cornflake dreams.


17-month toddler favorites.

I originally titled this post 17-month baby favorites -- but Vi isn't a baby anymore. She's growing up so fast and it's been really fun to watch discover new things -- like playing with play-doh (she kept trying to eat it) or going down a hill on dad's bike (she put her hands up and said whooohoo just like mom and dad). She is talking more and more everyday, and she's really social with other kids and adults. Vi is little Miss Independent and she certainly plays favorites with her toys, books, and food. Here are her current favorites:
BOOKS: Vi still loves story time and we read about 10-20 books a day. To keep things interesting I added quite a few new ones to the mix. These are her favorites:

-Curious George and the Rocket - She LOVES 'grshh' right now, so she brings this one to me to read multiple times a day.
-Shake a Leg - This book encourages little kids to get up and get active. It also helped Vi learn her body parts (fingers, toes, head, tummy etc.).
-I'll Never Let You Go - This story is so sweet and it encourages a big hug at the end.
-Little Blue Truck - A folksy rhyming book that teaches an important lesson -- be nice and help others.
-Brown Bear, Brown Bear - A classic and a great way to introduce animals and colors.
-Pirates Don't Take Baths - H bought this one and it's totally cute and quirky. 
-ABC Party Animals - Vi loves to hear the alphabet at the end of this book
-Goodnight Charleston - I find myself getting a little sentimental whenever she picks this one out, and it makes me look forward to visiting someday with her.
-If I Could Keep You Little - Get the kleenex! This one is bittersweet and forces you to think about your baby growing up.

TOYS: Vi is still playing with a lot of toys that I've blogged about before. The one toy she seems to always play with is her Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket -- she loves to "feed" her stuffed animals. She also likes her Little People Surprises and Sounds Home -- she usually makes the little mom and dad kiss! She likes to stack her Mega Bloks and play with her puzzles. And Bernie the Jellycat Owl is her favorite stuffed friend :)

CLOTHES: Ok let's be honest she doesn't really care what she wears right now -- as long as she has her "shews" on she's happy. But I love the Cat & Jack line at Target -- especially all of the non-traditional "girl" patterns like space and dinosaurs. The flowers and stripes are cute too :)

EAT: Feeding a toddler is tricky. She'll love something one day, and then she won't touch it the next day. She still drinks three small glasses of milk everyday, and she gets some protein with fruit and yogurt smoothies. She likes carbs and avocados (like her mama!) and my homemade vegetarian chili. We're still working on finding new ways of getting her to eat more veggies (mamas share your secrets!) and meat (which is really difficult for us since H and I don't eat many meat meals). 



WaterWipes at Target (and a giveaway!)

Full Disclosure: This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review. Thank you for supporting brands that support Cornflake Dreams. All opinions are my own.

Like a lot of stay at home moms I can get a little stir crazy if I don’t get out of the house at least once a day. We usually meet up with friends on a playdate, go to the library, a park, the grocery store, ikea, and of course TARGET!! Sometimes it’s really nice to shop at an actual store instead of doing everything online, especially when I need to pick up something quick for the baby like diaper wipes.
I still subscribe to Honest's monthly diaper bundle delivery service, but it seems like every month we run out of diaper wipes. And over the past year I have tried other popular diaper wipes, but they are usually made with a ton of ingredients that I can't pronounce. With those wipes I’m not sure what I am putting on my baby’s skin or how she'll react to it -- and that really bothers me. I've been trying to change my own beauty regimen to include more natural products, so I want to be sure that I am protecting Vi from excess chemicals too. I'm really happy that I finally found a safe and natural option at Target.
WaterWipes are the world's purest wipes. They are chemical free with two only ingredients -- 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. WaterWipes are unscented — which is a huge positive for me — I’ve gotten nauseous just smelling the “baby powder” fragrance with other brands. I feel totally comfortable using them on Violet and they are really gentle on her sensitive skin. I love using WaterWipes for diaper changes, and to clean Violet's face and hands after a messy meal. I even keep an extra pack in my car for cleaning emergencies -- like the pouch fail last weekend that left her car seat covered in applesauce (!!)

Learn more about WaterWipes on Facebook and Twitter, and find them at your local Target.

Bonus -- I'm teaming up with I-C to host a giveaway! Please enter below, this giveaway ends August 18th. I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).


summer favorites.

hello there -- I hope you're having a wonderful summer! I've been busy with the boss lady (Vi) at the library, park, and bike rides on the weekend. We've had playdates with friends and visits from grandparents, uncles, and cousins. I am loving every minute of it -- but miss this space!! So I thought I'd share a few things that I am loving lately:
beauty picks- My hairbrush that I've owned for over ten years broke a few weeks ago, and I considered splurging on this iconic brush -- but then I found a much cheaper alternative. The Sephora gloss dual boar paddle brush has a ton of great reviews and I love the mix of nylon pins and boar bristles. So far every time I use it my hair feels really shiny -- beauty experts recommend brushing your hair daily with a boar bristle brush to release natural oils.

I finally threw away my old eyelash curler and upgraded to the Shiseido eyelash curler (also here) and it is sooo good. I think curling your lashes makes a huge difference and it's the one beauty tool that I'd never want to give up. This curler is easy to use, it doesn't pinch and my lashes stay curled for hours.

I'm kind of obsessed with Smith & Cult Nail Polish -- they are a formulated without the five main toxic ingredients found in most traditional nail polishes (read more about that here). I'm slowly trying to replace all of my old nail polish (which I'm pretty sure are expired anyways) for safer alternatives. I have (and love) these red and pink polishes: Kundalini HustlePsycho Candy, and Pillow Pie
read and watch- I take Violet to the library at least twice a week, so I finally picked up a few books to read myself. Attachments by Rainbow Row was a really sweet, quick read about an unlikely office romance. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub is about a small group of friends and former college bandmates who reflect on growing up and getting older. Straub is also the author of The Vacationers my favorite book last summer. And if you are even a little bit a feminist and/or raising a daughter consider reading Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein -- it was a pretty eye opening look at the princess culture and little girls. also watch: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - I'm not sure why it took me so long to get onboard with this show, but it's HILARIOUS. H liked it too and it didn't take us long to finish the first season.  

baby favorites- Vi has been wearing her Salt Water Sandals all summer. These leather sandals are sturdy enough for her to run around outside and in the playground. They can also be worn in water, so they are perfect for summer splash pads.  (I also like this style). I'm so happy we started riding bikes again on the weekends (YAH!!) and we love the iBert bike seat for Violet. She tolerates her helmet and seems to like to go for a ride around our neighborhood -- especially if we stop at a park for her to play. 
Nordstrom picks - The #nsale picks are probably flooding your inbox, but I love online shopping just as much as the next blogger so here are my favorites: 

I need to stock up on more sweaters for Fall and Winter -- I like this this basic one (paired with a plaid blanket scarf), this cozy cardigan, and this soft cashmere sweater (under $100). These slippers are going on my Christmas wish list. I already have this tee in a few colors but I'm tempted to buy a few more (I like this one too!). These suede booties are perfect for Fall. And I really like the simplicity and the price tag of this bag. I really should buy a new warm winter coat -- but I wish I could get by with something lighter (this one reminds me of the cocoon coat at j crew).

As for workout gear -- everyone has great things to say about these leggings. This pullover has a cute scoop back (more colors here), and I like the color of these sneakers.

There are a few good beauty items on sale too -- including my favorite eyeliner and an eye shadow set with pretty bronze colors. 

What are you loving this summer?


birthday wish list.

Ok I know I said I was going to take a blogging break, but when your husband asks you what you want for your birthday you make an exception and do a little wish list post :)
I'll be honest it was kind of hard for me to come up with a list of things I wanted for my birthday this year. These days I find myself more focused on Violet and things I want to do for her -- I guess that's being a mom right?!  But I guess there are a few things that I've had my eye on lately... 

I recently purchased a new record player, so I really need a place for it -- I'd love another 2x2 for our living room. I also think this silver mirror tray would be perfect for our dresser in our master bedroom. And I've been searching for the perfect summer tan crossbody bag forever -- this one is really cute. These books are on my summer reading list: when breath becomes air modern lovers - we should all be feminists - the girls. And I'd love some of my favorite beauty products that I rarely buy for myself: smith & cult diary of a beauty junkie nail polish set - shiseido eyelash curlerand whish shaving cream. Of course no birthday is complete without cake, and I'm already craving chocolate cake from Portillo's!



summer break + link love.

Hello there! The weeks have flown by since we moved back to Illinois, and we've been keeping busy with family and friends. It's been so much fun taking Violet to the library, and the park, and she loved visiting the DuPage and Chicago Children's Museums, Blackberry Farm, and Brookfield Zoo. I almost forgot how wonderful summers in the Midwest are, and my baby won't be little forever -- so I want to soak up every minute I can with Violet. She is such a curious toddler and I love taking her to new places. And I don't want to spend that time worrying about blogging, so I've decided to take a little break for summer. I might pop in here and there, but for now I'm going to focus on enjoying summer with my baby boss and the warm weather while it lasts!
Here are a number of links and things that I've been loving lately:
Feel good travel destinations 
- I wish we visited Asheville, NC when we lived in South Carolina - it looks so beautiful!
- I'll be checking out this list for kid friendly activities in Chicago
- I love the concept behind Naja - a luxury line of lingerie that empowers female employees, contributes to charities, and is eco-friendly. The line offers nude underwear for all skin tones and beautiful bras (I want this bralette!) AND if all of that wasn't enough Gina Rodriguez is a co-founder! 
- I just started reading this book and this one is next on my list
- Beautiful wanderlust instagram accounts to follow
- Vi really loves this book and this play house
mmmmm best new burgers
- I bought this adorable two-piece romper set for a friend. hello #babyfever !!


natural beauty products hits and misses.

Ever since I became a mom I've become more conscious about the things that we eat as a family -- more produce and less processed foods. And I've decided to make major changes in my beauty routine after I read this on Beautycounter's website:

"The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients, the US has only banned 11 to date."  

Crazy right?! So I drank the kool-aid and I tried a number of natural beauty products in the past few months, and some were great and the others were total flops. But before you read my review here's are 10 ingredients and chemicals that I am trying to avoid: Parabens, Synthetic colors, Fragrance, Phthalates, Triclosan, Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), Formaldehyde, Toluene. See more about these toxic ingredients HERE.


Beautycounter - Their mission is "to get safer products into the hands of everyone."  Beautycounter has a full line of skin care, makeup, bath and body, and baby/kids products. I purchased the Body Collection and I loved two of the products in the set (see below for the second part of my review). The hydrate everyday body lotion is a bestseller and it's one of my favorite body lotions. It has a great light citrus scent, and it works well to moisturize my skin without being greasy. I also like the everyday body wash which has the same natural citrus mimosa scent. It lathers well and it's hydrating.
Tata Harper - This is my favorite natural beauty line, with 100% natural and organic ingredients. I purchased the Tata Harper Skincare Daily Essentials Set so I could try a number of products at a reasonable price. So far I love the Regenerating CleanserRejuvenating Serum, and Reparative Moisturizer. I wash my face with the Cleaner, and then apply the Serum and Moisturizer afterwards. Everything smells great, and my skin looks bright and feels really clean and moisturized.
Whish Shave CreamThis line is all natural, paraben free, sulfate free, TEA & DEA free, and petrochemical free. I first tried Whish products two years ago for a review post and they are still one of my favorite brands for shaving cream. I never get razor burn or irritation when I use this line, and it comes in a ton of great scents (almond and pomegranate are my favorite).

Tom's of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant in apricot - This was the third natural deodorant I tried (see below for the other two). I was ready to give up, and I was very reluctant to try Tom's because I read a really bad review about it on Cup of Jo. But I loved this deodorant! It's the only one that kept me smelling pleasant all day long and kept my armpits dry. I also love that it was the cheapest option I tried -- under $5!


Beautycounter Clean Everyday Shampoo and Conditioner - I was NOT a fan of Beautycounter's hair products. As a busy mom I don't wash my hair everyday, but when I used these products I had to or else my hair would get very greasy and gross... which has never happened to me the day after a shower! Thankfully Beautycounter has a great return policy and I was able to return the products I didn't like.

PiperWai Natural Deodorant- You have to apply this deodorant on with your fingers, which I didn't think would be a big deal. But trying to get ready in the morning with a one-year old running around my bedroom throwing out everything out of drawers I quickly realized the convenience of a roll on deodorant is not something I want to give up. Using your fingers to apply the product also made it difficult to know if your whole armpit area was covered. Application aside, the product also didn't work for me -- after a few hours it felt like it wore off and my armpits didn't feel dry. 

L'OrĂ©al EverPure Repair & Defend Shampoo + Conditioner - I received these products free from Influenster. They are sulfate and paraben free which I totally appreciate -- but they had a really weird smell and I couldn't get past that. Plus they didn't leave my hair feeling very soft.

LaVanila Deodorant - I was soo excited to try this deodorant because it received a ton of rave reviews, and I liked the packaging. I tried it out for two weeks to give my body time to adjust to a new product. The deodorant worked to control body odor, but my pits always felt wet which wasn't very pleasant. In the end it wasn't worth the $14 price tag.

What natural products are you loving lately? 

p.s. I have a review post for Honest products that I loved and didn't love.


lilac season.

It's lilac season in the midwest! Lilacs are my favorite flowers and I really missed them when we lived in Charleston. Our current house has two large lilac bushes in the yard, and they smell amazing! Our bushes have light purple flowers, but I love seeing a variety of purple and white lilacs when I walk around the neighborhood. Here are a few lilac inspired shopping picks:
I would love to have a lilac painting for our bedroom so I could have flowers in the house year-round. I love this crossbody bag -- the color is so light and feminine. This a-line floral dress would be perfect for a summer wedding or party. H occasionally wears pastels, so I think he could totally pull off a lilac diagonal striped tie. Vi won't tolerate headbands anymore (so sad), but her hair is getting long so I'd like to try hair clips. I'm also loving this ballerina inspired swimsuit, bear hoodie, and ruffle shorts -- all in pretty shades of purple. Anthropologie and Candlefish in Charleston sells Lulie Wallace tin candles and the lilac scent is an obvious favorite. Jcrew has some fun lilac pieces for my closet: 3" chino shortscece suede ballet flats, and st. james slouchy lilac and navy stripe shirt (because you can never have too many stripes!) And finally the 'English Lavender' and 'Fancy' butter london nail polishes would be a great mani/pedi combo for summer.

Are you a lilac fan?

p.s. from the archives: a lilac post from 2011!