Dear Ivor Baby

I wrote one of these for your sister when she turned 2, so it’s only fair I do the same for you 🙂 You’re about to turn 2 next week and I can hardly believe how fast those 2 years have gone by. Everyone always says that, but it’s true. Coming so soon after your big sister was born just added to the speed I think. You came into this world quickly and intensely, leaving everyone in the room wondering what just happened. But it was the best way to start a Monday morning! And even though having you so quickly was unexpected, we couldn’t imagine life without you or having done it any differently.

Much like the day you were born, you continue to brighten everyone’s day with your lively, energetic, jolly self. You always have a glimmer in your eye and a smile on your face. Your dimple has been melting mommy’s heart since day 1 which makes it really difficult to discipline you when you’re in trouble…because you’re so dang cute and you know just what face to make to either make me laugh or wanna give you a great big bear hug. Speaking of hugs, you are the BEST snuggler a mama could ever ask for. Not just with me, you like to snuggle with others too…and that’s cool. I can share.

I have a feeling you will be a “class clown”, as you’ve already started to enjoy making faces and being a goofball to make other’s laugh…and you feed off of the laughs.

Like your big sister,  you can be passionate and loud and very impatient when it comes to food. I know Gwen went through that phase too, but man…you’re not going to starve kid, I promise you. Oatmeal IS coming.

You are a daredevil. You climb, you jump, you dive. You have no fear. You are the reason we can’t have nice things 😉 I mean, your sister is too…but you take it to another level. You get into stuff Gwen never had any interest in. When we visit other people’s homes, we’ve discovered that even if they’re toddler-proofed…they are rarely ever “Ivor-proofed”. But you’re just in that stage of life filled with curiosity and exploration…you’ll learn that there are boundaries. And you’ll get better at listening and understanding consequences as you get older. Right? Right.

You enjoy playing with your big sister and you’re getting better at standing your ground and not letting yourself be pushed around by her (we’re working with her on this, but she will always be your big sister and I’m sure she’ll remind you of that for the rest of your lives) 🙂 I suppose it will get better when you’re old enough to play properly with things, instead of just destroying them. That’s what makes her mad right now.

Your vocabulary is growing slowly but surely every day. You’re not nearly the talker Gwen was at this age, but that’s totally fine by me! Not sure I could handle that lol. Though the screaming really does need to stop 😛 Here are some things you can say:

“Mommy”- or “MOMM-AY” when you’re whining

“Daddy”

“Gwen”- used to be “Gway” but you’re now pronouncing the “n”

“Mootin” (Milton, the cat)

“Guys”

“Hey”

“Hi”

“Are you?” (where are you)

“bank you” (thank you)

“peas” (please)

“c’mon”

“no”

“owside” (outside)

“books”

“yay”

“wet it go” (let it go)

“elsa”

“anna”

“olaf”

“nemo”

notice a pattern?

And you have a very interesting and unique way of asking for more food. It goes something like this “amama-dayee?” ….sounds like “mommy daddy” but it’s not. And it’s only when you’re in your high chair, wanting more food. I’m sure there are other words you can say now that I’m not remembering, but those are the most common ones.

You know a few numbers and letters. You still LOVE bath time, and being in or near the water. Finding Nemo is still your favorite movie and a surefire way to calm you down in just about any circumstance. We love you so much and can’t wait to watch you learn and grow and become a big brother very soon 🙂

Happy 2nd birthday little man!

Love,

Mommy, Daddy, Gwen, and Fiona

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BG3 (Fiona) Pregnancy Update!

Just now as I sat down to write this I realized I’m nearing the end of my 2nd trimester already (in about 2 weeks). The 1st trimester dragged on, this trimester flew by. I wonder how the 3rd will feel (I’m hoping for another fly-by). We shall see 🙂

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Due Date: July 23, 2016 (nothing’s changed here)

How Far Along: 26 Weeks

Next Appointment: April 28th

Gender: GIRL!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Close to 20lbs now….It must be the lifting, right? Yes, all muscle and baby (that’s what I’ll keep telling myself…as I stuff my face with chocolate)

Exercise: Still lifting but nearing the end sadly…doctor says no more than 20lbs once I hit 32 weeks (which means I wouldn’t be able to lift my own children soooo, we’ll see :)….)

Stretch Marks: No

Swelling: No

Maternity Clothes: Yep, all the maternity clothes.

Belly Button: About to pop

Sleep: Not terrible, could be better

Food Cravings: Lately, sweets. And still with the Indian food.

Food Aversions: Nothing anymore really.

Symptoms: Lower back aches, leg cramps….meh.

Movement: Yes! I feel her move quite a lot now. Loving it 🙂

Labor Signs: The occasional braxton hick. When I’m dehydrated and really active…but I’ve got it under control now for the most part.

What I Miss: The ability to sneeze without peeing myself a little. And apparently coughing too hard may also cause the peeing….sigh.

What I’m Loving: Feeling the her move and seeing her little kicks and jabs from the outside too.

What I’m Looking Forward To: Same as before- meeting her for the first time! Can’t wait to kiss her little cheeks 🙂

Best Moment This Week: I ate a lot of Indian food…that made me happy.

Words of Wisdom: Pregnancy hormones are not to be trusted.

Until next time, here’s another picture from her ultrasound back in February (cause I like looking at her pictures):

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Our 1st Disneyland Trip: Part 1

If I don’t sit down and write this now, it won’t happen. And I need it to happen. This was a very special and memorable trip and I must document it in as many ways possible 🙂 So I’ll recap it, share some photos/videos and some lessons learned/tips for future trips. Because I tend to ramble and I know most blog readers have a short attention span, I will probably break this up into several parts (with separate posts). Because there’s just SO much to share.

Let’s start with a history…

Going to Disneyland wasn’t really on my radar until very recently. I always said to myself “maybe when the kids are much older so they remember/enjoy it more.” However, in February I took Gwen to see Frozen on Ice as a mommy/daughter date and early birthday present. Frozen is one of her favorite movies of all time (like 2397429 other little girls), so I figured she would enjoy this. And I wanted to see how she’d do at her first “show”. Well, to say she loved it would be an understatement. Her face was lit up the whole time. She sang. She danced. She clapped at the appropriate times. She excitedly exclaimed “MOMMY, LOOK! IT’S _______!” (fill in the blank with every character she saw). I texted Ivor during the show and told him how much she was enjoying it and said something like “We are SO going to Disneyland!” Of course I wasn’t expecting to do it anytime soon, but then he responded with a comment about trying to book it before the baby comes. So let it be known, while I may have been the one to put the bug in his ear at that Frozen show, it was my husband who suggested actually going before Baby #3 comes. So of course, I ran with it 😉

I then started doing research, asking friends for advice, reading blogs, etc. about going to Disneyland (where to stay, when to go, what rides to go on, where to eat etc.) Since we live in California, almost everyone we know who has kids  has been there and it’s a very popular place to visit. So there is no shortage of Disneyland experts/veterans to seek advice from! We ended up booking it fairly last minute, during a peak time of year (spring break/Easter). I’m thankful we got a room at all, let alone at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels (places were selling out quickly during the dates we wanted, but we wanted to be able to go while Ivor’s mom was still here). While staying on property (at 1 of the 3 resort hotels) is definitely more expensive than staying off-property, we decided the convenience was worth it for us right now. When you stay at one of those hotels you get the advantage of the “Extra Magic Hour” every day of your stay. That means you get into the park an hour before it’s open to the general public. The 2 parks (Disneyland Park and California Adventure) alternate which one has the magic hour each day. With 2 small kids (and a husband who LOATHES crowds), this was extremely appealing to us. Other advantages of staying on property is the convenience of the location- everything within walking distance, really nice pools, restaurants, etc. and that little bit of “Disney magic” that each of the hotels have. I wanted to truly feel like I was on vacation and staying somewhere where everything is right there, helps me feel like I’m really on vacation. Maybe that’s just me. But I loved it! The Disneyland Hotel is the one we stayed at.

Anyway, we stayed for 6 nights- but only purchased 3-day park hopper tickets. So we had 2 days of rest, which I highly recommend. 3 days in the park(s) was about perfect.  We arrived on a Wednesday. We did Disneyland Park on the first day, Thursday (because it had the extra magic hour that day), California Adventure on the 2nd day- Friday, then had 2 rest days (Saturday and Sunday- which is when the park was probably more crowded) Then on Monday, our final day in the park, we went to California Adventure first (for the magic hour) and then “hopped” over to Disneyland park for the rest of the day. Drove home on Tuesday.

Here’s a quick breakdown/summary of each day (and by “quick” I probably mean “detailed”):

Day 1 (Disneyland Park): If I had to rate each day in the park, this was probably the worst. We didn’t get in line as early as we (my husband) wanted to, even for the magic hour- the line was already crazy long when we got there. So the crowds were there early, lines for rides had already started, blah blah whatever. Despite all of that, Day 1 was always going to be the “break-in/warming-up” day, no matter what. The kids have never really been to any amusement park and have never seen characters up close and personal. So it was a little overwhelming for both of them at first (understandably). It took Gwen some time to really get into the rides. And that’s ok. I expected that to happen. It was also really really hot, which didn’t help things. But we still managed to go on a decent amount of rides before noon, which is when we planned to go back to the hotel for lunch/naps. The ride highlights from this morning: the carousel (which ended up being Gwen’s absolute favorite) and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage ride (very cool). We went on more rides obviously, but those were the best (most enjoyed by all). After lunch, naps (which didn’t actually happen, so let’s just call it a “rest” period) and dinner, we went back to the park for the Paint The Night parade and the Fireworks show, both of which kind of redeemed the whole day for me. Because they were AMAZING. We let the kids stay up and watch both of them, which was a little rough- but they were troopers. For their first full day at the park for the first time ever, they were EXHAUSTED by that point. But it’s vacation…bedtime shmedtime.

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Day 2 (California Adventure): Best day ever. We got in line early for the extra magic hour (and the lines weren’t nearly as long as they were at DP the day before), so we got in right at the start of it and went straight to Anna & Elsa. (I had planned out all of our stops in advance and knew exactly where they were in the park). There was hardly any line at all. We were maybe 3rd or 4th in line to meet them that day. Gwen was dressed as Elsa and she was SO excited but SO nervous. We walked into this royal room where they were meeting and greeting and there was a quiet “awe” sort of vibe in the room. Like the feeling you get when seeing a bride right after she puts on her wedding dress for the first time on her wedding day. That’s the best way I can describe it. Obviously, I know Anna and Elsa aren’t real, but Gwen doesn’t. And it was magical to her. And so it was magical for me (and Ivor). I may have teared-up a bit (and I wasn’t the only adult in the room who did ;-). Gwen was really shy but gave them her Frozen sticker book that she made for them to sign. They were so good with her (and Ivor Baby too- who took to Anna right away). We didn’t feel rushed. They took their time talking to her and taking pictures with us, etc. It was such a great way to start our day. I think that was the turning point moment for Gwen, and she really started getting into this whole “Disneyland” thing and wanted to go on rides and fully embrace all that the parks had to offer. The rest of the morning was just as wonderful. It wasn’t very crowded at all (compared to the other park) and we didn’t have to wait very long at all to go on all the rides we wanted to. Even the longest line (for the Toy Story ride) moved quickly. Also, we got to meet Olaf that morning too. We may have actually been the first ones to meet him that day, there was no line at all. Poor Olaf lol. Anyway, Gwen was actually a little afraid of him up close but Ivor Baby LOOOOOVED him. He was full of smiles and giggles 🙂 Definitely the highlight for him I think. We saw the Frozen Sing-A-Long show before, once again,  heading back to the hotel for lunch and “rest”, and I think I finally showered after several days (highlight for me). We came back later in the afternoon for the Pixar Play Parade, went on the carousel a few more times (Gwen preferred the one in this park because it was sea-themed with underwater sea creatures. She liked those better than the horses), checked out the Mad-T Party thing (cover band), then Ivor’s mom took Ivor Baby back to the hotel and the 3 of us (Gwen, Ivor and myself) headed to Cars Land, went on more rides, then waited around for the World of Color show, which was also INCREDIBLE. Then back to the hotel for Zzzz’s….

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To be Continued…. because this is getting way too long….

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Stitch Fix Maternity Review (#2 and #3)

Long time, no blog! Sorry. Pregnancy with 2 toddlers running around has made me lazy. Er, just…tired. So I’ve slacked on my blog writing… majorly. To catch you up, I’ve received 2 more Stitch Fix maternity fixes since my last one and they’ve just been knocking it out of the park with this maternity thing! So, I pulled myself together today and took some pictures to show all of you. Also, they just started offering SHOES. And I got a pair. You must read on…

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If a purchase is made using one of my links, I receive a small commission which helps support this blog. That said, all opinions are 100% my own! I love sharing my experience with services I love for all you lovely readers 🙂 

Stitch Fix Maternity Shoes Review

I’ll start with my 2nd maternity fix (which is not the one pictured above). I’ve been asking for MOSTLY non-maternity items that I can wear post-baby too, because I want to be able to get a lot of use out of these items (since this is baby #3 and all). They’ve been doing a great job of satisfying that request while still including a few necessary actual maternity items (which I also requested). And my stylist has been nailing it.

Spoiler for maternity fix #2: I kept EVERYTHING.

{Oh, and bump status for all these photos: 24 weeks pregnant.}

Item #1: Sina V-Neck Printed Maxi Dress $78

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I looooooooove this dress so much. I’ve worn it several times now. It’s not actually a maternity dress so I’ll get plenty of use out of it after the baby comes too. It’s comfortable, lightweight, and I love the print and colors (the top is navy blue). Not sure what else to say about it. It’s a winner.

Item #2: Blaire Maternity Dress $68

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I immediately loved this dress too! I’ve worn this with my white chucks, a cardigan and a long pendant necklace.  These knit maternity dresses are super flattering, comfy and casual. If you’ve been following my Stitch Fix posts for awhile, you’ll notice a pattern: I love “comfy and casual”.  However, this one is starting to get a bit snug on me these days. Which I’m hoping means I’ll get to wear it more post-baby once the bump goes down (despite this one being an actual maternity dress, I think I’ll still be able to wear it a lot in the future).

Items #3 and #4: Sollas Long Sleeve Shirred Cuffs Maternity Knit Top $48, and Mira Skinny Jean  $78

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Two more easy winners! The shirt is rather plain and boring, yes. But it’s unbelievably comfy and stretchy and it’s sort of a blank canvas- so I always add a necklace. And it’s a great layering piece. The pants are actually NOT maternity. But they’re slip-on, jeggings basically. So they worked beautifully for early pregnancy and will be great post-baby too. These are also getting quite snug on me now (around the belly area) which makes my belly bump silhouette look lumpy. And nobody wants that. I’ll be looking forward to wearing these again more often post-baby 🙂

Item #5: Genevieve Stacked Chevron Pendant Necklace $28

Stitch Fix Genevieve Stacked Chevron Pendant Necklace

This immediately became my favorite go-to necklace. I wore it almost every day. And then my lovely daughter accidentally broke it 🙁 I am sad. I need to look into a jewelry repair place…because I miss it so much. It’s a great pendant necklace at a great length (though still adjustable of course). It went with everything and added that something extra to every outfit. Sigh….

As I mentioned earlier: this was a home-run 5/5 fix! So I got 25% off, plus some referral credit to put toward it. Woot!

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Moving on to my latest fix, with the SHOES!

In fact, I’ll just start there.

Item #1: Yippee T-Strap Sandal (NINE WEST) $89

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I was really on the fence with these. They’re not typically my style or like anything I usually wear. What I DID like a lot, was the leopard print. I have leopard print flats pinned on my Pinterest Board, so kudos to my stylist for noticing that. I also love the ankle straps from the back view. But I wasn’t crazy about the little mini-heel (which I just realized I didn’t take a very good picture of) or the overall strap placement and how it looked on my feet. I also determined that I probably wouldn’t get a lot of use out of them anyway. So ultimately, these got: RETURNED.

Item #2: Gemma Maternity Dress (TART) $88

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I really love this dress! It’s crazy soft and comfortable and very flattering. The only reason I didn’t keep it is because I have basically the exact same dress from Old Navy, that a friend passed along to me for free 🙂 Therefore, RETURNED. Also, I’m wearing the shoes in these pics too, so you can get a better idea of what they looked like on.

Item #3: Char Geo Print Maxi Skirt (MARKET & SPRUCE) $58

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I love the print and the colors on this maxi skirt (it has some yellow and pink in it). It’s not maternity but clearly works during pregnancy and beyond. However, I have a few printed maxi skirts and I’ve come to realize that I don’t have many tops to wear with them and they end up just sitting in my closet. So sadly, RETURNED.

Items #4 and #5: Charlote Ruched Side Maternity Knit Top (LOVEAPPELLA) $48 and Taylor Maternity Cuffed Demin Short (LIVERPOOL) $54

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And finally, the winners from this fix! I’ll start with the shirt. It was a no-brainer keeper. It’s cute, casual, comfortable (see…the pattern). It’s long and stretchy enough to last throughout the rest of my pregnancy. It’s soft and lightweight. It’s mine. And the shorts were a specific request. I have (well, had) zero maternity shorts…and I’ll be spending the majority of my 3rd trimester in the summer. That’s just unacceptable. Shorts were a must-have. These fit perfectly. They’re my style. The panel is so soft and not at all tight. I barely even notice it’s there, which is a big deal for me (a lot of maternity bottoms with full panels make my belly itch like CRAZY). There will be no belly itching going on with these shorts. Verdict for both: KEEP!

Well, that’s that. What did you think of the items I received? Would you have kept those sandals?! I can’t to wait to see some other shoe options in my next fixes.

I’ve linked up with Maria at Crazy Together- so be sure to check out her latest fix and a bunch of other awesome bloggers and their latest fixes too! CLICK HERE 🙂

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BG3 (Fiona) Pregnancy Update!

We recently found out that little BG3 is a GIRL! Woohoo 🙂 It was fun watching her on the ultrasound. She was very active but not cooperative at times. The tech already saw the gender when she was doing her initial measurements and capturing the images, but when it came time to show mommy and daddy, baby was very modest…legs crossed, thighs closed lol….cause she’s a lady, after all. But we saw the girl parts eventually. We’re thrilled for another sweet little girl to join our family. Miss Fiona Joy Griffiths is her name 🙂

So, here’s the latest update (and if you missed the 1st one, you can read it here):

Due Date: July 23, 2016 (nothing’s changed here)

How Far Along: 19 Weeks

Next Appointment: March 10th

Gender: GIRL!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: About +10 lbs now (my appetite came back lol…and I’m lifting weights, so I’d like to think some of those lbs are from muscle)

Exercise: Yes! Now that I’m not miserable and puking all the time, I’ve started lifting weights with my husband, as I just mentioned. I’d like to start going for more walks too, especially now that the weather is getting nicer.

Stretch Marks: No

Swelling: No

Maternity Clothes: Yep, all the maternity clothes.

Belly Button: In, but changing shape a bit.

Sleep: What’s that? I have 2 toddlers.

Food Cravings: I can eat most things again which is wonderful. Still love my sweets and a good pizza. Newest craving though is Indian food.

Food Aversions: Still not a big fan of chicken, but depends on how it’s prepared. Last night the hubby made a pesto chicken pasta and that was wonderful. I can also eat chicken in Indian food (like butter chicken for example), but chicken noodle soup? No thanks.

Symptoms: Nausea/vomiting has subsided, but I’m still a crazy emotional mess, with acid reflux, fatigue, gas/bloating, various body aches, etc.

Movement: Yes! I’ve been feeling the occasional little kick and jab for the past 2-3 weeks or so 🙂

Labor Signs: Nope

What I Miss: The ability to sneeze without peeing myself a little.

What I’m Loving: Feeling the baby move

What I’m Looking Forward To: Her birth! Seeing what she looks like and what her little personality will be, how alike/different she’ll be from her big sister and brother, blue eyes or brown eyes, etc.

Best Moment This Week: Obviously finding out the gender and seeing her move all around on the ultrasound.

Words of Wisdom: You’d think after this long I would’ve learned my lesson about Googling things. After the ultrasound I was concerned about what I THOUGHT looked like a very low fluid level (amniotic fluid) despite not being told that by anyone. Some of the images on the ultrasound just looked like Fiona’s poor face was right up against the placenta with little to no fluid in there. So I Googled it….bad idea. Turns out, I’m just a crazy person and everything was totally normal. GOOGLE IS THE ENEMY when you’re a concerned parent. (Yes, I know my husband works there). Just don’t do it, friends. Until you’ve heard something from your own doctor, you are NOT the expert…and neither are the people of the Interwebs. That is all.

Until next time, here’s Fiona saying “Hello from the inside!”

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The big gender reveal for the kiddos (and everyone else when we posted it) 🙂

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Proud Wifey

I don’t talk about it much on the blog, but in addition to my husband’s day job at Google, he (we) runs a production company called “Bitwise Productions“. It’s basically your “one stop shop” for live events. We do sound and lights (set-up and live mixing/audio engineering), live music (The Duvets), photography (me!), etc. It’s a pretty fun industry and we’re in a prime location for it in the Bay Area. People love events and going “all out” with this sort of thing. We do weddings, corporate parties, speaking engagements and some bigger stuff like expos and conventions.

The most recent one we did this past weekend was at the Santa Clara Convention Center for AOD 2016 (Animation on Display). We produced everything going on at the “main stage”. It was a 2-day event filled with quite the variety of performances (metal/rock, jazz/funk, rap, etc.) I might be biased, but I was pretty impressed with how everything sounded and looked. But I especially loved hearing so many people compliment my husband. One of the bands in particular, who play all over the world and work with the “best and highest-paid” sound engineers told him that his mix was the best and that they want him to run sound at their future shows (whenever they’re allowed to bring their own sound engineer). That’s a pretty huge compliment…and I am one proud wifey 🙂

It’s a testament to how hard-working my husband is and how he pursues everything he does with excellence. He does not settle for mediocrity. He doesn’t just want our company to be “decent” or semi-successful, he wants to be the best at what we do. Is it worth all the time and effort to do it any other way? (Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:7, and one of his favorites that inspires his hard work, Ephesians 4:28- working hard so that he can provide for others).

Anyway! Here are a some photos from the weekend. And if you know anyone looking for sound/lights/etc. for an event, please do contact us (klg@bitwiseproductions.com) 🙂

Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions Super Soul Bros AOD 2016 Animation On Display Super Soul Bros AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display

Bliss & Bale Premium Gift Sets

Just in time for Valentine’s Day (in case you’re doing some last-minute shopping this week), I want to introduce you to a friend of mine and her business, Bliss & Bale. Andrea Cwik founded Bliss & Bale in 2015 out of her own love of putting together coordinated gift sets for her friends and family. Now she’s making her gift of “gifting” available to the public 🙂

Bliss & Bale offers a variety of different pre-designed gift sets, or if you want to get creative (and more personal) you can work with Andrea to create custom sets, perfectly suited to your needs (and your budget). She offers sets for “him”, for “her”, weddings, babies, and any other occasion you can think of! If you run your own company and want to send “thank you” gifts to your clients, Bliss & Bale is perfect for that sort of thing.

Bliss & Bale Andrea Cwik Curated Gift Sets

I had the opportunity to visit Andrea in her shop to watch her in action as she put together a few of these gorgeous gift sets by hand. She was even kind enough to let me sample a few things, so I can say officially say from experience that the items she selects are top-notch, high-quality items. These are gift sets filled with items you’re actually going to want to use (or eat!) My personal favorites were the peach bellinis, champagne gummy bears, and the chocolate (can you tell I’m pregnant?) 🙂 If anyone is wondering what to get me for my birthday coming up, this should do it.

Bliss and Bale Gift Sets

Andrea hand-selects and tests everything first to make sure it meets her high standard of quality before including it in her inventory. She often uses items from other local Bay Area businesses too, which I love! Hooray for small-business owners supporting each other 🙂

Andrea Cwik Bliss and Bale Gift Sets

One of my favorite things about Bliss & Bale is just how thoughtful and personalized these gifts sets are. The day I visited, Andrea was hand-writing the “thank-you” notes for a particular order of custom gift sets. Hand-written notes! That’s the kind of “personal touch” that sets a business apart in my opinion and makes the purchase worth every penny.

Bliss and Bale Gift Sets

So let’s talk about a few of the gift sets!

Obviously, Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend. If you’ve waited until now to start thinking about a gift, fear not!  Bliss & Bale has you covered. There are a few different sets available especially for V-Day that you can browse here. If you’re local, you also have the option of adding fresh flowers to your order, which I highly recommend (who doesn’t love fresh flowers?!) One of the other recommended sets is the “Sweet Box” (which is what I linked to earlier for my birthday suggestion). You clearly can’t go wrong with a box full of sweet treats. My husband knows that’s the way to MY heart. And I have a feeling I’m not the only one.

Here are a few other sets that I got to see in person. Be sure to check out the online shop to view the full selection! And remember, if you don’t see something there that strikes you as absolutely perfect for the occasion, work with Andrea to create a custom set that works within your budget!

Bliss and Bale Gift Sets

This one is perfect for the cocktail connoisseur in your life! Or just the average fan of drinking cocktails, like me! (when I’m not pregnant of course)

Bliss and Bale Gift Sets

Perfect for a little girl’s birthday party, this one is ADORABLE! I’m in love with those colored pencils. In love.

Bliss and Bale Gift Sets

This one is great as a new baby gift (for a baby shower, or to bring to the hospital when you first visit the little one). That little lamb is SO so soft, as is the grey swaddle blanket included.  And of course, there’s a yummy chocolate bar for the hard-working mama 😉 Love this one!

Bliss and Bale Gift Sets

This was a custom set Andrea put together for a wedding photographer to give to couples as a “thank you for your business”, personalized with the photographer’s logo on all the blankets.

Bliss and Bale Gift Sets

And this beauty is the “Welcome Home” gift set. The perfect housewarming gift for your friends, or your clients (if you were the realtor) 🙂

Now for the exciting part! Andrea has agreed to offer my readers a special, limited-time discount! Use promo code: KLGMOM at checkout and you’ll receive 10% off your entire order. Offer expires on February 23, 2016, so don’t miss it! 

Bliss and Bale Gift Sets

 

 

Valentine’s Day Stitch Fix Giveaway!!

Well Stitch Fix lovers, it’s happening again. I’ve collaborated with a lovely group of bloggers for yet another giveaway. And this one is even BIGGER than the last one. Are you ready? We are giving away one $500 Stitch Fix Gift Card (FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!) This is huge. I’m so excited for whoever wins this!

Stitch Fix 500 Horizontal

You enter below by following each of us on our various social media pages (for a total of 22 entries!) That’s it! Super easy. The giveaway ends at 11:59pm (Eastern time) on February 12th. The winner will be announced soon after. Good luck!

Be sure to check out all the beautiful bloggers who made this giveaway possible (you’ll see their faces at the bottom) 🙂

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


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The Benefits of Vulnerability

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I’ve been thinking recently about how important and beneficial it is, to yourself and to others, to be vulnerable and share your story with people. Whatever that story is. But especially the hard stuff. The struggles. The sufferings. The trials. I’m not saying everyone should start a public blog and share it with the world or post it all in a facebook status. Though for some of us, that is what we choose to do (for some things). For others (including myself), we save certain things to be shared only with a select few, or a very small group of trusted friends. And that’s fine too. But how great the burden must be to never share it with anyone, ever. How lonely, isolating and miserable must that be? We tend to believe lies much easier in isolation. When just left alone with your own thoughts, feelings, and the whispers of Satan who takes full advantage of having your undivided attention.

I share my stories of miscarriage with others because I experienced the negative consequences of keeping it to myself, for a brief time. At first, when I decided to share, it was just a therapeutic thing for me to do (I’ve always been a writer/journal-er). But then God started to use my story to help others who have gone through similar situations. Not that I ever wanted or asked to be some “voice for miscarriage”, but that is one good thing that came from the situation. And then how God comforted, healed and strengthened my faith through the process…how could I NOT share that with others?

We share our struggles and experiences so that we know we’re not alone.

I’ve been going to a weekly prayer group recently that’s focused on praying for your spouse and I’ve seen the same sort of thing play out. I want to first explain that this group is led and directed in a very respectful manner and there is NO “husband bashing” or belittling going on whatsoever. That’s not at all what’s happening. Any struggles that are talked about are always brought up in a loving and respectful way, addressing common marriage struggles in general- not nit-picking or complaining about any one person. That’s gossip and it’s harmful and I would get up and leave if that ever started happening.  This is mostly about changing our own hearts and attitudes as wives and developing a habit of prayer for your spouse. Discussion is encouraged but not required. Anyway! As I sat there listening to a few stories shared the other day, I thought to myself…“huh…I guess we’re not the only ones.” We tend to think that we’re the only ones struggling with something. Or my husband is the only one who does this, or doesn’t do that. And everyone else has it all together. But once we start talking about it, out loud, we discover that’s not at all the case. We are not the only ones in the history of the ever to go through this specific thing. I’m not the only wife who struggles with “xyz”. That kind of perspective makes a HUGE difference (in a positive way) in the way I view myself as a wife, the way I view my husband, our marriage in general and gives me hope for resolution of certain things.

When NOT addressed in a respectful way and with the right heart attitude, that kind of public “sharing” can be the complete opposite of positive and helpful. I wrote a post on that issue sometime last year after being disgusted by a particular facebook thread that was filled with wives complaining about their husbands. That is certainly not what I’m talking about here, and it’s what I respect and appreciate so much about this particular prayer group that I’m going to…that they DON’T do that.

Anyway- whatever it is (marriage or parenting struggles, depression, anxiety, bitterness, jealousy, etc.), I would encourage you to allow yourself to be vulnerable and find someone to talk to about it and share your story with. But use wisdom when you do. Certain places (like a facebook group filled with bitter wives) might not be the best place, as some people can just feed your negativity and make things worse.

That is all. Those are my thoughts for today 🙂

 

 

My Closet Purge!

I posted a BEFORE/AFTER picture of my closet yesterday on Facebook and it seemed to be quite popular! So I thought I’d talk a bit more about it here. There’s a book called “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” that seems to be sweeping the nation (that’s probably an overstatement but it’s at least sweeping MY circles: MOPS, Facebook friends, fellow Stitch Fix lovers, etc.)

To be clear, I haven’t actually read the book. So I don’t know all the “rules” of the method. But I know a few (and enough to get started). My friend Denise HAS read the book and explained the main “rules” to me a few months ago, and she’s the one who helped me out with the closet purge yesterday. She even took everything to Good Will for me after we were done!! She’s awesome 🙂

Anyway! The main/most important things you should know if you want to do this:

  1. Do it by category
  2. Do it all at once (not a little at a time)
  3. Determine if each item “sparks joy”. If it doesn’t, it goes away.

So the first category I started with is clothing/shoes. Specifically MY clothing. I’ll get to my husband’s and the kid’s next.

We did it all at once, by gathering every single article of clothing I own and every pair of shoes…from all over the house…closets, dresser drawers, laundry, downstairs by the door, etc. and laid everything out on the bed.  This was the most overwhelming part for me. The phrase “it’s going to get worse before it gets better” comes to mind. Had Denise not been there with me, I would’ve panicked and talked myself out of it because there was just SO much stuff lol.

To determine if an item “sparks joy”, you go through each thing 1-by-1, physically hold it in your hands and ask yourself that question. To elaborate a bit more about what did NOT spark joy for me, here are the types of things that got tossed/donated: Clothes/shoes that were falling apart/gross/missing buttons, ripped seams, etc. Clothes/shoes that did not fit. Clothes/shoes that I’ve had since college and was just sick of looking at. Clothes/shoes that didn’t make me feel confident/cute/sexy/etc. If I had to hesitate and try to convince myself why I should keep it, then it was a “no”.

I had a bit of an advantage I think. For the last year and a half I’ve been replacing my wardrobe with new clothes from Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. So I already knew that I had a solid wardrobe of clothes that fit me, and made me feel good wearing them. So saying goodbye to everything else was pretty easy. It was just finally setting aside the time to tackle it all at once that was holding me back.

That’s where Denise came in! She’s super passionate about helping other people de-clutter so when I told her about my disaster of a closet and how I couldn’t even walk into my “walk-in” closet, she couldn’t wait to help me 🙂

Really, my whole house is a disaster. We have a lot of stuff. And my husband and I both HATE clutter. We just have a hard time actually doing anything about it. Some people might not mind it, but it stresses us out and gives us anxiety. I don’t feel like I can relax and enjoy my home when I’m surrounded by STUFF everywhere lol. It causes tension and unnecessary stupid spats between me and my husband. Once the de-cluttering is finished, I happen to have another MOPS friend who’s a professional organizer and we are SO hiring her. It’s cheaper than marriage counseling 😉

Anyway- here are some more photos from yesterday’s project. I can’t wait to share more with you all as we continue with the rest of the house! There’s still A LOT of work left to do. NOTE: this wasn’t even a full closet clean-out, as you can see I have a lot more than just clothes in my closet. But now that the clothing is out of the way, I can actually take care of the other stuff 🙂

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