Feels Like Summer Nursery Design Inspiration

It’d feel like summer all year long in this bright, fun nursery! Your baby girl couldn’t help but be happy in a room inspired by sweet popsicles and summery hues. Keep things modern with white walls… then spice it up with a painted ceiling!

Feels Like Summer #bright #fun nursery design inspiration #thelovelysummer #girl #pink #babygirl #kids #decor

Here are the links where you can find any of the above products, for your convenience:

Pink Pendant LightPopsicles PrintSunglasses PrintHot Air Balloon Crib BeddingPink Tribal RugOrange Rope StoolWatermelon PillowPineapple PillowRed Baby Lounger

Casual Cool Nursery Design Inspiration

Check out my latest nursery design inspiration! The Casual Cool Nursery! This could work for any age child, really. It incorporates non-babyish decor that will grow with your little one. Adults can appreciate this decor and feel comfortable in this natural toned, casual-cool room. This would be a great gender neutral playroom as well! And how fab is that rocking chair?!

Casual Cool Nursery Design Inspiration #cool #nursery #genderneutral #boy #baby #kid #decor

Here are the links to the above products, for your convenience: Green Pendant LightBird Wall DecorCuddle O’clock PrintDachshund BookendsStriped Plush BearDresserStriped RockerStorage BasketBlue Leather PoufChambray Lion Pull Toy

I Freaking Hate Great Wolf Lodge

Here’s why I loathe Great Wolf Lodge:

-It’s expensive (we paid something like $360/night for a standard, holiday-inn like room on a weekday – that is twice the price of a room at the luxurious Bellagio hotel on the Las Vegas strip for goodness sakes!)

-It’s crazy crowded (check in took like an hour and the halls, elevators, and everything else are just full of people)

-Children running rampant everywhere

-It’s loud

-The internet was slow as hell

-The pools are chilly

-The pool area is so chlorinated it burns your eyes

-The pool area is hot and stuffy and humid

-They kept running out of towels at the pool

-There aren’t enough water attractions

-Their other attractions aren’t fun

-Any ancillary activities cost extra money, from the crowded arcade to the boring mini golf to the lame wizard quest/magic quest games that have kids running all around the hotel unattended

Yes, I went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Washington state around Christmastime and it was painful. I refuse to go again. My 10 year old stepson liked it, sure, but there are other things we could take him to that would be just as fun for him and way less torturous for me.

Has anyone gone there and actually enjoyed it?


{Non Alcoholic} Refreshing Summer Drinks

Today I want to share two totally refreshing, alcohol free, pregnancy friendly beverages with you. As you may have gathered, I’m pregnant! And I’m supposed to be drinking lots and lots of water. However, water sometimes gets boring. I usually love the passion-tea-lemonade from Starbucks but the passion tea has hibiscus in it which is not considered “pregnancy safe.” A lot of people have suggested adding cucumber or fruits to my water to spice it up. But sometimes you just need a nice, cool refreshing drink that makes you say “ahhhh!”

This first drink is not an original recipe but a copy-cat from Leoné Café here in Las Vegas. They call it the “Limonana” and it’s super simple yet totally delicious! All you do is add lemonade, a handful of mint, and plenty of ice to a blender and blend it up! It makes a cool, bright green, “slushie” sort of drink. If you make your own lemonade, you can control the amount of sugar or even use Stevia as a sweetener (especially if you have gestational diabetes!). As a bonus, mint is good for indigestion and contains antioxidants!

Frozen Mint Lemonade

This next drink is pretty similar and sort of a riff on a mojito. I got the idea from the passion-tea-lemonade from Starbucks that I’ve been missing. So for this refreshing beverage, all you do is brew some peppermint tea, which is considered pregnancy safe, then chill it (or just use lots of ice in your glass). Mix the cooled mint tea with equal parts lemonade and serve in large glass over ice, topped with some mint leaves. I’m telling you, its so tasty and refreshing! You can easily use store-bought lemonade but, again, homemade lemonade would be great here too! You could even add in some blueberries or lemon wedges and make a whole pitcher-full for serving to guests.

lemonade mint iced tea

Of course, if you’re not pregnant and wanted to booze these beverages up a bit, I bet they’d taste great with a splash of Absolut Citron 😉

Birth Friendly Foods

I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy (YAY!) and have been hearing all kinds of advice on how to induce labor (or at least avoid going too far past my due date). Lots of foods in particular have been purported to either induce labor, help a pregnant woman dilate, or even make labor faster/easier. My poor mom tried the ol’ castor oil trick to induce labor with me and I’ve heard nothing but bad news with that one! It’ll clean your system out alright… by making you ill! But are there other things you can eat or drink that really will aid in the birthing process? I sure as heck believe so! Not that I’m a medical professional but foods have been used as medicine since the dawn of man and there must surely be some that can contribute to a more successful labor.

After doing some research, here’s what I’ve discovered.

Pineapple. I heard a rumor during my first trimester that I should avoid pineapple because it was known to induce labor. Skeptical, I asked my doctor about it and he gave me the green light to continue enjoying the sweet fruit. According to the Natural Pregnancy Midwife website, Pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain which, in large quantities, may help “ripen” (or soften and thin) the cervix. Pineapple is known as a digestive aid as well so it doesn’t hurt to enjoy it as your due date approaches!

PineappleDates. A 2008 study conducted at the Jordan University of Science and Technology found some very interesting results when it came to the consumption of dates in late pregnancy. The findings claim that eating 6 dates a day versus no dates increased the likelihood of a woman going into labor spontaneously rather than being induced, the date eating woman were further dilated upon entry to the hospital, and their first stages of labor were shorter. While the study wasn’t large it does sound rather promising! Dates are absolutely delicious so I don’t mind eating a few each day. They are full of vitamins and fiber but also high in sugar so that is something to consider.


Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. While “The Pregnant Scientist” concluded on her website that Red Raspberry Leaf tea does not necessarily “tone” the uterus as commonly purported, this tea is one of the most widely celebrated labor aids on the internet and in the midwifery world today. I bought some on Amazon and the reviews were glowing–from women claiming that it helped their menstrual cramps significantly to others saying they didn’t have to push the baby out at all but rather the uterus did all the work! My doctor says its okay, so I’m drinking it daily during my third trimester in hopes that it really will help make labor easier. Plus, it tastes pretty good iced!

red raspberry leaf tea

Evening Primrose Oil. There is lots of talk about evening primrose oil on my What To Expect pregnancy forum. Women are popping these supplements both orally and vaginally in hopes that it’ll help ripen and dilate the cervix. However, there have been studies (see here) that actually indicate that evening primrose oil can be harmful during pregnancy. While there are lots of anecdotal reports on the effectiveness of using EPO to ripen the cervix, there is not enough scientific evidence out there for me to risk taking the supplement myself.

evening primrose oil

Spicy Foods. According to BabyCenter.com, there is absolutely no evidence that spicy foods induce labor. Some believe that the spicy foods stimulate the digestive system and in turn cause contractions. This seems to be one of those “it doesn’t hurt to try” types of old wives’ tales so if you love spicy food, go for it. I for one am a total baby with spice and therefore won’t be giving this one a go!

spicy food induces labor

Cake?! There is a fun rumor going around on the internet that a certain type of cake can induce labor! In particular, a boxed devil’s food cake is supposed to have some magical powers that will help you go into labor. Some say its the caffeine in the chocolate that does the trick, others say the naturally occurring Phenylethylamine in chocolate can influence certain hormones. While there is absolutely NO evidence to support this, who doesn’t love an excuse to eat chocolate cake?!

chocolate cake to induce labor

Plenty of other foods have been discounted by scientists as doing anything in the way of inducing labor, from eggplant parmesan to licorice. It seems all in all, maintaining a healthy diet and waiting for baby to come when she’s ready is the best plan of action! Still, I won’t be avoiding pineapple or dates! 😉

NOTE: You should ask your health care professional before adding any new supplements to or changing your diet. Please consult with your doctor before following any advice found on the internet!

***UPDATE*** 11/17/15 – NO JOKE! I ate chocolate cake the day before I went into labor! Coincidence??? I don’t know or care, I’m vouching for all prego ladies (at term) to eat chocolate cake!

Belevation Maternity Support Belly Band – A Review

A few months back, when I was about 6 months pregnant, I purchased the Belevation Maternity Support Belly Band. I was looking for something to help my growing belly feel supported, easing both back and belly pains. After lots of research, I decided upon the Belevation support band and I really, really like it! It’s probably not nearly as supportive as the actual maternity support belts they make but it was important to me to get something that fit seamlessly beneath clothing. Those support belts looks so bulky!

belevation belly band maternity support band

What I like about this belly band is that it hugs my belly just enough to make it feel supported and even a bit lifted. It has the added bonus of camouflaging my belly button and smoothing out panty lines as well! I’m tall with a fairly long torso so I like that it fits me length-wise. The nude color can be worn under practically anything. If you need help with sizing, I’m 5’8″ and currently 146lbs at 8 months pregnant and the size medium still fits me great! I started wearing it two months ago and it fit then and still fits now, of course, because its so stretchy. I don’t mind it getting a little bit tighter as I grow because it just feels more supportive. I should also note that the material is comfortable and not itchy or anything like that. For the $18 price, this thing is pretty awesome!

6 Months Pregnant In The Belly Band
(6 Months Pregnant In The Belly Band)

There are two minor things that I don’t like about this belly band. For one, I had to wash it upon arrival because it really smelled bad, like a gasoline chemical type bad. I don’t notice the smell at all now, months later, but it definitely did smell when I first got it. The only other thing that sort of irks me is that I like to wear the belly band a little low, down my hips a bit. When worn low, if you sit down, the band can curl up a bit in the back, which I feel I have to fix if I’m wearing a dress or something that would show that through the material. I’m sure if I got their underwear it’d solve that problem, since there would be nothing that could roll up.

Verdict? I highly recommend the Belevation Maternity Support Belly Band for mild-moderate belly/back support during pregnancy!

All of the Belevation brand items on Amazon are very highly rated. And they also offer maternity support underwear and shape wear! As a bonus, the support band could also be worn over unbuttoned jeans to keep them up if you’re trying to extend your time in non-maternity clothes. The black in particular just looks like a layered tank top beneath a regular T-shirt or blouse.

Here’s what it looked like on me at 6 months pregnant both alone and under clothing:

belevation belly band maternity support band

belevation belly band maternity support band

Note: I paid for this belly band out of pocket and this review is 100% elective. I received no compensation for the Belevation belly band or this review (though if Belevation wanted to send me a thank you, that would be cool! Ha!). If you buy the belly band from the link above (or here), I will get a small percentage of affiliate commission, and that would be super awesome too!

My 10 Year Old Doesn’t Make His Bed

My stepson is 10 and he’s never once made his bed. He doesn’t even know how… Well, like, philosophically, I’m sure he knows how but he’s never done it. He’s cleaned his room a few times, picked up his toys when told. He’s done the dishes maybe three times and can take out the trash. Am I raising someone who will be a total incompetent slob when he grows up? It’s not like I make his bed either! It gets washed and made once a week by the housekeeper and the rest of the week it remains un-made (yes, I’m a brat and have a once-a-week housekeeper and its wonderful and I love her).

On the one hand, I feel like we are just way too busy with school, homework, and all of his 50 million activities (karate, cub scouts, art class, and piano to name a few), that requesting him to clean more, do more chores, or make his bed is just taking time away from other important things. When you have a kid, you try to fit in as much as you can, honing their life skills, and it seems there is never enough time to accomplish what you want. There are always so many events that you don’t want to miss or even volunteer opportunities you want to include your child in. BUT, is it a detriment to let the cleaning and the bed-making slide just because I pay someone else to do it and because I’d rather him learn to ride a bike or be proficient at key boarding (which they don’t even teach at his school!)?

Then there is the ever-important “down time.” I admit, like so many children these days, our kid is over-scheduled, so when he does get the chance, like on Sundays, to sit around and veg-out or play iPad or just hang out in his room, I don’t want to ask him to do chores. I’ve heard that if your parents don’t make you clean as a child, you won’t make yourself clean as an adult. But I think that’s total bullsh*t. While I did clean a bit as a kid, I hardly ever cleaned my room and I never had set chores or anything. And, I do keep my house very clean now-a-days (yes, yes, with the help of a housekeeper but still).

My stepson doesn’t make his bed and he probably won’t ever. He will obtain good grades, perhaps a black belt in karate, or even his Eagle Scout rank. He’ll know how to play an instrument. He’ll have an appreciation for the arts. And if his bed is perpetually sloppy all the while, I’m okay with that.

DIY Floral Hair Clip

I recently made a DIY floral hair clip to wear at my baby shower & thought I’d share it here, simply because its so easy to do. While Etsy has many beautiful options for floral hair accoutrements, they can run from $20-$75! Plus, you have to wait on shipping and for someone like me, the instant gratification type, that just won’t work!

diy floral hair clip - rose & peony #pink #peach

diy floral hair clip - rose & peony #pink #peach

diy floral hair clip - rose & peony #pink #peach

I made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby for this project (sorry, I know, I know they get a lot of flack for their political & social policy standings but they have really good craft stuff!). Speaking of Hobby Lobby, here’s a great Hobby Lobby tip! I found out their faux flowers are on sale for 50% off every other week. I now NEVER pay full price for florals. If I go to Hobby Lobby and their flowers aren’t on sale, I just wait until the following Monday and BAM, half off everything faux floral all week long! Some of their “fancier” stems, the ones that look and feel really real, are like $16 each so half off really helps! Another Hobby Lobby tip: They always have a “40% off any full-priced item” coupon on their website & app. So when I’m checking out, I just pull up the coupon on my phone and get 40% off whatever item is the most expensive (and full price) in my cart! It’s pretty awesome!

hobby lobby hair clips $2.99

faux flowers from hobby lobby rose peony

ANYWAY, I bought a few faux blooms that I liked, along with a whole bag of the metal hair clips. I already had a hot glue gun at home but those are like $5 there too. All in all this project cost me less than $20 and I ended up with a HUGE, bold yet pretty flower hair clip! You just pull the flower head off the steam and hot-glue them to your clip in whatever arrangement you like. This took less than 10 minutes.

faux floral hair clip diy craft #rose #peony #pretty #updo

faux floral hair clip diy craft #rose #peony #pretty #updo

diy floral hair clip for baby shower #rose #peony

What do you think of my floral hair clip handiwork?

Little Golden Books Baby Shower Garden Party

I had my baby shower last weekend! 🙂 It was so much fun! My mom put everything together, with some help from my cousin, and it turned out beautifully. I LOVE to read and of course plan to pass that along to my future children (I hope!) so she came up with a “Little Golden Books” theme. I also love flowers and gardens and all things out-of-doors so we rented out a patio space at a local restaurant. They have picnic tables and synthetic grass so it really fit with the garden theme. Think reading in the garden! Perfect!

baby shower cake - star cake - little golden books theme

While I won’t go over every detail from the shower, I thought I would share a few fun ideas and cool money saving tips that others may want to use for their own baby shower or even birthday party.

One cute idea that I loved was that my mom purchased a whole bunch of the “Little Golden Books” – the classics like The Poky Little Puppy and The Little Red Hen – and put one at each place setting at the shower. The favor gift boxes included a pink pen so everyone could write a message inside the books for me to read with the baby in years to come! So instead of a guest book, I now have a mini library for my little one, full of sweet messages from all of our close friends and family!

Little Golden Books baby book "a day at the seashore"

little golden books baby shower guest book idea

Another idea I’d like to share has to do with the floral arrangements. Flowers from a florist can be SO pricey! I had a few small arrangements done for my mother-in-law’s retirement party and it was close to $400! This time around, my mom and I decided to DIY it and I’m SO happy with the results. We both agree that we’ll be taking on our own floral arrangements for any future parties (except maybe for weddings… I’d let the pros handle that!).

baby shower - little golden books garden party theme

We first went to the dollar store to scope out their vase/glassware options. We ended up finding these super cute mason jar mugs and small purple flower pots for, of course, $1 each! We snagged like 20 mason jars and 5 of the purple flower pots. There were a lot of other options that would have worked well too. The vases are often a huge expense when going through a florist so $25 for all of them is great! Next, we went to the local grocery store chain and bought a TON of their $5 bouquets. We didn’t get mixed bouquets, but rather we stuck with bunches of the same types of flowers – mostly carnations, roses, some gerbera daisies, baby’s breath, etc., in the hues we liked. We took it all home and cut the stems way down, putting a small bunch of flowers (along with some water) into each mason jar and the vases that we got. There’s no real need for “arranging” skills here – just cut the stems and pop ’em in the vase. The result was absolutely perfect for the “garden party” look we were going for! And we were able to outfit five tables, plus the cake table and gift table, with plenty of bountiful blooms! Everyone commented on how beautiful it looked and I agree!

diy flower arrangements #floral #blooms #prettyFor less than $150 we were able to pull off a really pretty floral look!

little golden books garden party baby shower #babygirl #floral

One tip on doing DIY floral arrangements – if you do them the day ahead (like we did) store your arrangements in the fridge overnight to keep them fresh. Also, we used plain ol’ cardboard boxes to transport our arrangements to the event.

Quick & Easy Window Coverings

I’m really excited about a small project I did today. For one, it was super easy. For two, it was cheap. For three, it looks really good! I’ve had an embarrassing situation going on in my guest room for far too long now. I had hung some store bought curtains (shoddily) and they weren’t long enough to cover the upper transom windows, so my poor guests were always getting bright light streaming through in the mornings! Over time, as people opened and closed the curtains, they started to sag down and look terrible. I decided, with guests coming next week for my baby shower, it was time to rectify the situation! However, after calling around to custom blinds and shades companies, I quickly discovered a custom solution would take about 4 weeks, minimum. I’m totally all about instant gratification. I wanted those window coverings upgraded stat!

cheap and easy paper shades blinds window coverings from home depot - ready made - so easy!

I set off for Home Depot, having seen ready-made window solutions there before. I probably could have just gotten some longer curtains but anything longer than the standard 84″ is hard to find in a brick-and-mortar store. Plus, for this room, there isn’t much space and the curtains jutting out from the wall just created a more stuffy look. I needed something streamlined.

There were actually quite a few options at Home Depot, like mini blinds that they’ll cut to size for you (but are rather ugly) or faux wood blinds for a higher price. But, I didn’t like the idea of putting blinds in the small 10 1/2″ tall transom windows and having a long cord hanging down. After much deliberation, I decided to try out these room darkening paper shades. I figured if they didn’t work out, they were only $7.98 a piece so I wouldn’t be too upset! I bought four shades in the gray color, one for each window. You literally trim them to whatever size you need, peel off the sticky backing on the top of the shade, and stick it to the top of your window! BAM. You’re done. NO drilling! One tip: You have to pull on them and stretch them out a bit to reach your desired length on the taller windows.

cheap and easy paper shades blinds window coverings from home depot - ready made - so easy!

cheap and easy paper shades blinds window coverings from home depot - ready made - so easy!

cheap and easy paper shades blinds window coverings from home depot - ready made - so easy!

The only real downside I see to these things are that they aren’t super easy to pull up and down if someone wanted to actually open the shade. You have to scrunch them back up and put on these little clips they provide. But, there’s not much of a view out of my guest room windows (just the neighbor’s house) and it’s getting to be really hot here in Vegas anyway so I don’t see people wanting to open them all that often. We don’t even host guests that often… I just want to be able to walk by that room and not cringe at the dowdy curtain! And that I have accomplished. 🙂

cheap and easy paper shades blinds window coverings from home depot - ready made - so easy!

IMG_1814cheap and easy paper shades blinds window coverings from home depot - ready made - so easy!

This whole project cost me $34.51 and took less than 30 minutes. It was SO easy and I love that I didn’t have to drill anything into the walls! I think the final look is GREAT! These paper shades are a fab solution for anyone needing temporary window coverings or window coverings on the cheap. They’d also work great as a more long term solution in a room where you’re not always opening the blinds, like a laundry room or for high up windows. Eventually, I’ll probably get something custom done in there but, for now, I’m super pleased with my quick and easy window covering solution!

cheap and easy paper shades blinds window coverings from home depot - ready made - so easy!

paper shades - easy and cheap window coverings in a pinch! diy!

room darkening paper shades from home depot

P.S. I took the pictures with the lights off so you could see how much they darken the room. I got the “room darkening” shades, rather than the other two options, which were “black out” and “light filtering.” I thought happy medium was a good choice.

What kinds of quick-fix window coverings have you implemented in your abode?