Friday, December 9, 2011

Naptime Reading Material: Daily Garnish

I'm reviving my Naptime Reading Material column where I give you a sneak peek into what I'm reading while the baby snoozes.


It's a little known fact that my sister introduces me to most of the blogs in my Google Reader.  Especially since I've been preoccupied with "mom stuff" and can't get past the swell of stuff in my inbox, she's been passing along some interesting blogs that I never would have found.

Case in point: Daily Garnish.


Primarily a healthy food and recipe blog, Emily Malone is also a marathon runner and new mom.  So lately, she's been posting super cute pics of her new baby and talking about adjusting to life plus one tiny person.  Also, she's recently been talking about getting back into shape, which is something I'm trying to do as well (albeit one year later than her) so it's nice to hear about her progress as I try to make mine.



Above all, Daily Garnish is about recipes and Emily has some delicious looking ones.  Almost all of them are vegetarian-slash-vegan and super healthy.  Since Reese has been shoveling any and all foods into her mouth at an alarming rate, I've been focusing on trying to make our meals and hers as veggie filled and healthy as possible.  I think I'm definitely going to be putting this Sesame Kale and Tofu Salad in my dinner rotation and maybe make this Broccoli "Cheese" Pasta Bake for my sister as thanks for introducing me to the site.

photos and logo courtesy of dailygarnish.com

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pretty in Pleats

A few weeks ago, I had the chance (meaning my husband took one for the team and watched football while the baby slept) to hit up the Rebecca Minkoff sample sale on the opening night.

It was everything I had hoped for...expect for the extremely long line.

Like looong.

Like, The Odyssey and Ulysses long.

So I had a lot of time to check out what everyone else was wearing.  And listen to one girl yammer on for hours about which bag she was going to get.

One girl struck me as particularly cute, wearing a lightweight, accordion pleated skirt with a chunkier knit sweater.

Pleats please.

The contrast between the textures was super cute, but also transitional weather appropriate.  I thought it could also be easily worn on a nice walk with the baby, albeit one where I didn't feed her sweet potatoes or anything.

I paired it here with burgundy tights and some chunky ankle boots, but I think a pair of knee high boots would also be killer.  Gives it a little Stevie Nicks-ish vibe.  I also thought it would be a nice way to wear my new acquisition from the sale...the Rebecca Minkoff MAC Clutch in a cognac leather.

A little inspiration and the bag made the epically long line worth it.  I wonder if that girl behind me ever pulled the trigger on hers...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teeny Tiny Coats

I mean, is there anything cuter?

Teeny tiny swimsuits?  Or teeny tiny shoes?  Or super itty socks?

Ok, fine, anything mini is adoraballs.

I'm obsessed with baby coats.  I know Reese doesn't need more than one...maaaybeee two, but I can't stop looking.  Plus, why are baby coats in such great styles and not available for adults?!?
Baby Coats!


Ugh, someone hide my credit card.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pulling The Trigger

I have trouble actually making a purchase.  Even if it's something I *know* I want and have considered carefully.

For the entire fall, I've been getting dressed and thinking to myself..."You know what would make this outfit much better?  An army green jacket."

And then I would go out on the street and see all these cute army green jackets.  They made the wearers look so tough and cool.  Like they were ready for urban warfare.  I mean, strollers are built like tanks these days.

I went home and pinned a bunch of them.  Some are dusty green and a little too light for the weather, some are insulated and I was worried I'd be too warm.  I knew I wanted something a little less M*A*S*H and a little more Band of Brothers.

Then I thought some more.

Can you see where this is going?


I finally found one that fit what I wanted.



It's tough, but cool.  Lightweight, but pretty warm.  Great pockets for socks that go flying, my cell phone, gloves and an emergency Mum Mum for long walks.  It makes me feel like I'm ready to do battle with the day.

My sister got the same jacket in blue, without hesitation.  She obviously has no problem pulling the trigger.





Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Grocery Chic

Grocery shopping with a baby is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

First, I got over the initial hump of figuring out how to actually transport the child and carry groceries (I used the Bjorn in Pittsburgh when I had a car, but in New York when I have to carry the bags all the way home, I use the stroller).

Now that I'm used to that part of it, there is still limited amount of time I can spend in the store before Reese starts to wig out and cause a scene.  So my shopping trips end up resembling an episode of that old show "Supermarket Sweep," where I run around frantically trying to remember everything I needed and throw it in the cart and check out before the screaming begins.

Inevitably, I get home and smack my head since I forgot at least three key food items and send my husband an email asking him to stop on the way home.

Last week, I saw a woman I recognized at Fairway.  She is in our swim class with her younger son and always seems to be able to get the baby and herself changed after class with minimal freak outs and leaves with good hair.  She has probably sold her soul to the Devil in exchange for such skills, and I would do the same.

So, she was calmly strolling around the store and looked impossibly chic.  Nothing revolutionary: black skinny jeans, button down, long black cardigan, flats, her son's backpack.  But she looked great.


Grocery Chic

She probably got everything on her list too.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Wonderful World, Redux

I'm going to start this post with a denial. 

I am emphatically NOT pregnant. 

 
But I do think this dress is cute.

I just know a lot of people are, were just, or are probably going to be really soon.  So, I thought I would revisit some of my earlier posts on maternity fashion.

Back when the baby was in the inside and I could balance a cup of coffee on my belly, I wrote about my frustrations with maternity shopping, plus some of my solutions over on my old blog, Capitol Hill Barbie.

For easy access:

The Wonderful World of Maternity: Part 1

The Wonderful World of Maternity: Part 3

I still stand behind everything, but I have a few updates.

First, I would like to heartily recommend Asos' maternity section.  It's vast and trendy, plus with free shipping and free returns, you can avoid the dressing room and make your decisions in the comfort of your own home.

Second, for those looking for new labels and a seasoned eye, I recommend The Pregnant Fashionista and Ain't No Mom Jeans.  All of these ladies have been through multiple pregnancies and know what works and what doesn't.  While their recommendations are on the pricier side, I agree with their philosophy of "cost per wear."  When you are growing and your closet options are shrinking, you get a lot of wear out of each item.  It makes sense to invest in the best when you can.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's On Me

I have given this bib as a gift no fewer than three times this month.

True story.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Out Like A Light

It's pretty rare that I get out by myself during the week.  Just me.  No Baby Bjorn.  No stroller.  No diaper bag with enough stuff to keep a small person entertained-fed-amused-dry for at least 4 hours.

Just me.

But tonight, I'm taking advantage of the fact that this November seems to be chock-full of sample sales and hitting the two I deem the best of the bunch.


Rebecca Minkoff's sale is allegedly super-spectacular and sweet.  I'm hoping to scoop up an iPad case, a new pair of flats and maybe one of her amazeballs purses.


Hanky Panky makes some of the best underwear you'll ever put your legs through.  Pretty, soft, easy and the only underwear that fit the entire ten months of pregnancy (who told you it was nine?  it's not.)  Last year, my mom went and gave me a bunch of their classic thongs about 6 weeks after I gave birth.  I think I might have actually cried, I was so excited to have new underwear.  True story.

That, combined with a nice girls-only dinner?  Worth the weeks of schlepping around a 4 ton diaper bag.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ain't No Party Like a One Year Old's Party




First birthdays are hard.  Except in the ways that they are easy.

They are hard because there isn't really a whole lot for the birthday girl/boy to do to participate and appreciate, but they are also easy because there is no one sobbing hysterically because you screwed up the Dora the Explorer theme.

In essence, the first party is more for you, the parent, than for the child.

We chose to have Reese's party on the patio of our apartment building and we had a sunny, albeit chilly, afternoon for the party.  There were picnic tables for eating and lots of room for milling around.  


We ordered the most awesome sandwiches from Torrisi Italian Specialties and had a variety of the baby's favorite foods, like hummus, bananas, blueberries, whole wheat pitas and puffs of all kinds.

For decor, I worked with Carol from fox+paper to design the invitations and the banner below with a girly monkey theme.



She did a pretty awesome job.

A note about the food.  I am one of those people who like to make everything from scratch.  I once made my own hamburger buns for a barbeque, I give away homemade marshmallows at the holidays, and I even fried up some jelly doughnuts for Hanukah one year.  And then I had a baby.  It was kind of hard for me to let go of my inner Becky-Home-Ec-y, but I decided to focus on just making one thing for the party...the cake.


I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe for the Best Birthday Cake and Cook's Illustrated's Foolproof Chocolate Frosting.  The sock monkey cake toppers came from the very talented Two Sugar Babies (located in Pittsburgh, a nice sentimental nod to our recent past).  They were able to make one large topper for the grown up cake and a little cupcake one for the smash cake.


How cool are these cups with the chalkboard labels?


Reese also received an obscene number of presents.  And a Justin Bieber balloon.


One party tip?  Have adult beverages for the adults.  And you have one too.  You kept a tiny human alive for a year, you deserve a beer.  And diamonds.  But start with the beer.


We swapped out the cake topper for a big ol' ONE candle and let her loose on her very own cake.  Some people (grandparents...cough...cough) were worried she might not understand what to do with the cake.


Not exactly a problem.

Monday, October 24, 2011

10 Tips For Surviving a Baby's Cold

You might have to excuse any typos in this post as I'm currently writing this after a looong day taking care of a sick baby.

While it's definitely not our first cold, they don't exactly get easier.  However, I have learned a couple of things that make dealing with a sick, cranky baby a little less painful.

1. Relax the Rules.  I'm usually pretty strict about the rules of baby-raising.  Reese naps exclusively in her crib according to her schedule, we don't watch TV when she is awake, etc.  But when she's sick, I try to go with the flow and make her happy.  So, if a ride in the car will get her some rest or a little Sesame Street takes her mind of the river of snot coming out of her nose, I'm not about to be denying her.


2.  Use What You Can.  Medications that is.  Most cold medications are totally not recommended for babies.  Consult with your pediatrician before giving the baby any medication, even Vicks Vaporub (which I was surprised to hear my doctor nix during our first round with Mr. Rhinovirus).  If there is something you get the green light for, use it.

3.  A Spoonful of Juice.  I have a baby who loves medicines.  Seriously, it's like dessert to her.  She;s totally going to be one of those kids faking sick so she can drink the grape cough syrup.  But that attitude is rare, from what I hear around the playground.  If you do get the OK to give the baby a medication and you can't get her to actually swallow it, try mixing it into concord grape juice or into a flavored yogurt.

4.  Tilt-o-Whirl.  Another homestyle remedy is to prop up one side of the crib mattress by placing a folded up blanket under one end.  This angles the mattress so the baby is basically sleeping uphill, forcing congestion down.  At first I worried the baby would roll down to the other side, but she figured it out.

5.  Get Out.  No, seriously.  Get out of the house.  Fresh air is good for everyone involved.  Even if it's just a walk around the block.

6.  The Munchies.  A corollary to Tip No. 1, is that I give the baby all her favorite foods.  I mean, I'm not giving her Poprocks and soda or anything, but bananas, cheese and pretty much anything dipped in hummus are all on offer.  I'm not about to fight the battle over the broccoli at this stage in the game.

7.  It's Not Technically Torture.  Nasal irrigation is the most effective treatment for a stuffed up nose, but it's not exactly the easiest to administer.  My husband and I call it baby waterboarding.  That said, it works.


8. Call for Backup.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I called my mom today to see if she could come over and play with the baby.  She couldn't, but damn...that would have been nice.  Colds make Reese just so fussy, and sometimes you just need a take a little breather.  A new face gives every one a break.

9.  Get Steamy.  Since most decongestants are off the table, go old school.  Turn on the shower on the hottest setting, close the door and hang out.  Steam up the bathroom until the mirrors are fogged and your hair is frizzed.  It should loosen everything up and get the baby breathing better.  You can also (and probably should) invest in a humidifier...we have this adorable elephant and it comes in lots of other animals.





10.  Treat Yo-self.  Didn't anyone watch that Parks and Recreation?  Anyone?  My point is obvious here. Take it easy.  Once the baby goes to bed (if you can get her to sleep) pour yourself a drink, order take out and sit in silence.  Repeat as long as the cold lasts.

What did I miss?  Any favorite cold survival techniques?

Monday, October 17, 2011

One



Today, my baby girl turned one.

And thus ended that strangest, hardest, longest year of my entire life.  Like middle school, applying to college, 1L, and training for a half-marathon all put together and then tripled.

But it was also one of the most joyful.

So, happy birthday to my little monkey.  Mommy loves you very much.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Labels We Love: Zutano

I knew Zutano was a brand I was going to like when I received their baby socks from no fewer than three separate women I admire for my baby shower.
Fact: Socks are the gateway drug of baby apparel.

They have colorful, cute-but-not-cutesy basics plus some of the most adorable hats.



I mean, seriously, it's enough to make you want to have a baby.  Or steal one.  Just to buy tiny colorful baby hats.

I'm looking to pick up these soft little booties for fall (let's see her try to pull these off in the stroller, mwah-hah-hahaha!!) and some of their brand new line of crib bedding to perk up the nursery.

Sidebar: What is the statute of limitation on calling the baby's room a "nursery?"  I think I've hit it, but it just sounds so adorable.

I've found that the sizes run a little large, so keep that in mind when choosing seasonal items which might have a built in expiration date.  Like baby thighs getting too squeezable for a certain pair of leggings.

Also, Zutano frequently appears on flash sale site Zulily, so if you feel like stalking and need an invite, hit me up.

Got a label you and your baby love?  Let me know! We are always looking for new attire!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No Biting

Once upon a time (a year ago)...in a land far far away (DC)...I tried to conquer the red lip.


{I just wanted to look cool like this girl. Is that wrong?}

Then I up and had a baby and I haven't worn lipstick since.

See, the thing about babies is that you need to constantly kiss them.  It's true.  Plus, they are always grabbing at your face with their adorable little hands.  And if you wear a lot of lip gloss and lipstick it just gets all over them.

And few things are grosser than lipstick on a baby.

And then I read the rave review of Revlon's Just Bitten lipstain in Gothic over at Ain't No Mom Jeans.

And then!  I went out and bought one.

The verdict?

It's pretty good!  Well.  It's pretty good.

The thing about lipstains is that they will never look like real lipstick.  It goes on like a magic marker and it's hard to get it totally even and mistakes are hard to fix.  Once it's on, it looks good and doesn't end up on whichever baby you are handling that day.

But it also wears off oddly, it's a little drying and again, doesn't have the oompf that real red lipstick has.


But it does make a boring outfit pop and makes you look put together and chic when you are just having a mommy date or hanging out by the swings.

P.S. Are you reading Ain't No Mom Jeans?  You should be.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

So That Was My Week

Sorry for the radio silence last week, but we hit a big (yet somewhat unpleasant) milestone.

The first big illness.

The kind where you see the thermometer hit 103.5 and immediately pack the baby up and head off to the pediatrician.

Yup.

So...that was my week last week!  We are on the mend and preparing for a better week this week!

New posts coming soon!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Form Over Function?

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times published an article about nursing bras.  Their angle was discovering that surprisingly (?) women who are nursing are also interested in having pretty bras that are also nursing bras!

{insert awkward silence}

The article sparked a series of blog posts about how it shouldn't be surprising that women who are breastfeeding might also like to wear pretty lingerie.  Given the "controversy," one of the brands featured in the article, Cake Lingerie, is hosting a survey and giveaway on the topic.




Can maternity and nursing bras be feminine, functional and versatile all at the same time? 


Cake Lingerie will be giving out 30 bras; one each day from 12th Sep to 11th Oct – inviting pregnant and nursing women to judge its fit, function, support, attitudes and designs.  Register your participation at www.cakelingerie.com/survey and follow the prompts.

If you are in one of these categories, I highly recommend you check out the survey and Cake's offerings.

As for my opinion?  I do think, just like any lingerie, nursing bras can and should be feminine, functional, and sexy.  Relegating nursing women to terrible looking undergarments is awful!  Maybe the Surgeon General could take up our cause...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Four: Beauty Treatments to Have Before Having a Baby

If I had really been thinking and money was no object, there are a bunch of beauty treatments I would have done before giving birth.  Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 and I'm the Monday night quarterback over here (and other such cliches), but I'm hoping others can benefit from my experience.

{1. Lasik}

I've been wearing glasses or contacts since the third grade.  Despite getting a brand new pair of glasses before the baby was born, I ended up wearing my contacts day and night for about...oh...three months.  Shocker when I got the eye infection, right?  Yeah...Lasik.

{2. Laser hair removal}

My alloted shower time these days is about 10 minutes.  On the weekends, I get about 15.  Let me tell you what I would rather not have to do when I'm really tired and in a rush.  Actually, this is all pretty self explanatory.

Funny how most of these revolve around lasers.

{3. Gel Pedicure}

I didn't even know these existed until the baby was at least 4 months old.  Still haven't gotten one yet because I'm looking for the downside (is there a downside? tell me!) but a semi-permanent pedicure?  Would have been perfect while I was waiting to go into labor and hoping the baby wouldn't outlast my nail polish.

{4. Eyelash Extensions}

I have super pale eyelashes and, as mentioned above, I wear contacts.  All of this necessitates lots of waterproof mascara and eye makeup.  Which was not really an option for the first couple of blurry post-partum months.  Eyelash extensions would have really helped bridge that gap.

There it is.  What did you do to get ready for having a baby?  Or what do you wish you had done?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Bluum

Things I Am a Sucker For:

1. Teeny tiny things.

2. Cute packaging.

3. Things that arrive in the mail.

So, you could see why I am totally in love with Bluum, a sample package service for moms and babies!

Here's how it works.  You sign up for the service and a week or so later, a box arrives at you door with the cutest little packaging.

{Adoreballs!}

The box contains a bunch of deluxe sized samples and new products.  You enjoy said products and, if you like, you can purchase the products through Bluum's site.  You get a new box every month as long as you are a subscriber.

{It's like a camp care package!}

The first box contained a stretch mark cream, a reusable snack container, a bib, a sample bamboo wipe, and a soothing cream.

I've been digging into the creams (although I don't have much faith in stretch mark creams, more on that in another post) and cannot wait to make use of the snack bag since my stroller is littered with ziplocs that scream, "You are killing the Earth, you selfish brat!" at me every time I look at them.

The service can cost as little as $9 a month, and I got a trial offer deal through 8moms which was half of the retail price.  I think it's a great way to try out a bunch of products at a low cost.  Plus!  You don't have to leave you house with a baby and worry about whether you remembered to put on a bra or wash your hair!  Which are totally NOT things I have done!

I just can't wait for next month and my new box!  I'm actually considering signing up for a bunch of these sample services because clearly, they meet all my sucker criteria (see above.)

If you are interested in trying out Bluum, let me know and I can send you a referral.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Four: Baby Gifts to Stock Up On

Right now, I'm in that phase of life where all my friends are having babies. We passed that wave where most of them got married and now we are in the sweet spot where kids are popping up left and right.

So, I've gotten to the point where I should really have gifts on hand to bring to the kiss and coo meetings I've been attending lately. Because EVERYONE already has a Sophie, I've rounded up four inexpensive gifts that you can stockpile and hand out like Pez to any new baby who happens to show up.

We have all of these toys and they have saved us many times from crying fests, boredom, and are just all around awesome.  I've also included my favorite baby cream, which has a lovely scent and kept our baby soft all winter long.  If you are visiting as many new parents as I am, I highly recommend buying these things in bulk.








P.S. Diapers.com just launched a toy arm called Yoyo.com and it's amazeballs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Declaring Your Allegiance

There are a lot of decisions to make when you become a parent and each decision seems to land you in a kind of tribe with other like-minded parents.

Are you an attachment parent?  Do you follow a parent led schedule?  Do you sleep train with a cry-it-out mentality? What kind of stroller do you have? Et cetera...

It's pretty overwhelming.

But one choice must also be made...what kind of footwear are you choosing?

In New York, moms (well, dads too) seem to fall into two camps: Sperry Topsiders or TOMS.
Sperry vs. TOMS

The Sperry parents seem to enjoy a little more buttoned up preppy look, while the TOMS parents aim for more laid back dressed down ensembles.

For a while, I hung back and observed the various tribes in their natural habitats before deciding which one I wanted to join.  Finally, on Saturday, I declared my allegiance and bought the Montauk by Sperry Topsiders shown above.

I have to say...I love them.  They are comfortable, cute and easy to slip on and off (totally key when you have a kid).  The TOMS came up way too high on my foot (is it really called the vamp if it's made out of sweatshirt material?) and weren't that flattering.

Plus, the preppy Bret Easton Ellis meets Gossip girl thing suits me.

I guess that's my tribe.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Raising the Bar

On Tuesday night, I put the baby to bed, kissed my husband good bye and dove head first into Manhattan rush hour traffic to attend the opening preview of Drybar.

You may ask, why would you do such a crazy thing?  Don't you know the city is gridlock at that hour?  Why not just hang out at home and watch trashy television?

My answer?

I wanted to see the latest addition to the salon craze that took LA by storm - the blowout only salon.

Oh, also, I thought I could totally be home in time for The Rachel Zoe Project.



{Drybar}

Drybar is a cross between a sleek hair salon and a very well lit bar.  All the blowouts on the "menu" are named after drinks, they have purse hooks under the counter, actual drinks available, snacks, magazines galore and Mean Girls playing in the background.



{The menu and a "coaster" gift card}

I went with a Mai Tai, the messy beachy wave blowout, since that is a look I can NEVER achieve on my own.  I was really impressed with the results when it was done, but even more so when it held up until the next morning.

The creator of Drybar, Alli Webb, started the blowout-only service after having children and frustrated with talking to babies all day (what? no way! that never happens to me! I totally can't relate.)  It skyrocketed from there, and I can see why.  

Drybar is the perfect answer to the "I could do my hair myself, but it just looks better when the salon does it, but there is no way in hell I'm paying $80 to have someone dry my hair" conundrum.  Each blowout is only $40 and, honestly, I think it's better than most salons.  It would be perfect for a wedding or a shower held in your honor, maybe even for a big job interview or date.  In fact, I'm cursing the fact that there isn't one in DC already for the wedding I'm attending next weekend.

So, at the end of a long Tuesday, I took my fabulous messy beachy hair home to my husband...but next time, it's date night baby.  No, wait.  It's date night, baby!

Disclosure: Blowout was provided as a part of the press preview of Drybar, however, all opinions expressed in this post are solely my own.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Inviting Outfits

On Friday, I carefully got dressed up and went to go get picked up.

As most of you know, I'm a married woman , so I didn't go to some Smith Point/Third Edition style place, hell, I didn't even go to a swanky hotel bar.

I went to the playground.

I wasn't looking for a man though, I was looking for a mom friend.  So I dressed the part.

Playground Perfect

Playground Perfect by caphillbarbie

This outfit struck me as perfect for pushing the stroller, comfortable for walking, casual for a Friday, but nice enough to show that I cared.

Hell, I would want to be my friend.

Unfortunately, pickings were slim in the friend department that day and the only interest I got was from someone else's nanny.

Oh well, more outfits to choose!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Four: Diaper Bags that Don't Make Me Want to Hurl







Four: Diaper Bags

A diaper bag is one of the few things you get for YOU when you are getting ready to have a baby.  Everyone will constantly remind you that this will be your lifeline when the baby is on the outside, filled with everything you could possibly need the take care of your child while on the go.

All pregnancy magazines will tell you you need a bag to seamlessly go with every outfit, to be manly enough that your husband won't refuse to carry it, and easy to clean when things inevitably spill.  Which is all true, but it's easier said than found.

Plus, most diapers bags are designed with silly patterns that go with exactly zero outfits (I'll never understand the phenomenon whereby your baby accessories must look like they are designed for a child) or cost a ton of money (no joke, I saw a woman yesterday with a Gucci diaper bag.  GUCCI.  If I'm dropping that kind of cash on a bag, there is no way there is any chance I'll have to stuff my child's poop-stained onesie in it.  It looked nice, but get real.)  Seriously, most diaper bags made me want to hurl.  And it wasn't morning sickness.

But!  There are a few good options out there.  Coming up this afternoon, four diaper bags that look great, are functional, and exist at several price points.

No saltines needed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Baby Bites: Mango and Banana Puree

Our first foray into solids was predictably cute (sloppy drippings of rice cereal all over the baby's face, grimaces from her as she tried to figure out what the hell we were doing, grabbing at the spoon, etc.)  We got lots of fun pictures and celebrated.

Then we tried again and again.  

And she seemed to HATE food.  Crying, spitting it out, general disinterest.

I was having nightmarish visions that she was going to still be on an all-liquid-ME diet in kindergarten, but she's finally relented.  

I credit this mango and banana puree from Smitten Kitchen's (sadly) short lived baby food blog for turning it around.  




This is still a staple in our house, even though the baby is more into finger foods these days.  It's dead easy and flexible to boot...I once threw in some blackberries that were kicking around in the fridge and the baby went APE.

Mango Banana Sauce
adapted from the great and wonderful Smitten Kitchen


2 mangoes, ripe and sweet, about 1 pound each
2 bananas, very ripe
2/3 cup water

Peel and chop the mangoes into chunks and slice the bananas into 1/2-inch coins. Mix in medium/large saucepan with water and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the banana is broken down the bits of mango can easily be flattened with a fork.

Cool in cooking juices and purée in a food processor, blender or with a stick blender. {I go with the stick blender, more on this in future post.} If this is an early purée, then run the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the mango fibers and the banana seeds. {I am lazy and did not do this.}

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Zara to Launch Online Shopping Tomorrow

Ok, commence freak out now.

Zara, the Spanish retailer of awesomeness is finally launching an online shop in the US.  To say that I am excited about this is a mild understatement.  The best part?  You can order from them and pick up in the store!  It's like a girl version of Best Buy!

Squee!

Here are all the deets, via The Capitol Fashionista:

Fashion concept Zara is launching online shopping in the United States tomorrow, September 7, at Zara.com, offering free delivery to all 50 states. Zara’s online platform will sell the full range of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing that are also available in-store. All products retail online at same prices as in Zara’s stores


DELIVERY OPTIONS

Garment prices are identical online and in-store and there are two classes of delivery: standard and express. Shoppers opting for standard delivery will receive their orders at home for no charge within two to four days. Similarly, purchasers can opt to pick up their orders at the store of their choice, also free of charge, within a period of three to five days. The other option is express delivery: home delivery within 24-48 hours for a flat rate of $9.95. Regardless of the selected delivery option, product orders will be wrapped in purpose-designed eco-friendly packaging which keeps purchased garments in an optimal state until delivery.

Payments can be made using all the standard e-commerce payment methods such as PayPal plus all major credit cards, including Visa, Master Card and American Express.



FREE EXCHANGES AND RETURNS

The exchange and return policy is identical to that offered in-store: during a 30-day period and free of charge, unwanted items can be picked up at home or returned to Zara stores. Zara has hired a logistics operator with a proven track record in the field to handle nationwide distribution.

www.zara.com users can also call toll-free customer service (855-635-9272) or write to a dedicated e-mail address for help with order-related queries or problems.


INTERNET AND SOCIAL NETWORKS

The US online platform is Zara’s first outside Europe, where shoppers can already buy online in 16 countries. Zara recently celebrated the first anniversary of its online shopping launch on September 2. Zara is also very active in social networks. Of its over 10 million Facebook fans, more than 400,000 are located in the US. In conjunction with this launch, Zara has recently opened up a Twitter account, @ZARA_US, and the #DearAmerica and #ZARAShopOnline hashtags in order to keep its followers up to speed on all the breaking news in this market.

ZARA IN THE U.S.

Zara’s business presence in the United States dates back to 1989 when it opened a store in New York at 750 Lexington Avenue. Along with Paris (France) and Oporto (Portugal), New York was one of the Spanish group’s first international location choices when it began to expand abroad at the end of the 1980s. Today Zara operates stores in over 30 US cities, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Houston, where it has flagship stores. In Manhattan, there are seven Zara stores, located along some of the Manhattan’s best shopping streets, such as Fifth Avenue, SoHo and Broadway. In Chicago, the Zara store is located on the city’s Magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue, and is the retailer’s biggest store in the US, while the Boston store is located on Newbury Street.

Labels We Love: Hanna Andersson

Labels We Love is a series on labels I've found actually look good and are practical for our baby. Because when I started buying things for the baby, I was clueless about where to look. I could have a PhD in labels for women, but was unfamiliar with how to clothe my child. Go figure.

So, I thought I would start this series with the brand my husband refers to as the "exclusive outfitter" of our baby. Honestly, these are the things she wears CONSTANTLY and are washed all the time and still look good, and they are therefore worth every penny.




There are so many great items in this line, but our go-tos are the organic cotton basics like the Night Night Sleepers, the Jeepers Creepers onesies in short and long sleeves, and the Playdresses.

Also a fan fave: the My Best Ever First Socks




Dude. They have TREADS. Like she's going to slip. When she's running somewhere.

Ha.
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