Blogging // The Comparison Trap

Blogging // The Comparison Trap

This is a topic that’s been clanging around inside of my heart recently. Blogging can be such an inspiring world — there’s an endless stream of insane creativity that gets…

Blogging // The Comparison Trap

This is a topic that’s been clanging around inside of my heart recently. Blogging can be such an inspiring world — there’s an endless stream of insane creativity that gets splashed over the internet every day. But sometimes I find myself moving beyond inspiration and ending up sort of overwhelmed.

It always happens when I start comparing. It’s so easy to get inside your head and start thinking crazy thoughts. Well, that blogger has 100,000 Instagram followers. I need that. This blogger is renovating a house. I should do larger projects. The other blogger is best friends with Beyonce. Why am I not best friends with Beyonce?! Okay, so I haven’t officially seen any bloggers being best friends with Bey. But you get what I’m saying, right? Where do we draw the line between being inspired by others to strive for better things and just trying to keep up with that we’re seeing online?

It’s a tough distinction to make. Especially in a world that’s so filtered and styled and edited. When everything looks beautiful and fun and flashy, it’s hard to keep your head on straight and remember that there’s a real person behind each photo, each blog post. And the real person probably has struggles just like we all have struggles. It’s also tough sometimes to not discount the things that are going well, when you see other people accomplishing things you’d like to accomplish. Maybe that blogger just hit 100K on Instagram, but you’ve doubled your followers in the last few months. That’s no small feat. So why is it so easy to look right past it and wish that we had moremoremore?

I know that for me, it’s a constant battle to stop comparing and stop trying to keep up. I do my best to keep my head on straight, set goals that seem right for me, and work toward those goals. That’s not to say that I don’t lose it sometimes. But I find that when I stop looking around for comparisons and put my head down and just work is when I start feeling good again about my own progress. After all, wishing and stewing and hoping won’t get you anywhere, but hard work and a good attitude usually will, at least in my experience.

What about you? If you spend lots of your time online, is this something that you struggle with too? I’d love to know your take on it, and how you combat the comparison trap. xoxo

Paris // Places to Eat

The café culture in Paris is just… cool. Grab two seats on the sidewalk, and don’t face each other – face out. Both of you. Because it’s all about people…

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The café culture in Paris is just… cool. Grab two seats on the sidewalk, and don’t face each other – face out. Both of you. Because it’s all about people watching. And those Parisians are good at taking their time! Slow down and join the pace. A meal is an event. Here were some of our favorite places. xoxo

L’Eclair. Great place for dinner, on the perfect Parisian street.

Gusto Italia. Can’t take credit for this one! Jordan recommended it, and it’s pefect for grabbing takeaway and picnicking by the Eiffel Tower. Grab a bottle of wine from a shop on Rue Cler to take with it. It’s a really lovely (and affordable) evening.

Refuge des Fondues. Everybody’s loving this spot. It’s a steal of a deal – one price for a kir, appetizers, fondue for two, and wine out of baby bottles. Oh, and be prepared to climb over the tables to sit down.

L’as du Fallafel. Down and dirty fallafel joint in Le Marais. Best fallafel I’ve ever had.

Dong Huong. For when you need a break from French food. Local pho spot. This joint was jumping.

Place Verte. Perfect for sitting and working on their free wifi! Good lunch food, good beers.

Cafe Les Anemones. A relaxed spot with a great happy hour.

Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore. Two dueling cafes with a bunch of history. They’re usually quite full and they’re a little fussy, but a very fun scene.

Merci Canteen. There are the Merci cafes on the street, but make your way to the back of the shop upstairs for a beautiful lunch spot.

Berthillon. Woah. Some of the best (and richest) ice cream ever. Get a cone and sit on the Seine.

La Drougerie. Sweet little walk-up crepe window in Le Marais.

Laduree. Legendary macarons which stand up to all the hype. I loved the location on Rue Royale.

Don’t forget to stop by a boulangerie for fresh baguettes and croissants! Some of our favorite meals were picnics with bread, cheeses, and fruits. It’s so simple but so perfect.

Paris // Places to Shop

I was actually shocked that I didn’t buy more things in Paris, but it turned out that the window shopping was so delicious I didn’t even have to. The shops…

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I was actually shocked that I didn’t buy more things in Paris, but it turned out that the window shopping was so delicious I didn’t even have to. The shops are so beautifully curated and cared for, and they’re tucked away down every alley. These were the places that I could have stayed for hours. xoxo

Merci.The clothing is gorgeous, but I wanted to buy all of the housewares.

Shakespeare and Co. This legendary bookshop has so much history. Creep upstairs for a perfect view of Notre Dame and to perhaps see a young writer working on one of the many old typewriters scattered around.

Paperdolls. The most charming shop in Montmartre. I walked in and felt like it resembled a physical version of Lovely Indeed. We went back twice!

Le Bonbon au Palais. A gem of a candy shop, and maybe my favorite shopping experience. Owner George is quite the friendly guy – ask him about the history of the shop. He’s been wanting to own a candy store since he was 10, and he’ll tell you the sweetest stories. The shop is as beautiful and well-curated as a candy shop could possibly be.

Fleux. There are actually four spaces that Fleux inhabits, all near one another and each a little different. A mecca of awesome design-y pieces.

Habitat. A little bit Ikea, a little bit Crate and Barrel. So good.

Bensimon. Classic shoes for everyone! We each got a pair and may have brought back a teeny pair for our niece.

Artazart. Some absolutely wonderful design books.

Clignancourt Flea Market. Woah. The craziest maze of a flea market ever. Jordan has great directions to get you there. It’s actually a bunch of individual markets that are situated together. For me, the must-see markets are the Marche Paul Bert and the Marche Vernaison. In the Vernaison, make sure you hit Tombees du Camion. A beautifully organized bunch of totally weird trinkets.

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Paris // Things To Do

Okay. This is nearly impossible. But I’m going to do my best to not gush about every single thing, and just give you the lowdown of our very faves from…

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Okay. This is nearly impossible. But I’m going to do my best to not gush about every single thing, and just give you the lowdown of our very faves from Paris. We were there for a little over two weeks and staying in an apartment, so if you’re just there for a quick trip, choose a few things that sound up your alley. These are all things I would do again and again. (Also, specific posts about eating and shopping are coming soon!)

This post is majestically long — click here for all the details and more photos!

Pieces of Paris II

My very favorites of the last few days have been chocolat chaud and croissants on a drizzly morning, a trip to the most wonderful flea market, spotting all of the…

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My very favorites of the last few days have been chocolat chaud and croissants on a drizzly morning, a trip to the most wonderful flea market, spotting all of the beautiful hidden doors, and a perfect picnic watching the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower.

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We have been on little side trips to Brussels and Amsterdam for the last couple of days — updates coming soon! My heart and my head are full of love and inspiration, and I’m so grateful for this chance to be traveling. I’m also so grateful for you following along. Cheers! xoxo

Pieces of Paris

Just a few bits and pieces of Paris so far. (I’ll definitely do a recommendations post when we’re back!) We’ve been wandering through this most perfect city with big grins…

Just a few bits and pieces of Paris so far. (I’ll definitely do a recommendations post when we’re back!) We’ve been wandering through this most perfect city with big grins on our faces. This place surely can’t be real.

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I’m never coming back. (More photos on our Instagrams, here and here.) xoxo

Oh, Paris

Original photo by the lovely Jenn Elliott Blake of Scout. We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for some beyond exciting news. Mr. Lovely and I have been hatching a plan…

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Original photo by the lovely Jenn Elliott Blake of Scout.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for some beyond exciting news. Mr. Lovely and I have been hatching a plan for our anniversary trip this year and things finally came together — we are going to Paris! We’re doing a home exchange with a lovely couple from Paris (in Les Marais) and I’m so, so excited. Our plan is to be based there for a couple of weeks and do day or overnight trips on the train to anywhere that might sound fun! And at the end of it all, we’re heading to London for a few days to wrap it up.

So here’s where I need help! I’ve been to Paris once, for just a few days, but it was a million years ago and I’d love your recommendations. And for that matter, I’d love to hear about any must-do things that are doable by train from Paris and in London as well. Our trip is in late August but I just can’t resist putting a few things on the itinerary.

Have a beautiful weekend! xoxo

Maggie // Five Months

Sweet Marguerite is a 5-month-old nugget! She’s coming alive, and I’m feeling more and more like we have two kids instead of a kid and an infant. I know she’s…

Sweet Marguerite is a 5-month-old nugget! She’s coming alive, and I’m feeling more and more like we have two kids instead of a kid and an infant. I know she’s still a tiny little thing, but milestones are piling up and she’s definitely out of that fresh baby stage. It’s so exciting. 🙂

These days, she’s pretty much back to sleeping through the night (knock on wood). Being sick for so long threw her for a loop but I feel like she’s catching up so quickly to anything that she lost that month. Her weight is back on track (there was one week where she grew out of literally all of her clothes!), and her height is at the top of the charts. She’s rolling like a champ and is starting solid foods, too. This little one loves listening to people make music, watching her brother be crazy, and any toy that squeaks, with Sophie the Giraffe being a particular fave.

It’s funny — I look back at Henry’s month photos and I remember how exuberant he was, just smiling and screeching and laughing like crazy. And now I see Maggie, and it’s clear how different she is. It’s not that she’s not smiley, because she is. She’s a happy little thing. But she’s definitely sweeter and more relaxed than Hank was — observing until something truly tickles her and then laughing with a knowing little chuckle. I’m so excited to see how these personalities are shaped as they get older. That being said, the two sometimes look so similar. There was one shot we got of Maggie that I felt like I had almost seen before, and then I realized it was a photo of Hank when he was five months:

Sweet little nuggets of mine. Here are a few more snaps for comparison! You can also go see all of Maggie’s Months and Henry’s Months. xoxo

Married Life

Married Life // Prepping for Two Kids

Guys, these days when I think of Ryan and I preparing for Kid #2, I almost feel like we should be gearing up to do battle. Not that having a…

Married Life

Guys, these days when I think of Ryan and I preparing for Kid #2, I almost feel like we should be gearing up to do battle. Not that having a single kid is easy by any means, but when there’s only one of them and two of you, it’s manageable. If one parent is tired, the other one can step in. If one of you gets sick, you’ve got a backup. But with two kids and two adults the score is even and that totally freaks me out.

I’ve had more than a few people tell me that going from one to two kids might as well be going from one to ten. All of a sudden it’s chaos. If you think you’ve got a routine down now, just wait until the newborn comes along to shake it all up. And I can totally understand how that’s going to be true. On your first kid, you’re entirely focused on that one kid. He’s hungry? Feed him. He’s awake? Rock him to sleep. He’s dirty? Change him. But just to imagine the newborn shenanigans that we got into with Henry on top of running around after a demanding toddler already makes me sort of queasy with exhaustion.

One friend gave me the advice that we should lower our expectations of ourselves, that there’s just no way you’re going to be able to keep up with everything that you’ve previously been able to tackle. If your house is usually spotless, set a goal to just have one room clean each day. Maybe chaos has erupted in all of the other rooms, but that one room can be your win for the day. Or maybe you’re just not going to get to the gym 5 times a week, so lower your expectation to 3. I totally understand her point of view, and it’ll be interesting to see what this means in our lives as a married couple once we’re in the trenches. Obviously it’s not going to be a season for lots of alone time or romance. It’ll be a season for bath times and bed times and making bottles and grilled cheese sandwiches, and running through sprinklers and changing twelve thousand diapers. I think, though, that some of the times I feel closest to my husband are the times when we’re all together as a family and he’s being “the dad.” Just to watch the way that he’s filled that role magnifies my love for him a zillion times over. So maybe we’re not biking through the streets of Paris together like we once were, but being in the parent trenches together is equally incredible in a totally different way.

In all honesty, I’m not sure there’s a way you can prepare to have a second kid. I keep trying and trying to wrap my head around it and what it will mean for our marriage and family, but I just don’t know that I’ll really get it until we’re in it. I’ll let ya know from the other side in a few short weeks. 😉 xoxo

Baby Girl Nursery Inspiration

Baby Girl Nursery Inspiration

Confession. When I started looking for inspiration for Baby Girl’s nursery, I got tripped up at first. I kept picking little dude stuff! I definitely don’t know how to do…

Baby Girl Nursery Inspiration

Confession. When I started looking for inspiration for Baby Girl’s nursery, I got tripped up at first. I kept picking little dude stuff! I definitely don’t know how to do “little girl” yet. I’d love for her room to feel like a girl’s room, but not veer into the whole “pink bows and hearts threw up everywhere in here” direction. A little pink, a little adventurous, a lot fun. So obviously we should put flamingo wallpaper up, right?

We saw that flamingo wallpaper and kind of wanted to go for it, so I think it’ll be the focal point in the room. Everything else will stick to a minty and neutral palette so nobody gets overwhelmed by all of those birds. 😉

Baby Girl Nursery Inspiration

I didn’t want to pigeonhole either of my kiddos with really gender-heavy or super themey nurseries, so we tried to do the same thing here that we did with Hank’s. We’re finding pieces that we think Baby Girl will be able to grow with and keep using as she gets older, and including some fun artwork that’s all about adventure and good times. I’m so excited to get cracking on this room in real life now that the renovation is moving along! Stay tuned for updates on how the inspiration comes to life. xoxo

Flamingo Wallpaper
Pendant Light
Campaign Dresser
Gold XO
All Aboard! California
All Aboard! Paris
Pineapple Print
Brave and Courageous Print
Mint Bookcase
White Crib
Crosley Record Player
Fun Slide Print
You Are My Greatest Adventure Print
Wicker Hamper
Ombre Pillow
Gold Faceted Lamp
Loop Rug

P.S. Henry’s inspiration board and finished room!

How to Travel to Europe on a Shoestring

How to Stay in Europe on a Shoestring

Even though it was a few years back, I get asked all the time still how we managed to stay in Paris for about three weeks and spend almost nothing on…

How to Travel to Europe on a Shoestring

Even though it was a few years back, I get asked all the time still how we managed to stay in Paris for about three weeks and spend almost nothing on lodging. And because I’m not actually sure I ever divulged my secrets, I’m gonna break it down for you here, especially because I’m sure it’s a trick we’ll use again after our kids are a teeny bit older. It was a new way to travel for us, but not entirely outside our comfort zone since we usually use sites like Airbnb or Homeaway to book our travel. But before we talk details of how to stay in Europe on a shoestring, here’s the big picture: we stayed in a lovely apartment in a beautiful part of Paris for almost 3 weeks and paid about $150 total.  Wanna know how?