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


loving lately: lemons

I've loved lemons for a long time so I was excited to add a few of my favorite lemon prints to our dining room. And now I want all the lemon things :) here are a few of my favorites:
sugar lemon eau de parfum / c.o. bigelow lemon hand treatment / lemon plateslemon grove pillow / lemon drop tea towel / lemon tray / lemon pillowrifle paper co market list / lemon iphone casecitrus print

and of course a few lemon picks for my mini me:



gifts for mom

Mother's Day is one week away! I'm excited to celebrate early with a tapas lunch date with my family this weekend. H's birthday is always the weekend of Mother's Day and my birthday falls around Father's Day so once we became parents we decided to save the gifts for birthdays. So this gift guide is more like an early birthday wish list ;)
Beaches - everyone loves a good coffee table book / Mini Tassel Bag - this pretty bag comes in blush and black too
IT Cosmetics Je Ne Sais Quoi Hydrating Color Awakening Lip Treatment in Pink (also in Natural) / Smith & Cult Nail Polish - for summer pedicures / Paris In Bloom - you can't go wrong with gorgeous photos of flowers in Paris / Enamel Locket (also here) - a sweet way to keep your family close to your heart
Potted White Hydrangea - These flowers will last a lot longer than your typical bouquet / The Love & Lemons Cookbook - I just ordered this cookbook and I can't wait to try out some new dishes

Have a great weekend!


One Room Challenge: art options

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.

I'm back for week 5 of the One Room Challenge! I'm almost done decorating our dining room and next week I'll be sharing lots of "after" photos of the room. Until then let's talk about art! Initially I planned on using this pretty Paris print from Minted:
I like the Looking Over Montmartre print because it's one of my favorite places in Paris and Paris is also where my husband and I went on our honeymoon. I thought the black and white photo would look great on our navy walls. My husband liked it too, but he thought it might be fun to mix things up and get something more abstract since we already have travel prints all over our house. Minted has a LOT of gorgeous abstract art options to choose from. Here are my three favorites:
Pamela - I considered getting this print for our living room too!

Which one is your favorite? 
I can't wait to show you which print I picked next week!


friday five.

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with Christina, April, and Natasha to share five things:

ONE: I am so excited to start wearing my spring and summer clothes again! I just bought these white jeans and I love them. Here's a few other things on my wish list: salut tee / fresh sugar tinted lip treatmentlip & cheek colorsandals (cheaper option here) / off the shoulder swing top (I tried this on last week and it's really cute! and it doesn't feel like it's going to fall down.) / scalloped shorts. Also loving this ruffle tank and straw tote.

TWO: What are you watching on TV right now? I watched the last season of Girls and Big Little Lies (so good! I liked it even better than the book). I just started watching the new seasons of Veep and Catastrophe. And thanks to H, I've also been catching up on old episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm which I never watched before but I'm loving now.
THREE: After a little hiatus (which I'm blaming on our move) I started reading again! I picked up Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein from the library and I can't put it down. Shrill by Lindy West and The Misadventures of An Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae are also on my reading list.

FOUR: I got my hair cut last weekend (yah!) and picked up some much needed product (also here). I use a small amount on my hair before I blow dry it and it makes my hair really soft.
FIVE: Mother's Day is coming up! And Open Door Shop -- one of my favorite Charleston shops -- has tons of great gift ideas! I'd love to try some new recipes in the dude diet cookbook and Gwyneth's It's All Easy cookbook. I also LOVE their collection of terrafirma platters -- the oval platter in cobalt honeycomb and large stack tray in cobalt strata are my favorites. Their collection of wood pineapple bowls are perfect for entertaining and they come in three different sizes: small, medium or large. And the leaf paper placemat and set of 4 gold leaf glasses would be fun for a summer party :) Follow Open Door Shop on instagram for more entertaining ideas! And use the coupon code CORNFLAKEDREAMS online at Open Door Shop for 20% off your order until 5/5/17.

Have a great weekend!


One Room Challenge: lighting

It's week 4 of the One Room Challenge and today I'm going to talk about picking a light fixture. I initially wanted something very modern for our dining room. I picked out three options to show my husband and paired them with our dining room furniture (I think visuals help a lot with the decision making process).

He wasn't a fan of ANY of the options. Meanwhile I started to become super excited about sputnik lights after seeing them all over PinterestI showed him these dining rooms:
one / two
 and he still wasn't impressed.

He eventually told me that if I really wanted a sputnik light just go for it. But what I really wanted was for us both to love the space.

Our new home is a very traditional 2-story brick house, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the modern chandeliers I picked out don't really "fit" with that traditional exterior. And after seeing this dining room:
I decided it wouldn't be so bad to play it safe and keep the lighting simple. I ended up buying a similar oversized white pendant drum light and H and I both love it!
It works with our furniture and it's still modern without being too "in your face". Not to mention, if we ever decide to move again we don't have to worry about potential buyers being scared off by a modern light fixture right when they walk in the door.

A quick note on our floors -- our contractor removed the old carpeting in the dining room and installed new hardwood floors and stained them. We used a 50/50 mix of Jacobean and Ebony Minwax stains (top on the samples below) to get the final dark stain color. I love our dark floors but it's true what they say -- they scratch easily and you can see every crumb on the floor! So not exactly the best mix for a toddler. But we've reduced scratching by putting felt pads on our furniture legs and roomba helps with the crumbs.
I'll be back next week to talk about artwork and all the finishing touches! 

p.s. you can see my other ORC posts here: week 1, week 2, and week 3.


white table lamps

I've had a lot of fun decorating our new home -- our living room is finished and we are making progress with our dining room. But there's still a few rooms that need some love. Our master bedroom is a mess. It's the only room that still has boxes in it -- most of them are filled with frames that we still need to hang up. And I think it's time to finally buy some table lamps for our nightstands. I don't know what it is about table lamps -- maybe it's because I've never had them -- but they make a room feel so grown up. I want something simple that will work with our white furniture in our room. I think white or beige lamps would look pretty in the space, here are eight options that I've had my eye on:

one / two / three / fourfive / six / seveneight (my favorite!)
And if you want a little color -- this one is fun!

Which lamp is your favorite?


One Room Challenge: finding the perfect paint color

I'm back for week 3 of One Room Challenge and I'm sharing a major update in our dining room! Before we purchased our home I spent a LOT of time on Pinterest looking at paint colors and I driving my husband crazy comparing different options. There are way too many options out there! 

Our dining room opens to the foyer and it's the first room that you see when you walk into our house. So I wanted to make sure that whatever color I picked for the dining room worked with the rest of the colors in the house.

I already decided on using Sherwin Williams Zurich White for the foyer, kitchen, hallways, and living room -- it's a great neutral grayish white and Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray for our downstairs bathroom, playroom and Violet's room. We used both of these colors in our last home and I loved them. I also wanted to use Sherwin Williams Let it Rain -- a grayish blue -- for our laundry room and upstairs bathroom. The colors in our master bedroom, upstairs guest bedroom, and H's office were fine so we left them alone. That just leaves the dining room!
I used Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue in our master bedroom in last home in SC. I liked it, but H always referred to it as the "little boys room" -- so that color was out.
I decided I wanted something richer and darker for our dining room. Benjamin Moore has really helpful tools that allow you visualize their paint in a room. After a lot of research I narrowed down my choices to Hudson Bay and Hale Navy. Here is Hudson Bay in a dining room similar to ours with white wainscoting on the bottom:

Same room in Hale Navy:
HALE NAVY! Hands down. I love how dark it looks in the room and it's totally different from our old bedroom. And it looks great with rest of our color scheme:
Here's a quick reminder of what we were working with "before": 
And now our dining room with Hale Navy paint on top -- with our new unfinished hardwood floors and the same old chandelier:
Also in case you were wondering... I drove myself crazy trying to find the "perfect" white, I spent a lot of time looking up different shades of white on Pinterest. I ultimately gave up and told my contractor to use whatever they normally use on walls. And it's perfect. So sometimes I guess it's OK not to over analyze everything!! :)

What do you think -- did I make the right choice? 

p.s. you can see my other ORC posts here: week 1 + week 2
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