Monday, April 30, 2012

The High/Low: Chambray Shirtdress

When I like an article of clothing, I get kind of obsessed.

And right now, all I can think about is chambray.  This morning I actually considered digging my shirt out of the laundry basket to wear today even though I'm pretty sure it was smeared with applesauce on it's last wearing.

Don't judge me!  Ok, you're judging.

Last week, I saw this adorable chambray shirtdress from Band of Outsiders on a blog (I swear I cannot remember where.  I think it was Mizhattan, but this is a clear sign I need to prune my Google Reader.)  When I clicked through, I was shocked to see it listed for over $500.

Let's just say that even in my jaded New York lifestyle, $500 for a spring knock-around dress is not going to fly.  Especially when we were discussing the cost of nursery school like 10 minutes before that.

But, obsession is a powerful thing.  So I searched high and low forsaking food, water and playtime with my child (I'm just kidding, I happened to be in the Gap the next day) and found this look-alike for a mere $69.95.


High/Low: Chambray Shirtdress

High/Low: Chambray Shirtdress by caphillbarbie featuring a chambray dress

Not bad, right?

Perfect for spring, and even transition into fall.  Paired with jacket or light cardigan and flats for daytime playground outings or some serious jewelry and heels for a summer night out.  Plus, I'd get one more day of chambray before I really have to do the laundry.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A New(er) Mother's Day Gift Guide

I keep forgetting that I'm a mother.

Not in that I-leave-my-kid-places-because-I-forget-I-have-one (although that is TOTALLY a fear of mine), but it always surprises me when I realize that Mother's Day applies to me too.

As such, I'm really not into breakfast in bed (dear god, think of the crumbs) and Reese for sure isn't making me handmade cards yet.  I think the best gifts are things you would never really buy for yourself; something a little frivolous and special, but not over the top.  So, here are my suggestions for a new or newish mom.  Feel free to forward to husbands and children everywhere.

Time for an Upgrade!


This is a great gift for a new mom who maybe doesn't feel like spending a bunch of money on nursing bras or sleepwear, but hot damn, she deserves it.

Belabumbum has some adorable sets of nursing nightgowns and baby gowns and basic PJ sets.  Because, seriously, you don't want to be wearing your husband's flannel pants and an old maternity cami to bed every night anymore.  Not that I did this or anything.


Along those same lines, Cake Lingerie has some beautiful and very sexy nursing bras that would have been much appreciated around here this time last May.  Especially since our anniversary falls right around Mother's Day.  Also!  Cake is running a promotion through Mother's Day, if you buy two bras, you get a free Cotton Candy seamless bra.  That practically restocks your underwear drawer!



Better than the Spa Day

I always think a spa gift card is never really as useful as it sounds.  The second I leave, I'm totally stressed out again and have nothing to show for it besides a greasy scalp and the scent of eucalyptus.  What I would prefer instead would be a trip to Drybar for an awesome blow out or to Tenoverten for a mani-pedi.  That way, I indulge in trashy magazines and a cocktail, relax, and leave with great hair and fresh nails.  Way better than a product upsell and some cucumber water.

Looks like heaven.
While Drybars are popping up like gophers on the prairie (that's a thing, right?), if there isn't one near you, get creative.  Bliss Spas have some fab mani-pedi services and they serve free brownies.  Yeah, you read that right.


The Don't Worry About It Date

I think one of my main complaints as a mother is that I try to take care of everything.  I keep track of all the baby details, household bills, dinner plans, etc.  This is especially true when it comes to going out for an evening.  It would be a real treat to have a date night planned without lifting a finger to email a babysitter or call to make a reservation.  All I want to do is put on a dress and a pair of heels and hopefully show up here.  I would almost like to have my outfit picked out for me...almost.

Another idea for a new father?  Send her out for a night with a girlfriend or two.  It's not technically babysitting if it's your kid, but act like it is and don't set a curfew.  You get super duper extra bonus points if you call the bar and send a round of drinks or a bottle of wine.  Klassy.

It's the Little Things

Remember what I said in the beginning about the best gifts being a little frivolous.  This category is all about things that a mother might feel a little guilty about dropping the cash on, but it's worth the money.





Keep It Simple...Silly

Or, just you do what every mother wants.  Take the child (or children, as the case may be) out to breakfast and let us sleep in.

What's the best gift you ever got for Mother's Day?  And please, don't say "my children!"  Because even if it's true, it makes me gag.







Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Could Be Worth It

Recently, the first of my "mom friends" announced that she was pregnant with her second.

And then I heard of another friend going for round two.

I guess it's that time.

I am emphatically not ready for a second baby yet, although I'll usually tell people that I'm "just having so much fun with this one!"

Because once you've had one, that is the only question people will ask you.

That said, I could change my mind if I could be promised the entire Hatch Maternity collection as my wardrobe.




So gorgeous.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Bites: Black Bean Burgers


Once upon a time, before the days of Google Reader, I used to rip recipes out of food magazines and store them in a binder.  And then I would never look at them again.

One day, I went through said binder and pulled out an old Gourmet tear sheet with these black bean burgers on them under a column called "10 Minute Mains."  And I've made it at least 20 times since then.  My husband loves them, I love them, and lo and behold, Reese loves them.  They are easy and quick to put together and most of the ingredients are pantry staples.

(Does anyone else feel like the second you buy fresh meat or fish, you can hear the clock from 24 start to count down in the back of your head? Boop.  Boop. Boop. Boop.)

This recipe usually makes enough for 5 good sized burgers, which means dinner for us, lunch for me, and two meals for Reese.  I usually break up the patty into bite sized pieces for her and let her eat them herself.  It's a great finger food and the spices are a great way to jazz up something healthy.  If your baby is sensitive to spice, you could ease off the cayenne.

And they all lived happily ever after!  Until the leftovers ran out.

Start with two cans of black beans.  Drain and rinse said beans.  Place 2/3 of the beans in the food processor, the remaining 1/3 in a bowl with...


One finely diced red onion half.  Or half a red onion, finely diced.  Which ever floats your grammatically correct boat.  Probably neither.


Into the food processor, add a 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs.


Plus some cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper (specific amounts listed below).


And two tablespoons of mayonnaise, not pictured.  Whizz in the food processor until it forms a thick paste.  Also not pictured.  Because you know what is emphatically NOT photogenic?  Beans in a food processor.

Mix the paste from the food processor with the whole beans and diced red onion and mix until well combined.

Form into burger-esque patties.


Heat two tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat...


Add the patties and cook until browned and crispy on both sides.  Be careful flipping them, since they are a little fragile.

If you are so inclined...you could totes add some cheese at the end of cooking.  I did.

Serve on whole wheat buns with some spicy mayo and some awesome baked sweet potatoes.  Or some guacamole and salsa.  Or lettuce, tomato, and sour cream.  Or cold and plain, to a toddler with an enormous appetite.



Black Bean Burgers
adapted from Gourmet Magazine

2 cans of black beans, drained, rinsed and divided
1/2 red onion or shallot or mild yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

whole wheat buns for serving

toppings!

Combine two-thirds of the black beans, spices, mayonnaise and breadcrumbs in the food processor until  a thick paste forms.  Add mixture to a medium bowl with remaining whole beans and chopped red onion.  Mix and shape into approximately 5 large patties.

Heat vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add patties and cook until browned on both sides, flipping once.  About 3 minutes per side.  Add cheese if desired towards the end and cover with a lid to melt.  Serve on hamburger buns or over salad or on a high chair tray.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Labels We Love: Splendid Littles

Y'all ready for this?

I'm about to drop some hot baby picture action you.

Bam!


Ba-bam!


This is like early 2011 style.

What these pics have in common is that Reese is sporting one of my absolute favorite baby labels, Splendid.

What I love about their baby clothes is not how soft they are (but they are super soft) or stretchy (for pulling over a diaper to eek the last wear out of an outfit before it is outgrown), but it's because they are frick-fracking adorable.  Like, seriously?  Look at the second picture.  That romper has little layers, like she decided to put a tee over a long sleeve shirt.

Oh, babies! The original hipsters.

We receive a bunch of Splendid outfits as gifts and loved them.  Then I heard about the Splendid Littles for Target line and bought everything in Reese's size.  Everything.  (The first picture is a Target piece.) And I'm kicking myself for not buying the kids size stuff and saving it.

Well, kiss my savings good-bye because this Friday, Splendid is opening a store in New York!

How the what?!?


I'm thinking this little number would look cute on a redhead I know...

This is going to be bad news.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Four: Spring Essentials

Four: Spring Essentials

Spring has definitely ARRIVED.

Here in New York, it's sickeningly nice out.  Not just because the weather is so awesome, but because the pollen count is actually making me ill.  Regardless, I have been dragging Reese outside pretty much every minute she's not asleep and the weather has brought up the need for some new essentials to get me through the season.

{1} A soft moto jacket.  It's still a little on the cool side in the mornings and in the shade, so I like a little something to throw on over short sleeves.  Leather motorcycle jackets are all the rage, but leather and sippy cups full of milk are not the best combo.  But a soft jacket in the same style that I can put in the wash?  Yes, please.

{2} A waterproof blanket.  When we moved to New York and I started making mom friends, I noticed that everyone had these awesome lightweight blankets that folded up neatly and kept dry, even when placed on damp grass.  With the countdown to the Parks Service opening up the lawns in Central Park officially ON, I need one of these STAT.

{3} Flat sandals.  I walk everywhere.  A pair or two (or five) good flat sandals are going to be the lynchpins of my spring and summer wardrobe.  You might think that sounds excessive, but tell me how much you spend on your MetroCard or car.  See, sort of the same thing.  I love these red ones by Madewell, but I'm also in the market for a neutral and probably a metallic.  I like that these are spring-y with the peep-toe, but not full on summer-bare.

{4} Striped maxi-dress.  Like the rest of the known universe, I'm in love with stripes.  It's not original. It's not avant-garde. But holy hell, I cannot stop myself.  I have the J. Crew dress on the left and I'm wearing holes in it already. 

What's on your list for spring?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend Update

This weekend was pretty stellar.

We hung out with the three little bears (and a lot of tourists).


My husband brought back some amazing old-skool Italian cookies from this bakery near his work.


I met a friend downtown for brunch (at a place I've wanted to try) and hauled groceries back from Trader Joes - a mere 90 blocks.

Damn you and your cheap organic virgin coconut oil! I just can't quit you!

We went to the Central Park Zoo for the first time...


...and used it as an excuse to break out Reese's phenomenal pink paint splattered DVF for Gap leggings.




Minutes before the shoe came off.

Then we capped off the weekend with a trip to the dog park and Shake Shack frozen custard.

Strawberry Blonde with seasonal rhubarb compote. If you have the means to pick some up, I highly recommend it.

My child then proceeded to eat her weight in hummus (I swear, 90% of that child is stomach) and hit the hay.

I made us black bean burgers (recipe post forthcoming!) and these coconut oil roasted sweet potatoes, which were so totally worth spending 30 minutes on the subway to bring back the aforementioned Trader Joe's coconut oil.

Do you ever make a vegetarian dish and think, you know? Bacon would really amp this up?

How was everyone else's weekend?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Always Be Prepared

Few things make me sweat more than having to rush to the drugstore to pick up a card for a special occasion.

I'll stand in the aisle, reading all the cards that look mildly amusing or sweet, but avoiding ones that make poop jokes or use a lot of fancy script (fancy script equals heaps of religion, don't know why, but it's true).  Every time, I find something that's nice, but not perfect.

Don't be like me.

With the advent of Etsy, you can find beautiful, unique, and handmade cards and have them waiting for the holiday to arise.  Father's Day is right around the corner and, particularly for a first Father's Day when the card is a keepsake, being prepared is essential.  One of my favorite Etsy vendors, Fox + Paper has a slew of new Father's Day cards available and I'm ready to stock up.




You might remember Fox + Paper from Reese's first birthday and our fab custom banner and invites.  I love the cutouts in her designs and the elegant fonts.  For an older child, I think the tie design that you color is too cute and makes them feel like they are really giving a gift as well.

Unfortunately, the chubby baby hands do not come with the cards.  

Shucks.

Do you have any secret card sources on Etsy or elsewhere?


Monday, April 9, 2012

Body Post Baby: Probably Not What Bethenny Had In Mind

I'm a Bravo TV addict.

Sad, but true.  

One of my absolute guilty naptime DVR'ed specials is Bethenny Ever After, and I don't care what anyone says, I will continue to watch it religiously.  

And believe me, my husband has a lot to say.

I can't say I follow all the product launches, that woman is branding everything from drinks to lipgloss to underwear.  But I did take a look at her new Skinny Girl Shapers shape wear collection, mostly because Bethenny referred to it as "lazy lingerie," which I can totally get behind.

The products are meant to transition from day to night, but the product that caught my eye was the Get the Scoop! Wear Your Own Bra Cami.  


But probably not for the reasons Bethenny intended.  

The first thing I thought of was, "OMG! You could totally wear a nursing bra with that!"

Because SERIOUSLY.  Having something that sucks you in a little bit is so necessary post-partum, but most shapewear is emphatically NOT nursing friendly.  This cami would allow you to wear a regular nursing bra and would keep your midsection covered and sucked in if you need to lift your shirt to nurse.


The rest of the line is nice, especially since most shapewear is so flesh colored and utilitarian, I could totally see wearing one of these pieces for a night out under a dress and not be embarrassed to show it off afterwards.

And, yes, I will be watching tonight's episode where they shoot this campaign.


Parent Life: Baby Photo Etiquette


I don't care how much of a shutterbug you were before you had a baby, you will triple it once that little bundle of joy drops in your lap.


You probably have countless SD cards filled with adorable snaps of your child with various relatives in assorted super cute onesies and pjs in holiday themes.  It's probably just a festival of cute.

And you are probably itching to upload all these photos to Facebook and Flickr and Picasa and hit the big old SEND button to all your friends and family and people you met once at yoga.

I'm here to tell you to STOP.  LOOK.  and LISTEN.

Actually, STOP.  EDIT.  and DELETE.

Because while you undoubtably think that everyone wants to...no, needs to...see every single photo on that digital card of yours, it will certainly cause some major eye rolls and some quickly deleted emails.  On the flip side, as the recipient of all that chubby-thighed-baby-adorableness can also lead to madness like hitting the forward button a few too many times.

As someone who has been on the sharing and receiving end of many, many baby photos, I've prepared a little guide to help us all navigate the waters without losing friends and alienating family members.

Email

This is very simple...just three simple rules.

Only email photos of your child to 
  1. immediate family; 
  2. people who ASKED; 
  3. someone who has a vested interest in the picture (e.g. they knit the hat the baby is wearing).


Send only one, *maybe* two, pictures in an email.  No one wants to stand there waiting for seventeen pictures of your baby sucking her thumb in the same outfit on their iPhone while waiting for a traffic light.  Pictures are big...they clog worse than washing an Afghan in your bathtub.

Do not forward an email containing a picture of another person's kid.  As a mother, it's always weird to me to hear that someone forwarded a picture of my baby to someone else and feeling like it went viral.  Plus, then I get in trouble for not sending it to everyone.  You can show a picture to someone who didn't get the email, but don't send.

Flickr/Picasa/Kodak Gallery/Etc.

These sites are great for sharing whole albums with family and friends.  You can definitely get a little more liberal with the number of pictures you upload, but still...the key here is to EDIT.  Unless you are sharing with your co-parent or maybe grandparents, no one cares to see the same picture in color, black and white AND sepia in the same album.

Hit the highlights.  Tell a story.  Narrow it down to the photos that really tell a narrative and where everyone looks good.  EVERYONE.

Max pictures in an album...20.  Yeah, seriously.



Facebook

This is where it gets a little tricky.  

First things first, make sure that your privacy settings are up and people are in their little spheres.  I know from working on the Hill that a lot of people are Facebook friends with co-workers or work contacts who don't necessarily need to see that you took the baby on a long weekend vacay to the beach when they were working hard in the office.  

Second, when the baby is born, get up one shot with the blanket and the hat and post baby stats.  Then lay low for a little while.  Once the baby has puffed out a little bit (babies lose weight after they are born and look a little raisin-y), post another few with both parents and an assorted close friend.  This also gives you enough time to get it together and look good in the photo of you holding your progeny.  Unless you are one of those people who looked fabulous after a totally natural delivery, in which case...I just unfriended you.

Third, remember a key rule here...keep them wanting more.  You want your friends to see that you posted pics and say, "Oh! Yay! Baby pictures!"  Not, "Seriously? For realz? More baby pictures?"  Do not overexpose your baby like a Kardashian.  Post a few pictures every month or so, not a constant stream.

Fourth, mix it up.  Don't post 10 pictures of your child dressed up like an Ann Geddes knockoff.  One male friend recommended one funny picture per two cute pictures.  Two shots of the baby in an adorable hat?  One shot of the baby giving the world the middle finger.

Fifth, it's all about the numbers.  Two to five pictures at a time.  Yeah, I'm not kidding.  You can up that a little bit if you went on a vacation.  Don't show me your whole memory card.

Finally, if you are the person perusing all these pictures, feel free to leave a comment.  No joke, it makes a mother's day.  And no need to get creative.  A "like" and a "so cute!" will suffice.  

Also, don't post naked baby pics.  It probably violates 17 different federal and state laws and it gives me  the icks.



Did I miss anything?

And yes, I have used this post to dump a bunch of adorable "baby's first Easter egg hunt" photos on you.   Because obviously having a blog keeps you exempt from all these rules.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Four: Nail Polishes for Right Now

Things have been a little quiet on the blog because I have a bunch of stuff going on at home right now (nothing bad! just stuff).  But, like the rest of the immediate world, I'm kind of obsessed with nail polish.

Even the New York Times decided it was a trend.

I've typically been a classic ballet pink or true red girl, but this season I'm branching out big time.

Here are four shades I'm currently digging.



{1} Essie Geranium.  On my fingernails right now.  A really cool orangey red that is also a fave of sous chefs!



{2} Thakoon for NARS Ratin Jot.  This whole collab collection is amazeballs, but I'm really liking this orchid purple.  Perfect for a spring pedicure with a bright sandal.



{3} Nails Inc Neons and Nudes Collection.  I know this is cheating, but I saw this set of six polishes in Sephora this morning and let's just say it was a good thing Reese pitched a fit and dragged me out of there or I would be $25 poorer.  (She hates Sephora.  I'm not totally sure she's mine.)  This is a nice mix of trendy brights and sophisticated neutrals in little tiny bottles for the price of one Chanel polish.  I'm going back the next time I'm on my own.


{4} NARS Trouville.  Alright, I'm still loving a classic pink-y nude.  Part of the upcoming Summer 2012 collection, this would be perfect for a wedding you're attending with your whole family and you don't want your dad/cousin/little brother asking why you have mint green fingernails.

What colors are you lacquering up with this spring?
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