Wednesday

What Do You Love About Blogs?

Yesterday afternoon I had a little bit of time to sit down and catch up on my favorite blogs. I don't know why, but something about a few of the posts I read yesterday just got me completely jazzed. I thought the posts were fun, not just fun ... but F-U-N, and it made me remember why I started reading blogs (and writing my own) in the first place.

You can't deny that there is something a little crazy about it. I know we are in the generation of technology overload and oversharing, so maybe it's not too far-fetched that we get so much pleasure out of sitting in front of our bright computers, peeking in on how others live their lives. But really. Let's all agree that it's a tad cuckoo.

Journelles Maison: Prints & Poster – DER Deko-Trend des Jahres!

When I first started reading blogs (NieNie Dialogues was the kickstarter blog for me), I was so enthralled with the world of blogging and the sort of subculture out there of people who put their lives -- or at least what they were willing to share -- online for all to witness.

I love finding a blogger whose writing style I really click with. Someone who makes me laugh -- and if their specialty is dry wit, then I'm even more sold. Someone with fun life experiences. Someone who isn't scared of a little self-depricating humor. Someone who can balance strength and confidence with vulnerability. Someone with meaningful photography in their posts (unlike this post, ahem). Someone who is optimistic. Someone who brings a unique perspective to the table.

So I think that's my "love list" when it comes to blogs. 

I'm curious, what do you love about blogs? What type of posts really speak to you? Do you remember the first blog you ever really got hooked into? 

Life is short. So, enjoy today! #quotes /// via http://maidensydney.blogspot.com.au/

Tuesday

Three Tuesday Loves

A gorgeous day here in Charlotte and not too much on the books for us. Camille and I will go pay a visit to a friend's new bakery -- today is their opening day and I couldn't be more excited for her! Opening a sweet shop has been a dream of hers for a long time coming, and she has turned that dream into a reality.

We are also visiting today with our doula and it will be our first time seeing her since Camille's birth. We can't wait to see her and catch up.

Three things I'm loving this Tuesday:


The Southerner's Handbook : A Guide to Living the Good Life
available here
My girlfriend gave me this book as a hostess gift and it is the best. All sort of tips and tricks for living "the good life." And darn cute as a coffee table book!

Jam Hands: Moist Pineapple Banana Bread

Pineapple Banana Bread
recipe here
This pineapple banana bread was SO delicious and, from the recipe, I made one large loaf and three mini loaves. Two of the mini-loaves went to friends and one went in our freezer. This will definitely be a recipe I will make again.



Essie Tart Deco Nail Polish
available here
Going out for a manicure isn't in the cards for me these days because I don't want Millie to be around those fumes just yet. I treated myself to a new Essie polish the other day -- Tart Deco. I'm in love with this pretty coral color!

Monday

Monday Musings

During my maternity leave, my mom has driven up to Charlotte one day a week to give me an extra set of hands. This has been absolutely invaluable ... and a lot of FUN. I have always appreciated her so much, but seeing her as a grandmother now, the way she loves Camille with her whole heart -- it is truly the best.

Her weekly visits are also a great time for me to get some errands done that are easier to do solo -- I've been to the doctor, eye doctor, and dentist, and this past Thursday I got my hair chopped!


The decision was made around 3am the night prior when we had a little spit-up-in-the-hair situation. No bueno. I had about four or five inches taken off, layers added too. It was a huge change from how long it was to begin with.


My hair inspiration was Sonja Morgan from Real Housewives of New York. She's such a hoot -- maybe my most favorite of the Housewives. And this season, her hair is ON POINT. I showed these two photos to my hair gal.



I love having shorter hair, and although I didn't think those few inches would make a big difference in styling time, they really do!

Saturday night Ian and I decided to throw a little caution to the wind and we had a date nite. Camille was with the best babysitter ever, I'll give you one guess. :) We saw Ray Lamontagne in concert and loved, loved, loved the show. It was a sit-down concert which was awesome. Not to sound old, but that was the best. Isn't it a little crazy that we all buy seats at concerts and then stand in front of them the whole time?

Yep, I'm old.



Although he didn't play our wedding first dance song, You Are The Best Thing, he put on quite a show! We missed our Millie but loved the time together as a couple.

Time for us to head out to Baby Power Hour this morning so mama can get her sweat on. Happy Monday!

Friday

Humor Me ... Baby Pictures

Over the past week, Camille has just been deliciously cute -- please humor me while I share a few photos here. She's getting these pudgy cheeks that I could just kiss all day. And I do. 









Storytime at our local library has been our new favorite activity. We sing songs and clap and blow bubbles. She is just getting to an age where she is starting to take it all in and it is adorable!

Happy Friday to you and I hope the weekend is a lovely one! :)



Thursday

Our Decision To Use A Doula


I was over halfway through my pregnancy when I traveled for work to Vermont to visit a client. My contact there is a female that I'm close enough to that we can work hard during the day together and then kick back in the evenings over dinner and have "real talk."

Since she is a mother herself, a lot of our conversation this past trip revolved around pregnancy and childbirth. I was so interested to hear about her experience, which included the use of a doula. I was somewhat familiar with the concept but spent a good amount of time researching doulas and reaching out to some local ones in Charlotte.

Here's why we ended up choosing to use a doula:

+ We were complete amateurs. First time parents with no births attended, ever. We loved the idea of the hand-holding we would get through a process that can frankly be overwhelming.

+ We loved the statistics: evidence-based research shows that doula-attended births are shorter, have fewer complications, are associated with more positive birth experiences, and reduce the risk of emergency c-sections, forceps, vaccuums, etc.

+ I wasn't closed to the idea of a medication-free birth, and I knew the use of a doula could be extra helpful in laboring unmedicated. I truly believe that most hospital nursing staff can also provide great support, but in my own time of laboring, there were several times that the nurses needed to be tending to other patients. Our doula was always by my side. Seriously, I don't even think I saw her take a break; she was amazing. I did end up choosing an epidural but only after dealing with extremely strong and quick contractions for about 7 hours, and she got me through all of that pre-epidural laboring.

+ We had various family members coming in for the birth and our doula was a great help in managing everyone's expectations and being a source of support to everyone.

+ I wanted to feel that my husband was my biggest cheerleader through the birth, and our doula helped coach him with how to best support me and my needs.

+ Lastly, I loved the "old school" concept of having a female who is very experienced with births to be my side, someone who had seen it all and could bring a wealth of information to the process. Someone who was my advocate.


In my personal experience, our hospital worked seamlessly with our doula. They did not seem put off at all that we had her in the room with us, but I think this is also due 100% to her wonderful attitude and teamwork approach. She has a gentle but firm personality and never overstepped her boundaries. She worked with me before our due date to lay out my "birth preferences list" which is like a birth plan but a lot more flexible to account for changes that may need to occur for the baby's safety or my safety.

Additionally, she was an incredible source of education and support to me while I was approaching my due date and then in the nine days past that date that we went before meeting our daughter. She and I texted or spoke on the phone daily. She helped me with preparing for the birth and the labor -- everything from what to pack in my hospital bag to what sort of really strange labor signs I could look out for. She brought to the table helpful ideas to move us in the direction of having our baby, and most importantly, she kept my spirits up. 

She helped me through a morning of cod liver oil to induce the birth, but that's a story for another day :)

While I labored overnight without my family members there, she held my hand, stroked my hair, put a cold washcloth on my forehead, pushed my hips together, rolled tennis balls on my back and massaged my shoulders -- which allowed my husband to sleep and get rested for the huge day ahead of us where I would really need his help. In the morning, we three walked the halls of the hospital together. I don't know if I would have made it out of the bed for a walk without her encouraging us to do so.

Hiring a doula is an added expense that is often not covered by insurance plans, but my husband and I are both in total agreement that it was money very well spent. Our doula has a special place in our hearts and will always be a part of our lives. She shed tears of joy right next to us as our darling Camille made her way into this world. It was an incredible moment that we had all been waiting for!

If you are in Charlotte, here is the site I used to research doulas: 

Other websites to check out: 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave them in the comments or contact me personally. If you've used a doula, I'd love to hear about your experience.

Feel free to Pin the below image if you feel that this information could be helpful to you in the future!


Pin It!

Wednesday

Our New Outdoor Rug

Our old outdoor rug kicked the bucket, HARD. It went from looking okay to looking absolutely heinous in a blink of an eye. Ian begged me to shop for a new rug ... um, you don't have to ask me twice.

Large rugs can get costly, but I was thrilled to find a major sale going on at World Market. We scored this green and blue tassel rug for $150, and it's 8x10. You can find it online here.


We already had the umbrella from World Market, so it coordinates really nicely.

When I first ordered the rug, I received a notice saying it was backordered, but it still only took a week or so to get it in. I was really impressed with the way it feels -- much softer than our previous rug. My only concern is that it will potentially show dirt easier due to how soft and absorbent it is, so time will tell.


It's also available in yellow, but since we already had a good amount of greens and aquas outside, this color was the perfect fit for us. 


Amazing what a new rug will do for a patio! I love spending a little time out here daily.



I know $150 isn't chump change, but for a rug this size and quality, I think it is an incredible deal. 

Tuesday

Family Time

We've shared some good times recently with Ian's side of the family. They don't live as close to us as my side does, so getting together is a bit more of a challenge. This was the first time that they met Camille, and we loved catching up with all of them.

Our first visit was to the mountains to spend time with Ian's sister, her husband, and our niece and nephew from Cincinatti. They were super excited to meet Camille since it was their first cousin ever!

During the same visit, we also saw Ian's mom and his aunt, uncle and cousin who live in the DC area.







This past weekend, Ian's grandparents came down to Charlotte. His grandmother is 92 years old and she didn't skip a beat when it came to keeping a baby enthralled. Camille was so taken with her! She raised three boys of her own and I'm sure she was a great mom to them. When she saw Camille's rabbit, she started reciting the story of Peter Cottontail to Camille, and Miss Millie was all ears. I was having to hide my teary eyes -- it was such a sweet moment. 






They returned to DC on Sunday and called us to let us know they made it home safely. They are such special people in our lives and I am so thankful that Camille got to meet her very loving great-grandparents.

Saturday

Saturday Sip & Shop XXVI


Sip:
This recipe looks so refreshing for the hot weather. I think thyme is an underused herb.

Blackberry Thyme Sparkler

Blackberry Thyme Sparkler

***

Shop:
Tassel necklaces ... love them. I have two that I wear often, and this one is a stellar price for the look!




Gold-Tone Beaded Y-Shaped Tassel Necklace
$34.50
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