Category Archives: life

baby / tots creativity life

Keeping a Baby Journal

When I was pregnant Mike brought home a pretty little journal for me to document my pregnancy and Ava’s childhood.  I write in it as if I am writing to her and will give it to her to read when she is older.

my journal

I must admit that there are a lot more entries from when I was pregnant than since Ava was born … I had more time back then!  I write in it honestly and with an open heart about all of the laughs and frustrations and everything inbetween.

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I like journals with a leather cover, as they seem to stand the tests of time.  This suede wrap journal from Kate’s Paperie is hand crafted in Italy and I just love the color options! Fill up the pages with tales of morning sickness and interrupted sleep … oh and of course first words, steps, and smiles.

katespaperiewrapjournalThis delightful “Smile” journal by Jenni Bick comes in yellow, black, pink, and green and can be personalized [embossed]!

smilejournaljennibick

I also came across a great article from Quinn Creative on making your own journal – tons of links!  Get out that pen and start writing!! XO.

baby / tots life

MOM = Me Only More

The company I had been working for closed its doors in February 2008.  In March, I received an unexpected offer for what would turn out to be the most challenging and rewarding job I have ever had – motherhood.

After the initial shock wore off, I became obsessed with two things – cleaning the apartment and gathering as much information as possible about what was going to happen to my body.  In my new germ free environment, I sat transfixed in front of my laptop for countless hours learning terms I had never heard of before … meconium, colostrum, and [dare I mention it?] perineal massage.  I watched birthing videos with my mouth agape in horror and cringed while reading an article titled “Things That Will Come Out of Your Body”.  I also poured over baby names and was in awe at what was happening inside my womb [thanks to weekly email updates!].  And the best part of the online pregnancy experience …. being able to ask all those questions you are too embarrassed to ask in person.

In addition to all of my questions and concerns about the physical elements of pregnancy, I had concerns about the emotional side as well.  What would happen to me?  Would giving birth mean the death of my former self? Don’t get me wrong, I was super excited to become a mom.  I just wanted to be sure that my identity wasn’t going to be lost when we decided I would not be going back to work.  I didn’t know what being a Stay At Home Mom would do to my creativity, my sanity, or my social life.

Writing about this now, it sounds kind of selfish, but I assure you that’s not where I was coming from … I was about to become a mother for the first time and sometimes, the uncertainty that comes with all of that responsibility can be overwhelming.  And that’s okay.  The good news is that Ava is eight months old now and if anything, I am a new and improved version of the pre-baby me [although my “skinny jeans” might disagree].  I feel more creative than ever and each day brings new milestones, new joys, and new ideas to keep the balance.  For every sacrifice there is fulfillment.  Instead of singing in a rock band, I now write children’s songs.  Instead of writing bios and press releases, I write blog posts and am working on a children’s book.  I still have my independence.  I just have to be a bit more imaginative in how I exhibit and exercise it.   XO.

me & ava

cooking fashion life

At Home Beauty Recipes

Not too long ago, just getting the chance to take a shower was a luxury for me.  Now that Ava is almost sleeping through the night I have reinstated my evening bathtime, but it’s still fairly difficult to get myself dressed and looking pretty in the mornings.  I have simplified my hair and make-up routines – hair up, dab of foundation, sweep of blush and eyeshadow, mascara, lip gloss [at lightning speed], and I’m ready to go.  That’s all fine and dandy, but every now and then I still need to feel like a girl and do girly things … like put a moisturizing mask on my face and paint my nails or style my hair or treat my skin to a lovely, scented, exfoliating scrub down.  What’s great is that many of these beauty treatments are really easy to make at home for so much less than what you would pay in the store … and they are all natural! So put the kids to bed or have your hubby take them out for an afternoon and take some time to make yourself feel pretty!!

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baby / tots cooking creativity decor fashion life

Birthdays and Things to Come

Thursday was my birthday [Happy Birthday to ME!].  Another year older and almost eight months into my first year as a mom.  The day started with a couple of iced coffees and a trip to the playground before Mike had to go to work.  I received a flower delivery from my mom and gramma in the afternoon and then Mike came home early so we could go out for a nice dinner at Walter Foods.  Filet mignon and wine.  After we put Ava to bed, Mike brought out my birthday cake.  He chose a flourless chocolate cake [tortino di cioccolata] from the award winning Grandaisy Bakery in Soho that was DELICIOUS.  I also got to do a bit of birthday shopping this weekend.  This was probably one of my quietest birthdays [I’ve been known to celebrate loudly with lots of friends and wine] and definitely one of the best.

This week is going to be jammed packed with tips and finds! Tomorrow I’ll be sharing all my latest baby obsessions and Wednesday we’ll be focusing on getting your little ones to eat their vegetables.  On Thursday, I’ll be posting more stylish maternity clothes [as this has been one of my more popular posts] and options for what to wear after your bundle of joy arrives.  And on Friday I’ll share some beauty recipes you can easily make at home instead of paying for pricy store bought treatments.  I’m also working on some more interviews with cool and interesting chicks for later in the month and starting next week, Mondays will be a new series titled “Wedding Bells”!  Lots to look forward to, so be sure to keep checking back!  Thanks to all of you for making Furious Shirley such a success!  XO

creativity decor fashion life

If I Can’t Make It, Someone Can

When I was pregnant with Ava, I wanted to make something for her nursery … something that I could look at and say with pride, “I made that”.  I dusted off the box my [never before used] sewing machine was in, figured out how to thread it, and one week later I had made a tiny pillow.  It is a very cute pillow, but to this day the opening where I inserted the stuffing has never been stitched closed.  I never quite figured out how to do that, and so it has become a “one day I will finish that” project – like so many projects I have started or thought about starting.  I see certain handmade goods and think, “It would be so easy to make that myself”, and maybe it would be, but I lack the patience and dedication of true craftsmanship.   So, I will stick to admiring and buying the items other people make.  Handmade things have a certain special quality to them that mass produced goods lack … maybe it’s knowing that someone put their heart into it.  Big thanks to all the crafty artists out there and your truly inventive goods!  Speaking of inventive ….

Cork.  I have seen bulletin boards made out of it and photo frames from wine bottle corks, but never purses!  The cute wristlets by aptly named, Cork and Cotton, are so cool!

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Forks.  Artists have a way of looking at something ordinary and seeing something unexpected.  These fork easels by Dinner TIme Chimes are an excellent example of that.  Great for holding recipe cards or photos.

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Paper.  These works by Julene Harrison are amazing … and done BY HAND.  You can order custom paper cuts for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and just because at MadeByJulene.  Beautiful, intricate works of art made out of paper.  Bravo.

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Paperclips.  Now even your paperclips can have style – what a great idea!  These cute paper keepers by Jack and Jane are perfect for organizational freaks and come in sets of three with lots of patterns and colors to choose from.

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life

Give Me A Few Hours

I wasn’t able to get Thursday’s fashion post up … too busy being a mommy.  Ava is cutting another tooth and besides being cranky and tired, the only thing she wants to do is crawl on me.  Thank goodness Mike has today off to help wrangle the babers so I can get a few things accomplished.
Today isn’t the greatest day for me to post either since Mike being home on a weekday is such a rare occasion.  Maybe something will inspire me as we go about our day … playground and then into the city for a little shopping and lunch.  So, give me a few hours and let’s see what I can find ………

life

Daydreaming of Sleep

On Saturday we drove to the grocery mecca, Stew Leonard’s, for what turned out to be one of the most stressful shopping experiences of our lives.  The store itself was awesome [They make their own cheeses, breads, chips, pastries, etc., are stocked with fresh from the farm produce, bottle their own milk, and even have an ice cream shop and barbecue!] and it was humongous, but still not big enough for the massive crowds of people trying to maneuver their carts through the labyrinth aisles.  There was no strolling or taking time to look around … always someone right behind you asking you to pull out of the way or hurry up.  We didn’t even make it into the pantry or garden sections – we had reached the point of “let’s just go home”.  Regardless, we now have a packed refrigerator and freezer that should keep us well fed for a few weeks.  After putting all of the groceries away, we headed over to Lodge for a Bloody Mary and to visit with a few friends before calling it a day.

Yesterday, Mike finally got to put his Father’s Day gift [a grill] to use.  We packed up steaks and corn and potato salad and drove to Meadow Lake at Corona Park in Queens for our first family barbecue.  It was so nice relaxing on the blankets … and Ava was the best – she was scared of the grass so she was content to sit and play and let mommy and daddy feast.  We got a bit turned around on the way home and what should have been a fifteen minute drive took over an hour, but we made it – stuffed and exhausted ….. which brings me to today’s topic – SLEEP.

Ah yes, SLEEP.  I can’t get enough of it – literally, so the zzz’s I do manage to squeeze in need to count.  These little sleepytime luxuries will help soothe you into a pampered slumber that will almost make you feel like you got eight hours of uninterrupted shut eye.  Oh how I miss those days…

Pop some soothing oils and calming scents into your bath with these fizzy Lavender Bath Bombs [handmade by Serendipity Soap Works in Colorado Springs], soak your overworked muscles [carrying a baby around can really do a number on your back!], and just sit back and soak it all away.

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After your bath, take care of those tired eyes with a rejuvinating cream like Temptress Rosewater Facial Cream by Hush Hush Essentials.  Their natural formula is vegan, paraben free, and gentle enough for those with sensitive skin.

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Now that you’re calm and well moisturized, slip your feet into a pair of soft, cushiony slippers like these Sporty Spa Thongs from Acorn.

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When it’s time to curl up under the covers for that tranquil, peace-filled sleep you’ve been dreaming of, slide a sleep mask over those weary eyes to help lull yourself to sleep.  I love this rainbow pattern from Bib Bon

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…and this polka dot mask from Handmade Classics with a color coordinated pouch is totally cute [and travel friendly!].

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Now you have everything you need to catch some well deserved rest … except maybe the time.  Ah………..

cooking creativity decor life

I’m Going on a Picnic and I’m Going to Take…

It is officially summertime!  Unfortunately, it rained most of the day here, but we didn’t let that put a damper on Mike’s first Father’s Day.  We hopped into the Jeep, and took off on one of our exploration trips, this time cruising through Long Island  – Babylon, Bayshore, Massapequa, etc.  All cute little shore towns with beaches, parks, ponds, and lakes that made us wish the weather were more cooperative so we could pull over and dine alfresco – picnic style.

I L O V E picnics.  There is a certain charm to sitting down on a blanket, enjoying the food, the company, and the surroundings.  I keep a throw blanket in Ava’s stroller and a ‘picnic kit’ in the car for impromptu moments.  And don’t let the weather spoil your plans … an indoor picnic can be just as fun.  Toss a blanket on the living room floor and picnic with the kids or wait until they are asleep and set the mood with a few candles and a bottle of wine for a romantic dinner and movie night.   On Wednesday, I will be spotlighting some great picnic recipes, but first here are a few essentials for your own ‘picnic kit’.

This cute handmade bag from Banana Barrel, unzips to reveal a colorful padded quilt – just fold it up and go!

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Add a touch of luxury to your next picnic with this gorgeous hand woven wool and mohair blanket by 40th Parallel … made with loving care on an eighty year old Draper Northrop Loom in Lancaster, PA.  [Click on image for their Etsy Store.]

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Instead of the usual paper and plastic, try these disposable bamboo plates and utensils from bambu.  They also have a great selection of everyday wares.

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This bright waterproof handwoven basket actually helps fight poverty!  It is a Fair Trade product, produced by Traidcraft … available at Oxfam.

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Or throw all of your picnic needs into this hand woven tote, made in Morocco by a Fair Trade artisan cooperative.  Available from World of Good.

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There, now you have the basics to have a good time … wherever your blanket lands!

life

Family Time – Be Back Soon

Just an FYI that I will be posting again by the end of the week.  I thought that having family in town would mean I would get a little bit of a break and be able to write and relax, but that has not been the case.  The babers is rather dependent on her mommy and is letting everyone know it.  Have a great week!  XO

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baby / tots life

Yum Yum Bananas

Yesterday was Ava’s sixth month check-up at the doctor.  17 pounds, 5 ounces, a little over 27 inches, and a normal sized head.  She is crawling, sitting up, and as of last weekend, standing up in her crib!  She also had to have two heart-wrenching shots.  I think they upset me more than they do her … she seems to be fine right now [squealing and climbing up my leg trying to get at my laptop while I sit on the floor and type].   The doctor also drew up a food plan for our little fatty patty.  Until about a month ago her diet solely consisted of breast milk and then we started introducing her to first foods like rice cereal, sweet potatoes, bananas, and peas once a day.  Now she gets to have two meals a day in addition to nursing and will soon move up to three meals and mixed foods.  Exciting stuff – you should see her wolf it down!  I had every intention of making all of my own baby food, but sometimes there just isn’t time so when we buy, we buy organic.  I have found a wonderful resource for when I do have the time to steam and mash that I will list later in this post.  And it’s not just about the food … now I get to buy cute bibs, spoons, bowls, sippy cups, etc.

This Spoon & Bowl set from Camden Rose comes in a neat little netted bag – perfect for gift giving!  They make some really great toys too and all of their products are certified non-toxic and made from natural materials.

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I love Squirt – the “baby food dispensing spoon” from Boon.  It is the perfect size for on the go mommies.  I fill mine up and toss it into a diaper bag pocket next to a fresh ice pack and out the door we go.

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If you do want to make your own baby food [and even if you don’t], you MUST visit WholesomeBabyFood.  This site is amazing and has more information than I could ever possibly absorb about making and storing baby food, allergies, nutrition, and so much more.

Dr. Susanna’s World Baby Foods are such a great idea!  Multicultrual [yes, you read that correctly] and organic baby food selections to start forming those little palates.  With flavors like “Tokyo Tum Tum”, “Sweetie Tahiti”, and “Lullaby Thai” your baby’s tastes buds will be going global.

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I also really like Homemade Baby baby food.  You can find it at Whole Foods [and several other grocery retailers – there is a store locator on their site] or order it online.  They use a “Fresh Chill” preparation method so the food is never frozen or jarred, just fresh and delicious.

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