Life With Littles | The Problem of Only Two Hands & A Giveaway

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

When One Duo reached out to me about collaborating, I emailed them back right away and said YES! It was almost as if they had read my mind; just the day before Joe and I were discussing our dissatisfaction with the diaper bags we've used over the past two years. I've only ever had a bag that rests on my shoulder and slides down when I reach to pick up a kid or the carseat. I've never loved the designs. They never stand upright. And there are never, ever enough pockets. My diaper bag inevitably becomes my purse, and I need pockets (and I can't stand digging for things I NEED right, lipstick, etc.). And since having two kids, I've realized that only having two hands is really limiting, and having to hold a bag on my shoulder with one hand means that I only have one hand left, and I have two kids. Having my hands free to take care of my babes (push a stroller/hold a hand/carry a baby) is essential!

Enter the ONE DUO. One Duo makes the minimalist backpack diaper bag of my dreams. One Duo is owned by a husband-wife team (heart) who decided to design the bag that answered their need as new parents who couldn't find a suitable, well-designed bag.

One Duo bags come in fantastic colors and two different sizes. The silver pearl bag featured in this post is their smaller style (and it's plenty roomy enough for this almost-hoarder who likes to have everything on hand "just in case"). The larger grey bag (pictured on the blanket above) has more pockets, and is a bit larger all-around. It can even double as a weekender bag for the littles. The bags easily attach to a stroller with clips. And they're so dang attractive (I've actually used mine as a bag when I wasn't toting littles around). Not only does this bag free my hands, but it evenly distributes the weight so I'm not constantly switching the bag between shoulders! There are pockets for barrettes and hair ties, pockets for lipstick, pockets for gum, pockets for water bottles, pockets for diapers and wipes, etc. And an added bonus: a changing pad is included and it fits perfectly into the front pocket.

Needless to say, I'm a fan of One Duo, and I want everyone I know to have one of these backpacks, and especially all my mama friends. So, I've partnered with One Duo and we're giving away a bag to two lucky readers! One person will win a small bag, and one will win a large bag, each in the winner's color preference! AND everyone who enters the giveaway will receive a $20 gift card to spend at One Duo!

The giveaway is Pinterest-based, so follow these simple instructions:
1. Follow One Duo on Pinterest
2. Repin an image from this board
3. Repin the giveaway image and comment on the giveaway image on Pinterest and tell them what bag you want to win
4. Follow the link on the giveaway image and enter your email address so they can 1. send you your $20 gift card and 2. notify you if you're a winner!

Best of luck! <3

Wildflower Picking in Upstate NY

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My family (all 6 siblings, their spouses & children, and my mama) vacationed up in the Hudson Valley this past week, and it was glorious! We stayed in  a completely restored 1813 farmhouse from airbnb that I found through And North. The home was decorated impeccably, was awesomely spacious, and welcomed us with open arms. We hardly wanted to leave the house, but we made ourselves get out and explore (a bit). I shared about our experiences on Instagram with #adailyadventure (my newest hashtag, since everyone has to have a travel hashtag, apparently).

The property we stayed on was next to rolling fields of corn, had a stunning view of the Catskills, and was full of wildflowers, which were growing alongside the creek. My sweet sister Mariah agreed to go on a flower picking adventure with me (she picked, I took photos). We put together a simple bouquet that adorned the bookshelf for the week. The simplicity of wildflowers fascinates me. They're so easily overlooked, often growing on the side of the road and considered weeds. But they're beautiful, and I love this time of year when they're most prolific. Enjoy these photos! More photos of our week upstate coming soon!

Recipe | Egg Cups with Tomato, Spring Onions, and Feta

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I'm taking over the Whole Foods Market Friendship Heights Instagram this week & sharing some of our go-to back-to-school lunches & snacks. I've shared our favorite avocado sandwich with Ezekiel bread, a simple pasta salad, and today, I'm sharing the recipe for these delicious eggs cups! Perfect for breakfast or lunch, or the best of both worlds: brunch. They're so easy to make (more hands-off than omelets or scrambled eggs), and each "cup" has 1 egg + fillings, which is the perfect serving for Zoe. An adult can reheat (or enjoy cool) 2 or 3 for a fully satisfying lunch. Today, we paired ours with some dry toasted Ezekiel tortillas - Zoe LOVES these toasted tortillas and thinks they're chips (fine by me).

makes six 1-egg servings

6 eggs
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 heirloom tomato, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
Splash of half & half
Herbs de provence sea salt
Cava's crazy feta (or any other cheese topping)

Gently sauté onions in coconut oil, then add chopped tomatoes and a bit of the herbs de provence sea salt, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Lightly grease (with butter or coconut oil) muffin tin, then cover bottom of tins with tomato & onion mixture. 

In separate bowl, beat together eggs, half & half, and a sprinkle of herbs de provence sea salt. Pour into muffin tin over tomato mixture (it should spread evenly throughout all 6 cups). 

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and dollop with crazy feta. Allow to cool slightly. Enjoy warm, or let cool completely, wrap, refrigerate, and eat for lunch! 


Friday, August 14, 2015

Over the next three months, I'll be participating in a once-a-month REAL TALK REAL MOMS blog series with a handful of powerhouse mama bloggers & small business owners. It's been so fun to watch these ladies become moms over the past several years; I'm such a fan of these ladies, and I respect and admire them so very much. Being a mom myself, I know how difficult it is to publish blogs posts, get showered, feed kids, make coffee, go grocery shopping, manage a business, etc. I cannot wait to read the stories, advice, and encouragement from these mamas. 

This month, we're talking sleep. For those of you who are just tuning in, I'm mama to two little girls: Zoe and Naomi, 26 and 8 months, respectively. I almost feel guilty admitting this, but both of my girls have been great, happy sleepers. Both girls slept through the night consistently around 1 1/2 months, and it's been wonderful :) Both girls took a paci (Naomi later switched to her thumb). 

I have a love-hate relationship with pacifiers. They work so well until they fall out and your babe wants it back but is too young to figure out how to put it back. Once Zoe would fall asleep, we'd actually pull her paci out of her mouth so that she didn't suck on it throughout the night or wake up wanting it. We found that this worked well, but involved a lot of involvement from us. We struggled with this paci-problem with Zoe until she was old enough to find/retrieve her paci, and then it was awesome. We decided to wean her from her paci when she was 18 months, and it was easier than I ever imagined. We simply cut an "x" into the tip of the paci so that when she sucked on it, there was no suction. She was so confused (and pointed and said "it's broke") but when she asked for her paci, we'd hand it to her, and after trying to suck, she just accepted the fact that her paci was close by. She held her paci and kept it close to her mouth for about 4 nights. After that, she didn't even ask for it. Cha-ching! 

Naomi sucked a paci until she was about 2 1/2 months and then magically she transitioned to her thumb (and now she has a favorite blankie, too...and it just melts my heart). I love love love having self-soothing-thumb-sucker. She is able to find that thumb so quickly and it helps her fall asleep on her own. Which leads me to self-soothing. Before having kids, I read somewhere that, just like adults wake up many times throughout the night and then go back to sleep, so do babies. And they just need to be taught how to go back to sleep. Taught that mommy won't come running at that first whimper, taught that the middle of the night isn't time for milky, taught to roll over and fall back asleep. I'm so thankful that I read this, because it's been my philosophy for the past 2+ years. 

For the first few months, our girls would sleep in a Moses basket right next to my side of the bed. I would nurse (in bed) throughout the night for the first few weeks and it was nice to have them so close by. Because I was sleeping so close to my girls, I learned to recognize their self-soothing noises. My natural tendency is to pick up a baby as soon as I hear that first peep. But nooooo. Let them figure out to get comfortable, snort a few times, and maybe reach down and stuff a paci back in their mouth. When nursing in the middle of the night, I tried not to let them fall asleep while nursing, but rather, put them down still awake so they could get to sleep on their own. During the day (and throughout the night for the first 2 weeks or so), I nursed by babies every 3 hours pretty much on the clock. After about 2-4 weeks, I switched to nursing them every 4 hours at night. After about one week of nursing every 4 hours, I'd let them sleep as long as they wanted without waking them to nurse (which tended to be about 5-6 hours of sleep for a week or so). Then, by about 1 1/2 months, they were sleeping for nice long stretches of 8-10 hours. 

I thought that having a good sleeper was completely by chance with Zoe, but now that Naomi is 8 months old and she's been a champion sleeper for 6 months now, I'm hoping that some of it has to do with our parenting style (but who really knows....only time/more kids will tell, hah).  

My current sleeping predicament: Zoe's been waking up around 4 AM almost every morning and coming straight into our room, wanting to sleep in our bed. It started when Joe was on a work trip and I loved it. And I kind of still love it (even though somehow she manages to take up 1/2 the bed with Joe and I each shoved on our sides to the outer fourths of the bed); it's such a precious time of sweet innocence, and I love hearing her door swing open and the pitter-patter of her feet running into our room, calling out "mama." But I'm scared this is going to turn into a bad habit. Any mamas been here with a toddler? What should I do? Should I stop this NOW (or yesterday)? Should I embrace it? HAAALP!

Now, time to talk about sleeping as a mom! I love sleep and I've always been a napper. Life has changed a lot now that I have two kids (and I feel like I actually need those naps more than ever). Zoe is only taking one nap these days (in the late afternoon), and some days, I have to decide: do I want to take a nap (the answer is usually "yes") or should I do the laundry, make dinner, wash the pile of dishes, write a million emails, organize props, take a shower before Joe gets home, play with Naomi, etc. The struggle is real, folks. I'll be honest, there have been times where I shut our living room door (before Zoe figured out how to open doors), put on Robin Hood (her favorite movie), laid down on the couch, and tried to catch some z's. 

Don't forget to check out all the lovely mamas who are contributing to this new series:

Photos of baby Naomi by Sweet Root Village

Kinfolk Magazine Creative Collaborations Dinner - Washington, DC - Pt. 2

Monday, August 10, 2015

It seems that life is flying by extra fast these days. Maybe it's because I'm getting old (I'll be 29 in a few weeks). Maybe it's because I have two kids. Maybe it's just because it just is flying by.... Regardless, we're almost halfway through August, and summer is on its way out. We leave for vacation later this week. We're heading up to the Hudson Valley, near the Village of Saugerties. We found this restored 1800s farmhouse on airbnb, and we'll just be taking it easy for a week with my family, and I cannot wait to put up that out-of-office email reply. I'll be documenting our favorite restaurants, activities, etc. for And North, which will be fun! If you have a favorite destination near Saugerties, please suggest away!

Today I'm sharing the second batch of photos from the June Kinfolk Magazine Dinner at Dock 5 at Union Market. This dinner was extra was by far the largest long table dinner I've hosted (besides weddings, which are way different). The goal of the dinner was to foster collaboration, and I have to say, this goal was certainly accomplished! I worked with over 25 brands and individuals to produce this event. Not only did it bring together a quality group of partners, it also brought together nearly 60 creatives from the DC area (and beyond)...all of whom are eager to work with and collaborate with others. The entire dinner went off without a hitch (largely due to my friend Stephanie's angelic smile and willing heart), was simply perfect. Alone, I couldn't have done a fraction of what was done, thanks to all our partners. This will probably be my last Kinfolk Dinner, at least for a while. Working with Kinfolk Magazine the past two years had been such an incredibly rewarding experience, and my life's been so enriched from the friendships I've made, locally and globally! I'll try not to get too sentimental...

Today's post is dedicated to those who contributed food, drink, and goodies for our guests to take home. A dinner can be gorgeous, but let's face it, all that really matters is the food and drink (something I'm still trying to accept, as a stylist with a passion for table tops)! ;)

I was just ecstatic to work with Caitlin and Yi-Wah from Number 1 Sons. After an initial chat about the menu (seasonal) and type of dinner (long table, family style), they put together the most incredible, bursting with flavor summer menu, which included kimchi deviled eggs & oysters with chopped pickles for starters. For dinner, we had roast pig with butter and herbs, peas & carrots with butter and pickle brine, sauerkraut pasta salad with pig skin & sauerkraut over a bed of herbs, a farmer salad, and a Number 1 Mom salad with make fruit and vegetables with a soy sauce vinaigrette. For dessert, we had two scrumptious cakes with June market fruit. Not only did Caitlin & Yi-Wah dream up this menu, but they cooked it ALL, and then served nearly 80 folks. And to top it all off, they didn't stop smiling the entire evening.

Couldn't have done this dinner without our drink partners! I was so excited to work with almost every type of drink company! We worked with Eric at Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits for our fine wine & spirits, and with We Mix Drinks for bartending. Lyarnna, our bartender, was so fun and helpful, and everyone loved her French 75 and Blueberry Gin Sour. We also had JRINK Juicery serving juice shots (thanks Shizu and Danni). The JRINK ladies also donated handmade ceramic shot glasses/mini bowls. I have 4 in my kitchen and they're my favorite...I use them ALL the time. Madcap Coffee making pour overs and Japanese iced coffees for everyone. Trevor was awesome and Madcap Coffee is now on my must-have-in-kitchen-at-all-times list.

In addition to that yummy dinner menu, we had baguettes, pan brie, and brioche buns provided by Melinda from Knead & Know and gluten free chia seed buns baked by Emily of Goldilocks Goodies. The Farm at Sunnyside provided the farmer salad and herbs, Spring Gap Mountain Creamery provided fresh cheeses, Spring Valley provided the June fruit, Path Valley Coop our piggies, and EcoFriendly Foods provided the bacon.

Our goodie bag and takeaway sponsors were hands down some of my favorite sponsors ever. First, Maptote donated the bags for everyone to take home. The tote bags are screenprinted (in Brooklyn), and featured an awesome hand drawn map of Washington, DC. Then, my dear friend (and new mama) Carolyn Misterek of Matine gave handcrafted leather business card holders for each guest. These are stunning and so carefully made. A new friend - Marcella Kriebel - donated gorgeous prints of her watercolor work, and sent a bunch of both her Garden Harvest and Farmers Market prints. Natural Linens provided organic linen reusable tea bags. I love drinking loose leaf tea, especially now that fall is approaching, and these bags make it such an enjoyable & beautiful process. And along with donating the fabric for our gorgeous dark grey napkins, Nicole from Finch Sewing Studio donated little sewing kits for each attendee.

To close out the evening, my friend Andy Zipf serenaded us with his angelic voice and acoustic guitar. I've known Andy since 2008 and we've worked together in the past. Andy's all about the community that music fosters, and he loves house shows. We have something in the works for this fall, and I'm really excited!

As you can see, it really was a collaborative effort to bring this beautiful dinner to fruition. It was the sum total of lots and lots and lots of little (and big) pieces. And it's the people who really made it happen. The people who contributed their creative talent and the people who came to meet others, for the community, and for the shared experience. I'm so grateful for you all! Don't be strangers! Let's work together again soon. Or just grab coffee. :)

And now I'm leaving you with a gorgeous video of our evening (you can watch here or on vimeo), filmed by Joy Jaynes of Mornings Like These, with music and editing by Thomas Bridgwood of Point68Seconds


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