until next week

I'm starting to feel like I throw up a post like this every other week (which I really hate) but it's been a crazy few days, starting with last Thursday.  Our babysitter's daughter was sick so I ended up taking off work to hang with Claire (and my mom, who sweetly came over to help me out).  One day out was no big deal, but then that evening my computer crashed.  I was without a computer all weekend, unable to catch up on work, so in an effort to keep this week from being totally nuts this space might be empty until next Monday.  I'll post if I find the time but for now, I hope you all have a wonderful start to your week and a fantastic Halloween!  


friday link love

I have a blissfully empty weekend ahead of me, which is fortunate because I was on the verge of burnout after an overpacked few weeks.  Actually, as I laid Claire down to bed last Sunday night, I cried a little because I decided I had missed too much of her life those past two days, and I'd never get them back - yeah, I'm sappy and crazy.  This weekend, the plan is to just drink her in, chubby cheeks to monkey toes, with long walks & naps and hopefully some reading too.  Am I the only person on the planet who has yet to finish Lena Dunham's new book?  I am, aren't I?  Thankfully, I have time for article reading, and here are my favorites from the last THREE weeks (major slacking on the link love posts lately, I know.)  

First up, my favorite post from coffee + crumbs the past few weeks, on teaching our daughters to love themselves.  

Did you know that there are areas where skinnier people tend to sit in restaurants?  

I think I linked to this a couple of weeks ago, but this tumblr just gets funnier all the time.  

Your baby is nothing like my baby, and that's just fine.  

10 perks of having a baby - #7 is probably my favorite.  

How to estimate when people will ACTUALLY arrive at a party.  


warning: this post is alllllll about strollers

I know, I know, the last thing the internet needs is another post about strollers.  BUT.  I owned a lot of them, and I really feel like there is a serious lack of info about jogging strollers/inexpensive strollers in particular out there, and that's mostly what I owned.  So without further adieu...

1.  The Britax B-Agile

This was our first ever stroller, and it's the one we still have for everyday use.  It collapses in one piece, holds a ton of stuff in the storage basket and zip pocket, and is a total dream to steer.  Claire hates pretty much all strollers - REALLY - she way prefers to be worn, but this is what we use if we're shopping for clothes and wearing her isn't really an option with all the on and off.  It's super affordable, and we really love it.  I would say its only cons are that it can't convert to a double stroller, and once you stop using the carseat with adapter, the baby can't face you.  But, it's really fantastic.  This is by far the stroller we see the most in St. Louis, which is a town where people drive everywhere.  We also see a lot of B-Readys, which is a similar model you can convert to a double stroller - in hindsight, I might have gone for that one.  I'm assuming its popularity has something to do with the fact that one single parent can fold it up and throw it in the trunk with ease, even with the baby on your hip.  I would put a disclaimer here - I didn't love the Britax B-Safe carseat that often comes with it, and neither did Claire.  We just switched to a Maxi Cosi Pria convertible seat and she seems to prefer it 100x over.

2.  Bugaboo Frog

This, we got on Craigslist.  I had heard SO many things about how amazing Bugaboo was that when I found this on Craigslist, I snapped it up, since it was listed at just $120.  I had read that it was basically the exact same as a Cameleon (it is, I often had people mistake it for a Cam) but truth be told, I didn't like it much.  I thought the storage basket wasn't easy to access, and I didn't like the two piece fold.  This is more of a city stroller than a suburban stroller - i.e., if you're pulling it into your apartment complex and parking it, you'll love it.  If you aren't, it's a huge pain.  Some of the benefits are that a) it's pretty, and b) baby can face you or face out.  Otherwise, I'd say it's a no go.  I actually ended up handing this one off to my parents to keep at their place, and they only use it to go on walks with the baby.

3.  BOB Revolution SE

This is another stroller that we bought used, for a little over $300 at a local resale shop.  The BOB is HUGE, which was fine because we never folded it and took it anywhere, I used it solely for running from our apartment to the park.  It folds in two steps (not a one-handed operation).  If this was your everyday stroller, you could get a lot done with it.  The front wheel can be locked for running or unlocked to swivel - I see a lot of families using this at the mall or just on a slow stroll.  The basket is gigantic, the sunshade basically encapsulates the entire thing, and of course it's a dream to steer.  The ONLY downside is that it doesn't block wind, you would need a rain cover to make that happen, and for that reason we ended up selling it because I run mostly in the winter.

4.  Thule Chariot

This is definitely my favorite jogging stroller.  It steers amazingly well considering that the front wheel stays locked, and totally encapsulates baby to block out wind and moisture.  It also has a "hammock" insert for jogging with infants that keeps them from getting jostled about, so you can jog with them from a very young age even when head control isn't 100%.  It's got a big basket in the back for keeping your water bottle, diaper & wipes, and a wrist strap that is actually long enough (the BOB's keeps you pretty closely tethered to the stroller.)  It's also incredibly lightweight - my mile time doesn't decrease when I go from running with to without.  If you're a biker, this stroller's front wheel removes and you can use it as a bike trailer.

The cons?  The front wheel doesn't swivel, this is a jogging stroller only.  It's pricey, retailing for at least $600.  If you need an all-in-one stroller and that's your budget, I would definitely get a BOB + the rain cover.  BUT, if you're going to be running for a long time and have more than one baby, this  is so worth it.  If I hadn't received this as a hand-me-down, I would go back and buy it for myself.  


awkward & awesome tuesday


Installing our new Maxi Cosi car seat.  It's got about 40 straps and buckles attached to it that I wrestled with for about 10 minutes, all to figure out that if your middle seat has a normal seatbelt, you just slide it through, and done.  Ours does.  Carseat > my brain.  

I spilt breast milk on my iPhone Wednesday - it fritzed for about 5 minutes afterwards, and I pondered all the while "what the heck am I going to tell the Verizon people if this breaks it?"  

We went to brunch with friends on Sunday and Claire fell asleep in her sling, as she usually does when we went out.  Assuming I had the rest of the meal to just relax and sip my mimosa was oh-so premature.  About 5 minutes into her nap, I was suddenly soaked in warm wetness.  Claire had pooped, then peed in an already heavy diaper and it exploded all over me, the sling, her, and the floor.  While Darrell carried her at arm's length to the restroom to clean her up, I attempted to dab away the mess from my sweater and not focus on the fact that our food hadn't even shown up yet and I was totally covered in baby.....everything.  

Darrell declared last night that our living room lamp was broken.  I'm a person who hates clutter, so I went to grab it and put it in with the trash - that was, until Darrell saw me heading for the door and shouted "wait!  I'm going to try putting a new bulb in it."  That's right folks, my husband the genius decided a lamp was broken without attempting to replace the bulb.  


Finding our local jazz station, and realizing how INCREDIBLY CALM it makes Claire.  I know that this has unfortunately stolen my ability to listen to anything else in the car but jazz, but I kind of like it (read; it's tolerable) and anything that makes that kid happy in her car seat works for me.  

Gilmore Girls on Netflix - in my head, I've moved to Stars Hollow.  It's on all.  the.  time.  How did I not watch this show as a teenager?  Also, every episode of Friends is coming to Netflix in January - it's like the universe knew I just had a baby and was thereby spending a LOT of time at home.  

Did you know that there is a gif keyboard app?  It is amazing, and it has made texting my true emotions so much easier.  

It was our two year wedding anniversary yesterday, and we went to the fanciest restaurant in town for a very fancy date.  It feels like we've been married forever, and yet like our wedding was yesterday.  I still haven't thought of anything to get him yet, *cotton* suggestions are welcome in the comments.  I know this will shock you, but Darrell bought me a pretty new sling.  #predictable


#stlfw recap featuring breeze blow dry bar

Get ready to be super proud of me as a blogger guys; guess how many photos I have of the outfits I wore to the two fashion shows #stlfw hosted this week.  Ready for it?  

ZERO.  Claire decided this week would not be my week (oh no, no it would not) and on night one she essentially screamed unless I was holding her, until she screamed unless Darrell was holding her, until I left without any pictures to speak of that documented my outfit.  In retrospect, it was just a black mini, with black tights and a leather jacket so nothing groundbreaking.  We'll all live.....hopefully.  

Instead of nicely edited outfit shots, here are some pictures of me with no makeup on getting my hair done @ Breeze Blow Dry bar - aka my new favorite place in St. Louis, where someone does your hair while you have both your hands free to hold the baby that will only nap in your arms.  

I am pretty sure my stylist thought I was insane, but actually the dryer noise was totally soothing to Claire and she napped the ENTIRE TIME.  Praise the hair gods, because that much volume doesn't happen in my normal routine of air dry/curling iron/shake it out.  

Moving on to night #2 of fashion week, it just gets better.  I successfully ran out the door in time for the show, and my sweet friend had just handed me a glass of champagne when my phone buzzed.  The husband informs me that he thinks Claire has a fever.  Not bad.....but boobs are needed.  So about 30 minutes after arriving, I ran back out to the car that was waiting with Darrell and our screaming infant and went home.  I am choosing not to even be mad about this though, because she still went to bed at a decent hour and seemed 1000x better the next day (I'm blaming teething?)

(Want to see photos from the runway?  Definitely head over to Alive Magazine for all the fashion coverage.)  

 My favorite event of St Louis Fashion Week has historically been the blogger tour of the city.  Riding around in a silly Fun Tyme limo with bloggers + champagne all day? There are worse ways to spend a Friday.  Besides just being a fun day of activities, eating, and shopping it's always amazing to connect with women from all over the country with similar interests.  We all ended the day discussing how grateful we were for the chance to meet one another and form a little community.  St. Louis Fashion Week forever!  

Definitely head over to the STLFW website to check out some of this year's guest bloggers. 
Some new favorites?  Lara's blog Pretty Connected, The Wanderlust Girls Abigail & Emily, Alexa's A Life in the Fashion Lane, and Tamera's Plan T Style.  I kept up with Megan's reliably awesome blog TF Diaries since meeting her last year - anyone who loves tights & leather jackets that much is a girl after my own heart.  

The next night, I tried my best to get a real outfit shot before the blogger dinner at Hiro Asian Kitchen...

and nope.  

Oh hey, Instagram saves the day!  Thanks Clr - Mnstr - for the pic, and the awesome cocktails.  

I DID get pictures of Claire's outfits this weekend.  They're better anyways.  

She's killing it.  If I'd spent half the time on my outfit photos this week as I did on hers, maybe.....well actually I don't know where I'm going with this.  I know you all come here for the baby pics, so perhaps it's better that Claire stays the star of this blog.  

But just in case you're here for more of my all black ensembles, how about I take us out with a mirror selfie from the final night's cocktail hour?  Over and out #stlfw, until next year!  


Well Dressed Midwest VIP Blogger Lounge/#stlfw

If last week's Blogger Lounge is any indication of how #stlfw is going to go, I am in for an amazing week!  Held at Scape American Bistro, one of the prettiest restaurants in the Central West End, we were treated to cocktails, amazing food, flash tattoos (obsessed), and of course amazing company!  I've been out of the St. Louis social scene for so long (thanks to a tiny human who likes to be at home) so I was so excited to see these girls again; you've never met such a stylish and vivacious group.  Brands who attended got to network with an amazing group of bloggers - myself notwithstanding - all brought together by Well Dressed Midwest founder and host of the event, Lindsay Pattan.  I can't wait to see and hear more about what this new organization does for the bloggers and businesses in our region!  


Mitch STL

So full disclosure: I almost always feel like I must be the MOST boring person to any hairstylist.  I don't color, mostly just get trims, and I like a standard blowout.  I would've done my usual wash, air dry, curl for the Well-Dressed Midwest Blogger Lounge this week, but then the perfect collaboration fell into my lap!  Jack at Mitch STL contacted me about coming in for something fresh, and I was so grateful.  Fashion Week is upon us and my hair needed some help.  I love the Grove (maybe the coolest neighborhood in St. Louis?) and I knew it was a match made in heaven when I pulled up next to this red door - don't you just LOVE a red door? My future dream home has a cherry red front door just like this.  

photo courtesy of mitch stl

The salon itself is gorgeous, set in the main floor of a renovated south city home.  The floor to ceiling windows in the main room make for some amazing light, even on the rainy day I visited them. 

photo courtesy of the stylist

I came in, took a look around, and Jack offered me water, wine, or beer.  I picked water because it was 12:30, but could absolutely see myself coming back another afternoon and having a glass of wine because Jack is exactly the kind of person you want to have a drink with - he was interesting, engaging, and funny; what more could you want in a hairstylist?  I think my favorite part of visiting Mitch was getting to chat with him for a bit!  (Okay, and the scalp massage - isn't the best part of any hair appointment the scalp massage?)  

After we talked a bit about my usual routine & my lifestyle, we ended up just freshening up what I already had - then Jack teased the heck out of it for the big blogger bash that evening!  It fell a bit in the rain, but I was so happy with it when I saw this promo shot from the party the next day: 

photo courtesy of alive magazine - bloggers Julia of Oh, Julia Ann, Rachel of Style Everyday, myself, and Marisa of Vogue Rhythm.  

Shinier and bouncier than it's been in MONTHS.  He also gave me a nice little mom hack: velcro rollers do wonders for the haircut he gave me!  No heat means I can wear the baby while they do their work - game changer.  I will definitely be back, and I highly suggest you do yourself a favor and book an appointment with Jack!  

PS - The lovely redhead on the left is Oh, Julia Ann of lifestyle blogger fame, and Jack is responsible for her pretty locks as well.  We've both let the secret that he's in town out now, and I have no doubt that within a few weeks getting in with him will be easier said than done!  


fashion week wardrobe/well dressed midwest blogger lounge

Let's just call this the inaugural "Mary fits back into pre-pregnancy clothes!" post.  I missed this dress!  I love how a simple black sheath gets bumped up a notch in a leather fabrication. I have a goal of buying nothing new for Fashion Week this year (in the spirit of my capsule wardrobe challenge) and I think it's going to be doable.  

I'm wearing: 

Jean jacket & clutch from J. Crew
Dress from Express
Shoe booties from Target
Watch from Marc Jacobs

ps - My hair was done by Jack @ Mitch STL.  I can't wait to share more about this awesome new salon tomorrow!  


siri says

I usually do this post as "the weekender" but I had so many stinking cute baby pictures from this past week that I just decided to do a Siri says instead.  You don't mind extra baby pictures, do you?  Thought not.  Here we go!  

It was international babywearing week last week, so we really made the most of it!  Also, one of my babysitters had to quit so wearing her because a major necessity for a couple of days.  

And then when she ONLY wanted to be worn while standing, we set up this: 

Ironing board, desk, what's the difference really?  

Claire is the Cardinals' good luck charm - every time she wears a team onesie, we win.  No messing with it now!  

Thursday was shot day, and those days are the worst.  My kid actually handles the shots like a champ, but hours later we are guaranteed a nuclear grade meltdown (the world is ending!  Why was I even born!  That sort of thing.)  Then she passes out for a super long time, and I make cookies because by then I deserve a cookie.  Speaking of, use this recipe, don't question the Crisco.  You're welcome.  

The highlight of our weekend?  We accomplished the PERFECT Sunday.  It started with baby snuggles for me (I let Darrell sleep in, and also let him go out on Saturday night; wife of the year?) then we went to brunch, I ran 4 miles on waffle fuel, watched the last two SNLs, Claire took an EPIC nap during which I actually got to paint my nails, and we made homemade pizza & watched the Cardinals game.   I told you.  PERFECT.  

And that's pretty much what's been going on around here!  That, and some super glam fashion week stuff that is a major contrast to all these photos of me in sweatshirts.  Proof that I still get dressed like  a human being coming at you tomorrow, stay tuned!  


rooster south grand

On Sunday night we were faced with the question every family is forced to address around 7 pm: cook....or get takeout?  Darrell & our neighbor had taken over the kitchen since 4 with home-brew beer bottling (a venture I support entirely because homemade IPA for me, at all times.  Happiness.)  It was clean, but we hadn't even begun to create any kind of meal, so we decided to go out.  Rooster, a St Louis institution for brunch just opened a second location in our neighborhood, and they added dinner service!  We were eager to try it, because their crepes can't be beat, so it was an easy group decision.  

The restaurant itself is really beautiful - they turned an ugly old 60s style bank into a really contemporary space.  The food was delicious and amazingly well priced considering the portions.   The wine list is short, but the beer list is long (also, cider!)  

Claire wanted to join our meal, and I happily obliged.  She gets better and better at this all the time, I'd daresay no one even noticed I fed her.   

Potentially my favorite part was the art on the walls - local kids drew their interpretation of a rooster and the result are surprisingly, well, professional looking!  Really, you would never know they were done by children.  So you can say it seriously the the next time you go to an art gallery and think "my 5 year old could do that."  


vienna spring x light sleeper heavy dreamer sling circle

Happy International Babywearing week!  Truthfully, I had no idea until Sunday that it even WAS International Babywearing week, but the timing couldn't be more serendipitous because this week we are kicking off a sling circle with Vienna Springs Etsy shop.  

What's a sling share?  

Well, it's common in the babywearing community for a person with a highly sought after sling to lend it out to a series of mamas so that they can try it out and wear it for a week or two.  It's an act of generosity from one mom to the next, and in the end it really benefits the owner because a broken in sling is the most comfortable and easy to use.  For our sling share, each woman will receive a Vienna Springs silk sling for a week, document her experience wearing her baby that week, and then pass it on to the next recipient.  At the end when the sling is all broken in and filled with love, we'll be donating it to Baby Buggy, a charity that provides supplies to mothers in need.  

The real reason behind the sling share is to share the experiences of the women participating.  I posted my guide to babywearing a couple weeks ago, but more important than my instructive post is hearing about how wearing our children affects our mothering and the happiness of our children, something I just know these women's stories will illustrate better than I could alone.  The sling will begin its journey around the country this week starting with Laura, the talented owner of Vienna Springs and mom to Leah, then coming to me.  I hope you'll be as excited as I am for each of these posts.  I'll have the first post up in a couple of weeks, but before then you can follow along on Instagram by searching the hashtag #viennaslingshare.  


the weekender

I might say this every Monday, but I just really love weekends and this one was really REALLY exceptional.  Maybe it's just that when you have a baby and get to stare at the little ball of cuteness all weekend long it's hard not to think every one is better than the last.  I mean come on, look at that FACE. 

And hey, GO CARDS!  We spent Friday & Saturday nights watching the games, and although I missed the end (baby bedtime) I think I won wife of the year for letting Darrell stay out late both nights to see them to the finish and even celebrate a bit after we won.  Also, quit hating on St. Louis!  

Saturday morning we did a lot of baby hanging in bed until we finally got motivated to walk to the farmer's market.  We didn't need anything in particular, but the chai apple cider was worth the trip.  Fall is really doing us right in St. Louis - nice and cold in the morning & evening, with bright sun and shimmering leaves all day long.  I couldn't really ask for anything other than for it to keep it up until December!  No early winters!  

Lately Claire's definition of playing is "try and put everything I can get my hands on into my mouth" and she can look pretty furious - I was cracking up at her evil eyes while she went after her stuffed deer.  

We did a lot of chilling on the couch Saturday because at night my sister & I ran a 5K, her first ever!!  Please enjoy these not-that-attractive photos taken at night with the flash.....

This race was hilarious - I'm fairly sure that of the thousand or so participants, maybe 30 of us were taking it seriously?  I literally saw groups of people walking the course with a cooler of beer.  It was a "glow run," so I knew there would be some novelty participants, but really the lack of competition made it a great intro back into racing after being out for so long.  Plus I ran a sub 30 minute 5K, so that was a pretty great time for me!  

I could say we didn't match on purpose but.....I like to keep it real around here.  I love matching.  

Sunday there was just a whole lot of hanging out in bed with my little lady, brunch with my parents to celebrate our race success, and I got to see Gone Girl (a movie in an actual THEATER, what!?)  We're finishing up the day with a pretty epic Real Housewives marathon & takeout - what could be better than those things + this face?  


friday love, no links

My favorite movie is You've Got Mail.  I wish it was something more profound than that like the 1960s edition of War & Peace or maybe Citizen Kane, but no.  You've Got Mail.  Darrell is convinced I only like it so much because Kathleen Kelly is my spirit animal and if that's true I'll take it.  If not my spirit animal she's probably my idol.  That image of her marching to work at her bookstore, black opaque tights on with her wool skirt & coffee in hand will forever be one of my most prized sources of inspiration.  Although that movie ends with spring in the park, everybody knows that the best part is the beginning, with tales of Brinkley eating pizza & freshly sharpened pencils, the kind of witty repartee that only the nerdiest of us truly appreciate, always done best by Ms. Ephron.  

When that first cool, crisp fall air hits you and feels so so good,  there is so much promise.  Me & this baby girl (and what is promise if not a baby) are going to be doing our best to really enjoy this time over the weekend.  We'll take walks in Forest Park, brunch with family, devour Lena Dunham's new book & spend Friday night in cooking dinner.  We'll spend 72 hours absolutely refusing to think about the fact that any world exists past December, and soak in all the magic that is October.  Really though, that magic is always there in our teeny apartment with our tiny babe, just waiting for us to notice it and live in it.  

I don't have any links this week, truth be told I haven't been spending nearly as much time in front of my computer, but I wish you all a really wonderful October weekend 
(as if there were any other kind.)  


what claire wore: baby moccasins

Here's a funny quirk about older people: they seem to be constantly concerned about how cold Claire's feet are.  Really, if she's upset she cries (it's not a complicated equation) but regardless I've found that it's good to have something on her feet.  Socks don't stay on AT ALL, and can really knock an outfit down a notch.  I'm not a fan of fake "real shoes" with hard soles because Claire likes to stand on your legs and I think they throw her balance off.  Baby moccasins are the perfect middle ground - they're as comfortable and as gentle on teeny feet as socks are, and just as warm if you choose leather.  

I had initially assumed that baby moccasins were crazy expensive - Freshly Picked anybody?  I'm legitimately convinced that the only people who actually own their $60 mocs for babies are 

a) wearing Payless on their adult feet as a result of their outrageous baby shoe spending addiction 

b) obsessed with Shark Tank or 

c) were gifted free pairs from the company because blogger.  

I am none of those things, and yet Claire has a nice little collection to match just about any outfit she has.  Here are my not-so-secret sources for finding them at a price that's worth paying for the month your baby will wear them.  

1.  Giggles & Fluff.  They have a great selection of basic colors, the prices are unbeatable, they use real leather and the mama who owns this shop is beyond sweet.  I would say they run a bit large.  Follow them on Insta for updates on sales & restockings!  

2.  Sweet n Swag.  This is another crazy affordable brand, and they have a much larger variety of colors & patterns than Giggles & Fluff.  I have the Rose Gold pair pictured, and they are extremely pretty, you could never tell they were fake leather and I'm really excited for Claire to grow into them.  

3.  The Coral Pear.  This is the shop I would say has the closest to what Freshly Picked is offering.  They carry a huge variety of sizes & colors and the leather they use is extremely high quality.  I bought Claire's cognac colored pair from here because I knew she would be wearing them more than any other shoes, and they run very true to size.  

4.  Shop Mini Moxie.  These moccasins are a little wilder, and right up the alley of any mama who likes big time sparkle & bling.  I've not yet ordered any but the tasseled pair above is definitely on my list.  A little pricier, these are around $50.  


siri says

epic nap hair

claire doesn't really share my love for mom + baby selfies

her dad's new favorite onesie.  have i ever mentioned that we saw the last beastie boys show ever?  

capsule wardrobe documentation is going swimmingly, if your standards of success include taking a selfie every week or so.  

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