Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Top 10 Beauty Favorites of 2015

So I know we're almost to the end of January, but it's not too late for a 2015 favorites post, right?

I did a post almost a year ago about my go-to makeup routine as a new mom, and honestly, not too much has changed since then in terms of what I do on day to day basis. However, there were quite a few new products I discovered over the past year that I really love, and since I've been meaning to talk about them here on the blog for awhile, I thought I'd share a round up of my top ten favorites :)

2015 Beauty Favorites

1. Clinique Acne Solutions BB Cream
This was hands down one of my favorite products for 2015! I found out about it through MakeupByTiffanyD's YouTube channel; she recently had a baby and was raving about how it was perfect for a new mom with limited time for makeup. I ended up purchasing it and I really love it! However, I feel like Clinique has done a really horrible job of naming/marketing this product. To start, it's not with the foundations in Sephora, instead it's with the skincare, which is super confusing because it's definitely more of a foundation than a skin care product. I also feel like the name "BB Cream" is really misleading; to me, a BB Cream is usually something more along the lines of a tinted moisturizer, and this stuff is totally different. It's extremely thin in consistency, but it's also very full coverage. I love that it has SPF 40 in it, and while it can be applied with a damp Beauty Blender or a brush, it's really easy to just apply it with your fingers because it's so thin. One of the main downsides is the fact that there are only five different shades, so the color match probably isn't going to be too exact for most people. I was wearing Light Medium in the summer, but then I bought Light and I was mixing them together in the fall to try to get a better match. (Now I just straight up wear the Light shade on it's own!) If I want a more flawless application that matches my skin tone more nicely, an actual foundation applied with a foundation brush yields a better result. But if I want something to just throw something on my skin quickly as I'm running out the door (or let's be real, in the car) which is a lot of the mornings in my world, this stuff does an excellent job!

2. L'OREAL Infallible Pro-Matte 24 Hr Foundation
 I have oily skin, so when it comes to foundation, I tend to shy away from anything that says 'luminous' or 'dewy' and gravitate towards products with the word 'matte.' So when L'Oreal debuted their Infallible line last year featuring lots of products marketed as matte and long-wearing, I was intrigued! I ended up purchasing this foundation to take with me on our trip to France and I wore it for my sister's wedding. The day of the wedding it was super hot out, but I feel like it held up really well! It's definitely full coverage and it's just a really solid drugstore foundation! (I also have the Infallible Pro-Matte powder and it's only OK, I definitely don't like it as much as the foundation.)

3. Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser
I'm not the best person to be giving recommendations when it comes to skincare because my skin has always been somewhat problematic. It's always been oily and breakout prone, which is normal when you're a teenager, but annoying when you're pushing 30. On top of that, I do want to start to protect my skin from premature signs of aging and I've noticed my skin becoming more dry (well, combination would be more accurate) over the past year. This cleanser from Murad is specifically designed to be used for antiaging acne treatment, and what I like is that it's gentle. Often times acne products can be pretty harsh and at this point, I feel like those things are way too drying for my skin. This provides a bit of salicylic acid, along with ingredients to keep the skin moisturized and looking youthful. I'm not going to sit here and say it's completely made my skin perfect, but I do really like it.

4. Beauty Blender
I finally got on the Beauty Blender bandwagon last year and I see why people love it! It's great for applying foundation and concealer, and it's a great way to achieve a more natural look. I don't use mine all the time because it's definitely a product that's harder to use on the go since you need to wet it, but when I'm putting on makeup at home I really do enjoy it!

5. Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette
Contouring and highlighting was a beauty trend that was EVERYWHERE in 2015. There were tons of different highlight and contour kits at Sephora this past year, and always one to jump on a beauty bandwagon, I ended up purchasing the Kat Von D version because of all the positive reviews. I've been really pleased with it so far! The quality of the powders is great, they're really smooth, the colors are great, and I think you get a good amount of product for the price. I usually mix the lighter two highlight shades to set my under eye concealer and then I use both the cooler and the warmer contour powders on my face. Another multi purpose use for this palette? Use it for eye shadow! I don't usually wear eye shadow on a day to day basis, but I will take a fluffy crease brush and use some of one of the contour shades in my crease just to give the eye a little more natural definition. I also have the Kat Von D Shade + Light brush and I like it a lot as well. I think you could definitely get by without it since there are other great brushes out there for contouring/highlighting, but the fact that it's dual sided is convenient for throwing in my makeup bag.

6. Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in White Russian
This is one of those popular items at Sephora that has a cult following, and for years, I'd heard that White Russian was an amazing lip gloss. One day I just decided to pick it up on a whim and I have to admit, I'm a fan! It's a super flattering nude pink that looks great on it's own or over another lipstick. (I personally like paring it with Urban Decay's 'Native') It's definitely a thicker, more sticky gloss but I really like the way it looks. I actually got a few other colors of this formula of gloss from Buxom recently, but White Russian is definitely my favorite shade! However, I feel like it should be known that the tingling sensation from this lip gloss can be quite intense at first. When I first bought it, I though that it was going to be too annoying to me and that I'd have to return it, and then I just sort of got used to it one day. Now it doesn't bother me at all, but it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

7. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop
Ok, so admittedly, I am a Jaclyn Hill fan girl. She was the first beauty YouTuber I watched and her videos are still my very favorites. I feel like she became so much more popular in 2015 thanks to this amazing highlighter that she collaborated with Becca on. It is a very intense highlight, but I love the color because it works well on both my fair winter skin as well as in the summer when I'm a little bit more tan. Highlighters and "strobing" became such a big beauty trend in 2015, and I feel like it's in large part due to YouTubers like Jaclyn sharing photos on Instagram with a #highlightonfleek.

8. The Original MakeUp Eraser
Another example of YouTube made me do it, I bought this product after seeing so many beauty vloggers talking about it last year. I don't know how this washcloth can so effectively remove makeup with just water, but I am a fan! I usually just keep mine hanging up in the shower and then I use it to remove my makeup before washing my face. I usually have to end up using a little additional eye makeup remover to get all my mascara off, but overall, I think it does a great job!

9. Kiehl's Creme de Corps Body Lotion
This body lotion is a cult favorite, and after using it this year, I see what the fuss is about. It's very moisturizing but not too greasy and it absorbs quickly into the skin after a shower. The scent is nice, but not overpowering at all, and overall, it's just a really solid body lotion!

10. LAVANILA The Healthy Deodorant
Last but not least, I discovered this gem at Sephora this year, so even though it's not necessarily a "beauty" product, I thought I'd include it in the list! Ever since Henry was born, I've wanted to switch to a more natural deodorant without aluminum. I ended up trying this one a few months ago, and I've been really happy with it! I am a sucker for anything vanilla and love the smell. (It also comes in quite a few different variations so I'd like to try out some of those soon!) I feel like it's gentle on the skin, while still being rather effective for a natural deodorant.

So there you have it, my standout products from the past year! I already have some new beauty stuff that I'm excited to try out for 2016, plus I've got a Sephora gift card that's burning a hole in my wallet! I typically find out about new beauty products through recommendations - from friends, Instagram, other bloggers, beauty vloggers, etc. So that's why I want to know, what beauty products have you been loving lately? Leave a comment and let me know what products I need in my life!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Air Travel with an Older Baby/Toddler

Hello from snowy Michigan!

Henry and I flew in on Wednesday and it's been great to spend time with my family and I'm looking forward to visiting with some friends while we're here. When I posted pictures of us at the airport on Instagram, I actually had a few different people reach out via Facebook message, comments, etc. and ask for tips for flying now that Henry is a toddler. I've been meaning to put together a travel tips post for some time now, so I figured I'd just go ahead and write them down now while they are still fresh in my mind from this week's flight! (And since I'm still on West Coast time and can't sleep...)

First off, let me start this post by saying I'm no expert on traveling with a little one because, when it comes to babies, so much of it just really depends on how they're feeling on any given day and you really just have to roll with the punches. But we have had the privilege of being able to travel quite a bit with Henry so far, and we've definitely picked up some tips and tricks along the way that have made things a little bit easier. So far, Henry has flown 16 times (so each direction, not counting individual connections). We flew with him when he was 7 weeks, 3 months, 5 months, 7 months, 9 months, 10 months, 11.5 months, and now on this most recent trip, 13 months. I shared this post back in June based on our first three travel experiences when he was under six months, and pretty much everything I talk about there still very much applies to traveling with an older baby or toddler. But there are definitely some additional challenges you encounter once your child becomes mobile, and so hopefully this post will be helpful to any of you out there about to hit the skies with older babes!

+Stay calm and stay positive - I know it may seem simple, but your attitude makes such a difference in how the day will go! Traveling can be stressful, especially with a little one in tow, but babies totally feed off of the parents' energy. If you're frustrated and short tempered, it's only going to start a cycle of negativity that can be tough to break. Cameron and I love to travel and hope that Henry will love it as much as we do, so I try to go into each travel day with the mindset that this is going to be a fun adventure and I'm sharing something exciting that I'm passionate about with my child. That may sound a little cheesy, but I'm a big believer that a positive outlook can really have a profound impact on the outcome of a situation. Also, just remember that no matter how bad the day may get, you will get through it. After all, you got through labor, you can get through a few hours on a plane...ha!

+Car seats: To bring or not to bring? - That is the big question a lot of people seem to have when it comes to travel, and my answer is, it depends. When Henry was an infant, we did bring his car seat with us; I talk about it in more detail here, but basically we just checked it at the ticket counter and used it with our stroller at our destination. At that point, it was still handy to have because we were actually using it to bring Henry into restaurants (those were the days!) and it was nice to have him in his own car seat. But once he got a little bit older and and was more at the age where we wouldn't really be using the car seat at our destination beyond riding in the car, we stopped bringing it along. Thankfully, we've been really fortunate that we haven't needed a car seat on any of our trips after he turned six months old. My parents were nice enough to get a convertible car seat to keep in Michigan in their car, so when we fly here, they just pick us up from the airport and we use that while were here. (If you have family out of state that you'll be visiting often, I'd highly suggest doing this. There are plenty of convertible car seats out there for under $100 and they can be used for a number of years/future kiddos. It seriously makes life so much easier!) As for our other trips, we didn't need a car seat when we traveling to Europe or New York City because we got around by either public transit or getting a car service with a car seat. If your baby is in a convertible car seat, I'd strongly suggest trying to figure out a way to not bring it and just rent a car with one at your destination. They're big and bulky and if the airline loses it/damages it, that's just an extra headache to deal with. But I realize that option may not work for everyone, so if you are going to bring your car seat, I'd definitely suggest checking it at the ticket counter vs. trying to haul it through the airport and either check it at the gate or bring it on the plane. Airlines let you check one car seat per child for free and it doesn't count towards your checked bags, plus, if you put it in a car seat bag like this, you may be able to stash some extra blankets and stuff in there with it, so that's a pro if you do bring it.

+Pack light and check a bag - I mentioned this in my last post, but I'd highly recommend checking a bag! Checking a bag means I can bring a bigger suitcase, which means I can put more stuff in there instead of stuff to bring on board, which means I can get by with just bringing a personal item on the plane vs. a personal item and carry on. It's so much easier not to have to lug a bunch of bags through the airport with a baby and a stroller and it's totally worth the bag fee, especially if you're traveling solo with your little one. Also, take it from me, you're probably not going to need nearly as much stuff as you're trying to pack! Unless you're going to some super remote location, you can buy diapers and anything you may desperately need at your destination so just try to pack as light as possible.

+Use a carrier/stroller combo while in the airport - When we travel, we bring both an umbrella stroller and our Ergo360 because I end up putting Henry in each one at various points during the day. (This is the umbrella stroller we have and I would HIGHLY recommend it! It allows the baby to recline really far and it has the option for baby to face you, which is kind of rare for umbrella strollers, but so nice when you are trying to get them to fall asleep! We took it with us to Europe this summer and on all our trips since. It's held up really well but it's also at a price point that I would be annoyed but not totally devastated if something happened to it in transit, which I think is key for a travel stroller.) What we usually do is put Henry in the stroller when we get out of the car while we get checked in, drop our bags, etc. and store the carrier in the basket of the stroller. Then before we go through security, I put Henry in the Ergo and wear him through security, while we fold up the stroller and put it on the conveyor belt to be scanned. (You are allowed to wear your baby through security and you won't go through the big full body scanner, but a security guard will just need to swipe your hands after you go through the metal detector.) After we get past security, depending on how Henry's doing, we'll either leave him in the carrier or transfer him back to the stroller. If I leave him in the carrier, then we'll use the stroller for a cart for the personal items we're bringing on the plane. But if we're trying to eat (or I'm traveling solo and need to go to the bathroom) then I'll put him back in the stroller. But before we get on the plane, I'll switch him back to the carrier, that way we can get the stroller folded up to check at the gate before getting on board. (And if you're trying to fold up your stroller solo, you're definitely going to want to have kiddo in a carrier!) Plus having him in the carrier makes it a lot easier to get to our seats and get settled once on the plane.

Henry also wanted to spend some time walking around the airport too!
+Bring their birth certificate or passport - So I think we've only been asked for this once traveling domestically, but it's still a good idea to bring it just in case! 

+Put all of your baby food in a Ziploc bag - Baby food/milk/formula doesn't adhere to the 3.4 ounce liquid guideline for carry on bags, but you do need to put it in a separate bag so you can take it out at security. This includes all those squeeze pouches, yogurts, etc., just make sure they're all together in one bag vs. floating around loose inside your carry on. (Another tip? Don't put a bunch of clementines on top of your bag of food so that when you go to pull it out at security, your clementines fall out of your bag onto the conveyor belt. Not that I've done that. Obviously.) 

+Think carefully about how to pack your personal item - This is another one I touched on in my last post, but taking your time when you pack the carry on bag you'll be keeping at your seat with you is really important. When I travel, I just use a black North Face backpack as my personal item and that's typically the only thing I carry on the plane. It great to have my hands free, especially if I've got Henry in the carrier, and it has a lot of pockets to store lots of different things. I try to pack it so that things that I hopefully won't need during the flight (extra diapers, a change of clothes for Henry, Ziploc bags for holding dirty clothes, a possible change of shirt for me) are at the bottom of the bag and then things I know I'll be needing (snacks, diaper/wipes caddy, books, etc.) are closer to the top. I also try to make sure that random essential items (Henry's water bottle that I fill up in the airport, Kleenex, my headphones/phone charger, chapstick, etc.) are in the side pockets so I can get to them easily without having to dig through the bag. It's such tight quarters trying to get stuff in and out of your bag once you're at your seat, so taking the time to pack carefully can save a lot of frustration!

+When to board - If you're flying some airlines, like Delta, they allow families with young children to board first, so definitely take advantage of that if your airline offers it and take the extra time to get settled in your seats. Other airlines, like United, don't offer early family boarding so I'd suggest hanging out near your gate and getting on the plane at the last possible minute. If you checked a bag and only have a personal item, you won't need to worry about overhead bin space, and this way you can enjoy having the extra space to spread out and possibly let your toddler run around the terminal and get their wiggles out until the last possible moment.

+Snacks are your friend - If you have a baby that's over 6 months old, snacks are what will get you through a flight. Teething rusks/puffs are awesome for those babies newer to eating solids. For older babies/toddlers, Trader Joes has tons of awesome snacks that are perfect for flying. Henry loves their dried fruit (the dried mangos are so freakin' good, I love them too) and it's a good snack to keep him occupied, but it does get a little messy (aka sticky). I also really like their freeze dried fruit as well, especially for the plane since it's a little less messy. (I'd suggest going with the freeze dried mangos or apples vs. the berries though because those are smaller and more of a hassle) They also have some great veggie snacks like their Inner Peas or Broccoli Florets (which we brought on the flight here) and it's a great way to sneak in some extra veggies, especially since travel days can mean your kiddos diet may be a little more hit or miss. Squeeze food pouches or yogurt tubes are great too and so I always make sure to bring a few with us. Henry is also drinking cow's milk now, so I just asked for it when they came around with the beverage cart and they gave me an individual milk with a little straw which was really handy. Also, I'd start with your kid's least favorite snacks of what you brought and save their favorite snacks for special treats for a time in the flight when you may really need them :)

+Don't bring too many toys - I know the tendency is to want to bring things that are going to keep your kid entertained, but toys take up a ton of space and usually little ones get bored with them quickly. Snacks seem to do a better job of keeping littles engaged, so I'd definitely save more space for those than for toys. That said, a few small (not super noisy toys) can't hurt and I usually bring a few along. Books can be great too, Henry loves those lift the flap books so I brought a few little ones with us on our flight Wednesday and we looked though them probably 25 times. But what he was honestly most excited about on the flight was the extra cups the flight attendant gave him when she was handing out drinks. He literally spent half the flight playing with them and they were better than any toy I could have brought from home. But it can be a good idea to bring a favorite toy, even if it is noise making, and keep it hidden until absolutely necessary. If your kid is having a total meltdown, chances are people around you would rather listen to a musical toy than screaming, so having something like that in case of emergencies isn't a bad idea. 

Playing with his cups...ha!
+Opt for an aisle seat - With a younger baby, I'd prefer a window seat (easier for nursing) but with an older baby, the aisle seat is key for getting up if you need to. A walk around the cabin can be a great way to keep them entertained and a quick diaper change can be something to break up the time. 

+Be prepared to play with your baby - In life, your satisfaction with a situation usually depends on your expectations. If you're going into a flight with the expectation that your baby is going to sleep and you're going to be able to watch a movie/read/play a game on your phone, then you're probably going to be more frustrated when your baby doesn't cooperate. But if you go into the flight with the expectation that, for the entire flight, you will be entertaining your child, then if you do end up getting some time to yourself, it's more of a bonus. I'll be perfectly honest, at home I don't always spend hours directly playing with Henry. I play with him, then he'll play independently in his play area while I unload the dishwasher, we'll read a book, and then he'll chase Lola around while I fold laundry, we'll go to play group where he gets to play with other babies while the moms chat, etc. So it can be a little daunting to have to play with your baby for hour after hour...but it's kind of nice in a way too :) Also, I'm all for screen time for kids on planes, because whatever gets you through the trip is what you need to do. But Henry will watch a video for about two minutes on the plane and then he seems disinterested, so don't expect that will be an option unless your kid is a little bit on the older side.

At the end of our second flight on Wednesday, when I had broken out all of the snacks and the emergency musical toy
+Taking off/landing/napping - When Henry was nursing more, I always tried to nurse him on take off and landing to help avoid any discomfort with his ears popping. Thankfully though, it's never seemed to bother his ears, so now I don't bother trying to nurse him as he likes to look around instead. (If you're kid takes a pacifier though it's probably good to have that on hand!) However, I did nurse him on this last flight to get him to fall asleep and it's pretty much been the only way I've ever been able to get him to nap on a flight. So if you're nursing and baby is ready for naptime, I'd suggest nursing then vs. at takeoff/landing. If you're not nursing, try to do what you can to replicate naptime at home (pacifier, play white noise, bottle, or whatever might help them realize it's time for sleep!).

+Leave your germ phobia at home - Germs in the airport and on the plane were probably one of my biggest concerns about traveling with Henry once he got older because he wants to put his mouth on all the things. But I feel like there's really only so much you can do to prevent them from touching things, so you're better off not worrying about it. Obviously keeping them in the carrier or stroller as much as possible at the airport helps, but if they get out and they're walking around and crawl on the airport carpet, oh well. Chances are they are probably going to get more germs from being around other kids in their normal day to day interactions, so try not to stress. On the plane, I don't bother wiping things down with wipes because I feel like it's kind of pointless since Henry has already been touching everything in the airport? Just use common sense and try to relax :)

+Look good, feel good - This may seem like a really silly tip, but hear me out! Getting ready to go on a trip can be stressful and it's usually a mad dash getting everyone with all their stuff out of the house. But taking the extra time to get yourself ready to go to the airport goes a long way in helping you feel good about yourself, which in turn helps you feel more confident to face the day ahead. There's nothing worse then being at the airport and looking in the mirror in the bathroom and realizing you look like a complete hot mess. I'm not saying you need to go full glam for traveling with your baby, but just taking a little extra time to put on some mascara and throw on a cute (but comfortable and preferably black, to hide stains) outfit can make all the difference in how you feel during the day.

I managed to shower before we left for the airport, so I'm calling that a win :)
+If you're traveling solo with baby... - All these same tips still apply, but just allow yourself even more time at the airport. And wear layers, because wearing a baby and getting through the airport by yourself can make you sweaty. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help! Flight attendants and kind strangers are usually more willing to lend a hand when they can seen you're by yourself. And even though it's tiring, traveling alone with your toddler is doable! You got this, mama :)

You might luck out and get an empty row on your flight! 
Ok, I know that was a lot of information, but hopefully some of it is helpful to some of you out there!
Happy travels!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Photo from our hike to Dry Creek Falls this weekend :)

Watching: After hardcore binging on Making a Murder (so many emotions!) like everyone else in the world right now, we're currently watching something a little lighter, aka the new season of It's Always Sunny. Such a silly silly show. I'm also excited about this season of the Bachelor, although I still need to catch up on last night's episode! And I can't forget Downton Abbey, which I'm really sad is ending!

Reading: Nothing right now, but I'm excited to start this book that a friend recommended to me which looks super interesting! I'm also hoping to read a parenting book or two in the near future, just to get some possible ideas that might be helpful in the months to come. Now that Henry is moving out of the stage where we just had to keep him alive and into the stage where we actually need to parent and deal with things like tantrums and teaching him to share and all that jazz, I think it can't hurt to have some developmentally appropriate suggestions on how to handle different situations. (If anyone has book recommendations, I'd love to hear them!) Oh, and I'm also trying to read the Bible from start to finish over the course of the year, which is something I haven't done before. I have a reading plan I'm following, but I'm already a little behind. But, I figure were not that far into the year so I am working on getting caught up!

Listening To: Even though I still don't like a lot of "new" country songs, I find myself listening to country radio more and more when I'm in the car. And then around the house, I'm usually listening to one of my many Pandora stations which range from Indie Folk to musicals :)

Eating: In total cliche New Year's fashion, I am trying to go back to a more Paleo-based diet this year. I'd love it if I could eat veggies/protein/fruit/etc. 80-90% of the time and then save indulgences for times they're really worth it. I told myself that I was going to be pretty strict at first and not to have any sweets (even Paleo "approved" ones) or any alcohol for the first 10 days to get started; surprisingly, I've been pretty good with the sweets, but I have had two social occasions arise where I did have a drink. Whoops. But moving forward this month/year, I want to enjoy things I love in moderation, but really work on having the majority of time be healthy food.

Loving: Henry (and Cameron) of course. And this Letterfolk board that I got for Christmas from my in-laws, it's pretty rad. I'm also in love with the new rug we got on Saturday at Ikea! It's so much more comfortable to get down on the floor and play with Henry and sheds WAY less than our old rug. A definite win in my book!

Doing: Trying to get miles towards this month's Hike it Baby 30 Challenge! We're almost halfway to the goal, but I know we're going to make an effort to get some more time on the trail this month if we're going to meet our goal.

Wanting:  This Gwen Stefani blush palette. It looks SO good and I loveee the packaging!

Needing:  To go through and organize my makeup/toiletries because our bathroom closet is a little out of control. I suppose I should probably get rid of some makeup before buying more...

Looking Forward To: Going to Michigan to visit my family and friends...tomorrow! Since we stayed home over Christmas, I decided to fly back with Henry for a quick trip this month and we leave tomorrow. I'm really excited to see everyone, although I'm not quite as excited for trying to wrangle Henry on the flight solo and the frigid temps that are predicted during my visit, but oh well!

(You can keep up with me on Instagram during my trip if you'd like!)

What are you up to these days?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Henry's Winter ONE-derland

Henry is thirteen months old today, and so I thought it was the perfect time to share the photos from his first birthday party! When I started tossing around ideas for his party, I came across the theme of 'Winter ONE-derland' and I thought it was perfect for our little guy's December birthday. We ended up deciding to have his party at this awesome little play cafe vs. having it at our house and I'm SO glad we did that. All the kiddos had plenty of space to play and it was really nice not to have to deal with the cleanup before/after that goes along with a party :) Because we didn't have it at home, I didn't go as crazy with the Pinterest decorations as I initially planned, but we had a few festive wintery touches and I was really happy with how everything turned out. My amazing friend Kelsey was kind enough to take some photos during the party and they do such a perfect job of capturing all the details! So without further aideu, here is a look at Henry's first birthday :)

When it comes to parties, I've realized there are two main details that are really important to me - the invitations and the cake. I chose these sweet invitations from Minted and thought they perfectly set the tone for the day. I absolutely love how they turned out and got tons of compliments on them!
 I hung up all of the photos from his monthly updates :)
 He looked so sweet in his little plaid shirt and bow tie :)
As for the cake, or should I say cakes, they were the highlight of the party and I was absolutely THRILLED with how they turned out! I ordered the cakes from a husband and wife team called Tier. I had the opportunity to try some of their delicious macarons earlier this year, and after following them on Instagram and seeing what amazing work they do, I knew I wanted them to make the cake for Henry's party. I told them the party's overall theme and sent them a few inspiration photos and they created this masterpiece! It perfectly encompasses the winter ONE-derland theme, while also incorporating a rustic, Pacific Northwest vibe (and my love for dressing Henry in buffalo plaid). Henry's smash cake even had a little teddy bear shaped macaron on the top, which was too cute. The best part was that the cakes tasted even better then they looked! Henry's smash cake was funfetti cake with strawberry creme filling and the big cake was chocolate with Nutella cream filling. If you are in the Portland/Vancouver area and need a cake, I can't recommend Tier highly enough!
I printed some photos from Instagram from Henry's first year and had them on display on the frame that Cam built last year to hold our Christmas cards :) The only issue was I way underestimated the number of photos I printed and ran out of clothes pins...oh well!
For the favors, I ended up making some hot chocolate on a stick topped with homemade peppermint marshmallows (the recipes I used are linked) and I was really happy with how they turned out. Plus, I thought they were a good fit with the theme :)
Munching on some goldfish before cake time :)
Henry wasn't quite as in to the cake as I thought he'd be, I think he was a little confused at first...
But he got the hang of it pretty quickly and really enjoyed it :)
The birthday boy with Cameron's family after blowing out candles :)
(I took a lot more pictures of the people at the party with my cell phone, but since this post is already pretty long, I think I'll just save those for Henry's photo book!)
Love those little feet :)
I had to include one more shot of the cake, it was seriously stunning!
Thanks again to Minted for providing these darling invites for the party, they were perfect!
I'm so glad we could celebrate our little guy's big milestone in such a special way, we love you Henry!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Looking Back at 2015

Happy New Year everyone!
It's know it's a little belated, but we've been having some ice and snow here the past few days (which means activities get cancelled and no driving since Portland isn't really equipped to handle that weather) and as a result, I feel like I haven't quite gotten back to our normal routine yet.

Anyway, as much as I love the holiday season, I always really look forward to the clean slate and fresh start of a brand new year. I've got all these different goals for the year buzzing around in my mind, and I've been busy making lists of to-dos and trying to purge clutter from the house. I just really love all the extra motivation and focus that January brings, and I'm really excited for the year ahead.

But before we get too far in to 2016, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2015 because it truly was the best year yet! Watching Henry grow and change so much over the past twelve months has been incredible (you can see all his monthly updates here) and we're so thankful for the joy he's brought to our lives. Cameron and I have also really enjoyed growing into our new roles of mom and dad; there's definitely been some adjustment with me transitioning to staying home full time as well as some changes with Cameron's job where he's now working full-time out of a home office, but overall, things are really good! We by no means have this parenting thing figured out, but I feel like we've really settled into life as a family of three (well four, counting Lola of course) and it's a nice feeling!

In the past, I've done a 'year in review' post where I've linked to all my various posts from that year. But because I haven't been posting quite as regularly, I thought I'd just give a quick overview, along with a few photos from my phone, since that's the camera I used to capture most of 2015 :) 

We were still very much adjusting to life with a newborn at this point, but started to get in a groove with things a little more. Cameron had to go out of town for his work trip post-Henry, so my mom came out to stay with us and I feel like I really got a lot more comfortable taking Henry out of the house. Plus, it really helped that we had some nice sunny weather so we were able to get out for walks quite a bit! Here on the blog, I shared Henry's birth story, along with a recipe for some cookies I was making to help boost my milk supply.

Henry went on his first flight and had his first vacation in San Diego! There were some other firsts like Henry's first Valentine's Day, our first date night post-baby, and my first girls night out. We made a day trip to the Oregon Coast and I went to my first Hike it Baby event, which it made me realize just how many moms there are here in Portland! I also shared Henry's newborn photos on the blog :)

We took our first trip to visit my family in Michigan! Henry met lots of my friends and relatives and that trip took up a big part of the month. I also talked about my decision to stay home with Henry and shared his birth announcement.

  We celebrated Henry's first Easter, and we also took a family trip to Seattle and Vancouver. I attempted to get back into working out, and we had some friends come visit from Michigan and enjoyed showing them around Portland and the surrounding sights like Multnomah Falls.
Lots of nice weather and time outside in Portland, and I celebrated my first Mother's Day. We took another trip back to Michigan for my sister's bridal shower, and Cameron also started building the deck on our house!

 We took a day trip to Astoria, OR for our anniversary (which I sincerely was going to post about but the camera card with the photos got deleted before I had a chance...whoops!) and we went on some hikes in the Gorge. At the end of the month, we left for our trip to Europe! Our first stop was Paris and we had a great time exploring the city, Henry was a champ :)

We traveled from Paris to Strasbourg, France for my sister and Ben's wedding! We had a great time getting to see my brother-in-law's hometown, Strasbourg was very charming. Their wedding was beautiful and the reception was so much fun. After the wedding festivities, we traveled to Lake Como, Italy to finish out our Europe trip. (Also I realize I never shared any Europe pictures on the blog. I honestly meant to but I had soooo many photos that it seemed kind of daunting and then the rest of the year flew by. But who knows, maybe I still will?) Once we got home, we summer fun stuff like hiking and swimming in the pool, and we also took a weekend trip to Bend in Central Oregon.

Enjoyed the produce from our garden spent time on our deck. We also had some family photos taken. My parents came to visit Portland and we went down to wine country and the Coast :)

My sister and brother-in-law came to visit Portland over Labor Day weekend for a quick but fun visit. Henry and I did our first Hike It Baby 30 Challenge, which is where we made a goal to hike over 30 trail miles in 30 days, and so spent a lot of the month out hiking, including Oneota Gorge which had been on my list for awhile. Henry experienced his first Oktoberfest and we also traveled back to Michigan for another trip to visit my family and see friends.

I started going to a mom's group at church and we created a play area for Henry in our kitchen. Henry got to experience the pumpkin patch for the first time and he dressed up as a monkey for Halloween. We also ended up taking an unexpected trip back to Michigan for my grandpa's funeral.

Henry and I completed another Hike It Baby 30 Challenge, and managed to get outside quite a bit. We traveled to NYC to spend Thanksgiving with my family which was a really fun trip. I also attended two other Friendsgivings, plus we had a Thanksgiving with Cam's family when we got back from New York, so all in all, four Thanksgiving meals!

 I celebrated my 29th birthday and Henry celebrated his first birthday! We had a party for him with family and friends (and I am going to be sharing those pictures really soon!) and it was a lot of fun. Shortly after his first birthday though, Henry got Hand Foot and Mouth disease (I guess it's at an all time high right now in Portland) and then Cam and I also got sick. We spent a lot of December laying low inside the house, but thankfully we were all feeling better in time for Christmas. We had a nice Christmas morning at home with just the three of us, then we spent Christmas Day with Cam's family. (I also shared our Christmas card on the blog too!) This was one of the first years that we didn't travel over the holidays and it was kind of nice to have some relaxing time at home!

 For me, 2015 was a year full of lots of new friends, play dates, and keeping up with our very active baby boy, who seems like less and less of a baby every day. Looking back, I definitely prioritized putting more time and effort into growing my relationships with friends in real life vs. spending as much time on this blog as I have in the past, which is a choice I'm happy with. That said, this blog isn't going anywhere! It's definitely something that I still get a lot of enjoyment out of and so it's something I plan to continue in 2016. I greatly appreciate those of you who still read my posts, even though they are much more sporadic, and I'm hoping to get some of my blogging mojo back in the coming year :)

I hope everyone's new is off to a great start!


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