12.31.2015

life lately and welcoming 2016.

Despite all the pretty Charleston pictures, life has been tough lately. As many of you already know from my posts on Instagram I spent last weekend in the hospital for another Crohn's flare (Crohn's is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, I was diagnosed in 2013)

Last Friday I woke up with severe abdominal pains so I went to the hospital. A few hours later an MRI test showed that I had small tears in my large intestine. The doctors put me on antibiotics and steroids and kept me in the hospital to make sure I didn't need surgery. I was devastated to spend my first night away from Violet in a hospital and even more upset that I had to abruptly quit breastfeeding because of all of the new medications. Poor H had to navigate the world of formula feeding alone -- with a baby who had no idea what to do with a bottle. It wasn't pretty. But after a few days of spoon feeding Violet formula, we found something that worked. Violet now drinks from a little cup (she still doesn't want anything to do with a bottle or sippy cup). She's eating and she's happy and that's all that matters.

Between stomach cramps, a temporary low-fiber diet, tons of new medications, and dealing with engorgement and trying to "dry up" after abruptly stopping breastfeeding-- I'm tired.
And I'm ready for the new year.

But I'm also really thankful for everything that 2015 has brought me. This year we had a baby (!!!) bought a house, spent time with friends and family, and had a lot of fun. The year didn't end how I wanted it to, but it really reinforced what's important to me in my life. So I wanted to make sure my goals for the new year reflected those things:

1. Focus on family. More walks + quality time together.
2. Yoga. Everytime I do it I feel good, so I need to make it happen more often.
3. As for the blog -- I still love it but I want to simplify things and make it a little more enjoyable. That means no more crappy sponsored posts. While I'd still like to partner with companies I love -- I'm going to be a LOT more selective. I really don't need the money or the stress. 
4. Slow down and write down one good thing from the day, everyday.

I hope you have a Happy (and safe!) New Years!
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

12.30.2015

christmas in charleston.

On Christmas day, after Violet opened up her gifts -- the shiny wrapping paper and bows were a hit -- we went for a long walk downtown. It was in the upper 70's, which is unseasonable warm for Charleston in December. There were a handful of other tourists walking around, but for the most part it was really quiet. It ended up being the perfect kind of calm day, and exactly what we needed after our hectic week. I always love looking at all of the historic homes dressed up for the holidays.
I hope you had a great Christmas!
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

12.24.2015

merry christmas!

Things have been crazy around here, but it's finally starting to settle back down. I am so thankful for my family and friends and all of you for sending so much love and support. It's going to be a very Merry Christmas in our house :) and I hope it is in yours too!
Love Jillian, H, and Violet
SHARE:

12.18.2015

friday five.

I'm linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha today to share five things on my mind:
ONE: Did you guys see the Girls' Weekend Guide to Charleston, South Carolina on The Everygirl? They included some of my favorite spots: Battery Park, Farmers Market at Marion Square Park, Candlefish, Butcher and Bee, and Husk. And a few restaurants I'm still dying to try: Cannon Green, Minero, Xiao Bao Biscuit.
TWO: I really liked looking through this Christmas tree gallery. It gave me a few ideas for next year!
THREE: We finished watching Master of None last week. The first few episodes were a little rough, but things eventually clicked and it ended up being really funny. It's worth watching just to see Aziz Ansari hug his (much larger) bestie :)
FOUR: I bought this cable-knit sweater (in three colors because I'm so indecisive) I'll probably end up keeping just one since the winters are so mild in Charleston. Really hoping that the tall size will be long enough to wear with leggings.
FIVE: Calling all procrastinators: Nordstrom is still offering up free shipping by Christmas Eve. Here's some great gift options under $50: reversible tote / customized copper mug / swell water bottle / capri blue gilded muse candle / jellycat hippo / baby girl pj's cardigan

Have a great weekend!
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

12.15.2015

staying cozy during the holidays.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Growing up in Illinois you would think that I'd be used to the cold. Not so much. We moved to South Carolina in part to escape the brutally cold (and yes, windy) Chicago winters. So it has been really nice to wear sandals instead of snow boots in December.

It's also a little weird to have 70 or 80-degree weather and to be sweating in jeans and a t-shirt two weeks before Christmas. Not to mention when I hear Christmas songs like "let it snow" I want to laugh. Ah well the warm weather still beats waddling around like a penguin so I don't slip on the ice.

That's not to say it doesn't get a little chilly here -- last January I busted out my wool winter coat and a scarf. And I'm pretty sure that my blood has already thinned out too, I'm chilly when it's in the lower 60s (Midwest friends you can stop laughing now). When it's "cold" here I like to stay cozy with comfy pajamas and soft slippers. I found some great slipper options at Famous Footwear.
The pink suede kids’ Minnetonka Britta slippers were too cute to pass up… even though they won't fit Violet for a few more years. For now they are a great "toy" to keep her distracted while I change her diaper :)
My Minnetonka Britt Trapper slippers are warm and sooo comfortable. I love the soft faux fur lining and the dark charcoal gray color. And bonus they can be worn inside or outdoors — perfect for when we have fire in the backyard and I’m too lazy to change into real shoes.
I plan on wearing slippers all Christmas Day weekend while I binge watch my favorite holiday movies and eat the rest of our sugar cookies.

Search #ohsofamous and visit style gallery for inspiration, explore what others are wearing, and see the variety that Famous Footwear offers.
-xo-
Jillian

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
SHARE:

12.14.2015

life lately.

There's less than two weeks until Christmas! wowzahhh. I have one or two more presents to pick up and then I'm done shopping. Here's what else I have been up to lately:
Loving: The holidays with a baby! We went to the James Island Festival of Lights last week so Violet got to look at the lights and meet Santa. Her reaction was adorable. I was 99% sure she was going to cry, but she totally surprised us. The photographer was jumping around trying to make her smile but she was very serious. At least she didn't cry.
Making: Cookies!! This is one of my favorite traditions I always did with my mom. The holidays wouldn't feel right without her sugar cookies, peanut butter blossom cookies, and nerds. I'd love to try a new cookie recipe this year too.
Looking forward to: Christmas Day brunch. I'm thinking about making one of these options: cinnamon roll french toast bakecheesy tater tot breakfast bake - best breakfast casserole
Shopping: Make or buy Violet's "first Christmas" ornament. Let's be honest I'm not a huge DIY person -- but I think I can handle this easy clay handprint ornament. And I bought this stork first Christmas ornament (see more personalized options here).
Planning: 2016! I can't believe the new year is right around the corner. I always like to write out resolutions. Next year I'd like to eat healthier (more juice, less cookies), rest (!!), read, and do more yoga. I also want to start using essential oils (anyone else a fan?) 

What have you been up to lately?
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

12.09.2015

baby's first christmas ornament.

There's only 16 days left until Christmas (!!) and I just realized I totally forgot to buy Violet an ornament #momfail. Thankfully I found a few cute options that I can still buy in time for the holidays:

Which one is your favorite?
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

12.08.2015

baby's christmas wish list.

I've gotten a few requests from family to share some Christmas gift ideas for Violet. H and I would love to encourage family to contribute to her college fund (!!), but we realize that's not very exciting. Here are a few other things I think she'd like:
Board books -- I'll be honest this gift pick is for mama too, I'm a little sick of the stack of books we have on repeat. If You Give a Mouse a CookiePout-Pout FishDoggies

Warm Pajamas -- in 9 month size (floral - solid burgundy or pink)

Her very own remote -- the real deal, not a toy...because babies are smart and they know the difference

Penguin plush rocker -- This rocker is pricey but it's ADORABLE (the elephant is cute too)

And Christmas came early...Violet has already been playing with these gifts from family:
VTech Sit-to-Stand Walker -- this walker is on a LOT of blogger baby guides, and for good reason. It has an interactive section on the front full of lights, noise, and toys and the actual walker is great for babies to learn how to walk.

Sensory Balls -- my father-in-law bought this set of spiky plastic balls for Vi when we were in Chicago. She has so much fun "throwing" and rolling them. (she also likes the Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball)

Entry-level anywhere chair -- this stuffed chair is SO cute! I love that Violet can climb on it and it's super soft so I don't have to worry about dangerous corners. 

Mamas what am I missing? What are your favorite gifts for 9-month old babies?
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

12.03.2015

christmas wish list.

I still can't believe it's already December. The 70-degree weather in Charleston is throwing me off (not complaining!) But I'm doing my best to get into the holiday spirit -- I put up most of our decorations and I've been dancing around the house to Christmas music with Violet. And I managed to do a lot of my holiday shopping over the weekend (thank you cyber monday!). Here's are a few things on my wish list this year:
Most days I carry around Violet's diaper bag, but it would be nice to mix it up and carry a cute bag for brunch with friends. I love the scallop detail and small size of the Cambridge Satchel Small Cloud Bag.

Dwell Studio block print floral sheets + indigo velvet throw pillows for our bedroom.

A pretty 5x7 silver frame for our living room mantel.

And I'd love a few practical things: a tan leather belt, a cozy plaid scarf (this is another cute option), Mindy Kaling's new book: Why Not Me? and Adele's albums 25 and 21 on Vinyl (because I can't seem to get Hello out of my head).

What's on your wish list?
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

11.30.2015

life lately.

Loving: Our trip to Chicago! We had the BEST time visiting family and friends. It was so nice for Violet to finally meet lots of extended family. And we ate ALL the food. In one week we had Cuban, Deep Dish Pizza, Persian, Mexican, Italian Beefs, Meatballs...and of course some turkey and pumpkin pie :)
Looking forward to: CHRISTMAS!!! I'm sooo excited to finally decorate! We're staying in Charleston for the holidays, so I'm looking forward to starting a few new traditions and make my favorite comfort food (biscuits!).

Working on: Finishing up my Christmas shopping. I have a lot of babies to shop for this year which has been really fun! I bought a few gifts from Zubels -- they are having a 25% off sale (use the code SM25 at checkout). 

Here are some other good Cyber Monday Sales:
GAP: 40% off everything (use code BESTCYBER)
OLD NAVY: 40% off everything (use code BESTCYBER)


Watching: Christmas movies. The Grinch, Love Actually, The Holiday, It's a Wonderful Life, Elf, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and The Family Stone and Planes, Trains, & Automobiles... will all be on repeat in our house.

Shopping: I'm dedicating a lot of my shopping budget this month to gifts but I did pick up a few things online that I love: this scarf (it's a blanket scarf that's not too overwhelming), this beauty set -- from my new favorite brand, and a personalized Santa sack for Violet.
Baby update: Vi is teething again. She has been drooling like crazy. She bit me on the arm the other day (!!!) so I've been rotating different Nuby teethers. She really likes this one -- it has crinkly fabric (which is apparently catnip for babies) and the teether bib combo (available in stores at Walmart).
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

11.20.2015

friday five.

I'm linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha today:

ONE: With everything that is going on in the world sometimes it seems really silly to blog. I've always said that I'd keep blogging as long as it was fun. I still enjoy it, but I feel an obligation to get real and talk about something that has been on my mind a lot lately.
images via + via
Every time I see a story about the Syrian refugees I can't help but think "What if that was me? What if H and I were forced to leave our home with our baby? What if I had to leave everything behind, sleep outside or in a crowded refugee camp, fear for our safety, and have nowhere to go? What if I worried about basic necessities like food, water, and shelter instead of what I'm going to buy friends and family for Christmas?" Whenever I think about the babies and kids and the terrible things they have to deal with everyday makes me want to cry. What kind of life is that?! No human should have to live in fear, without food, or a home.

So I've finally decided to actually do something about it, and start donating to charities that aid to refugee families in need. If you are interested in helping too here is a list of impactful charities
TWO: We are heading to Chicago on Sunday for a week! I'm so excited to see my family and friends and to eat everything. You can follow along on Instagram I promise there will be a few pizza pics :)
THREE: My (super talented) friend Liz is going to take our family photos for our Christmas cards while we are in Chicago next week. I can't wait to see Violet in her new red corduroy monogrammed holiday dress -- yep, totally embracing the whole Southern thing. I'm also hoping to incorporate Violet's new elf doll from Zubels into a few pics. The doll is super soft and it's an adorable alternative the creepy elf on the shelf dolls!
FOUR: We are having Thanksgiving dinner  at my parents house this year and I volunteered to make a family favorite: the broccoli and cheese casserole. I wouldn't mind having these dishes too: lemony roasted potato and broccoli rabe / hawaiian sweet rolls /  roasted asparagus with garlic and feta

FIVE: confession... I have broken my own rule of not celebrating Christmas before thanksgiving-- I can't stop listening to Christmas music :) My favorite Christmas song is "Do you hear what I hear?" because I have fun memories of playing that song on my parents player piano when I was little. I also love listening to Josh Groban around the holidays. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
-xo-
Jillian 
SHARE:

11.18.2015

angel oak tree.

One of the things I really love about South Carolina is how it stays green year-round. The trees lose some leaves but for the most part things are still alive and blooming through the winter. Charleston has a number of parks with beautiful trees, and we finally visited one of the oldest trees in the state last week. The famous Angel Oak Tree in John's Island. The tree is estimated to be 400-500 years old and it is massive.

It's amazing how large the branches are and incredible that it's survived storms and human activity over the years. If you are interested, you can learn more about the tree here.
-xo-
Jillian

SHARE:

11.16.2015

pray for peace.

I spent a month studying abroad in Paris during the summer after my sophomore year of college, and I returned a few years later for my honeymoon. It's one of my favorite cities, and I was shocked to hear the news of the terrorist attacks on Friday night. I spent the rest of the night glued to the news, checking my Twitter feed for updates, and I even updated my Facebook profile photo to show my support for the victims and their families. I snuggled with Violet a little longer that night and I went to bed feeling sad about what happened and so incredibly grateful for the safety of my family. 
It wasn't until late the next night when I saw the article-- "Let's pray for Beirut the same way we are praying for Paris" that I learned 40 people were killed and 200 were injured in two suicide bombings in Beirut, Lebanon the day before the Paris attack. The writer Elyane Youssef brought up a lot of good points. Why hadn't I heard about this attack on the news? -- I watch the news every day. Am I watching the wrong thing? Or does the media just choose to cover some tragedies more than others?

The events that took place in Paris were terrible. It absolutely breaks my heart to see so much violence in a city that I love so much. But it also makes me sad and angry that other victims of terrorist attacks do not receive the same kind of media attention. All victims of terror deserve support and prayers. Not to mention the ability to easily communicate that they are safe to friends and family. I really hope that in the future Facebook enables their Safety Check for ALL natural and human disasters. In the meantime, I admire Elyane's plead for peace --  "Let’s pray for the whole wide world, in fact. Let’s see each each other as equal human beings; not as different countries."
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

11.13.2015

friday five.

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha today to share five things on my mind:
ONE: I don’t visit Target very often because like a lot of people I go in for one small things (tights for Violet) and I leave the store with a ton of things I didn’t plan on buying!! I'm not too upset about it though because I found some pretty cute things for the holidays: large + small felt trees for our mantle / red and white bakers twine + gold bells (= easy DIY ornaments).
TWO: Speaking of Christmas -- I'd love a plaid tree skirt for our tree. Thankfully my mom offered to make us one (yah!) but these ones are cute too: burgundy plaid / black buffalo check / tartan plaid
THREE: Our grocery store had BOGO Naan, so I made Indian food twice this week! Don’t be too impressed…the sauce for both dishes was from a jar. But now I want to explore more vegetarian recipes.
FOUR: H and I started watching reruns of Modern Family the other week. We stopped watching it few years ago because it was getting a little too corny with all of the Full House "everyone learn a lesson” endings. But I’m glad we gave it another chance! It’s been making us laugh a LOT. 
FIVE: Don’t forget to enter the Dove giveaway! A winner will be emailed next Tuesday (11/17).

Have a great weekend! 
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

11.09.2015

weekend good things.

We had a pretty good weekend! The weather was weird -- 80's on Saturday, then 60's on Sunday, which I prefer since it's November (!!) Anyhoo we kept things pretty low key around here-- I got my haircut, ran some errands, cleaned the house, and we went shopping. I found a couple of cute sweaters and a dress for Vi at the outlet mall.

I also ordered some felt snowflakes and mercury glass Christmas ornaments. I'm so excited to finally have a big tree this year! 
And there was a LOT of good food. On Saturday I met up with a friend for lunch at White Duck Taco Shop. I love their green cilantro salsa and my new favorite taco is the lamb gyro -- it's so good. I probably should have stopped there, but that night h and I had Paisano's Greek style feta pizza. And on Sunday we treated ourselves to a few Charleston Donuts (I'm still dreaming about the strawberry + fruity pebble donut), homemade chocolate chip cookies, and chicken tikka masala with naan. If you need me I'll be doing yoga (or eating more cookie dough). 

Happy Monday!
-xo-
Jillian 

P.S. It's the last day to enter the $150 Minted gift card giveaway!
SHARE:

11.05.2015

holiday etsy favorites.

When I went grocery shopping the day after Halloween I was a little disappointed to see that they already rolled out the Christmas decorations and merchandise. I LOVE Christmas, but I think Thanksgiving deserves a little love too. So I never decorate or watch Christmas movies until after Thanksgiving is over. The past few years I've even started a tradition of watching The Grich on Thanksgiving night with (another) piece of pumpkin pie. That being said I like to be prepared with my holiday decorations and I hate rushing around at the last minute trying to find cute holiday decor or gifts. Sooo it's totally legal to start shopping early. I had a lot of fun browsing for Fall things on Etsy and no surprise I found a lot of great holiday things there too: 

When do you start decorating for the holidays?
Do you have any crazy rules like me?
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

11.03.2015

2015 Minted holiday picks + $150 giveaway!

Full Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Minted. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Cornflake Dreams.

We had a great Halloween! I loved seeing Violet in her skunk outfit again, and we had fun at our block party, and passing out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. And now I can start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas!! We're going to Chicago for Thanksgiving (!!) and while we're there my friend Liz is going to take some family photos. so yes -- I'm already thinking about holiday cards. I am going to order ours from Minted -- they have the best cards and they never disappoint. And because the holiday season always gets busy, I fully intend to take advantage of the free recipient address printing :) Here are my favorite Photo Holiday Card Designs:
stylish and merry / beautiful and wonderful life / photobooth / splashed foil-pressed holiday (FYI all foil-pressed cards and art prints are 20% next week (11/10-11/16) / just sleep (ha!) / may your days be merry

I also love traditional cards without photos. Here are some of my favorites: 

And Minted has introduced a beautiful line of pretty gift wrap! You can even customize select designs with your photos and text.

Minted is generously giving away $150 to one lucky reader! Please enter below using the Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be emailed Tuesday, November 10, 2015. 

Good Luck!
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:

10.30.2015

friday five.

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with ChristinaApril, and Natasha today to share five things on my mind:
ONE: I haven't watched any Halloween movies yet and I love Tim Burton movies -- especially Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Edward Scissorhands. I hope H is up for a movie marathon this weekend.
glow-in-the-dark skeleton one piece / patterned footed sleepers: boo! + skeleton
TWO: Having a baby around during the holidays is so much fun. I love all of the adorable holiday themed pj's! Old Navy has really cute (and affordable) options. 
THREE: We carved Violet's pumpkin last night and now we have a ton of seeds to roast! Growing up I loved to carve pumpkins, but I would never eat the seeds -- much to my dad's disappointment. To be honest I don't even know if I ever actually tasted the seeds...I guess I was a picky kid. Now that my palate has evolved (ha!) I thought I'd give them a try -- smothered in sugar and cinnamon of course.
FOUR: We just ordered this highchair from IKEA -- I love it. It's easy to clean and compact so it doesn't take up a ton of room in our kitchen. Violet also loves her wooden baby gym. And they have a lot of other simple and cute toys -- shape sorter, soft stacking rings, bead roller coaster, wood stacking rings, stuffed elephant.
FIVE: Our neighborhood is having a block party on Saturday (yahh!) and I need to bring a treat. I would love to make something really festive and cute (peeps ghost browniesspider cookies / ghost cupcakes) but I am not a great baker or crafty #aintnobodygottimeforthat. So I'll probably make boxed brownies or cupcakes and go crazy with the orange sprinkles ;) Here's hoping another neighbor will bring the cute desserts.

Have a great weekend + Happy Halloween!
-xo-
Jillian
SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig