Back to School Cool

It’s that time of year- back to school time!  God, I remember back to school shopping. It was awesome. I think I got like one outfit to specifically wear on the first day of school. BUT I LOVED IT!  I’d just sit and stare at my brand new clothes all pressed and neat with the tags still on. It was the best.

The thing is, I am equally excited to pick out Colin’s back to school clothes. He’s like a life size dress up doll. Sure, he’s got some opinions, but so far? He’s been loving my picks.  I knew I liked that kid.

Most of my picks are from the Gap, which I find has good quality clothes with very few cutesy sayings on them. And since the hope is that Jack will eventually wear these as well, I am learning to steer away from the cheaper stores where I might be able to buy more but the clothes start to fall apart, or fade really quickly. I get a lot of stuff on sale days, and the sale section can’t be beat, especially when they are offering an additional percentage off.

Bottom Line: You can’t go wrong with classic basics: Puffer Vests, Baseball Tee, Converse One Stars, an Oxford and a Bright Yellow Slicker. Just mix and match them with some new trends and get that kid on the bus!

back to school olio

Vest/Gray Jeans/ Jeans/ Raincoat/ Baseball Tee/ Striped Tee/ Striped Oxford/ Hi Top Boots- Gap

Rain Boots- Piperlime

Loafers- JCrew

Converse One Stars- Target

The Look for Less [Dressy Sweatshirt Edition]

So as a second time around mom, I find myself firmly back in my yoga pants and sweatshirt combo again. We’ve talked about this before. But. But!  It seems as though the mainstream fashion houses are getting with the program. May I introduce you to the ‘Fancy Sweatshirt” courtesy of J. Crew:

jcrew jeweled sweatshirt

I saw this in person at the store, but in navy.  They had a really cute striped collared shirt layered underneath and a chunky necklace, ala my pal Mary. OhmygoditssocuteIdied. I was all, “YOU GET ME. YOU REALLY GET ME!” because all I’ve ever wanted was to feel validated wearing sweats to a nice restaurant.

And then I discreetly threw up in my mouth when I saw the price: $118.

“YOU’RE SLOWLY TRYING TO KILL ME, J. CREW! DON’T EVER TALK TO ME AGAIN!!”

And then I bought my clearance rack necklace (totes cute btw) and headed out. Sadsies.

But then the other day I headed into Forever 21 (yes, I know I don’t belong there, but I’ve been told they have the holy grail of skinny jeans at $11, so whattdya gonna do?) and spotted this, haphazardly on a rack:

photo-650

Size small, natch. Which in regular person sizes is basically Barbie clothing. I became a crazed woman. “Colin! Follow mommy!! THIS WAY!” My poor toddler.

Finally, with the help of a 13 year old sales associate, found my size elsewhere on the second floor. Yes, the second floor. This particular Forever 21 fancies themselves a department store evidently. Nice accessories department though.  PS- Forever 21? You carry waaaay too much inventory. But I’ll deal when I can get a J. Crew knockoff for $22. Thankssomuch.

Of course, I can’t find this particular item online, or I’d link to it. You know, when you have 256 sweatshirts online, one of them should be what you carry in the store, but I’ve got two kids and not enough time in the world to navigate that website. Hell, navigating the F21 website could very well be a full time job.

I’d take it if they paid me in fancy sweatshirts.

Cable Coziness and CVS Goodness

I love a cozy cable knit. When the weather starts to turn chilly, there is nothing like snuggling up under a soft cable knit throw. And I have to say, I’ve been loving those cable knit pillows you see all around this time of year. But I’m on a pillow budget. Only budget pillows for this chick. So I got some wool-feeling chevron pillows in the clearance section at Target for $5 a piece and called my fall decorating done. Until I went to CVS.

That is not a typo. This cable knit lovely is from CVS. And I paid $8. That is also not a typo.

So you know how CVS has all their holiday type tchochke crap like holiday makeup bags and dancing Santas lining the tops of their aisles and whatnot? Well, I was looking for diapers, and spotted a red cable knit pillow up on top of the shelf. I was all, “oh too bad it’s that bright red. WAIT A HOT MINUTE!” And I scooted to the cash register to pay my $9.99 STAT for my new ivory pillow. When they scanned my CVS card, it rang up with a 20% off coupon. And then the lady in line behind me was all, “Did you get that here?” And I tried hard not to laugh my evil laugh and be all, “IT’S MINE! ALL MINE, SUCKER!  MWHAHAHA!” Really, I just shrugged and said, “Right?” Cuz who buys pillows at CVS?

Apparently, this girl does.

Which is all to say, if you find yourself at CVS buying aspirin or what have you, you may want to put pillows on your list as well.

Let’s Eat! [New Kitchen Moodboard]

It’s no secret. I like to eat. In fact, most of my day, when not changing diapers or driving back and forth to our new house, is consumed with thoughts about what I am going to eat next. I’d blame the baby, but truth be told, I was like this well before I was knocked up. Except now, it’s worse.

Speaking of eating, our new kitchen looks like this:

Well, it looked like that, with the old owner’s things in it. Including that lantern. Wowzas. I’m tallying votes on the lantern. So far, I have my mother in law in my corner for getting rid of it. She even told me where to bring it to sell it. And she has an appreciation for antiques. But even she said to toss it. You can vote too. You’re like family. Most of you probably *are* family, actually. Thanks for reading. So what about that lantern?

For now, we definitely need a kitchen table. Currently, we have one dining table, and it’s too big for that space, and besides, we actually have a dining room to furnish. Who woulda thunk?  So I’m looking for a cheap round table to fill the space. And while I’m at it, I picked out some other pieces to go with it.

Chairs/ Rug/ Pendant/ Black Table/ White Table/ Oak Table

Most of the items above come from Overstock. I have a good history with them. We bought our drum pendants in our old condo through them, which were a decent Jonathan Adler knockoff, and you can’t beat their prices, usually. I already have the runner version of the rug, and it matches the space nicely, tying in the granite with the wall color, so I wouldn’t mind getting one for the tiny dining nook as well. Emily ordered the chairs already, so I have seen them in real life photos, and I likey. All silver and industrial-like.

Now, my question is: Which table?  I kinda like all three. We’ve got the dark grey granite and a sage-y gray wall color (we decided not to paint the kitchen. Had to draw the line somewhere….). I could make an argument for all three. Of course, the black and the oak are cheaper, so there’s that. What do you think?

Magnificent Magnets.

We were on the Cape this weekend with Kase’s mom, and while shopping around Provincetown, we happened upon a children’s store that sold the sweetest clothes. While perusing, we saw this:

We were confused at first. What? How does it close? I don’t see any snaps or a zipper. Do you see any snaps? Nope! Turns out, it is completely held together with magnetic closures! How genius is that?  And really, the magnets just find eachother- there’s no lining them up or anything- it’s like a magic onesie. So for diaper changes in the middle of the night (and in the middle of the middle of the night, and then right at dawn, and then, well, you get it), instead of trying to line up snaps and fumbling around you just do this:

I know. I wish I had thought of it, too. I love the caption, “Not to worry.” If they knew me back when I was brand new to the mothering gig and trying to change Colin with the dimmer light on, then they would have captioned it “Don’t cry. It will all be okay!”

Speaking of snaps, or lack thereof, we snapped it right up. Well, my mother-in-law did. Thanks, Doris! And if you know someone about to have a newborn, I think this would be the most amazing gift to buy. Seriously. Easier= appreciated.

You can find your own at Magnificent Baby.

Preschool Prep

T minus ten days until Colin starts school. Every few days we receive yet another note from the school, whether that note has a nice little reminder to send them money, or if it is just to tell me how to do drop offs in the morning, I’m getting a little overwhelmed. And then they sent me a note telling me that all of Colin’s clothes and items need to be labeled. As I thought to myself, can he get away with wearing a uniform to preschool so I only label five outfits?, I discovered these:

They are totally customizable iron-on labels from Etsy seller (where else) Lollipop Labels. I got to choose the graphic (had to be a “digger”) font and color. Lifesaver! And she carries a ton of different labels for all sorts of uses, so if you are in need, check it out.  I paid $12 for 100 little labels, which are a perfect size to fit into little shoes. Because shoes need to be labeled, too. Jesusmaryandjoseph.

Now, I just have to find my iron. Or buy an iron. Whatever.

Anthro Inspired

I’m in full on party prep, which you  may know if you are following me on Instagram or Twitter. Yesterday, I headed to Marshall’s for one reason, and of course, left with five different reasons. Didn’t actually find what I was looking for, but isn’t that what Marshall’s and its ilk is all about? It’s like the discount stepbrother of Target, which I call the “$100 Store”- meaning, you can go in there with a little list and be all, “This is ALL I am looking for. I will not buy anything else this time. SWEARS!” and your husband just laughs at you, because, really? When has that ever happened in the history of Kate?

Which is my long winded way of saying that, no, I did not go to Marshall’s with the intent to purchase these cute milk bottles, but they were there all, “Psssst!  Hey! I was just wondering if you were having kids at your party? And they might drink milk? And it might look cute served in me?”  And I was all, “Get away from me, you master of darkness! I am here for….wait, what did I come here for? Oh yeah, milk bottles! HOW FORTUITOUS!”

Don’t look at me like that. I was helpless. Plus, I was totally there for milk bottles. I just didn’t know it yet. And, they were $5. These are all legitimate reasons.

Kinda remind me of these milk glasses from Anthro from last year, no?

As Is is much better than As Was.

So I decided it was high time I went to Ikea and showed the amateur masses how it’s done.

Which brings me to our guest room. Until Sunday, our guest room beckoned to our visitors, “We love you. Hope you don’t plan on staying too long!” To that end, we had bought a bed, but nothing else. Given our guest bedroom has seen its fair share of visitors since we moved in last December, it was time to spruce things up a bit. I know this because when my parents came for a visit in May, my mom was sweet enough to purchase a brand new comforter for us, with pillows to boot. Just because. Yeah, because we didn’t have proper linens. Or anything really. I have a ton of throw pillows in every imaginable color, which you will find comes in handy, but apparently, people don’t like to sleep on throw pillows.  The point is, the room was a smathering of this and that, disjointed and yet at the same time, incredibly institutional and cold. Again, we love you, but we sincerely hope you weren’t planning on spending any real time here.

So a trip to Ikea was made. And while I have promised myself that I will never buy another piece of furniture from there, I do love Ikea for its accessories.  The plan was to buy some pillows, maybe a decorative accessory or two and maybe some frames. And trust you me, I did. And then some.

Now my general rule with Ikea is to always stop at As Is first. If you’re lucky enough, you can turn right back around and check out without having to brave the underbelly of Ikea.

Which is where I spotted this:

I’ve been coveting this rug for ages. Apparently, it’s been discontinued.  And yet, there it was, just calling to me, “It’s our last chance, mon amor!”

Colin waited patiently as I hauled it off of its rack and gently folded it in quarters. And then we sang our way to the check out with the rest of our haul. Mostly pillows of course.

The upside of my SADs is I have a little collection of “home crap” that goes unused for months at a time. For a while there, I was really into mustard yellow. And I bought throw pillows with matching throws from Pottery Barn. Go hard or go to Pottery Barn is my motto. And so when I got home from the ‘Kea, I went straight for my throw pillow/random crap linen closet and started pulling things out like a crazy woman.

Which is how we ended up here.

So here’s the deal. I saw a woman on my way through the plant section with this planter, and I thought to myself, I’ve been looking for a basket just like that! And then I realized it was a planter. But I bought it anyway. Cuz I don’t have enough baskets. Right. I’m stupid like that.

Of course, like the master, there is still more to do. I may replace the dressers for the side tables- it feels a little crowded now, but that may be because I’m used to the room being pretty bare bones. Next, we need to raid the basement and open up all those tubs of frames and pictures and start nailing stuff to the walls. I mean, why not? It’s been long enough.

Master Bedroom Re-Do

If you’ve been with us for a while, you know we have had in the past three years approximately 82 bedrooms. With this last move, we’ve been watching our bottom line lately, which has meant no new purchases for the house. Been there, done that. A lot. New purchases for Colin? Well, of course. He runs this place. Must make the despot happy at all costs. Literally. Funny enough, new throw pillows don’t do it for him. So no new house stuff for us. For months. Seven long months.

But enough was enough. I’ve waited 7 months longer than in any of our other homes to decorate. Our bedroom? Was sad. I assume prison cells are warmer and cozier than our room.

As you know, I had a little moodboard going. And I had some sweet side tables picked out for the room. But then, as most 31 year old married with children women do, I found myself on Craigslist on Saturday night, just looking around to see what I could find. And then I hit pay dirt: a local listing for two campaign style dressers. For a total cost of $40. Had it not been 10:30 at night, I would have hopped in the car right then and there.

I’m nothing if not in control, so I waited until 10 the next morning. And I brought them home. We had a lot of switcheroo-ing going on yesterday at the house, due to a very successful Ikea trip as well, but I’ll get to that later. In the meantime, this is how things stood yesterday at 3pm:

I believe the word you are looking for is “Yikes.”

Now, please excuse the bad iPhone pics and the lighting. The truth is, our bedroom gets its best light at precisely 5:36am-5:48am.  And during that time, I am sleeping with the shades drawn. Deal with it.

I set up our new dressers, moved out the old white dressers to the guest room, brought in Colin’s glider from his nursery because, well, we paid a pretty penny for it and it’s not being used, and then threw some new pillows on the bed and called it a day, literally.

That right there is $20 well spent.

Just keeping it real and showing you the laundry basket. Had the choice between laundry and redecorating this weekend. So I went to IKEA. With a toddler. By myself. And that should tell you how much I hate doing laundry.

Who steams or irons their linens? Not this girl. And yes, our dog sleeps in bed with us. Again, keeping it real. Real furry.

I’d still like a real headboard, but I haven’t found one I like for three straight months. Seriously, I have about three different virtual shopping carts just ready to “checkout” and have yet to pull the trigger. Throw pillows I can do. But something that I need to keep for a while? That Kase will remember we just bought only last year? I can fool him with pillows, but not so much the bigger things.

Speaking of pillows, you don’t need to ask. Yes, I like that many pillows on my bed. Most days, I even make the bed. With all those pillows. And should you still wonder “Why?” I will answer you the same way I answer Kase: “Because. Now pick up that pillow and hand it to me.”

We still have a ways to go. But trust me, this is a vast improvement. Even Kase remarked that it looked nice. And he usually doesn’t notice these things. Which is why I am going to strike while the iron is hot and tell him we need to start hanging stuff on the walls. We’ve got a wood rectangular mirror that Kase hid somewhere in the house. Maybe over the bed? Hope he can find it.

Tomorrow, I unveil more crappy pictures of the guest room re-do, now featuring leftovers from the Master!  Did someone say “IKEA As Is?” Yeah I did.

Around the World in $500

You may remember that last year, Kase took me on a little weekend getaway to celebrate my 30th birthday. While in New Hampshire, we visited a great vintage store called Just L.  We left with a vintage Smith-Corona and a cute little globe that the manager believed was once part of a board game, though he had yet to discover it. It was a fun conversation where he explained how he could date and identify his finds such as the globe, but there were always unanswered questions about their origins.

Last night I happened to be perusing Etsy as is my wont and lo and behold, look what I stumbled across when searching for “vintage airplane toys”:

Look familiar?

So evidently, my $15 globe is part of some $500 vintage game. If any of you are missing only the globe, I will be happy to sell it to you for $300. That’s a bargain. Really.

Pinterest Inspired Look for Less

It must be that time again. Seasons are changing or the stars are aligned a certain way. It’s time….to redecorate!

I used to blame SADs for this. But now I can add Pinterest to that equation. All I know is, it’s not my fault and I have no control over it.  In addition, since moving to our house back in December, I have done absolutely nothing to the bedroom, save for hanging two mirrors I got at Terrain during the Always Crafty weekend. Other than that? Nothing. Which means my bedroom is a sad sad place. It’s plain and boring and I hate it.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me show you a picture making the rounds on Pinterest that has piqued my redecoration bug.

Well, isn’t that just lovely? One of the items on my list of things to do is to incorporate a little more natural and dark wood into our house. We bought a lot of white furniture for our pad in Boston since it was tiny tiny tiny and white furniture helps to make a space feel light and airy and spacious. But now we have that elusive space, and that apartment/condo sized furniture we have is not cutting it size wise. Or style wise. Best to start out in the space where I spend most of my free time. My bedroom really is my haven- often I head there right after putting Colin to bed. I love to sit in bed and read my Kindle and just enjoy the silence. I do this all while wearing blinders like a race horse, because if I look too hard at my surroundings, I start going through the drawers looking for razor blades. Kidding. Kind of. Not really.

So I sourced this room online. It was easy enough. And not too pricey either!  Check it out:

Sheers/ Side table/ Lamp/ Linens/ Quilt/ Frames/ Mirrored Dresser Tray

Sheers for $4.99? A sweet pedestal table for under $50? And a crystal lamp look a like for under $30? This whole scheme can be redone for under $250. I think that it’s only fair that if Colin gets a new room, I should, too.

So tell me, would you find this room to be a restful retreat?

Anchors Aweigh!

We’re getting ready to hit up Nantucket, which means I am scouring my closet for the proper outfits to pack. And nothing says Nantucket like ANCHORS!  I love my anchor necklace layered with my sideways cross that Kase gave me for my birthday. Here is just one of the outfits I’ve packed for our trip, inspired of course, by the nautical goodness that is Nantucket.

Twist Ring/ Twist Bow Ring/ Camp Shirt/ Anchor Necklace/ Cross Necklace/ Sunglasses/ Cutoffs/ Sandals

Besides the Tiffany stackable rope rings (which I love btw, KASE) this outfit is completely affordable, if you don’t already own some of the pieces.  So get your summer on- Anchors Aweigh!

The Look for Less [Kate Spade Necklace Edition]

A couple of weekends back, we were up in Andover and while strolling, I came across the shop Bobbles and Lace.  Have you heard of it? It’s a fantastic cute little boutique type shop. They sell clothes, shoes and most importantly, jewelry!  I spotted this guy and just had to grab it:

Bobbles and Lace Necklace, $35

It comes in all sort of colors, too. Take a look for yourself.

Kind of reminds me of this pretty lady, though I have to say, I like the colors of the Bobbles and Lace version, better!

Kate Spade Frame of Mind Graduated Necklace, $198

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

As we plan the remainder of our summer, it dawned on me that August is just around the corner. And that I might want to get started planning Colin’s birthday party. Last year, I think I started planning in early May, which means I am already behind. 😉

Last year, we packed a whole lot into one day. That was a rookie mistake. I seemed to forget that my sweet one year old would need a nap at one point. But with family in from out of town, I tried to make the day as seamless and convenient as possible. Which is how this happened:

Woopsie daisy. You live. You learn.

So this year’s birthday will be all about the despot. After his nap, that is. Colin’s a sweet kid. He loves lots of stuff. Elmo, Cookie Monster, baths, singing, trucks, cars, construction sites. He’s a well rounded young man with various interests, let’s say. But nothing, oh nothing, can beat out cars, trains and planes. If my little dude is having a “moment” all we have to do is drive by the nearest construction site or pull out his matchbox cars for him to quickly move on. As I write this, he is playing with his new ride on buggy, and squealing with glee. Bottom line: if it’s got wheels, it’s got his attention. So while I scoured Pinterest for months and was inspired by Sesame Street and dinosaur parties, I knew they weren’t quite right.

So I decided to work backwards. I decided to start with the invitation first. What I really wanted was something like this, which didn’t have to tie in a theme anyway.

via

Isn’t that great? So I got on Etsy, and clicked and clicked and clicked. And then I remembered Minted.com from looking for personalized Christmas Cards. Which we never ordered. Or sent out. Whoops.

But here was a perfect opportunity. As I perused Minted.com for some invitation ideas, I spotted this:

Yup, it’s a save the date card. But the beauty of Minted is everything is customizable. And the best part is it’s two sided, so the front has all the party information, while the back has a sweet picture of Colin and a list of his likes, favorite words, and dis-likes. Just to keep all those non-blog stalkers up to date. Seriously. My own family doesn’t read my blog all the time. Some at all. Rude. Anyway, you’re welcome, family.

But the real reason I chose this card? Uh duh. Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Not to mention, the color scheme is pretty awesome. And thus, a birthday party was born.

The moral of the story? Pinterest and Etsy are great. But sometimes you gotta think outside the box to really get just what you want. It’s easy to get caught up in theme parties, but remember, there is always a good chance your kid won’t even make it to the cake cutting.

This is the first pass, and of course, I am open to any and all ideas you’ve got. Like, any locals know of a great cake shop? Or where I can rent a navy bounce house? 😉 Let the recommendations fly! Pun totally intended.

(PS! Minted.com did not pay me at all. Quite the opposite in fact. Sadsies.)

Fun Find for Colin’s Room

While things are not progressing on the big boy room front, (and if we are honest, we seem to be regressing altogether on the sleep front), I did come across a fun Etsy find when looking for VW bus inspired decor. You’ll remember, my mood board looked like this:

What can I say? My son is not so unique as I’d like to believe. Turns out, the kid loves cars. And trucks. And anything with wheels. And while loving cars does not make my son unique, I can create a special room for him with things that are one of a kind.

I came across this amazing shop on Etsy- StarlingInk.  The owner takes vintage hubcaps and creates one of a kind clocks with them. When I spotted this guy, I couldn’t put it in my cart fast enough. Cherry Red? VW logo? Yes please. I believe you were made for Colin’s room. Now, get in my basket. And get in the mail. And get in my grubby little hands.

There are some other fun colors too. I am taken with the avocado green, I must admit.

And here are some others that caught my eye:

And I have to say, I was torn between a VW and this Chevy clock. I love the scuffs and scrapes. Ahh, I’m having buyer’s remorse. Must scroll back up top to banish second thoughts!

So if you’re like me and working on a car theme, which is NOT to be confused with a Cars theme, then this might be up your alley. Just thought I’d share!