Okay, so, maybe not all day, but it was the varietal of the day for my sister’s bachelorette winery tour. I’m so glad that rosé is becoming somewhat en vogue, as I’ve been a fan ever since… More
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend!
Since having Tad, traveling home for holidays has been tough given that the drive home to North Carolina is no easy task with an infant and dog in tow. He did great on our trip back in February, but I was worried we wouldn’t be able to fit everyone in the car with all the stuff! Staying home in Alexandria has given us the chance to create some of our own family traditions. For me, those traditions mainly focus on activities that I grew up with associating with major holidays (trimming the tree, a special Easter outfit, etc.). For Ted, it means a meal.
The Easter Bunny stopped by our house and left a basket for Tad with new playsuits (here and here), an Easter bottle, and books including an old classic, Peter Cottontail, and a new favorite, I Love You Night and Day. Since I can’t sing, I found a recording of Peter Cottontail to help me read it to him last night, and Ted and I took turns reading I Love You Night and Day. It’s the sweetest!
After changing out of our church clothes, Ted started whipping up a classic Easter feast complete with glazed ham, green bean casserole, and sweet potato soufflé. We like to add a bit of bourbon to the glaze kit that comes with the ham, and I insist on sweet potato soufflé at Thanksgiving and Easter. Below is the recipe that my Mom’s family has been making for years from an old church cookbook.
Sweet Potato Soufflé
Mix together 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes, 1 cup white sugar (I reduce to half), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 1/3 tablespoons melted margarine (we use Kerrygold Irish butter instead), 2 eggs, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour mixture into a baking dish.
Chop together 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1 cup chopped pecans, 2 1/3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, and 2 cup of shredded coconut. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
I always love hearing about other family traditions. Do you do anything special to celebrate Easter?
Since I spend so much time at work or traveling for work events, I shop for pieces that easily transition from day to night. Simple sheath dresses are a great option that can be dressed up or down, but this statement necklace is truly a versatile piece that’s lots of fun! I was drawn to the mixed media design of the soft chiffon and leather petals against the heaver metal chain. The petals detach for a simple necklace that is office appropriate, and easily clip back on to transform a boring work ensemble to something with a little more interest for evening. Despite spending so much time in dressier, more polished outfits, my favorite way to wear it is dressed down with jeans and a jacket.
I pulled pieces that I already had in my closet to style this necklace, but love the current styles below to complete the look as well. The necklace, tote, and clutch are all available from Stella & Dot.
Tad and I spent last week visiting my parents in Pinehurst while Ted was out of town at a conference for work. I always enjoy going back home to North Carolina, and it was Tad’s first big trip. We mostly relaxed and stayed inside since it was cold and windy most of the week, but took advantage of a sunny day to go stroll around the village. There are always new shops and restaurants each time I go back. This time, my favorite new stop was the old post office, which has been converted into a library and coffee shop, The Roast Office. How clever! I couldn’t help but stop to try a local roast, and have my picture taken in front of their “you are brew-ti-ful” sign. Another favorite shop is The Gentleman’s Corner, which stocks Barbour, Vineyard Vines, and other Southern staple brands for men.
Avid golfer’s find no shortage of fun to be had in Pinehurst, but since I’m not too handy with a golf club, I’ve spent more time strolling the village streets than practicing my swing while in town. There are cooking classes, wine shops, boutiques, spas and more to enjoy if golf isn’t your thing. Though I stay with my parents when I visit, the Carolina Hotel would make for a lovely weekend escape, and if you’re not from the South, make sure to try some local barbecue and sweet tea while you’re in town!
Side note for new moms – our Nuna Mixx stroller handled well on the cobblestone terrain, and was light enough to lift up and down the few steps we encountered!
I don’t usually make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day because I don’t think you should need a holiday to do something nice for your sweetie or spend time together. Flowers and chocolate are always lovely to receive, whether from the swanky specialty shop or from the supermarket, but are even better when they are gifted “just because”. I like to pick out (or hint at) Valentine’s Day gifts that feel a little luxurious. This year my picks lend themselves to a relaxing night in – perhaps because staying in is less stressful than going out with a new baby.
1. As much as I love a dark nail color in the winter months, this light pink is classically feminine and pretty for a well manicured look since chips are less obvious. Would you expect any less from a Ciate collection that is a collaboration with Olivia Palermo?
2. Jo Malone became a household name when it was reported that Kate Middleton placed these candles in the bathrooms at her wedding. I’m a fan of anything in the Peony & Blush Suede collection.
3. These Sorrel boots are on the practical side of my gift list, but made the cut after realizing that my beloved metallic Hunter boots are not really snow-ready.
5. Nothing screams luxury more than silk pajamas. These even come in box that’s just beautiful!
6. Remember the royal blue satin pumps that every bride wished for thanks to Carrie Bradshaw? The classic Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Jeweled pump is now available in this shimmering neutral hue.
7. A wool or cashmere throw is perfect for cuddling up under with your sweetie to watch a good old Romantic Comedy, or by yourself to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the umpteenth time (champagne and sparkly earrings also recommended).
8. Would I buy a wine because the instagram account is so good? Maybe, but it helps that the wine is good too!
9. It’s possible that I’ve been watching too much Scandal lately to get caught up before the new episode this week, but I can’t stop thinking about how cozy Olivia Pope always looks in her oversized cashmere cardigans sipping red wine and noshing on popcorn. This cream cashmere robe is both indulgent and budget-friendly.
What are you hoping for this Valentine’s day?
We survived winter storm Jonas! Though we saw a couple of feet of snow, we were lucky not to lose power, and welcomed the sunny day today. After Ted helped the other guys in the neighborhood shovel our sidewalks and a path between our houses, we bundled up and headed out for a walk around the block. The snow was almost up to my knees, and Tad’s snowsuit was a tad too big, but we had fun anyway. (Hint to new mamas shopping for a snowsuit…Ralph Lauren sizes run quite large. This was a 3 month size, the smallest I could find, but it was still very large.) Hope everyone is staying safe and warm!
My jacket: Laundry by Shelli Segal
Boots: Hunter. If you live in Old Town, The Shoe Hive is offering a 30% discount on Hunter products tomorrow!
This snow day has me thinking about being cozied up in a nice, warm, bed. We recently purchased new bedroom furniture since we had been using a bedroom set that I picked out in high school. While it had seen us through many moves, it was time for something new, and I was able to pass it along to my little sister, who is starting off on her own. Quality furniture can be handed down, so I knew I wanted to invest in a new dresser and mirror for myself, and storage chest for Ted. I settled on the dresser and media chest from Bernhardt’s Salon Collection. Ironically, the ivory and gold is reminiscent of a bedroom set that my mother kept for years and years, despite me telling her it was outdated. The Salon Collection is a fresh take on a classic combo.
I would absolutely love to do wallpaper in our bedroom, but we plan on selling our house in the next couple of years, so I don’t think it’s worth the investment. Our walls are a custom grey-taupe, almost identical to Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter. I love textured neutrals, especially for investment pieces, but am looking for ways to inject a pop of color (though not too much since I still want it to be a tranquil and relaxing space). The color palette is shaping up to be cream, gold, and muted lavender to pick up on the bit of color in the rug. Would love ideas for art and other accents to bring the space to life, as well as bedding that feel hotel-worthy!
Dresser, Mirror, and Media Chest: Bernhardt Salon Collection
Jewelry Tree: Heather Gold Jewelry Tree
Bed: Safavieh Theron Bed
Before having Tad, I never imagined how anxious I would be about falling asleep at night. I had read about SIDS and felt comfortable that by creating a safe sleep environment and following other guidelines to minimize the risk that I would be able to sleep soundly knowing we had done all the right things. I saw an ad for the Owlet monitor a week or so before my due date and went ahead an ordered one thinking maybe we’ll use it, maybe we won’t and if not, at least I can return it. Unlike other sleep monitors that detect movement, the Owlet measures blood oxygen saturation and heart rate. Those are metrics that my data minded self liked the sound of, and sounded much more sensible than trying to use movement or lack thereof to tell you anything about your baby’s breathing. Why wouldn’t you just monitor that they are getting the oxygen they need and that their little hearts are beating…especially when the price tag is on par with all of the other monitors out there that are notorious for false alarms, or not working through double-sided mattresses?
Our first night home, I was so glad I had ordered it. Ted immediately took it out of the box and got the app set up on our phones as soon as I showed it to him. The monitoring system includes a base station and a monitor that is inserted into one of several different sized socks that the baby wears during the night. You can turn the monitor on and off from your phone, and see real-time data. An alarm also sounds if the heart rate or blood oxygen saturation falls out of range, or if the sock is too far from the base station. The alarms sound different so you know immediately what is happening – a nursery rhyme for too far away, and a typical alarm sound for worrisome data. The base station works without the app as well. You won’t see the actual numerical data, but the alarms will still sound and the green glow light will turn red.
One of the main criticisms is that if the baby is moving too much, the sensor can’t get a read. I’m okay with this because if my baby is moving, he is alive and at least trying to breathe, and the alarm will sound if he’s not getting enough oxygen. It also does not have a camera (as that is not the purpose), but it’s quite possible that a camera could be integrated on later models. Overall, I am so glad I bought the Owlet. It not only gives me peace of mind, but I have also learned Tad’s typical heart rate when he is awake, just nodding off, or in deep sleep so I know how soundly he is sleeping. If this all makes me a paranoid new mom, I’m okay with that. I’d rather be extra cautious than wish I had taken advantage of the technology available to me.
New (and seasoned) moms – what monitors are you using? Is anyone else using the Owlet?