four brands I love.

Since hopping on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon (winter capsule coming soon!), I have started paying more attention to what clothing companies I support with my dollars. Here are four brands I discovered last year that I love and highly recommend: 11906337_852396371526216_270299125_n

1) Everlane

What they do best: modern basics

Why I love them: Everlane is known for their unique radical transparency. They have found the best factories in the world, and have personal relationships with the people creating their products. They are completely honest about their pricing structure and will tell you exactly how much it costs to make their products.

Products I have purchased and love: Ryan Tank, Linen Tank, Ryan Pocket Tee, Silk Tank, The Ponte Short Sleeve Dress

Products on my wishlist: Silk sleep set

Sign up here.

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2) Nisolo (<---get a $25 coupon)

What they do best: shoes, jewelry, bags

Why I love them: Every shoe is made by hand and is seen as a work of art. Their products are created with quality materials made to last. Their styles are simple, effortless, timeless, and made to live in.

Products I have purchased and loveEcuador Huarache Sandal

Products on my wishlist: all of the jewelry, Austin Smoke

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3) Seamly.co (<----get a $10 coupon)

What they do best: versatile, effortless clothing

Why I love them: Seamly products are created with surplus fabric, and sewn right here in the USA. They produce clothing responsibly, with thought and soul and care. A lot of the products can be worn different ways, which works very well for a capsule wardrobe because you get multiple looks from one garment.

Products I have purchased and love: The Convertible Pantsuit

Products on my wishlist: No Sweat Pants

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4) Brass Clothing

What they do best: dresses

Why I love them: Brass offers designer-quality dresses at the right price. Their styles are flattering, well-made, and neutral in color so you can easily style and accessorize them to your taste. Brass is all about great fit, and they'll even pay the tab at your local tailor if you need to get a dress hemmed.

Products I have and loveThe Navy A-Line (SO FLATTERING, and it has pockets!)

Products on my wishlist: the tank maxi, the shirt dress

I'll be back next week with my winter capsule! Have you discovered any new great brands recently?

the capsule wardrobe: five benefits.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, the capsule wardrobe is changing my life. I know, I know. That was dramatic. Sorry.

I am 1.5 months in to my nursing-friendly spring wardrobe, and here is everything you could possibly want to know about it:

1. Getting dressed is a breeze. I don't even think about it. I grab an outfit based on the weather and outing and it takes 10 seconds. I don't wonder if the clothes fit right, I don't stare at my closet for ten minutes before making a decision, I just grab and go. THINK OF HOW MUCH TIME I COULD SAVE OVER A DECADE OF THIS! I could write my first novel with that kind of extra time. I have never been aware of how much time I waste every single day trying to decide what to wear. I have two kids now---ain't nobody got time for that.

2. The less I have, the less I want. This has been the biggest (and most positive!) change for me with the capsule wardrobe. I haven't had a desire to shop, or a desire to buy new clothes. I feel overwhelmingly content. I'm not online shopping, or pinning clothes I don't need, or wandering the aisles of Target lusting over things. I have more than enough. If anything, I'm suddenly hyper-aware of how much pressure lies all around me to buy buy buy and have have have. Consumerism is alive and well in our culture and I am just so dang tired of being bombarded with messages about stuff stuff stuff. Let's wear what makes us feel good. Let's simplify the process. Let's be grateful for what we have and chill out on the cycle of more more more.

3. I have a better idea of what I like to wear and what looks good on me. Even within such a small number of clothing, I find myself gravitating towards the same few looks and items. I love my high rise skinny jeans and my slouchy tees. The more I pick and choose within limited options, the more I develop and embrace my personal style for this specific season: the one that involves chasing a toddler all day and nursing a baby around the clock. I love to get dressed up once or twice a week but the rest of the time, I'm down on the floor with my kids and I'm dressed like it. And it feels good to just.....own that.

4. I can see what my wardrobe is missing. A few times I have thought to myself, "It would be really nice if I had ________ (a denim sleeveless blouse, a few more form-fitting layering pieces). I'm thinking about clothes more intentionally and more specifically. I'm not shopping "just because" or buying aimlessly. I'm starting to think about my summer capsule wardrobe and can pinpoint specific items I'd love to have the next time around. It feels good (and financially responsible!) to curate a short list based on what my closet is lacking, instead of just adding to the masses. I'm finding it's a lot easier to assess your wardrobe as a whole when you can look at everything you own in one organized closet.

which brings me to....

5. I love having a clean closet. Let's be real. I have two kids, and my house is a mess 98% of the time. All day long I am cleaning up messes and dishes and attempting to put laundry away before Everett jumps on stacks of neatly folded t-shirts. Our house is a public space, it belongs to all of us. We all contribute to the mess in some way. But my half of the closet? That is a private space, and it only belongs to me. I can keep it clean 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And I do. Because it's easy. Because there are hardly any clothes in there now!

Notes for next time.... 

It's really important to LOVE every item in your capsule wardrobe. I've learned that I don't really love 1/3 of my current capsule (oops). If I stare at the same top ten days in a row and think, "I don't want to wear that," it probably doesn't belong in my closet.

It's also really important to take the weather into consideration. I made my capsule wardrobe during an unseasonably hot week, and I mistakenly assumed the rest of spring would be 85 degrees. I did not account for much variation. We've had a few random cold days and I've been....well....cold. Oops.

Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe? How'd it go?

a short rant about nursing bras.

Hey dad, I'm about to talk about boobs. Don't read this one, okay? Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I try not to complain a lot (somewhere, my husband is snort laughing.) But I need to get something off my chest. Pun intended.

WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THE UGLY NURSING BRAS?

This is certainly a first world problem, but there is a serious lack in the retail market and someone, somewhere, should immediately whip up a prototype and audition for Shark Tank because THIS IS A MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS IDEA.

Look. I'm not a fancy girl. By any means. I don't wear fancy bras when I'm not nursing (somewhere, my husband is nodding sadly.)

But apparently, the Nursing Bra Designers of the world have decided that breastfeeding is synonymous with being Amish. And I am not Amish. And I would like to find a good nursing bra that does not come up to my collar bone. Is that too much to ask?

Look. I don't need a fancy nursing bra. And I certainly don't need a sexy nursing bra.

I just need.....a normal, somewhat pretty, makes-me-feel-good-about-myself-and-a-tiny-bit-feminine nursing bra.

Is this too much to ask?

Two weeks ago I searched high and low via the Internet for a racerback nursing bra. It's 80 degrees outside and I own a lot of racerback tank tops. My search yielded two results: nursing sports bras and nursing sleeping bras. Huh? When I searched for "regular" racerback bras, my search yielded 72,841 results.

Victoria's Secret alone carries 237 types of racerback bras. WHAT.

Hey Victoria's Secret, can we talk for a sec? How is it even humanly possible that a store plastered with posters of boobs does NOT sell nursing bras? Am I crazy for thinking this is crazy? I don't even shop at your store all that often but I imagine you probably have a pretty loyal fan base. In fact, I'd be willing to bet large sums of money that you have a lot of loyal customers who, at some point in their life, will nurse babies. I'm super curious---where do you send them when that happens? What do you say to them?

"Oh, sorry momma. Our bras are for non-nursing boobs only. You can take your nursing boobs across the mall to the frumpy maternity store. Good luck!"

Huh? Hey Victoria's Secret, can I let you in on a secret? One of the prime times to buy new bras is when you're nursing. Most new mommas like to treat themselves to a few things after giving birth, like fancy yoga pants, a pretty nightgown, and, lo and behold---new nursing bras.

To put it simply: we need new bras. Our boobs are bigger. We must go bra shopping. Why are you excluding us?

I know you guys are all about the sex appeal. Your offer a plethora of "lace" and "push-up" and "cutout" and "fishnet" and "cheeky" options, guaranteed to bring heat to the bedroom. Is that what this is about? Is this about sex? Maintaining your sexy vibe?

I'm assuming you already know this, but do you know what sex can sometimes lead to?

BABIES.

And do you know how those babies sometimes eat?

FROM BOOBS.

And do you know what those boobs need?

AN EFFING GOOD NURSING BRA.

So really, VS, help a sister out. You have 237 racerback bras on your website, and I just want, like, ONE racerback nursing bra. You guys are supposed to be bra experts, so maybe you could put your money where your mouth is and make a nursing bra that doesn't suck.

Is that too much to ask?

In the meantime, I'll be spending my hard-earned money over at Nordstrom, because even though their in-store nursing bra selection is pitiful, they at least acknowledge the simple fact that my boobs are currently being used for more than just sex and filling out tank tops.

***

p.s. FYI - Nordstrom will convert any bra into a nursing bra for $16. Not exactly chump change, but if you bought new bras while you were pregnant to accommodate your new, larger bust, that might be a good option!

carson's birth announcement.

Carson birth announcement-1 Carson birth announcement-2 Carson birth announcement-3 Birth announcements, man. I just.....love them.

We used this design from Tiny Prints and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. I contemplated sending one birth announcement/Christmas card hybrid this year, but the over-achieving mom in me really needed for Carson to have his own announcement. You understand this, yes?

Speaking of Christmas cards, today is Cyber Monday and Tiny Prints is offering 40% off ALL CARDS with promo code CYBER40! No minimum. If you haven't ordered cards yet, carpe diem! I love this one, this one, and this one (in case you needed a suggestion).

p.s. Special thanks to Lee Brown Photography for taking these sweet pictures. See the rest here.

newborn faves.

NewbornFavorites 1. The 4moms rockaROO - Alternative titles for this product include "Where Carson Naps" and "Where Carson Hangs Out While I Take A Shower" and "How We Keep Carson Safe While Everett Is Jumping Off The Couch". This is my #1 newborn must-have item the second time around. We never had a swing for Everett and honestly, I have no idea how we survived. Carson spends hours a day in this thing. Basically, any time I cannot hold him/wear him, he's in the rockaROO. It's amazing. After I put Everett down for a nap every afternoon, I nurse Carson, swaddle him, and stick him in there so I can eat my turkey sandwich in peace. Most days he naps like that for 1.5-2 hours. The best part about the rockaROO? It's small and nice to look at, basically the opposite of all other baby swings.

2. Swaddleme Wraps - When expecting moms ask me what to register for, this is my first recommendation. Swaddleme wraps have saved our sleep, our sanity, and most importantly: our marriage. I cannot recommend them enough. Buy multiples in every size and thank me later.

3. Favorite Footed Jammies - When it comes to newborn jams, I love the ones that zip up (SO much better than dealing with buttons in the middle of the night!). Gap jammies last forever, hold up great in the wash, and are supa soft. Let's be real though---I'll probably buy anything that says "yay!" on it.

4. Puj tub - When Carson came home, he weighed a little over 5 pounds. That is teeny tiny, and almost impossible to bathe without the help of the puj tub. It fits perfectly in our small bathroom sink, and Carson loves the feeling of the water running over him. We also have the 4moms infant tub and plan to use that one when Carson outgrows the puj.

5. Ubbi Diaper Pail - You guys. It sounds gross but I am having a serious love affair with this diaper pail. The Ubbi was the most wanted item on my baby wishlist (thanks, Mom!) and I cannot say enough good things about it. It holds SO MANY DIAPERS. It's sleek and modern looking, doesn't smell, and you can use ANY bag inside. It's expensive, but totally worth the investment when you consider how much you use a diaper pail. We are still years away from being a diaper-free house so it made sense to get the best of the best. And really: this is the best of the best diaper pails, in my humble opinion.

6. Natural White Noise Machine - Long story short---my mom bought us this sound machine for Everett and we all slowly became obsessed with it. I knew I wanted another one for Carson's room and thankfully received one at my baby sprinkle (thanks, Lauren!). This thing is the real deal. No whale sounds, no heartbeats, no ocean waves or creepy frog noises. Just straight up, vacuum-like, put-you-to-sleep, white noise. Cue: angels singing during naptime. Worth every penny and then some.

7. Aden + Anais Muslin Burpy Bibs - My kids are major spitter-uppers. Like, after every feeding, they spit up half of what they just ate. It's gross. There is spit-up everywhere: on me, on my clothes, on them, on their clothes, on the bed, on the couch, on the floor, in the swing. Needless to say, we have burp cloths all over the house. Five in every room at all times. One under Carson's head at all times. I wash about 30 of them a week, over and over again. These burpy bibs are the best ones I have found. They are super absorbent, super thick, last through multiple spit-up attacks, and wash VERY well. They also have snaps so you can use them as bibs (brilliant!). I have two of these and will definitely be ordering some more.

8. The Joovy Boob Bottle - I saved a lot of stuff from Everett, but somehow all of our bottles went missing. When Carson was four days old, we took him to the baby store (before my panic attack at the drive-thru) and picked up one of these bottles. I hadn't done any research and couldn't remember what kind of bottles we used for Everett, so I ended up asking the store manager for advice. He's helped up multiple times with various purchases and I trust his opinion so when he recommended the Joovy bottle ("It's the next best thing to a boob!"), I was sold. Sure enough, the first time we gave Carson a bottle (at four weeks), he took it just fine. When it comes to things like bottles and pacifiers, I really don't have a strong preference, so long as my kid takes it. The Joovy bottle is 100% Carson approved, if that means anything to you.

Any other newborn faves I should know about?

third trimester faves.

Thirdtrimesterfavorites2 1. Jellyfish leather t-bar flats - Last month, ASOS was having a huuuuge sale, and I decided to treat myself to something that would surely fit at this point in pregnancy: shoes. At 8.5 months pregnant, I'm pretty much wearing flats exclusively, and these just so happen to look great with everything.

2. Split shoulder tee - You know where I'm not gaining weight these days? My shoulders. Might as well show those bad boys off. (Seriously though, this shirt is super flattering and one of my faves this month.)

3. ASOS shapewear leggings - We went to Santa Cruz a couple weekends ago---you know, where it's not 103 degrees---and I was finally able to bust out my favorite maternity leggings. These fit like a dream, and I plan to wear them all winter long while my body slowly shrinks back to normal.

4. Dr. Jart BB cream - I have terrible skin when I'm pregnant. Terrible. My skin gets super oily and I break out a lot more than usual. This is my go-to "face base" and I cannot recommend it enough. I got a sample of this in my Birchbox a year ago, and have been hooked ever since. Some days I add a light layer of foundation on top, but most of the time I just apply concealer under my eyes and I'm good to go!

5. Unisom - Real talk: I am addicted to sleeping pills. Okay, not really, but kind of. I have legit insomnia when I am pregnant. As in---I will wake up at 3am and watch TV for two hours on the couch, eating bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios like it's my job. And then I'll work on my laptop until everyone else wakes up, at which point I'll be a walking zombie for the rest of the day. It's not cute. After complaining to my midwife, she suggested I try Unisom and it has been a LIFESAVER this pregnancy. I take half a tablet almost every night and have been sleeping like a dream. This is probably my #1 pregnancy staple this time around.

6. MAMA skinny jeans - Confession: this was an impulse buy last week. I don't know, I got caught up in the Pumpkin Spice Latte hype or something. It's still way too hot to wear jeans but I tried these on in the fitting room and couldn't believe how well they fit. I couldn't justify buying a "real" new pair of jeans this fall/winter since I know my body will be changing so much, but $35 for skinny jeans with a stretchy waistband seemed like a reasonable purchase. Happy sweater weather to me.

7. Floral nightgown - Last month I went shopping with my friend Christina who is due one week before me. We treated ourselves to new nursing bras, new sweatpants, and pretty new nightgowns to bring to the hospital. I wear this every single night and basically want to live in it. Plus! It has nursing straps, which is perfect for middle-of-the-night feedings.

This officially concludes the roundups of pregnancy faves, but in case you missed em, I am still enjoying all of these as well: first trimester faves // second trimester faves

that one time we bought a bed off amazon.

Where My Heart Resides-1 Where My Heart Resides-2 Where My Heart Resides-3 Where My Heart Resides-4 Where My Heart Resides-5 Where My Heart Resides-6 Where My Heart Resides-7As promised, I'm here to report back on the bed we bought from Amazon. In a nutshell: it's awesome.

Aside from taking one million years to get here (okay, more like 6-8 weeks), Brett was able to put it together in one afternoon (he's a stud), and we have been happy ever since. I buy a lot of things off Amazon: books, diapers, beauty products, baby products, Christmas gifts, camera gear, the list goes on and on. They almost always have the best price and I'm a total sucker for free shipping.

But a bed? Who buys a new bed off Amazon?!

This girl. 

Let the bedroom makeover commence.

p.s. We paid $596 so keep your eye on the price, it might drop again. White pinched duvet cover is from Target.

things are about to get busy up in here.

toddler busy bag Last summer I visited my friend Lesley shortly after her second baby Owen was born. We sat on her couch chit-chatting about life and motherhood, when he started to cry. As she got ready to nurse him, her toddler Anna promptly asked for the "nursing bag". Lesley nodded in approval and minutes later Anna reappeared with a special bag full of toys and books that she only had access to while Lesley was breastfeeding. And then she sat on the floor, quietly, while Lesley nursed and we continued to talk.

Brilliant.

Likewise, we have a special bin of toys in Everett's closet that he is only allowed to play with during independent play time. And let me tell you: there is something magical about toys that are only available some of the time. Every morning when I pull that bin out, Everett's face lights up like he's never seen those toys before. He picks a few handfuls to dump into his crib, and plays for 30-45 minutes in his room by himself.

Magic I tell you.

Now that we're 12 weeks out from adding another baby to our clan (!!!), I'm starting to get our ducks in a row. We've got a nursery to decorate, a toddler bed to transition into, and a nursing bag to create.

Here's what I have planned for ours so far:

1. Drawstring backpack ($5.60) - Simple, multi-functional, classic. And you can't beat the price.

2. Finger puppets ($4.99) - These are just plain cute. Great for encouraging imaginative play.

3. Shape puzzle ($10) - Everett is obsessed with puzzles, and I love that this one teaches shapes and colors. Plus, it's the perfect size for our little bag. Use promo code wmHEARTr for 10% off and check out Becky's blog here

4. Wooden tow truck ($40) - If there is one thing we can never have enough of, it's toy cars and trucks. This little set comes with a tow truck, car, and two little "passengers" to add to the fun. Best of all? They're handcrafted in the good ole USA. Use promo code SUMMER10 for 10% off any purchase through the end of August. 

5. Touch and feel flashcards ($8.99) - We have the "first words" version of these flashcards and Everett still loves them one year later. Another set would be a guaranteed win.

6. String-a-farm ($12.99) - Encourages fine motor skills and manual dexterity, plus you can just play with the animals individually. Cute, cute.

7. Classic ball and cup game ($6) - I'm not sure if Everett would be able to do this, but his athletic ability and hand/eye coordination never ceases to amaze me. At any rate, he'd have a blast trying. Handcrafted in the USA and available in multiple colors (from all natural dyes). Use promo code GADD10 for 10% your purchase. 

8. Wooden balancing game ($18) - Helps build intuition about weight, balance, and motion. You pick your own animals and wood (so many options!). Handcrafted in USA from American hardwood. Use promo code "Ashlee" for 10% off through the end of August. 

9. Latches board ($21.08) - Everyone I know who has one of these, raves about it. Plus it's the #1 bestseller in "pegged puzzles" on Amazon so I'm sold.

Any other ideas for a busy bag? Do tell.