Snow Bunny

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

newborn, snow, new mom outfit, long sweater cardigan

newborn, snow, new mom outfit, long sweater cardigan

newborn, snow, new mom outfit, long sweater cardigan

newborn, snow, new mom outfit, long sweater cardigan

newborn, snow, new mom outfit, long sweater cardigan
On me: Cardigan (almost identical version here for $29) // Striped Tee // Boots // Jeans // Hat (old Zara) // Athena's snowsuit

Ok, don't get all crazy and think I risked my baby's life for these pictures, especially you Chicago people. I swear winters here are so mild even if they look like we are living in a blizzard. Ever since we moved here our love of winter has grown because in Utah you can actually ENJOY winter and snow. In fact, it's one of the most popular reasons to live here. Last winter we were starting slow, mostly on my account, easing our way into new snow activities. We started with tubing and then with a pretty intense snowshoeing hike. Maybe it was just intense for me because I was newly pregnant and everything was harder then!

This year the snow is fun on a whole new level because we get to take Athena out on short jaunts through it. The last week has been colder, but two weeks ago when this was taken, it wasn't that bad at all. Notice all I'm wearing is a long sleeve tissue tee and a cardigan and I swear I was comfortable. Athena is all bundled up in her little penguin snowsuit that as of a few days ago she outgrew (STOP GROWING) but her new one from my friend Kylee is even cuter!

We are leaving for Chicago today and it will be Athena's first plane ride. No one is more nervous than I am. My anxiety is not so much about her, it's more about how to pack properly for the plane, and a week's worth of bopping around the city and Wisconsin for a week! I know there are stores along the way to pick up anything forgotten, I just get really stressed in situations like this where I have little control over the outcome of things. Luckily Andrew keeps me calm and he'll be right by our side.

Holiday Traditions

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday traditions are something you may take for granted until you have your own child. Since having Athena, we decided we needed to keep some of our favorite family traditions going as well as start a few new ones with her so she can share in the special memories.

The first tradition was visiting the Macy's windows. In Chicago this, is a huge event with huge crowds of people to go along with it. We used to go every year with my dad and my niece and nephew. It was tradition to take my niece's picture with my dad in front of the tree, because he hangs the pictures up in order on his fridge and hasn't missed one in 8 years. We also usually get a special ornament to commemorate something important from the year, like buying our new house or our first year married. The Macy's on State Street in Chicago really does have an unparalleled selection of ornaments.

In Utah, there were half as many windows but still throngs of people, especially children. It felt as if every child in Utah was at the window opening this year when we went, maybe because the window displays are made entirely of candy! It turned out to be a very different experience than our usual Chicago tradition but still fun and worth keeping alive next year. And it will be nice to show her that we have proof in pictures that we took her when she was just a few weeks old.

macys windows salt lake city

macys windows salt lake city

macys windows salt lake city

macys windows salt lake city
Athena looking unamused to say the least. (Her snowsuit here)

 The next tradition is one that comes from Andrew's side of the family, the cutting down of a Christmas tree. Since I have been with Andrew for 16 years I have participated quite a few times with his family's tree cutting at a Christmas tree farm out in Wisconsin. We usually even cut off rings of the trunk and write our names and years on them to use as ornaments or decoration. 

We tried to make this tradition just like Wisconsin, but last year but we quickly realized that Utah is not at all like Wisconsin. Here, the evergreen trees are up in the mountains. You can get a permit and go up onto public land to cut down your own, but between having a newborn, a Prius and Andrew with a broken foot, a Christmas tree lot would have to do. Andrew's dad was in town with us when we went, so that did help make it feel more like the old days in Wisconsin. We even got a trunk ring to write "grandpa, mom, dad and Athena" on!
My cape (old Forever 21) // Hat  // Athena's pants

 This next one is not specific to any one place or way of accomplishing it.  It's one we are starting this year with Athena. We wanted to be able to tell Athena that she has been doing good deeds for others since she was born, so when Andrew heard that the County Building had three Christmas trees with tags of gifts requested by people in need, we took Athena in to grab a tag for each of us.

My hat, boots, sweater and coat

Here is Athena grabbing her tag.

And I've got one each for Andrew and I as well.

mabo kids, the bluberry hill baby bunny hat
Athena returns to deliver her gift to the Mayor's office.

When we return to Chicago, we have another tradition we started about six years ago that we will get to do again, this time with Athena! We go see the movie White Christmas at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. It's an old theater that puts on a super cute double feature. People get dressed in Christmas gear and bring their friends and whole family.  Last year we didn't make it for the first time in five years because of our move to Salt Lake, but this year we are returning with Athena and will be taking her to the theater along with my dad. We will see how she deals with the whole experience later this week but I'm super excited even if she doesn't make it through the whole movie happily!

So those are our Holiday traditions! What are yours? Any good ones you recommend for a baby's first Christmas?

Our Home, One Year Later

Monday, December 12, 2016

Just over a year ago we closed on this home of ours. It is/was our first time owning a home so we were kind of in over our heads, especially as city dwellers/renters for all of our adult lives. 

When we decided we were moving to Salt Lake City, I became addicted to looking at listings on my phone on my lunch break while teaching in Chicago. I found this one and let our real estate agent know and prayed it would still be on the market in 10 days when we flew out to look at places in person. Literally everything we liked was flying off the market in a day or less! Lucky for us, this one stayed on the market because it was on what Utah considers a "busy street." For us, coming from living on one of the busiest streets in downtown Chicago, the slight sounds of cars and street lights were music to our ears. We fell in love and the rest is history!

Here's a little bit of an Internet tour, before-and-after.

Living Room

This picture of the living room is from the original listing. When we saw it back in Chicago, we liked it, but we were not going to buy a house sight unseen! We fell in love with all the natural light and the beautiful hardwood floors. What I did not love was that every room was this beige color. A bunch of boring beige rooms. I wanted to paint so many things immediately.

I loved the charming touches of our historic neighborhood and the exterior, but I needed to modernize the interior to make it my own. I started with this fireplace. I hated this peach stone around the facade of the fireplace and I used a super sticky (and fireproof) white paint to cover it up. As you can see by the paint swatches I had pinned up above the fireplace, I had originally wanted to paint this room a shade of white. 

The deeper I got into the design of this room, I started to think I could pull off a deep charcoal gray on the upper parts of the wall. You can see the paint swatch on the bottom left corner of the picture  on the couch and one above the fireplace. I thought that between the white wainscoting and all the natural light, it wouldn't look too oppressively dark. Andrew trusted my design instincts and I went for it. The result is probably one of my favorite paint choices of my life! The paint color is Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore.

All product details for our living room can be found in this post!

Kitchen / Dining Room

Next up was the kitchen. I had never really had a full kitchen before. Certainly never a dishwasher and never a dining room table. Growing up I had a picnic table in our kitchen and my mom would say I had ten dishwashers, referring to my fingers. So having some of these modern luxuries was super exciting for me, as was all the storage space. In our old apartment in Chicago, space was limited. But here I had this whole wall of cabinets you see on the left of the listing photo. Not much of this has changed, but behind it certainly did.  

We actually kept the beige in this room since I think it kind of worked in this room, not to mention I really didn't want to have to climb up and paint behind cabinets. So I guess we just made it work.

Details for all products in kitchen/dining room can be found in this post.


On the way to our bedroom and my office you have this hallway. I decided to keep the dark paint running down the hall extending out of the living room. I'm pretty glad I did, even though I worried about the dark color making it feel small. Instead, it feels warm and cozy. I added this beautiful mirror I found at Megmade in Chicago right before I left as well as a Lulu and Georgia runner and one of my paintings (which you can find more of at @hotpinkpaints).

Our Bedroom

Believe it or not, this is actually a different shade of paint than the living room, although it's almost impossible to tell them apart. This one is called Nightfall by Benjamin Moore. I literally painted this room within days of our arrival. Even before our furniture arrived.

My Office / Closet Room

This is the room I spend the most time in as of late. Instead of it being just an office and my closet, it's become my late-night pumping headquarters while the baby sleeps. I actually get work done but feel as if all my blog posts since Athena was born should come with a disclaimer on the bottom such as **Attention! This post was written by the mother of a newborn at 3am while using a breast pump. Please excuse any nonsense, typos, spelling and grammatical errors for she is sleep deprived. 

You can find all the details and products from my office here and here.

Athena's Nursery

Probably my favorite room to put together in our house has been Athena's nursery. It's such a cozy room for snuggling our sweet girl. You can see all the room details and products linked here.

Basement Playroom

This playroom is still kind of a work in progress only because Athena is still so very small and literally has no need for a playroom. Hopefully soon she will get some fun toys to play with in here. Until then it works as a guest room and a place for us to hang out in.

All the details for this room as well as a better view of before and after check out these posts here and here.

So as you can see, in just one year we've pretty much changed this whole beige box into a home full of personality and function. I love having a home full of character where nothing is wasteful and everything serves a purpose for our little family. It truly is the perfect place for us!

Bellacor Playroom Renovation

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Before we had the baby, I had grand plans of finishing the basement before she arrived (you can see the hideous "before" pictures of the basement here), but many people told me it couldn't be done and then would be even harder once she arrived. With a lot of determination and hard work, especially on Andrew's part because he built all the furniture that I was too pregnant to get on the floor and help build, and painted all the walls when I couldn't be around the fumes, we managed to squeeze in the necessities of the room before she arrived! 

The room is not "done" by any means but we managed to paint the walls in Benjamin Moore's White Dove, a perfect warm white. We got hardware for the built-ins, built the bookshelf and moved all of Andrew's books over to it, and assembled and styled the console table and side table before she arrived. The rest of the decor will come later. And if you remember I'm still waiting on the couch cover to come back from getting dyed. Goodbye old red couch!

All the white furniture that Bellacor sent over is from the Manhattan Comfort line and is well under $100 a piece! Thank you to Bellacor for sponsoring this post and making my boring basement look fresh and new!

stenciled wall, play room neutral, benjamin moore white dove
This cute and modern Manhattan Comfort brand side table is used as TV stand. I got these baskets from Target for Athena's toys that she will one day have. Also this super soft pillow that she loves falling asleep on (as do I). I stenciled the wall like I mentioned I wanted to back in the plans for this room.

table decor, shelf styling, faux flowers, eco flowers
Flowers that never die c/o my friends over at Eco-Flower!

lorena canals abc rug, bellacor Manhattan comfort bookshelf, white bookshelf
 A new bookshelf for all of Andrew's books and the cutest Lorena Canals washable rug (c/o)

mid century chair, circle mirror, hot pink paints painting, benjamin moore white dove
The circle mirror is from Target, as is the rug, lamp and planter. The mid-century chair is from Haute Look. This Manhattan Comfort piece is actually a TV stand but I think it works great as an entry table for a sleek statement piece when you come down to the basement. I also included one of my paintings that I custom made for the room (@HotPinkPaints).

DockATot Discount and Lorena Canals Rugs

Monday, December 5, 2016

dockatot, baby sleep solution, lorena canals rug, alphabet rug

DockATot  c/o (get discount code here) // Lorena Canals Alphabet rug c/o

As a blogger, I am lucky to not only get to try some things out myself, but also to have awesome blogger friends who turn me toward new products. Some, even before I have a need for them. That was the case with the DockATot.

If you have never heard of it, let me fill you in. Basically it's a tiny baby rest station that is ridiculously portable (it comes with its own little suit case that you better believe is coming home with us to Chicago for the holidays) and it's a super safe and worry-free place for a baby to hang out in. The rounded sides are meant to recreate the feeling of the womb and hug the baby, making them feel happy and safe. It comes in two sizes so there is one for babies 0-36 months, made of breathable cotton.

And the most important detail to mention, as the proud owner of both a baby and a DockATot for over four weeks now is: SHE SLEEPS like a log in this thing! And she has since day one, so I know this isn't just a one-night fluke. 

Do I have your attention now?

I had seen a bunch of blogger friends using the DockATot with their little ones since before I was a mom, so I was super intrigued. I heard each and every one of them rave about it. Bloggers, non-bloggers, all my mom friends love theirs. It's such a simple idea, a portable, safe bed that you can put on virtually any flat surface and not have to worry about creating a tiny baby fort of pillows and blankets around them. Why had this not been thought of sooner! Sometimes the best ideas are the ones right in front of you.

So you better believe I had a DockATot waiting when Athena was born! I was so exited to try it out and, you guys, it's AMAZING! I'm almost afraid to tell you just how well she sleeps through the night or you might hate me... or she may stop, knock on wood that she doesn't! She is in it right now, as we speak, just as cozy as can be.

We use it on the bed, the floor, the chaise portion of our couch, and even on our big kitchen table when we are cooking breakfast and need an easy place to stow her. But the best part is that she loves it so much. She always looks so peaceful and cozy inside. I don't blame her; I kind of want an adult-sized one for myself!

I'm very excited to take it along with us on our trip home to Chicago for Christmas! It comes in its own little carry on bag which will make it super easy to take with us since we will be staying at multiple places. It's so nice to know she will have the consistency and same exact comforts of her bed at home while halfway across the country.

Ok, here's the part where there is something in this for you! Get your own DockATot using this link and you'll get $10 off! 

dockatot, baby sleep solution, lorena canals rug, alphabet rug

dockatot, baby sleep solution, lorena canals rug, alphabet rug

dockatot, baby sleep solution, lorena canals rug, alphabet rug

And check out this adorable natural fabric Lorena Canals alphabet rug

We had just redone our basement in a warm shade of white to make a playroom for Athena and this rug matches perfectly. I think the teacher in me saw this alphabet design and could just see Athena and her friends spelling out words in the future while cozied up on the rug! What makes this rug so special is that it is machine washable! Isn't that awesome? In fact, all Lorena Canals rugs are washable! (You didn't think I would get a white rug for a baby that I couldn't keep clean, did you?!)

It was really hard to choose just one of these Lorena Canals rugs because the designs are so chic. Like more West Elm than Land of Nod. Perfectly suitable for adult rooms too. I really loved this black and white one but like I said before, there was some magic in this alphabet one for me!

**As always, the integrity of my blog and the products I put on here are super important to me. I want to let you know that this DocATot and rug were provided to me but the feelings and opinions are my own. If there is ever a product on my blog, you better believe I stand behind it and would spend my own money on it!