and fits really well.  I ordered a Small.  The availability of the sizes seems to change daily, so if you want this dress make sure to check the website often.  It took me a few days to finally be able to order it in the size I needed.

3/4 Length White Shirt- Great transitional piece for early spring.  I can't quite wear this one yet, but it'll be good once my bump is a little bigger.

White Short Sleeved Shirt-  A great basic.


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Caprese Chickpea Salad

March 8, 2017


I love simple lunchtime salads, and I made this delicious one a few weeks ago that I had to share with y'all.  It seems like every time I have tomatoes and mozzarella (or burrata) I'm always missing fresh basil so I can't make a traditional caprese salad.  That doesn't stop me though, because pesto is a great substitute and you can make it using any sort of dark greens you have in the fridge (pretty sure it wouldn't turn out with lettuce...but I've never tried that).  I mentioned how I make pesto in this old post, and I did the same thing this time.  Arugula, spinach and kale are great in pesto (I actually used a mix of all three this time), and as long as you have the other basic ingredients you're good to go.

For this salad all you need is:

salad greens (I used a spinach/arugula mixture)
tomatoes
chickpeas (make sure you rinse them if you use a can)
burrata (creamy cheesy goodness and it's soooo worth trying if you've never had it before)
pesto (preferably homemade because it's so easy and cheap to make)
olive oil
balsamic glaze 



Just put the first 4 ingredients together, drizzle pesto, olive oil and the balsamic glaze on top, and enjoy!

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Spring Wanderlust with Vera Bradley

March 6, 2017




I always get restless towards the end of winter after being cooped up inside for months.  We have some exciting trips planned for later this month and I'm so ready to get to traveling!  Tom is in an Army's Command and General Staff College, and like normal colleges they get a spring break.  Woohoo!  We will be driving to Fripp Island, South Carolina to spend a week at my family's beach house, then he will head back home and Jack and I will stay for 2 more weeks.  After he leaves a dear friend of mine (my running buddy from Hawaii) and her 3 year old son will join us from Chicago for 5 days.  She and I are both pregnant with baby girls now, and it'll be so fun to catch up, run (waddle), and enjoy some time at the beach together.  After she leaves my parents will come to the beach for my mom's spring break (she's an elementary school teacher).  And then, my brother is getting married in Savannah!  Jack and I will fly back home with Tom after the wedding, only to start prepping for our move to Hawaii!  Spring and summer can't get here soon enough, although I'm trying to soak up our last few months in our historic Fort Leavenworth home while Jack is an only child.  Pregnancy this time around is going so quickly (mostly because I'm so busy with Jack, I think), and I know baby girl will be here before we know it.



When it comes to packing, I've gotten pretty good at squeezing my clothes and Jack's clothes into the same suitcase.  I prefer hard sided spinner suitcases that have zippers on both sides, and I'm crazy about my new Vera Bradley spinner suitcase.  The double sided suitcases like this are the best because you can use both sides to pack your stuff in, rather than just one side.  It helps you keep things a little more organized that way, compared to traditional suitcases.  This one is the perfect size for carrying onto a plane or fitting into a sedan with a stroller (our situation when we drive to Fripp).  Plus how cute is the camogray floral pattern?  Jack loves pushing it around the house too.  It's funny what kids latch onto, isn't it?  I loved Vera Bradley back in the day, and it's neat seeing how they've expanded and changed over the years.  Their spring and summer patterns are so adorable and I'm pretty sure I need this round fringed beach towel!



One thing that I almost always do when I travel is choose whether my base color will be black or navy, and only pack one or the other to go with everything else.  In the winter I typically choose black, but in the spring and summer I like navy paired with everything, so I'll pack navy tops (most of mine are striped, naturally), navy shoes, and a non-black purse.  I'm starting to not really fit into my normal clothes anymore, so that helps when it comes to packing since I don't have a ton of maternity clothes.   

Be sure to stop by the blogs of my Mommy Monday girls to see how they pack and travel with kiddos using their Vera Bradley!

Mireille of City Peach
Tiffany of Tiffany Style Blog
Alex of Inspired By...
Nina of The HHS Feed

Thanks to Vera Bradley for sending me this suitcase.  I only collaborate with brands I love and think you'll love too!


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Recent Baby Girl Clothing Purchases

March 3, 2017

As soon as we found out that we were having a baby girl I ran to the outlet mall and scooped up as many cute baby girl clothes as I could find!  I know we have quite a while before she is born, but we also have a cross-country/cross-ocean move and we will be living out of suitcases during prime nesting time.  While there are TONS of cute options out there, today I'm including only pieces that I've actually already purchased.  I think it's safe to say I have a color-scheme going on (which is not surprising).  Pink, white and blue is a favorite color combo for my home and my clothes, so naturally baby girl has no choice but to embrace it too.  Since we're moving to Hawaii (endless summer...hooray!!) I know all of her clothes can be summery, so shopping has been really easy because I don't have to worry about what size she'll be when the weather turns cold...because it won't!

Clothing Sources (clockwise from top left)

Floral Flutter Pink/Blue/White Dress-  I love this!  All my favorite colors all in one cute dress.  Not available in anything smaller than 12-18 months, but it's such a perfect spring dress.

Seersucker Shorts- I'm from the South, so of course she needs some seersucker shorts.  The aglets on the drawstring are hot pink too.

Ivory Peter Pan Collar Onesie- I love Peter Pan collars on baby girls, and this one is only $9.99 and has a vintage look.

Floral Print Bubble Romper- The ruffle top on this is really cute, and the pattern is more vibrant in person.

Flutter Striped Onesie-  Stripes.  Enough said.

Eyelet Ruffle Bodysuit-  This is more purply than pink, but it was too cute to not include it here.

Palm Tree Dress- Perfect for a baby girl born in Hawaii.

3 Pack Bandana Bibs- We love bandana bibs for Jack, so I had to get this neautral yet feminine pack for baby girl.

Striped Swimsuit with Rosettes- I got this one in size 0-6 month.  Babies at the beach are so hard, but so cute!

Gray/Ivory Tutu Dress- I like how it's not over the top girly because it's gray/ivory rather than pink.

Rose Gold Moccasins-  I want pretty much all the moccasins from SweetNSwag (I think this pair will be my next purchase and I want this pair for Jack) but I'm trying to pace myself and have only bought her 2 pairs...so far.  They're a great price at only $20 a pair and are really great quality too.  I got this matching bow to go with these moccs.

Striped Ruffle Swimsuit-  I got Jack these matching swim trunks.  I got this swimsuit and the trucks in a bit bigger sizes so hopefully they fit into them at the same time.

Striped Sunhat- Gotta have a striped sunhat to go with her swimsuit!

Hot Pink Leather Bow- Matches the moccs below.

Striped Dress- I can't wait to match her in striped dresses!  This one is only $14.99.  I snagged one of the last size 9-12 months online, and now they only have 1 1/2-2Y left.

Hot Pink Moccasins- I wish they made these in my size!

Floral 2-Pack Bodysuits-  Nice and sweet.

6 Pack of Bows- These little bows are fun with stripes, glitter and flowers...and only $7!

Striped Shorts-  Only $10.99 and so cute!

 


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Baby Vail #2 is a...

March 2, 2017

Girl!  Tom and I are so excited to announce that we are having a baby girl!  We are over the moon and you'd better believe that I've already started planning her nursery and buying cute baby girl clothes.  I absolutely love being a boy mom and now I'm excited to try my hand at being a girl mom too.  And I can't wait to see Jack with a baby sister!  It's going to be so sweet to see him love on a little sibling, although thinking about Jack being a big brother makes me a little sad because he's my baby boy!

We are so overjoyed and can't wait for September 1st to get here.  Brace yourself for lots of matching outfits...if you thought I was bad with Jack just wait until I have 2 babies I get to match with...stripes x 3 here we come :)

Outfit Details:

H&M dress | SweetNSwag Moccasins | SweetNSwag Bow


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Faux Bamboo Dresser Makeover

March 1, 2017




It's time for another furniture makeover!  I found this vintage Omega faux bamboo dresser back in Maryland in early 2016, and I wrote a little blog post about it that you can read here.  For $40 it was a steal, despite desperately needing a paint job and the fact that it was missing some hardware.  I finally got around to painting it in December and photographed it this past week.  I don't know why these makeover posts take me forever to put together, but that seems to be the trend.

As a reminder, this is what the dresser looked like when I found it.  It was a bit more dingy looking in real life.


First things first, is always sanding.  I used my orbital sander with a course grit disc to remove the slick top coat.  I sanded all the faux bamboo detailing by hand with a course sanding block as well.  Sanding blocks are the way to go when you sand by hand because they're easier to hang onto and control than sandpaper sheets are.  I didn't sand the bumpy drawer fronts because I knew they wouldn't sand well.




After I removed the top coat and roughed everything up I used a fine grit disc to smooth everything out.  I used a fine sanding block on the faux bamboo portion.  Getting the details and edges nice and smooth is really important because once they are painted irregularities can show up like crazy.



Once everything was smooth I wiped it down with wet paper towels and then a microfiber cloth.  Microfiber doesn't leave residue like a normal towel does, so they are great for these furniture projects.  I also scrubbed the drawer fronts with a course plastic bristled brush and some water to get any dust and gunk out of the little crevices.  I wiped them down with a microfiber cloth after I finished scrubbing.  Make sure to let any moisture dry before you start painting.

I used my trusty Rust-Oleum Universal Paint and Primer in One in White Gloss that I use on everything (like these shelves, this vanity, this campaign dresser, and these dining chairs).  This paint is the best and makes such a nice, shiny finish that is really durable.  After 2 coats of white I used 2 coats of Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch in Gloss Clear.  I make sure to use an attachable comfort grip whenever I use spray paint that comes with a push button nozzle (like this top coat).  It makes it a whole lot more comfortable and your finger gets less tired.

Next, I shined the hardware that came with the dresser with Bar Keeper's Friend.  


I was missing 4 pieces so I used some glass and brass drawer pulls that I bought for another project.  I found these at Hobby Lobby.

I now have these on the top two drawers, and while I like them, I prefer the ring pulls on this dresser.  I've searched eBay for 4 exact replacement pulls but haven't found them.  Nicole (@_grits on Instagram) told me about these ring pulls from Lee Valley so one day I may just replace all 10 of the pulls.  Until then, I'm pretty content with how it looks now.  The mismatched hardware makes it look a little more whimsical, don't you think?





When I put the drawers back into the body of the dresser I made sure to use some WD-40 on the slides.  That helped with any sticking or squeaking that comes with an old dresser.  I also lined the drawers to make the inside of the drawers a little more fresh.  Oh and when you take drawers out of a dresser make sure you label the back (A,B,C, etc.) so that you put them back in the right spots.  Little things like that make a big difference in how the drawers function, especially when you're working with an old piece of furniture.


I use this dresser every single day and I absolutely love it.  I love that it was cheap, that it's unique, and that it now has a story (and some of my elbow grease) behind it.  Hopefully it survives our move this summer!

Sources:

rug | heels (I wore these with my wedding dress!) | basket (Target, old) | sheepskin | lamp (Target, old)  | jars and bust (vintage) 


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