Married Life // Making Friends

Married Life // Making Friends

It’s so easy to make friends when you’re little. Right? I mean, you just go up to the closest foursquare court on the playground and ask to play next. Then…

Married Life // Making Friends

It’s so easy to make friends when you’re little. Right? I mean, you just go up to the closest foursquare court on the playground and ask to play next. Then you grow up a little more and in college you’re tossed in with everybody else in your major and you have a built-in social group. But what about after school is over and you get married and you’re in the real world? How do you find friends?

Mr. Lovely and I are pals. I mean, best buddies. And it’s so amazing to be married to your best friend and get to be friends and be in love. Really, it’s insanely wonderful. We come as a pair and love to spend time together. But also, I think it’s healthy for the two people in a relationship to have outside activities and especially outside friends. I think we all need a network of support that should extend beyond our significant others, yeah?

Our situation is a little weird, in that we’ve tackled two major moves during our marriage, from NYC to LA and now to Central California. And each time, we left behind a group of friends that we were incredibly sad to part with. So now we’ve got plenty of friends, but they just happen to be scattered all over the United States. And in our new town, we’re finding that as a married couple with a little dude it’s not as easy to find pals as it was when we were young and footloose and fancy free. Also, I think that the older you get, the fewer people there are in your age demographic who are open to new friendships. Lots of people our age who live in town are kind of set for friends, they have a routine, and there’s just not a lot of room for adding more to the mix. Which I totally understand. So where the heck do you make friends?!

We’ve literally started hitting on people to be our friends while we’re out in the world. No joke, we spotted a couple in our favorite taqueria with a baby who looked similar in age to Henry, and we walked right up and asked if they ever wanted to hang out. Now they’re some of our good buddies. But putting yourself out there like that can be intimidating and tiring, and it’s easy to just fall back into the insular routine of hanging out with your spouse or partner because it’s the path of least resistance.

Nevertheless, we’re always striving to meet new people; not just to have things to do, but because people are awesome. Every time I meet someone new I am grateful to have another person and point of view to broaden my world a little bit. So I’d love to know your take on this one! Have you experienced the same thing? Where do you meet new friends as a grownup? xoxo

Sparkler and Palms

This Week + Call For Vendors

Big fat fun news, you guys! I’m co-hosting a workshop with Amber from Damask Love and Land of Nod! It’s going down in San Francisco this fall and we’re looking…

Sparkler and Palms

Big fat fun news, you guys! I’m co-hosting a workshop with Amber from Damask Love and Land of Nod! It’s going down in San Francisco this fall and we’re looking for some awesome vendors to help fill some gift bags and feed our guests. If you’ve got a shop that you think would be a good fit, either leave a comment below with your URL or shoot me an email at [email protected]! There are still lots of details under wraps but trust me — this event is gonna be super cool.

And if you’re looking for something fun to read, check out a few of my recent favorites around internetland, down below. Have a great weekend! xoxo

The cutest toy camera. As soon as Henry can DIY something, this is gonna be it.
And speaking of vacation photos
My new favorite artist! And she may or may not be doing something special for Lovely Indeed very soon.
This Chubby Checker photo is amazing. Whoever that woman is, God bless ‘er.
The chain on these tassels is off the… chain.
Because puppies love emojis, too.
Pizza grilled cheese?!

Best Tools for Blogging

Blogging // Tools of the Trade

Having been a blogger for almost five years (whaaaaat?!?), I’ve spent lots of time developing systems, processes, and a list of tools that make my job so much easier. I thought…

Best Tools for Blogging

Having been a blogger for almost five years (whaaaaat?!?), I’ve spent lots of time developing systems, processes, and a list of tools that make my job so much easier. I thought I’d share a list of the tools that I use on a daily basis, in case it helps anyone out there to build an arsenal! Some are digital and some are analog, some are no-brainers and some are smack-me-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-forever-ago. Read on for my tried and true tools, and please leave a comment with your own favorite tools of the trade so we can all up our game!

White Foam Core Board The answer to everything! I use it for white backdrops on flatlay photos, to bounce light around when there are too many shadows, and sometimes to sketch things out or test paint patterns, and so on. They’re affordable, easy to store, and so useful!

Colored Posterboard So cheap and so fun to play with! I keep a rotating stack of different colors to use as backdrops for DIY projects or Instagram photos. Lay them on the floor for flatlay photos or tape them up on the wall to act as a backdrop.

Camera Remote Shutter Lots of what we use this for is personal family photos, but I’ve used it plenty on the blog! This little remote shutter pairs with your camera and you can set up a tripod to take photos from a few yards away. That’s how we get shots like this one, no photographer needed!

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Camera I saved and saved my duckets to spring for this camera, and I can actually pinpoint the time when I got it as the time that my photos improved vastly and my business improved because of it. This is the one area where, for me, it made sense to invest in my business.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens This little lens is a cheapie but has been a workhorse for me. I love shooting on a 50mm because it’s pretty versatile and this little guy helps me get nice, bright photos even when the weather isn’t necessarily cooperating. My next purchase will definitely be this lens
; also 50mm but a higher quality.

Camera Hand Strap I get asked all the time about my hand strap for my camera! For some reason I don’t get along with a regular neck strap, so this hand strap is my favorite way to go. I’ve toted my camera all over the place this way — on shoots, on vacations, and just around home — and it’s been great. It feels secure in your hand and helps me steady the camera.

Apple Time Capsule We’re in the process of revamping how our computers and files are backed up, but this is always our constant. It backs up your computer automatically, and if you ever have an issue with lost files or crashed computers, you can reboot your system to replicate what was in your computer at a certain day or time. It’s crucial and has saved us a few times for sure.

Apps, apps, apps! I did a post on my favorite apps a while back, but I’ve definitely got some new ones. Stay tuned next time for the apps that help me the most. And until then, find more blogging resources in the rest of our Blogging column!  xoxo

DIY Suede and Gold Leaf Colorblock Mousepad

DIY Suede and Gold Leaf Colorblock Mousepad

Do you guys remember our suede and gold leaf polka dot mousepad from ages ago? Well, that thing was a total work horse. It finally, finally died recently after two…

DIY Suede and Gold Leaf Colorblock Mousepad

DIY Suede and Gold Leaf Colorblock Mousepad

Do you guys remember our suede and gold leaf polka dot mousepad from ages ago? Well, that thing was a total work horse. It finally, finally died recently after two years of almost daily use. I’d say that’s a pretty solid DIY! So after it bit the dust, I needed a new something to mouse around on, and I decided to whip up another version of the gold leaf mousepad and share it here. Wanna make one too?

Materials

Make Time: 30 Minutes

DIY Suede and Gold Leaf Colorblock Mousepad

Step 1: Use your old mousepad and trace a circle on the back of your suede around it. Cut out the circle carefully.

Step 2: Spritz the mousepad with spray adhesive and smooth the leather face up on top of it.

Step 3: Mask off a portion of the leather with washi tape. On the unmasked area, apply a liberal amount of gold leaf adhesive. Allow the adhesive to dry for about a minute, or until it feels tacky.

Step 4: Cover the adhesive with gold leaf sheets and gently pat them down with a clean, dry paintbrush.

Step 5: Remove the washi tape mask and use a clean, dry, fluffy paintbrush to buff away the excess gold leaf.

Ahhhhhh that’s better! Day after day I was staring at that busted old mousepad, thinking how beautiful it was when I first made it. Now we’ve got a fresh start again and it feels so good. Hope you try this one out — be sure to share a photo with #thelovelysquad if you do! xoxo

DIY Suede and Gold Leaf Colorblock Mousepad

DIY Suede and Gold Leaf Colorblock Mousepad

Boozy Peach Punch Pops

Spiked Peach Punch Pops

Doing some BBQing in your backyard this weekend? Think outside the punchbowl and make this simple punch hack: Spiked Peach Punch Pops! It’s the perfect way to serve a little libation…

Boozy Peach Punch Pops

Boozy Peach Punch Pops

Doing some BBQing in your backyard this weekend? Think outside the punchbowl and make this simple punch hack: Spiked Peach Punch Pops! It’s the perfect way to serve a little libation to your guests without being a slave to the cocktail cart all night. You can mix them up, freeze them ahead of time, and they can make their entrance from the freezer anytime a guest needs some refreshment. Put those gorgeous summer peaches to use and make a few of these for your next BBQ bash.

Ingredients (makes 8 popsicles)

  • 1 1/2 cups Smirnoff Peach
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 5 fresh peaches

Boozy Peach Punch Pops

Start by cutting four of your peaches into large chunks. Place in a blender with 1 1/2 cups of Smirnoff Peach and 1 cup of orange juice. Blend until smooth.

Pour the blended mixture into a popsicle mold to make 8 popsicles. Cut some thin slices from your fifth peach and sink them into the popsicle mixture; a couple of slices in each mold should do it.

Add your popsicle sticks and put the mold into the freezer to chill overnight. They’ll be ready for your BBQ the next day!

Boozy Peach Punch Pops

They’re so pretty, and tasty to boot. These little beauties are guaranteed to be a hit at your next shindig — they make a great dessert after burgers and hot dogs, too. So forget the mixed drinks this time around and go for a mixed popsicle #Punch4Everybody! Please, as always, remember to celebrate your summer responsibly. Cheers! xoxo

Boozy Peach Punch Pops

Boozy Peach Punch Pops

Looking for more refreshing, summery recipes? Follow along with Smirnoff on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

This post brought to you by Smirnoff. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Lovely Indeed.

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Baby Feet

Adventures in Parenthood // All the Love

Every time someone asks me what’s been the hardest or most surprising thing about becoming a mom, I have the same answer: I was not prepared to love this much….

Baby Feet

Every time someone asks me what’s been the hardest or most surprising thing about becoming a mom, I have the same answer: I was not prepared to love this much.

I know that sounds weird or perhaps obvious? But truly, I remember the first few weeks with Henry as a blur of highs and lows and so many feelings it seemed like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. I would look at him and just think that surely I would collapse at any moment because I couldn’t handle the weight of how much I loved him. It was so wonderful and so scary. And to love something so small, so helpless, someone who has given you no reason to love him other than the fact that he exists — that to me is a sure sign that miracles exist. And that was another layer of love to handle.

Nobody warned me or prepared me! Nobody said, “Get ready because this is going to blow your heart and your world wide open!” Everybody just warned me about babyproofing and getting enough sleep and using the right kind of diapers. Future mamas, I am here to tell you: Those things matter, yes, they do, but they’re gonna happen one way or another. You’ll chose breastfeeding vs. formula and you’ll figure out how to get the kid to nap. That will all fall into place. What you need to prepare for is to love something better and bigger and different than you’ve ever loved something before. You’ll love it because it’s wonderful and you’ll love it because it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

And sometimes, now that he’s a little older, I look at Henry and I wonder where to put all the love. Sure, we cover him in kisses and we care for him with everything that we have. But there’s a part of me that thinks it’s almost not fair to make a little one be responsible for all that love. What’s in my heart for my child would surely be too much for him if I unleashed it all. And I think that’s the hardest part of being a mom so far. The hardest thing is loving your baby just enough but not so much that it’s overwhelming. A mom’s toughest job is to hold all the extra love in her heart and protect it and dole it out when it’s needed. My guess is that it probably gets harder as your baby becomes a kid and then an adult. Then you have to love them so much you let them go.

So for now, I let the love live in every little moment. It’s there when he makes his little noises while he falls asleep. It’s there when Ryan is tossing him around and he’s laughing like a maniac. It’s there when he’s crying for the fourth time that day just because I walked out of the room. I let it sneak out and around and put it into all those little moments because I think that’s where it belongs. And that’s my job as a mom — to find a place for all that love. xoxo

AUGUSTLOVELY

August’s Lovely Girl // The Free Spirit

Each month we feature a new Lovely Girl, meant to inspire you to explore the zillions of ways you can live a lovely life. These gals are based on real-life lovelies that…

Each month we feature a new Lovely Girl, meant to inspire you to explore the zillions of ways you can live a lovely life. These gals are based on real-life lovelies that we know and adore, and are illustrated by none other than the super-talented Lindsey! August‘s Lovely Girl is inspired by one of our very favorite Free Spirits in the blogosphere — Chelsey of The Paper Mama!

AUGUSTLOVELY

You’ll recognize the Free Spirit because she’s the one who looks at home wherever she is. She’s got a content heart, a quick wit, and an open mind. This girl makes the most of life in an effortless way and is an absolute pro when it comes to marching to her own drum. While the world and the people around her are concerned about following trends, the Free Spirit is setting them without even realizing it — just by being herself. xoxo

augustlovelygirl

Dress. Fox Container. Tote. Clogs.  Earrings. Lip Balm. Book.

What kind of Lovely Girl are you? Need more inspiration? See the rest of The Lovelies here.

DIY Personalized Noteboks

DIY Custom Notebooks for Back-to-School

My niece is starting kindergarten this year and she is beside herself with excitement. Since I can remember, she’s always loved writing and using every scrap of paper she can…

DIY Personalized Noteboks

DIY Personalized Noteboks

My niece is starting kindergarten this year and she is beside herself with excitement. Since I can remember, she’s always loved writing and using every scrap of paper she can find to write notes and lists. So I made her a little personalized notebook to celebrate kindergarten, and obviously I had to make a grownup version for myself. Shake your palm palms, indeed.

DIY Personalized Noteboks

These are so fun and so simple and I want to make a million of ’em! Get the full tutorial right over here and make yourself (or your kiddos!) some for back-to-school. xoxo

P.S. On a totally unrelated note, did you know that there’s free shipping in the Lovely Indeed print shop until Sunday? Go grab yourself something pretty for your walls!

DIY Personalized Noteboks

DIY Personalized Noteboks

Ukulele Lesson

Ukulele 101 // Part 3

You made it! (Did you make it?) It’s the final episode in our series of mini ukulele lessons and we’re learning a whole song. Yaaaaay! And just so you know,…

Ukulele Lesson

You made it! (Did you make it?) It’s the final episode in our series of mini ukulele lessons and we’re learning a whole song. Yaaaaay! And just so you know, the chords that we’re learning can be combined in a bunch of different ways to play a whole mess of songs, so your friends will think you’re a ukulele prodigy. Check out the video to hear a few of the other tunes you can learn, and strum along as we teach you a little ditty you can be singing by tonight. (Psst… Go back and review with Part 1 and Part 2!)

We’re singing a shortened version of the song, so see the links below for the lyrics to all the verses and learn the whole shebang! And as always, there are more links to help as you’re learning. I hope you’ve loved trying a little uke; it’s been so fun to put the series together. Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve been following along! And don’t forget to use #thelovelysquad on social if you’re learning so I can see your progress. Can’t wait to hear it! xoxo

Ukulele 101 // Part 1 and Part 2
Lyrics to I’m Yours so you can sing along.
Make your own pineapple ukulele.
Stay in tune!
Review chords (or find lots more).
More in-depth tutorials, if you just can’t get enough.

Travel in California Wine Country

Travel // Michaels Makers Summit (And Free Classes for You!)

Do you guys remember our monthly Michaels Makers challenge from last year? (A couple of my faves are here and here!) Well Michaels invited me back to be a Maker…

Travel in California Wine Country

Do you guys remember our monthly Michaels Makers challenge from last year? (A couple of my faves are here and here!) Well Michaels invited me back to be a Maker for a second year, and they majorly stepped up their game this year by kicking everything off with a Makers Summit in California wine country. It was exactly what my tired brain needed. We spent a couple of days in the sunshine, getting back to the root of the thing that I love to do: make.

We kicked off with a fire-cooked dinner in a gorgeous setting at Farmstead in Longmeadow Ranch. If you ever find yourself nearby, you have to stop for a sip of bubbles and a meal. Everything is totally farm-to-table, family style, and absolutely gorgeous. We totally didn’t have any fun at all:

Travel in California Wine Country

Obviously just kidding about the no fun thing. There was much laughing and cheersing and Instagramming of all the beautiful florals.

Travel in California Wine Country

Travel in California Wine Country

The next day we spent in this gorgeous house up in the hills, rotating through a few workshops, each teaching a different skill. Watercolors and weaving were my very faves — I’ve done some watercolor before but I always forget how rad and weirdly meditative it is. I could watch those colors mix together all day long. I just decided to practice some brushstrokes and ended up with this palm frondy beauty.

Travel in California Wine Country

And weaving! Why did no one tell me that weaving is totally simple?! I keep seeing all of these insanely gorgeous, hipster-licious wall hangings everywhere and they look way too intimidating to attempt. But as it turns out it’s pretty simple. I’m working on a weaving for Henry’s room using the skills we learned, so I’m thinking I’ll have a little DIY coming up soon. Or (and here’s the best news ever for you guys), you can take a free class online any time before September 22nd with Michael’s education partner, Creativebug! I’m seriously kind of wiggling my toes to tell you this because I’m so excited. They decided to offer all you lovely readers all four classes that we took at the summit (Watercolor, Weaving, Image Transfer, and Paper Flower Making) so that you can learn the skills from the exact same teachers we had. Find all the free classes right here.

Aside from making things and learning new techniques to my heart’s content, it was so incredible to hang out with 50 other creatives who love to make as much as I do. I am always so appreciative for a chance to hang out with other bloggers in person, as it can be a bit of an isolated profession. It’s so refreshing to watch others in their creative process and, honestly, just to sit around and shoot the breeze about blogging, being a business owner, building a brand, all that jazz. So big high fives to Michaels for bringing all those peeps together in such a beautiful setting, with a beautiful purpose.

Travel in California Wine Country

Travel in California Wine Country

Travel in California Wine Country

If you want to see the rest of the Makers, check ’em out here! Stay tuned in the coming months for lots of crafty goodness. xoxo

WATCH YOUR FREE CLASSES HERE


How to Introduce Solid Baby Food

Munchkin Milestone // Introducing Solid Foods

You know, usually when I have a question about a new milestone that Henry is approaching, I can find the answers in the couple of baby books we have, or…

How to Introduce Solid Baby Food

You know, usually when I have a question about a new milestone that Henry is approaching, I can find the answers in the couple of baby books we have, or find lots of information online. This one, however, has stumped us a little bit. When we started thinking it was time to introduce Henry to solids, we did some research and found the same little bit of information over and over, but nothing that went into much detail. So we kind of dove in and figured it out for ourselves. And because of that, I thought I’d outline our experience with getting our little dude into the world of solids, and hopefully help a few peeps who might be in the same situation!

Henry started showing interest in solids at somewhere between four and five months old. He would stare at people eating, reach for food, and could sit up on his own. So we started solids. He started with rice cereal mixed with breastmilk, in a pretty soupy consistency. We fed him about two tablespoons (give or take) of rice cereal once a day, at dinner, after he nursed. Once he mastered getting the spoon in his mouth and swallowing most of the cereal down (which took about 3 days), we would increase the texture every day until it was like a thick cream of wheat. After meals we also started introducing a sippy cup with a little water, just to get him used to “drinking.” Mostly he would play with it but after we found this cup he was able to handle it lots better and now can take sips by himself.

After a couple of weeks, he was a pro at cereal. So we added veggies. We decided to make our own baby food for as long as we can, so that’s what we’re doing. Any food that he eats gets steamed, pureed, and frozen in little trays. Then we can just pull out a little frozen hunk of whatever veggie he’s eating, pop it into one of his microwave (and dishwasher!) safe baby bowls, heat it carefully, and feed away. We use these Munchkin spoons that turn white when the food is too hot, so we’re always sure that it’s a safe temperature.

solids2

Most people recommend starting with the most bland veggies you can find, and introducing only one new fruit or veggie every 3-4 days, to make sure baby doesn’t have any reactions. We started with Stage 1 veggies (zucchini & squash first, then moving on to sweet stuff like carrots or sweet potato) and added a couple of ounces of the veggie after his dinner cereal (both of these still after nursing). We kept rotating through veggies until he’d had quite a variety. By about seven months, he was ready for another solid meal so we added the same routine (nurse, cereal, solid) at breakfast, but with fruits instead of veggies. Interesting fact: my kid doesn’t really dig apples. Apples! We’ll have to work on that.

Our most recent addition to the routine is a couple of baby crackers while sitting at the lunch table with us, to get him primed for adding his third solid meal. He’ll hold on to them and gum them while we eat. I feel like it’s been a good thing for him to learn how to sit down together at a meal and get used to that idea.

Phewph! Sometimes this parenting thing is a breeze and sometimes it’s like putting together a big crazy puzzle where the pieces don’t all necessarily fit. But I feel like we’re getting the solids dialed in, and hopefully our experiences will be helpful if you’re ever trying to figure out the same thing! (Psst — one more tip. This bib is awesome for eating on the go! It rolls up into itself and you can keep your spoons and stuff inside. Super handy.) So if you’re not a mom yet, bookmark this one — I’m positive you’re gonna need it someday! And if you’re a mom with a little one eating solids, any more words of wisdom to add? xoxo

solids3

This post is sponsored by Munchkin. All opinions are my very own. Thank you for being supportive of the partners who help keep Lovely Indeed rocking!