Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Decoration-less for Xmas

I love the holidays, but this year it seems to be passing by in a big blur.  With the little one and now the anticipation of returing to work, I've barely had time to acknowledge the fact that Christmas is only a few weeks away.

Cluttered rooms make me feel claustrophobic, and I've always liked minimal, simple decorations for the holidays.  With our small living room already filled with furniture and miscellaneous baby items, getting a tree is out of the question.  However, I still want the house to feel a little festive and this picture from Ohdeedoh would be great for our space.  Unfortunately, we have a big flatscreen TV above our mantle, but the stockings, twinkle lights, and knicknacks might work. 

I love the chalk-drawn fire in the fireplace!  So cute...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2 month update

At the beginning of the year, one of my resolutions was to be more consistent at writing blogs.  I've failed somewhat miserably at this.  Though I tried justifiying this because of the pregnancy and being a first-time mom, they aren't the best excuses because I see lots of pregnant and/or FTMs that somehow find the time to update their blogs.  These women must either have clones of themselves or not sleep more than 2 hours a day. 

Every year around this time, I say the same thing - "I can't believe the year's almost over!"  What's really scary is that time seems to go faster on a daily basis.  I clearly remember writing my first blog post  back in September 2009 while traveling for recruiting trips, and now it's already been over a year since then.  Ever seen the episode of "Twilight Zone" where a man finds a stopwatch that stops time?  I need one of those.

November has flown by and Aaron's grown tremendously.  He's almost double his birthweight - currently at 10 lbs. 11 oz.  Granted, he was a tiny baby...but still!  I'm a little sad that he's no longer the wee little newborn swimming in his baby clothes.  My eyes got a little watery as I put away some of the clothes that no longer fit him because he's outgrown them. 

I'm returing to work in less than 2 weeks, and each day my heart aches a little more thinking about it.  The first few weeks of motherhood, I was itching to get back to my old life and return to work, craving that sense of normalcy and the "good old days" because I was so tired and overwhelmed.  I missed the silence of our house pre-baby, and the prospect of a solid 8 (or more) hours of sleep after a long day of work.  How things have changed...how I've changed!  I don't mind getting up at 3AM to the sounds of Aaron's cries for food.  Squeezing in a shower during naptime and wearing the same spit-up stained clothes for days on end isn't so bad either.  Hanging out at home amusing Aaron with faces and babytalk isn't boring - the smiles they bring forth are worth it. 

I've always feared that I was born without a maternal bone in my body, and the first month of motherhood almost made me feel like this was confirmed.  It took a while to bond with little Aaron, and now I can't imagine life without him.  Gladly, I give up sleeping in, drinking alcohol, and my overall independence for him.  Being a mother is the hardest thing I've done, but the rewards are totally worth it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1 month update

It's been over a month since Aaron was born.  The time went both slowly and quickly.  Slowly during those early days coping with sleep deprivation and learning the hard way all the tricks of becoming a new parent.  Quickly because, well, it's already been a month and I can see so much growth already.  Some milestones over the past 4 weeks include:

week 1: breastfeeding - it was painful for both of us.  He developed nipple confusion from taking some glucose water and formula from a bottle, so our first night home included an epic fight to get him to latch onto the breast.  For the next few weeks, I dealt with sore, blistered nipples :(

week 2:  sleeping - sleep deprivation started to wear on me at this point.  Fortunately, Aaron started to sleep better through the night, and he took regular daytime naps.

week 3:  stir-crazy - baby blues combined with being confined indoors started to drive me crazy.  I didn't think that it would affect me that much since I normally don't get very moody and my emotions were pretty level during pregnancy, but it's so crazy how hormones can affect a woman on such a level! 

week 4:  sleeping again - somehow, Aaron's developed an attachment to being held.  Late this week, it's gotten to the point where he won't nap unless he's held during the day.  Strangely, he still sleeps perfectly well during the night in his crib.  What to do?

Now we're in week 5, and aside from the daytime napping issues, he's great - eating, pooping, and growing like crazy. 

Here's a picture of Aaron from his first Halloween, dressed as a bee!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Welcome Baby Aaron!

After months of waiting and preparing, Aaron arrived on September 30th at 1:45am - just a few hours past his expected due date! 

He's so precious.  Ever since we first laid eyes on him at the hospital, we've been amazed and delighted by everything he does. 

I have to admit, the first few weeks having him home were EXTREMELY tough.  No matter how much one can prepare for parenthood, there's nothing that you can do to know exactly how challenging it is, especially for a first time mom like me.  From breastfeeding to sleep deprivation to baby blues, every day was a challenge.  However, now that he's 3 weeks old, life has gotten a bit easier.  We sort of know what we're doing, and we've also been fortunate to have help from family members a few days a week. 

Even though he's not even a month old yet, Aaron's already changed a lot.  Initially, all he did was eat, sleep and poop, with occasional crying throughout the day.  Now, he's more alert during the day and he's sleeping a little longer at night.  Born a small baby - 6lbs 3 oz - he's been gaining weight at a steady pace, which makes sense given the amount of breastmilk he takes everyday.  I think he's close to 7 lbs. by now!

Despite the fact that life as I know is forever changed with the addition of a baby, I'm looking forward to what lays ahead with Aaron and our new threesome family.  Now, it's time for a nap!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bye bye work...hello maternity leave!

Last Wednesday was my last day of work before maternity leave.  I've been looking forward to this for  months but now that it's here, I'm finding myself being rather bored and restless.  Everyone's been telling me to relax, rest up, and do absolutely nothing, especially since I'll never be able to regain this time once the baby's born, but try as I might, this is tougher to do than it sounds!  Maybe it's because of my short attention span - I can barely sit through a movie or spend hours finishing up a craft project.  Or perhaps the pregnancy makes it difficult to be in one position for long periods of time.  Whatever the case...man, I'm really bored.  It doesn't help that I'm stuck without a car since it's currently at the dealer's. 

I guess it's time to go refold the baby's clothes (for the 10th time).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

9th month - just a few more weeks till baby arrives!

It's hard to believe almost 9 months of pregnancy are over and that my life will be forever different with the addition of a new member to our family.  Though we've spent the past few months slowly preparing for the little one, I don't think the reality of this event has hit us yet.  It's fun to squeal over cute baby clothes, obsess over strollers and cribs, and decorate the baby room, but I've tended to gloss over (or not think about) the hard parts - labor, saying goodbye to uninterrupted sleep, endless loads of laundry, lack of alone time, etc.  However, moms have been doing this for thousands of years, so I'll get the hang of it, right?

I've come to terms with gaining 35+ lbs. since January.  It seems like ages ago when I competed in a mini-Biggest Loser competition...which ultimately left me $600 poorer since I found out I was pregnant during the last week of the competition.  I guess one good thing about being broke is that I have no choice but to lose the weight to fit into my old clothes...no money for a new wardrobe!

Here's a shadow pic from my 5th month...at the time I thought I looked huge, but compared to now, that's nothing!

0510 001

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dreamy Diana Lens Fun

I bought a Diana lens with adapter for dSLRs several months ago and of course forgot about it.  While on an organizing binge, I rediscovered it in our office storage closet, and thought I should try it out again for fun.  Experimenting both indoors and outdoors, I found that it takes very pretty, dreamy, soft focus pictures. 

It's not the easiest lens to play with - I didn't realize when I first bought it that you can only use the manual setting when using this lens, and the only thing you can adjust is the shutter speed to produce unique effects.  That's probably why I lost interest when I first purchased this lens.  Since then, I've taken a beginners photography class and now actually know how to use my camera on manual setting.

0810 037

0810 048

0810 039
0810 041

0810 055

Monday, August 16, 2010

When I lose the baby weight...

I'm gonna go on a huge shopping spree!  Just kidding...we're going to be so broke by then.  New baby + single income (during my maternity leave) + husband's b-school tuition equals eating ramen noodles by candlelight at night for the next 3 years.

One of my favorite online shops, Red Dress Shoppe, recently added some cute retro-inspired dresses to their inventory.  I fantasize about fitting into their size small like I used to.  Now, I"ll be happy to squeeze into a large. 
The Holly Dress looks airy and comfortable
The Miss Sadie Dress looks like something out of "Mad Men"
The Lemon Drop dress looks perfect for summer

Love the huge rose belt on the Shoshanna dress

See their entire stock on their website - there's tons of great retro-inspired clothing at a very reasonable price!  I'm so tempted to buy something right now...to help motivate me to lose weight, of course...haha...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where did the summer go???

Wow, I can't believe it's already mid-August!  Why is it that summer flys by so quickly?  It's been a weird one in LA this year...the weather has been unusually mild, with temperatures averaging in the high 70's, even in the valley!  Normally this time of year, the valley's scorching with temps over 100 on average.  Not to complain though...I was dreading a hot, sweaty summer during my last trimester of pregnancy.  God's blessed all the pregnant mamas in LA with great weather this year.  Hopefully this won't mean we'll have a crazy heat wave in the fall, though!

Second trimester of pregnancy was great - I had tons of energy, slept pretty well, and had a healthy appetite (almost too healthy, since I gained about 25 lbs. during that time!)  Unfortunately, third trimester isn't so wonderful.  The past few weeks have been pretty tough...lots of back pain, especially from the afternoon on, difficulty sleeping at night, heartburn, and peeing every hour has been super annoying.  Good thing there's a light at the end of the tunnel, since the little guy's due at  the end of September! 

I've done a fair amount of travel during my pregnancy.  Here's the rundown:
-March: Pismo Beach for a destination wedding
-May: Bachelorette party in Santa Barbara, 1 year anniversay/babymoon to Cabo
-June: Chicago and San Diego for business trips
-July: Hawaii for a destination wedding

The last trip, while it was super awesome, was definitely tiring.  My aches and pains started after I got home from the airport and haven't really gotten much better since.  Now's the time to take it easy, which means I'll be missing my nephew's 1st birthday in Seattle at the end of the month.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Retro Baby plus giveaway from Design Mom

Design Mom is giving away a $250 gift certificate to My Retro Baby, a really cute website with all things retro for your little one!  They have all sorts of stuff, from baby clothes to shower favors, all with a vintage twist.  The website itself is adorable too, so check it out!

The most awesome items are the retro pedal cars - check out a few:

The deluxe fire truck classic pedal car.  Look at all that detail!
Pink Princess pedal car.  Totally cute!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Drooling over Dwell Studio

If money were no object, I'd probably buy everything that Dwell Studio has to offer.

owls sky crib set
owl boudoir pillow

elephant bookshelf
sparrow weekender bag

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Photo experimentation

With summer approaching and daylight hours growing longer, I came home from work and played around with taking some pictures as the sun was setting. 

I love the look of shooting into the sun and capturing flare, so I tried replicating it:

(this was the best I could do!)
I've been too chicken to venture out of my backyard with my camera for some reason. 
(morning glory growing wild)

Sophie was watching me quizzically during the entire process.  My favorite subject graciously allowed me to capture one nice photo of her before she went to chase some squirrels.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baby shower from Twig & Thistle

I opened Google Reader today and saw this super cute baby shower idea from Twig & Thistle, one of my favorite stores/blogs. 

The post includes a link to instructions on making the cute banner above, as well as closeup photos of the letterpressed invitations:

Man oh man do I wish I had a lettepress machine!  Though I have no idea how to use it nor is there any space in my house to keep it, but one can always fantasize about it :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Baby gear basics

We just found out that a baby boy is on the way and now we can start doing the fun stuff - shopping!

Actually, it's a bit overwhelming.  I didn't realize how much stuff a little infant needs, especially after reading blogs and baby books.  Plus, there are so many choices out there for car seats, strollers, cribs, clothes, bottles, diapers...my head's spinning already. 

I came across this article today narrowing down baby items to the five essentials that a parent only needs.  According to the author, parents really only NEED the following:
-car seat
-bouncy seat (more of a maybe)
-baby bottles

Of course, obvious items like diapers and baby clothes weren't included.  Unfortunately, the first three items are probably the ones that'll cost the most amount of money, especially if you go for top-of-the-line items.  And realistically speaking, who can't resist buying teeny little baby clothes and cute baby room decor, no matter how impractical or expensive they may be?  I should've stopped spending money a year ago to save for our expensive little one.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

baby room inspiration

I discussed my obsession with purple and grey several months ago, and recently stumbled across this really delightful baby's room on ohdeedoh.  It has a nice, tranquil ambiance about it.  I've been looking for ideas on how to repurpose our guest bedroom into a nursery and this example is definitely going to be one of the inspiration rooms.
Love that mural on the wall!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

DIY printable invitations

I confess - I still love reading wedding blogs and perusing wedding-related websites.  It's been almost a year since my wedding, but I still haven't let go of admiring all of the whimsical ideas that vendors, designers, and brides-to-be have.  It's so fun!

iDIY recently posted some really cute printable invitations...free for anyone to download! Though mostly intended for weddings, they can easily be customized for bridal showers, birthday party invitations, or whatver else you want.  I wish this was available when I was doing my planning!  Oh well...I guess I can still use them for birth announcements :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A long hiatus

Hello world!  I broke my promise made in my last post to blog more consistently and often, and after a few months, I'm feeling a bit rusty.  So please forgive me if the next few posts seem to ramble on or not make much sense. 

Work has kept me super busy the past few months, but fortunately the majority of things that kept me away from blogging are over, and my personal life won't have to take a backseat anymore (at least until next year).

I don't want to blame my job for everything, though.  Something happened that ensured my life will never be the same going forward....

I'm pregnant!!

There's a blurry picture of me, excitedly showing off the results.  I don't know if anyone can tell, but I was still in a state of shock when this picture was taken.  I was so sure that I wasn't pregnant that  my response upon seeing the test was, "see two lines - not pregnant!" 

I'm in the beginning of my second trimester now, ready to share the news with the entire world now that my family and friends know.  The gruesome details on my severe morning sickness will come soon. 

Now I can start blogging about baby stuff without sounding like a crazy person!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mobiles galore

Yikes, can't believe it's been so long since my last post!  With work and personal stuff going on the past few weeks, I guess I haven't had much time for anything else.  I'm not doing a good job of keeping my new years resolution of regular blog postings...eek!

Anyways, I saw these amazingly whimisical and airy mobiles at The Wonderland Studio and fell in love.  They're so modern, simple, and somewhat organic-looking - and the prices are good enough for them to be accesible to almost anyone.

It might fit nicely in a corner of our guest room to add a splash of color and design.  I'm seriously contemplating purchasing one soon.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Haute Couture Meets Fast Food

I couldn't help smiling after seeing this post on Eat Drink Chic juxtaposing McDonald's menu items and iconic design houses for Fashion Week.

Yes, I'd like a Burberry Big Mac and a small order of Hermes fries, please.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Valentines Day - legit holiday or corporate ploy?

With work picking up and an intro photography class that I just started, not to mention fighting off general laziness, taking time to write and post something has been tough.  However, I was suddenly inspired after seeing a lot of ads and blog posts about Valentine's Day, mostly pertaining to gifts, DIY ideas, and general musings.

I've never really been one to take Valentine's Day very seriously.  When I was younger, I bought the typical supermarket Looney Tunes/Alvin and the Chipmunks cards and passed them out to my classmates along with sweets marked "secret admirer" for the boys you had a crush on.  The chalky taste of those little pastel-colored heart candies always transports me back to my elementary school days.  I still get sad upon hearing about the unpopular/socially awkward kids who only received a few cards. 

Anyways, flash forward to the teenage and adult years, and I honestly can only remember a handful of times (mostly during my 20's) actually going out to celebrate.  Each time was marked by annoying waits at restaurants despite a reservation, bad service, and mediocre/expensive food.  The husband and I decided to cook a nice meal at home on the actual day instead of venturing out, and it's worked really well for the past 3 years. 

So maybe it's just me being a buzzkill, but I find Valentine's Day to be a bit overhyped.  Sure, it's nice to go out to dinner, receive flowers and chocolate, and celebrate with your significant other, but how's that day different from any other day?  Can't you do the same thing on an anniversary, birthday, or even just a plain old regular day of the week?  I mean, don't get me wrong, I won't turn down any of these things when I do receive them, but I won't be devastated if my husband doesn't come home on February 14th with an armful of roses marked up 500% to take me to dinner where the food tastes like something from a mediocre wedding. 

I know the above rant makes me sound like a big grouch (maybe it's because I'm hungry)...but I think I'll be content staying in and watching a DVD that night :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

DIY project inventory list

I've been noticing some really fun and whimisical DIY/crafting ideas and thought I'd share them in a post dedicated to future projects I hope to undertake:

DIY crocheted-flower bunting from Project Nursey:

Awesome but labor-intensive DIY felt wreath from Domestic Fluff:

DIY flower garland from Once Wed:

DIY birdcages from The Brides Cafe:

DIY silverware chandelier from Apartment Therapy:

(check out the $4500 version at Anthropologie)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Say goodbye to InStyle Weddings

I just found out that InStyle Weddings is no longer with us.  Their last published edition went on the stands this past Christmas.  Though it wasn't one of the magazines I religiously bought during wedding planning days (like Martha Stewart Weddings), I'm still a bit bummed because it contained lots of gorgeous celebrity wedding pictures fabulously out of my price range.  Perhaps they'll continue their website - I just took a look at instyleweddings.com and seems to be going strong.  btw, Christina Hendricks of Mad Men and her 60's inspired wedding is featured...wonderfully eclectic and worth taking a peek!

It seems like wedding magazines, or to be honest, the entire publications industry, is heading south pretty rapidly.  InStyle Weddings is just another casualty in the market catering to brides, like Elegant Bride and Modern Bride, which makes sense given the amount of free information and resources you can find online.

Out of curiosity, I googled publications that went belly up in 2009 and was surprised by the number that popped up.  Check it out for yourself to see if there are any surprises.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jeggings (jean leggings) are the best!

Our LA winter has been relatively mild thus far, but there have been a good number of chilly nights so I haven't been able to unpack my shorts/flip flops from storage just yet.  I bought a pair of J Brand jean leggings (aka "jeggings") which have been a staple of my wardrobe for the past several weeks.  They look just like regular jeans, including front pockets (which are actually fake) and back pockets (real), plus a zipper and button.  Did I mention they're also SUPER comfortable and go well with anything?

I'd buy another pair except I've placed myself on a budget this month. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dieting sucks

Since January 1st, I've been part of a "Biggest Loser" contest with 5 friends/family members, with the winner taking an $1800 cash prize (we each put in $300 to participate).  Normally, I'd be watching the Food Network while cooking dinner, but to get my mind off hunger, not to mention forbidden items like chocolate, bread, pasta, etc., I decided to treat myself to shopping instead.  Zero calories, but tough on the wallet! 

I've been living on a diet of these:

Okay, I haven't been THAT extreme to the point of denying myself anything remotely delicious, but it's definitely not very fun.  However, I'm determined to win the $1800, so excuse a little grumpiness and delusional ramblings until January 31st when the competition ends.

The whole point of this contest is for us to have a motivating factor to jumpstart healthier diets and regular exercise, but given the amount of money at stake, I know we're all going to partake in a little cheating (sauna, master cleanse...any other suggestions?)  the last few days of the month.

So far...I feel a little lighter and less bloated from consciously watching what I eat (mainly less carbs) and trying to exercise regularly, but the scale is still reporting very few pounds shed.  I gotta kick it up a notch since we're almost at the halfway mark!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Small bedroom? No problem with vinyl stick-on headboards!

A few weeks ago, my sister (who lives at home) told me she ordered a stick-on headboard for her queen-sized bed.  It sounded kind of cheesy to me, to be honest.  The only vinyl appliques I could think of were those of the child-like variety, such as princess castles, trees with cute little birds, etc...something you'd find in a nursery or kid's room. 

On my next visit home, I took a peek at her room and upon first glance, thought she bought a new (real) headboard.  It looked pretty good!  And for a recent college grad still living on a budget, 30 bucks to spruce up an otherwise boring bed is a pretty good deal.

Of course, she scored on Etsy...here's a picture of the "headboard" from seller artwallproject's site:

I wish I knew about this before buying bedroom furniture for our guest bedroom...that room's relatively small and a sticker headboard could've created the illusion of a real one without sacrificing space. 

I'll have to take a picture of my sister's room and post it up to show the results!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Swallow bird necklace from Etsy

There's just something about handmade gifts, no matter how small or inexpensive, that seems to elicit a lot more excitement and satisfaction from both giver and receiver vs. something mass-produced.  One of the reasons why I love Etsy is that I can connect with a virtual global marketplace for such goods, and with so many vendors offering tons of items, I'm bound to find that one unique or perfect gift for someone.

Sort of late in the game, I stumbled across these really cute sparrow necklaces that I wanted to give as gifts to some of my family members.  With only a week left before Christmas, I wasn't sure if they'd arrive on time.  Fortunately, there were several Etsy vendors who sold these necklaces (I guess since the bird charm isn't handmade), so after doing some research, I was able to locate two sellers that had them in stock.  And lucky for me, they arrived by Christmas Eve!

You can find this necklace on several Etsy vendor sites, so shop around for the best price if you'd like.  I ordered one for myself and I gotta tell you, I receive many compliments everytime I wear it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New scent for a new year

I'm such a sucker for perfumes and things that smell nice (candles, soaps, new laundry, and so on).  On a recent trip to Sephora where my mission to was purchase ONLY a new brow pencil, somehow I ended up spending almost a hundred bucks, which included this:

It was one of those impulse purchases from the bins of small items placed strategically in line while you wait for the register.  The fragrance includes notes of Mandarin, Yuzu, White peach, Mountain Strawberries, Freesia, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Orris, Musk, White woods (per Sephora's description online).  Not quite fruity, not really floral, a hint musky in the undertones, with a subtle strawberry note.  The only downside is that the scent disappears after a few hours, so you'll need to respritz at least once during the day.  The limited edition bottle holds only 1 fl.oz., which makes it a very portable scent you can carrry around in your purse.  Only $24 right now at Sephora!