Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Etsy Love: December Edition

Raise your hand if your crazy about Etsy!

Hand raised.

There is nothing not to love about all the fantastic shops & one of a kind items. I am all about personalization. Throw my daughters name on it and I'm sold.
Sew something in the colors of my choice. Sold

And that's what these shop owners do everyday.
They make everything with love, and I dig that.
I have been so impressed with the attention to detail put into the products I've ordered from shop owners, so I figured I'd start sharing that love with all of you. 

And that's how Etsy Love was born. 
Once a month, I'll be featuring shop owners and products that I've used and love, so you can visit the shops and check out these awesome products for yourself!! 

She makes super adorable carseat canopies personalized in the fabric of your choice.
The best part, they have a button down opening so you can peek in on your little one whenever you get the urge, without having to raise up the entire canopy. 

Also, they're reversible so you can change up the look whenever you so choose. 

I gave her some suggestions on some color combos I'd dig and she picked out the perfect fabric. I used it this past week when we had a day full of rain.
Baby was dry, mommy was happy.
Great gift idea for any of you looking last minute, or snag one for yourself. No shame in that!
 Jana is offering 10% off to all my readers! Use code: annexenos.
 Check out Sleep Sweet Baby on Facebook  & Instagram @sleepsweetbaby. 

Moving on from canopies to sweet little hats for the adorable little in your life. 
This adorable baby bear hat is compliments of Cynthia at HatsZoo.

Who doesn't love adorable baby hats?!?
With winter now upon us, this one is a must have to keep your sweet baby's ears nice and toasty! 

The best part, it's totally gender neutral! Perfect for your handsome little man or sweet baby girl. 

Visit Cynthia at HatsZoo to snag your own one of a kind hat for your one of a kind little!!
Cynthia is also offering 10% off to all of you!
Use coupon code: babyblog1211

Happy shopping!
Don't forget to SHOP SMALL this holiday season! 

(If you know of a shop or shop owner that you'd like me to feature, feel free to email me at annedxenos@gmail.com, or leave a comment below!) 

Disclaimer: The products featured here have been given to me at no cost, however the opinions are solely my own. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Our Weekend in Photos

You know those weekends where you just fly by the seat of your paints, make no plans, and just let it flow? That's what we did this past weekend, and how refreshing it was. A nice reboot leading into the busy holiday weekends coming up! 

Friday night we spent working on Lara's playroom. You guys, I can't WAIT to share with you! Jon has been working night & day to get it all ready for her first Christmas. Sister has to have a place for all her toys! Am I right or am I right? 

We than made a quick Target run to get some baby supplies to clean up her little diaper rash that showed up last week. 

Saturday was spent with family while Jon spent a few hours at work. 

{these above are from my iPhone}

Perfect opportunity to practice with my new DSLR. I am just in awe of the difference in quality of the pictures this thing pumps out.

Saturday night we took off to take Lara to see the Plaza lights in Kansas City. I may be a bit partial, but there is just nothing prettier than KC during the holidays. Proud Kansas Citian right here.

Lara and I had on our little sweater shawls.
This little girl, she's just the coolest thing we've ever done.

We had SO much fun. Lara was in awe of all the lights, smells and sounds. After we grabbed a Starbucks, we headed to our local mall to pick out her Christmas dress. No photos of that...that'll be a surprise.

Sunday was spent lounging around the house. Jon finished up the playroom while I played with the babe while listening to the Alabama Christmas Cd.

My mom raised us on Alabama Christmas. I can remember being a little girl and everytime the big tubs of Christmas decor were brought down from the attic, Alabama was in the tape player.
I love raising Lara with the same traditions my mom created with us.

Hope you all had a weekend full of rest & relaxation!!
Is it Friday yet?


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reversible Ruffle Burlap Tree Skirt || $10

Ruffles. Burlap. Reversible. 
For under $10.
Why, hello lover.

If you've spent any time scouring over rustic holiday d├ęcor via Pinterest, you've definitely seen your fair share of DIY burlap tree skirts.  I've looked at A TON of them and after reading over the instructions, I was more confused than before I began.  Either there weren't enough pictures or too many pictures & not enough explanation.
Therefor this post was born.
The worlds easiest & cheapest DIY burlap ruffle tree skirt.
Your old tree skirt
3 yards of burlap ($2.97 a yard at Walmart)
LOTS of hot glue (approx. 15 sticks)
 Hot glue gun
Measuring tape
Step one:  Flip over your old tree skirt & lay the burlap on top.  Cut around the edges so that you have a large circle of burlap fabric you'll use as your base.
Step two:  Cut a slit in the burlap along the current slit in your old tree skirt along with a
circle in the middle.
Step three:  Hot glue the burlap to the back of your old tree skirt.  I did about 6 dots of glue around the outer edge and then about 4 additional dots along the slit.  You want to ensure your burlap is well attached to the back of the old tree skirt as you will be moving it around ALOT as you glue on your ruffles.  You don't want it moving at all.
Step four:  Measure from the inside circle to the outer edge.  Divide this number by the number of layers of ruffles you'd like.  I chose 4 large layers, but you could easily do less or more based on your preference.
Step five:  Lay out the remainder of your burlap.  You'll then cut long slits of burlap in the width that you chose.  Since I wanted 4 large ruffles, my slits of burlap were 6 inches each. 
(24 inches/4 = 6 inch ruffles)
Step six:  Begin gluing your burlap slits to the burlap base.  This part is tough to explain, but I'll give it my best shot.  Begin gluing the burlap slit to the burlap base, approx. 4 inches at a time.  You'll then create a fold and glue it to the part of the burlap slit that you just glued down.  You're essentially bunching up the burlap to form a ruffle.  It doesn't have to be perfect, trust me!
  It will come together as you go. 
Step seven:  You've now completed one row of ruffles.  Keep on gluing!
A part of me almost stopped here because I liked the look, but I figured more ruffles wouldn't hurt anything.  Am I right or am I right?

2 hours and 15 hot glue sticks later, we have ourselves a tree skirt. 
The best part, outside the ruffles of course, is that if you're feeling a different decorating vibe a few years down the line, you can flip it over and have a "new" tree skirt.
 With a new baby in our home, we're all about economy this holiday season! 
If you're looking to freshen up your holiday decorations with a new look, but not wanting to spend a ton of money, give this tree skirt a try! 
You won't regret it.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A letter to my husband.

It's Friday morning, the day after our first Thanksgiving as a family of three. You just left for work, not complaining once, just quietly getting dressed while we relax in the living room in our pjs. I know you're exhausted, you were up many times last night comforting our daughter...

I'm lounging on the couch admiring our beautiful Christmas tree, the one you lugged all the way home for us from the tree farm last weekend. The one you so patiently put up for me late into the evening when we got home, because I insisted it had to be put up right then. 

Lara fell asleep a few minutes ago, so I began scrolling thru my Facebook newsfeed. I noticed you shared a link to a news story, which you rarely do, so I decided to read. 

I'm so glad I did. It's been hard for me to understand how deep you love Lara because I've never felt that...

You are such an amazing father.
You are patient when I am not, you are loving when I feel as though I've exhausted all the love I have to give, you have energy when I'm convinced I'm going to die from exhaustion.

But most of all, you absolutely adore her. And you show it often, unconditionally

I wasn't old enough to feel that kind of love from my dad. He was gone too soon, too young. But watching you love Lara shows me what that would've felt like. I can't wait for Lara to look in your eyes and know how much you love her. 

So in the spirit of giving thanks, thank you for loving us. But most of all, thank you for showing me a love I've never felt before. 

Your wife 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Freeze Your Eggs, Free Your Career. Bullshit or Brilliant?

Let's just dive right in, shall we?
This fury within me all began when I was about 6 months pregnant, walking thru the lobby at work.
I glance over and see this...
It could've been the hormones, but I just about lost it.
Is this really what we've come to as a society?!
I threw the magazine in the trash and stuffed the anger to the back of my mind, and went on to have my sweet baby girl a few short months later. 

Until last week.

I'm sitting at home playing with my girl when I hear a reporter come on TV, covering a story about Apple & Facebook.  According to Business Insider, come January they will begin paying their female employees up to $20,000 to help cover the cost of freezing their eggs.
Call me radical, but if you genuinely feel that advancing your career is that much more important than becoming a mother, maybe you're not meant to be one.
I have always been extremely career driven.  I work hard, I ask questions, I want to learn, I want to promote, I want to take on more responsibility, I want to make a difference. 
Why do we doubt that we can do both, and do them well?
Is it because some women have tried & failed?
Is it because society is trying to tell us otherwise?
I'm one of the biggest Sheryl Sandburg fans out there, who's ironically one of the top executives for Facebook.  I've read her book, highlighted the hell out of it and live by several of her mantras.  

She believes in empowering women to lean into their career, while building your family at the same time. She believes in "changing the conversation from what women can't do to what we can do." 
One story she speaks of in her book is one that really resonated with me a year ago.  They were recruiting Priti Choksi to join Facebook's business development team.  Upon receiving the job offer, she wanted to meet to discuss further questions she had about the position.  Sheryl, being the forthright woman she is, straight up asked Priti as she was leaving if she wanted to discuss the possibility of her not taking the job because she may want to have a child soon.  Priti immediately sat back down and they had the conversation.  "I (Sheryl) explained that although it was counterintuitive, right before having a child can actually be a great time to take a new job.  If she found her new role challenging and rewarding, she'd be more excited to return to it after giving birth." She ended up accepting Facebook's offer.  "By the time she started at Facebook, she was already expecting.  Eight months later, she had her baby, took four months off and came back to a job she loved. She later told me (Sheryl) that if I had not raised the topic, she would have turned us down."

As a society, we have to improve on empowering women, women who truly want to be mothers,
that it's ok to love being a mom and also love your career at the same time.
As far as I'm concerned, what Apple & Facebook are doing is screwing up
all the progress we've made.
Marketing your company to women by offering to freeze their freakin' eggs  is
It's telling women that we can't do it all. 
And we can.
If I can wipe my daughters booger off her face, rub it on my black pencil skirt & run out the door to a successful day at the office.
You can too.