Thursday, January 27, 2011

Destination Wedding: Mexico!

My best friend Lindy is getting married!  This is exciting for so many reasons, but at the very top of the list is the fact that she is getting married in Mexico.  I know that "wedding in Mexico" leads to images of wedding on a beach, but Lindy and her fiance Javi are more interested in looking into haciendas. 

So being the selfish selfless friend I am, I have taken it upon myself to spend an inordinate amount of time online searching for hacienda weddings in Mexico.  Who knew that there were so many gorgeous, non-beachy locations for a wedding in Mexico?  My favorites have mostly come from photographer Elizabeth Medina.  I invite you to take a few moments and dream yourself to Mexico with me...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Valentine's Day Gift Guide: Tokyo Milk Bon Bon Bubble Bath

I love Valentine's Day. It's a special day for Zach and I (we had our first date on Valentine's Day in 1998. 1998!! I know. I can hardly believe it was that long ago either). But beyond that, my mom always made it such a fun day when I was growing up. My sister and I would come home from school to heart-shaped cupcakes, and new heart-themed pajamas wrapped in pretty pink and red paper, and balloons bobbing over the dinner table. It was always a fancy day.

So February 14th is on my mind. Over the next few weeks I am going to post ideas for Valentine's indulgences. Indulgences that could work as gifts for another or for yourself. Because self-love is important on Valentine's Day too, don't you think?

To kick things off, I am going to start with Tokyo Milk Bon Bon Bubble Bath. My sister got some for me for Christmas, and I love it. Isn't the packaging gorgeous?
Each label is printed with a picture that you can see when you look through the back of the glass bottle. So lovely to look at when you're soaking and up to your chin in bubbles. And also- they smell amazing.

P.S. Tokyo Milk also has gift collections called things like Dead Sexy Kiss Collection and Kiss and Tell Collection. Perfect for your Valentine. Or to buy for yourself to celebrate the day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Decor Idea: Toys on the Mantle

One of the things I have been slowly trying to do is integrate Tate, and the fact that our house now has a child in it, into our home decor, while avoiding the child-has-taken-over-the-house look. We have a wall of old black-and-white photos and I finally got one of Tate added. But other than that one small picture, and the necessities (high chair etc.), there is no real indication that a little boy lives here.
A few weeks ago, I saw a picture of children's toys lined up along the mantle (I wish I remembered where so I could give credit where credit is due). Today was kind of a dreary day outside, so I decided to try it- removing the candles that are normally there, and lining up Tate's wooden cars and airplane on the mantle:
I love it! Believe it or not, two of the trucks were made by Zach in his 6th grade shop class. It kind of blows our minds that our baby is playing with things Zach made in 6th grade.
P.S. Just because... isn't Tate cute?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Serena and Lily

There are so many things I love about Serena and Lily. First, their crib bedding. I searched long and hard to find Tate's crib bedding, and absolutely love what we bought from Serena and Lily. In particular, now that we have had it for 9 months, I can attest that it is incredibly durable and incredibly high-quality. It washes up so well. It still looks new. The second thing I love is their Bazaar. Occasionally (and I have seen no rhyme or reason to exactly when, which makes it even more compelling and interesting to me), they sell unique, one-of-a-kind items from around the world. These items are sold first-come, first-serve, and the Bazaar is only open a few days. They have one open right now, in fact. Check it out. But right now there are two things, in particular, that I want from Serena and Lily. First, I have been searching high and low for some kind of toy box to put underneath Tate's pirate ship. I wanted something rustic. My first thought had been a treasure chest, but I felt that would be falling into a theme more than I wanted. So when I stumbled upon these carts, I was ecstatic. They are perfect. Rustic but with a touch of modern with the bright orange castings (which match the other orange accents in Tate's room). Organic and completely functional. And I love the two sizes. Each one is slightly different and each is handmade. Also, happily, they don't have lids. I think most people want lids so that toys are hidden away, but Tate has such gorgeous, old-fashioned wooden cars and trucks, beautiful stuffed animals, hardcover books- all things I would love to be able to see. The second thing I love, however silly, is these (faux) leather animal bookends. So cute.
The hippo is my favorite.

P.S. I am back on Idle Hands today posting one more time as a guest blogger. What do you think about extreme knitting?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Colorful Cakes

My friend Sarah's baby shower was last weekend, and I volunteered to make the cake. She had requested a butterfly theme to celebrate her new baby girl. I went with this:
I loved how colorful it was. I used a vanilla french buttercream on the outside of the cake, and some butterflies I bought when Shannon and I went to Oblation. I attached the butterflies to skewers of different heights, and tada! Done. It reminded me of the rainbow cake I made earlier this summer with Zach's mom and our niece. This one, not so fancy, but very fun.
But my favorite colorful cake of all is this one. Designed for an art party, this cake is so simple. I want to make it really badly- really, I want to throw the whole art gallery party. (I love all the details, like the crayons in the invitation).
This party was featured on Hip Hip Hooray, which, if you are into kid's parties, is the best site ever.
I think my mind is on parties because it is about time to begin planning Tate's first birthday. Can you believe it? Me neither. But it has my mind humming...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jack Cards

My sister first introduced me to Jack Cards, and signing up has been one of those things on my To Do List for years. Literally, years. Have you heard of it? It is a phenomenal idea and service. You sign up (for free!), and then enter all the important, card-worthy events in your life. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations... you essentially create an online calendar of all life's celebrations. Then you choose (from their vast and very impressive selection) a card for each occassion. Now I am not talking about electronic cards. Jack Cards has a wide array of printed cards from all kinds of excellent designers (like Red Cap Cards and Masha D'yans). But then- and this is the true genius behind Jack Cards- once your events are all entered, and your cards are all selected, Jack Cards automatically sends you the card you selected, with an included stamped and addressed envelope, a week or so before said event is scheduled to occur. So smart, right? The blank card arrives just in time for you to write a personal message, and drop in the box. No rushing to the card store (or not, and feeling guilty because you once again missed a birthday). No buying the card, writing the card, and then not sending the card because you don't have a stamp. Jack Cards is any busy women's best friend. Truly.
I have decided that for 2011, I will get at least 10 people's birthdays entered in. It is my gift to myself. So that 2011 is filled with (easy!) honoring of my most important loved ones special days.
P.S. I am the Guest Blogger over on Idle Hands today. How exciting! Check it out and tell me what you think about knitting lessons on Nintendo's Wii.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guest Blogger: Shannon McHugh

I distinctly remember the alarm and despair that consumed me when, one evening during our junior year of college, I discovered that Janelle had donated a large bag of her clothing to Goodwill without letting me rifle through it first. My friendship with Janelle has always been marked by a dependence on her mastery of all things sartorial. And though there is much to anticipate when I visit her nowadays in Portland--her warm chocolate cookies, Zach's home-brewed beer, guest room goodies, and now this adorable face--one of my favorite things is still the shopping.
Though we did make some good fashion finds yesterday, the real prize came when Janelle took me to Oblation Papers in the Pearl District:
I love, love, love this map from AM, which is an eighteenth-century rendering of the city of Paris. (I've adored all things French since I began studying the language a few years ago, which is why Janelle thought that this conjugation chart from Smallable would be another perfect addition to my apartment.)
I cannot wait to hang this poster, which is printed on heavy art paper, in my room. I think it's as big as my bed. And the details are so precise!
I know I will spend many a lazy Sunday lying in and staring at my map, picturing myself walking its tiny streets, glancing into its little windows, and wandering its miniature markets.
Shannon McHugh is a doctoral candidate at New York University, studying Italian and romance languages (her statement about "ador[ing] all things French" is a bit of an understatement given that the recently lived there and plans to go back next fall). She speaks multiple languages (including Latin!), is interested in the role of women in Italian medieval Italy (did I get that right, Shannon?), and is both a kindred spirit and sister-of-the-heart.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


from SSSJ I am really loving these silk-screened lockets from SSSJ and Verabel (local Portland designer!). I never used to be a necklace person, much preferring big (huge!) earrings. But over the past year, my friend Andrea has gifted me with three or four chunky necklaces that I absolutely love, and that really help make an outfit. These lockets seem kind of like that- pair with a white tee and jeans, or a high-waisted skirt and tucked in blouse, and tada! Instant style.
It doesn't hurt that I could put a tiny black-and-white pic of Zach and Tate in each side either.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Parenting Taboo's

Have you heard of Babble? It is a fantastic parenting website with great blogs. I thought this video, by it's founders, was a nice reminder that we are all in this parenting thing together. If you have 17 minutes- give it a go.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Being pregnant can feel... not attractive. Even when you have a wonderful husband that tells you over and over how great you look. So when I stumbled across the be-yew-ti-ful maternity lingerie and pajamas by Belabumbum, I was overjoyed for all the pregnant women out there (and my future pregnant self).
This is a nursing bra. Can you believe it? They do have non-maternity lingerie too. Isn't it pretty?
And lastly- they have a Boycut of the Month Club. Wouldn't you love to receive that as a gift? I sure would. Each month a new boycut gets delivered to your door. Sexy. Stylish. Fun.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Busts and Tags

Aren't these gift tags from Anthropologie an inspiration? And on sale too- only $2.50! What a steal. Also from Anthropologie, I think these animal busts would look awesome in a safari-themed nursery.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Holiday Wrap Up (or "Out of Hibernation")

I have been hibernating all holiday break. There were three consecutive days where I got more than 10 hours of sleep and never got out of my pajamas. I read 6 books. The morning after New Year's, Zach took on Tate-duty and I slept until 10:30 am. 10:30, people!! I didn't check work email. I didn't blog. I just... hibernated. It was a completely indulgent vacation indeed.
But before we move on completely from the holidays (especially since most of my gifts are being sent tomorrow), let's review some of my favorite things from Christmas this year.
First: stockings. A few years ago, when Zach and I got married, and Lissa and Brian got married, Mom had to make new stockings for the new son-in-laws. Instead of doing just two different ones for the boys, Mom decided to make Lissa and I new ones as well. So mine, Lissa's, Zach's and Brian's all match, and Mom and Dad's are the old style that we grew up with. The style Mom chose for our new ones was a village- we each had a different building in Santa's village that represented us. Brian, the lawyer, has Klause & Klause Associates next to the Candy Cane Courthouse. Lissa, who works with kids, has the Elves Art House. I have the North Pole Bakery, and Zach (who played King Arthur in our high school version of "Camelot" when we met) has Camelot Toy Works. So sweet and creative, right? Don't you wish you had stockings like these
So we had to make one for Tate this year. This was hard, because Tate's personality is still so undefined. We wanted something fun and boyish but that could carry him into adult-hood. We decided on "Tate's Cars and Trucks". Could it be any cuter? (And seriously, don't you think my mom should sell these on Etsy?!)
Second: Christmas tree decorations. Years ago, there was a women I met who had a beautiful Christmas tree. But beyond her traditional decorations, she did something that I have remembered ever since, and always wanted to do once I had kids. What she and her family did each year was to pick one object (like, an actual thing, not an ornament), and hang it on the tree. The object was meant to symbolize one of the important things that had happened that year. The one I remember was a crunched license plate- her 16 year old son had just received his driver's license and the first week, got in a fender bender. It was so fun to see such odd and interesting objects on the tree, and to hear the stories that went along with them.
So this year we started. And what was more important for us this year than Tate being born? So our first object- his hospital bracelet:
All season long I loved looking at it perched on the tree. I packed it away with the rest of the ornaments, so each year I can pull it out. It is, officially, our first tree object.
And lastly- great minds really do think alike. And we have a lot of great minds in our life. So it should come as no surprise that Tate received not one, not two, but three sets of blocks for Christmas, each different, each beautiful. First, Aunt Lissa and Uncle Brian got him these from The Land of Nod: Then we got him these two sets from Paxton Gate:
And Dawn and Nick got him these from who-knows-where:
All together, our coffee table has been looking a lot like this lately:
All in all, I would say that the Holmboe family had a happy, healthy, restorative holiday. I hope yours was too.