Thursday, June 30, 2011
I grabbed a few pairs and tried them on at Gap today.
1969 Boyfriend Cutoff Shorts
These were actually super cute, I was pleasantly surprised! Alas, they were out of them in my size.
Cuffed Shorts in Brown Mustard
I actually was only attracted to these because of the color. They had them styled rolled up in the store display and I wasn't really digging that look. I tried them on and unrolled them and, presto, NON JACKASS-Y SHORTS! I bought these.
Clean Front Bermuda Shorts
I actually really liked these . . . I just couldn't figure out where I'd wear them. The cut and fabric were dressy, but they were . . . shorts? Totally adorbs, if you've can think of somewhere to wear them, but they stayed behind in the dressing room because I couldn't.
All in all, a shockingly very successful shorts finding mission. Huzzah, Gap!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
1) Maybelline Super Stay 24 Hour Lip Color (here in Constant Cocoa) Apply it first so it can dry while you do the rest of your makeup.
2)Osea Hydrating Oil and Osea Eye Gel Serum Great de-puffer for the eyes and the hydrating oil, despite how it may sound, sinks right in and leaves no greasy residue.
3)Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF 70 100% grease free sunblock that sinks right in and leaves nothing behind to interfere with makeup application.
4) Too Faced Primed and Poreless Primer Grips makeup like superglue and has just enough tint to even out my skin tone.
5) Benefit Boi-ing Concelaer Under the eyes and around the nose
6) Bare Minerals Foundation applied on any blemishes or marks with this concealer brush I prefer a cream concealer texture under my eyes, but I find this powder lasts longer everywhere else.
7) Nars Blush
8) Bare Minerals Mineral Veil
9) Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eyeshadow primer with out the goopy, thick primer feel
10) Bare Minerals Eye Color (here in Celestine) Which, being a loose powder, is the perfect texture to cling to the primer.
11) Good old Maybelline Brow Pencil
12) Maybelline Define A Lash Waterproof Mascara (in black)
13) Last step . . . your lip color should be dry by now, so apply the included topcoat.
Step 14 would be gather up you makeup pots and brushes from where said toddler has stashed them (i.e., under the bed, atop the bookcase, in his diaper, etc.)
*Of course, I didn't have time to dry my hair too before taking this picture. I'm no miracle worker.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I've gotten shots in low light that I'd never have gotten with my prior camera:
I've taken some amazing portraits of Rhys:
And of grown ups too!:
I still have a lot of learning to do . . . I'd imagine I'll never be "done" learning about this camera. I understand the three basic "things I can tinker with" . . . ISO, aperture and shutter speed. I understand what changing any of those three variables will do to a picture. The thing that is going to take years is learning how to balance those three factors in order to get the best possible result.
For now, though, I think my next lesson should be "Always wipe the baby's nose before pulling out the camera."
Friday, June 24, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I always knew I'd reach this point someday. The urgency stems from the fact that I feel I'm not getting the kinds of shots I want of Rhys lately. Sure, I have some amazing photos of him outside, sitting relatively still in full sun. But there are other potentially killer shots, indoors or when he's moving around a lot, that I miss entirely. My father in law was over with his (admittedly, $1k) camera (with a $1k lens) and I took a few shots of Rhys playing. Guys? I got some AMAZING ones. With a perfectly blurred background and Rhys gorgeously in focus . . . and this was as he whipped his head around while sitting inside, out of the sun.
So, yeah, it is DSLR time.
I'm going to be learning on this camera so I'm looking into getting the Canon Rebel T3. I honestly don't want a bunch of fancy features to bog me down. It is my feeling that something basic to learn on will suit my purposes best. I can invest in lenses as I go and then, at some point when I feel ready, I'll upgrade my camera body (and still be able to use all of my Canon lenses).
As for lenses, the kit lens is a decent basic, but I'll probably also be investing in a Canon EF 50mm f1.8 lens, since it comes highly recommended by everyone I've asked and the internet at large, and because it is a steal at around $120.
Remember how I've got those two Etsy shops? I'm going to need a macro at some point. Maybe not right away . . . I'll try taking Etsy photos with the kit lens and the 50mm 1.8 lens, but if I'm not satisfied with those, I intend to buy this here macro lens. Or maybe a set of macro filters?
I'm going to add a shutter remote, preferably wireless, and a nice padded bag to my initial package as well.
Do you have a DSLR? Which one? What do you think of my choices above? I feel like ever since I decided this must be done, I've been wading around in technical info that I don't really understand, so I'd love some informed input!
Monday, June 20, 2011
However! I'm a mom now. And mom-ing leaves precious little time for lipstick applying. So, with great trepidation, I browsed the shelves of Rite-Aid for something that might have a bit more staying power than my usual gloss. I picked up two tubes of Maybelline's Super Stay 24 Hour Lipcolor, chosen mostly because it was cheap to begin with (around $10) and on sale for buy one get one half off. I bought one tube in Always Heather, a vaguely metallic mauve and one tube in Constant Cocoa, a slightly glittery nude spice.
I fully expected this review to read something along the lines of "24 hours? Pshaw! More like 2 1/2!", but, guys? This stuff works. Observe:
Clockwise from upper left: a) freshly applied in the morning, b) after tea and breakfast, d) after work, lunch and several glasses of water and e) at night, right before I REMOVED IT WITH MAKEUP REMOVER before bed.
My mind was absolutely blown. Had I left the lipstick on overnight, I'm fairly certain traces of it would've been visible in the morning, truly earning the "24 hour" name. Was there fading? Sure! I can live with a little fading over the course of a full day, though.
It has to be said that I have used this on other days and had less stellar results. Meaning I've had the lipstick last 6 hours instead of 12+. I think it is key that your lips be completely clean and dry when you apply the lipcolor (no balm underneath!) and that you let the color dry fully, 3-4 minutes, before applying the topcoat.
Also, unless you like a matte look, you'll be reapplying that topcoat a few times throughout the day. On the day of the photos above, I used the included topcoat (which is nice) as well as any old balm I had lying around. I'm sure the "any old lipbalm" technique isn't endorsed by Maybelline, but I have to say it works . . . and using the balms I've got strategically stashed in my car, purse, desk, etc. saved me from having to schlep around a tube of lipcolor all day.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Leapfrog Chat and Count Phone
I can hand Rhys this phone and he'll spend at least half our (long ass) drive home from daycare and work pushing buttons and jabbering. Sometimes he's so busy playing that I get to listen to something other than one of our Yo Gabs CDs. Two gold stars.
Leapfrog Cook and Play Potsy
My only complaint about this toy is that the volume is too low. When have you ever heard a parent complain that a toy isn't loud enough? NEVER, right? This toy is so hilarious that I wish it were louder. It says and sings "on/off" and "open/closed" when the lid is removed and replaced. It also satisfies Rhys' obsession with taking things out of containers and putting things back into containers.
Radio Flyer Red Sport Coupe
Worth every red cent we spent on it (and currently on sale for about $20 less than we paid). This car has off the charts play value. We use it as a "stroller" on weekend morning coffee runs; Rhys pushes it around the house to practice walking; it has a working horn, three song "radio", turning key, left and right blinkers, removable gas cap and a functional door, the handle telescopes so adults or kids can push it and, when Rhys is a bit older, he'll be able to push it Flintstones style with his feet. It looks pretty rad sitting in our living room, to boot.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
* Giving Rhys a bath one random night and having the wind knocked out of me by how beautiful he looked with his hair slicked back, jabbering, smiling and splashing.
* The night we realized Rhys knew what a "disco ball" was, and that he could point to his when asked.
* Another mom gasping and asking "Did he just say hi to me???" when a 7 1/2 month old Rhys greeted her at a Kindermusik class.
* 2 month old Rhys, smiling at me while nursing in the baby care room at Disney's California Adventure, and both of us getting the giggles.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Now that Mr.IWANTYOURLETTUCE refuses to be spoonfed, packing his lunches for daycare has been a little bit trickier. Once I realized my weekly prep / freeze / defrost plan was shot, I had a bit of a panic. Rhys is a fantastic eater and will try anything, but I still have concerns about his chewing ability (he's got one molar, which emerged less than a week ago) and whether he's really eating enough if he misses his mouth 3/4 of the time.
Here's a typical day's packing:
a) Straw cup of water and 1/2 a homemade blueberry waffle (as a pre-breakfast, to entertain the monkey as he's getting dressed and being driven to daycare) (He also breastfeeds before we get out of bed every morning)
b) 2 cups of breast milk, 1 cup of whole cow's milk
c) Breakfast: Oatmeal mixed with applesauce, plain whole milk yogurt and cinnamon
d) Lunch: Mini pasta bowties with parmesan, butter, a bit of basil, steamed carrots and zucchini and halved kidney beans; a side of cubed mozzerella
e) Snack: A whole banana and 2 wheat crackers
Then dinner is whatever we're having. Favorites include sweet potato gnocchi and peas, ravioli and zucchini, stir fried tofu and veggies w/ brown rice, etc. And a boob. Or several, throughout the evening.
Rhys' other easy lunches inlcude: an avocado (to be cut into chunks at daycare) and a handful of black beans or spicy lentil and bean soup (homemade and with all the veg and beans cut small . . . I've been able to freeze portions of this, FTW!).
Other snacks include: cut up watermelon and blueberries, nutrigrain bars and yogurt (which he likes enough to consent to having it spoon fed to him).
Do you have any other toddler finger-food meal ideas? I would LOVE input!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I've put together two more which I intend to list at Relic. They're a bit of a departure from my normal fare, but I've listed vaguely similar items in the past and I'm confident that any customer who may find me searching for antique bits and bobs to wear is the kind of girl who would wear a fascinator.
I'd love to hear what you think of these!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
It came as a surprise to me, however, that king sized beds take KING SIZED PILLOWS. So, aside from buying new bed pillows, we had to replace our decorative pillows because although our previous pillows were rad and still coordinated with our new black bedding and grey headboard, they now looked shrimpy and inappropriate against their new king sized backdrop.
We saw some gorgeous linen canvas pillows at HD Buttercup, printed with scenes of Paris and we got to talking about how we'd like to try printing some of our own photos on fabric in a black and white, antiqued style to make pillows. I considered laser printing directly to fabric, Citra-Solv, and iron on transfers but in the end, good old fashioned laziness won out and I decided the easiest way to accomplish getting my photos onto a piece of fabric was to pay someone else to put them there.
Enter Spoonflower. I used Photoshop to doctor a few favorite vacation photos and to arrange them on a 58"x36" document (the size of one yard of Spoonflower's fabric). For $27, Spoonflower printed a yard of linen-cotton canvas and, while the wait time for my fabric seemed interminable, I was so thrilled with it once it arrived that I promptly dropped all airs of having been put out by the wait.
With some careful measuring and Photoshopping, I was able to squeeze every last inch out of my yard of printed fabric. For a mere $27, I yielded enough to make these 3 large decorative pillows (which I backed with plain black canvas) as well as SEVEN makeup bags and coin purses, all double sided with photos.
I'm thrilled with how they turned out! I can't wait to use Spoonflower's printing service again, although next time I'll order at least two months in advance to accommodate Spoonflower's turnaround time (I know, two months, but what can I say? They're popular for a reason!)
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
"Hi" was followed in short order by "Uh-oh", "Mama", "Dada", "Dis (this)", "I dis", "I got", and "Ball"
Rhys added "Wow", "Bye" and "Na" for nursing (which I think is a riff on the fact that I refer to nursing as sNAcks, which term I established consciously early on in order to avoid teaching him "boob"). And then came the dreaded "No", often use to great effect in combination with "Dis", as in "Dis! Dis! Dis! No, no, no!!! DIS!!!!!" (accompanied by furious pointing):
After "No" we got a few verbs: "Nigh-nigh" and "Dance", which Rhys both says and obviously (adorably) understands:
In the last few weeks Rhys has started naming objects: "Bu" for book, "Wa Wa" for water, "Bac" for Chewbacca (Yep). I'm told he says "Ba Ba" for his sippy cup at daycare (but I never hear it at home because he has "Na" instead when he's with me). He also says "Bub-ball" for bubbles:
Rhys' evolution into toddlerhood has been absolutely fascinating to watch. He learns something new every day and I'm positive that he understands even more than I think he does (and I think he understands quite a lot!). He is my little sponge and I'm so proud of his wordy accomplishments!
Monday, June 13, 2011
I use this bead knotting tool, from Fire Mountain Gems which works like a charm. I've found that Purely Silk thread in size D and these needles work well with most of my pearls. Purely Silk is a DREAM to work with as compared to carded silk cord with included beading needles (which is all my local shops seem to sell. Boo!!!). The carded silk is twisted, making it snag when I try to glide a knots towards a pearl. If you're interested in trying this, get the Purely Silk! Trust me!
Fire Mountain's video instructions for the Bead Knotter are here. Once I watched the video a few times, I was prepared to take on my first strand, which came together simply and easily. My first strand was passable. My second was close to perfect. Knotting pearls is a simple craft in which you can achieve stellar results with a minimal materials investment. The possibilities are endless. I've already applied the technique using coral instead of pearls . . . and I'm getting ready to try it out using teeny metallic crystals interspersed with pearls.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
It all started innocently enough, as these things do. Rhys had his first birthday and we invited over 60 people to his party. Most of them brought gifts! Which means I wrote many, many thank you notes on Rhys' behalf. I typically find thank you note cards on Etsy . . . I enjoy shopping for them, sending unique cards and supporting a wide variety of Etsy sellers in the process (as I very rarely order from the same card maker twice).
I sent a slew of thank you notes around the time of our wedding and another slew around the time of Rhys' birth. Finding myself with another long list of notes to write, I decided it was high time I learned to make my own cards. I figured I'd buy a few rubber stamps, a few ink pads and some blank cards and call it a day.
Which is exactly what I did . . . at first. My initial investment included two sets of steampunk inspired stamps, an ornate alphabet stamp set, an acyrlic block, a few packs of blank cards and black and gold ink pads.
Then I started thinking how it might be nice to have a few more stamp designs . . . and a few more ink colors . . .
Then I saw a few Tim Holtz Distress Ink demo videos and it was downhill from there.
I got into ink blending! I got into distressing! I got into embossing!
And, in similar circumstances to those under which I opened my first Etsy shop, in short order I got carried away and was making more than I could reasonably use. So, I decided to (once again!) open up a shop to sell off my excess in hopes of making enough to fund my supply purchases.
I've just had my first sale at Steamworks . . . and got to do the first sale happy dance all over again!!! I'm thrilled with how the shop looks and excited about the possibility of running a second business!
Friday, June 10, 2011
Rhys' interest in reading is back in these last few months, and I couldn't be happier about it! These are some of our current favorites:
The Game of Finger Worms by Herve Tullet
This book is so! much! fun! You put your fingers through holes in the book in order to animate the "worms". If I read it once, Rhys insists on hearing it at least twice more.
Also: Press Here by Herve Tullet
Dwell Studio: Good Morning, Toucan
A sweet, simple lift the flap book that we read most mornings when Rhys wakes up. Rhys gets a kick out of moving the flaps himself and I like the pretty, modern illustrations.
Also: Dwell Studio: Goodnight, Owl
Star Wars ABC
My husband is a child of the 70s, so we push the Star Wars stuff, natch. This large board book has great pictures and is Jar Jar-free!
Also: Dr. Seuss's ABC
What are your favorite baby or kids books?
Rhys has been mimicing words pretty well for several months now, but even I was pretty impressed with his Moo-ing.
Fast forward to last Sunday night, two and a half weeks after we'd been given the puzzle. While walking to a restaurant, the puzzle nowhere in sight (obvioulsy), my mom asks Rhys "What does a sheep say?" and he says "Baa!". I ask what a cow says and he gets that too, "Moo!".
So, a) He knows "baa" and "moo", b) he understands "sheep" and "cow", c) I really need to stop swearing in front of him and d) does anyone have a phone number for Mensa?
Thursday, June 9, 2011
So, last night after the Meyers went to sleep, I thought I'd see if I might be able to whip up something more appropriate. I've experimented with making feather barettes and distressed flowers in the past, and I have a huge stash of vintage buttons, lots with rhinestones. I pulled out the above along with a candle, some hot glue and felt and started playing around. Within about 45 mintues I had this!:
I just love it! It is smaller and more subltle, but filled with cool details like vintage rhinestones, peacock plumes and three shades of black and metallic satin in the flowers. I can't wait to wear it on Friday!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
You guys? It worked SO MUCH BETTER than I'd anticipated. Home made waffles are bigger than the store bought variety, but once broken in half they fit perfectly both in freezer bags for storage and in our toaster. Half a waffle is a baby friendly portion, so I dare say these home made waffles work BETTER for us than the store bought variety. They're free from weird ingredients and preservatives, they're tastier than store bought waffles, I feel better about serving them to Rhys and, in a neat twist of fate, they taste even BETTER having been frozen and toasted than they did the day they were made.
I use the following recipe, the basic waffle recipe that came with my waffle iron, with my changes marked with **:
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
*1/2 tsp vanilla*
*1/2 tsp cinnamon*
*1/4 cup blueberries*
- Cook 1/4 cup at a time on level 4 1/2
- Yields about 10-12 waffles
- Place whole waffles on a plate with plastic wrap in between waffles and freeze until hard (overnight)
- Break frozen waffles in half and store in freezer bags
- Toast waffle halves (1 minute, 45 seconds in my toaster)
Now, I'm not suggesting that I plan to make all of Rhys' waffles from scratch now. I'm a realist. But I will say that on that one weekend a month when we do make waffles from scratch, I'll be making a full batch (or even a batch and a half) and freezing the leftovers.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The pearls are Swarovski in a color called Powdered Almond . . . a beige-y nude. There are three sizes of pearls and the cluster elements, which I made by hand, are dotted with super tiny (3mm!) Swarovski crystal bicones in a shade called Golden Shadow . . . clear and not yellow, not orange . . . more a true beige-y gold. I'm pleased as punch with how they turned out.
Since I've been very interested in cardmaking lately, my SIL, ever accomodating of my crafty impulses, agreed to let me make tags and wrap the necklaces up for her to give to her bridesmaids. I made the tags below using Tim Holtz Distress Inks in Black Soot and Broken China (both mixed with water for a marbled texure and buffed on for a distressed edge), silver ink and a Tim Holtz swirl stamp and each bridesmaid's name embossed in gold on top. There are four layers of ink on each tag . . . they're like little, individual art projects!
Here's what the packages looked like, all wrapped up and ready to give:
I can't wait to see how the necklaces look on everyone in a few days!
Monday, June 6, 2011
In the first front zipper compartment, we keep small things that we're likely to reach for over and over, a) a small pack of wipes (I've actually had this one for months, I keep refilling it from my big packs), b) a packet of Advil (23lb 13 month old = back pain for mama!), c) gum, d) a mini tube of Aquaphor (is there anything Aquaphor can't fix?) and e) a tube of baby sunblock (I love this Coppertone stuff because it is clear and it glides on easily):
The larger front zipper compartment behind the first compartment is designed to hold pens and whatnot. It has a place for my sunglasses, which is handy, and a hook for my keys (when I've got them). This is where I keep my personal, purse type stuff: f) wallet, g) sunglasses, and the following items which I leave in the backpack at all times, so I don't have to worry about packing them each and every time we're going out for the day: h) glasses cleaning cloth, i) hair bands and clips, j) concealer, k) lip gloss and l) roll on perfume (lavender vanilla, which doubles as aromatherapy for a fussy baby)
The uppermost, and smallest small compartment is where we keep Rhys' food: m) a few squeezeable fruits and/or veggies, n) a toddler fork and spoon set (we like the First Years Take and Toss ones, because it is no big deal if we lose them or decide to toss them for whatever reason), o) a few disposable bibs, p) a covered bowl filled with snacks (Rhys' current assortment: a few Miltons crackers, an apple Nutri-Grain bar and either goldfish crackers or cheerios filling up the remaining space). Also, q) (not pictured) Boobs (mine). Boobs are an important part of our minimal schlepping plan.
The next compartment is the narrow large compartment. I use that for: r) A few toys (varying cast of characters, always including a few baby rings to use to hook toys on to high chairs or on to the straps of my Ergo carrier.), s) A sweatshirt for Rhys (and one for me, if necessary), t) a baseball hat for Rhys (or a knit hat, if it is cold) and u) our camera (not pictured, for obvious reasons).
Then the final, biggest compartment contains v) our diaper kit (more on that in a sec), w) a cloth diaper (awesome for cleaning up messes), x) a nursing cover (My thoughts on nursing covers can be found here. In short: I'm not a huge fan and I only use one under one, specific circumstance (while nursing Rhys in the Ergo). I carry one in the backpack because, in the event I find myself in close quarters with random people and I can't sit down to nurse (i.e., in lines at Disneyland), I find the cover helpful. In other words, I carry a nursing cover for the express purpose of using in lines at Disneyland. What can I say? It happens more than you might expect. ) and y) a bottle of water. The biggest compartment is actually big enough, even fully packed, to fit our folded up Ergo carrier as well, which is very handy now that Rhys is becoming more mobile:
Our final player is z) a flip top straw cup of water for the Meyers, contained in a side pocket of the backpack:
Our diaper kit is the Skip Hop Pronto which I adore and can't say enough good things about. It has become my go to shower gift. It has enough space for all of our diapering essentials (even a spare outfit!), a nice sized stash of wipes and FIVE diapers. It includes a huge changing pad (with a padded area for Rhys' head), it comes in adorable colors and (key point) it can be opened and closed with one hand. I love that I don't have to carry my whole diaper bag into a restroom and either struggle to fit it on the changing table or put it down on a questionable bathroom floor. I simply pull my diaper kit out of the backpack, loop the wrist strap around my wrist, pick up my monkey and go.
. . . 7) a spare outfit and 8) the included wipes container, filled with wipes from our big container . . .
. . . and a stash of rarely used items in the front zipper pocket: 9) infant Tylenol, 10) a Tide pen, 11) individually wrapped boogie wipes, 12) Q-tips, 13) a Band Aid, 14) a wash cloth, 15) teething drops and 16) A teeny tube of Lansinoh. We also have a cute little hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works looped to our diaper kit (and a second one looped to our Ergo).
We also keep a stash of things in our car as backup: diapers, baggies, wipes, hand sanitizer, an ear thermometer, saline and a Nose Frida, teething drops, infant Tylenol and Advil, toys, a blanket, jackets for everyone, a stack of books and snacks.
Looking over the list all spelled out this way, I can see we have a few redundancies (do I really need a washcloth AND a cloth diaper?), but overall I think we've worked out a tightly edited packing list that keeps us in wipes and baby spoons without making us feel like pack mules.
If you've read this far, I've got your medal right here. Thanks for letting me share!
How do you pack your baby bag or purse? Any tips or tricks you're proud of?