09 November 2017

Blingy Bows

Seriously swooning over this look featured on Shelter's Crushing Velvet post! That Smythe blazer, which I've posted about here is a bit pricey but it's a classic practical piece that will last a decade and go with everything. If Kate wears it, you know you're in good company! The blazer in plush velvet paired with the glam jeweled bow is a perfect holiday look.

And, yay, for bows! First spotted on the runway for fall 2015 and again noted in Harper's Bazaar this fall, it's a look that isn't just for fashion models. I've been throwing my hair back in a pony tail and adding a simple black bow on bad hair days for years. It's an easy trick to tame the fly-aways or skip a day of shampooing.

FOUND! Get it here. After searching high and low for the jeweled barrette (sold out at Nordstrom for months), I happened to be checking out one of my regular go-to sources and saw that embellished beauty, now 25% off! 

What runway to everyday looks have you tried or will you jump onboard with in the upcoming season? Vogue reports that the top beauty/fashion/makeup trends for Spring 2018 include red lips (I'll give it a go) and body positivity and diversity-- Hear, hear! 

"That real-world refresh gave rise to trends both playful and practical, melding a new I-woke-up-like-this ease with a more overt riff on glamour." 

02 November 2017

Say Cheese: Five Tips for Family Photos

'Tis the season when lots of mamas are starting to think about the holidays. I mean, once Halloween is over, you might as well embrace it! You can't miss all things Christmas in the stores; your inbox is full of sale emails, and every other blog post is a gift guide.

Take away the commercial chaos, and the holidays for me are about connection. One of the things I most look forward to about the season is holiday cards. Some might consider it an outdated tradition (or hassle!), but when so much interaction is online these days, I get all giddy when I open the mailbox and have personal notes or cards. Social media may make us feel connected in the moment, but there's something special about a delivery from the postman.

The photos of friends and loved ones is by far the best part of the whole Christmas card experience. Yup, I have friends who post snaps of their kids nearly every day. We all do. But there is magic that goes into the making of the holiday card photos!

My first family holiday card experience was a total parent fail! But we've come a long way since that first photo shoot with Sweet P.  When she was about three months old, Grammie and I took the sweet doll baby to a photo studio for her picture. Little did I know, her very fancy red and green plaid dress had a very scratchy crinoline petticoat underneath. She cried the whole time, and the photographer couldn't get a single picture. What a miserable experience for everyone-- and the guilt I felt for dressing her up in that silly dress was awful!

After the failed attempt at getting pictures taken in the studio, we ended up getting a few okay snaps from a staged at home shoot. But by the time we finally had our pictures, it was too late to order any cards printed and send them in time for Christmas.

Fortunately, I learned from the first year, and last year was a lot easier! We planned in advance and set up time with our uber talented team of photographers that we worked with for Sweet P's newborn photos and several other sessions. Capital Region friends-- Ashley Brown and her assistant, Kristen, specialize in photographing children and their families. These ladies are true pros, and you will TREASURE your photos.

Working with Ashley and Kristen, I've learned a few tips to help make your Christmas photo session easier...

Start with neutrals - As someone that loves color and pattern, I'm conscious of choosing clothing that's  too bold or bright. Select grays, beige, white, black and save the pops of color for accessories. Also consider choosing clothing in the same tones so outfits compliment one another.


Kids are the stars of the show, so give them all of the attention by concentrating color and patterns in their outfits. But be careful of crazy patterns, mixing patterns or horizontal stripes or textures to avoid the photo looking busy or distracting.

                                                                    Leopard print is a neutral!

And if you want to go for seasonal colors, you can find inspiration for subtle complimentary colors on Pinterest.

Prepare, prepare, prepare-  Try outfits on ahead of time (learn from my mistake!) and bring a backup outfits especially if you're going off site or to the studio for photos with a little. Spit up and blow outs happen. 

Bring accessories and props- In addition to the required toddler snacks (we're not above bribing Sweet P with M & Ms), take along favorite blankets, loveys, hats and mittens, or a special toy for the photographer to incorporate into the pics. 

 Timing is everything. Time the shoot around naps and meals when kids are rested, content and cooperative. If you're taking photos outside, the photographer can advise you about the best time of day for maximizing natural light. 

Have fun! Remember life happens, but it doesn't have to be stressful and overwhelming. The day that we had our most recent family photo shoot, we woke up to a plumbing emergency (i.e. no water...) After the Sailor fortunately "fixed" the problem, we were running very late. Pip wouldn't nap beforehand, and she was going through a Dada-only phase (Heartbreaking... Thank goodness it only lasted for a short time!)

Despite feeling defeated and blinking back tears that day, I did my best to make P laugh and relax into her normal behavior- acting happy and being silly! I bounced her in the air, played peek-a-boo behind a tree, and chased after a butterfly with P all while forgetting that there was someone watching and snapping away. Trust that your photographer will freeze those moments of contentment and joy for you to remember.


18 October 2017

This and That

Happy Fall, friends! It has been forever since I last did an update. Too little time with a toddler on the go! It is fun, but Sweet P needs constant entertainment. We've had fun packed weekends shopping at the mall (maybe NBD for some, but we never take family shopping trips...for good reason!), stocking up on yummy food at Trader Joe's , a family photo session, a trip to the pumpkin patch/orchard, an outing to the aquarium, a road trip to Great Barrington to visit friends and pick apples, arts and crafts on rainy days and last but not least, an early Halloween party at the club. Throw in some work travel for me, and it's been a busy month or so!

23 September 2017

Sweet P at ...25 Months

Oops-- little late on this update. Actually, I'd originally posted all of Sweet P's updates to the Shutterfly share sites, and I did get it up there on time. But does anyone else find that site really difficult to use??? It was great when it came time to printing photo books or photo gifts- All of the pics were in one place and organized chronologically. So many people that I invited to view the photos couldn't log in though. If any readers have suggestions for alternative photo sharing sites that also make it easy to create books and other photo gifts, please share in the comments!  

As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe that Pippa is TWO! She continues to fill our hearts with unimaginable joy and love even as she enters the so-called "Terrible Twos.” Pip’s big personality grows with every day— and we are blessed to have a silly, spunky, sweet girl. 

23 August 2017

Back to our regularly scheduled programming

Hi friends and happy (almost end of) August! Whoa, does time fly! I had no idea my little summer "sabbatical" would turn into two months off from blogging. During that time, I took a step back from the online world, cut out a lot of "optional" activities, and created more time to focus on family and self-care (more on that later!).

Here are the highlights of Summer 2017:

15 June 2017

Sweet P at Twenty-One Months

It feels like a long time since I last did an update on P. In a matter of months, Pippa has transformed from an infant into a spirited, strong-willed toddler. Pip's favorite word is "no," and she likes to be the boss. She directs Mom and Dad to "sit" and "play," but she nothing makes her happier than when she can get others to laugh. We can't get enough of her giggle and wide grin!

01 June 2017

Rabbit Rabbit and Green Spaces

Rabbit, Rabbit! Happy June 1st! I'm superstitious, and I'll try anything for a little luck.

What's the origin of Rabbit, Rabbit?

It's been awhile since my last post so I've got a whole bunch of random goodness to share soon! But let's start with some outdoor eye candy for today.

Again this year, we're still working to improve our lawn game. Never. Ending. Struggle. Because we have so many pine trees and so much shade, it's nearly impossible to grow grass. We hired a lawn service this year, which I thought would transform the yard into carpets of dewy blades that dance in the sunlight. No such luck yet!

I recently stumbled upon landscape architect Michael Derrig's work and found myself dreaming of grade changes, stonewalls, tranquil seating areas and woodland gardens in our yard. Take a look through Michael's portfolio over at Landscape Details and be transported to green spaces that couple intrinsic beauty with deliberate design in the most magical ways.

19 May 2017

Functional, Fashionable and Fancy

Happy Fri-yay, Friends! We're finally getting some summer weather around here, and I couldn't be happier about it. People complain about the cold for months and then when we finally get some nice weather, all you hear is, "It's soooo hot." I live for the sunshine and heat! Anyway, here are a few Friday Finds to kick off the weekend.

Graphic Image Summer Python Collection
These eye-catching high-end desk and travel accessories come in a variety of pastels. Boasting utility, they're perfect for staying organized on the go. Now I only wish that they made handbags in the pretty hued embossed leather-- Gigi New York handbags, is a sister company, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they too launch a Summer Collection.

Dallas based fashion blogger, Lo Murphy, first caught my attention on Instagram with this  darling white eyelet dress (sadly, it's sold out!) Her style is fun, feminine AND budget friendly. She partners with Nordstrom, Chicwish and Banana Republic, making many of her outfits accessible to all. 

I also love this one shoulder top paired with JCrew's let-out hem denim skirt. A white denim skirt is always on rotation in my summer wardrobe, and this one has a raw edge that gives it a little style. 

I am obsessed with these beautiful and functional ceramic pieces from Monica Porter, founder of Montes Doggett. These simple yet elegant handmade dishes and bowls are great for everyday-- dishwasher and microwave safe-- but there are some really stunning pieces that could dress up a table for a fancier occasion. These are going on my wishlist! 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

09 May 2017

Weekend Activities and Entertaining a Toddler

Good morning, friends! I've been missing in action the past couple of weeks for good reason! There have been a million and one blog post ideas running through my head but just not enough hours in the day to keep up! So...here's a photo dump to catch up on what's been happening!

We played tourists in Saratoga this weekend-- which was a total bust! We intended to see a performance of the Spa City Ballet and listen to Mother Goose nursery rhymes at the library, but we arrived a little late and missed the whole performance. Pip had fun playing in the kids' room anyway.

18 April 2017

Our Easter

Just popping in to share a few snaps from our Easter weekend. Pippa had a blast and was much more "into" the bunny and hunting for eggs than I ever imagined that she would be at this age.

If anyone saw my late night Instagram post from last week, it's a miracle that I was able to put together little teacher gifts in time for P to deliver them Friday morning. I waited until the last minute to do my crafts, and it was a comedy of errors-- right down to the flower vases leaking everywhere!

We spent Saturday at a neighborhood egg hunt, coloring eggs, and running errands. And Easter Sunday was a perfect family day! Pip loved finding her eggs filled with stickers, M & Ms, goldfish and more! The bunny only hid a few since we didn't realize how excited she would be by searching for them-- If only I had known! Each time P found one, it truly was like finding a treasure for her! 

The basket from the bunny had very little candy but lots of other good stuff-- unicorn bandaids ("stickers"- the kid is obsessed!), nesting animals, tot cups, books, pretty pastel outfits and a beach towel and sunglasses and finger puppets. The real hits were an Elmo snack set and Mega Blocks. Score one for the Easter bunny!  

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and is enjoying the week! 

13 April 2017

Five Ways to Find More Time

Hey there! Can hardly believe that it's been two weeks since I last checked in. Life is BUSY for everyone...

Do you feel like there are never enough hours in the day or enough days in the week to complete your TO DO list? Despite my best efforts at time management, I feel like I'm constantly trying to beat the clock and jam more into every day. I need to find more time to complete my to-do list AND to do the things that bring me joy.

30 March 2017

Three Spring Trends to Try and Giveaway Winner

I don't know about you, but I'm so tired of my winter wardrobe of heavy fabrics and drab colors when spring time rolls around. I've been looking for inspiration for a wardrobe refresh...

And an email from JCrew popped up in my inbox yesterday morning that caught my eye...
The catchy subject line, "Un-boring Neutrals"brought me to these super stylish, bold leopard print pants!

So true- Leopard print is a neutral! I wear animal prints with solids, plaids, stripes, you name it! Usually it's everywhere in the fall, but I love me some leopard print for spring. 

How about that ruffled waist band that gives these a feminine twist? All of the reviews on the JCrew site are positive but I'm a little hesitant since they're linen. Wondering if the waistband ends up feeling bulky. I'd love it if someone who bought them could leave a comment with their honest opinion!

Dying to try an off the shoulder top this spring/summer! I really was into the look last summer, but since I was still pumping for P, there was NO way I was going to struggle with a strapless bra all day! Bring it on this year. I'm loving this dressier look with the top tucked into slim-fitting jeans. It could still be work appropriate if the top was pulled up over the shoulders for a day-time look.

This off the shoulder style with ties comes in an unexpectedly fun emerald. While they do offer bright colors, I find that their color palette tends to be the same -- bright red, coral, chartreuse. I rarely see this beautiful green from JCrew. Reminds me of my favorite Pantone Color of the Year (2013). 

No list of spring "trends" would be complete without stripes! Not a trend but a MUST have, as recognized by JCrew's clever made up holiday,  National Stripes Day! Celebrate in style on March 31st by wearing one of their many banded beauties. Chances are that I'll be sporting a favorite boat neck t-shirt or navy and white striped sweater-- It is still freezing here!-- But I am dying over this SEERSUCKER jumpsuit for warmer weather.

Congrats to Ash from Plumtastic, the winner of the Natural Products// Puracy Body Wash & Alba Coconut Moisturizer giveaway. Please email me at erin.desantis@gmail.com with your mailing address! 

22 March 2017

Catching Up with Eats, Books and Happenings

Happy Spring! It's Wednesday morning, but I'm just getting around to popping in with a photo dump from last weekend. It was so nice to see the sun and hear the birds tweeting, and this week has brought very welcome warm weather. It changes everything around here!

The Sailor surprised me on St. Patrick's Day with a traditional Irish meal of grilled salmon and colcannon potatoes (mashed potatoes with kale, butter and milk-- Alton Brown puts whiskey in his recipe -- thankfully the Sailor didn't put any in ours. They were just a creamy delicious treat.) And I received a very thoughtful St. Patrick's Day gift from the man. I've been listening to bits and pieces of Tim Ferris' podcast, and one of his books is on my Library List. So the Sailor picked up a copy of Tim Ferris Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Habits and Routines of Billionaire, Icons and World Class Performers for me. Collective wisdom to inspire and motive-- yes, please.

Pip played in the snow AGAIN both days. The girl is OBSESSED with wearing her snowsuit-- although I suppose if it came in adult sizes I would be too!

So snuggly. On Sunday, we hit the Adirondack Sports Summer Expo and had lunch at Druthers in Saratoga. With kayaks, bikes, hiking, travel destinations and healthy living vendors, I was in my zone. The best part though is that it inspired me to get back to running, and I've signed up for a 5k to motivate me. In all honesty, my mileage has dropped a LOT but I've maintained a fair level of conditioning. If nothing else, knowing I have a race coming up will force me to kick my runs up a notch in intensity even if I don't have time for the miles.

Don't forget -- 3 more days to enter the giveaway for all natural beauty products! Enter to win by leaving a blog post comment with your favorite product or tweet about the giveaway! 

17 March 2017

Four Beauty Products You NEED Now

Yes, you NEED more beauty products...Especially if you live in the northeast and are "weathering" the cold, dry air from Stella. It might seem like sunscreen season may never arrive here, but moisturizers are essential now. I've found the perfect, tropical scented moisturizers and more to make you feel like you've escaped to the islands...even if it's only for a few minutes!

Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom and leave a comment for a chance to win Puracy Citrus & Sea Salt Body Wash and Alba Coconut Rescue! 

When I was pregnant Sweet P, like most moms to be, I was very conscious of what I put in and on my body. Most-- 85% of beauty products-- are filled with parabens, chemical compounds that mimic estrogen. Did you know that on average, we use between six and twelve beauty products every day? It's not just about makeup either .... consider toothpaste, body lotion, face lotion, sunscreen, deodorant and the list continues.  When stored in the body,  these chemicals can have a cumulative effect, increasing the risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Concerning, no? 

Then when Sweet P arrived, I reverted to a "whatever-works" routine. I would grab a bottle or jar of any moisturizer in pretty packaging that appealed to me while rushing through Target or CVS. As far as cosmetics go, I made it a point to take care of myself and look presentable. But I certainly didn't have time to research or deliberate over ingredients in eye shadow or whether or not it could maybe be toxic after twenty years of wear.

I gave myself a pass as a new mom-- heck, at least I was making an attempt to do hair and make-up every day. And as any new mom knows, that in itself is a victory! With the new year though, I decided I was ready to make a change and re-commit to all natural beauty products. It's been a process of tossing the old and trying new products, but I'm finally ready to share a few of my new favorite products. 

06 March 2017

Baked with Love: Healthy Muffins & Breakfast Bars

Here to share two great breakfast options for you and your kiddos! These two recipes are filling and healthy but taste great too. During your meal prep for the week, take an extra 30 minutes to whip up a batch or two. You'll have peace of mind knowing that your family has at least started out the day the right way.

03 March 2017

Handbag Heaven

Hey, ladies! Before adopting my whole simplifying/minimizing philosophy, I was a handbag lover like many of you. I may not have had as many bags as some women, but I had enough to match every outfit for every occasion. Well, times have changed, and I've become more practical and just don't have the time, space or money for that anymore. But it doesn't mean I love bags any less. So I have a round-up today of my faves in different styles, colors and materials.

My go-to bag used to be this one from Island Cashmere in Nantucket, and I still am drawn to the rich caramel color and design with a divided bucket with a side-pocket. I haven't been able to find it anywhere online.  But I would LOVE to since mine is starting to show some real wear and tear after all these years. Replacing the bag is reason enough to plan a trip bACK to the faraway island this year!

24 February 2017

Hair's to Friday! Tame Your Mane

This time of year, my hair is always so dry-- skin too, thanks to the winter weather.  I'm using some new products on my skin that I'll post about next week, but my hair needs help! While summer's humidity presents its own challenges, the winter means I'm contending with staticky flyaways or combatting hat head.  Time to explore some options for taming the mane...

The always fashionable and on-the-go Natalie of Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers blogged about the opening of the new DryBar in Charleston, and I sure wish that we had one here in Upstate NY. What fun to be pampered with a girlfriend and have mimosas on a Saturday morning!  I went to the Dupont Circle  location in DC a couple of years ago and loved the experience.


21 February 2017

THINKING ABOUT... Healthy body, mind and soul

I've been battling a cold and generally have been feeling fatigued for a week yet I've still tried to keep up with my "routine." But this weekend, I threw up the white flag, listened to my body and surrendered. After enjoying three long days of deep rest, reading, eating nourishing and delish food (broke the 80-20 rule!), snuggling with Sweet P and the Sailor, taking a restorative yoga class and fitting in a couple of other invigorating outdoor sweat sessions, I'm feeling refreshed.

As moms, wives, daughter, sisters, we as women in general are concerned with taking care of others and other things. Whether it's rushing kids off to activities, prepping food for the family's meals, keeping the house tidy (forget about CLEAN!), fulfilling community obligations, so much of what we do is selfless.

But what do we do to care for ourselves? How do we show up for others when we aren't taking care of ourselves? Frazzled, worn out, distracted-- certainly not present and capable of listening to their real needs. We do what we're expected to do, usually on autopilot or out of habit. There's nothing mindful or intentional about our behavior.

What do you do to hit your 'reset' button so you can be your best self? Many things just take a moment to bring awareness, adjust your perspective and remind you to live with intention.

Here's a list of things that I've found work for me...
Please add your suggestions in the comments.  

15 February 2017

Valentine's & Galentine's Day Celebrations

I was a little behind this year on Valentine's Day since we were out of town last week. The important part is that I (sort of) pulled it together enough to help Sweet P make a homemade Valentine for her daddy, and I cooked her heart shaped pancakes with blueberries and pink M&Ms for breakfast. Not the prettiest picture but she's easy to please-- as long as she has chocolate!

The Sailor and I enjoyed special dinner of sushi for two and champagne (on a Tuesday!), which was just perfect. Then we spent the rest of the evening going through the photo books that he's made of us each year that we've been together. Pretty special day indeed!

After the fact, of course, I saw photos of some pretty awesome Galentine's Day celebrations on instagram too. Wonder where the new-ish holiday originated? Here's the story. I love the idea of entertaining gal pals with champagne, waffles, crafts and cute decorations! It probably goes without saying but connecting with friends is such an essential part of well-being. We all need a tribe, and in a perfect world, I'd be able to get together with more of my besties SO much more often! Scroll for some pretty stuff...

Check out these links for more pretty tips on planning a celebration for friends!

HGTV How to Throw a Galentine's Day Party
Domestikated Galentine's Day Decoration Round Up