Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot… And Thankful

Despite the recent heat and humidity, we’re happy to be tackling a ton of sweat-inducing projects here on the homefront. And we’re also happy to have such wonderful supporters of our little place in the blogosphere. So we’d like to take a moment to toss out a heartfelt “thanks” to all of you lovely folks for reading as well as send some serious appreciation out to our awesome sponsors in this monthly shout-out post (after all, they make the other 40+ posts that we write each month possible). So feel free to take a peek at all they’ve got to offer… along with a few exclusive YHL discounts for you guys to cash in on.

Name Your Design may ring a bell since they hosted a fun giveaway last summer. And to celebrate their grand re-opening they’ve added items like custom growth charts and coasters to their repertoire of modern personalized artwork. Don’t forget to enter the code “freeship” to get (surprise) free shipping through August.

Saffron Marigold is another name you may recall, most likely from the gorgeous hand-printed linens that they gave away just last month. Whether you’re in the market for a meticulously designed tablecloth or an intricate bedspread, they’re an authentic source for luxurious Indian linen.

Design for Less (aka: The Glass Mosaic Outlet or The Natural Stone Outlet) has updated their site- so if you haven’t dropped by recently it’s definitely worth a trip. Be sure to find your way to their inspiration galleries, videos, and blog for even more glass, metal, and stone tile to drool over. Oh, and feel free to catch a discount on their daily deal.

Z Gallerie is one of our go-to spots to shop for chic but affordable home accessories. Their new Graham Slipcover collection continues this week’s theme of lounging around since it looks incredibly comfortable without sacrificing an ounce of style. And when it comes to casual and easy living, you really can’t beat slipcovers.

The Tile Shop is obviously a great source for tiling tools, tips, and of course tile. And when we clicked the word “recycled” while recently on their site, it took us to a page of gorgeous glass mosaics that we drooled over for longer than we care to admit. And yes, you can still score 10% off when you use the code YHL10.

Shades of Light may sound like it’s just a spot for pendants, sconces, fixtures, and lampshades. But as you can clearly see from their stunning catalog covers below (which you can browse online or get delivered to your door) they’re far more. Furniture, mirrors and rugs abound. So feel free to take a look-see, even if you’re all set in the lighting department.

Heart & Stone represents the work of Julie Booras who handcrafts custom silver jewelry using recycled materials with a specialty in meaningful charm necklaces. And not only can you get 10% off with the code YHL10, many of the gemstone drops are on sale through today only!

Vol. 25 designs graphics and prints that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Which is why for this month I just “borrowed” the header from her Etsy page to pass that feeling on to you (even if it meant not showing my favorite robot lovebirds print). Btw, the phrase below also comes as a print in her shop. Oh happy day.

Smock Paper is another “green” sponsor in that they are a sustainably printed source for beautifully designed stationery, invitations, and more. By more I mean things like double-sided wrapping paper, gift tags, business cards, and… well, you’ll have to head over there to see the rest.

Etsy Kids is celebrating summer with their summer shopping guide (which helps you wade through the Etsy ocean for the coolest finds for babies, toddlers, kids, and even parents). And navigating the waters is even more fun and easy thanks to their handy A-to-Z site organization.

Lisa Leonard Designs‘ latest creation comes from her craving for caffeine (as well as the Nat King Cole lyric “You’re The Cream In My Coffee”). Share it with your favorite coffee addict, or check out the rest of Lisa’s handmade sterling silver necklaces, bracelets, and charms.

Hoot Design Co. creates all sorts of colorful designs in the form of posters, stationery, and invitations. There’s lots to love – like their signature Simply Baby poster, but we have to admit that their “Midwest Is Best” print almost sparked a friendly debate. But then we realized “Mid-Atlantic Is Frantic” doesn’t quite have the same ring… so we decided to let it slide.

Quirk is an appropriately named gallery and gift store here in Richmond that we love to frequent. It’s not only a great place to find art inspiration (say, if you need something for an in-progress office makeover) but they’re also a great spot for fun items like ice cream cone postcards and fabric covered thumbtacks.

Frame The Date will take any date worth remembering and make it stylishly memorable with their black & white photos and custom wood frames (you can also include a picture of your special date). And all you parents out there can also check out there special Frame The Date Baby section. Fun!

WallQuotes.com has a bunch of pre-designed vinyl wall decals ranging from quotes and monograms to floral patterns and cityscapes. And as if that’s not enough to spark an entire room makeover, you can even design your own custom version if you’d like. Plus you can get 15% off of any order with the code YHL15.

Ruby Plaza, a new spin on its counterpart Ruby Lane, is a virtual marketplace where individuals can sell everything from vintage items to contemporary, new, and reproduced pieces for your home and you (i.e. jewelry). It’s a great spot to hunt for unique items that you might not find anywhere else- and you know what they say about the thrill of the hunt…

Now that we’ve worked up a sweat saying all of these “thanks” we’re gonna kick back with a glass of lemonade and brace ourselves for a sweltering (and DIY filled) weekend. But not before we sling one last big THANK YOU to you guys – for reading, commenting, and joining in on the home-related hijinx that make YHL one of our favorite places to be. You’re the best.



Keeping It Real: The Baby Gear Factor

Since the day that we announced there was a bun in my oven, we’ve been getting comments and emails to request details about how our house is changing thanks to our growing family. And now that Clara is two months old (time flies!) we decided that it was high time we took some candid photos to show exactly how our home has changed thanks to all of the baby gear that we’ve accumulated thus far (and yes, we know it’ll only grow from here, so stay tuned to see how we deal with everything else as we go).

The following photos weren’t edited or cleaned up in any way- they’re actual snapshots. And you know what? We really like our house this way. It’s lived-in and casual and convenient and functional- all the things that we strive for when it comes to home decor. And the best thing about every single item is that we have a place for it when it’s not in use. And we’re thinking this is the key. So although all of these photos show you how things look when they’re out and about, they could all be tucked away if we felt the need to de-babify the house for company (although all of our visitors these days are here to see Clara, so they love observing her in her natural habitat).

So without further ado… the baby-tastic-keeping-it-real-a-day-in-the-life reveal.

This is what the bedroom looks like on the regular. We don’t make the bed anymore, ever. Well, except maybe if we’re having company (even then we sometimes skip it since we somehow have this “get out of jail free” card thanks to the whole you-have-a-newborn concept). And yes, Burger sleeps in until about noon so he can usually be found in bed next to some books that we’ve read to Clara earlier that morning. The cutest thing is that when Burger does finally drag his lazy butt out of bed he immediately seeks out his little sister…

… as demonstrated by this photo of Burger hunting down Clara, only to find her in her swing in the den (it actually gets moved back and forth between the den and the office, depending where we are).

See, Clara loves her Boppy Travel swing. It’s definitely her favorite “baby item” and it’s worth its weight in gold to us. We opted for a smaller and less expensive “travel swing” (which we use all the time, not just when we’re traveling). Thankfully, it has a smaller footprint. And amazingly, it comes in a very neutral color scheme that actually goes with a ton of the items in our house. That’s definitely not a necessity, but it’s always a welcome bonus. We actually hoped this swing could multitask as a bouncy seat of sorts, since you know we’d rather buy one item that can serve a few purposes. So while it doesn’t have a vibrating setting like most bouncers, it’s low to the ground and when the swing isn’t on it serves as a convenient non-vibrating bouncy seat-ish device (which is handy to set Clara in when we eat for example). Of course every baby is different – Clara’s cousin hates his swing and loves his bouncie seat – but we’re so happy that we didn’t bring in two items when we found one that does the job of two.

Oh and see that pink blanket folded over the back of the chair in the photo above? That’s for playtime/tummy time in the den. We’ve learned that it’s easier to keep two plush floor blankets around (one in the den and one in the office) so they’re always on hand wherever we are for some floor playing, neck exercising, rolling over, and ceiling staring. It’s amazing what babies like to do in their spare time.

Next we have the laundry…

The arrival of Clara has definitely meant that there’s more to wash and dry, but thankfully her clothes are all so small that we can cram about a million onesies into one energy efficient load. Of course we can’t wait to break out our cloth diapers (Clara is still a smidge too small for them) which will add even more to our laundry pile, but will make buying the Seventh Generation disposable dipes that we’ve been using a thing of the past. Wahoo!

The bathroom doesn’t always look like this, but every other day it does thanks to bath time. Clara LOVES bath time, and thanks to a tip from John’s sister (an expert mother of three) we don’t have to struggle to store a big hulking plastic baby tub since she recommended this yellow foam version from Target (which is so easy to squeeze out and store in one of the baskets in our open linen closet). It’s super cushy and comfy, amazingly inexpensive, and it’ll work for at least a year or so (when babies get bigger they can sit on them, which is how John’s sister washes her nine month old). Gotta love a $10 solution like that.

Here’s the other blanket that we always have on hand. This one lives in the office, but instead of being folded over the back of a chair when it’s not in use (like the one in the den) this one is pretty much always on the floor with some toys on it. It’s a great little station for Clara to play, put in some tummy time, and even sleep on occasion (sometimes with Burger curled up next to her).

And since one of us is always on Clara-duty while the other one is on blog-duty it’s also nice to have so much rug space for one of us to get down there with her and hold up a few toys while she smiles adoringly and tracks them with her big blue eyes.

The other thing to note in here is the Boppy on the sofa (we think it’s cute that it kind of looks like a C shaped pillow for Clara). Since I nurse anywhere and everywhere (the bedroom, the office, the den, the living room, the nursery, the sunroom, even the car…) I like to have it on hand, so it usually travels from room to room. But thanks to the soft blue color it pretty much fits into most of our spaces without looking too crazy. It’s certainly not a designer pillow but it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb (like some of that primary-colored kid gear would in our more subdued casa).

Next we have our much-loved Joovy Kooper stroller (we opted for one stroller that does it all from newborn to big kid age instead of having to purchase and store a number of different varieties). Thanks to daily walks around the neighborhood with Burger and Clara this thing gets a ton of action. And as we mentioned, all the items that you see in this post usually look just like this, but they do have a designated “stash spot” just in case we want to clean things up. And the stroller’s stash spot is actually the trunk of the car (we love that it’s pretty much always with us that way, but when we’re feeling lazy we don’t bother folding it up and just pop it in the sunroom instead). It definitely doesn’t blend in with the beachy white daybed, but it’s convenient and we have a two month old- so again, we’re happy to give ourselves a pass. Update: We later invested in a jogging stroller since our do-it-all-stroller couldn’t fill that function, but never bought/needed a snap n’ go stroller or an umbrella stroller, so it’s helpful to really consider what you’ll use before buying them all.

In the nursery it’s usually not too messy thanks to the big bin o’ toys under the bench (it’s so easy to pull things out and pop them right back in) but Clara has been LOVING her Bumbo so that has been making regular appearances in there. It was actually a hand-me-down from a friend, so we’re shocked/thrilled that it works so well with the colors in the room. And although it might look staged, that book in front of it was right there when we walked by to snap a pic. No funny business. If my memory serves me correctly, we were just in the middle of reading it when there was a spit-up incident that had to be tended to. Hence the half-read book…

We actually feared that the kitchen would explode once Clara joined the pack, but so far (since she’s not yet on solid food) we’ve just added three fun glass bottles by Weego and a small bottle drying rack from Target (she’s on an 100% momma’s milk diet, but on rare occasions I do pump just to be sure she’ll take a bottle). Many friends and family members warned us not to go crazy buying tons of bottles so we heeded their advice, and these three bottles have been all we’ve needed (actually we’ve probably only needed one so far). Oh and the reason we picked orange, blue, and yellow for the bottle colors were because we plan to use as much of our baby gear as possible for future bambinos, so gender neutral color choices seem to be more practical for the long haul.

So that’s how Casa Petersik has evolved thus far. And in case anyone’s wondering about our “stash spot” method, it was probably an extension of our “if everything has a place it’s easier to clean up and maintain the house on autopilot” theory. Therefore we devoted the small skinny cabinet right above the drying rack to bottles (and future spoons, sippy cups, and snack holders) while the Bumbo has a spot on the top shelf of Clara’s closet in the nursery. And just as the stroller can be folded up and tossed in the trunk of the car, the Boppy and the blanket on the floor of the office can easily be tossed into the closet in there on a moment’s notice. The foam bath mat gets wrung out and slipped into one of the baskets in the open linen closet while laundry can get folded and put away if we’re trying to tidy up. And since the swing is actually a travel swing it can be folded up and stashed in a closet (we’ve also been known to tuck it up on the shelves above the laundry behind the bamboo blinds so no one’s the wiser).

And of course we could make the bed if we felt the pressure. But lately we must admit that we’ve been loving the distinct lack of pressure around here. We’ve always been cool with imperfection (which is why we paint paneling instead of removing it and make our own DIY art instead of springing for the good stuff by the pros) but having a baby has been pretty great for hammering home the fact that a happy home is a lived-in and loved home… especially when it’s so functional that it buys you more time to hang out as a family.

Note: None of the makers of the baby gear that we’ve mentioned above have paid or perk’d us in any way- they’re just items that Clara has grown to love, so we’re happy to share the goods.