Thursday, October 30, 2014

paperwhites+whimsy styled{bridal brunch}

I met Jen,of addieink design, a year ago when we worked on a wedding together. Sometimes you meet people and you just click!

People that work in our industry have met and collaborated with some of the best this business has to offer so it's always flattering when someone chooses you to work on something for them. Jen was hosted a bridal brunch for her soon to be sister-in-law at The Art of Entertaining a few weeks ago. It was an interactive event where the guests were to mingle and enjoy cocktails while cooking up a fabulous brunch with a private chef(what a fun idea!)

Jen created all of the paper products which included these whimsical invitations, recipe cards which sent the bride back to New Jersey with some of her guy's hometown favorites, and all of the signage for the event.

I styled the invitation suite for her. How cute is that envelope liner?!! For the shower itself I set up a vignette that played off of the slightly retro/industrial feel of the invites. We decided on petite arrangements in vintage milk bottles, silver sugar bowls and copper cups to facilitate conversation and work the flow of the room.

I love the mix of all the elements and the color palette.  


Interested in hiring {paperwhites+whimsy} creative events and florals for your celebration or corporate event please email me at

Are you a creative looking to collaborate on a styled shoot? I'd love to talk to you!! email

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

rowan{six months}

Six months in and this face...slays me!! I love him so much.

This kid is the physical embodiment of joy. He has this chuckle that starts in his belly and fills up the room. Rowan has made such amazing progress physically and met many of the age appropriate milestones. In other words, he has caught up physically to most kids his age and his early arrival has not caused any physical developmental delays. He's still sweet, happy go lucky and greets us most  mornings with happy chatter in his crib. He adores his big brother, sisters and Henry(although Henry remains ambivalent about him).

I love you to the moon and back, kiddo!  

carrots,sweet potatoes,mango and bananas
the justin timberlake pandora station
mo willams books


chunks, row


Monday, October 27, 2014

homegrown{iron's fruit farm}

Yesterday it was 72 degrees and sunny. In October. In Cincinnati. So we did what every other family did. Headed to the pumpkin farm! I'm trying really hard to not be sentimental about every last first, as in, this is the last first time I'll take one of my babies to the pumpkin patch, but it's so damn hard! I've become so sentimental in my old age. 

Seriously, being able to soak in all of this little one's babyhood has been the biggest blessing and I don't want to miss one single thing! 

I think we were more excited than Rowan. He was not impressed at all. Also, leaves, not his thing. And, apple butter and apple fritters make the world a better place.  We were also those parents. You know the "we're just going to try and pretend our baby is not screaming his face off" parents. Yep. Nailed it!  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

september reading list

Thanks to the start of fall television my reading slowed down a bit in September. I'm kind of a tv junkie and at night when my mind is racing it's definitely much easier to mindlessly surf the internet while having the television serve as background noise. It will be interesting to see how the tv/book ratio balances out this month.

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt- I actually read this years ago. I read this novel and The Secret History back to back. I remember loving both of them but the later must have made more of an impact on me because for the life me I couldn't recall any details about The Little Friend. I decided to reread this after failing to move beyond the first few chapters of Ms. Tartt's latest, The Goldfinch. I've only managed to read the first two hundred pages so far but it's now obvious why I loved it so much-crumbling southern gentry, curious sister trying to find the person who murdered her older brother and family secrets. Maybe this will spark my  interest in finishing The Goldfinch.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman- I LOVED this book! This book is nothing that I would have chosen on my own. I'm not actually sure how or why I added it to my goodreads list. It is most definitely fantasy which is not a genre that really interests me. I can't say much without giving away too much. It's an odd tale about a boy and his quirky neighbors. The language is so beautiful. It's impossible to resist this magical world the author paints for us. I read this book in two nights. A new mom giving up valuable hours of sleep to finish a book has got to be the highest compliment you can give!  

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling-I read the first Cormoran Strike mystery last month and really enjoyed it. However, I found this to be meh at best. The mystery never really pulled me in. I stuck with it because I thought I knew who did it and I wanted to see if I was correct. I was! I'm always kind of disappointed if I can figure out the mystery. I do enjoy the character of the detective, Cormoran Strike, so I would probably continue to read the series. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

homegrown{walnut hills street food festival}

Saturday we packed up the baby and headed to Walnut Hills for the street food festival. I will bemoan the fact that I'm still trying to loose some baby weight all the live long day but food trucks are my jam!And, I'm not about to let any weight loss goals deter from feasting on Korean BBQ, gelato, gourmet popsicles, cupcakes and beer! 

We enjoyed strolling around listening to the live music and people watching. Rowan is such a happy baby. He loves being outsider. He spent much of the afternoon valiantly fighting off a nap and charming everyone with his gummy grin!

The organizers blocked off an entire section of one the side streets for interactive art. Kids were invited to create something with sidewalk chalk or paint a section of the street mural. There was also cornhole, a bubble blowing station and giant jenga to be played.

Monday, September 29, 2014

our labor of love {rowan's birth story}

When I was pregnant with Rowan I obsessively read blogger birth stories. Even though I knew our birth experience would be fairly traditional(in a hospital and attended by my OBGYN) because my age and gestational diabetes placed in a high risk category I was endlessly fascinated by all of the options that are available. And so, I devoured birth stories of some my favorite bloggers. Sometimes moved to tears as I read about those sweet moments that marked the start of a new season in their lives.

I had hopes of writing our own story and sharing sweet photos as we welcomed our new little blessing into the the world and our family. However, Rowan's entrance into the world was quite a bit different from the one we had planned.

I researched a lot during this pregnancy. At some point I think Doug even suggested that I stepping away from the internet might be really good for my mental health! I obviously came across many birth plans-what to include and what to leave off, how long they should be, etc. So going into this we decided to forgo an official "plan" and put together more of an outline. It was pretty basic. We were taking birthing classes so I was interested in trying to have an unmedicated labor, but I gave myself permission to ask for an epidural if I thought the pain was really intense or if I became super anxious and freaked out. I only wanted my husband and necessary medical staff in the room. We would wait an hour or so to call friends and family so that we could bond with him first. And, finally, trust my doctor. I love my doctors and received great prenatal care. Giving birth was not the time for me to act like I know everything about everything.

*warning things get a little TMI-ish from here*

My due date was May 3. To be perfectly honest my pregnancy was a rough one. I had morning sickness for four months which ushered in a few months of the most vicious heart burn I've ever had. I also had insomnia and would go 24-30 hours without sleep. And, then I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes which required medication to control. I felt like I was failing my baby. I was supposed to provide him with a safe and secure place to grow and I was a mess. So when I woke up on March 24 feeling sick I wasn't that concerned. I had an upset stomach and a headache. I forced myself to eat so that I could take my medicine and then spent most of the morning in bed.

Sometime after noon I decided to take a shower and get dressed so that I could run to the grocery store. I went to the bathroom, took a shower and started to get dressed. At this point I felt some discharge. I checked things out and it was clear, like water.  Because pregnancy is weird I kind of dismissed it. But, as I was getting ready there was more of it. It had been 15 minutes since the last time I checked and my underwear was completely soaked. I think this is when it dawned on me that my it might be my water breaking. Yes, I've had four babies before this but I never had my water break. I've always had to have the doctor break it once labor started. So, I was under the notion that it would be a big gush. However, it was more like a slow leak. I called Doug at work to tell him my suspicions. Then I called my doctor. Even while I was on hold I still didn't really believe I was in labor. It was too soon! We weren't even close to being ready. My shower had been two weeks earlier but there was still so much stuff that needed to be done. The office told me to head over to labor and delivery. This was it! I didn't even have a bagged packed. I had scheduled it on my calender to do the following week. So, I tossed a pair of socks, some lip balm and my bronzer into my purse(because priorities!) and waited for my husband to pick me up and drive me to the hospital.

Once we were checked in and I was examined the nurse informed us that I was indeed in labor and we would be meeting our baby in 24 hours or less. This is when I cried! We were going to have our baby almost 7 weeks early. This is also when I started freaking out about the actual giving birth portion of events!!

We made calls to our family and a few close friends to let them know this little nugget was indeed on his way. We called him to let my son and daughter know that we were at the hospital and being admitted. I also had my daughter pack some of stuff-toiletries,makeup,camera,charger and ipad-in a bag. Our wonderful neighbors had volunteered to bring whatever we needed to the hospital as well as keep an eye on the kids for us. My brother-in-law stopped by to see how we were holding up and to bring phone chargers. Once I was settled in and we knew it would be awhile before I would transition into active labor I sent the two of them off to get a few things that were still missing from my hospital bag. We had short visits from our neighbors and my mother and father-in-law. There were also calls and text messages to other family members assuring them we were fine and everything was proceeding normally just a little earlier than planned.

We checked in around 3:30 and after several hours I was progressing but very slowly. The doctors ordered pitocin. This was my first indication that maybe things weren't going to go the way I'd imagined. I was concerned that the pitocin would make the contractions unbearable and I would wind up needing an epidural. Thankfully, Doug was there to talk me down. Reassuring me that the important thing was our baby. He wasn't going to care if I had an epidural and giving birth isn't a contest. A few hours later I was at 4 cm, the pain was becoming more intense and I was having an anxiety  attack. I decided to consent to the epidural.

My doctor came in and checked me. Things were progressing nicely and our baby would be arriving some time during the middle of the night. We decided to try to rest before it was push time. We dimmed the lights and listened to some music. At some point I fell asleep.

This is where things get frantic. I don't remember falling asleep and I only vaguely recall waking up. I felt light headed. I had only had a yogurt and some turkey bacon for breakfast so I assumed the dizziness was due to the gestational diabetes and that my blood sugar had dropped. I know at this time I heard beeping. In my foggy brain i assumed it was the fetal heart monitor. He was moving around so much that it was hard for them to get a continuous heartbeat. I pressed the nurses button. I heard them discussing putting an internal monitor in so that they could get a better reading. From her on out I don't have an clear recollection. The nurses turned the lights on, rolled me from my side to my back and pulled back the blankets. It was at this moment that my blood pressure dropped dangerously low-68/32-and they saw that I was hemorrhaging. There was blood and tissue everywhere. I heard someone shouting to get the doctor and something about heading to surgery. I know they put an oxygen mask on me. I was in and out of consciousness. I wasn't sure what was happening but I knew it was bad. I thought I was going to die and if somehow I managed to survive I was sure my baby wouldn't. The nurse told me they were taking me to the OR and they had to get my baby out immediately. She asked me if they had permission to operate and I nodded weakly. As we made it through the doors of the operating room I said to her "I don't care what happens to me but please save my baby!"

There was lots of activity around me. I didn't know what was happening and I think because they were not yet sure if either of us would survive Doug was not allowed into surgery with me. The anesthesiologist, Jack, was so kind. He held my hand and tried to keep me calm. Then I heard a tiny cry. He was here! On Tuesday March 25 at 1:32 am Rowan Joseph made a dramatic entrance into the world. I don't know when Doug was allowed into the room but he was there reassuring me we were going okay. I asked him to check on the baby and make sure he looked good. He was small 4 lbs 11 oz but he seemed healthy. A nurse brought him over so that I could give him a kiss and then he was taken to the NICU. I was in surgery a bit longer and once I was stitched up they moved me into recovery.

For the next few hours I was pretty out of it. When things started to look bad Doug called his mom. I'm so happy that he had someone there with him to help him stay calm. Around 7 am I felt lucid enough to call my mom and tell her that the baby had been born. The first day of my son's life I only saw him for two very brief moments. In the OR right after he was born and around 2 they decided to move to a room so they wheeled my bed into the NICU so I could see him before they transferred me. I was in and out of it. Only lucid for very short periods of time. I was in a lot of pain. The next morning Doug wheeled me down to see the baby. He was so tiny. I was afraid to hold him. I sobbed because I felt like I had failed him. I'm his mom and from the minute I knew he existed it was my job to protect him and give them the best start to life. This, hooked up to wires and monitors. This was not it. My body had failed to nourish him and had almost killed him. It felt like he had bonded with his dad and even the nurses in my absence. So, I just sat next to him and held his tiny hand and whispered a thousand apologies and told him I loved him over and over.

Back in my room the doctor stopped to tell us what had happened. I suffered a placental abruption. Essentially the placenta pulls away from the wall of the uterus. Some women suffer partial abruptions but mine was a complete one. If we had not already been at the hospital I would have most certainly lost the baby. I lost a lot of blood and had to have a blood transfusion on day 2. I wasn't well enough to see Rowan until his 10 o'clock feeding that night.

After the transfusion I started feeling better. I was still in pain from the c-section but I wanted to be with my baby as much as I could. Doug was back and forth between home(checking on the kids and the dog) and the hospital. I would shuffle slowly to the NICU to feed Rowan and hold him when I could. We were warned that they would most likely send us home without him. I didn't want to think about it. We settled in to a routine. Doug would get to the hospital around 8:30 in time for us to head down for the 9 am feeding.  We would spend some time with our baby and then head back to the room so that I could rest. He would stay until I fell asleep and then he would off to check things off the giant to do list! This is how I know I married a keeper!! Not only was he taking care of me and our sweet little one, he was running around town trying to buy everything we needed to make sure our transition from hospital to home was as smooth as possible.

On Friday we were given the news that we would be able to take Rowan home the next day! The doctors and nurses were astonished at well he was doing. He was only on an IV for two days. He was feeding and even nursing like a champ and his lungs were strong. They never had to give him oxygen which is amazing for a preemie! And on a rainy and cold Saturday morning we brought our little guy home!

And so, our birth story is not filled with tender moments,congratulations, and smiling photos. Even though I didn't have a plan, I guess I had a general idea of how things were supposed to happen and there's a part of me that feels cheated out of that experience. I've grieved the "ideal birth story" whatever that is. I've had to make peace with the fact that I was so terrified of losing my son or dying that I couldn't allowed myself to fully form a connection with him. It took me months to be able to think about our time in the hospital without crying. I still don't believe that I've fully processed everything. I will occasionally ask Doug questions about what happened or what he remembers. I'm working through some PTSD/anxiety issues and postpartum depression.

I've attempted to write this post dozens of times and this is the first time I've managed to get through more than a paragraph. It's long and rambling but it felt important for me to share. There is so much judgement and pressure for women to have this perfect "natural" birth. I think that those of us that don't have can feel some shame-we didn't really labor. Our bodies didn't perform the way they were meant to perform.

In the blogosphere there is a tendency to present life as a pretty picture. But, life is messy and complicated and sometimes ugly.            

This face. This sweet boy has changed our lives so much already. I'm so lucky that I was chosen to be his mom!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

worn{flights of fancy}

Once upon a time I blogged about my outfits. That blogger would find my new mom wardrobe a bore! I will admit that I've lost my sartorial spark. If I'm being completely honest the main reason I have no desire to get dressed let alone dress up is the baby weight I haven't lost. Looking at a closet full clothes that barely fit is depressing. Buying things in bigger sizes is even more depressing. Staying in my pajamas all day is also depressing. So now you see my dilemma.

My daily look has become pretty basic-jeans,loose blouse/top and sandals/booties.Thank goodness we've had a fairly cool summer! Looking at this photo I'm trying to focus on how much I love this butterfly print on my top rather than how heavy I look. Goal for this week is to be a little nicer to myself.


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