Linnea vs. Shiloh

I went to a dear friend's baby shower this past weekend and LJ had to accompany me since Cody had to work (on a Saturday. Bleh). While there, LJ got her first celebrity look-alike comment: Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. So I looked her up and I couldn't resist:

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Kinda weird.

I don't know… here I thought she was just the spitting image of her dad… who is apparently the new Brad Pitt look-alike! Only without the wife-cheating and seventeen out-of-wedlock children.

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You Are My Sunshine- my first giveaway!

{UPDATE}

We have a winner! I was away from my computer yesterday, so my apologies for not announcing sooner. But many congrats to comment #1- Julie! Julie said:

"I'm
LOVING the Beach Street Lamp – SO cute! But then again, all her designs
are awesome and unique! Thanks for doing a giveaway!!! Keep doing what
you're doing – both of you! 😉 I tweeted, facebooked and now I'm tired.
– xoxo Julie"

I will contact you and connect you with Sam so you can customize and claim your prize!

Thanks to everyone who participated and I can't wait to share my next giveaway with you!

{Winner chosen using the Random Integer Generator at random.org.}

~~~

I'm so excited to share my first giveaway with you, courtesy of a sweet new decal design company called 3rd Ave. Shore. I'd like to to meet my new friend, Sam:

Sam 

Sam and I share a couple of mutual friends, and while I was surfing Facebook one day I came across her profile, totally intrigued by (and jealous of! Ha!) this Arizona native's new Hawaiian life. I saw that she had started a fun new business and loved her Hawaiian-inspired designs. I get so excited when I see someone follow what they love and turn it into a business, and I love to help get the word out when I can! So as soon as I saw her "Sunshine" decal, I knew that I had to connect with her! That is still one of my favorite lullabies and I have fond childhood memories of its melody, and I sing it to LJ all the time. Turns out that Sam's inspiration for this decal comes from her own childhood memories of her dad singing it to her when she was a wee one. We both agree that it is a song that brings so much joy- and it is the perfect addition to a room for someone you love!

I just put this lovely up in LJ's room and I love it! It's right
above her crib- we took down the tree mobile and replaced it with this.
It was easy to install and leaves no mess!

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There's my little sunshine modeling in her crib. As if I was going to post anything without her mug in a shot or two.

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When I received my decal, there was a sweet little surprise in there: a Personalized Paisley initial with a Plumeria! It inspired me to decorate LJ's bathroom with beach decor and I plan to put this in a frame and hang on the wall. That's a work in progress, but here it is so you can see what to expect when you order:

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And a detail of the Plumeria:

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I LOVE PLUMERIAS.

3rd Ave. Shore is a company that strives to be original and unique. One of the most striking things about Sam is that she is so genuine and kind and that reflects in her designs as well as in her business practice! She is very intentional about staying true to her passion and not conforming to what everyone else is doing- or what everyone would expect of a shop like hers. Charming, inspirational quotes and hand-drawn designs are among the many offerings at her Etsy shop. The possibilities are endless and you can't help but feel the aloha when you surf through her shop! Be sure to visit and show her some love!

That being said, ABOUT THAT GIVEAWAY.

We want to share the sunshine with you!

Sam will send our winner the Sunshine decal in his or her choice of colors- a $65 value!

So… how do you win?

You have three opportunities to enter:

1. Visit her Etsy shop and comment back with your favorite item. Also, share your favorite lullaby just for kicks! (No, saying "You Are My Sunshine" will NOT up your chances of winning… ha!)

2. Tweet about this giveaway using my Twitter handle, @babystepstomom, and link back to this post. Comment here saying that you tweeted.

3. Like 3rd Ave. Shore on Facebook and come back and comment to let me know!

Got it? Three separate comments, three separate entries!

Contest will close on Wednesday, August 25th at midnight. Any entries received after this time will not be considered. Open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be posted on Thursday, August 26th!

In case you were dying to know what my next purchase will be: This lovely here in gray with a yellow plumeria for above our bed- perfect to reminisce about our honeymoon in Kauai! I also love the bike decal… and the Paisley Chair… and, and, and… I could seriously go on all day so I'll stop for now 🙂

Thank you, Sam, for sharing your talent with my readers! 

{Interested in having Baby Steps to Mom host a giveaway? Click the "Email me" link at the top of the page- right above my Bird Calls- and let me know!}

Mommy’s solo day out.

Ahhh… yes. The loner in me got to breathe a big sigh of relief on Monday when I got my very first "Mommy's solo day out." OMG… how I needed that. My mom and dad were kind enough to take LJ off my hands for the day so I could go out and do… WHATEVER I WANTED. I've forgotten what that felt like! Here's what I did:

Visited Last Chance. What a madhouse. This article sums up the experience nicely. I got two rad pairs of shoes for a fraction of their original price- SCORE!

Went to Macy's where I fell in love with and purchased a new backpack that we will be using as a diaper bag. It's perfect! Waterproof, lightweight, and SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE. Is it back to school season or something? I wasn't super nuts about the pattern initially, but it quickly grew on me. It's by Le Sport Sac, and in my humble opinion, with all the cloth diapers we have to carry around, it works so much better for us than the Petunia Pickle Bottom bag I was eyeing earlier this week… even though I love that pattern with an everlasting love.

Backpack diaper bag

I enjoyed my new favorite treat, fresh mint frozen yogurt with thin mint cookies, at Mojo Yogurt at the Biltmore. I'm slightly obsessed with this combo and think I might die if they ever stop carrying that flavor.

I ended my day by going to see this all by my solo:

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And now… all I want to do is eat pizza and drink red wine. Therefore, to feed this craving, Cody and I will be visiting Pizzeria Bianco for the very first time like… right now. We will need a babysitter for this outing. Any takers?

Pizzeria Bianco

I kind of can't stand the thought of waiting another second to eat their world-famous pizza… heck, if I can't go to Naples for my pizza like Julia Roberts did, this is no doubt a close second!

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{Pizzeria Bianco photos via The Girl Who Ate Everything}

The hubby called and texted during the movie wondering where I was and I got back to him after the movie got out. He was in a tremendously good mood, considering the fact that I had been out having fun doing things like shopping and watching movies all day long while he was at work slaving away. Then I caught on that perhaps HE was enjoying his solo time too. And he was. So I took my time getting home so he could savor it while he could.

Needless to say, as much as I enjoyed my day, I couldn't wait to get back to this face and get home to her daddy.

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Paper jewelry, and also another reason I love my job.

As I'm gearing up to post my first giveaway EVER (so excited!), I wanted to share the spoils of our last giveaway over at the TomKat Studio. One VERY lucky winner walked away with a $100 credit for Blush Envy, where she sells amazing jewelry made out of paper.

You heard me right. PAPER. 

I didn't believe it when I read that she made her pieces from such a fragile textile, BUT THEN. I went over to Kim's house last week and got this lovely PINK surprise that I haven't been able to take off my finger since!

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Check out that packaging- gorgeous! Many thanks to Brandy for thinking of me when she sent the lovely goodies over to Kim!

Hop on over to her shop and show her some love by purchasing one of her handmade treasures! Or feel free to pick a fave and put it on your wish list. Wouldn't these rings make lovely bridesmaid's gifts or a fun gift for a mom-to-be to make her feel pretty? No doubt my dainty and timeless piece will be handed down to LJ when she's old enough to know not to put it in her mouth or play with it in the mud. In other words, she can wear it on her wedding day 🙂

Tea time with Hippo.

Earlier this week I got to visit with my dear friend from college, Iku, who lives in Japan and visits the states every couple of years. We went to La Grande Orange for breakfast where we spied the cutest little stuffed hippo! After we ate, LJ decided to be a fussy monkey, so I picked her up and walked her around the grocer to check out all the fun and original items they have for sale there. I picked up the hippo and made silly voices and she immediately started giggling, she loved it so much. Well, Iku, being as sweet as can be, observed this from our table, and when I went outside with LJ, Iku snatched up the hippo and sneakily bought it for her. She came out with it and was like, "I got this for the baby!" and it was just the sweetest thing!

Iku is such a joy to spend time with and I love that whenever she comes to town she always lets me know so we can get together and catch up. And she always brings me the yummiest Japanese candy! I last saw her two years ago right after Cody and I got married… and I was so happy she got to meet LJ while she's still a wee one. Here's a couple of photos of the two of them together:

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Yesterday, LJ had tea time with Hippo.

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IMG_1429 Cute…
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Simple living: What would you keep?

This morning there was a feature on the Today Show about a couple in Portland (with a very fun and interesting blog) who gave up all but 100 possessions, downsized to a 400 square foot apartment, and got rid of their car. See below:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Of course it got me thinking. We live in such a materialistic society… would we really be happier with less?

My husband has always said that he wants to live simply. And I love the idea, but to be honest, I also love stuff. How shallow am I? Ha! But for a while I have been wanting to clean house. So here's my top ten list of things that I absolutely would not give up if I were forced to get rid of everything else besides the bare essentials (which includes at least one car- we live in the most sprawling city in the country- not to mention the hottest!- so a car is a must- even more so with a baby!):

1. My iMac. I make my living by this thing- not to mention it houses all of our music and photographs!

2. My camera.

3. My sewing machine.

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4. My Amma's china set. She bought it one piece at a time while she was working hard and living in Iceland. Priceless!

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5. These two Bibles (yes, I'm cheating): the first I carried down the aisle on our wedding day. The second belonged to Mum Mum.

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6. The artwork that our friend Trish painted that was displayed at our wedding.

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7. My Hummell music box… it's beaten up and cracked and worth nothing to anyone but me, but I used to fall asleep to its music every night when I was a kid. It's now in LJ's room.

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8. This photo of Mum Mum and me.

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9. Henry. 

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10. This silhouette of Linnea:

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I'll tell you what, this exercise sure does make you realize how much crap is sitting around in your house that is completely ignored and also makes you realize that perhaps you don't need all this stuff after all. But then again, even though we could get rid of so many things and never miss them, it's hard to imagine a virtually empty house… my head might explode. Is that wrong? Maybe we need a smaller house so it will feel more full with only the things we need… hmmm… I don't know. Either way, I prefer to live in a home that has character because of its decor. Do I need the decor? Nope. But because it's something I personally love- to be surrounded by beauty- it's meaningful enough to me to warrant staying in my home. Cody and I also love entertaining- so that requires a fair amount of kitchen ware and enough place settings for everyone. It's all a matter of what your priorities are- and that's different for everyone.

It's the things sitting in my closet that I haven't seen in ages that I question. And lots of other things.

Stuff isn't what makes me happy ultimately… it isn't what makes anyone happy. My family and friends and the experiences we share together are what bring me joy, and I'm sure you would say the same of your own. I think it's about time to start cleaning out our closets, organizing, and passing along the things we don't really need to others who would appreciate and have a need for them.

So what are your thoughts on this? What are some of the things you would never give up?

p.s. I think I would die without a car in Portland. Have you BEEN there? SO MUCH TO DO AND EXPLORE.