June 29, 2011

.Guest Post: Gabby of Design-Muse.

Today I have a guest post from my long-time friend, Gabby of Design-Muse.  There, she shares her ingenious ideas for hosting parties, mouth-watering recipes, and daily fashion inspirations.  Pretty much, I get a thrill in each of her postings and vow that I will one day be talented enough to host a dinner party like this.  She's really a girl after my own heart in finding that any occasion can be turned into a celebration with the right attitude.


I've known Jessica for quite awhile now...in fact, we've been friends ever since I cornered her in line at Moe's Burritos and essentially forced her to rush Sigma (our college sorority). The rest, as they say, is history. I love keeping up with her on .Learning Love's Life. - so much so that I recently asked her to guest post on Design-Muse, the daily lifestyle blog I curate. I was thrilled when she asked me to return the favor and give her some much needed time with that beautiful baby of hers.

Given the most recent events in Jessica's life, it only seemed right to conjure up some baby-related-goodness for you. Now, I think it's important that I start out by saying I'm not a Mom. In fact I'm not even close to being a Mom, which gives me a distinct advantage in one way and one way only. I'm fully able to hold onto the delusions of what I think I'll be like as a Mom. For example, I can still say things like "oh, I'll be just fine with no sleep" and "of course I won't freak out about her first ear infection". Come day two of motherhood I'm pretty confident I'll be singing a different tune altogether. But that's beside the point. One of the (admittedly ridiculous) things I want to believe about Gabby, the Mom, is that her kids will always be impeccably dressed. I'm talking outfits that put Suri Cruise to shame. It's a foolproof plan I've been developing since I was about 13...sure there are a few minor gaps (lack of funding, husband, etc.), but once I work those out I should be golden.

I'm excited to see all the beautiful things Jessica has planned for sweet baby Dylan's wardrobe. I see a lot of "ooooohs" and "ahhhhhhs" in our future (side note: is she a gorgeous baby or what?! My goodness!). Here are a few pieces I'd want to buy for my princess. Yes, those are baby clothes. And yes, they're more stylish than what I'm wearing at the moment, too. That's just how pretend-Mom-Gabby rolls.

1. Ikat Shirt, Zara $12.90 2. Cross Strap Sandals, Old Navy $12.99 3. Chunky Cable-Knit Shorts, J.Crew $78 4. Metallic Mocs, Trumpette $31.50 5. Twill Trousers with Belt, Zara $25.90 6. Ikat Tank Dress, J.Crew $52.50 7. Aztec Embroidered Skirt, Nordstrom $68 8. Cotton Tee, Estella $28 9. Toddler Fedora, Amazon 10. Loop Strap Sandals, Gap $15.99 11. Floral Baby Lace-Up, Zara $35.90 12. Eyelet Shift Dress, Gap $30.99 13. Bubble Pants, Gap $16.99 14. Polka Dot High-Waist Bikini Set, J. Crew $49.50 15. Fringed Suede Sandals, Old Navy $12.99

June 27, 2011

.Induction Process.

Dylan was a late baby, not arriving until two days after her due date.  I was pretty pitiful by then and the 90+ degree temperatures were no help.  People suggested I use several methods to naturally induce labor:

.Caster oil. Sex. Rolling on a bouncy ball. Spicy food. Pineapple. Getting on all fours. Walking. Jumping. Nipple stimulation. Pressure points.

I tried all of these options minus the caster oil (because that's just gross) and jumping (I was 40 weeks pregnant- there was no way I was able to exert that much physical energy at that point) and what worked?  I rolled on an exercise ball for hours on a Thursday, and by Friday morning my water broke (I'm forever grateful for the suggestion nurse Alicia).  Now I don't have any scientific data to support this correlation, but I thought I'd pass along the suggestions.  Whether they are old wives' tales or medically backed... when one gets that far along... you're willing to try almost anything to get baby out safe.

June 24, 2011

.Dylan's First Week.

Week one of Dylan's life has consisted of non-stop kisses, tiny toes and feet, dimples, lots and lots and lots of diapers, living life in 2-3 hour increments between feedings, an incredible amount of marveling, baby naps, lovely visits and calls from friends and family, and generally just acclimating her to the new environment. The pups are pretty confused on what this little person is, but they're respecting their new boundaries. We're quickly falling into a functional rhythm, but regardless of preparation, the worry is still there. All G and I can do though is work together and revel in the present because our precious little girl will only be this small once. I also have to brag on my sweetheart and how quickly he's fallen into the role of "dad"; it's truly inspiring.

The love and joy in this home has grown exponentially in the last seven days, and here are a few snapshots that captured these special moments.

Our birth story coming soon, but follow me on twitter or instagram for more frequent updates.  Have a great weekend everyone!  I'm so looking forward to our first weekend post-hospital as a little family.

June 22, 2011

.Guest Post: Sarah from Dodeline.

As new bebe Dylan and I spend some time getting to know each other, I have a couple of scheduled posts to share.  I'll be popping in every so often to share the latest adorableness, but today I have Sarah from Dodeline Design for you.  We met at a beautiful place, I fell in love with her work, and the rest is history... I'm a solid fan of this girl.  Enjoy!


My name is Sarah and Jessica very sweetly asked me to be one of her guest posters while she is spending time with her brand new baby girl.

(That's me. I just got engaged and I'm kind of excited about it, can you tell? ;-))

I thought it would be neat to share how I came to start reading Learning Loves Life everyday and keeping up with all the happenings in Jessica's life. I am a graphic designer in Charleston, SC, and I have a line of stationery and invitations and paper goodies that I make and sell online and - occasionally - at local artist events.

Jessica and her husband were on their babymoon in Charleston and stopped by my booth, and I just adored them. It's hard to put yourself out there at events like that, to always have a smile on your face and talk to strangers, but Jessica and her husband were the kind of people that I do it for! We had a great time chatting and she was sweet enough to buy a few items and then she shared with me that she's a blogger. She took my card and found my blog, and the rest is history!

We are so lucky to live in the technology-crazy world that we do. Even though it drives me nuts sometimes to always be "on," there is no other era in history where you could meet someone for 10 minutes but then still keep up with them everyday and get to know them in a small way. It's such a pleasure.

I'm sure to meet you sometime in the comments here on Learning Loves Life, and please stop by and see me sometime if you'd like! Thank you Jessica for having me here!

June 21, 2011

.Birthday Mama.

Today is a very important day.
Today marks the first day of summer.
Today also marks my mama's birthday.
I'm so glad I get to spend it with her,
although with Dylan being only days old,
the festivities are limited.
I don't know what I would do
without you here to show me
what all the books don't explain.
Happy happy happy birthday indeed,
and so many more celebrations in your honor
because I am blessed by your love.

June 19, 2011


Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.
.Gloria Naylor.

Happy Father's Day to papas invested in the joys, trials, and sacrificing of child raising for decades... and to those just beginning the journey as my darling G.  What a sweet way to end our weekend.

June 16, 2011

.40 Weeks.

For this child I have prayed...
.1 Samuel 1:27.


Please make your safe arrival soon.  You have alot of people waiting on you, including my mama {your Nona} in from out of town.  You're most certainly teaching your dad patience; a virtue he's always been challenged by.  I've been walking nonstop and have heard quite a few tricks to try to hurry you along.  I want you to come when you're ready but now that we're past your due date, it's not getting any more comfortable in there.  Plus... we have presents... just think about it.  Can't wait to to meet you soon.

Love you always,
Your mama

June 15, 2011

.Motherhood Musings- Tres

Coping with Pregnancy Tidbits

I have been blessed that my first pregnancy has been pretty tame.  Today is my due date, it's nearly over, and only recently have I started to feel slightly miserable.  As mine comes to a close within the week it's fascinating the continuum I'm on ranging from utter relief to nostalgia; I anticipate that much of parenting will be on this continuum. I've so enjoyed this experience and don't take it for granted regardless of the ups and downs as God never said it'd be easy to bring life into this world. I also can't wait to meet this little person that love created and see in her some of the things I love most about my best friend.

So, I previously said I didn't expect you to take my advice.  I absolutely stick to that... except for what I'm about to say.  This is probably the most important thing I learned in coping with becoming a mother.  Ready?  Stay away from forums when you're pregnant!!!! Don’t even peek! Unless you want to be utterly traumatized and experience anxiety in trying to figure out how to live the next {almost} 10 months in a bubble. People attempt to be helpful there, but all it did was make me feel like I wasn’t on track, that I was different, that I was out of the loop, or that I was doing something wrong that I couldn’t fix... over and over. Leave advice-seeking to experts you trust who know how to present the information the most helpful way to you. Not by scaring the bejesus out of you for saying that at any moment I could have an incompetent cervix that would just release my still-cooking baby into the cold harsh world nor that at 18 weeks someone else’s baby just stopped growing for no reason whatsoever so “be careful.” What am I supposed to do with that information except beg G to get us our own heart monitor? Which he subsequently refused and reminded me that doctor’s orders were to “Get off google.”

I wasn't big into all the pregnancy aids like the fancy pillow you sleep with or anything but I found three products that were invaluable during this pregnancy: Palmer's cocoa butter, cocoa butter body oil, and a portable fan.  The debate is still in question whether cocoa butter helps avoid stretch marks, but my mom swore by it and insisted I start using it my first trimester before I even started showing.  The jury is still out for after baby comes, but as of now there are no marks to report!  Also, a random thing I experienced mostly through my first and second trimester was itchy skin.  I have never had that problem and at times it felt like I was going to claw my skin off, so using body oil was a major relief.  Lastly, my fan.  That's pretty self-explanatory that I run at a much higher temperature than usual due to all the extra blood flow, and instead of using baby's college fund trying to keep my entire house cool or stripping off clothes in a public setting, a portable fan that I carried with me to work and back increased my comfort level tenfold. 

Also, just as a general rule, anything but positive or reassuring statements should probably be left to discussion with others, not the mama-to-be. She's got enough confusing/conflicting/ever changing emotions and thoughts running around.  Here are a few interesting things people said to me throughout pregnancy:

1. I can't even tell your pregnant!
2. Congrats on the pregnancy... kids are a pain.
3. Should you really be drinking that {cup of coffee/coke/anything caffeinated}?
4. How much weight have you gained?
5. You're never going to need that.
6. You'll never rest again.

I'll allow you to come to your own conclusions of how I felt about them.  Any interesting pregnancy symptoms you experienced, lifesavers throughout the process, or entertaining interactions with others?

 * In case you missed Motherhood Musings Part One and Two
** Picture taken last week

June 14, 2011

.Take Advantage.

Pick up a book and take advantage of all the world has to offer.

After many recommendations, this is my latest warm weather read.  I've quickly become engrossed in the story, and find it difficult to put down for mandatory life obligations.  Interestingly enough, many of the characters are shared between this novel and a movie I just watched that inspired a whole other post coming soon.  The beauty and complexity of literature, as well as a writer's ability to transport you into another world previously unknown never ceases to amaze me. 

I couldn't live without the written word.  What are some of your warm weather reads?  I'm always open to additions to my reading list!

{Thanks Mary and Justin for the birthday gift!}

June 13, 2011

.Joie de Vivre.

cheerful enjoyment of life. an exultation of spirit. joy of everything: eating and conversation. a comprehensive joy involving one's whole being. a philosophy of life.

 This has described our attitude as of late.  Our goal is to enjoy everything, even the simplest of things because we have the time to right now.  As we are at a standstill just waiting on baby to arrive, we thought it'd be a good idea to create a list of things we can't do as easily with her here and make those our weekend plans.  There were a few activities we came up with, but we quickly realized that we were looking at our situation negatively.  She isn't going to stop us from being young and living; we're just going to have to compromise doing what we please all the time. 

So then that became our plan for the weekend: we were going to do whatever we wanted as it struck us... just because we could.  That included spontaneous naps, breakfast outings, reading for hours, a coffee date, window shopping, finding goods at the outdoor market, walks by the river, meals with friends and family, another Sunday matinee, and just relaxing together with the pups listening to beautiful music and reflecting.

Joie de vivre indeed.  I never want to lose it.

June 10, 2011

.Quality Assortment.

We're trying to absorb as much quality time as possible together before we two become three.  It's a challenge not to be selfish and wait on her and God's perfect timing, so we've been distracting ourselves with long games of chess, movie nights, outdoor meals, fun preparations, reading, fishing, warm walks, and comedic evenings with friends.

Baby girl, you can take your time but realize all the fun you're missing out on.

June 9, 2011

.A Selfish Prayer.

Dear Lord,

Please make our baby girl be as lovable, tender, smart, fascinating, independent, funny, beautiful, and curious as my little sister.  She's a perfect joy, tantrums and all, and every time I'm with her I learn something new about myself.  I know it's a selfish request, but she's just melted our hearts and I'm pretty sure if you make them any way alike, we might die of pride.  Oh yea, and if it's not too much trouble could you throw in artistic ability, drive, talent, style, heart, and depth like my not-so-little-anymore brother?  He's had such an influence into the person I've grown to be. 

Okay- that could probably round us out perfectly.

Self-seekingly yours,

P.S. I know G wouldn't mind.  He's just as smitten.

* Photos taken our last trip to DC

June 8, 2011

.Spring Slumber.

Weddings, babies, toddlers, dinners, and girls nights, oh my.
I've missed my friends.
So glad we're all coming out of cold weather's hibernation,
to spend some valuable time together.
Quiet alone time is wonderful,
but spending hours laughing is pretty priceless
and true nourishment to the soul.