Staying Stylish in Suburbia

Foodie Friday- Apricot & Sage Stuffed Chops

Friday, August 30, 2013

I don't know about you but I LOVE stuffing. Why wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy such a treat when you can savor this end of summer spin on things. I recently made this recipe for Apricot & Sage Stuffed Pork Chops for the fam. YUM!!! I only made a few adjustments. Mainly that I used fresh sage and I browned the pork chops on either side before placing them in the oven. It turned out delicious. Give it a try and happy Labor Day weekend everyone!!!

Missed Connections Illistrated

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I LOVE this! You may or may not know about the "missed connections" listings on craigslist. A place to post a moment shared between two people but never recognized. A glance or smile shared at a bus stop. A quick exchange with a woman in yellow rain boots at the dog park. A perceived spark with the man who helped you reach for the honey on the high shelf at the grocery store. It is a simple description of a shared moment. An opportunity lost when you wish you had said something but failed. Missed connections provides a second chance. A way reach out into cyberspace in an attempt to tap that person on the shoulder. You post a memory in the hopes that it wasn't all in your head. That the other person might be out there still thinking of you too. It is for the hopeless romantic, the silly optimist or the desperate stalker in all of us.

Inspired by these modern day love poems, artist Sophie Blackall has created a book of whimsical illustrations drawn with Chinese ink and watercolor. In it she captures the hopeful, hopeless and oftentimes humorous missed connection left online.

How about you? Have you ever had a missed connection? Would you ever consider posting it to the internet in the hopes of reconnecting?

Sunflower Season

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's officially sunflower season around here. Last week we drove a few miles down the road to a local farm where you can wonder through the rows and pick your own flowers. There were something like eleven varieties to choose from and Esmae had fun frolicking through the fields while I enjoyed cutting a bouquet to take home with us. Most of the flowers were taller than she was and the blooms were bigger than Maslynn's head.

Ladder Love

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I love the idea of having a simple ladder in the house as a beautiful yet practical piece to decorate with. I'm on the lookout for one to use for throw blankets in our living room. They are always ending up on the floor and a ladder to hang them on seems like the perfect solution.

This rustic reclaimed barn wood ladder is lovely and a great price.
This one from Pottery Barn is nice too but way more expensive.
I'm also considering going the e-Bay rout.

Here are just a few ideas that get me inspired. What do you think?

A place for towels in the bathroom 

A display knickknacks and artwork

A lovely addition to any entryway or hall

The perfect kitchen rack for pots and pans

A great DIY bookshelf

A stylish storage solution for blankets and throws

1. Source bathroom ladder
2. Source for Knickknack display
3. Source Hallway Shelf
4. Source kitchen rack 
5. Source DIY bookshelf
6. Source Living room throw shelf

Baby grunt-grunt and music making coffee

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Let's talk about things that go together well...

Summer and Swimming- YES!
White Chocolate and Pretzels- YES!
Hipsters and Beards-YES!
Newborns and Sleep- NOT SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Turns out our new baby is a grunter. As in she makes grunting noises a lot. Esmae has even given her a new nickname. She calls her baby grunt-grunt. Apparently this is somewhat common with newborns. I remember Esmae grunting a little bit when she first came home from the NICU but Mazzy takes it to a whole other level. You can here her little piglet sounds reverberating ALL NIGHT LONG! I spoke to our pediatrician and she said not to worry. There's nothing wrong with her and it will pass in time.

Meanwhile, although she sometimes sleeps for long stretches at night, it's hard for me to rest with the constant moans and groans. Most mamas will tell you that our ears are fine-tuned to pick up even the tiniest peep from our littles. Just as we are hardwired to want to sooth them whenever they stir. In this instance though there is nothing wrong with her and nothing I can do but lie there between nursing, desperate for sleep but unable to rest. In the mornings I feel like the walking dead. There's no rest for the weary though, especially when you have a toddler who is up and ready to hit the day running.

I find solace in the little things. The one cup of coffee I allow myself in the morning is HUGE. That bitter-sweet brew brings me back to life. A small reward for my nocturnal sufferings.

And speaking of coffee. I'm loving this video by sound designer and composer, Diego Stocco. Known for highlighting the musical quality in everyday things, this clip turns an ordinary cup of jo into an extraordinary auditory experience. Take a listen!?

Nesting Dolls

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Esmae has several white shadowbox shelves in her new big girl room. They came in three different sizes, small, medium and large. Now I'm on the hunt for something fun but decorative to put inside them. As a little girl I always loved playing with nesting dolls. I've been looking online at some my choices. What I found ranges from the cheaper DIY option to the higher end more expensive art pieces and back around again to the more middle ground crafty but costly sets. I like them all to be honest and whatever route I take I think it's a great way to put a modern spin on such a classic craft.

What do you think? Are you a fan?

Inexpensive DIY Babushkas 

One option is to buy these already shaped wooden doll forms and design your own little babushkas. It would be an especially fun project to do with an older kid. I found this five piece set for 15 dollars at IUsedToBeATree

Beautiful High Dollar Dolls

I love these of a kind hand painted works of art by Australian designer Melissa Gardner. Not your everyday tchotchke, they bring a bit of sophistication to the craft. These beauties sell out fast but you can find them on her online shop called Nushka

More Mid-Range Little Lovelies

These are probably my favorite options for a little girl's room. I found them online and although the prices range I think they are all sweet, fun and original. 

Modern Nesting Dolls

Baby Bubble- bits and pieces of my birth story

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

For those of you who haven't heard...She's here!!!

Maslynn Josephine Briggs made her way into the world on July 24th weighing in at 7lb 9oz. It was a tough delivery in some ways. She was head down but she was also face down instead of up, making it that much harder to push past the pelvic bone. Not fun and thoroughly exhausting but after 13 hours of labor and nearly two hours of active, painful pushing she finally emerged perfectly pink and pretty as could be.

Now that it's over I keep asking B to retell the story from his perspective. I was completely present for the entire birth but it was almost as if the work that I had to do to get her out was so intense that I wasn't aware of anything but the pushing and the contractions. I do remember getting upset with B over something silly at one point and snapping at him as I screamed through a contraction. Then I realized what I had done and yelled out that I couldn't believe I was acting like such a "f*cking cliche." Everyone had a good laugh at that. But it was true. There I was essentially acting out the birth scene from every movie ever made only this time it was real. It was me in the bed not some freshly make-up faced actress. I pushed so hard that I felt like eyeballs were popping out of my face. It wasn't pretty I can assure you of that. It was real pain, exhaustion, frustration, irritation and anticipation. I wish I could say that the whole thing was some beautiful, mystical experience. It wasn't. By the end I was running out of steam and afraid I wouldn't be able to get her out. The beauty came afterwards when all the work paid off with a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

It's funny what stands out. I also remember being really hungry during the entire process because they wouldn't let me have anything to eat or drink but ice chips and Popsicles. I kept day-dreaming out loud about eating donuts of all things. (I hadn't had a donut in years.) B promised to get me some as soon as the delivery was over and true to his word brought back a dozen while I was in recovery. Nothing like breastfeeding a newborn while eating a chocolate glazed donut. Endorphins and taste buds unite!!!

Those were the random bits and pieces I recall but the best moment by far was when they finally pulled her out and laid her on my chest. Seeing that little face... With both my daughters I just remember thinking, There you are. Of course it's you. It couldn't be anyone else but you. 

Then there was the moment that Esmae and Maslynn met for the first time. Having both my babies in the same place and seeing them as sisters side by side left me feeling complete in a way I hadn't been expecting. Like our little family had come full circle somehow.

Since we've been home my recovery has been surprisingly slow. I am still in a bit of pain but getting better all the time. B has been able to stay home from work to help out with things.  Esmae, after a few almost manic moments of regression, i.e. asking to be wrapped up like a baby in a blanket, has actually been adjusting quite well to all the changes.

It feels as though the four of us our in our own little bubble. Usually the restless one, I have been perfectly content these past two weeks to pass the days in a sleep deprived haze, healing from my battle scars. I am mesmerized by the almond shaped eyes, screech owl cries and baby head smell of my newborn while remaining thoroughly entertained by the delightful antics of my toddler. And least I forget I must also take a moment to say how grateful I am for the rock solid, sweet man I call a husband. Without whom I shudder to think how I would manage.

So life is good. Exhausting but good. I'm hoping to continue to heal physically and by the time I've mended I'll probably be chomping at the bit to get out with the girls and try my hand at mothering two out in the big ol' world. For now though I'm more than satisfied, soaking up the slow hours and enjoying this growing little family of mine tucked away in our own cozy corner.