November 2, 2017

Kitchen Makeover (Before + After!)

If you’ve ever done a kitchen renovation before then you know how involved and lengthy that process can be. There are so many things to pick out (and research first if you are me) and since it can be one of the more expensive areas of a home to remodel, you really want to be sure that everything will look right so it’s a pretty nerve wracking project as well! When we moved in to our home over two years ago the kitchen felt dark and small with wood cabinets, black granite, dated tile and there was hardly any counter space or food storage built into the setup. We knew we wanted to lighten the colors and add larger counters but it was a bit of a slow process so we’ve lived with the space in many different stages as we did one thing at a time. Want to see what it looked like before?

As you can see it’s so much brighter overall even though we went with a darker floor. The light from that window can now bounce around the space instead of getting absorbed by the cabinets and countertop so it feels larger overall even though we added more cabinets opposite the sink for food storage.
I do a lot of faux plants on shelves (especially when they are up high) and in wall planters so I don’t have to worry about water dripping down the walls if I overfill them (that beautiful gold leg planter actually has a faux plant as well already in it!). Those gold wall planters are perfect for adding a little green next to a print or a wallhanging and they come in a few sizes as well for grouping. That cactus print is perfect for the space since it adds a pop of pink and green and stays in the “pastel California” vibe. I have a few watering cans spread throughout the house to remind me to water my plants but that brass one is probably my favorite.  Adding some open shelving gave me some more space to display my vintage glassware but also got it away from a lower shelf in the dining room where little baby hands will soon be able to get to. Not looking forward to that stage! Those shelves are from Hobby Lobby but this one is a similar look. We painted the original cabinets white and added really simple new cabinets to compliment the original pieces. We used the same brass pulls and knobs on both to help tie the two areas together as well.That pink pot is definitely my favorite piece of cookware—adorable! Gold looks so pretty against the white so I scatter gold planters around the kitchen wherever I can.
I wanted a light that had some personality without overwhelming the small space and this brass cluster chandelier is absolutely perfect for the job! I basically love everything in that shop and almost every light the in house is from them—so beautiful!
Those white dot planters are all over my house—I love them! A friend of mine had that brass faucet and it was so pretty and easy to use (the faucet pulls down into a sprayer) that it made choosing a new faucet super a snap! Like designing any room I think the little details really make a difference so I tried to find items like that brass paper towel holder to be consistent with the overall feel of the space. The countertop that we chose is Viscostone Venatino and I love that it looks like marble but it a lot less prone to staining and discoloration than the real thing. Marble is beautiful but can be a pain to live with, especially in a kitchen. I wanted some pretty seating for the counter area and those gold wire stools really pop against the white peninsula. The wire on the back of the stool can dig into your back a bit when you sit on them but a furry faux sheepskin draped over the chair looks cute and solves that problem all in one! I double love that this kitchen is now both beautiful and has the functionality we’ve been desperately missing through the renovation stages. It’s such a happy place to make coffee in the morning and cook dinner in at night and it blends seamlessly with the rest of the house now as well. I don’t want to do another kitchen renovation any time soon but I will say that this one was totally worth it!

xo. Laura

October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from my little mermaid and me!! It was so fun to make a mother/daughter costume this year (you can see the full tutorial over on A Beautiful Mess) and I can tell it will be more and more enjoyable as she gets old enough to be excited about them too!It’s a little colder than I would like tonight here in Nashville so we may be the only mermaids I know of to also wear furry coats, but we are going trick-or-treating with friends and it’s her first Halloween so I’m sure it will be fun too. We just wish Todd was in town for it but he gets back tomorrow so we are looking forward to that!!

xo. Laura

October 27, 2017

The Wheels On the (Tour) Bus Go Round + Round (Part 2)

Well, we did it! We made it through a second round of visiting Todd on tour! The thing that sucks about tour season so far is that it’s really not the easiest thing to go out and be on the road (especially for me since I sleep with her and all the nursing, etc.) but it’s also really hard in different ways to be home alone without Todd. Totally one of those situations when the grass always seems greener in whichever scenario you aren’t in at that moment…

Anyways, we got to explore the east coast with Lola last trip and this time we headed out to the west coast for a desert and California adventure! The tour rolled around to Nashville to play at the Ryman and so we got to have Todd home for the day and hang out a bit around the house. I had a short list of chores I really couldn’t do alone so I saved them all for that afternoon! As you can see, they had a little music lesson as well…At that point, halfway through the tour, I still hadn’t seen much of the show because Lola usually goes to bed before they start, but that night I decided to let her sleep in her baby carrier (still my favorite one to use by the way) and watch as much as I could. She “slept like a baby” for about an hour with her baby earmuff protectors and then woke up and enjoyed the light show for a bit before I took her to her bunk for the night. At least I got to see half the show!
Todd always tries to find botanical gardens whenever he can so we did a lot of walking to parks or Ubering to cool outdoor spots when they were nearby.
We weren’t quite close enough to downtown New Orleans on our day off to go in for the day, but there was a salt water hotel pool (Lola loves being in water) and a Cafe Du Monde nearby so I was pumped! I’ve heard so many good things about their beignets and coffee and they. are. all. TRUE! We got a second order because I couldn’t get enough! Next stop was Austin City Limits festival! Probably one of the harder days for me being at a super hot outdoor festival with a teething five month old, but all in all, Lola did so well with all the noise and crowds and even made it into one of the Mutemath interviews by accident. I ran to the bathroom and I guess they had to start the interview before I got back so he just held her while they answered questions! So funny! Also, Todd and Lola made the Best Dressed Instagram for the festival for their matching grey tops. Her face kills me…such a Todd face to make! Lola loved being out with the other band kids and Amelia especially could always make her smile. It was a perfect match because Amelia loves to sing and perform and Lola loves to watch! One of the best parts of being on the road is that you get to meet up with all your friends that live in different states and this time we got to see our friend Sarah and her kiddos for a Phoenix play date! Always glad to see them! I mentioned last trip that we LOVED using this Doona Infant car seat that turns into a stroller with the push of a button. Another band wife recommended it to me and it’s been amazing! Pricey but totally worth it for the amount we’ve used it on the road and in airports so far. On our San Diego day off we took Lola out for her first beach day! I forgot to pack her swimsuit so she just hung out in a diaper and loved being out by the water. Todd let the waves reach her feet a few times but the water was way too cold to really put much else of her into it!

I’ve been a big fan of the high waist swimsuit for the past few years but they are also great for post partum life as well. That ASOS one is from a few year back but Mara Hoffman has some patterns to die for! This one and this one are my favorites…I posted this caption for this photo on Instagram—I think it says a lot about how different touring was for me this year…

“Being out on this tour has been so different from every other trip up until now. I used to be up until 2-3 am each night hanging out after the show and now I go to bed before it even starts. I used to wake up after lunch and this week I saw the sun rise while driving through the desert and changing diapers. I used to get the best sleep of my life in the dark tomblike bunks while the bus swayed gently back and forth and now I constantly rush to nurse a baby back to sleep before the whole bus hears. I used to sit at cool outdoor cafes at night and have drinks with my guy and now I pass them as I walk the streets to distract a fussy baby. Motherhood is a constant realization of things I miss mixed in with new joys I never could have imagined in that previous life. But just a smile kills me. A laugh and I am dead. For even just a snuggle I would give it up all over again and again.”

And if you’re in California, you should probably go to Disneyland, right?! A really sweet friend of the band and his girlfriend gave us tickets and were our tour guides for the afternoon and I’m so glad we got to go. We only did a half day since Todd had a show that night but I was still glad we went since it’s fun to just walk around and we got to ride a few rides as well. Thanks Andrew!
Soundcheck baby!
San Fransisco! We had two days in San Fran so we were there long enough to walk over and see the houses from the opening shot of Full House (you know, where they have the picnic in the park?). It’s actually a really pretty park with an amazing view of the city and lots of other people taking pics and gawking as well so I didn’t feel as dorky doing it myself. We are always sad on our last day together so Todd wanted to snuggle Lola during her nap and it was just a really sweet moment between them. I was really nervous that whole day (and the night before) because it was only going to be the second time taking Lola on an airplane and we were doing a red eye overnight flight back to Nashville. Thankfully it wasn’t a full flight at all so we had a whole row to ourselves and she basically slept the whole time. Thank God!! There were actually a lot of other babies and kids on the flight so I think we all had the same hopes of taking a night flight so kids would sleep through it. Once I do a few more flights with her I’ll do a “tips for babies on an airplane” post because those were really helpful for me to read about before I flew!

We’ve been back home for a little over a week and though the tour will be over in a few days it feels like it’s taking for. ev. er. I totally know what they mean now when they say that “the days are long but the years are short” when it comes to kids. I feel like Lola was just born yesterday, but at the same time, every day that I’m caring for her alone while trying to work and keep our lives together feels like the longest day of my life. I’ll be glad for the set of extra hands for sure when Todd gets home, and ya know, I just miss my buddy too.

That Lola is already quite the jet-setting traveler and we hope it helps to make her comfortable in all sorts of environments—I think it’s working so far!

xo. Laura

October 16, 2017

Bébé in Grey Wishlist

While it was really fun shopping for baby clothes before Lola was born, I actually like looking for items now that she’s here even better. For example, I couldn’t know before she was born that based on her skin tone she doesn’t look her best in yellow but teals and blues really bring out her eyes. She also looks really good in grey and white so I thought I’d do a little shopping in the grey category for some more fall oriented pieces for her. Here’s what I found:

1. I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of matching two piece outfits and I love this heather grey material
2. Ugh, this coat kills me!! This would be so cute with white boots too
3. Lola does’t have a lot of dresses that are super girly but this one is a good mix between kind of casual and a little bit dressy (could go either way depending on accessories)
4. Pom pom skirt!! GAH!
5. She has a few pairs of these skinny jeggings already and I like them so much I’ve already bought several colors in the next size up!
6. Space cat onesie for the win!
7. Little moccasins look so cute on her and these are a great (warmer) version for winter
8. This Stella McCartney jacket is precious buuut way too pricy for a baby! Could get the same feel with this jacket and some cute iron on patches
9. Oh man, the ruffle on this knitted onesie are just too sweet! Would be cute with tall socks or leggings too
10. This zip up jogger onesie would be really cute with tiny tennis shoes for a trip to the park
11. …and in the same category I really want my own fitted sweatsuit duo so I think that’s why I like this one so much (and you can use the pieces separately too)
12. I can’t wait until her head is big enough to wear these tiny turbans and have her little bangs poke out the front (will be so cute with round sunnies too)
13. Furry vests!!! Definitely going to have a few of these in different colors. Love the diagonal sections on this one

It’s not the easiest finding or getting out to places that sell baby clothes so I’m a big online shopper for sure. It’s nice that you can also mix grey items with just about anything so you can always pair them with a pop of color to accessorize too. Hope you found something good in Lola’s wishlist for your little one!

xo. Laura

September 27, 2017

The Wheels On the (Tour) Bus Go Round + Round

Over the past 11 years of being with Todd (4 of them dating and 7 of them married) I have been out on the road with him quite a bit during the touring seasons. Since I’ve usually been working full time I don’t always get to stay out that long, but I’ve done it enough to where I feel like I have my routine and packing list pretty settled. All of that changed however once I had our daughter Lola this past May and all of the sudden the thought of going out on the road to visit just sounded like a nightmare scenario. What if we get sick? What if she doesn’t sleep well? What if she’s waking up everyone else on the bus all night long? Where do I nurse her when I want some privacy? And then realizing that since we wouldn’t be out the whole time we would have to fly home at some point (her first flight) the questions and list of items to bring just got longer and longer until it felt like I was preparing for a major event for sure. Now that we are home from the first leg of our visits out this tour season I do feel more prepared as we get ready to go out again in a few days, but it is certainly not the easiest thing I’ve done for sure!
The first night bus call was midnight so she was up waaaay later than usual that night but she didn’t seem to mind! She was so happy to mix and mingle with all the new people, she’s pretty social like that…Since it was getting pretty cool at night in Nashville before the trip I definitely packed for fall weather with comfy sweatshirts and button ups (like this plaid one) for the road. I guess the weather decided to go the other way and it was basically in the 80’s the whole time—whoops!! Lola spent her nights in a DockATot in my bunk so that I could keep an eye on her and nurse her back to sleep as needed. The first two nights she basically did her normal sleep routine and I thought we were going to get some good sleep on tour buuuut then she regressed more and more until a few nights later she was just waking up constantly and continued that way through the whole trip. Thankfully most days Todd was able to take her in the morning for a while while I went back to sleep to catch up so that helped a lot. We got to be on tour for the Pittsburgh show (my hometown!) and see our family and friends for the day which was so special. I also got to have brunch at Pamela’s which has the best pancakes in town so that was a big plus too! I dressed Lola in a sweet gingham romper that morning and accidentally matched her to the brunch plates which was pretty funny…  I got a recommendation from another band wife that the Doona stroller was the way to go for traveling parents and man were they right! It’s an infant car seat that turns into a stroller with one button, can be used without a base for car trips on the road (perfect for Ubering around), and is approved for airline use as well. AWESOME. It is pretty pricy but a huge help and one that we’ll keep for other kids to come too. I’ll probably do a full review of it for fun soon, but let me say that it’s been great so far. Green room tummy time! I took a portable play gym which was really helpful when venues were clean enough to take the baby into (not always a guarantee!).
We bought her first sunnies at a baby store in Columbus…so cute and she keeps them on for quite a while too!Got to steal a few minutes here and there with Todd while Lola napped during the day. Have to be within range of the baby monitors though but thankfully one spot was right in front of a crepe stand so we just got a crepe together while she slept. We take whatever moments we can get! (Sunnies from Amazon BTW, one of my fave pairs). We also all got sick within a week of being out and it was terrible. It was one of those throat/sinus viral infections that lasts a few days and it was so miserable to be that sick but also sleeping with and constantly nursing an (also sick) baby in a tiny bus bunk. I’ll be SO glad if I never have to do that again! I think mine lasted longer than others because of the terrible sleep I was getting at night. Sleep is usually most important to healing with those kinds of things…

Anyways, it was a hard trip for me in a lot of ways but also important to make sure that Lola and Todd get as much time together as they can during these seasons. I know he loved those few hours in the morning while I caught up on sleep taking her out to parks and farmer’s markets and just getting some good one-on-one time together. He already misses us so much. We’ll be out again next week for another round so here’s hoping we are all happy and healthy and maaaaaybe Lola will sleep a little better this time too—one can dream!

xo. Laura