hey pretty mama: date night style

Last week things were CRAZY.  Teething baby!  Restructuring childcare!  A bevy of other things!  Admittedly, life has just been crazy like that a lot lately, enough that Darrell & I hadn't had a date night in as long as I could remember.  That needed remedied in a major way, so when he asked if I wanted to get a sitter and go to dinner Saturday night I was immediately excited (and immediately started outfit planning in my head to accomodate something new and decidedly not baby friendly.)  We may have been home by 11, but vegan sushi, conversation, and some yummy wine made for the perfect date and reminded us that we really need to make it happen more often.  

Also needs to happen more often?  Outfit photos, preferably when it isn't raining and almost dark out.  Still, you can see how cute this romper is, and it was NINE DOLLARS.  From one of those funky "ordered from China" websites that takes a month to deliver, but frankly the quality is pretty even with a "Show me Your MuMu" romper or something comparable from Nasty Gal Vintage, so I'm allllll about it.  CNDirect may just be a fashion gold mine. 


hey pretty mama: brunch style

I'm always thrilled to get some pictures of Claire & I that aren't selfies!  It's rare any more for the two of us to get very dressed up, but this past Saturday we were invited to brunch at the last minute, the sun was shining bright, and I happened to have a new dress.  So off we went! We headed to an old favorite place of ours - Rooster - where they have fabulous vegan options and a delicious brunch cocktails. 

(A note on nursing: I didn't actually breastfeed Claire in this dress however; despite its fitted nature I could have.  It has an easy to reach zipper and tugged down just a tiny bit I could pull it down enough in front to nurse.)  It's from J.Crew factory and my mom bought it for me!  I can't find it on their website anymore but I believe it is still in stores.  Claire's sweet floral dress is from Old Navy. 


the weekender

Happy Tuesday!  I mean, how else am I supposed to begin this post?  This is just a giant collection of photos I took this week that apparently I believe need shared with the world.  Starting with this one because, well, that smile!  She is her dad's biggest fan.  We switched up Darrell's schedule this week so that he'd be home in the mornings to help with Claire a little more.  It made all the difference in the world for me!  

My usual sitter had a conference this week, so I had Claire during a lot of working hours. To get around this, I went to a coffee shop locally that has a giant playroom - there are always tons of moms and babies there and I can hook up to their wifi while I work!  They also have tons of events: sing a longs and story time, etc.  Claire made a habit of climbing into other mom's laps because well, apparently she's never met a stranger.  

She also decided that she suddenly needed to be on top of the table and scared me half to death.  She can't even walk, but she's really good at scaling furniture.  

We also got fancy with our wrapping this week (basically I just strapped Claire to my body every minute we were home in order to accomplish things.  Sorry kid.)  

Um.  I just thought this picture was cute.  

Now for some very frivolous things....

Eyebrows are such a *thing* right now and I was told that to get the good eyebrows you MUST go to the Benefit brow bar.  I did that but....can't say I'm terribly sure that I think I couldn't have done this at home with tweezers?  Am I crazy?  

This is what a vegan fridge looks like - very impressive and healthy in comparison to the previously NOT vegan fridge usually filled with yogurts, cheese sticks, and leftover pizza.  Although our fridge right now has leftover vegan pizza in it so I suppose some things will never change!  

Even thought it wasn't her FIRST time outside, obviously, Claire had her first time outside being really aware of it last week.  It was super warm, and we laid out a blanket which is good because this child is TERRIFIED of grass!!! I have a video of her touching it for the first time and she lets out the most horrified scream.  I thought for sure something had bitten her but no, just hates the grass - she sat in the middle of the blanket on my lap for the next hour just waving to birds and staying far far away from any actual nature.  

One thing Claire IS good at is on the go city life - we bar hopped a bit on Saturday during the day to watch some soccer and baseball, and she was up for every pit stop, every nap was peacefully had in the sling.  

Then sometimes you just gotta stop to nurse on the sidewalk, cause you know.  

And SOMETIMES you do absolutely INSANE things like drive to three Targets to get all the Lilly Pulitzer items you want.  So when your accompanying baby falls asleep in the carseat after being a complete angel for that, you let her finish the nap by sitting with her for an hour and watching Hulu on your phone.  Prepare for lots of outfit posts with us in matching neon shift dresses!  

And that's all there is folks! I declare this the winner of most random post ever!  


hey pretty mama: stitch fix

 Hi everyone!  So my Stitch Fix box came this weekend, and I'm so excited to share with you what they sent me - this box was SO SUCCESSFUL.  (If you missed my first post that explained Stitch Fix, click here.)  I love everything they sent really, but I'm keeping three items that were total winners, so read on to find out why and which ones! 

This top!  I LOVE this pretty halter top.  I actually pinned it to my Stitch Fix Pinterest board, and my stylist sent it to me, so that was awesome!  It was really flattering and light.  This is a size small, and if you can find it online (I couldn't, sadly) it's called the "Dakota Crochet Detail Halter" by Daniel Rainn.  It was $68, which is more than I would normally spend on a top, but I felt like it was really special.  

I also loved this top.  I thought it was a great shade of blue and the flowy nature of it makes it great for nursing in public.  It drapes really nicely and was also made of a super light fabric.  I actually wore it that day, which I think always says something great about a new item, when you wear it right away.  It's by Skies are Blue, this is a small which you can see runs a little big, and it's called the "Walters Crochet Detail Top."  It was a very reasonable $44.  

The jeans I'm wearing with those two tops were also in my fix, but they were a miss.  First of all, I don't really need full length pants in the summer in St. Louis.  Second, they are a size 27 (my usual size) and ran huge.  They're very soft and stretchy and I easily could have worn a 26 which is totally unheard of for me.  They're by Mavi, called the "Freida Ankle Length Skinny Jean" and I personally wouldn't really recommend them, especially for the price ($98!) 

This dress was the big hit of the fix - crazy nursing friendly, Darrell LOVED it, and it's really really comfortable.  This was an item that I wouldn't have picked out for myself at all, but I loved it on.  It's also the right length which is something hard for me with maxi dresses because I'm so short!  It's by a brand called Gilli, the Zuli Striped Maxi Dress, and this is a medium.   It was $78, which again is more than I would normally spend on something like this but I kept it because it looked great on, and because Darrell insisted! 

Lastly, they sent this big reversible stitched tote.  It wasn't real leather, and I didn't just love it (it felt a lot like something you would get at Target for $30) so I decided to send it back with the jeans.  All in all, I was thrilled to get two cute new tops AND a cute new dress!  I'm already looking forward to next month's fix - I changed my frequency to have them come less often since I don't need clothes too badly right now - and crossing my fingers I get my first 5/5.  

Have you signed up yet?  Get set up with Stitch Fix here!  

Tell me, did I inspire any of you to sign up?  How did your fixes turn out?  I want to hear all about it in the comments!  


leaning in/becoming a vegan family

If you're a more recent reader of this blog, you probably don't know this, but I used to be vegan.  Hardcore "I don't even eat honey or consume any animal products whatsoever" vegan.  

(Example posts here, here, and here.)  

I went straight from eating chicken, beef, milk, cheese to eating none of those things at all, and I LOVED it.  No transition through vegetarian -> pescatarian -> vegan, straight from omnivore to vegan.  Being vegan became a huge part of my identity, and it was something I thought I would continue for my entire life.  I ate that way for nearly 3 years.  However, it was hard.  I had little support from anyone in my immediate circle besides my husband (who still continued to eat meat outside the home) and after two years of it, I altered my diet to include seafood, dairy, and eggs.  WHICH IS FINE!  I'm not criticizing anyone's decisions.  At first, I was really feeling physically the same and only minimally including animal products in my diet again.

Until I got pregnant.  And then was nursing.  And now am eating as an example to my daughter, and not a very good one.  I'm not a person who has a naturally fast metabolism, but using my body to grow and nourish another human has made me into the type of skinny-fat girls I used to be so jealous of.  At the risk of sounding annoying, I'm going to say it: right now, at this stage in my physical life, I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight.  And I don't exercise.  

Annoying, right?  But not good!  

Yes, in the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty active.  I chase a mobile 10 month old around the majority of each day.  My diet, though, sadly has become flooded with a LOT of sugar, a LOT of quick fix meals, pizza, and more junk food than I'd like to admit to eating.

It's a problem, because I'm an example of "how to eat" to this tiny human of mine, and the majority of her nutrition comes to her through my milk.**  Not only do I not want to encourage her to eat food that isn't good for her, I don't want to teach her to eat food that isn't kind.  If I'm being honest with myself  - REALLY honest - I know that dairy IS NOT KIND.  Meat IS NOT KIND.  Eggs ARE NOT KIND*.  

I know these things, and for a couple of years have operated under a way of eating that does not line up with my ideological values.  It has weighed heavy on my heart for that long.  So as Claire approaches the age of understanding these things in a real way, it's time for me to set the example, the way I know I should.  This past Easter Sunday, the front page of the Huffington Post highlighted the Federal Report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee stating that a vegan diet is what is best for the planet and what is best for our health.  I knew this, but perhaps not everyone in America did.  When Darrell showed it to me (he's an avid Huff Po reader) and gave me this "maybe we can try again?" look, I decided to take him up on the opportunity to give it a second shot.  I started pulling out my old vegan cookbooks.  I flipped back through Veganist.  I started thinking to myself that maybe I could do this again.  

It's been five days, and I've started phasing in better choices; steel cut oatmeal for breakfast, a burrito bowl with no sour cream or cheese at lunch, dark chocolate covered banana slices for a snack.  Here's what I had forgotten about being vegan: it forces you to make better choices.  There was cake in my office Monday, but since it had eggs in it, it was out.  There were a bowl of M&M's within my reach this afternoon, but they have milk so they're a no go!  

I'm posting this because I plan to keep you guys posted on our family path back to veganism.  I'll share recipes, maybe a random "what we ate today," how I'm feeding Claire, and how it's going!  Mostly, I want to keep us accountable.  And if you have any suggestions, please share!! Or if you think I'm insane, you can share that too.  I hope though, at least I can convince some of you to fit in a few more veggies and a little less meat with every post.  

*A note on eggs - i personally have no issue when them, if you own hens and are keeping them humanely on your property and collecting their naturally laid eggs.  I don't think they're unhealthy when consumed in moderation, but it is important to note that one egg contains the entire dietary recommendation of cholesterol per day.  We plan to continue to eat the eggs Darrell's grandparents' hens lay, when they're naturally laying.  Otherwise, we will refrain from consuming products containing eggs.   

**A note on BREASTFEEDING - I believe that a breastfed child (even a child receiving donor milk) falls well within the spectrum of "vegan." A mother's milk is the naturally intended diet of human babies.  Here is a short and excellent blog post that explains this further. 


hey pretty mama:nursing style/a romper!

romper, shoes, and necklace all forever 21.  sunglasses - ray ban

On the list of things I was searching for in a nursing wardrobe, an easy one piece was definitely on my list.  It sounds impossible - they aren't EASY to wear, nursing friendly or not - but hear me out!  

 Rompers have the benefit of being very "play on the floor" friendly.  There's no risk of overexposure.  Because they have to be pulled on over the hips, they tend to be cut bloused in the top half, making them easy to pull down a little bit for nursing.  This one hides all baby snot (I'm a human Kleenex in Claire's mind) or other stains of the day; as proof, just know that I wore this from 7 am and we took these pictures at around 6 pm.  This one went out of stock after I linked to it on Facebook last week, but they still have the listing up which leads me to believe it will be restocked!  Fingers crossed, because I wouldn't mind having it in that dusty rose as well.  

The one downside to the romper as a mom-iform?  Uh, the bathroom situation.  Claire tends to fall asleep while I'm wearing her, and while normally that's no problem, I really had no good way to pee when she did.  It wasn't the end of the world - she normally naps for about an hour and obviously I didn't need to go the entire time but hey - just thought I'd share in case anyone else also didn't think of that and found themselves in a similar conundrum!! TMI?  Oh, well.  

And just as a "proof that it works!"  

Boom!  Nursing baby, and I'm still fully clothed.  


around here lately

 It's been WAY too long since I've cleaned out my iPhone of the million photos I take of my daughter each day, so here goes!  Spring is happening people, and it is the absolute best.  We had the greatest (long!) Easter weekend, thanks to my having Good Friday off - but not Darrell, sadly - nevertheless we made the best of the extra free day to hang out and play.  

We live in the nursery now, because Claire is just too wiggly to be in the adult space, tearing things down and attempting to disconnect the internet and anything else that looks dangerous or annoying!  So we like to confine ourselves to the only room in the house where she can literally do anything she wants.  Thankfully, it's a very pretty room.  

What baby falls asleep like this?  I came home to Claire knocked out on the ottoman while her sitter sat watching her in case she happened to roll off.  She slept like this for a solid couple of hours! 

Oh hey, baby DJ!  (No baby ears were harmed in the making of this photo.)  We're testing out some Beats headphones for Verizon Wireless - isn't blogging the weirdest? - nevertheless, they're so comfy that I keep falling asleep on them.  

Lately I've been transferring Claire from the sling to our nursery armchair for her naps.  It works really well, except that she likes to roll to the very edge of the chair and be a sleeping daredevil.   This nap in particular, she literally rolled off the end of the chair (onto the fluffy footrest we had placed right below her) but the look on her face was priceless and I sincerely wish I had a photo of it. 

 And now, an excessive number of photos from our Easter Sunday: 

Claire's got about 3 tricks - she can wave, high five, and clap.  She likes to wear them each out really well each day.  I'm attempting to teach her to give kisses, but having little success with that so far.  

The absolute closest I got to a cute photo of her in her Easter outfit - it is amazing how the happiest baby on the planet suddenly decides that once she has a fancy outfit on, there will be nooooooo smiles. 

An actual picture of the three of us!  I mean, no one is looking at the camera but beggars cannot be choosers.  

I mean, that bonnet.  Stella & Wilbur, take all my $$$.  

I honestly can't remember what she was crying about in this photo (probably just wanted to be picked up?) but it was too funny not to include.  

Alright, Claire says "bye!"  and if you made it this hard I declare you reader of the year. 


friday link love

Any fun plans for Easter weekend?  It's supposed to rain here every day but Sunday (hooray!) so we'll mostly be camping out at home, then driving to Mt. Vernon for brunch/lunch with family for the day.  I seriously can't wait to put Claire in her sweet Easter dress! 

Also, whoa guys, it's been a WHILE since I've shared some link love! Here are my favorites lately: 

This cute video just made me smile!  

Are you brave enough to try this app?  Not going to lie, it made me feel pretty terrible!  

Our parenting philosophy, in a nutshell.  

We already canceled our cable, but if you have yet to cut the cord, check out this awesome article about how easy it is to replace!  

I've always loved this quote, from my favorite book of all time, so it was a pleasure to come across it again on tumblr this week. 

A friend sent me this one day when she was running late for our lunch, and I laughed so hard I completely forgave her (I would've anyways.)  

Several people have told me this mascara is AMAZING - have you tried it yet? 

This blog post about how much nursing bras SUCK (they do) had me cracking up.  What gives Victoria's Secret?  You don't like moms who use their boobs for their intended purpose?  

On a similar note, I adored this blog post about breastfeeding and how fleeting of a time it is. 

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