Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy (Summerfest) Weekend!

In addition to seeing Robyn and Mayer Hawthorne at Summerfest,
I plan on enjoying time outside in the delicious summer sun with my boys!
(Pending this heat wave simmers down a bit.)

The tiger lilies are in full bloom...

...and my nearly 14-week old son has plenty of stylin' summer outfits to rock!

Ah, those little "muscles" kill  me.

~image via / instagram photos by b~ 

Friday, June 29, 2012


Some people may think I'm having a one-sided conversation with my little man.
I see it as early conversation practice!
And this little dude always  has a lot on his mind.

(Warning:  Ignore my annoying voice.)

Never to early to put this theory into practice!

~video by b / image via pinterest~

Friday favorites

Holy crap.  How is today already the last Friday in June?!
Time. Is. Flying.
Here are some of my favorite things this week...

The Head and the Heart
The eternal struggle...what a great name for a band!
And a great song for reflecting on your week.

Cute accent nails.
We've all seen the glittered ring fingernails, which I admittedly love.
But why not try something a little different?
I heart the heart.

D.I.Y. Travel Case for Curling Irons/Straighteners
Made from cute pot holders.
Read:  You can pack 'em while they're still hot!
I mean, how many times have you been late embarking on your travels because you were waiting for your hot iron to cool so that it didn't melt any plastic goods in your carry-on?!
Thus, this is essential  for any woman.
I think I need to make these for friends' birthdays. STAT!

Leinie's Summer Shandy
It is summertime in Wisconsin.  So, as they say, when in Rome...

Making "Mom" Friends
Ew.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dreading this inevitable task.
Forcing a relationship that otherwise would NEVER happen, always trying to impress or "one-up" each other, comparing your kids constantly, etc...Bleck!!
(Thank God two of my very dear friends are also fellow moms!)
Read all about the woes of making legit "mom" friends,
{HERE} and {HERE}.

And a little more link love...

Why you simply MUST wear sunscreen.

Cheers to healthcare access for all!
Here's a look at the Affordable Healthcare Act, from the nursing perspective.

A "delicate necklace" how-to...pretty & work-appropriate!

A Parisian apartment that made me weak in the knees.

I am pretty sure I need this dress.

Someone please make me this or this for breakfast tomorrow!
(Call me weird, but I seriously love me some muesli.)

Happy weekend, my loves!

~images via buzzfeed, pinterest, leinenkugals, &

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beachy chic interiors

A beach house does not have to be all '80s pastels and sea shells.
Take a look at these chic beach homes.

Clean and serene interiors are key.
I adore this wood + white combo!

I think a giant, monochromatic blue piece of art is essential...brings the sea inside!
As are breezy linens, bold throw pillows, neutral-colored furniture, and non-carpeted floors (for easy sand clean-up!).

Loving the simple, white, cottage-feel of this beachy bathroom.
With a touch of elegance from that vintage crystal chandelier!

Finally, this screened in porch (keep away, 'squitos!) has one beautiful wood ceiling.
I picture early morning coffee + reading and violet hour cocktails + conversation.

(Note to Midwestern-self:
Beachy chic interiors can be easily applied to lake houses.)

~images via elements of style, coco+kelley, flikr, tumblr, & pinterest~

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

His and hers mugs

I think these would make an adorable gift for a
wedding shower,
or Valentine's Day.
(Just do a little recon on the couple, then pair with the appropriate fixin's!)

You can find plain white mugs just about anywhere.
(Just make sure they are oven-safe before you bake!) ;)
Super cute!
And easy as pie.

~image via

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rhubarb torte

Spring may have come and gone,
but if you're lucky,
you still have access to some lovely rhubarb!

This rhubarb torte recipe is from my mom...
it was a "must-have-dessert recipe" that was
served at my dad's company picnic many moons ago.
And it could not be any simpler to make!

For the crust:

1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c softened butter
5 Tbsp powdered sugar

Blend together and press into a lightly greased 9x9" pan.
Bake at 350 for 12-15 min.

For the filling:

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c chopped nuts (I used walnuts, but pecans would also be delish!)
1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 c fresh rhubarb, chopped

Mix the above together, pour on top of crust, and bake for 30-40 min at 350.
(Note:  The filling will somewhat resemble a pecan pie filling.)

This is scrumptious served plain with coffee for breakfast,
or topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert.
(We tried the new Greek Frozen Yogurt by Ciao Bella in "French Vanilla" - YUM!
Kind of tangy which complemented the sweet + tart flavor of the torte.)


~photos by b~

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mint madness

How to wear this trend right,
starting with pantelones...

I particularly think it looks awesome paired with camel.

And this minty summer look includes all of my faves -
stripes, top knot, & statement necklace!

Still not so sure about the mint fingernails...too Easter egg-y for my taste.
What do you think...would you rock a mint green ensemble?

~images via, &, & hellofashionblog~

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy weekend!

What a lovely thought!
I'm picturing hammocks and cuddling with my boys while doing just so.

Perhaps on Sunday, 
because "Lebowski Fest" (?!?) is what's happening today!

~image via pinterest~

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Friday Five

Here's what I'm digging this week...

Sam Cooke.
I cannot get enough of this genre of music lately.
It gives me this warm-summer-night-and-I'm-in-love kind of feeling.
Like I'm maybe on the set of Dirty Dancing or something.

Lake houses.
I want/need one.  Badly.
Any of these will do!

Tres fab summer weddings.
'Tis the season!
Read all about Emily's (of "Cupcakes and Cashmere"),
{HERE} and {HERE}!
Loving her dress and all the little details!

Water Bobble jugs.
The new Brita pitcher?  I think so!
The greener the better.
$24.99 {HERE}

Birth story via a dad's perspective.
{HERE} and {HERE}
I'm curious to know what my husband would have to say!
(Hint, hint...)

And a few more links just for fun...

Enter what you have in your fridge/pantry and always be able to make a wide variety of recipes {HERE}.

Who knew red Solo cups were so "smart"?

I think I need to make one of these Instagram books.

The five best shoes for traveling.

Some cute doorstops from anthropologie, especially this little watchdog!

And finally, this and this made me laugh out loud.
(Mostly, because both are true in our house!)  ;)

TGIF, m'dears!

~images via, tumblr x 2, cupcakes and cashmere, & / photos by a~

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Organized, schmorganized

After reading one of the latest editions of Real Simple,
I was inspired to share some of my favorite organizing tips.

Label the little plastic bags that extra buttons come in
and place them in your sewing kit.
When you lose one, you will know EXACTLY where to find the replacement!

Galvanized tubs or baskets.
Use them to store summer essentials on the deck or boat!

Rolling shirts.
I do this all the time when packing for a trip,
so why not utilize drawer separators and do this in my drawers at home?
It is so much easier to find the shirt you're looking for versus digging through a pile.
Not to mention it keeps the wrinkles away!

Plastic bags for baby outfits.
When traveling with baby, it is essential to make life as easy as possible.
Put together complete outfits, down to hair clips and hats,
and place them in gallon-size plastic ziplock bags.
Sounds like a great system to me!

I'm talking pre-Pinterest, the ones you ripped out of Food & Wine magazine.
I whip out my label maker and organize them into categories -
Regions, Kids, Slow Cooker, Baking, Sides, etc.
Now my 500+ recipes have an appropriate home and I know EXACTLY where to look when I need one in particular.  Once I test them and determine "it's a keeper", I create specific books to store in my kitchen beside my cookbooks on even more categorized shelves.

A "Where is it?" List.
I do not have one of these, but am pretty sure I need one!
Make a file on your computer where you write down everything that you don't use often, along with EXACTLY where in the house you're keeping it (for example, under the guest bed near the headboard).
You'll be able to find that "cowboy costume" or extra fan in no time!

Deep cleaning kit.
Assemble necessary tools/products along with a list in a caddy.
Store it under your sink.
You will be able to deep clean (without forgetting something important) in a much more efficient manner.
A sample list {HERE}.

A DIY Weekly Planner
Who needs to spend a lot of money when you can print this template at home?
Or, if you want to get fancy, print it off at Kinkos and have them bind it for you.
(Still cheaper than buying a pre-made you get to customize it!)
Perfect for truly organizing your life.
I would truly be LOST without a planner.

And I'm totally digging these templates specifically for meals/grocery lists in one.


Hope these ideas inspire you to get your ducks in a row!

~photos by b (first 3 of Real Simple magazine) / images via The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking, artsy-fartsy mama &

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

3 months old!

The babe turned 12 weeks on Monday.
Can you believe it?!?

We're guessing he weighs approximately 13+ pounds now.
Cute little rolls abound on his arms and legs and tummy!
It seems he's getting more and more hair everyday...
Some days it looks strawberry blond, other days it looks brown.
His wide, bright eyes remain a crisp blue.
He continues to giggle and coo up a storm,
though especially seems to be a morning person.

He still loves bath time...though now makes the Puj tub look a little small.

He continues to be a good eater, breastfeeding ~8 times per day...
including at least once from a bottle by Dad!
He sleeps at night anywhere from 4-8 hours straight.  Wahooo!

He enjoys being "in the mix"...a.k.a. being held so that he can scan the room freely,
often sitting upright on your lap like a "big boy."

He still isn't too keen on tummy time,
but has started to make serious push-off efforts,
indicating rolling over and even crawling are not too far away.

He loves his noisy soft blocks, Sofie the Giraffe, empty plastic wipe bags to kick,
the color red,
and to our surprise, his "WubbaNub" pacifier with "Clifford" the red dog.
He literally grips onto Cliff for dear life!

Perhaps this new-found love has to do with his fixation on putting things, including his whole hand, into his mouth.  Along with an increase in drooling and "spit bubbles", we're thinking a tooth or two are also not far off.
And he is learning to grab and grasp things much more efficiently!

He LOVES to stretch and wildly swing his limbs, especially on the activity gym.
(He seems to have it out for that poor purple elephant!)

He enjoys learning to sit up in his Bumbo seat.

And he likes napping and watching his mom cook from his swing,
all the while relaxing to piano music or "Classical Baby" on HBO.

Perhaps the thing we love most are his huge, toothless grins.
He smiles at us all  the time...
When we go to pick him up out of the crib.
When Dad comes in the door from work.
When Mom walks into the room.
When he rips a loud #2.
When a grandparent plays with him.
Those smiles are precious and priceless!
 My heart melts each and every time.
I honestly didn't know I could feel so loved by someone
who cannot even speak a word.

(those little lip dimples kill  me!)

Looking forward to see what fun surprises and milestones
the next month has to bring!
We LOVE YOU, sweet Little Man!

~photos by b~

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dad is Rad

...the theme to my Father's Day shindig!

It seems as though every Father's Day craft idea on Pinterest involves ties.
Which, don't get me wrong, could be cute,
but seemed a little too cliche and boring for my daddy dearest.

Enter:  My stylin' son and husband for inspiration.
(They are both pretty cool dudes.)

Then, set up your backyard so that is conducive to grilling, games,
& conversation, with a somewhat "vintage" rad vibe.

Soundtrack?  Mayer Hawthorne Pandora station.

Banner reflects the color of our house.

Custom beer labels.
My favorite element!

Bonus:  Place on Lakefront Brewery summer beers to commemorate the fact
that we lived only a few blocks from here on Daddy A's first Father's Day! 

Pull inspiration from the baby's shades for wrapping gifts.

Menu must include a wide variety of meats...and mayo-based picnic salads.
(Daddy loves potato salad and 'slaw.)
Oh, and coolers full of beer!
And was hotter than Hades.

Why not make it a meat tower?!
I somehow could not capture it in all it's meaty glory...
the "Ludlow" cheeseburgers and beer brats and hot dogs disappeared too quickly.
But you get the idea!

One thing the huzz and I miss about Chicago are the hot dogs.
So I created the ultimate condiment station,
including hot peppers, caramelized onions, 'kraut,
as well as a "Chicago-style" relish
composed of cucumbers, tomatoes, & pickles in a mustard vinaigrette.

Make "beer box caddies" to hold utensils, napkins, salt & pepper,
and most importantly, sunscreen, and bug spray!
(If guests leave with a sunburn and bug bites, it's not your fault!)

To make a spoof of the big bad beard Dad sprouted post-baby,
why not make facial hair on sticks for everyone?

(Including baby!)

P.S.  These two brought local growlers of beer, rootbeer, and vanilla ice cream.
Floats, anyone?! 
What a GREAT summer hostess gift.
Love, love, love.

Adorn baby in a "Dad" outfit...
(Oops, someone partied too hard.)

Make sure at least one grandpa and/or great grandpa is also in attendance.


If your guest of honor likes to play games as much as mine,
make sure you have ladder golf or "bags" set up for ample gaming!

Very important:
Make sure you get a few shots of dad and baby on their special day!

And if you're feeling extra Martha Stewart-y,
("Hi, my name is Brianna.  Have we met?")
make your husband a homemade, signature ice cream for dessert.
His flavor of choice?
Banana-Butter Pecan in Sugar Cones

Leftovers perfect for post-party TV-watching and cuddling with
the little person who makes all of this celebrating possible!

I hope it was a wonderful first Father's Day for you, my dear,
and that you know just how very much you are loved,
not only by me,
but by this sweet little guy!
Cheers to many more!

My two favorites.

~photos by b~