cornflake dreams.: August 2015

8.31.2015

weekend good things.

There's nothing like a four-day weekend! H took Thursday and Friday off from work so he could spend more time with his dad who was visiting from Chicago. With grandpa babysitting we managed to get a LOT done around the house. My father-in-law helped us paint our master walk-in-closet and hang up some removeable wallpaper. I'm really impressed with how everything turned out. Now I just have to put all my clothes away :) We also moved Violet into her nursery. We've been waiting to move her because her nursery is on the second floor and we're on the first floor (insert first time parent fears here!!) I'm hoping that having her out of our room will let everyone sleep a little better. I won't lie though, H and I were both sad about moving her and the first night we were glued to her video monitor. But it was fun to finally see all of her things together in one space -- it's my favorite room in our house! I'll post some before/after pics of both spaces soon.

I did a few other things I normally don't have time for: I napped, organized Violet's clothes, painted my toes, read a magazine, bought a new plant for our kitchen, and picked up Chipotle (this forced me to practice my parallel parking skills downtown). I also finished reading The Luckiest Girl Alive. It was pretty disturbing but I couldn't put it down. I can't wait to see the movie when it comes out. I went to a friend's baby shower -- I am excited Violet will have another little friend in a few weeks. And we tried a new restaurant in James Island. I was really disappointed with the greasy bar food, so I won't be returning. Despite the restaurant fail, it was a great weekend and I'm so happy Violet got to spend some quality time with her grandpa.

How was your weekend?
-xo-
Jillian

8.27.2015

pink chicken charleston.

Full Disclosure: Thank you to Pink Chicken for sponsoring this post.

One of the things I love about shopping in downtown Charleston is that along with the big name stores Anthropologie, Gap, Pottery Barn, and West Elm, there are smaller boutiques that carry unique brands. Last week I stopped by Pink Chicken on King Street. The stylish shop sells clothing for baby, kids, tween girls, and women and a variety of adorable gifts. And btw for all of you boy mom's out there: Pink Chicken is introducing a new line -- Blue Rooster -- for boys up to age 6, starting February 2016! The Blue Rooster line will be sold in all Pink Chicken stores. They have locations in New York, L.A., and Charleston.

The Pink Chicken shop on King Street is the perfect location, it's next to the old Riviera Theater and just a block away from the Historic Charleston City Market. It's a cute little boutique full of whimsical accessories and gifts, and fun, patterned clothes. I found a great stripe and floral dress and navy leggings for Violet -- they will be perfect for Fall. I also noticed they have a line of 18" doll clothes that are designed to match your child's outfit! I couldn't resist the Pink Chicken printed tunic for her future American Girl Doll (I have my old Samantha doll ready and waiting for her!)
I am sure I'll visit Pink Chicken again soon to pick up some gifts for the holidays (like the cute Mini Melissa "cat" Mary Jane shoes I can't stop thinking about!).

-xo-
Jillian

psst: Pink Chicken's summer sale is going on right now (in stores and online) and everything is now all half off!

8.25.2015

fall etsy favorites.

Yes, I realize it's still August but I'm really over the heat and humidity. So let's just pretend Fall and cooler temps are around the corner. I fell down the Etsy rabbit hole the other night and I found lots of really cute Fall decorations for our house. We have a fireplace in our living room with a nice mantle, and I am excited to finally be that girl who decorates every season #justcallmemartha

Do you decorate your house for every season?
Do you have any favorite Etsy shops that I should know about?!
-xo-
Jillian

psst: not ready for Fall yet? Here's my picks for Spring + Summer :)

8.20.2015

affordable + adorable baby clothes.

Full Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.

Growing up I had really great memories of going back to school shopping with my mom and brothers. It was so exciting to pick out new clothes for a new school year. I am excited to continue that tradition with Violet. It'll be a few years until she starts school (I know when that day arrives I'll be a proud mama/emotional mess), but that didn't stop me from picking up a few things for her for Fall. 

Carter's is one of my favorite stores to shop for cute and affordable baby clothes. I love to take advantage of their special Doorbuster deals and offers -- they have a Count Me In Preschool Sale (Up to 50% Off) sale going on right now. The sale includes: Doorbuster 2 or more: $6 leggings, long sleeve tees, boys terry pants & slogans (ends 8/31) and Single Doorbuster: $8 fleece pants, $10 moto jegging, $12 boys hoodies (ends 8/19).

I visited my local Carter's store and found the cutest little dress for Violet. I love the colorful pattern and it's perfect for Fall in the south (which runs a little bit warmer than the Midwest!) 
While I was at the store I also found an adorable raccoon fleece zipper onesie for my sister-in-law and friend (they are both expecting their first baby boy in a few months). New mama tip: zipper onesies are the best for newborns and late-night changes! They are sooo much easier than fumbling around with a ton of snap buttons in the middle of the night. 

I also picked up a few things for Vi for winter -- I couldn't resist that soft teddy bear suit!!
I have never been disappointed with the quality of clothes I've purchased at Carter's. And I'm am sure I'll continue shopping there for years to come -- especially now that they offer clothing up to Size 8 and shoes up to 3y.

You can use the coupon below for your next online or in store purchase:

-xo-
Jillian

8.19.2015

summer shopping hits and misses.

It's that time again... I've been busy shopping online and much to my husband's disapproval the packages keep on coming. I've returned some things too it evens out ;)

HITS:
Remember the big Nordstrom anniversary sale? 
Thankfully that wasn't a total disaster and I kept quite a few things:
Nike Gym Vintage Zip Front Hoodie - this hoodie is really cute and I'm sure it'll be on repeat this Fall.

Halogen Relaxed Slub Knit U Neck Tee in black and white stripes - I read the reviews and ordered a size down (xs instead of my usual small). The tee is flattering and lightweight, and you can't go wrong with stripes.

BP. V-Neck Tee these are super soft, easy "mom-uniform" tees -- per the reviews I went up a size (medium) but I'd recommend going up two sizes if you want a more relaxed fit. 

Vigoss Tomboy distressed Skinny Jeans Bay Wash - these are my new favorite jeans! I can't wait to wear these with booties this fall. 
PSA: Gap Factory has an online shop! How did I miss this?! I didn't realize it until I bought a few things at the outlet mall and then tried to look them up online. Score. I promptly purchased another striped tee + swing sweater for Fall. The swing sweater reminds me of J.crew's swing sweater, but not quite as flowy and way cheaper. 


Heathered Stripe Tank - I randomly stopped by LOFT last week and tried on this tank, it's super comfortable, flowy, and only $15.

and the MISSES:
Express 2 inch Pom Pom Shorts - these are adorable but they sooooo short (even for me and I'm only 5'4). The two inch inseam wouldn't be that bad, but when you combine that with a side tulip hem it makes them really short. For some reason I thought they would be long enough to wear outside -- not so much. I ripped off the tag before I tried them on and I'm honestly too lazy to drive to the mall to try to return them. I kept them and I wear them around the house and to bed.

Halogen Relaxed Slub Knit U Neck Tee in beige rainy day aka off white. Unfortunately this color was see-through and I hate having to wear a tank top under my t-shirts -- it's way too hot to do that in the summertime. 

Vigoss Flap Pocket Skinny Jeans (Black) - I had high hopes for these jeans because I loved the denim pair, but these were not as stretchy or comfortable. 

BP Stripe V-Neck Pullover - Eh not a fan. The fit was off and I wasn't impressed with the quality of the sweater (not too surprising since it was only $24). 

Jessica Simpson Joline Riding Boots - Sometimes you get what you pay for and these $37 boots looked reallllly cheap in person. Too bad because I really wanted to check that off my shopping list. 
-xo-
Jillian

8.18.2015

life lately.

Loving: Our house -- it's really starting to come together! I'm excited we finally picked out a new table and chairs for our kitchen. We currently only have two kitchen chairs so it makes having guests over a little difficult. After a lot of debate we went with the Shayne drop-leaf kitchen table (in white) from Pottery Barn with a set of metal Delta Chairs from Crate and Barrel. My mom has the Shayne table and I've loved it for years but I didn't think the matching Isabella Chairs went with the rest of our furniture. Finding chairs that H and I both liked proved to be a major headache, so I'm praying that these work out.

Loathing: Summer in the South...I'm soooo over the crazy humidity and mosquitos. On the bright side -- it's the worst season here so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.
image via
Looking forward to: FALL is right around the corner and I am looking forward to cooler temps and I won't even mind when Winter arrives. H takes his last big test in mid-October, so I know he'll be happy not to spend his weekends studying. We have some visitors coming in town over the next few weeks so I'm excited to go with them to the beach, a plantation, and local parks and gardens.

Working on: Our master closet. yep...still. We're going to paint it when my father-in-law visits next weekend so he can watch Violet while we work. Hopefully I'll have a before/after post soon!

Watching: Fixer Upper and wishing Chip and Joanna would come over and redo our kitchen. #allwhiteeverything
Shopping: Aside from our big purchase for the kitchen I've had some hits and big misses in the online shopping dept. (more on that later this week). But I currently have a few adorable dresses in my shopping cart over at Zulily! They are going to be perfect for next summer and I can't resist the $16.99 price tags.
Baby update: Violet turned 5-months old last Friday! I can't believe it, she is growing up too fast. I'm LOVING the time we spend together! She is so much fun and she is all smiles and laughs lately. She loves to roll around, play with her toys, and listen to me read to her. She isn't crawling yet but I think she really wants to (which is okay..mama needs some time to babyproof the house!) 

-xo-
Jillian

8.14.2015

friday five.

It's Friday, you know the drill...I'm linking up with April today to share a few things on my mind: 
ONE: Our friends are coming into town from Greenville this weekend, so we're getting together for brats + s'mores! hoooooray for actually making s'mores on a real fire instead of in the microwave :)
TWO: I can't believe Summer it's almost over! How did that happen?! I looked back on my summer bucket list and there are a few things I would still like to do before Fall arrives. Decorate Violet's nursery (yikes! still working on that one) - Plant an herb garden - Visit the James Island Farmers Market - Find a baby seat for my bike and start riding again (I might wait until Vi is a year old...seems like a safe option) - Visit the Cypress Gardens (this is going to be a Fall thing -- it's way too hot right now). 
THREE: I would love to buy a new hairdryer -- mine is pretty close to biting it. Do you have any favorite brands or models? I have pretty straight, thin hair so I don't need anything too crazy powerful.
FOUR: Ok so I realize that Halloween is a few months away but I'm pretty excited to dress Violet up in something cute. And I absolutely loveee the costume options over at Pottery Barn Baby
FIVE: I started reading The Luckiest Girl Alive the other night and so far it's pretty entertaining. I want to read All the Light We Cannot See and The Girl on The Train next. 

Have a great weekend!
-xo-
Jillian

8.12.2015

West Elm Charleston.

WEST ELM is opening a new store in Charleston! I was totally spoiled with the store options in Chicago so I am thrilled I can finally visit one of my favorites again. Over the years we have bought quite a few things from West Elm and I still love every piece. We have two red upholstered chairs in our living room, a wood bench in the entryway, and a tall silver mirror in our master bedroom. Now I'm on the hunt for a new table + chairs for our kitchen -- perfect timing right?! The new store is located at 482 King Street (that's right across the street from Jeni's Ice Cream and next door to Callie's Hot Little Biscuit aka my dream location. I know what I'm doing next weekend!) Here are some of my favorite new arrivals:
-xo-
Jillian

8.10.2015

weekend good things.

We had a great weekend with lots of friends, family, and food. 
On Friday night I was craving chips and salsa so we made a meal out of it and bought taco dip, fresh salsa, tortilla chips (with a hint of lime -- my favorite!), and chicken tenders. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend. I met up with some of my favorite bloggers on Saturday for brunch. Biana, Amanda, and Pamela were in town for the weekend and it was so nice to finally meet them in person. We went to Poogan's Porch one of my favorite spots -- their biscuits are so delicious. However, I was disappointed with the veggie omelet, next time I'll stick with the cinnamon french toast.
Later that day H's brother and wife arrived from Portland. We spent Sunday afternoon walking around downtown. I didn't even realize it was Second Sunday until we hit King Street (talk about great timing!) We had lunch at Bull Street Market (another favorite) and I had their Mozz Caprese sandwich -- it was delicious. Later that afternoon I got my hands on a King of Pops raspberry lime popsicle which totally hit the spot. Later that night we went to White Duck Taco Shop in James Island. I loved the variety of tacos with unique ingredients, I went with pork and steak tacos -- the steak tacos were sooo good. I can't wait to go back. The restaurant is very baby-friendly and there is easy parking out front too!

How was your weekend?
-xo-
Jillian

8.07.2015

friday five.

It's Friday and I'm back linking up with April today to share a few things on my mind:
images via
ONE: Thank you for all of your great comments to my recent travel, Honest review, and life lately posts! I generally try to respond to comments via email, however I've noticed that some commenters have no-reply profiles -- meaning a username isn't attached to an email address (so I can't respond via email). I'm totally guilty of signing into the wrong email account and commenting on blogs as a "no-reply" so I know it's annoying. I thought it'd be easiest if I just replied directly to comments on my blog -- especially if someone asks a question. But those responses don't automatically get sent to the originally commenter and the no-reply username is still a problem. SO on my last post I responded to comments directly on my blog AND emailed people... it was a little time intensive #aintnobodygottimeforthat.

 I'm considering adding Disqus to the comment section. I've found that platform is pretty user-friendly -- readers are emailed my reply directly so they don't have to go back and check to see if I have responded. What do you think? Are there any bloggers out there that love or hate the Disqus widget?
TWO: My brother-in-law and his wife are visiting this weekend AND I'm meeting up with some of my favorite bloggers. I love any excuse to go downtown and visit my favorite restaurants :)
THREE: I can't tell you the last time I had some brownies but now I'm totally craving them. I'm blaming Pinterest.
FOUR: We finished watching season 3 of OITNB the other night. I had really low expectations because a lot of people said this season was slow, but I really liked it. They shared more character backstories and they made me root for some of the more unlikable inmates (Carrie "Big Boo" and Tiffany "Pennsatucky"). I'm over Piper and Alex though -- hopefully they get out prison soon. Now I want to start a new show -- has anyone watched Bloodline? Is it any good?
sign 1 + 2
FIVE: I'm happy to report that little Miss Vi has been doing much better with her sleep this week. We started a nighttime routine and we try to put her down at the same time every night. We decided not to do the cry it out method because her crib is still in our room. H and I take turns rocking her to sleep when she wakes up and I stopped feeding her in the middle of the night. She is getting better at self-soothing and she can stay asleep longer (WHOOHOO). We also started putting her in overnight diapers before bed. They are a game changer. Now I just need to find some unscented ones (hopefully Honest will make some soon).

Have a great weekend!
-xo-
Jillian

8.06.2015

living in the South - one year later.

It's been a little over a year since we moved to Charleston, South Carolina from Chicago. We initially moved to the South for H's year-long fellowship. We rented a tiny carriage house downtown near Colonial Lake and the location was perfect because we loved walking around the neighborhood. Towards the end of the fellowship we had to figure out our next move. We considered moving to H's hometown in Arkansas, but ultimately decided to stay in South Carolina.

Downtown Charleston is a very charming city and it is full of beautiful historic homes with double porches and manicured gardens. But I was pretty naive to think that it wouldn't have its own issues with crime (like other cities of it’s size). In the short time that we have lived here it’s upsetting to think about all of the terrible tragedies that have occurred -- the shooting at Emanuel AME Church, the death of Walter Scott (an unarmed African American who was killed by a white police officer), a hostage standoff that ended in death (which happened down the street from our old rental), and daily reports of shootings in North Charleston. We finally decided it was time to move to the suburbs after we heard gunshots down in the middle of the night. We were both awake trying to get the baby to fall asleep again, and it totally freaked me out. The crime in Chicago is a lot worse, but I never actually heard gunshots while I lived there or felt unsafe.

We left downtown and moved to James Island in June. I love our house, the space is sooo nice (we went from 600 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft.) but I’ll admit it’s a little weird for me to be living in a suburb. Don't get me wrong I loveee that we have a front yard, backyard, and a garage (all things we didn't have in the city). And our suburb is exactly the type of place I imagined our kids growing up in. But I still feel out of place. It's so QUIET. I should feel safe, but I get nervous when there's a knock on the door in the middle of the day. I’m not sure what I’m afraid of aside from the USPS man rolling his eyes that he has another box to drop off. I guess I’m still getting comfortable with the whole suburbia setting.

Living in the South does have it's perks though. The warm winters are a real treat. It was sooo nice to get rid of my bulky winter coat and giant snow boots. The beaches and parks are beautiful. The food is amazing — hello, hush puppies, biscuits, and pimento cheese! And the majority of the people that we've met totally have the whole Southern hospitality thing down. I'm so grateful that I have made some good friends that I genuinely like to hang out with.

But if I'm totally honest there are days when I really miss our family. I wish Violet saw her grandparents more often -- FaceTime just isn't the same as a real hug. I miss brunch and book club dates with my girls. I miss living in a big city with tall buildings, museums, theaters, and a Crate & Barrel, IKEA, and Nordstrom. And I know it's totally cliché but I really miss good pizza. In the end, I guess every place has it's pros and cons and it's better to focus on the positives rather to dwell on the things you can't change. For me home will always be where H and Violet are. We have family visiting this weekend and I'm looking forward to playing tourist and showing them around our new city :)
-xo-
Jillian

8.04.2015

an Honest review.

Last year I won a huge Honest giveaway from one of my favorite bloggers. I used the gift card I won to try a number of eco-friendly baby, home care, and beauty products. I discovered some favorites and a few that I probably won't buy again -- here's my honest review of 15 popular Honest products:


loved:
4-in-1 convertible crib with toddler rail - I LOVE LOVE Violet's crib. The mid century modern design fits right in with the rest of our furniture. And the fresh, bright white paint finish and light wood spindles are a great neutral combination perfect for any nursery. I realize at $399 this crib is expensive, but it can grow with your baby by converting into a daybed and toddler bed (the toddler rail is included).

diapers - Overall I'm a fan of Honest diapers. I love the adorable prints (bananas! strawberries! hipster bikes!) and for the most part they do the job. We've had to deal with some up the back spillage :/ but I'm not sure if that is unique to the Honest diapers. We also tried out three other diaper brands when Vi was born and they had similar problems. I really like that the diapers are unscented (the perfume ones make me gag) and that they are made from eco-friendly material that can decompose. I make a point of throwing them away in an open trash bag in the hopes that they are actually able to decompose in the landfill. Note for new parents -- We used Pampers Swaddlers and Huggies Little Snugglers when Violet was a newborn. Both of these diapers have a "wetness indicator" -- a little line that changes colors when the baby goes to the bathroom. It was helpful to have this as a sign to change her diaper. After a few weeks you'll get the hang of it and you won't need the line. 

hand sanitizer spray - This is one of my favorite things in my diaper bag and purse. It smells really good, so I like using it! The spray dries quickly and it's easy to use. 

baby arrival set - This set includes: 10 count wipes, 2-pack, size 1 diapers, 7-pack, hand sanitizer spray, shampoo + body wash, face + body lotion, healing balm, and baby teether. I gave this set to one of my friends who had her first baby and she said she loved it! We also purchased one for Vi and it was a nice way to try out a lot of Honest products. 

shampoo + body wash - We use this shampoo/body soap for Violet's baths. The soap works well on her sensitive skin and it produces a nice lather. It can be easily rinsed out and the sweet orange vanilla scent is very light and clean (I has a very very subtle fruity smell, not at all overpowering).

face + body lotion - This is another favorite product! The face + body lotion is non-greasy and lightweight. It's gentle enough for me and the baby to use.

hand soap - I tried both the liquid and foam hand soaps, and I prefer the liquid hand soap (I had issues with some of the foam pumps). The lemongrass is H's favorite scent, I like mandarin orange scent (no surprise there!). Both lather well and work to clean your hands. 

laundry detergent - I started using this detergent after Violet was born. It's gentle enough for baby clothes and I have never had an issue with it. The detergent is unscented and works well to clean light and dark clothing.

liked:
wipes - These wipes are pretty good, they are unscented (a positive for me), and they are gentle on sensitive skin. We have had issues with getting the wipes out one at a time (H likes to compare them to a magician doing a long scarf trick). They are also prone to drying out because it's hard to reseal the plastic container they come in. We eventually purchased another brand of wipes and reused the resealable container to store our wipes in. If I didn't have a gift card I probably would not pay more for these wipes versus other brands.*

travel wipes - The individually packaged 10-count diaper wipes are convenient - especially to throw into your diaper bag. But the packaging seems non-eco-friendly and a total waste of plastic. I also had issues getting the wipes out of the slim packaging without pulling all 10 wipes out at once.*

*Honest now sells a reusable travel and full-size wipe dispensers (I haven't purchased either because I already own diaper wipe containers) but it appears that the dispensers makes it easier to get the wipes out one at a time, and keep them from drying out. 

diaper rash cream - This is a good diaper rash cream to have on hand in case your baby develops a rash. So far we have only used it once and it helped clear up her rash after a few days. We have also used petroleum jelly for Violet's skin rashes/irritations and that works too!

sunscreen spf 30 - The sunscreen is super thick and requires a good amount of effort to work into your skin. But it's effective and I like that it doesn't have a strong smell. Note: I bought this sunscreen a few months ago before they changed the formula and repackaged the product- I own the blue tube. I've heard there are lots of complaints about the efficacy of the new formula. 

wasn't a fan:

auto dishwasher gel + dishwasher packs - I don't think either of these products are very effective and I won't buy them again in the future. 

hand soap in lavender - This is my least favorite soap scent, it smells like chemicals or medicine :( And again, I'm not a fan of the foaming hand soap.

diaper caddy - The caddy is totally functional and I use it to store Vi's toiletries, creams, and grooming supplies. However the water-resistant outer coating makes the small drawer very difficult to open. I was also expecting the caddy to be a matte gray color -- I guess I should have read the description -- it's more of a metallic gray.

Do you want to try Honest? Honest offers a discovery kit of Diapers & Wipes, Essentials and/or Health & Wellness products. You pay $5.95 for shipping and handling and then you're automatically enrolled in the monthly subscription service. If you're not a fan you can cancel any time. I have subscribed to the diapers and wipes bundle and I love having my diapers and wipes delivered for the month.

What are your favorite Honest products?
-xo-
Jillian