31 August 2012

Friday "What I Wore" Roundup

Let me begin this post by saying I am by no means a fashion blogger. I would never claim to be. I think the fact that I don't own one piece of designer clothing disqualifies me from ever claiming to be one. I do own one Michael Kors watch that was given to me as a gift from Jordan, and one Coach clutch that was a gift by my friend Allison. That's it. The most expensive article of clothing I can think of that I own (wedding dress excluded) is probably a $90 pair of jeans. And the only reason I paid that is because I know I will wear my jeans until they are falling off my legs. Funny enough, my own husband pays more for his own clothes than I do. He usually ends up buying me the pricy things I won't buy for myself. I primarily shop at Urban Outfitters, H&M, Forever 21 and Gap. I occasionally thrift for clutches, skirts and blazers. I peruse sale racks at places like Nordstroms or little boutiques. I score some of my best finds on the clearance racks of places like Marshalls and TJMaxx.

Don't get me wrong, I have a sick love for clothing and go shopping way more than I should. I probably buy new clothes every other week. Nothing excites me more than getting home from shopping and taking my new finds out of the shopping bag and putting them on my pretty felt hangers and adding them to my ever-growing collection of clothes in a closet that is so full I can no longer share it with my husband. (Don't worry, he's cool with it. He has his own closet down the hall.) I have a decent collection of shoes, but am not crazy about shoes like most girls my age. I have more clutches than I use (90% of which are vintage thrift finds), tons of scarfs, and just a handful of hats. I have a decent collection of jewely, although I force myself not to stick with the same staple pieces as I often want to do.

If you want to take a peek inside my closet, check this post when I did a mini makeover last year and replaced my ugly dry-cleaner hangers (I loathe those bright colored, plastic hangers) with pretty felt ones from Marshalls.

I love Pinterest. I use it every day and pin tons of inspirational clothing. I actually use what I pinned and reference them when packing for a trip or getting dressed for an event or even an everyday outfit. Rather than doing a whole outfit of the day post each day to tell you what I wear, I thought it would be fun to do a weekly roundup on Friday of what I wore that week. Since I'm a full time working mom, I just don't have the time to get someone to take pictures of me strolling the streets of my neighborhood each day**. Even though Jordan would totally be my photographer if I asked him. Ok I did ask him. 

Part of doing this is that I'm hoping to motivate myself to step out of the box a bit when deciding what to wear each day. I want to take full advantage of the pieces in my closet and wear them in different ways and be more creative and have fun with my fashion choices.

So I made a point to snap a photo every day this week to document what I wore each day.

Sunday: bandeau, Urban Outfitters | tank, Forever21 | pants, H&M | watch, Michal Kors
Monday: tank, Urban Outfitters | skirt, Urban Outfitters | oxford, H&M | neckace, Urban Outfitters | shoes, Target

Tuesday: dress, H&M | denim vest, Forever21 | scarf, H&M
Wednesday: dress, H&M | blazer, Urban Outfitters | belt, came from another dress | watch, Michael Kors

Thursday: tank, Urban Outfitters | blazer, Forever21 | jeans, Abercrombie & Fitch | necklace, Ebay | watch, Michal Kors
Friday: Shirt, H&M | skirt, Urban Outfitters | chambray shirt, Urban Outfitters | bracelet, Forever21 | shoes, Jessica Simpson (from TJMaxx) | watch, Michael Kors
I'd love some feedback to see if this is something people would actually care to see. Again, I'm not fashion blogger, but I do want to have a few more fashion/lifestyle topics to my blog. If you're all yawning right now out of boredom or mentally teasing me for taking photos of myself in the mirror each day, just tell me to stop and I'll stick to my arts and crafts. :)
**Disclaimer: I am in no way poking fun at fashion bloggers. I love, love fashion bloggers and follow many of them on Instagram for inspiraton. A few of my favorites include Cupcakes & Cashmere, Leopard & Lavender, Style By Kling, and many many more.  
Happy Friday! Hope you all enjoy your loooong holiday weekend. :)

30 August 2012

Boston Trip in Pictures

Get ready for a photo overload. This past weekend we took a somewhat impromptu trip to Boston after my mom was able to score us Red Sox tickets from an auction at her work. For those of you that don't know, Jordan is a huge Sox fan. We also love Boston and have made a point to go every summer for a number of years up until I got pregnant. 

We flew up Friday afternoon, squeezed in the game, a few great meals (including one of the best little Italian restaurants we've ever been to on the North End called Pomodoro), and a quick trip to the aquarium before flying home early Sunday morning. Here are a few highlights from our busy weekend.

Even with a Sox loss, had one of the best weekends in Boston. You really can't complain about third row field box seats! We couldn't wait to bring Lucy to Fenway and let her explore the aquarium (Although her favorite part of the entire aquarium was the mini bronze penguin statue in one of the pictures above. She was even hugging it). With two more flawless plane rides behind us, Lucy has proven to be an amazing traveler. We even received compliments from other passengers who didn't realize there was a baby in the seat in front of them because she slept the whole flight. This just means more family vacations are ahead of us.

28 August 2012

New Buttons

I recently made new buttons for A Simple Kind of Life.
They can be found on the right side bar if you'd like to share some love.

27 August 2012

Inspired by Color: Navy and White

I'm not normally a 'blue person'. Whether it be in clothes or home decor, blue was a color that never appealed to me.. until now. Lately I've been craving navy blue. I find myself looking at items when shopping and mentally picking the blue color option. I keep trying to find a way to incorporate some navy into our home without having to do a complete overhaul on one of our rooms. I'm itching to freshen up our guest bathroom and figure that swapping out some linens and adding a few blue accents (without paying an arm and a leg) might satisfy my need for navy.

Here are some of my favorite blues I've been seeing lately. 
I even purchased a few. Can you guess which ones?
|  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12

23 August 2012

Product Review: Cygnett Alumni iPad Case

You might remember a few months back when I was on the hunt for the perfect iPad case. Jordan and I had recently purchased iPads and I was excited to jazz mine up a bit with a practical, but feminine case. I found this one from JessLC that I love and have been using with my iPad, but Jordan has been using the generic Apple iPad smart cover. It does the job by covering the screen when not in use (and doubles as a stand), but offers no protection for the back and sides of the iPad. I was thrilled when a representative from Cygnett contacted me and asked if we would be willing to try out and write a review on their Alumni iPad Case. Of course!

Product: Cygnett Alumni iPad Case in blue (check out the website here)

- While I would say the design is simple and unisex, it still has a classic and professional look. When opened we both really liked the clean interior design and neutral colored lining.
- We both agree that we prefer this design for a case over the fabric sleeves that some sell for iPads that have to be completely taken off when using. A case that can stay on while using the iPad is a plus.
- The material the case is made out of is awesome. You can tell that they took the time to use a good quality canvas and the leather material is sturdy as well.
- Protection is key. Once the iPad is in this case, it is covered pretty snug on all sides. There is no movement or slipping in this case when using it and the edges don't cover any of the key buttons or fit awkardly.
- Camera hole in back. Surprisingly a lot of cases and covers block the camera. This one has the perfect cut out in the back of the case so you don't need to remove the iPad or adjust it to take photos.
- At $49.99 I think this is a fair price for this product. Considering the quality of the material and the features that it offers, I would certainly pay this price. I've seen equally priced or more expensive cases with much less quality made of more flimsy material.
- One thing Jordan mentioned that he liked about the case is that is looks like a book when closed. It has a sturdy front and back cover and can put easily put into a purse or briefcase without risk of being damaged.

- Color options. I blindly chose blue, knowing that this case was going to be used by Jordan and wanting someting more masculine. We weren't thrilled with the bright shade of blue we received. I think we were both expecting more of a navy or denim colored blue. While searching in the Cygnett website, the options for this particular style case are blue, green, pink and black. The black case seems to be the only color that would appeal to most men in our opinion. The pink and green are very pretty to me, but this case of course was going to Jordan. The other styles of the Cygnett cases come in a variety of colors that do appeal to us. Plus, if you are using your iPad for professional purposes, you would want something less bright and more neutral.
- Jordan noticed that it wasn't very easy to fold the cover back behind the iPad unless you lay it on the cover like the below photo. I think this is due to the material they used which is a pro for quality, but more a con for convenience.
- There also is no way to stand this iPad up the way some cases allow.

All in all we were both pretty impressed with this case. The cons we had are ones that honestly wouldn't make or break our decision based on the convenince, quality and craftsmanship of this product.

Thank you so much to Cygnett for allowing us to try out their Alumni iPad case!

For Cygnett's full range of iPad cases and other products, check them out here.

Disclaimer: This is a product review. I received the product in exchange for my input. All opinions on this review are my own and have not in any way been influenced by Cygnett. 

If you would like me to test and review one of your products, please contact me at simplekindoflifeblog@gmail.com.

21 August 2012

Updated DIY Projects Page

Sometimes I miss a day of posting here and there, but let me assure you it isn't because I'm not working on the blog. Little by little I'm working behind the scenes and updating piece by piece in an effort to make it a little more user friendly. My latest revamp is the DIY Projects page I have on the right side bar of the blog. Rather than having to use the search tool or scroll through dozens of DIY tagged posts, it's a one-stop shop for any tutorial I've made or project I've tackled. Now you can simply click on the picture of the project you want to see and it will take you directly to that post. 

Check it out!

20 August 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen...

...we have a walker!

My New Mom Gift Guide

Last week our good friends Ashley and Kevin welcomed their baby girl, Scarlett Rose. I was fortunate enough to meet the gorgeous new bundle of joy and I must say she is absolutely adorable. I'm not going to post a ton of pictures of her on the blog, but if you follow me on Instagram you will see the below picture as well as one that the proud daddy posted on his Facebook page. (Follow me on Instagram under username 'jessicademaio' or click the camera link on the right for a peek at my photos) Since this was her first and Ashley is one of my absolute best friends whom I've known pretty much my entire life (since first grade), I wanted to do something special for her.

At least from my personal experience, all of the gifts you receive after labor are for the baby. Clothes, toys, books, bows for her hair, picture frames, anything you can think of. No one necessarily gives a gift to the mom. And let's face it, she did a lot of the hard work and she's in recovery mode, too. I wanted to give Ashley a few things to pamper her and let her know that she's appreciated, too.

To start you want to find a pretty bag to put all your goodies in. I chose the above reusable bag from Babies R Us. It's both adorable and practical - something you appreciate once you become a mom.

Basic mom necessities are always good. Ashley is a lover of hand sanitizer and I've been relying on these Johnson's wipes since Lucy was born. They work great for cleaning up messy faces or to give hands a quick clean before a snack on-the-go. 

Like it says, every new mom needs a brag book. She'll be showing those pictures off until the day her baby gets married. Give her a cute place to keep them that fits right in her purse.

When you have a baby you receive tons of gifts. Tons of gifts mean tons of thank you notes. Pretty stationary helps make the chore of writing thank you notes a little more fun. Plus, at least for me, half the pain of doing thank you notes is remembering to pick some up when you're out running errands. You can at least save her that step. This stationary found at Target.

I never had a sweet tooth until I became pregnant with Lucy. Ever since I gave birth every once and a while I crave a little sugar. Pick up a few of mom's favorite candies or other treats to keep on hand with the cravings arise. Plus she needs the calories for nursing!

Sometimes you just don't want to lug around the big diaper bag, especially if you are going out to a nice restaurant. These great diaper cases are such a pretty way to conceal the diaper and wipe stash in your purse. They came two to a pack so I kept one for myself (shh!). Rikshaw Design.

If you're a mom yourself, sometimes it's a good idea to pass on something you found useful when you had a baby. These soothing gel pads were one thing I found helpful, for reasons I'm sure you can figure out on your own :) I had a few fellow mommies that I relied on heavily for advice and to fill me in on little tips that I didn't know about. Can be bought anywhere pump accessories are found - Babies R Us, Target, etc.

One thing I learned about nursing is that it dehydrates you! Since I had Lucy in the dead heat of the summer, it used to make me overheated, too. Jordan would grab me a cold bottle of water almost every time I nursed and I would chug it. Here's a great reusable water bottle that is perfect for nursing anywhere. Water bottle purchased from Target.

Some yummy things to help mom feel pretty and smell good. Let's be honest, there were days when I didn't shower - you just don't have time in the beginning. Give her some yummy smelling body wash and body butter so she can take the time to pamper herself while daddy is on baby duty. All purchased from Target.

Just because she's stuck at home doesn't mean a new mom can't feel pretty, too. Some cute and comfy loungewear that she can wear (and easily nurse in as a bonus). I also grabbed some pretty orange and gold hair clips. Little hands like to reach and grab for hair when you're nursing so here's a pretty way to dress up your basic topknot. Plus a yummy candle because, well... diapers stink. Loungewear and hair clips from Anthropologie. Candle from Urban Outfitters.

Not pictured, but I also purchased a gift certificate to Ash's favorite nail salon so she can treat herself to a manicure and pedicure once she's ready for her first quick errand without the baby. Also a gift card to Babies R Us for all those last minute things you don't realize you need until you get home from the hospital (Jordan went almost every day our first week home). Another great idea is a gift card for both mom and dad to go to dinner. They may not be ready for a few weeks, but Mommy and Daddy will need a date night. Jordan and I went out when Lucy was about 4 weeks old and it was something we needed to feel 'normal' again. It's easy to get caught up in the fun and excitement of a new babe but you definitely need to have a little grown up time every once and a while.

My next step was grabbing some tissue paper, note paper and some pretty Washi tape. I wrote a little note on each wrapped gift to explain why I picked that particular gift for her. Doing this makes opening the gift a little more fun when there's a note attached to each one.

Finally I gathered all my items along with any cards and gift cards and put them in the pretty, but practical bag.

I dropped the gift bag off when we visited Ashley, Kevin and baby Scarlett at the hopsital last week. I told Ashley that it was a gift for her and that she could open it later. I received a text from Ashley yesterday morning thanking me for all of the goodies. She said she never had so much fun opening a gift and and gushed how sweet and thoughtful she felt it was.

Of course there can be many variations on the perfect new mom gifts. Have you given or received a great gift for a new mom?