dearest thursday: new mama lifesavers

before henry arrived, i read about “must-have” baby items in parenting magazines, baby books, and other blogs. they ranged from sensible things like diapers and wipes (duh) to $1000 strollers. we bought the basics and i ordered a few more things after we got home.

as a new mom, i found the following items extremely helpful, and we use them every day, multiple times a day. every baby is different, but i couldn’t imagine taking care of henry without these things!

  • nose frida: we received this strange contraption from one of my coworkers who swore by it. at first i was kind of grossed out; you literally suck the snot out of your child’s nose. but it’s amazing— it works much better than the rubber bulbs. it’s also less invasive; the nose frida doesn’t go inside their nose, just against the nostril.
  • zebi blanket: the zebi is a giant muslin swaddle blanket; we have similarly sized aden and anais blankets, too. in the hospital michael and i could not swaddle henry in the receiving blankets. he would kick his legs out and we’d begin the process again. we love the muslin blankets because they stretch and they are lightweight for the texas heat. zebi blankets are pricier but they come in fantastic prints and double as a nursing cover.
  • mrs. meyer’s hand soap: we wash our hands constantly. i’m glad i stocked up on mrs. meyer’s soap! we love the geranium, honeysuckle, and bluebell scents.
  • baby tee: during the day you’ll usually find henry in a tee shirt, diaper, and little shorts. he’s a very warm child; i checked his temperature constantly the first week just to make sure nothing was wrong. we put him in long sleeve pajamas one night but never again— he absolutely hated it! he probably won’t wear jammies until winter.
  • nursing pillow: i own the nursit pillow which is similar to a boppy. it keeps babies at the right angle for nursing, and parents can use the pillow for tummy time and sitting up as the infant gets older. my best friend dana (who just had her second baby!) suggested buying extra covers because inevitably the pillow gets dirty after a couple of days.

what are your product suggestions for new moms?

the picks | nose frida | zebi blanket | hand soap | tee | pillow


dearest thursday: double duty


although diaper bags come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, the majority tend to be black nylon. why black and why nylon? black is a popular clothing color and nylon is easy to clean. unfortunately black is not one of my favorite colors.

for our little one, i plan to use my rebecca minkoff original MAB bag with a polka dot pocket insert. it’s a huge red leather bag that’s been sitting in my closet for the last two years, and now it will get a second life as a baby bag. i recommend buying an insert if you have a large purse (or if you’re like me, you own several of them). you can pull the insert out and switch bags with no problem.

if you don’t have a giant handbag, a plus to buying a “real” diaper bag is that it comes with built-in compartments. check out these four darling options— i love these bags because they are wonderful for mamas who like prints and colors. to the undiscerning eye, they resemble regular purses.  i won’t tell anyone you have a nose frida inside yours if you won’t tell anyone i have one in mine.

  1. rebecca minkoff marissa bag: this cute tote flips to a blue and yellow pattern on the back, making it a perfect present for mamas who will be surprised by baby’s gender. if i didn’t reuse my own purse, i’d get this one in a heartbeat.
  2. kate spade francis bag: put a bird on it! the toucans give the purse a whimsical touch. the print reminds me of a fun beach bag and it would also work for boys and girls.
  3. timi & leslie charlie bag: the charlie style resembles a posh italian handbag, and it’s totally wipeable. i like the blue and grey combination; it comes in other colors, too.
  4. lesportsac zoo bag: the little animals may garner as many oohs and aaahs as your baby! the navy blue color and messenger bag style also anchor it as a good “daddy” bag.

collage by me. images via nordstrom, shopbop, and amazon.


dearest thursday: shower time


michael and i had an “early” baby shower in may; friends and family typically fête the happy couple closer to their due date. our may shower allowed my coworkers to attend because teachers don’t always see each other in the summer (two words: it’s vacay). i felt weird asking people for presents so we created a basic wishlist (diapers, wipes, onesies, bottles, swaddles, etc.) and guests could choose from the list or share their own gifts.

we received many helpful and fun presents, some of which inspired my shopping picks for today. all of these items are under $30 at the nordstrom anniversary sale, and i think they would please any experienced or expecting mama out there. scoop them up soon because i may not be able to talk myself out of buying another cute blanket!

  1. stem baby cardigan: this cozy sweater would look great on a boy or girl. i like the oversized buttons and the “elf” style hood. on sale for $25.
  2. stem baby triangle blanket: oh my. this blanket would be perfect in our little boy’s camp-themed room. the orange, turquoise, and grey stand out as a cheerful yet gender neutral color combo. on sale for $30.
  3. tiny toms: toms shoes get even cuter as they get smaller. these crochet lace ones would be lovely on a little girl. on sale for $30.
  4. wooden porcupine: i worked at a children’s toy store in college, and we sold tons of wooden toys. they’re durable and families tend to use them for years and hand them down to younger siblings. on sale for $17.
  5. baby age blocks: it’s popular for moms to document their babies’ ages with stickers or patches. these wooden blocks are a cute alternative! on sale for $26.

collage by me. images via nordstrom.


dearest thursday: first bump

as a pregnant woman i often receive advice ranging from good to mediocre to—how can i say it politely— unsolicited. you are told what you should and shouldn’t eat, use, buy, do, etc. most people share advice in a friendly way, and i listen, discuss with my best friend (who’s expecting her second child), or ask my doctor. i still eat sushi and drink coffee. i just avoid the fish on the no-no list and add a ton of milk.

maybe i’m one of the lucky ones but no one has suggested what i should wear, thank goodness! i’ve learned that women’s bodies vary greatly in pregnancy; there is no default way of carrying your baby or dressing your bump. i’m 5’9” with a long torso and our baby boy is all in front. my personal style hasn’t changed at all besides having more elastic in my life.

here are some of my favorite items i’ve enjoyed wearing during this journey. you might like them, too, because only the jeans are “maternity”, believe it or not!

  1. clovella top: i bought the vibrant blouse on sale before i began to show. it still covers my bump perfectly. i like wearing it with skinny jeans and sandals.
  2. lush maxi dress: i picked up a few of these in different styles. they are super comfortable! the fabric is rayon, similar to my pricier rachel pally dresses.
  3. snapdragon top: this is another peplum blouse but in silk. i have the floral version from anthropologie and a zig-zag version from LM’s sample sale. they look great with jeans and skirts.
  4. maternity verdugo leggings: i’ll say it once and say it again: i love paige denim. they are absolutely the best kind of jeans. the maternity leggings have elastic at the sides to fit the bump.
  5. drawstring skirts: buy them two or three sizes bigger and they’ll last through your pregnancy.
  6. braided sightseer sandals: my brown boardwalk sandals broke and these replaced them. they’re comfy and cute.

what did you wear during your pregnancy?

collage by me. images via anthropologie, nordstrom, steven alan, matches, j.crew. and madewell.


dearest thursday: vanessa huxtable

i’ve been on a cosby show kick since the fall. i grew up watching the huxtable family and michael kindly put all the seasons on our netflix queue. i love that the huxtable girls (and theo) have great personalities with style to boot.

vanessa is one of my favorites because her style dramatically evolves as she gets older whereas denise holds onto her bohemian spirit and sondra prefers classics. in the earlier seasons, vanessa’s totally into matching sweatshirts, sweatpants, headbands, and sneakers. in season five, vanessa is the queen of complimentary colored layering. she wears collared shirts layered with jackets, sweaters, and pants in dark hues.

if vanessa went shopping today, she’d choose a good ol’ fashioned denim shirt and pair it with plaids and comfy flats. and don’t forget the earrings— i think vanessa and claudia kishi tie as best earring owners ever.

who was your favorite cosby girl?

collage by me. images via madewell and shopbop.

the picks | shirt | jacket | pants | shoes | earrings


dearest thursday: chris parker


last year i began watching all of my favorite 80’s movies partly out of boredom and partly out of curiosity. i wanted to see if my affection for these films remained the same as an adult. i came to the conclusion that ferris bueller is kind of a jerk and teenage mutant ninja turtles is terrible (though i loved it as a kid).

but i still harbored warm feelings for adventures in babysitting. chris parker (played by elisabeth shue) is a sweet girl-next-door who deserves an honorable frat boy. plus her trademark wardrobe of a long camel coat and bright pink sweater wouldn’t be out of place today.

the whole plot is cheesy with its chop shop crooks and her tween charges, but it makes you smile. it makes you root for her. and it definitely makes you envious of her perfect hair.

collage by me. images via amazon, j.crew, boden, madewell, and net-a-porter.

the picks | cubs hat | j.crew sweater | paige jeans | boden jacket | vans shoes


dearest thursday: miniature dolls


my handbags range from obnoxiously big (the pendleton tote) to decently sized (a minkoff bag) to quite small. today i celebrate the little guys— they’re the ones that run with you to the grocery store, gas station, or dinner party with your most important belongings like a license, lipstick, phone, or handful of quarters.

i searched high and low for the cutest of the cute, the quaintest of the quaint. the fox is my favorite but i like the triangles on the herschel wallet, too. are you keen on pint-sized purses?

collage by me. images via need supply, amazon, fossil, and nordstrom.

the picks | star clutch | geometric wallet | fox purse | book clutch


dearest thursday: loop de loop


it’s scarf hunting season, and infinity scarves abound. a few years ago, i only saw them in solid, neutral colors. now you can find them in every shade under the sun with patterns to boot. slip one over a sweater, tee, or jacket to add a little panache to your outfit.

my favorite scarf in the collage is the printed one because it reminds me of my pendleton bag. but i’ll take any giant scarf any day. i like big scarves and i cannot lie. you, too, am i right?

collage by me. images via anthropologie.

the picks | geometric | striped | color-blocked | heathered


dearest thursday: jacket and jill


while summer lingers in my part of texas, most of my friends in other states bundle up in sweaters, jackets, and coats. i can’t wait for the temperature to drop to the 50’s. i’ll even take the 60’s out of desperation.

i bought the olive green parka from need supply recently. need supply is a cool store located in my hometown and they carry a great mix of high and low items. i had a difficult time choosing a coat but i settled for a jacket with a hood to protect my face on windy days at recess.

isn’t the southwestern print coat the best? please buy it for yourself (or for me).

collage by me. images via need supply.

the picks | southwestern coat | green parka | grey coat | wrap jacket (sold out)


dearest thursday: easy as ABC


i meant to share these last week! of all the retro trends coming back in style, monograms run straight to my heart. i always appreciate a cute letter in written, digital, knit, or 3-D form.

when my brain freezes on gift ideas, i turn to monograms. they make a simple mug, notebook, or keychain a little more personal. anthropologie always offers a ton of monogrammed pieces; the blouse and sweater would be charming presents for a friend or bridesmaid.

if you’re into minimal monograms, retailers like madewell, j.crew, and cuyana will emboss your initials onto leather. i’m tempted to order my own embossing kit to graffiti letters on all my bags, but the inner jiminy cricket says, “you better not!”

collage by me. images via anthropologie and madewell.

the picks | monogram sweater | letters | bag | monogram blouse


dearest thursday: A+ books


the first week of school always goes by in a flash; by friday afternoon i never believe five days have passed. we spend our time walking around the school, using supplies in simple activities, and listening to good stories.

i choose funny, relatable, and poignant books to read to my class throughout the year. kids love books that make them crack up, think outloud, or recall memories. i highly recommend these five books for your first week!

  • david goes to school by david shannon. david is a little boy who constantly finds himself in trouble. i love the moment at the end when he redeems himself.
  • skippyjon jones by judy schachner. skippyjon is a siamese cat who thinks he’s a chihuahua. the skippyjon series embraces the power of imagination.
  • yoko by rosemary wells. yoko brings a different lunch to school and feels lonely. this book is a great way to discuss tolerance and cultures.
  • will i have a friend? by miriam cohen. it’s an older book with the simple theme of making friends at school.
  • we are all like, we are all different. i own the “big” version of this book. it was written by a real kindergarten class! the book contains cute photographs and promotes diversity.

happy back-to-school!

collage by me. images via amazon.


dearest thursday: first day of cool


it’s back-to-school time again! if you’re a mom, teacher, or college student, august and september mean making a list and checking it twice. when i was little, my parents bought us new shoes and bookbags every year along with staples like socks, jeans, and various tops. i loved the way everything smelled like “school.”

as a teacher i end up buying more things for my classroom than myself. but i did purchase some pieces to remix with my closet like an oversized sweater and textured skirt and some shoes to wear everyday like low clogs. i think my mom would smile from afar and remind me to say, “cheese.”

if you’re heading back, too, have a great year!

the picks | madewell sweater | boden skirt | cuyana clutch and tote | loeffler randall clogs


dearest thursday: TxSC golden girls


today’s edition of dearest thursday is dedicated to five friends (old and new) from texas style council. i enjoy working our registration table because i get to know our sponsors and speakers. i would love to include them all, but these golden girls stuck out this year. click forth and check out these awesome women for yourself.

  • lulu*s has been with TxSC since 2011. they host our swap on friday night which entails transforming an empty storefront into a clothing store. stephanie and her team (tierney and kerrie) are hustlers! in less than two hours, our headquarters resembled a hip boutique, fooling many curious window shoppers.
  • moorea seal is a blogger and pinterest-master. she recently opened an online shop with beautifully curated goodies (like the gilded house). she is incredibly sweet and creative; she gave my registration team necklaces! moorea also stayed across the street from me with julie (of orchid grey) and chelsey (of the paper mama). they’re three fantastic ladies.
  • becky murphy is an illustrator extraordinaire in austin. she’s the epitome of cute and cool, and she has a book coming out in october!
  • manic trout is a jewelry line by austin designer sierra bailey. sierra’s pieces are radical. i browsed her booth at our prom party and wanted to buy everything especially her charm bracelets with animals.
  • megan (of greetings from texas) is a houston blogger that makes me grin when i see her. she’s got comedic chops, a spitfire personality, and a published memoir! i’m stalking amazon for the kindle release.

the picks | printed dress | birch house | becky’s book | dino bracelet | meg’s book

collage by me. images via lulu*s, moorea seal, amazon, and manic trout.

p.s. this post is not sponsored or endorsed by the aforementioned people. i just have a crush on them.


dearest thursday: there and back again


in elementary school, my dad bought me a few books from the school book fair. a few weeks later, i received a scolding from my parents for drawing and writing in them and— gasp—using scissors. i still feel a twinge of guilt every time i chop up a magazine or a perfectly good page from an old book, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

this summer i’m finally getting around to finishing the gallery wall in our living room. i played around with photos and illustrations only to return, time and time again, to maps. i love maps especially old ones. we already have a globe and two large maps, but the more the merrier.

i would happily chop up any of the items below for my project. well, i wouldn’t cut up the scarf. i just think it’s pretty cute— it has bluebonnets for texas!

collage by me. images via modcloth, anthropologie, and madewell.

the picks | longitude print set | travel journal | calendar | scarf


dearest thursday: the hair up there


i shamelessly rotate three hairstyles: frequently seen long and loose waves, classic ponytail, and good-grief-nothing-is-working top knot. on our wedding day, i plan on wearing my hair down (as usual) but maybe adding a headpiece.

i found these pretty headpieces at BHLDN. the four beauties are my favorites out of the entire collection, and they’re polar opposites. i like two traditional birdcage veils and two spectacular flower crowns.

you can also find headpieces on etsy and other sites. do you have any veils, crowns, or while we’re at it, royal ascot hats i should add to my wish list?

collage by me. images via BHLDN.

the picks / sainted sister veil / sancerre crown / bibi fascinator / mandevilla crown