Kelly Christakos Stivers
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Tuesday
Jul262016

34 weeks

I know I sound like a broken record, but this pregnancy is flying by at the speed of light!  Last weekend, I hit 34 weeks and have officially been forced to slow it down a notch.  I've been going non-stop, as though a baby isn't going to be making its way out of my body in the next six weeks or so and even though there is so much yet to be done before my little bear makes his debut, I'm thankful for the change of pace.  Lately, I've been spending my days in the pool, watching movies and making popsicles with my little miss.  This time with just her is so bittersweet; I'm so excited to meet my little guy but I'm sad that the days of just my girl and I are numbered, so I'm soaking up every single minute!  Here are a few other things that have been making this stage of pregnancy a little more bearable lately:

I started showing a lot earlier this time around than I did with Lydia, so my plan of making it through the summer in maxi skirts and the few tanks I wore when pregnant last time went right out the window.  I am not a big fan of maternity clothing and personally hate to spend money on pieces that I'll be wearing for such a short period of time, but this bump is no joke, so a few weeks ago, I broke down and bought a few pieces to last me through the next month or so.  This maternity maxi tank dress from Old Navy is so comfortable, so soft and so flattering; it can be dressed up or down and is super lightweight.  My only complaint is that it only comes in black and charcoal - I wish it was available in more colors!

The heat and humidity has been making me nauseous, even though it seems like all I do all day is drink my weight in water and run back and forth to the bathroom to pee.  A nutritionist friend recommended trying this Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder and it has been a GODSEND!  It's sugar free and all natural and completely got rid of my nausea! 

This Sally Hansen Airbrush Leg spray is a new favorite, too.  It's so much easier to apply than using a mitt and foam like I've been doing forever, it gives great color and comes off easily with soap and water. 

I tried this Jason Gentle Basics Facial Cleanser on a whim a few weeks ago after reading that it's free of chemical-laden ingredients that are present in so many other cleansers.  It's super gentle and the price can't be beat!

I'm all about bright, bold, coral/red nail colors lately (they look especially amazing with those fake tanned stems!) This summer I've been exclusively wearing Essie's Clambake

These all natural tropical papaya pills are still my go-to for indigestion, which thankfully doesn't happen that often anymore, but it's nice to have them handy when I need them.

What are some must-haves that have helped you in the last trimester?

Monday
Jul252016

transitioning from a crib to a big girl bed

When I was pregnant with Lydia, long before I even knew I was actually having a little girl, all I could think about was a nursery centered around a gold Jenny Lind-style crib.  The day we had our ultrasound which, indeed, confirmed our little bundle was a baby girl, I ordered this crib and immediately had it painted Champagne Toast by Ralph Lauren Regent Metallics.  It was - and still is - my favorite part of Lydia's nursery. 

Well, here we are two and a half years later (I still can't wrap my head around how fast the time went) and she's not only starting to run out of room in her crib, but we are also getting closer to needing it for baby bear's nursery. The thing is, even though she is 2.5 she isn't exactly ready for a big girl bed. My child has always been super curious about everything and wants to be around us 24/7 so, even though we go through our whole routine every night before bed, it still takes her at least 30 minutes most nights (and sometimes more) to settle herself once we leave the room (and that entails playing with her lovies in her crib, talking to herself and looking straight at the monitor and yelling for momma to come get her). 

I know the only way she could sleep in her big girl bed would be if I were to lay in there with her until she falls asleep, otherwise, she would be all over the room, pulling books and toys out and having herself a grand old time, but I feel like doing that would defeat all my efforts over the years to get her sleeping through the night and not having to run in there every time she kicks the covers off or semi wakes up for a minute before drifting back off to sleep.  I know she is about to undergo some serious adjustments once the baby gets here and I feel like sticking to routine as much as possible would help her tremendously, but I also know I need to start transitioning her slowly, as well. 

Luckily, she LOVES her big girl bed that Daddy made for her room before she was born!  (You can find the plans we used to make it here; it's aptly named the "Lydia" bed)  We read books there and lay together after reading stories and saying our prayers at night, talking about all the fun things we did that day, but she very rarely ever asks to stay and sleep in it....

With baby boy making his debut in the next six weeks or so, it just doesn't make sense to buy another crib, so I figure I will start out by getting her to take naps in her daybed.  Any suggestions of how to make that transition easily?  And, more importantly, how to get her to stay in it? Or, am I crazy and I should just leave her sleep in her crib for as long as she wants?

Hope you're all off to a great start this week!

Thursday
Jul212016

gold leaf oyster salt cellars

Summer is my favorite time to entertain but even though we haven't been hosting as much as we normally do this time of year (and while the rest of my house gets neglected due to all the fun we've been having) I've been making it a point to at least set out my favorite woven chargers, softest linen napkins and newly purchased bamboo flatware to make dinner for just the three of us a little more special every day.  I was so inspired by this gorgeous table setting I posted a couple weeks ago and, after noticing a fabulous pair of golden oyster salt cellars in the mix, I decided to bring a little of the sea to our table and make some myself.  I know lately I've proclaimed that every DIY I've done is the easiest in the history of ever, but this one seriously is!  And the best part is that these little beauties also make a wonderful hostess gift idea for summer barbeques and get togethers!  I know there's a ton of tutorials out there for this but here's how I did mine:

You'll need:

Oyster shells

Paint brush

Liquid gold leaf (I used Classic Gold)

Food safe top coat

SCRUB.  The most important and time consuming part is cleaning the shells.  If you get yours from a restaurant or the beach, you want to make sure you scrub the heck out of them.  I soaked mine in a bucket of 3 parts water and 1 part bleach overnight and then laid them out on the driveway for a few days in the sun.  I then used a scrub brush and some Seventh Generation dish soap to clean them again. 

PAINT. Once they're dry, use a stiff, flat paint brush to apply your liquid gold leaf, making sure to paint all the way to the edges.  I applied three coats, letting each one dry completely in between.

TOP COAT. Spray your food safe top coat and let dry overnight.

Aren't they pretty?

I found the porcelain caviar spoons at Sur La Table for $1 each (sorry, I couldn't find a link online!)

 Happy painting!!

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Wednesday
Jul202016

book storage solutions for the kiddos

Surface space is something we've always been short on in Lydia's nursery and with her ever-growing collection of books, I've been trying to find a way to store them all where they're easily accessible and not ripping the covers.  Lately, we've been using baskets to corral them because we don't have room for a bookshelf until we move some of her furniture to bear cub's nursery.  I'm chomping at the bit to get her proper storage for her books and all the pretty, girly things to display that I've been hoarding since I was pregnant with her, so until we can get a bookshelf in here, I've been on the hunt for great ways to store children's books.  Here are a few I'm loving; most of these are great space savers for those of us that don't have space for extra furniture or a playroom!

GALLERY LEDGE I love the simple, clean look of ledges and how positioning the books facing out adds a pop of color to a room and especially how it makes it much easier to choose books to read! Target, Ikea, even Walmart all offer inexpensive picture ledges that can double for children's books:

Monika Hibbs

Amber Interiors

Lonny

PLASTIC GREETING CARD CASES These blend right into the wall and let the books really take center stage.  Plus, they're super inexpensive (you can find them for next to nothing at the Container Store and Staples!)

Ibie Falcusan via Design Sponge

READING NOOK If only we had room in our house for a little book nook - I'd cozy it up with curtains, a daybed and the fluffiest pillows I could find and Lydia and I would hole up all day long!  Even if you don't have space for a built-in, you can carve out a little corner of the nursery or living room - hang some art, throw down a cozy rug and add a basket for books!

Ann Wolf via House Beautiful

via

via

BOOKSHELVES  We may not have room for book cases right now, but they definitely are my favorite option for kid spaces - I love to mix books with keepsakes, framed family photos and even small toys.  It's a great way to add interest, color and personality while at the same time keeping everything contained in one space and not scattered all over the room:

Amy Meier Design

designstiles via SMP

Erin Gates

FUN AND UNIQUE OBJECTS.  The sky's the limit when you don't have room for any additional furniture or book nooks - baskets, a wagon, a vintage baby bassinet, a wooden boat are not only adorable, but super handy for grabbing a treasured book and curling up with your little:

The Little Umbrella

 

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Tuesday
Jul192016

4 easy steps to amazing window boxes

I'm dying for a trip to Charleston.....buuuuuut with the heat and humidity being as bad as it is, my very pregnant self is just going to have to wait for much cooler temps for a visit to the Holy City.  If you guys have been reading here for a while, you know I fell head over heels in love with Charleston the first time we ever set foot on its cobble stone streets years ago.  And even though we've been back more times than I can count, I still bring along my camera every time we go to snap pictures of my favorite houses, gardens and, of course, the window boxes. Oh, those beautiful window boxes...there isn't a house in sight that doesn't boast them, and every one is always spilling over with petunias, sweet potato vine, asparagus fern, ivy, lantana, verbena you name it.  I love walking by some of my favorite homes and seeing how they've changed up the blooms and plants for the season and I always go home with a ton of new ideas for flower and color combinations!  In fact, the very first thing I did before I even unpacked my bags the first time I ever visited Charleston was head out to Home Depot to buy two window boxes for the front of our last house! 

I posted my go-to tips for amazing pots earlier this spring (you can read about it here) and even though you've all seen my pictures of many gorgeous window boxes from past trips to Charleston, I thought I would share some of them again to accompany a few more tips that helped keep my window boxes in top form, too! 

Pick a complimentary color scheme.

I like to look for plants and flowers that compliment the color of my house, surrounding gardens and landscaping for the best impact. My house is gray with white trim, with a black front door and shutters and lots of pink blooms all over the rest of my landscaping, so I always look for blooms in different shades of pink as well as foliage in bright and lime green for the most drama and a cohesive look.

Mix it up. 

 I always follow the rule of three whenever I plant a pot or flower box: one taller, bushy plant or bloom for height (think liriope, geraniums or ferns), one trailing (lantana, ivy, sweet potato vine) and one medium-sized one to fill in the spaces between the two (like petunias, purple queen, impatiens).  Mixing in flowers and foliage add texture and interest, too!

Good drainage is key. 

My favorite window boxes are the wrought iron ones with a natural coco lining because they're available at every hardware store, they're much more budget-friendly (and prettier!) that some of the fake, composite versions and, the best part, is that you don't have to worry about drilling holes for drainage! (If there is no place for water to escape, the roots will rot and your plants will die).

Use a quality, organic potting mix + fertilizer. 

Good soil makes all the difference between big, beautiful blooms and sad, stringy plants.  Whenever I plant pots or window boxes, I like to mix in Jolly Gardener Soil Conditioner with Fertilome Azalea, Rhododenron and Camellia food and a handful of pelletized lime for extra oomph.  This trio has never failed me yet!

 

 

 

 

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