Thursday, October 8, 2015

This month's REAL TALK REAL MOMs' topic is on travel and I think I'm more excited about reading all the other moms' posts on this topic than writing my own, haha! We haven't traveled a ton with our two girls yet (we really love being home), and when we have traveled, it's only been by car. We're planning a getaway this November, so I am going to soak up all the advice from all the seasoned traveling mamas participating in this series!

In our limited travel, we have learned a few tricks along the way. Some seem like common sense, but they're pretty tried and true for us!

1. Bring along as many comforts from home as you can/space allows. When littles are away from home and in strange settings, it's wise (especially for naps and bedtime) to surround them with familiar things. For Zoe, our two year old, we've actually been bringing her toddler bed mattress (we have a minivan, so it fits no problem!) and bringing it along. She LOVES sleeping on it in the airbnbs we've stayed in this year (she also loved sneaking into our bed around 3 am [see photo], like she recently started to do at home...we just let her while on vacation since it meant more sleep for everyone). She also has some animals that she loves to snuggle as she's falling asleep or as we're driving in the car. Both of our girls sleep with white noise, so we always travel with a fan to drown out any noise that may keep them from sleeping. The girls also love listening to music when falling asleep, so we bring along their music, too. Everyone knows that babies still need to sleep when on vacation.

2. Stay in a rental home/cabin/bnb & not a hotel, if you can. The more space we have, the better. If the girls are able to be in separate rooms (even if that means one of them in our room), they nap better. Having a kitchen, a room to play in, a yard to run around all makes vacation and travel so much easier! Hotel rooms are tricky because, unless you have joining room or a suite, everyone basically has to go to bed at the same time and there's usually no comfortable area for communal activities (if you're traveling with friends or family) in close proximity to where the kids are sleeping. Plus, rental homes always seem cleaner for crawling babies.

3. Bring snacks. Ever since Zoe started eating, I pretty much don't leave the house without snacks, and when we travel, there are several snack bags that make it into the car. There's nothing worse than a tired, hungry, or thirsty kid for whom you have to make several pit stops when you're trying to drive long distances. And when you're out doing things on vacation, babies need snacks then, too. Lots of snacks (raisins, lara bars, dried fruit, water bottles, etc) are always in my bags.

4. Bring some new (inexpensive) toys. Kids have short attention spans, and this is totally normal. We've found that new toys to play with are essential with if you're trying to do things (other than sit in your rental home) with kids on vacation. Mini animals, small books, anything that can easily fit in a stroller and is noiseless ;)

5. Travel in early morning or evening. Crying kids during a road trip is torture, so we try to leave at hours they would normally be sleeping. We do best early in the morning (rather than late at night when Joe and I struggle to stay awake ourselves)...we get the girls out of their beds, buckled into their carseats, and get a few hours out of the way before they'd even normally wake up.

6. Backpack for hands free. I've recently been converted to the wonderful world of backpack diaper bags. When you have two kids and are trying to easily travel and get around and put them in and out of strollers and buy things and change diapers and hold hands and not have your bag fall off your shoulder a million times, backpacks are the way to go! This one is my favorite; it has so many pockets to keep things organized, AND it has awesome stroller straps.

7. Reliable stroller & baby carrier. We're still working on finding the perfect double stroller, but we've found that places to put kids (other than holding them in your arms) while walking, hiking, shopping, etc., is so important! Parents get exhausted so easily if carrying babies, so we always have a stroller and a baby carrier. Naomi goes into the stroller until Zoe is tired of walking, and then into the stroller Zoe goes, and Naomi goes into the baby bjorn.

That's it for my tips & tricks for traveling with littles :) Be sure to check out all the other mamas in the series (I sure will be)!

Hilary /// Our Style Stories

An Autumn Table for Le Pain Quotidien x FEED Supper

Monday, October 5, 2015

When work involves planning an Autumn tablescape, floral arrangements with ALL local flowers, styling a communal table in a gorgeous setting, playing with a photographer I trust 1,000% to capture my work, and then attending a scrumptious dinner with my husband (and baby, who everyone welcomed in such a loving way I was BLOWN AWAY by their kindness). It's times like this that I like to sit back, try to soak everything in, and remind myself how blessed I am. And then I ask IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE?

The meal was rustic and everything a fall meal should be, but my absolute favorite part were the tartine appetizers (radishes and butter and bread and salt? yes, please!) and the pre-dinner seasonal cocktail: apple cider and champagne with star anise and lemon peel. So flavorful and simple to recreate!

It was really wonderful working with Le Pain Quotidien and FEED Projects on this recent supper. We raised over 9,000 meals for families in need across the US and around the world. Doing what I love & being part of something with so much impact was eye-opening and made me want to give back more often. I loved being able to bless others - others I may never meet - through my work! Really grateful to be a part! You can still attend one of these #LPQxFEED dinners - they're being hosted across the US through October 16 (and you can host your own FEED Supper if you miss one with Le Pain Quotidien).

For this tabletop, I was inspired by this photo on the FEED's instagram. The caption on this photo read, "We were inspired by the idea of journey - winding roads and nature walks. Colors like asphalt, wheat, indigo, and brick felt true to this story."

To illustrate this theme of a nature-filled journey, I incorporated 100% locally sourced, seasonal flowers & foliage (from Greenstone Fields & Fields of Flowers), and played up the wild, "foraged" look with lots of grasses and wispy foliage. The flowers that were available at my two favorite flower farms were utter perfection: cascading green amaranthus, opopeo brick-colored amaranthus, plumed celosia, sea oat, wild grasses, dahlias, cosmos, and some zinnias. I love the texture and variety of these seasonal arrangements! I was able to incorporate the journey theme again with asphalt-colored napkins, mini favor (herbs de provence sea salt wrapped in slate gray paper bags), and slate boards for the pillar candles & flowers to rest on.

FEED bags typically use gorgeous brass hardware, and I was able to pick up some brass D-rings at my local hardware store to serve as napkin rings. They added warmth and sophistication to the table settings. One of my favorite elements I was able to design for this gathering was the photo booth backdrop. I created a stencil out of the LPQxFEED logo and then painted it on a canvas drop cloth. Now I want to make stenciled back drops for everyone!

You can see more photos and read more about my styling philosophy on the Le Pain Quotidien blog today! 

Photography by Sweet Root Village for Le Pain Quotidien

Breakfast Club DC at Maketto with Noosa Yoghurt

Friday, October 2, 2015

Early this morning, I ventured out of the house while it was still dark & in the midst of the hurricane rains (with baby in tow) to head into DC for #BreakfastClubDC at Maketto. The event was put on by Emily with Trends on Trends and Noosa Yogurt. It was my first time visiting Maketto and oh boy, I'm in love. I cannot wait to visit again when it's not drizzling and 50 degrees outside, because I gotta experience that outdoor table!

It's such a treat to get to attend such a beautifully styled event with the tastiest of menus! I felt spoiled since I actually got to sit down & enjoy the meal (and I didn't style the table, either, *insert crying/laughing emoji*)! My two favorite menu items were the yoghurt bar and the leek buns. I could have eaten them both all day long (and might have eaten them breakfast long). <3 The yogurt is so incredibly velvety! Can't wait to pick some up at Whole Foods and share it with my yogurt-loving family. And leeks! All day err day, please.

I couldn't get enough of the table settings: vintage silver plated flatware (my favorite, obviously), custom-made Felt + Fat marbled(!) ceramic plates, and Samantha Verrone hand-dyed (WITH RUST) napkins. I was reallllly tempted to take my napkin + plate home with me but I decided I probably shouldn't...

I was so happy to see old friends and make new ones, too! I finally met Tamon and Kate, two "friends" I've been following on instagram for a while now! Crazy how the internet makes you feel like you know people but you've never met IRL.

I'm excited for the weekend & staying cozy inside with my family; stay safe and dry, friends!

Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting sponsored posts - it helps allow me to continue to produce quality content!  

A Fall Table for Edible DC

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's October! Fall has been here for a week, so it's definitely time to venture into the attic for sweaters and jackets and wool socks (I'm sure we'll have a few more scorching hot days as soon as I put our sandals and shorts away). This is my favorite time of year (although, I think I always say that at Spring, too). Not only do I get to layer my clothes and wear fuzzy socks 90% of the time, but we also get all the comforts of rustic fall cooking...roasted root vegetables, soups, stews, pumpkin spice lattes, etc. I know everyone is talking about fall food right now, so I'm's just too exciting! Melinda and I have been busy planning out the menu details for our upcoming retreat, The Alchemy of Hospitality, and let me tell you......if you're attending, GET READY for some killer menus!

These photos are from a shoot I styled for Edible DC last fall, with photography by the amazing Kate Headley. We gathered at a stunning historic home in Upperville, VA for a late fall feast. The menu was the real star of this table, I merely prepared the canvas for Chef Brad Walker's masterpieces. You can get all the recipes (flounder with blood orange beurre blanc, whole foie gras, red cabbage with butternut squash and caraway seeds, lard pie crust, and warm gin sling) at Edible DC.

It's currently cold & raining outside, but thankfully, we still have plenty of time to dine al fresco before it's too chilly. Especially if we light a small campfire to warm our fingers and toes. I'll be hosting at least one more front yard potluck before it's too late...who's coming?

Photography by Kate Headley for Edible DC, Styling by Rebecca Gallop

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