Case of the Winter Blues

emily  emily1  emily2  emily3  emily4Blazer (similar) // Tee // Jeans // Booties (similar) // Bag // Bracelets (similar)// Necklace (similar) // Watch      // Sunnies

Winter is my absolute least favorite season to dress for. There I said it. While I can appreciate the art of a good oversized sweater, especially if it is a turtleneck, I absolutely detest having to put on layer upon layer of bulky items that just make you feel like a marshmallow. I am a southern girl, so the fact that the grey weather makes my skin painfully pale is just an added negative to my hatred for this season.

The way I beat the winter blues is by wearing colors and shapes that make me happy. That break the mold on traditional winter wear of neutrals on neutrals or all black everything. Not that I don’t love both of these options and wear them quite often. Le duh.

This jacket is the definition of a shape that makes me giddy like a school girl with a giant crush on the super hot star football player. The exaggerated puffed shoulder is a nod to the giant shoulder pads of the 80′s, but completely modern and super chic. And that color! (Can you believe it was under $50!!)

The pop of pretty pink from the bag and necklace in this look elevates the basic tee and jeans for me. I am thinking that duo is going to be on hard repeat.

Side note, I am also a giant fan of the colored lip for winter.

How do y’all like to beat the winter drag?

xo, EM

 

Photos by Marianne Lucille Photography

Baby Soothing Tips

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I think I’ve mentioned some of the struggles we’ve been having with Harper the last few weeks, including her milk/soy protein allergy, reflux, and tongue & lip tie. In a nutshell, she goes through good and bad days, and at times is in what appears to be extreme discomfort. It honestly kills me. She arches her back because the reflux gets so bad, and her voice gets wheezy because it’s literally burning her throat…her tongue tie causes her to suck in air while feeding and gives her a gassy belly that hurts…her milk protein allergy was causing blood in her stool and a prolapsed rectum. AWFUL THINGS. Things that have made me want to sit in a corner and sob, hysterically, and hurt anyone who couldn’t help me make her feel better. It has definitely brought out the mama bear in me.

In the last 4 weeks I have cut ALL milk protein and soy (literally checking every.single.ingredient. in anything I’m eating) as well as reducing my caffeine intake to one cup of coffee daily. We started Harpy on Zantac for her reflux, and on the 12th she’ll be having her tongue and lip ties cut. ;-( All of this is helping, but there are still really bad hours, and sometimes days. My husband and I have tried everything, literally anything, that claims it will soothe and calm a baby – colic calm, gripe water, simethicone, probiotics, bouncing, rocking, shhh’ing – and we’ve found a few things that are really helping, and I thought I’d share for any of you that may be experiencing similar issues with your littles.

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Swaddling is without a doubt the most effective way we’ve found for soothing Harper. We swaddled Camryn for the first 6-8 months also, and knew how calming it could be (Camryn LOVED being swaddled), but we were having horrible luck swaddling Harps for the first few weeks and couldn’t figure out why… And then our Ollie Swaddle arrived and changed everything. Our other swaddles weren’t fitted enough, and didn’t tighten the entire length of her body, which she desperately needed to help soothe her upset tummy. The moisture wicking material is so soft, stretchy, and easy to clean (in the provided washing bag). My husband always comments on how sweet Harper looks swaddled like a little pink mermaid. This was a complete game changer for us.

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The Mama Roo is another favorite around our house. It has 5 different motion settings that mimic real life movements, like “car ride” (Harper’s favorite), as well as sounds that soothe (we like the rolling waves). My husband and I have both downloaded white noise app’s on our phones and blast those when she needs extra sound to soothe her. My favorite feature of the MamaRoo is the reclining chair because Harper needs to be upright for at least 30 minutes after every feeding for her reflux. This (somewhat expensive) machine is worth every penny in my opinion, and I’d honestly buy it 3x’s over if I had to. It works miracles, and allows me to be hands free when Harper is sleeping so I can play with my big lady!

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In conjunction with swaddling and mamaroo’ing, we’ve begun using a pacifier because Harps was constantly wanting to pacify (either on the boob or sucking on my pinky), and that has helped her learn to self-soothe. We’re giving her a probiotic (Gerber brand), and doing bicycle legs constantly to help her get the gas out. I’ve also changed the way I was burping her from the traditional shoulder lay to a sitting position that looks like I’m strangling her…IT WORKS! Mylicon drops before feedings have also helped to break up the gas bubbles.

Since becoming milk/soy free I have discovered TONS of great food alternatives and recipes and will share those with you soon. They are honestly some of my favorite meals ever, and I would request them on a regular basis even if I could eat milk/soy. They are also 100% paleo.

If any of you have tips/tricks for the baby lady, or yummy paleo recipes to share with me, leave comments below please!!

XO – Samantha

2015 Resolutions

Oh, hello, friends! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Don’t let me make you too jealous, but I’ve been super busy snuggling a very sweet little baby. :-)

harps new yearsI’ve been thinking a lot about goals I have for myself for 2015, and while looking over my “Resolutions” post from 2014, I realized that my goals are still very much the same. I still need to drink more water, be more organized, take more pictures of my kids, travel often, and put down my phone. I need to do all of that, but so much more. Here’s where I stand for 2015 – what are your goals?

1.|| Be kind to my body. My body, the one that grew the two tiny humans that my world revolves around, deserves to be taken care of with just as much love and care as I give to my little ladies and husband. More water, still. Continue eating clean, and following the Paleo lifestyle that I’m learning to love. Exercise more often (because these final 9 pounds of baby weight aren’t gonna lose themselves). Teach my daughters that a strong, healthy, nourished body is the most beautiful, not what magazines and TV depict as being beautiful.

2.|| Lead a more minimalistic lifestyle. I organized a lot last year, but rarely felt that I was reaping the rewards because for everything I organized and found a proper home for, I purchased something new. This year I am seeking a home filled with less; fewer items that I cherish more. I’m very fortunate to lead a lifestyle that allows me to have the things I want, but with that I need to learn that everything I want doesn’t need to be had. I never want my girls growing up worshiping things, and that’s a hard lesson to teach when I don’t practice it myself. I’ve learned that I am very much an emotional shopper. If I’ve had a bad day, a trip to Target, or a quick browse on Zara or J Crew cures all…I need to start investing my emotions into a healthier (and less expensive) habit.

*On that note, I am no longer hoarding expensive kids clothes…Let’s be real though, I’ll still be buying on occasion, just not hoarding thousands of dollars worth of goodies for years to come… If you want the items you see my kids wearing (you know, the cute stuff!) then you can shop their closets on Instagram @shopreeseandwillow*

3.|| Take more meaningful photos. Focus on capturing the moment, the feeling, the memory, not just the smile or the clothes, etc. I am constantly photographing my ladies, but the pictures I love the most and actually take time to print and frame are the photos that remind me of how we felt at that time.

4.||Travel. My husband and I have spent the last 5+ years saying “let’s go. let’s leave it all, and let’s go!” and we’ve done that a few times. New York, Boston, Cabo, Paris, Nice, Monaco, San Fran, Napa, India, Singapore… It’s what we love doing most in life, especially with our girls. Seeing a place through Camryn’s eyes has always been so magical.

With Camryn only a year away from  starting Kindergarten, we feel the pressure to travel now more than ever. A few places that top the list are Spain, France (again, because Paris holds a really special place in my heart), Italy, Turkey, Sweden, London, and Greece.

5.|| Be more present. With 2 kids, my husband, and our yellow lab Aly, my house is a little chaotic (that’s an understatement) and it can be hard to really enjoy any one moment. My goal is to make time for each of them, one-on-one, and be present to enjoy everything they have to offer. Cammy is at such a fun age – the best if you ask me – and I do not want to miss this time with her. Harper is growing so dang fast, I just don’t even know when my teeny tiny baby turned into such a little chunk!! If I don’t stop to appreciate her now, she’ll be her sisters size in a blink. And my sweet, sweet man. Y’all, he’s been so amazing the last month+, I just don’t even have words for how much I love and appreciate him. He’s been cleaning, cooking (every single delicious – dairy and soy free – paleo meal) for me, and letting me sleep till noon while he watches our ladies if its been a rough night. I couldn’t do life without him, and I need to stop and tell him all of this more often, and squeeze him and have more gratitude for him.

So that’s it. Those are my resolutions for myself. Nothing crazy like “lose 50 pounds”, and nothing that makes me feel like I’m bullying myself or trying to be something I’m not. Just the basics. Be a person I’m proud of. I might sprinkle in things like *stop swearing so damn much*, but let’s be real, those goals won’t ever be reached. ;-)

What are your New Years Resolutions?

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday & a happy New Years!! We watched movies, ate “faux-stess cupcakes”, drank Sophia’s champagne from the can, and didn’t realize it was 2015 until about 12:03am. We’re party animals!!

XO – Samantha

Happy New Year!

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 8.40.27 PMDear 2014, you’ll be nearly impossible to top.

XO – Samantha

Friday Favorites || Mommy Edition

Hello party animals! (That’s what you are to me if you don’t have a newborn, and you get to sleep all night and stay up late without fear of getting absolutely no sleep that night. I envy you. I envy my “party animal” days. I hate anyone who gets to sleep in past 7AM.)

Today I thought I’d share all the mommy & baby items that I have been loving and couldn’t have made it through the past 2 weeks without. Starbucks should also be on this list, but lets be honest, I can’t survive any week without that.

friday favorites

1.|| Mushy Books – Babies grow so dang fast!! Harpy has changed overnight from a teeny tiny 5 pounder into a chunky cheeked 7 (I’m guessing) pounder. I cannot document our time with her fast enough or often enough. Our Mushy Book is the most beautiful, and modern, baby book. I have been absolutely loving this baby book!! It’s such high quality, and unlike many of the typical baby books you’ll find in baby stores. I have the “Dreamcatcher” theme, but also love “A Star Is Born”.

2.|| Solly Baby Wrap – Harpy likes to be snuggled 24/7. My Solly wrap is lightweight (necessary for Texas weather), super soft, has a built in pocket to hold my phone, keys, etc, and she loves being in it. I have the color Mauve.

3.|| Jennifer Ann Style Custom Name Blanket – Ok, totally unnecessary, but also an absolute MUST HAVE! This blanket is thick, velvety on one side and silky on the other, and everyone loves it…literally, every single person comments on it and asks where it’s from. Best baby gift ever.

4.|| MamaRoo – This was a recommendation from a few of my besties, and they were so absolutely right – I did need this in my life. This kick ass little machine mimics my movements (as well as things like the car) to calm Harps and rock her to sleep. She loves it. My husband loves it. I love it. It’s smaller than most baby swings and it’s crazy easy to assemble and clean.

5.|| Honest  Products – We all want the healthiest, safest, ‘best’ products for our babies, don’t we? I feel like the Honest products are exactly that. Us moms have enough to stress out about, and these products make me feel like I have one less thing to worry about. They’re good for my baby, good for the environment, and they deliver. Ok, you’re right, they had me at “we deliver”. Click here for a Free Trial*

6.|| Lansinoh Double Breast Pump, Pads & Cream – Must haves if you’re going to breastfeed. There will always be a use for a pump, wether you plan to go back to work after baby, need to increase your milk supply, want time off for a few hours (you’ll need this, trust me), or just want to share in the joy of feeding your baby with your husband or family. The double pump is fast, effective, and best of all, easy to clean! I also love the nursing pads & breast cream from Lansinoh. I love that the pads come individually wrapped so I can throw some in my bag and not worry that when I go to use them they’ll be covered in Camryn’s goldfish crumbs lining the bottom of my purse. I purchase mine at Target.

7.|| Cake Nursing Bra – I didn’t understand the importance of good nursing bras when I first brought Camryn home from the hospital, but I learned that lesson quickly, and this time around I made sure to invest in quality (and uber comfortable) bras. My friend suggested the Cake brand bras, and they are the bomb diggity. I wear the “Cotton Candy” sports style bra most often. It’s also easy to wash.

8.|| L’oved Baby Kimono Onesie – Hands down, the best onesie for newborns!! Dressing babies is not easy; they flail, cry when they get cold, are limp, and fragile. This onesie makes dressing a baby so easy. The kimono design saves you from trying to pull anything over babies head, and the sleeves even have built in gloves to prevent baby from scratching their face (my favorite!!) I own at least half a dozen L’oved Baby items and they are  all  fantastic – this has become one of my favorite organic brands.

9.|| Covered Goods – This nursing cover is so multi-purpose. I use mine as a carseat cover, blanket in the car when I’m in a pinch, and nursing cover. Even when I’m not concerned with covering up for feedings, sometimes I’ll use my cover just to allow Harpy to focus on eating instead of being distracted by her big sister yelling and jumping around waving toys at her. I have the black & cream stripe.

10.|| Tippi Snugs – These lightweight blankets are super stretchy, and perfect for swaddling, covering the carseat, or wrapping up baby when it’s not too cold. They are so beautiful in person, and so soft. You’ve probably seen these all over my Instagram and in our newborn photos because I love the floral pattern and colors so much.

11.|| Ergo Baby Swaddles – We swaddled Camryn for 6+ months and she would sleep 12 hours if she was swaddled. She would calm down instantly and fall asleep with a little white noise in the background and be so soothed. I have been swaddling Harper with the Ergo baby swaddles and love them.  Some swaddles on the market don’t tight enough, and basically don’t work the way they should for that reason, but these adjust to even the smallest baby and get plenty tight.

12.|| Target Pajamas Pants & Robe- I’m pretty much living in these pants and robe. They’re so comfortable, and the pants can be worn in public without looking like you’re in pajamas, which saves me when I have to pick up Camryn from school. The robe is fluffly and snuggly and perfect for winter. Everyone should own them.

What are you’re favorite mama/baby items?

XO – Samantha

*Disclosure: I received my Lansinoh pump free from Influenster to review. As always, my opinions are my own.*

Newborn & Family Photos

The sweetest pictures showed up in my inbox yesterday & I’m so excited to share them with you!!

A very special thank you to our photographer, the incredibly talented Johanna McShan. She has captured the last 3+ years of our lives, and despite my diva daughters and our awkwardness in front of the camera, she always delivers such beautiful photos! We love her. If you’re in the Austin area, she’s your gal.

I’m sharing even MORE of our photos over on Instagram. :-)

View More: http://hannamac.pass.us/harper

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Wait…It’s December?!

Happy December, friends!

I blinked and 12 days had flown by since my sweet little Harpy was born. How is that even possible? :-( She is already changing so much, and seriously fattening up. We weighed me holding her, and then without her, and the difference was 7 pounds! I keep telling myself my scale must be inaccurate, because how could my teeny tiny 5 pounder already be weighing in at SEVEN POUNDS! Mama’s making butter, not milk. ;-)

The last (almost) 2 weeks has been so chaotic; hospital, home, thanksgiving, Camryn started back at school yesterday, and adjusting to life with 2 kids. It has been so fun, but I have to be honest, I’m a little anxious about my mom leaving us at the end of the week. She has become Camryn’s person. Her BFF. The one who can play with her for hours without the baby interrupting them for a feeding, diaper change, etc. I’m worried about how Camryn will feel when my mom leaves and she doesn’t have that constant person showering her with attention, which she seems to be craving desperately. She’s definitely feeling a little jealousy towards her new little sister, but is warming up to her the past week. She’s been singing to Harpy lately and always wants to help with diaper changes, so I’m staying hopeful.

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Oh, Harpy had her first bath yesterday too – she wasn’t a fan – but she loved the towel fresh from the dryer.photo 1Geez I love that girl!

XO – Samantha

Apple Walnut and Cranberry Salad

Apple Walnut & Cranberry

Happy Monday all!  I am so excited to be the newest contributor for Playdates + Pearls.  Congrats to Samantha and her family on the newest addition! Baby Harper is finally here and I’m loving my Instagram feed full of her pictures!

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is almost here? I think I may still be in denial. I’m making my grandma’s pumpkin pie and haven’t made it to the grocery store yet for the things I need.  I know I am going to regret this when I head there tomorrow after work.  I am the queen of procrastination.  I am lucky enough to have the day before Thanksgiving off so I’m able to spend time in the kitchen for whatever dish I’m bringing.  Most people don’t and I remember when I didn’t how stressful it felt getting everything  prepared.  I don’t believe cooking needs to be stressful, especially during the holidays when it’s all about spending time with family and friends.  This salad is super easy to prepare and it tastes amazing!  The dressing is very light brings out the flavor of the salad. I love me some mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie but it’s also nice to have a “lighter” dish with dinner.  And bonus… add some leftover turkey to it for lunch the next day!

Salad

 I usually bake and cook with unsweetened dried cranberries but for this salad I prefer the sweetened ones.

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Serves 6

What you’ll need

6 cups chopper romaine lettuce

3 small apples, sliced

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup crushed walnuts

1/2 cup feta crumbles (or more if you’re a cheese whore like me)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. poppy seeds

What you’ll do

In a large bowl, toss first 5 ingredients together; set aside.

In small bowl mix together remaining ingredients.

Right before serving, pour dressing over salad and gently toss.

Thanks again Samantha for having me today! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

 

Mad for Plaid

Hooray for hump day!! I dunno about y’all but I am in need of a weekend already – this week has been bananas!! The nesting phase has absolutely kicked in and I spent the last two days putting up Christmas, finishing the nursery, packing the final hospital bag necessities, and moving around all the furniture in my house. No joke, my glass and marble bar even got moved (because the location and setup of my BAR totally matters right before bringing a newborn home)…my big ol’ preggo butt took it apart shelf by shelf and carried each (ridiculously heavy) piece to it’s new location. I’m sure my OB would be thrilled. Also finding new homes in my house: my wingback chairs, hallway table, stendig calendar, Harper’s standing nursery lamp, two giant mirrors (switched for shape), and my 9 foot christmas tree. Ba-BAM! Mama’s been busy. Someone who has NOT been busy, at all, lately is my baby. I have now had Non-Stress Tests done at both my weekly check-ups and will continue having them weekly until she arrives because she is a sloth. I think she’s just about out of room and can’t hardly move around anymore, but my doctor is closely monitoring her because of it.

In other news, I have a very special post for you today thanks to P+P’s newest Fashion contributor (and total babe), Emily! You might remember Em from this (super old!) post where we styled Cobalt Blue together. She is gorgeous, has such amazing taste, and the absolute sweetest personality to go with it. Go check out her blog, The Style Hunter if you’re not already following her. You can also find her on Instagram, where she posts tons of great OOTD’s.

The Style Hunter Collage

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mad for plaid

There are very few things I can honestly say are staples in my wardrobe. I love to switch things up, make unexpected pairings and take advantage of the fact that trends change every season. Adding items to your wardrobe that will make an impact are my specialty. Currently these items include, but are not limited to…

1. Gigantic, slightly obnoxious sized baubles. Statement necklaces are a favorite.

2. A good leather top. I’ve currently got a short sleeved and a crop top version.

3. A crimson colored lip. Or really any bright lip.

4. A wool fedora.

5. FUR. Fur vest. Fur jacket. Fur lined hoodie. (faux fur of course!)

The only way these show stopping pieces can reach their full potential is by the great basics that become a canvas. For example, in this look, denim and a great flannel plaid with a neutral bootie make the other pieces shine.

If you find a pair of jeans that speak to you, hug every curve and make you think they were literally painted on, do your Superbowl touchdown dance in the fitting room. Make sure your booty looks good. Give yourself a pat on the back and then buy multiple pairs.  My newest favorite has to be the Lookout High-Rise from J. Crew. They suck you in, and give every one I’ve seen try them on that hourglass figure. And who doesn’t want that?!

This fall, and every fall I think, plaid is always a staple. It just works. And this one, also from J. Crew (shocker), does not disappoint. For those of y’all that don’t know, I am a vPS (very personal stylist) for J. Crew, so basically I fall in LOVE with everything they do, the second it hits the floor. And let me tell you, this flannel sold out at my store in a matter of days. INSANE. But it’s that good.

What are some of your staples and some of your more trendy items for fall?!

xo, Emily

Holding My Breathe

taylor

Please excuse my absence and lack of an actual post today…

My husband is undergoing a minor procedure and my little heart can’t hardly take it. I’m far more nervous and anxious than he is. He is just so much to us; Dad, Husband, bread-winner, jungle gym, fajita maker, photographer (hey, I can’t snap pics of my own outfits!), shoulder to cry on, cheerleader for everything Camryn & I do, cute baby maker (my favorite of his traits), do-er of dishes (this is quite possibly my 2nd favorite trait), and so so so much more! When it comes to my favorites, these two are tied.

So if you could, send him good thoughts today, and maybe a few my way too!! Tomorrow, when I’ve stopped holding my breathe, I’ll be back with a fun post for you. :-)

XO – Samantha

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