office space

Full Disclaimer: Thank you to Destination Lighting for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Cornflake Dreams.

When I blog and do other graphic design work on the side, I'm usually sitting on my couch in the living room with my (hot!) laptop on my lap. So now that we have the space -- an extra guest room downstairs, it's probably time for me to have an actual home office. For my office I want to keep the decor pretty simple -- black and white with just the essentials: a desk, chair, some great art, and a pretty (and functional) lamp.
I love this black and white Riviera side chair! Since I can't convince H to put Parisian bistro chairs in our kitchen or dining room, I thought the next best room would be my office. I also like this Vienna black wood chair and for something a little more comfortable this upholstered chairFor my desk I don't need anything too big, but it would be nice to have some drawers for storage. The ALEX desk from IKEA is on sale (under $150!) and I like it's simple and modern design. I also like this classic but more expensive option. Keeping with the black and white theme, I picked out two gorgeous prints from Minted: the Lula abstract art print and Days in Paris art print. I want to use my ceramic pencil cup from Target (under $10!) and it'd be nice to have a small clock (also here).  And finally, Destination Lighting was kind enough to send over a beautiful aged silver Pharmacy Lamp and it's is one of my favorite lamps in our house and it motivated me to get working on my office space decoration plans!


birthday wish list

I'm turning 32 next week and I'm really happy with life. I'm healthy, I have an amazing family, and we're lucky enough to live in a house that we've stayed in long enough to hang up frames (Yess!) So as far as wish lists go, I'm all good! I actually went back and forth about doing this list...are you ever too old for a wish list? But like everything on this blog it's fun to look at old posts and see what I was into at a specific time in my life... so here are a few things that I've had my eye on:

New records usually end up on my wish lists, and I always want "oldies" that I know I'll love like Stevie Wonder and Van Morrison. H already surprised me with a Diana Ross and The Supremes album :) Birthdays are a great time to ask for pretty things that you'd never buy yourself -- like a watercolor Peony Tea Towel! I'd love a Straw Market Tote for the pool. I used my favorite Christmas candle from Candlefish (No. 52) up this winter, so I'd love another one. I love almost everything in Caitlin Wilson's line -- but her blue stripe and Santorini floral pillows are my favorite! Beauty products are always welcome! Aveda rosemary mint shampoo + conditioner smells great and makes my hair so shiny. Butter London Cotton BudsSmith and Cult Plastic Beach Nail Polish would be perfect for bright white manicures and hot pink pedicures. A new travel case set for Vi's diaper bag/future trips would be nice-- this one from Cuyana is really pretty. And I had to add this pair of Pink Lace-up Bow Flat Sandals - yep. I'm obsessed.

p.s. here are those old birthday wish lists if you want to take a look: 2016, 201520142013, and 2011 :)


best books for toddlers

Violet still loves to read and we try to go to the library at least twice a week for story time and to check out new books. We read a lot of books at home and I get so excited when we find a book that my two-year-old AND I both like.
Here are 15 current favorites:
Rosie Revere Engineer - I LOVE this book! Rosie is an imaginative little girl who with the help of her Great-Great Aunt Rose (#girlpower) learns to believe in herself and follow her dreams.

The Fox in the Dark - It's a shame this book is so expensive on Amazon! (and I can't find it anywhere else online) It's one of our favorites and it's really fun to read. Check to see if your local library has it available to checkout!

The Wonderful Things You Will Be - Vi calls this the "baby book" because it's filled with pictures of babies and kids. The story makes me sentimental about being a mom and I can't help but think about all the wonderful things my own little girl will grow up to be!

Triangle - I love the minimalist design of this book and the characters -- Vi likes the unexpected ending.

Gaston - A bulldog and a poodle learn that family is about love not appearances.

The Watermelon Seed - This is another beautifully illustrated book. It uses bold colors to help tell a silly story.

Mustache Baby (I like Mustache Baby Meets His Match even more!) - Hilarious books with perfect illustrations. I'm pretty sure Vi thinks some babies are born with mustaches ;)

The Giving Tree - I loved this book when I was little. But when I read it now as an adult I have mixed feelings about it. Even if the overall message is unclear, it does teach about feelings (happiness, sadness, loneliness), selfishness, selflessness, caring and giving.

Harold and the Purple Crayon - This book celebrates a child's imagination in the most creative ways.

Horrible Bear! - A sweet story about forgiveness.

M is for Me Personalized ABC Book - I love this book because it exposes Vi to a lot of different words (one for every letter of the alphabet!)

Put Me in the Zoo - I find a lot of Dr. Seuss books to be super tedious to read (Fox in Socks drives me nuts). But this one is cute and it's just the right length.

Where the Wild Things Are - This is a timeless book that is fun for mom and dad to read!

Corduroy - This is another classic book that has been a favorite for years. I also appreciate that the little girl in the book is African American. I'd love to find more children's book that have celebrate diversity. If you have any suggestions please let me know!

Wolfie the Bunny - A cute story about a new baby, sibling rivalry, bravery and love.


Violet also loves a vintage Walt Disney's Mother Goose book from my grandma. It includes some pretty questionable nursery rhymes that we skip (I can see why they don't teach "The Old Lady in Lived in the Shoe" in grade school anymore). But it's really cute to hear a two-year-old recite "Hickory Dickory Dock" and "Old King Cole."

Scuffy the Tugboat - I'm not really a huge fan of this book. But I LOVE to hear H read it to Vi in a squeaky Southern voice. She must like it too because she wants to hear it almost every night.

Do you have any favorites that I missed?

p.s. I rounded up our favorite baby books HERE + more toddler board books HERE.


8 family photo session tips for summer

When Violet turned two in March I really wanted to have family photos taken. But at the time we had a lot going on -- we had to pack for our move, finalize the renovation details for our new house, and plan Vi's birthday party. Needless to say the photos never happened. So when Lindsay from Photography by Lindsay (Pbl) reached out to see if I wanted to work together I got really excited. And after I saw all the gorgeous photos on her website and Instagram page, I emailed her right away to set up a summer family photo session.

We quickly found a date that worked for both of us. And then Lindsay sent over Family Session Location Guide with a detailed list of sites to choose from. The list also included photos from previous sessions so I could get a feel for what our photos would look like -- this was so helpful! She also sent over a Family Session Prep Guide with lots of tips for the day of the shoot. Below are four of my personal favorite photo session tips and four tips from Lindsay:
1. Pick out your child's outfit first. This is our fifth photo shoot as a family and I always pick out Violet's dress first. For me, our family photos are more about her than us and I want her to stand out. After I choose her outfit, I will pick out what I want to wear and then something that goes with those colors for H. I'm personally not a fan of super matchy matchy outfits...they can get awkward.
2. Keep your dress/top child friendly. I was all set to wear a black v-neck dress for this photo session and then I bent down in front of the mirror at home to pick up Vi and I was showing a lot of cleavage. I decided to go with something a little more modest for the photos so I had one less thing to worry about. You don't want to have a great photo ruined because mama is trying to pull up her top :) 
3. Keep your jewelry and accessories to a minimum. When Vi plays with my old statement necklaces she looks like Mr. T. -- HA! Trends come and go and I cringe a little bit when I think about all the enormous gold necklaces I used to wear. So I like to wear simple jewelry that has personal significance for family pics -- for example in our holiday photos last year I wore a gold locket my grandma gave me.
4. Leave the stuffed animals or other props at home. It's distracting. You want to see your child's face not Snuffy the elephant. (Although not all props are bad to have on hand! -- Lindsay had a small, simple white rocking chair and it was perfect for Vi to sit on in a nearby forest).

from Lindsay: 
5. Don't make other plans the day of the session. Having an active day could make the kiddos extra tired. I typically schedule sessions leading up to sunset if possible, so this could make for some extra, tired kids. The time the sunsets changes throughout the year ranging from late afternoon to evening. Try to do a late nap (if your child still naps).
6. Eat before your session. It's super important to have kids with a happy, full belly. We don't want Hangry Kids (or parents) for photos. 
7. Take a break every now and then! If your child is getting antsy or cranky during a photo shoot, let them play for a little bit. If they are in a better mood they will look happier in the final photos. (I LOVED that Lindsay took breaks with Vi and I think it helped to get her smile a little more during our shoot).
8. What to Bring: diaper bag, snacks, stroller, change of clothes for kids (just in case!), drinks (sippy cup or bottle of water), wipes for messes, brush/comb, hair clips or bobby pins, outfit extras (shoes! bowtie, etc.), pajamas (if need be) to change in to when the session is over and for the ride home.
If you're in the Chicagoland area and you're looking for a photographer for your family, a birthday party, engagement, wedding, high school graduation portrait, or any other special event I would highly recommend Lindsay!

p.s. In case you were wondering -- Lindsay took a LOT of photos, these are just the blog-approved ones :)


loving lately: pink shoes

I've been seeing pink shoes all over Instagram and now I really want a pair of pink sneakers AND sandals. and I'm sure my pink-obsessed two-year-old would love a pair too :)

sandals: one / two / three - I love the braid detail / four - scallops AND tassels! / five / six
sneakers: one - loveee -- but I'm not sure I can pull them off / two / three / four
toddler picks: one / two / three - perfect for summer / four / five / six / seven / eightnine

Which pair is your favorite?


toddler swimsuits

We took Vi swimming for the first time over the weekend and she loved it! I have a feeling we will be at the pool a lot this summer. She looked so cute in her little swimsuit it made me want me to buy another one. Here's some cute options for toddlers and little girls:
gingham: cobalt blue - I love the pink scallop detail / pink (similar suit for mama) / navy - I have a similar swimsuit so I'm tempted to buy this one for Vi so we can match! / monogram pink ruffle - this one is sooo Southern! It's also in blue
patterns: floral - I love this retro tropical print / sprinkles - Vi has this suit and it's SO cute in person! / watermelon - the watercolor watermelons are so fun! / flamingos
stripes: neon blue and pink / cherries / black and white one shoulder (matching for mama) / watermelon (matching for mama)



One Room Challenge: Dining Room Final Reveal

Full Disclaimer: Thank you to Destination Lighting, Minted, and VivaTerra for providing products for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Cornflake Dreams.

It's the final week of the One Room Challenge! I'm so excited to finally share photos of our finished dining room! It's one of my favorite rooms in the house. Here's a quick reminder of what the room looked like before:
I knew right away that I wanted to remove the carpeting, columns (why?!!), crystal light chandelier, and install new hardwood floors and paint the room. I shared more information about the paint color I chose and our dark hardwood floors in this post.

And now for the "AFTER" photos:
Adding the Capri Waves Print in a Brushed Silver Frame from Minted added so much personality to the room. I love it and I'm glad we went with something abstract.
 I found the prettiest watercolor Navy Grid Napkins on Instagram (Yao Cheng has so many beautiful things in her shop and everything is made in the USA! I was such a fan of the Grid Napkins I also bought a set of Honey Berry Napkins to put on our side table. And now I have my eye on this tea towel.) Anyways I kept the table setting simple with our white dinner plates, navy placemats over Chilewich Silver Placemats. And a Hurricane Vase with a  Pillar Candle as the table centerpiece. 
Our Silver Delta ChairsGray Cushions and Shayne Drop-Leaf Table fit perfectly in the room with the Oversized Pendant Drum Light I blogged about in week four.
I managed to sneak in two Paris prints in my favorite Brushed Silver 5x7 Frames on the wall we normally store Violet's highchair.
Cookbooks: Charleston Receipts RepeatsLove and Lemons + Cravings 

I needed something to balance out the dining room table and the rest of the room so I was really excited to find the perfect buffet/side table on Destination Lighting. I was tempted to go full on blogger and use it as a bar cart, but my husband and I don't really drink so it'd be the saddest bar cart ever. I decided to use it to display some of my favorite things. I bought a lemon post card in Paris on our honeymoon (almost five years ago!) so I'm happy I finally got it in a frame. The larger lemon print was a wedding gift. I love my new Balloon Vase from VivaTerra -- the vase one-of-a-kind and made out of eco-friendly recycled glass. It's the perfect vase for faux blossom stems. (I initially filled it with silver dollar eucalyptus stems from Trader Joe's but after a day they looked rough!)
I'm so happy with how our dining room turned out and I had so much fun participating in the One Room Challenge! See other makeovers HERE!


See all of my One Room Challenge posts: week 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
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