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.


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]!


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.

creativity wedding

Wedding Place Cards & Favors – Buy Handmade or DIY

In my opinion weddings should be small, intimate gatherings as opposed to huge, lavish affairs.  I see no need to invite everyone you have ever met [ie – your fourth cousin and  the guy that grooms your dog].  I feel like the bigger the wedding, the more it becomes about the “Event” and less about the actual union of two people in love.  We are planning a small wedding full of people we cherish and lots of beautiful details.  “A Romantic Evening in the Country”.

My father passed away unexpectedly this past December, but I want to make sure he is remembered at the wedding.  He loved nature – especially pine trees.  The house is surrounded by them [literally].  So, in honor of his memory we will be handing out little seedling pines to our guests.  I found these online at Plant a Memory and they gave me a great idea.  We are going to purchase the pines from a local nursery and then make our own casings out of cardboard paper towel tubes.  We can design our own memorandum / how to plant sheets [on recycled paper] and tie them off with some raffia and maybe a few dried wildflowers.  I’m even thinking about decoupaging the tubes [sounds like a project for my mom and mother-in-law to be!  lol].


And keeping with the nature theme … check out these heart shaped bird seed favors by 2 Birds in Love.  Made with locally grown organic seed in Frankenmuth, Michigan.


I like the idea of adding some calligraphy to these origami paper cranes by Craftation and using them as place cards for your wedding guests.


I think these delicate paper globes are beautiful.  They would look great strung up mobile style or in a streamer line … and they would make great holiday ornaments too!  There’s something so whimsical and romantic about them.  Handmade by an elementary art teacher, Guy’s Art Gal.



If you’re crafty [or know someone who is], you can save money by making some of the wedding favors and decorations on your own.  You can’t buy the sentiment that personal touches add.  Mom & Carin, hope you have your glue guns ready!  XO


Fun with Food – Art, Books, and Gourmet White Castle

I’ve been a little behind on my posts the past week or so … so much going on!  Ava is approaching the nine month mark and is more active than ever [what on Earth will I do when she starts walking?!?!].  She loves pulling herself up on anything she can reach and her new favorite hobby is taking things out of boxes or off of shelves and throwing the contents onto the floor for me to pick up so she can do it all over again.  And we are planning a move in the next month or so [more details on that to come]!!  I’ve started several posts that I haven’t had the time [or energy] to finish, but today I am determined to hit that “publish” button!

It’s no secret that little ones love to play with their food, but now it seems to be all the rage for adults too.  The only difference is that we adults call it Art instead of a mess!

Brazilian artist, Vanessa Dualib, turned her passion for playing with food into a book rightfully titled, “Playing With Food”.  This book is fun to look at and although I don’t think it was her intention, gives me tons of ideas for getting kids to eat their vegetables!!



Doesn’t this look like a tasty tapas platter you might find at some popular eatery?


Guess again!  It’s all made from this fast food order from White Castle!!  For more gourmet fast food creations, check out Fancy Fast Food!


This installation by talented artist, Hanna Von Goeler, is titled “Biogen” and drew inspiration from the genetic engineering of tomatoes.  The wire sculpture is covered in dried tomato skins that have been sewn together.


And to round up today’s fun food post, I leave you with the twisted foodie blog, Insanewiches.  The title says it all [insane sandwiches].



Save the Date Cards, Cake Toppers, and Lollipop Button Bouquets!

You’ve finally found that special someone to spend the rest of your life with and now you are ready to make it official and share that love with your friends and family at the wedding ceremony you have been dreaming of since you were a little girl.  Planning a wedding can make finding your soul mate the easy part! There are so many details and costs can add up quickly, but don’t worry – it is possible to have your dream wedding without spending a fortune.  Over the next few weeks, I will be focusing on all those little things you can splurge on that put the spotlight on your personality and flare, as well as tips to stretch your budget without sacrificing the look you want.

If you choose to send out Save the Date cards, opt for something simple [save the formality for the formal invite].  I love the bright and elegant design of these cards by Tucci Paper Co.


And these scratch-off Save the Dates by Unless Someone Like You are soooo original and definitely something your guests will remember!


This Lollipop Button Bouquet by Jilliann’s is made from satin, tulle, and of course buttons!  I cannot imagine a cuter flower girl bouquet – adorable!!


And to finish up today’s post … a few of the best custom cake toppers I have seen.

Cake Topper by Dandelion Land


Cake Topper by Wedding Cake Toppers Studio



Turkey Dill Burgers

Sorry for the oh so less than perfect picture of this burger.  It was late, we were hungry, and I have horrible lighting in my kitchen.  That aside, these burgers are juicy and delicious.  I got the idea from an old Salmon Dill Burger recipe the chef at a restaurant I worked at fourteen years ago used to make.  I am not a salmon fan, but figured it would work well with turkey, since it’s sort of a “blank slate” meat.  To jazz it up even more, I mixed some capers into some light mayo to spread on the buns.  So Tasty!

turkey dill burger

To Make Turkey Dill Burgers … Mix a little salt, fresh ground black pepper, and about a teaspoon [maybe a little more depending on how many burgers you are making – I made two] of dried dill into your ground turkey breast.  I also mixed in some fresh chopped parsley, but I’ve also made them without it.  Shape into patties and place in hot skillet that has been sprayed with a hit of non-stick spray [we use organic canola].  Cook for about 7-10 minutes on each side over medium heat.  When the burgers are almost finished, melt a slice of swiss cheese on top.  We added lettuce, tomato, and caper mayo to our burgers too.  Quick, Easy, and Good for You!!  Enjoy!


Wedding Photography to Say “I Do” For

Yesterday was supposed to kick off my new Monday series on all things Wedding, but Mike’s sister is town for a visit and family time always trumps blogging time.  I have a few minutes this morning while Ava naps in her stroller, so I figured better late than never.

Now that I am starting to plan my own wedding, I will be sharing the journey with you and all of the inspiration and ideas I find along the way.  A picture is worth a thousand words … or thousands of dollars in the case of hiring a wedding photographer.  You want your special day to be perfect and so the memories you capture should be too.  Today’s wedding photography looks like it belongs in a fashion editorial spread for Vogue.  The images are striking and candid and really capture the personality of the bride and groom.

I love the creativity behind this polaroid shot by Heather Waraksa.  Heather is based in Brooklyn, NY, received her BFA in photography, and has shot editorials, fashion, and still life – and she brings all of that expertise with her when shooting weddings and engagements.  The shot of the bride toking a cigar is priceless!

heather waraksa bride groom polaroid


Fine Art photographer, Anna Kuperberg captured this beautiful veil shot and some fun loving personality with the smiley faced lollies.

anna kuperberg bride veil

anna kuperberg smiley face bride groom

Award winning photographers and husband and wife team, Prem and Cheridy Mukherjee of Arising Images are based in Michigan.  Their images are inspired by the rewards of bringing others joy and they do an amazing job at capturing those precious moments in a fun and inticing way.

arising images wedding

arising images bride groom kiss

Wedding photos hold so much sentimental value because they allow you to look back and share and experience those precious memories throughout the years.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the look you want … research local photographers and when you find one with a style that fits your needs [and budget] make sure you sit down and discuss exactly what you are looking for.  Let them know which images of theirs you really like and feel free to show them other images for inspirational examples.  Make sure you will have plenty of shots to select from and if you have a fun idea, let your photographer know.  It’s okay to collaborate with your wedding photographer … they have the creative vision and photography know-how, but it’s your personality that adds that extra touch.  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


Fried Green Tomato Recipes

This past weekend we woke up early, Mike and I had baked eggs w/ prosciutto and cheddar at Fabiane’s, Ava dined al fresco in the park, and we visited our local farmers’ markets in McCarren Park and DUMBO.  I think we are going to make this a regular thing – we had such a great time together and picked up some beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Mike and Ava at waterfront park in DUMBO

mike and ava DUMBO

Farmers’ Market fruits

market fruits

In addition to the mouth watering fruit, we brought home fresh baked whole wheat sourdough bread, parsley root [parsnips], sweet red onions, radishes, red tomatoes, and green tomatoes.  I was most excited to slice into those green tomatoes …

Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches

FGT Sandwich

Fried Green Tomatoes w/ Cucumber & Apple Slaw

FGT w/cucuappleslaw

To make Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches … Slice green tomato, lightly salt, dip into egg wash [1 beaten egg] and then into mixture of flour, bread crumbs, and black pepper.  Place tomatoes into a hot oil filled [I used canola oil and you do not want too much – tomatoes should NOT be covered by the oil] skillet to fry.  While the greenies are frying, slice up some red tomato, onion, fresh mozzarella, and bread.  Flip your green tomatoes when they are brown on one side.  Drizzle slices of bread with olive oil.  Remove the fried green tomatoes from the pan and place on paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil.  Layer bread with the ingredients, adding leaves of fresh basil along the way.  Eat.

To make Fried Green Tomatoes w/ Cucumber & Apple Slaw … Follow directions for fried green tomatoes above.  The slaw is easy.  Julienne two cucumbers and one apple.  Add a tablespoon or so of mayo, teaspoon of white [or apple cider] vinegar, a little bit of fresh black pepper, and some poppy seeds.  Toss together, chill, and serve on top of warm FGT.  Delicious!

baby / tots

Baby & Toddler Product Recalls – Is Your Child Safe?

We have been planning a trip back to Kansas to visit Mike’s family and lounge around in their pool for a weekend.  Everyone is really excited to see Ava floating around in her assortment of cuter than words swimsuits.  So, in preparation, Mike’s mom went out and purchased a little baby float with a sun shade adorably shaped like a crab.  We wanted to see what it looked like so we went online and typed in “crab baby float” and our search returned with “Aqua-Leisure Industries Recalls Inflatable Baby Floats Due to Drowing Hazard”!!  Apparently the leg straps in the seat that keep your baby afloat [the main purpose of the device] tear – causing your child to fall through into the water!  Now, why this product was still available on the shelves is beyond me, but it got me thinking. If we hadn’t gone online to see what this float looked like, we would have been putting our baby into it and endangering her life.  There has to be a better system for handling these recalls. What if you don’t have the internet?  What if you don’t check every product you buy for a recall?  What if it is recalled months after you buy it – are we expected to keep checking and checking and checking?  I guess the probelm begins at the source – how on earth did 15 different types of floatation devices that Aqua-Leisure made manage to make it past any sort of inspection when their one function fails????  Just a quick look on the internet revealed an alarming number of recalls for childrens’ products for July alone.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers information on recalls and safety standards [which in my opinion need to be higher].  If you have not already signed up for their product recall email subcription, I recommend doing it now.  When you find out about a recall, share the information with your family and friends – you never know when you might be saving someone’s life.


More Stylish Maternity Clothes! Go Ahead and GLOW!

I know I promised this post to show up over the weekend, but we had such great weather here and spent our days out and about enjoying Brooklyn and sharing some much coveted family time together.  Today was supposed to be the kick off of my Monday’s Wedding Bells series, but I am postponing it until next Monday to finally bring you more maternity fashions!  My previous post, “Stylish Maternity Clothes – They DO Exist” has been one of my most popular posts so hopefully all of you pregnant readers will love these selections just as much!

Who doesn’t love a great pair of skinny jeans?!  Don’t rule out this style trend just because you’re expecting and may not be feeling all that skinny.  This dark wash denim by Maternal America [found at Apple Seed Maternity & Baby Boutique] are great paired with a bright baby doll tank and heels or a simple tee and some flats for a more laid back look.


I love this nursing top [also by Maternal America]!  Pretty and practical and would go great with those skinny jeans!


I love white for summer.  It shows off your tan and just looks clean and crisp and well, summery!  I found this white linen skirt by Motherhood at EVO for only $19.98!


This nursing dress I found at Japanese Weekend is made from organic cotton and will look great with a short sleeved white jacket and pumps or a pair of metallic sandals and a chunky bracelet.


I found this Momzee tunic on sale at Nordstrom for only $39.90!  Pair it with skinny jeans or leggings and layer a few necklaces of varying lengths around your neck to complete the look.


Feel free to feel beautiful round the clock in these pajama and lingerie styles from Belabumbum.  This bamboo chemise is soft and sexy and totally eco friendly!


Feel sexy [yes, sexy!] when you put on your nursing bra and panties [now that’s something you don’t expect to hear!] with this lacy copacabana set.   XO!


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