Staying Stylish in Suburbia

Valentine's Day Inspired Pillows!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pillow love






























They say home is where the heart is. Spread the love around your home with these sweet Valentine's Day inspired pillows. I can't even decide which one I like best. I want them all!!! Which one is your favorite?

Slide show



Undies with a sense of humor

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


This card made me laugh, probably because it's so damn true. Once you find true love it becomes way less about dressing to impress in the pantie department. I like the idea of infusing a little humor into your delicates though. It lightens the mood and takes some of the emphasis off of being super sexy around Valentines Day. These undies with a message from Urban Outfitters  are especially fun. They look comfortable, they're pretty, and they make me giggle. What do you think? xoxo








DIY Valentine's Day Photo Shoot

Monday, February 10, 2014

I recently had the opportunity to do a super fun Valentine's Day photo shoot with the girls and Leah Marsh Photography. The idea was to demonstrate how easy it can be to set up a photo shoot at home. Anyone can do it. Leah should know, she started her photography business out of her home and on a budget too. Here are some of the behind the scene photos from our session with her.

BEHIND THE SCENES


The kitty wanted in on some of the pictures

 Leah was given this old chest and decided to put it to good use as a background prop.


We used a simple table with a faux fur rug and a homemade banner for most of our other shots. 

For our main props we had pink and red candy from the dollar store. The jars were bought on amazon. Simple and cheap!

 You can also use a simple blanket as a backdrop.  

We took advantage of the great natural light from her living room window. 


At Home Photo Shoot Advice From Leah Marsh Photography

What are the main elements you need to pull off a great V-Day photo shoot at home?
Good light, a simple set, a camera, and your kids

What about lighting? 
Look around your house and try to figure out what rooms get the most natural light. Put your “set” as close as you can to the window. If you have harsh shadows, you can put a shear curtain over the window to diffuse the light. Stay away from flash if you can, they can cast harsh shadows too.

What else do you think about when you’re setting up a shot?
I try to keep everything simple. If you add to much, it can distract from the picture.

Are there particular angles that work best?
I think any angle can work, it’s really boils down to personal preference. Give yourself 5 minutes at shoot away. Try overhead, front, side, and get down on their level. 

What about the background?
Make sure your background is clear of clutter. Take a few minutes and clean up the area BEFORE you ask your kids to come in the room. You only have a small “window” of time to work with when it comes to kids.

Where do you get your props, background and rugs/ground covers?
I find items at a number of places. I have ordered some from Amazon, Etsy, and Ebay. I have also picked up a lot of antique finds at local antique and consignment stores. 

Do you have any tips for simple ways to get a similar look using materials found around the house?
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to achieve a “professional” look. Use what you have. A sheet or curtain would work great as a backdrop. You can also find inexpensive items at your local dollar store. If you’re lucky enough to have a few friends that have some cool antique items, you can always ask if you can borrow them. 

How do I get my kids to be still for the shoot? Any specific tips or tricks you can give us when taking pictures of babies and toddlers? 
Let’s face it, babies and toddlers are not going to sit still for you. When you are photographing them, try to have everything ready before you begin. Do not force them to sit still or they will rebel, start crying, and everyone will end up unhappy. Instead, be playful with them. Play peak-a-boo, make silly noises, anything to get their attention. Also, set a time limit. When you reach it, put your camera away. If you keep going after the “breaking point” they will be less likely to let your photograph them in the future. 

Do I need a fancy camera for this kind of shoot?
No, any camera will work. You can even use an iPhone. If you are using an iPhone and have exposure issues, double tap on the face before you take the picture. This will tell your iPhone to expose on the face and will lighten your picture.

What do you think about when you’re setting up a shot?
My mind is always going a thousand miles a minute. I’m thinking about what angle will look best and how the shadows are going to fall on my subject. I’m am also thinking about my next shot. The faster I go, the happier the kids.

Are there particular angles that work best with kids?
I like to get down on their level. Another good trick is to have your kids sit down near a window and look up at you. Their eyes will usually catch the sun and they’ll sparkle.

Any other general words of advice or suggestions?
Practice, practice, practice. The more you shoot, the better you will get. Remember, you don’t have to pose your kids in every shot, a lot of times, the candid ones turn out the best.

The Final Photos








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The Lady behind the biz

Leah Marsh is a photographer based in Northern, VA. She enjoys taking unique photographs, capturing the personality and spirit of her clients. She specializes in children and families. 


Special Offer

If you are local to Northern, VA head on over to Leah Marsh Photography's Facebook page to take advantage of an amazing giveaway and special offer going on right now!!! 



Gnocchi with sweet corn and arugula in cream sauce

Friday, February 7, 2014


 
When I first saw this recipe I had to give it a try. Let's just say I'm glad I did. There is so much to love about this one. The soft gnocchi (potato pasta) mixed with the sweet crutch of the corn and tender spice of the arugula all drizzled in cream sauce. It's a killer combination that sounds fancy but is super easy to make. Give it a try this weekend and tell me what you think! xo

Ingredients

2       ears of corn
1       pound shelf-stable potato gnocchi
3/4    cup half-and-half or light
1       3 ounce package cream cheese, cut up
1/2    teaspoon each salt, garlic powder and dried oregano
1/4    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3       cups of fresh arugula
         crushed red pepper to test (optional)



Cooking Instructions


Cook corn by boiling in salted water until tender (no more than 7 min). Then drain.

cut corn and separate into kernels.

Cook gnocchi according to package instructions. The basic concept is to pour gnocchi in salted boiling water and wait until pasta rises to top before draining. That part is kinda fun to watch. :)

Combine cooked corn kernels and pasta 



For the cream sauce combine half-and-half, cream cheese, garlic powder, oregano, red pepper and salt to taste. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. You can also add a little of the pasta water to thin it out a bit if needed. 

Combine gnocchi, sweet corn, cream sauce and arugula.

ENJOY!



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Why two kids is the right number for us

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We recently decided that Maslynn is going to be our last baby. If you ask most people, they have an idea about the number of kids they want to have, if any. What works for one family might not be right for another. It's all about making a decision based on what feels best for your particular wants and needs. Then again sometimes it's less about a decision and more of a big ol' surprise. Either way it all tends to work out in the end. That being said, there are so many reasons why it makes sense for us to stop at two. Here are just a few...


Pregnancy ain't my thang 

Kudos to those who find pregnancy to be a mystical, magical experience. I wish I could join that club but I can't. The adjectives I would use to describe being with child are more like f*cking stressful and crazy uncomfortable. I'm already an anxious person and there are just so many things to worry about when you're growing a life. We have two perfectly healthy little girls now. Why tempt fate thrice? Also, my body is just now beginning to shrink down to it's normal size again. Call me crazy but I don't really want to go back to feeling like waddling blob that has to pee every five seconds and spoons a pillow instead of my husband at night. Also, I like wine.

Money can't buy you love but it can pay for college

With two kids not only will we be able to help them out more with college but we will also be better set up to provide them with experiences like travel. I'm no math whiz but four plane tickets are cheaper than five. What about summer camps? What about extra curricular activities? If one of my daughters tells me she wants to be a broadway singer and needs a vocal coach then I want to be able to afford that for her. If the other one tells me she wants to be an astronaut then space camp it is. Basically I'd like to be able to give them what they need without it completely wiping us out financially.

Booty wiping be damned 

We are finally getting this potty training thing down with Esmae. That doesn't mean my booty wiping days are over though. Oh no. It simply means that the whole operation has shifted over to the commode. Not to mention Maslynn's diaper days have only just begun. I figure I have at least four more years ahead of me if we stop with these two. I don't think I have more than that in me. 

Because babies and toddlers can't white water raft

There are so many things I'd like to be able to do with our daughters. Simple things like camping or even watching a movie in a theatre. All of those things come with the next stage of childhood though. You can't very well take a six month old white water rafting or expect a three year old to sit through the ballet. I also look forward to having more time to grow my blog and follow my own aspirations. Don't get me wrong I LOVE having little babies but I'm also looking forward to the next stage in their childhoods.

Big talk

Having said all that, I look at Maslynn now with her big gummy smile and her first two teeth poking though. It makes me teary to think that she will be our last little one. And don't even get me started on Esmae. She has become such a little girl all of a sudden. Yesterday on the way to preschool she told me she wanted me to go back to the hospital and bring her back another baby but this time she wanted a boy. I kid you not. What was I supposed to say to that!? It's bitter-sweet. Part of me wants to freeze time and have them stay just like they are right now forever. But then Esmae throws a tantrum and Maslynn spits up all over me and I'm jerked back to reality. That's the thing about parenthood though. It's so full of conflicting feelings. Every single stage is precious, precisely because it's so fleeting. No matter how many children we have there will come a time when we have to watch our youngest grow out of babyhood, toddlerhood and childhood. So for us, two makes just makes sense...now watch me get pregnant and have to eat my words.


What about you? What's your "perfect" number?






DIY "Spruced" up grocery store roses

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Quick fix

Okay so here's the deal. I love fresh flowers. Who doesn't, right!? But I can't afford to go to a florist every week. The grocery store is always an option, but lets be honest, their bouquets aren't exactly inspired. Not to worry though. I have an easy, affordable solution for creating a beautiful flower arrangement on the cheap. They're perfect for this time of year too, with combined elements of both winter and spring. Here's all you'll need to make it happen..

1.

Buy a bouquet of grocery store roses. I got these for 9.99 at Harris Teeter


2.

Strip the roses of their leaves.


3.

Pick out a vase and cut stems to fit accordingly.


4.

Go outside and pick a bunch of "spruce" or evergreen branches from your back yard or wherever they happen to be found. (I actually snipped these from the bushes in front of our community clubhouse. I figured they needed pruning anyways.)


5.

Arrange evergreen branches with roses in the vase.


6.

Take a moment to stop and smell the roses!





The perfect gift

This bouquet would also make a great valentines gift. Add a little love not and some chocolate and you're good to go. 









Valentine's Day Stationery Giveaway!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Superb in the Burbs is teaming up with Tabibi Design to do a sweetheart of a Valentine's Day Giveaway! Enter to win this adorable letterpress stationey just in time to write all your V-day love notes. We will be selecting two lucky winners for this raffle. Follow these simple instructions to be entered to win one of two packs of 6 letterpress (I Love You More Than Cake) stationery cards.


Instructions

  1. Head on over to Tabibi Design to like their FB page. Leave them a quick message saying Happy Valentines Day using the hashtag #stationerygiveaway
  2. Head over to Superb in the Burbs FB page. Like our page (if you haven't already done so) and leave a comment naming the person you are most excited to send this card to, along with the same hashtag. For example,  My boyfriend or my sister #stationerygiveaway.





Meet the lady behind the biz

Tina Tabibi, the creative mind behind Tabibi Design.
Tabibi Design is a small, highly experienced, strategic and creative freelance design studio with a focus on creating successful brands and messaging through strategic thinking, identity development, logos, and marketing collateral for print and digital platforms.
Looking at Tina's work it's easy to see that she has a major crush on typography. Her love for striking patterns, creating silhouettes and using bright colors is also evident in her clever designs. In her free time Tina is a runner, coffee addict and adoring mama to a Boston Terrier named Rocco that rules her instagram feed.

Need a Design Studio to get the job done? Look no further folks.Tabibi Design can create innovative brands and collateral for individuals and businesses. Tina works with a variety of clients including bloggers, associations, nonprofits, small businesses, publishing media companies and individuals. 

Visit her Esty shop for more adorable cards and stationary.

Giveaway Guidelines

Enter to win from February 3rd-5th. At the end of day three (2/5/14) at midnight (EST) the contest will come to a close. We will not accept any submissions after that time. The winner will be announced the following day on 2/6/14. Two participants will be selected at random to receive a pack of letterpress stationery cards. Watch for the announcement on my Facebook page.

Restrictions

This contest is restricted to those living in the United States and Canada.