Category Archives: home

A New Baby

I have an announcement to make!

Um, no. Not that kind of announcement.

THIS kind of announcement:

FrannyandFranky Etsy shop!


I’ve opened my own shop!

Because I don’t have enough to do in my spare time. You know, taking care of an 8-month-old boy, working full time, writing a book, and trying to spend time with my husband just leaves SO MUCH empty time for me to run a graphic design shop.

But I’m having the best time.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. Back at my last job, when I was going through the darkest, “I hate this place” times, I talked to a friend of a friend about taking action and creating my own destiny. She asked me what, if time and money and everything else was not a factor, I would want to do. I toyed around with graphic design and started taking some online tutorials, but then ultimately decided on interior design.

You know, because looking at pretty blog pictures and rearranging my living room meant I should run my own interior design business.

So I went to night school, part time, while working at a horrible job. And after a year, I got a different job (my current job, which I’m totally not leaving anytime soon) and I took a semester off and I realized, hey, I don’t want to be an interior designer, I just don’t want to do what I was doing at my last job anymore.

The good thing about that year in school, though, despite the additional student loan debt that it racked up, was that it got me through the worst times at my previous job.

The other good thing is it showed me that I have more talents. More passions. And that if I want to do something, I should do it.

I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’ve always wanted to get into graphic design. And you’d think having a baby would totally tank all those dreams. But instead, it’s somehow motivated me. Maybe I want to be a good example for my son. Maybe I need an identity aside from “mother.” Maybe he’s just inspiring me to create. Whatever it is, it’s a blast.

SO. What am I doing in this little shop of mine?

State heart maps

State map heart prints…

City map heart prints

City map heart prints…

State typography, slogan, and motto art prints

State typography art prints…

Wedding guest book alternative heart map from Franny & Franky Designs on Etsy

Custom wedding date and wedding guest book alternative art prints…

Typography art print from Franny & Franky Designs on Etsy

Typography prints.

Plus, I’m doing custom orders for specific cities, color combinations, and special holiday orders.

A few special deals:

  • If you like Franny & Franky Designs on Facebook and click on “My Etsy Shop” below the cover photo, you can purchase any of our prints from that portal and receive a 10% discount.
  • We also have several “print package” deals on our custom orders page — 2 prints for $25, 3 prints for $40, or 4 prints for $50.

So… what have you been up to?


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January Cure: A Landing Strip

Part of my master project list for the year was better doorside organization — that side table and the space it occupies is so small, it’s hard to do anything useful or interesting with it.

So when Day 9 of Apartment Therapy’s January Cure mandated the creation — and use — of a landing strip, I let out an audible groan. Then, I pulled myself together and headed to the store on my lunch break to gather supplies for both the strip and an upcoming project.

I knew it would have to be simple, but effective. The mail will continue to be sorted and stored in the kitchen, but no more will I have to drape my purses all over the dining room chairs or suffer through another morning of “where the hell are my keys.”

A quick before…

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And now…

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The seasonally inappropriate glass-bowl-filled-with-pinecones has been stowed away, and the bird salt and pepper shakers moved back into the kitchen. I picked up a little basket in the bathroom section of Target for keys, change, and other little items, and a $3 hook for my purse.

And I threw in a new lampshade for good measure, because the old one was looking pretty gross after 5+ years.

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It cost under $20, didn’t require a whole lot of reorganization and energy, and I think makes the space look way better and more breathable.

If you were tasked with creating a landing strip in your own home, what would you do?

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January Cure: Week 2

So far, while participating in the Apartment Therapy January Cure, I’ve made a list of projects to tackle throughout the year, and identified our master bedroom closet as a major area that requires immediate improvement.

Where are we now?

Day 6: Choose a piece of artwork and get going on framing it

Since “find a home for the artwork piling up in our reading room” was on my master list of projects, this is perfect. Early last year, we bought a cool black-and-white photograph print of the NYC skyline pre-9/11, which really resonated with Mister Mister since he’s from Long Island. I had picked out a frame we already had, an antique gold number I bought long ago at a local antique shop. But it needed to be spray-painted white, because the gold didn’t really work with the photograph.

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That frame and print have seriously sat in the reading room since last June, only because I didn’t feel comfortable spray-painting while pregnant, and Mister Mister just never got around to doing it like I’d asked. Grr. So I plan to head over to Target this month and just buy a simple white frame with a mat for it, and use it to spruce up our living room TV wall.

Day 7: Get your get-together together — date, guests, invites

Here’s where they tell you to plan a party — big or small — to celebrate your successful completion of the cure. It’s supposed to be sometime in early February — right around when I’m to give birth. So our celebration will be me and Mister Mister watching Lifetime Move Network on the couch, possibly with a baby to help us celebrate. Or maybe even a hospital stay.

Day 8: Weekend chores: flowers, kitchen cleaning, and make yourself a meal

OK, so I skipped the flowers again this week.

But the kitchen-cleaning! That was the only cleaning goal I allowed myself for this weekend (I came home Friday to find that Mister Mister had done our floors, so yay!). After downing an entire curry platter at my favorite British pub on Saturday afternoon — naan, rice, delicious tikha masala sauce — I found myself with a slightly elevated blood sugar, so I had to work it off. I put on some classic rock and tackled the kitchen.

Over the next two hours, I cleaned the countertops, the inside and outside of every surface (including the utensil caddy), drawers and cabinets that needed it, the top of the fridge, the inside of the microwave, the sinks, and the floor. I ran the dishwasher and tossed out old food. The only thing I didn’t do was the fridge, because it was manageable and, honestly, I was exhausted and in some pain and needed a nap.


The pantry area in particular had been on my master list of projects, with food spilling out onto the counter between the upper and lower food cabinets, and just tons of disorganization.

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And now?

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So much better, easier to find and access things, and even a better home for the baking pans, which were previously tucked away in the top shelf of the bottom food cabinet, leaving it almost impossible to retrieve them (which we frequently had to).

I moved some things over to the “baking” cabinet, and cleaned that one out too so it’s more manageable. And the “tea and coffee” cabinet got a small overhaul and breathes much easier.

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I used some of the glass jars I’d accumulated to store rice, flour, etc. so that I don’t feel like I’m just hoarding those things.

The junk drawer was previously stuffed full of paperwork, most of which we didn’t need, the rest of which has been relocated to the office. I threw a bunch of stuff out and moved the rest to the tool box.

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Our bakeware cabinet could still use some work, but I want to buy some hardware for that so everything is easier to access, so I left it alone for now.

Everything sparkles! And I find myself making an extra effort to keep things clean as I go, now. I even cleaned out the little crumb-catcher trays at the bottom of the toaster.

As for our meal? I made Scalini’s famous baby-inducing eggplant parmigiana — the legend goes that the nearly 300 woman who have ordered this meal from the Cobb County, GA Italian restaurant have given birth within the past 48 hours. Mister Mister was a little miffed that I would want the baby to come ALREADY, seeing as how I’m only 37 weeks, but it’s all in fun. Do I actually believe that eggplant parmigiana will cause me to pop a baby out before my body — and the baby — is ready? No. Did I want some delicious eggplant parmigiana? Yes. I won on that last count. It was also fairly timely because we’d had had some signs of progress that had us on high-alert baby watch this weekend.

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January Cure: A Plan for the Month (and Some Failures)

So I talked about how I’m (probably foolishly) participating in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. And even if I don’t accomplish everything everyday, it makes me feel better trying to get there, because I love making lists and goals almost as much as I love ignoring and breaking them.

Day 2: Set up your outbox

This is supposed to be an area of your house that is allowed to get messy, that will serve as a resting place for items you’re undecided on. They’re to spend one week there before you either keep them, repurpose them, toss them, sell them, or donate them.

This was easy: Our office is our outbox. Thing is, the things have been there longer than a week, even though it’s already been decided that they’re destined for Goodwill.

Days 3-5: Weekend chores — flowers, floors, green cleaners & outbox

Buy fresh flowers for the house, buy and use green cleaners, deep clean your floors, and put something in your outbox. Total fail here: No flowers, no cleaning, no cleaner purchase, no item in outbox.

Day 4: Get a fresh perspective in just 10 minutes.

You’re supposed to sit in a “problematic” area of your house for at least 10 minutes and reflect on it. Well… I didn’t, but I know that the master bedroom is the most problematic for me.

Day 5: Select one project from your list to complete this month.

The criteria are:

  • Can be completed this month, in a few hours.
  • Will make a noticeable difference in either how you use your home, how something works, or how things work.
  • A project you’ll be proud to share.

That project? The master bedroom closet. Including shopping, it shouldn’t take more than two or three hours, it will make our closet way more functional and easy to look at, and I’m super excited to show you the finished result.

It’s a shoe-in (pun totally intended) because its current state, a mere nine months after moving in, is depressing.

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Shoes on the floor…

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purses piled haphazardly…

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clothes all over that I never wear/can’t fit into/don’t even like.

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And don’t even get me started on Mister Mister’s half of the closet.

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So I did some quick brainstorming and made a Pinterest board of supplies that can help me with this project. Because a project isn’t a  project without some shopping.

The supplies

basket ladder

I saw this idea on Houzz to use hanging metal baskets to organize clutches, scarves, and other small closet items — so I found this beauty on The Container Store – the Silver Mesh Basket Ladder. This will work well on the inside strip of wall next to the closet door.


Three of these nice, cheap oil-rubbed bronze hooks for the wall to the right of the closet door, for hanging my purses.

over the door hook

Two of these over-the-door hooks — one for each closet door — for hanging robes, hats, bras, and other items that usually just end up on a doorknob or (more typically) the floor.


I had this awesome idea to repurpose a bookcase from our old house into our closet and use it for shoes. But the shelves are too widely spaced to really function well as a shoe rack (it leaves too much blank space that could be used for storing shoes), and we lost a peg for the middle shelf so it will fall straight off if you remove the wrong pair of shoes. It’s just not functional and takes up too much space. And it obviously doesn’t work bceause we still have shoes piled everywhere Three of these shoe organizers will work much better and take up less space.

pant rack

Since I’m getting rid of the bookshelf, I’ll need a better place to store jeans and pants (and not the upper shelf, which I’ve already determined isn’t the best location for pieces I access often. I’m short). This swinging-arm pant rack (which comes in a two-pack) should work nicely.

toteHot, right? OK, so the Rubbermaid Roughneck Storage Tote isn’t the most attractive thing in the world, but we’ll need a place to put sweaters and other items that may transition back into the wardrobe — or out of our house.

belt hangerI’m not totally sure we need this horizontal tie and belt hanger, but I’m leaning toward yes, because the current belt rack isn’t super functional. I think this would work much better.

And the best part is, if we hold off on the basket ladder, we can do this whole thing for under $100.

If you could pick one project in your house to tackle this month, what would it be?

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January Cure: No Cowbell, Just Overachievement

What do normal women do when they’re nine months pregnant and so uncomfortable they cry and complain anytime they have to move even two steps, and get short-winded and sweaty and dizzy just cooking a simple dinner? If you answered “Take on a 30-day challenge to organize their home and home-related projects,” then you are wrong — but it’s apparently totally what I do.

Apartment Therapy has brought back their January Cure this year, and I obviously thought, “Hey! Perfect timing!” And let me explain: It’s because I’m nesting.

I’ve made several goals this year — take a photo every day, read 52 books, journal every night, read a meditation every morning — and really, though Mister Mister thinks I’m fairly insane on all counts, here’s my retort:

  1. It doesn’t have to be a good photo.
  2. If I only read 50 books, or 40, or 30, or 20, or 10, it’s still more than I read last year. I just want to read more (and I was doing great until I chose the 608-page tome about THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF cancer, “The Emperor of All Maladies” as my second book of the year).
  3. I bought the “One Line a Day” five-year journal and that TOTALLY COUNTS.
  4. I have no retort on the meditation, because I haven’t cracked open my meditation book at all, despite putting it on my nightstand and planning to read each day’s entry instead of going back to sleep when I hit snooze.

And my justification for participating in the January Cure at this point in time? If I accomplish even a fraction of what it wants me to do, I’m considering myself successful.

Which also rolls into my everyday resolution, which is to be easier on myself.

We’re 10 days into the cure (which started on Jan. 2), so what have I done so far?

Day 1: Make a list of projects

All you had to do was make a list of things that bug you about each room in your house. Then, highlight no more than three to four projects per room — the ones that will make the BIGGEST difference in the look and feel of that room. These are not projects to complete this month, but rather a rough to-do list for the year.

I love a good list, so here’s mine. I took all these before pictures with no regard for lighting, styling, or good blog photography in general. Partly because I was lazy, partly because what’s a before if you can’t see all the ugliness in all its glory, and partly so my afters will look super awesome.

  • Choose new exterior house color and get it repainted. Right now, it’s a gross, repainted-but-still-peeling peach color with pink underneath, and I’m dreaming of a stony dark greige.


  • Make a plan for landscaping front and back yards. When we first moved in, I’d contacted a landscaping consultant who could look at our property and suggest plants and a plan for about $75/hour. We may not get to finished this year, but I’d like to at least start, because our property is currently 100% bare.
  • Repaint front door. This will likely be part of 1.
  • Spruce up living room wall with TV on it. We need more artwork on this wall. It’s just pathetic.

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  • Buy new white or decorative outlet and light switch covers for the living room. Right now they’re beige, and that’s gross.
  • Buy side table and lamp for other side of couch. I may revise this because I’m thinking instead of doing a wall-mounted mail station/landing strip on the area where the current side table is, in which case I’d just move the current side table/lamp to the other side of the couch.

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Wall-mounted mail station/hooks/umbrella stand here?

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Or a new side table/table lamp for this side (where the floor lamp currently is)?

Dream “entryway” mailstation/landing strip:

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  • Buy new lampshade and/or lamp. I’m fairly tired of the lamp, but the lampshade is dingy and hairy and just pretty gross, so at the least, we need a new one.
  • Patch up paint on ceiling and baseboards. We painted this room ourselves. Enough said. I have the paint, I just need the time/energy.
  • Fix loose kitchen faucet. This drives us nuts. It was not grouted to the counter so it swings in its socket every time we move it from basin to basin, or even turn it on. We need somebody with skills to look at this because of the way the underside is set up, and our minimal home knowledge. We fiddle with it and get nowhere. We’re pathetic; this I know.
  • Cut down and refasten loose base piece transitioning between kitchen and dining room floors. It needs to be cut down a tad with a jigsaw to fit flush with the other pieces, and then just glued back down. The previous owners did a really crappy job on the remodel when it came to finish work.
  • Organize pantry. Right now we’ve got food items spilling out onto the countertop — we have no proper cabinet, just an upper and a lower. So we need to toss/donate food and figure out a better way to have our food stored. If counter storage is a must, we need some nice containers or shelving or something.

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  • Fix peeling paint in reading room. I put an exercise ball up against a not-yet-dry wall. I just need to patch it up.
  • Find home for artwork building up on side of couch in reading room.

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  • Buy end table for reading room.
  • Buy lamp for reading room.
  • Buy and install ceiling fan. There’s no AC vent in this room, so it gets pretty stuffy in there.
  • Purchase and install shelving in garage. This can just be cheap, freestanding shelves from IKEA for now. We just need to get a bunch of stuff up off the floor.
  • Replace hallway light fixture. 

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minaret pendant

Perhaps with something like this?

  • Spruce up office walls. This is probably where most of that artwork from the reading room will go.
  • Find a better solution for the cat litterbox. Like this. So he doesn’t track litter EVERYFRIGGINWHERE.
  • Donate Goodwill items building up in office. This room’s our “outbox” so this is an ongoing goal.
  • Paint un-painted patch of wall in master bedroom. We painted this room ourselves, too, and I obviously got lazy.

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  • Patch up dripped paint on floors/baseboards in master bedroom.
  • Organize/tidy up master bedroom closet. Hint: This is my January project.

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  • Buy bedframe. So our bed isn’t sitting on, you know, the floor.

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  • Buy and install new ceiling fan (since the current one has broken).
  • Get some more storage for master bathroom. It’s small, but all we have in there is a tiny under-the-sink space. It could use a valet or something.

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  • Throw out gross bath mat in hall bathroom. Easy enough. Yet still not done.

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A Room Fit for a Prince: The Finished Nursery

I met my main goal of having the nursery pretty much complete by 30 weeks — the furniture was put together, the artwork was hung, and most of the decorative items were in place. But it took me until just this weekend — 35 weeks — to get the sheets and changing pad covers washed, enough books purchased (secondhand) to satisfy my own book-worminess and innate need to decorate with books, and the finishing touches made.

It’s my very favorite room in the house. I’ve spent the most time and effort on it, and I’m so proud. And while I know that Bean won’t know a darn thing that’s going on, but it makes me feel so good that we’ve created a safe and personal space for him to spend his earliest years.

My goals were to create a baseball-themed nursery that was youthful and boyish without being babyish, or without looking like something my superfan husband was using as a storage space for his memorabilia. I think I accomplished that — do you?

IMG_3057 copyIn the end, I think we ended up with a nice vintage feel between the woods and finishes used and the sophisticated color scheme. The gray walls represent the Yankees’ away uniforms while the blue and white are their team colors.

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The crib sheet pattern? “Sports Stars”

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A dear friend made this for us and gifted it to us at the baby shower. She also gave me a personalized coffee mug — she’s so crafty! I’m hoarding it for when I can drink coffee again.

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We had to have some Yankees decor touches, so we opted for subtle ones like these instead of full-sized Derek Jeter posters (like we would have if my husband had decorated the nursery…). I loved how the stained glass carried the vintage feel forward.

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With our baby monitor needing 3 or fewer feet between it and the baby, and me needing a place to set water glasses, my laptop, etc. while nursing in the glider, I randomly picked up that antique refinished nightstand at a local shop last week.

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Everybody needs a great wall decal.

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This glider is just about the most comfortable thing in the universe.

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And this little vintage-y pillow made by Etsy seller Mon Mell Designs (see end of post for link to their shop) brought in some red for a patriotic accent to a blue-and-white room, as a nod to the Americana of baseball.

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This is the piece, from ABC MVPs that started the baseball nursery craze. They have tons of teams (see end of post for link to their shop).

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I think the bookcase is my favorite part of the whole room.

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Mister Mister picked out the Yankees bobbleheads; we went with the more kid-ish ones, with a couple of retro pieces for the vintage touch. I love bobbleheads in a kid’s room!

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This mini baseball bat was a gift from a friend. The baseballs are from Mister Mister’s collection — the one on the right signed by his favorite player, Paul O’Neill, and the one on the left caught at a game. I love that there’s a piece of Mister Mister in Bean’s room.

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More prints from Etsy… seriously obsessed. I loved how graphic these are. We have another one — “Glove” in blue — that didn’t fit, hiding out in the closet, that we’ll swap out from time to time.

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The canvas crates from Land of Nod hold toys, blankets, burp cloths, breastfeeding supplies, and other odds and ends. Those bears in the second cubby from the right were both gifts from Mister Mister as part of floral arrangements he’s had delivered to me over the years. I love having a piece of us in here!

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We picked up this cute piggy bank at Buy Buy Baby when we bought our glider — it plays “Take Me out to the Ballgame” when you drop a coin in it! All our books were purchased secondhand at Goodwill or through Better World Books online.

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I couldn’t resist this vintage tin top from Etsy. Yes, I was trying to avoid baseball-playing bears as a rule, but old-timey toys are the tops (pun intended).

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That wall decal looks so cool in person — it’s so detailed and wasn’t at all difficult to put up despite all the little pieces.

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A total splurge from Pottery Barn Kids, but well worth it. 

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I DIY’ed the baseball mobile — about the only thing I had the time, energy and creativity to DIY — and love how it turned out! That shark bag in the background is a gift from one of my best friends, for Bean’s first trick-or-treating session. And behind that is our diaper bag 🙂

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I love how soft and playful these muslin swaddle blankets from Aden + Anais are.

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We’re kind of obsessed with books around here. That “Andy Warhol’s Colors” book in the bottom right was the first thing we bought for Bean, while I was in my first trimester, during a visit to the local fine arts museum. The book to the left of it — “All the Ways I Love You” — was a birthday present from Mister Mister.

Source list

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Holiday Gift Guide: Picks for the Brand-New or Soon-to-Be Mama In Your Life

Now, I’m no mom yet, but when my husband asked me to make a wish list of Christmas gifts for him to go off of, you could certainly tell what was foremost on my mind. Being due in February, my main concerns are upcoming comfort and style, along with personal items like jewelry and beauty products — with a mom-ly twist.

Based off my own wish list, then — and with the caveat that a lot of my reasoning is based on “I’ve heard” and “I think” — here is a gift guide for the brand-new or soon-to-be mama.

1 jewelry

1. Your Name Here Silk Necklace ($400 14K gold, $80 gold fill or sterling silver, COATT). I still think this is the most ingenious and stylish piece of “my kid’s name” jewelry — way better than any birthstone or silhouette concept. I’m too superstitious to ask for this before I even have the baby, but I would love to own it at some point — in fact, a certain somebody has a birthday coming up in August (*hint*hint*wink*wink*).

2. Vintage Kaleidoscope Locket ($65, Etsy). I love lockets. I don’t even put anything in them, but I love the idea of a piece of jewelry you put sentimental stuff in, and a locket necklace is especially sweet, with a visual memento close to your heart. This is a really stylin’ locket that would make any new mama look totally hip, even when she pops it open to show you a picture of the dreaded drooling babe. Bonus: a shiny toy to distract babe when upset/fussy/etc.

3. Kate Spade New York “Idiom” Ultra Thin Bangle ($32, Nordstrom). This is a really sweet way to get the new or to-be mama in your life a one-of-a-kind piece engraved with her child’s name or a simple phrase to remind her of all she means to you. It’s especially sweet that whatever you choose to engrave it hidden against her wrist, known only to you and her — and whomever she chooses to show.

4. Timex Weekender Strap watch ($53, Timex). I never wear watches, but I’ve been on a watches kick lately. I’ve been pinning awesome watches left and right — perhaps because the mama-to-be in me knows that there will soon enough be plenty of appointments and more reason to keep time than “I need to meet a friend at Starbucks in 15”? My hands won’t always be so free as to reach for my iPhone when needing to check a clock.

5. Enamel Locket ($90, Alder & Co.). Another amazing locket piece that is so simple and so chic.

2 beauty and fashion

6. Bobbi Brown Beach Body Oil ($30, Bloomingdale’s). All I want to do is pamper myself, and after giving birth to another human being, I’ll totally deserve it. All I hear about is the postpartum period where all of a sudden you smell like blood and pee (yours and another person’s) and milk and spit up and your body odor changes and you barely have time to shower. Wouldn’t this be wonderful to slather all over after a quickie shower to make her feel totally special and pretty?

7. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42, I am one of those chicks who can’t leave the house without makeup. It’s not that I’m vain (OK, I guess it is that I am), but I have had bad acne since I was 13, and so I’m a little sensitive about my breakouts and red marks. While my routine isn’t exactly in-depth — just some mineral foundation and powder, blush, mascara, and lipstick — I have the feeling there will be even less time for it soon. A beauty balm like this would be amazing and cut things into fractions.

8. Motherlove Sitz Bath ($14.25, I love the idea of a postpartum kit for new mamas, a little basket of items they can use to make themselves feel so much better. Made from organic ingredients like sea salt, witch hazel herb, and yarrow, this is formulated to soothe the perineum, slow bleeding, reduce swelling, and ease hemorrhoids. Plus, it has a zero rating on EWG’s skin deep database. Isn’t that so much nicer than Epsom salts?

9. Clinique “All About Eyes Serum” De-Puffing Eye Massage ($28, Nordstrom). OK, so you might not want to give this as a gift if it’s not specifically asked for (it’s sort of like saying, “You look like shit, here, take care of that… please.”) but it is such a thoughtful addition to the new mama’s beauty repertoire. Because as much as I have no plans to leave the house for some time after birth and think I really won’t care all that much about my appearance, we’ll have enough visitors that I wouldn’t kick a product like this out of my cosmetic bag.

10. Drawstring Jersey Pants ($34.95, GAP). Yeah, I want to live in pajamas for at least six weeks after giving birth… but lounge pants are at least classy enough that you’re not welcoming close friends and family in your ratty jammies. Plus, I’m awfully sick of the same two pajama bottoms that have fit me for the past six months.

11. New Mama Bottom Spray ($14.95, Earth Mama Angel Baby). I live by the Earth Mama Bottom Balm for certain prenatal… um… *conditions*, so it stands to reason that this blend of water, witch hazel, cucumber, kosher vegetable glycerin, and lavender and peppermint oil will be just the thing a new mama needs to soothe herself without feeling like she smells like a pharmacy.

12. Maddox Zip Clutch ($75, Fossil). This isn’t really baby-related, true, but I really need a new wallet and I love the pop of color and mod design of this one. OK, maybe I can make it baby related — I need a bigger wallet to show off all those pictures of Bean when he comes. (Do people even carry pictures in their wallet anymore? Oh, well — I’m going with it).

13. Medela Sleep Bra (from $14, I’m planning on breastfeeding, and if the experience of others is any indication, I’m going to be quite large and sore in just a short handful of weeks. These sleep bras come highly rated and would be the perfect little piece of soft sleepwear for that soon-to-be mommy.

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14. Handpainted Still Life Monogram ($48, Anthropologie). I’m always on the lookout for fun design pieces for the home, and I love how versatile these are. You could buy just the new baby’s initial, or spell out their name, or spell words like “Love” or “Home” — anything that might strike the new mama’s heart.

15. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Standard AutoFocus Lens ($104.99, Known as the “nifty fifty,” this is a great, cheap little lens for taking indoor shots — like, oh, of a newborn baby? Since I just bought a Canon T2i a few months ago, I would love something like this to add to my camera bag — especially since we opted not to purchase a newborn photo session.

16. Felix Weekender Duffle ($137, Deux Luxe). How amazing would the mama-to-be in your life feel waltzing into the hospital with a bag like this to hold all her daily essentials? Birth is gonna be a big ol’ deal, and I would love to add a little sparkle to my stay.

17. The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest ($21.47, Along with a plethora of movies and television shows, I myself would love something to read — but who will have time with a new baby? Something like this that’s more visual and easy to digest might be just the thing that the literary mama in your life needs to distract her from the trials of early childhood.

18. Nursing Shawl (42, Seraphine). Most nursing coverups, to me, scream “I’m nursing under here.” And while it’s really not that big of a deal, I love something a little more sophisticated and soft like this bamboo/viscose blend. It can be used six ways — as a nursing shawl, a poncho, a scarf, a cape, a wrap, or a swaddling blanket — which makes it a huge bang for your buck.


19. One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book ($11.53, I love journals, especially as gifts, and something like this is just perfect for the new mama with no time to jot down all of her thoughts. I adore the idea of taking down just one line a day and then being able to look back five whole years at how things have changed.

20. San Ysidro Hobo diaper bag ($299, Danzo). Diaper bags are either really crappy looking, or super expensive. I’ve found maybe one affordable one that I would be able to stand carrying around (I’m a snob, I know). This one totally would break my bank, but it’s so incredibly gorgeous. All of Danzo’s bags are amazing, but I love the lines and color of this one in particular. And since I don’t plan on carrying a purse in addition to a diaper bag, I need all my style in one.

21. World Map art print ($56, Famille Summerbelle). As different decor items catch my eye lately, I find myself thinking about how they tie in with a new little human. This beautiful print is great for adults and children, looking so modern but imparting plenty of education. It would look great in a living room and playroom alike.

22. Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Washable Plaid Blanket ($118, Amazon). The baby’s already got plenty of blankets — swaddling blankets, receiving blankets, handmade blankets, hand-me-down blankets. What about mama? As I cozy up on the couch with Bean or cat nap while he naps (hopefully), a cozy Pendleton blanket is just the thing I’ll need to make me feel safe and warm — even if only for 5 minutes at a time.


23. Luxury Plus Slippers ($32, Restoration Hardware). I love slippers, and I have none. We have two pets and I never get around to cleaning more frequently than once a week, so I always get dust and dirt on the bottom of my feet when walking around, which makes me feel gross (our house isn’t that dirty, but come on, we don’t have a maid or anything). I caught word that these are the most wonderful slippers around, and am now totally lusting after a pair to take me throw those postpartum days.

24. Kimono Style Robe ($65, Plum Pretty Sugar). Who doesn’t appreciate a pretty robe to lift the spirits? Again, since I’ll likely be living in pajamas and loungewear for an indeterminate amount of time come February, a beautiful robe from Plum Pretty Sugar totally fits the bill for helping me feel comfy but put together enough for company.

25. Tieks ($165, Tieks). The next best thing to slippers, these super-comfy flats are great for all occasions, from lounging around the house to grabbing the mail to taking a walk around the park with the new little one. They’re even great for those late third trimester days when nothing but flip flops fit (seriously, I had to buy a new pair of pumps for my baby shower just because none of my shoes fit, so I’m hoping this new size my feet have arrived at is a permanent deal, because even though the pumps were a $30 Target deal, I’d hate to have spent that money just for a few swollen weeks here at the end).

26. Lace-Waist Hiphugger Panty ($10.50, Victoria’s Secret). OK, here’s the deal: None of my underwear truly fits. I can make most of it work, but it’s just basically covering the barest of essentials. These are so pretty, don’t slip, and in cotton, are basic enough to comfily hug even the sorest of lady bits. Once the new mama in your life can transition from granny panties, a bagful of these would be much appreciated.

27. Netflix subscription (from $4.99/month, OK, this wasn’t on my wish list because I already have Netflix, but you can bet your sweet bippy that I’ve saved pretty much every TV show known to man, from Cheers to Felicity to LOST, for viewing pleasure during those initial weeks of nonstop nursing and sleeplessness.

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Nursery Nesting

Since I’m an overachiever who’s made it my goal to set up the nursery by 30 weeks pregnant (which would be late November — or, yeah, pretty much Thanksgiving), I’ve been pushing myself — and my husband — to get furniture set up, artwork hung, and finishing touches put on.

We’ve purchased everything we need decor-wise, with the exception of the bobbleheads and the light switch plate (which I really just need to go ahead and order from Wal-Mart since it’s the only place I’ve found it in stock), so now it’s just a matter of putting together the rest of the furniture, and then finish up all the fun decorative stuff. Because it’s kind of hard to hang artwork and put up wall decals when you only have the roughest sense of how big the furniture under and around it will be.

Oh, and there’s that DIY mobile I’ve decided to make. At least I have all the supplies now, thanks to a craft store trip on Sunday afternoon.

But the thrilling thing is that it’s actually starting to look like a nice, pulled-together room. I just might make our deadline yet.

Want to take a peek?

















(That last photo was taken at night, hence the odd discoloration.)

Then there’s the ever-expanding to-do list outside of the nursery, like:

  • Choose daycare Done, scheduled, deposit paid.
  • Finalize maternity leave details — I have 6 weeks paid short-term disability and received 8 weeks of paid maternity leave as a raise, so I need to somehow reconcile how that will work and whether that means they’re giving me 14 weeks, or still 12 weeks as discussed.
  • Figure out how short-term disability works — when do I file the claim? How? And more importantly, when does the chunk of money come?
  • Find out how much it will cost to put the baby on Mister Mister’s health insurance. I currently pay $0 for my health insurance. To add the baby, it would cost $170 per paycheck. We’re hoping it’s cheaper at Mister Mister’s job.
  • Tour the hospital — this is scheduled for November.
  • Register for childbirth classes — also scheduled for November.
  • Make freezer meals for after birth — because cooking will not sound good for quite some time.

And the non-baby-related list of to-do items that has somehow become baby-related, like:

  • Buy a real bed that isn’t sitting on the floor like a dorm room I’ve decided not to worry about this for now.
  • Please, God find some front porch and/or patio furniture from Craigslist, please. Done!

Isn’t being pregnant a miracle? And I don’t even think I’m even technically nesting yet.

P.S. I’m planning on doing a full nursery source list once everything is totally complete and I have better pictures for you, but if you really must know where something is from, just leave me a comment!

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Friday Five: Realigned Spines and Breathtaking Art Installations

The realigned spine was mine — well, sort of. This kid of mine had better be cute, because he’s caused my left pelvic joint and lower vertebrae to go all out of whack and actually twist outward. Which explains much of the screeching pain of the past few weeks. My boss gave me the number to her chiropractor, and while I was kind of scared of those kinds of doctors (chalk it up to bad associations with a whole group of people who visited chiropractors for EVERYTHING, and were otherwise nutty), she has already helped me so much. I still have pain — I’ve only had one visit — but it’s so much more manageable. I actually got up in the middle of the night to pee last night and didn’t fall into bed sobbing because I couldn’t rearrange myself into a pile of pillows without feeling like my hip was dislocating.

And to celebrate my new path to pain-free…

1. This free, customizable, printable Owl Lover 2013 calendar


Free? Owls? Yeah, pretty awesome. Brought to you by My Owl Barn, this project allows you to select 12 of your favorite images from among 40 artists — people like Jo James, Flora Chang, and Oana Befort — and the associated months, and create your own free printable owl calendar. Um, awesome.

Image by Ellen Giggenbach, via My Owl Barn.

2. This film-inspired cartography project


British design studio Dorothy has put together this amazing Los Angeles film map made up of more than 900 film titles. Check out such landmarks as Lost Highway, Jurassic Park, Carlito’s Way, and Valley of the Dolls — all built on a design loosely based off the style of a vintage Los Angeles street map. It even has special districts dedicated to Hitchcock and cult British horror movies, it’s own Red Light district, and an A-Z key at the bottom of the map listing all the films featured in the map along with their release dates and names of the directors. This would be an amazing gift for a film buff you love. I might buy this myself just because it’s amazing!

Image via Dorothy

3. This breathtaking art installation


Just the pictures alone of the Whitney’s Yayoi Kusama installation Fireflies on the Water took my breath away. I can’t even imagine what this would be like in person. An experiment with infinite space, “These are rooms lined with wall-to-wall mirrors and a shallow pool of water covering the floor, with a single narrow platform that juts into the center of the room. Hundreds of LED lights dangle from overhead, multiplying thousands upon thousands in the infinite reflections that bounce back from the walls,” writes Anthology Magazine. Magical.

Image via Anthology Magazine

4. This window nook makeover


Lora Neveu took an awkward window nook in her daughter’s bedroom and transformed it into a gorgeous reading nook. There’s something about window seats that’s so amazing, especially to a little girl. I dream of a space like this where I can curl up and drift in and out of sleep. The paper lanterns clustered at the ceiling and the curtains make for a totally other worldy experience.

Image by Lora Neveu via Design*Sponge

5. This typographical timeline of Sony Music’s history



Created by designer Alex Fowkes, this installation in Sony Music’s London headquarters features 1,000 artists from the major label and its affiliates, from the Columbia Phonograph Company in 1887 to modern-day artists. This is exactly my kind of thing, since I love music and typography and totally ridiculously large-scale art.

Image via Creative Review

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Friday Five: What’s With All the Fat Jokes?

Four weeks ago, after I told an older man my due date (almost five months from then), his eyes bugged out and he asked me if I was having twins.

Yesterday, with three-and-a-half months to go, a coworker told me that I was about ready to burst at any minute.

And Mister Mister doesn’t understand why any of these things bother me.

Onto happier things…

1. This DIY $18 Console Table Tutorial

This is one fetching DIY $18 table. Crafted by the blogger behind Desert Domicile, it just required about $8 worth of wood and a slab of utility shelf (plus on-hand stain, paint, nails/screws, and other tools, so mileage may vary). I love this, and will file it away in my “why I should be craftier” mental bank.

Image via Desert Domicile

2. This vintage rug 

Sold by the Nazmiyal Collection, this rug is from around 1900 — and it is GORGEOUS.

Image via the Nazmiyal Collection

3. This striped entryway

Designed by Design Manifest for a client, this foyer… I mean… stripes, ethnic rug, Malachite box, horsey lamps… and THAT MIRROR. Love.

Image by Courtney Apple Photography via Design Manifest

4. This print

This Matte Stephens print is all my favorite things bundled into one: City prints, midcentury modern design, muted colors… and, naturally, Chicago.

Image via Matte Stephens

5. This art wall

I have a thing for art walls. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. We may have one too many in our own home. But this one has everything I love in a room — classic chairs, rustic table, exotic rug, and tons of unique art.

Image from Elle Decor via From the Right Bank

Apologies for the brevity — I have a rip-roaring headache and an hour and 15 minutes left of work. All I want to do is go home, down my spaghettini and meatballs from last night, and watch Gossip Girl on Netflix until I pass out in a nest of pillows.

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