Utilitarian & Chic #2 – the kitchen

When you move into a new house you have fantasies of your new life – you’ll cook more, you’ll keep things clean, you won’t leave apple cores in your freshly detailed car. Moving makes me want to buy everything new and fresh, which is why I’m continuing this series in the kitchen. I no longer have those left over ugly dish towels from college, nay, I’m starting fresh with some of these pretty girls:

Utilitarian & Chic Kitchen 1

1. Knit pot holder I very rarely hold any pots but I want to own this pot holder just to hold this pot holder.

2. Oil & Vinegar Simple, chic and alphabetically correct.

3. Marble & wood cheeseboard For my Scandinavian cheese parties. Duh.

4. Salt & pepper cellar To warm up all my whites.

5. Grey bake-set Now to learn how to bake …

6. Enamel teapot Now to start drinking tea …

7. Olivewood Canister When canisters are this pretty I will decant my bow-tie pasta. Also how cute are bow-tie pasta and why do we insist on calling them a terrible word like farfalla?

8. Pestle and mortar I feel like rich women on the East coast, in Nora Ephron movies cook with such utensils… And I want to be such a woman.

9. Cookbook holder It holds cookbooks but more importantly it holds tablets with recipes. This I actually need badly because the other night when I made my FAMOUS (no it’s not) organic chicken (no-noodle) and vegetable soup, I had to reach for my phone for the recipe every 2 minutes.

Here’s what I’m loving, kitchen-wise;  black, white and pops of weird 90′s colors:

Utilitarian & Chic Kitchen

Utilitarian & Chic Kitchen

I love that we love ‘flesh’ now. The color, obviously, not the meaty under-skin portion of my body. Unless you are a zombie in which case ‘flesh’ has always been on trend for you.

Utilitarian & Chic Kitchen

Utilitarian & Chic Kitchen

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That floor is insane. These kitchens are dramatic and weird, like the girls in high school that refused to be friends with me because they thought I was too bubbly.

Perhaps its not really me … but for now I’m digging them…

Comfortable yet Chic {Mom} Clothes #1

Or clothes for anyone that wants to be comfortable all the time …

After you give birth you actually kinda need to live in your pajamas for a while because you are mainly just cuddling and feeding baby for months. So even if your ‘good butt jeans’ do fit, they don’t make sense to wear. You need clothes that are first and foremost comfortable (for you and baby) and secondly easy access to those milk pillows.

I ended up wearing my old sweat pants with Brian’s really baggy shirts … and not in a way where he’s like, ‘its so sexy when my girlfriend wears my white t-shirt’ like in a 90′s movie poster. And it’s not like I’m was blowing my hair out and curling my eye lashes either. Its a slippery slope and I was hanging out at the bottom of it.

I kinda just looked like I had no self-esteem.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s just about enough of that’. It was time to find cute clothes that I could wear around the house, possibly sleep in if I need to and possibly leave the house if I need to – and all the while be breast-feedable. That is a tall order, especially when you can’t leave the house to shop very often. But I did, and here is what I found:

Comfy Chic Mom Clothes

1. Grey suede Oxfords Sadly I haven’t bought these … yet, but they look like cute day shoes that look like I care.

2. Striped pants I own these and they are VERY comfortable. They hide my not so flat belly really well because they have a really loose fitting waist (I have a medium and it fits perfectly so go one size bigger than you normally would with these), and they even make my butt look good – not awesome, but a semblance of what it used to be. Sure, they are kinda pajama pants, but with some flip-flops and the right top, they can double as ‘oh hey, i live in california and mainly i go to intelligentsia and do yoga’ pants. They would probably be great maternity pants, too.

3. Trouser sweat pants These are great ‘bed to errands’ pants. They are almost as comfortable as sweats, yet they have cute pleats and a cut that says, ‘I’m trying’.

4. Denim shirt Duh. Its cute, buttons up so I can pull the girls out, and it doesn’t wrinkle easily so no one will know that i’ve been in bed all day.

5. Blue polka dot scarf In case you are anti-hooter-hider (which I’ve needed less and less as we’ve gotten better at navigating that situation). This scarf is pretty lightweight and cute. Plus you could just throw it on with a simple t-shirt to distract from your other parts that are less exciting to look at these days (I’m projecting, obviously).

6. Metallic slippers I’m cute and cozy yet I have enough glam to hint that I still have a bit of sex appeal hidden deep inside.

7. Striped shirt I love this shirt because it has enough structure to make your ribcage look small, but its loose enough that it doesn’t hug your belly. Plus it buttons up and its lightweight. I’ve worn it A LOT since I bought it.

8. Patterned shirt Because I can’t get enough ‘fitted but not tight’ button ups. Charlie would prefer that I don’t wear these because he doesn’t think i am unbuttoning them fast enough and screams to try to convey that thought, but one must clothe ones top.

9. Striped cardigan I don’t have this but I love it. I’ve been dying for cute, cuddly, cozy sweaters to cuddle with Charlie in. And I like that this is bold and distracting. It has enough style to look like you aren’t on the edge of giving up.

10. Cabled cowl cardigan I can sneak little Charlie under this sweater effortlessly – again with the cozy, blousy and yet presentable.

I shall be wearing many of these things this weekend with my parents in town, lounging around and going on walks. This is going to be a regular series for me because now that i’ve found comfortable clothes that aren’t embarrassing, its all I want to wear. Check my pinboard for many more and stay tuned to more posts.

Happy weekend, folks.

Utilitarian & chic #1 – The bathroom

I’ve always had a daily bingeing and purging problem – house-wise. I buy a TON and then purge it out/sell it off. Well, I’ve gotten help and kicked that habit – I got rid of anything that wasn’t awesome before we moved into this house. I threw away (or donated) mops, buckets, waste baskets, dust pans, baskets, ANYTHING that was ugly/cheap even if it was functional. I’m not encouraging you to do this, I just needed to. I wasn’t bringing a 2-year-old stupid Swiffer to this new life of mine – those things are just expensive pieces of garbage anyway.

I really wanted to start fresh and have nothing in the new house that was gross, loud, messy or just distracting from the calmness that I’m trying to create. I mean, there will be a lot of distracting artwork and accessories but I didn’t want my paper towel holder to be center stage.

Well, welcome to the new series called ‘Utilitarian and Chic’ where I post functional things that are designed very simply and pretty.

My theory is, if you HAVE to have a toilet paper holder (which you do) why not have one that is simple and kinda ‘goes away’. Sure, if you live in Downton Abbey-esque castle you might want something more decorative, but for my house right now, I’m digging things that are wood, white and simply designed, like these:

Utilitarian & Chic Bathroom

1. Bath bowl | 2. Hand mirror | 3. GLA Nature Bodywash | 4. White lacquer bathroom accessories | 5. Porcelain toothbrush holder | 6. Soap dish | 7. Toilet roll holder | 8. Shaving cup | 9. Teak bathroom accessories

Utilitarian Bathroom

My bathrooms are SMALL, but somehow I will manage to take 6 baths a week in them … whilst watching or reading something with either teenagers in it or suppressed Brits.  I’m toying with my bathroom design (still pinning away … bathrooms are HARD) and right now I’m loving all these refined/warm woods, polished white marble and brass, naturally.

Utilitarian Bathroom

Utilitarian Bathroom

Utilitarian Bathroom

Or maybe some white, stainless and concrete finishes… I don’t know. Part of me needs color (obviously) and then part of me is all shhh … be quiet .. make it white,organic, soft and spa like. The color part of me says, ’But why not make bath time fun? and then the spa part of me says, ’What are you 6? Do you want to play with tickle me Elmo in the bathroom, too? And then color me says, ’Will Tickle me Elmo do anything interesting in the bathtub? like massage my …. feet? 

 

Utilitarian Bathroom

Utilitarian Bathroom

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Regardless I’m shopping for really simple, clean necessities and accessories that won’t distract from the relaxing/entertaining times I will be having in said bathrooms. Gone are the days of hot pink flower embossed toilet plungers … My only criteria is that it has to be functional (the copper/wood ‘bath bowl’ up there is probably not going to fly…but so pretty) and simply designed. Oh, and not expensive. I may post some things that are, but if you think i’m buying a $220 bath mat you are wrong, buster.

Stay tuned for lots more Utilitarian/Chic posts  - including for the mud room, laundry room, kitchen, cleaning supplies and general household goods (and yes, more bathroom … this was just my first mood board).

I’m on the hunt ..

The 20 things you need for the first month home with a newborn baby

It was Charlie’s 1 month birthday yesterday so I figured I’d recap what I couldn’t have  lived without this last month – besides him. I would have killed to have read this post before I brought him home from the hospital.This is one of those posts that you might not need now, but if you ever plan on having a baby BOOKMARK THIS. Or send it to anyone yo know who is prepping for their first baby.

There is so much that you are told you should register for, so much that you want and think you need but what you ACTUALLY need that first month is very specific. So these 20 things are what I personally bought and have relied heavily on the last 4 weeks.

First Month essentials

1. Sydney Diaper Clutch What’s so great about this diaper bag is how cute it is, obviously, (waxed canvas and leather) and the fact that its smaller for more on the go days. That first month if you are breastfeeding, you don’t have a lot of bottles to carry around so you really don’t need a huge bag – just room for a diaper, to-go wipes, an extra onesie, pacifier and the changing pad. The clutch actually turns into a changing pad – all transformer style.

2. BabyMoon Pillow Not sure how necessary this is for everyone, but to combat flat head syndrome we are using this pillow and he likes them.

3. Maxi-Cosi Car Seat I’ll be honest that it’s not like I tried out all of the car seats in the world. I registered at Giggle for this one because it said it was really light. And so far its a huge hit. It’s just simple navy blue so it’s not over decorated and it is really light weight.

4. Co-sleeper  – So for the first month at least we are having little Charlie sleep in this in between us in our bed. We aren’t going to get all family bed on you, but it’s so nice to have him near us but still in his own area with a barrier so we know we can’t roll onto him.  We figure maybe another month of this then move him to a co-sleeper bassinet and then crib at 6 months. But also ANYTHING could change. I have to say I miss cuddling with Brian a lot.

5. Prince Lionheart White Premium Wipes Warmer I mean, if you just got out of the warm womb wouldn’t you want someone using a warm cloth to wash your balls 10 times a day?

6. Nursery Sound Machine - We have a different one, but I love the look of this white noise machine. We use it every night and on some desperate days, too. And of course, now Brian and I are addicted to white noise because of it. It puts all of us to sleep faster.

7. Boba Wrap Baby Carrier - He’s in the wrap right now while I’m blogging (standing up at the kitchen counter nonetheless). He loves it, I love it. It calms him down and I can still get things done without feeling like a bad mom. Basically it’s just cuddling. I have the Boba but the Moby is good as well.

8. Daiper Pail - Brian doesn’t like how small the hole is (especially as Charlie and his dumps get bigger) but I really like the look of it. Its expensive, I figure we’d have it for 3 years (hopefully less, but I don’t dare put expectations on this little angel).

9. Swaddling Blankets - For the daytime and nighttime inexplicable crying fits. I can’t wait for a doctor somewhere to diagnose why they cry so much for seemingly no reason the first couple months. These swaddles help and these ones are VERY soft, too. We also use them for over the car seat or bassinet because they are really thin but block the sun/germs if we are out.

10. Baby Changer - I bought this wooden top to put on my vintage dresser so the pad stays put – there are brackets on the back that screw into any surface. Its clean, simple and modern.

First Month Essentials

11. New Born Sleep N’ Play Suit We didn’t have nearly enough bunny suits that cover the feet, too. These are inexpensive (like 2 for $8) . Sure, I want the adorable fancy ones but get the expensive ones as gifts and do yourself a favor and buy a bunch of these from Target. This small (newborn) is kinda hard to find so I’d order them online.

12. Bear Ears Hat Obviously he ears aren’t necessary, but neither is me kissing him 95 million times a day. Scratch that. THAT is totally necessary. But basically they lose A TON of heat through their head, and therefore burn a lot of calories trying to keep themselves warm. When they are so little you are dying for them to gain back their birth weight, so have a ton of these all over your house (they fall off constantly) so his noggin is always covered.

13. Monte Design Como Glider - Here was my snobby mistake: I didn’t want a traditional glider because I figured I’d just use my big leather 70′s club chair that is crazy comfortable and looks so cool. My mistake was sitting in this one at the Giggle store in Pasadena while I was shopping there for pacifiers. It’s so GD comfortable and made holding him so easy and rocking him so enjoyable that I couldn’t NOT get it. Brian sat in it, too and freaked out. I’m sure most of them are comfortable, but this one is THE MOST comfortable that I’ve ever sat in probably because of that back cushion. I just ordered it so sadly I didn’t have it for the first month. Do yourself a favor and get a glider. Don’t try to be a snob like me. You just need this thing. And yes, there are so hideously ugly gliders out there, but this one is simple, modern and pretty. I used to think that the back was too high until I sat in it and you want your head supported. I used to think the arms were too low until I sat in it and it was the perfect height to nurse Charlie in. Its simply designed perfectly for the function. I could go on and on (I’ll have it for both kids … I’ll read to them in it until they are 18, etc).

14. Honest Hand Soap - It doesn’t have to be honest, although I like that company certainly, but you will need A TON of anti-bacterial soap all over your house. You will wash your hands 29 times a day and they will get so dried out. So get hand soap with moisturizing components in it and place them all over your house so your filthy guests aren’t getting lazy and not washing them immediately.

15. Nursing Cover - Um, i’m sorry, but did you mean ‘hooter hider’???? I know these are controversial, but here’s my schpeal: When you are first nursing you don’t really know how to do it and there are a LOT of fleshy parts to manuever. You need to be able to see said fleshy parts without a ton of scarf/blanket material in the baby’s face. I’m not embarrassed of these parts but it’s just awkward and your friends and family that come over to see the baby are normally not psyched to see these either. They just aren’t. It doesn’t mean they don’t think that women should be able to vote – its just very intimate and deserves a little bit of deference. These new milk pillows of mine are not these adorable little cute things that are easy to hide . If you have this same problem and you want to breast feed in public without things flopping around, arm yourself with a hooter hider.  Probaby the ugliest and best thing you can buy yourself.

16. Dr. Brown’s Gia Nursing Pillow - I bought ‘My breast Friend’ and it proved to be too horizontal for me. So this guy lets me prop him up on the side that he’s nursing on and then the rest of his body falls off, so he’s more vertical (which is said to help with digestion and therefore colic).

17. Moses Basket - I love this thing. For the first month they sleep CONSTANTLY. And while of course i try to hold him, nap with him or ‘wear’ him as much as possible, this basket is the perfect little baby catchall. Its so easy to carry from room to room and he seems to love it.

18. Munchkin Lulla-Vibe Vibrating Mattress Pad - This, like the soundmachine, helps put US ALL to sleep. You put it under their crib or cosleeper and it gently vibrates in a really defused matter. Its padded and its shaped like a big paddle so it’s a diffused vibration. We all love it and use it nightly.

19. Puj Tub – Soft Foldable Infant Bath Tub - What I love about this guy is how simple and flexible it is. We are bathing Charlie in our kitchen sink as of now and this tub flexes to fit in there, drains really well and is obviously very attractive. It stores easily, and so far has worked great. Although a note – your cats might watch to use it as a scratching pad especially if they are angry at you for neglecting them because there is a new loud, hair-less cat taking over the house, so don’t leave it on the ground like we did.

20. Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump with Metro Bag - I didn’t know which one to get. Medela is probably considered the best brand although I have no idea why and it’s not like you can try them out. But since I would be pumping constantly for a year I figured that I wanted a reliable brand. Within the Medela family there are a few different options. I got the PIS because you can take it out of the stupid tote bag they give you (why? you think we are going to tote that ugly bag around?) and put it in your much cuter diaper bag. The freestyle is the one that is one level above the PIS which is said to be even more mobile (and more expensive), but this guy has been great so far and is what all my friends chose, too. So if I had to recommend one I feel confidant that this is a good choice (but if anybody is using an inexpensive pump please comment and let us know. The fact that these cost almost $400 is ridiculous.

That’s what I needed this month. So my questions to you are:

1. What am I missing? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

2. What do I need next? What doesn’t come up the first month that does the second?

My Lulu & Georgia furniture wishlist

Whats more  exciting than cuddling a baby? Probably cuddling a baby panda…  I’ve done it … trust me that its INCREDIBLE. But, what is a close third? Decorating my own house for the first time in my life. We have a lot to do, folks – everything from gutting both bathrooms to straightening lampshades. So I’ve started my online shopping and I’ve curated my favorite pieces from Lulu and Georgia to start the process going.  It’s a pretty great online store with simple classics mixed in with some trendier pieces.

My goals for the house (just to reiterate in case you didn’t see yesterdays ‘before’ post) is for the house to be calm, surprising and happy. Most of the ‘surprising’ pieces are going to be vintage and every piece has to be happy so here is a collection of pieces that are calm to help the space feel as open, airy and quiet as possible. That way Brian, Charlie and I’s chaotic personality as a family can really take center stage.

Lulu & Georgia Moodboard

1. Rana Pillow  Because I need more bronze and less gold in my life. Its the right tone to offset all my blues.

2. Pally Cowhide Rug  Many of you know this but cowhides are practically indestructable and unstainable and white rugs generally are not. Therefore white cow-hides are one of your only options for white rugs if you have kids.

3. Marty Button Chair, Graphite It modern, simple, inexpensive and soft. That’s one of my house resolutions – every chair needs to be comfortable. So as much as I love a sculptural dining chair, I do, but after 2 hours of sitting on one, gossiping about how Kim Kardashian’s instagram is mainly just a feed of her new and improved body, I want a pillow under my non-Kardashian heiny.

4. Kenza Moroccan Pouf, Dark Tan It’s kid friendly, warm caramel leather, and you can throw them anywhere. Feet, butts, add a tray for a table. These things are versatile.

5. Aise Pedestal This is a tray tablebecause how will I receive my breakfast in bed without a tray table? I like how modern and simple it is and leaves enough space for Brian to adorn it with a $18 dollar a stem peony. Oh, how I’ve trained him to buy me peonies.

6. Linear Oval Rug, Blue Sky This rug shimmers all pretty and yet it’s so simple. This rug is perfect because it has enough texture and depth to still do something in the room, but its calm and quiet at the same time. Plus its soft, and Mr. Henderson and probably Jr. Henderson insist on soft rugs.

7. Naja Ottoman, Au Lait. I’m also bringing in a ton of natural fibers like wicker, rattan and seagrass in the new house so this guy feels right AND again its kid friendly – round soft and won’t hurt the baby.  Lulu & Georgia Moodboard 8. Svende Table, Walnut Not sure where I’d put this because it’s not terribly kid friendly, but it’s just so pretty with those sleek midcentury lines.

9. Soledad Indoor/Outdoor Rug, Aqua Quiet, serene, simple, pretty, classic, inexpensive and durable. That’s a lot of plus’ going on for one rug. 

10. Riverway Indoor/Outdoor Rug, Sky. It has a pattern but barely – which is just want I want these days. Keep the big pieces in subtle patterns so I can go not so subtle on the smaller pieces (like art, pillows and accessories). 

11. Stepping Stones Rug, Steel Blue Another great rug. This one has metallic in it and I’m debating it for my guest room. Its organic with a little bit of glam in it. Like Keri Russell.

12. Kenza Moroccan Pouf, White  Because again, you can’t have enough of these lying around your house to make you look oh so bohemian and glamorous. Plus i hear they are great for when kids start standing – to help them while they are learning to walk, which Charlie will be doing any second now I’m sure of it.

13. Pillowtop Ottoman, Navy For the foot of my guest bed? In my hallway? Because i’m addicted to benches?

 14. Odine Vase, Short It seemed crazy not to include at least one smaller accessory – and since my new decor is all light and sophisticated this would work perfectly.

So those are my picks for our new house. Go onto the Lulu and Georgia site and check out all their other awesome pieces (including a lot of lighting). Meanwhile when you purchase anything don’t forget to enter EMilY20 to get 20% off until 1/15/14. 

This post was in partnership with Lulu & Georgia but all opinions and words were mine and Charlie’s.