20 in 2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

This year, I've given myself a goal to read 20 books in 2017. The title of this post is probably way more boring than you thought it was!

I have this theory, though. Men have hobbies people really see as hobbies: golf, boating, working on motorcycles, paintballing...my "hobbies" are not only significantly more indoorsy, they're also not as easily classified as "hobbies": watching most things on Bravo, live tweeting #TheBachelor, going to Nordstrom, sending snail mail to my friends, doing face masks, researching vacations, petting my cats, experimenting with new beauty products, and, well, reading.

I think reading was my first hobby. I don't remember anything before it. Collecting stickers and troll dolls came later.

I was listening to The Ultimate Health Podcast the other day and they were interviewing a guy who said that if we all read for 45 minutes a day, based on the length of the average book, we could be reading a book a week. 52 books a year. That means my goal is actually really low. I'm writing down the titles and authors of the books as I finish them to hold myself accountable. I've heard this is important for goal-setting and it makes me feel good to see the list get longer. Granted, I'm currently a little behind on my goal, but I think I'm catching up. And, as always, my hope is to exceed it.

Another reason I wanted to set myself a firm goal and hold myself to it is that I keep buying or picking up books and adding them to stacks I say I'll get to eventually. I just keep moving the piles around, which is EXACTLY WHAT MY GRANDPARENTS DO. Genetics are scary! With a little baby adding lots of stuff to our house, clearing out some piles will inevitably help my stress level. Clutter, be gone!

Here are the books I've read this year so far. Note: I've committed to finishing them once I start, even if I don't think I'll like them. I'm going to give you a one-line book report on each, with a would or would not recommend. I don't like book reports and I don't want to spoil your experience should you decide to pick any of these up for yourself, so one line feels appropriate.

Baby Owner's ManualFun, quick read full of surprisingly useful information about how to hang out with your little one. Would recommend to anyone spending lots of time with infants.

Skinny Bitch: Bun in The OvenPretty snotty and didactic manual basically telling you to go vegan while pregnant. Would not recommend based on tone and insistent content.

We Are Water: I'll read anything Wally Lamb writes and this doesn't disappoint--weaving, complex story of a family whose dynamic has shifted entirely, and continues to shift. Would recommend to anyone who likes heady, well-written contemporary novels.

House of Sand and Fog: Intense Oprah's Book Club pick from years back that follows two families whose lives become crazily connected in a way neither of them wants. Personally, would not recommend because it really only gets good at the end.

Daring Greatly: Well-researched book focused mostly on exploring shame--where it comes from and how to combat it. Would not recommend, mostly because I thought it would be something completely different than it was, although I did learn a few things from it.

Option B: Sheryl Sandberg's exploration of life after tragedy and the lessons she's learned (and implemented in work and life) from her husband's sudden death. Would absolutely recommend to anyone who has faced tragedy or wants to help someone going through it. Honestly, I would recommend it to every corporate CEO as well.

Modern Romance: Exploration of finding love in the modern age. Not wholly applicable to my life, but Aziz is funny, so I would recommend to people out there looking for love, but would not recommend to married people with babies.

I'm currently working my way through Hillbilly Elegy and Baby Wise, but I think I'll need something more...fun for my next read. Anything you've been into lately I should add to my list? I could use a juicy beach read.

A Nursery Fit for a PNW Baby

Friday, July 7, 2017

We knew we'd be spending a lot of time in Oliver's nursery, so we invested a ton of energy in making it what we wanted--cozy, calm, and filled with the perfect new and old furnishings.

We've worked with our friends, White Space Interiors, previously on a few home projects and we LOVE what they do. My mom was so impressed with what they did at our house, they have her on retainer for her home in California, which has become an ongoing project. Soon, we'll start on our eat-in kitchen nook with them, but for this, we wanted to do it on our own.

I'm pretty pleased with the result.

Anyone else's baby lose his mind every time he gets his diaper changed? We're moving past that, but MAN. 
I pride myself on being a pretty unstoppable researcher. I will find exactly what I'm looking for. I've found that it's always easier to start ideating on a room when you have a piece or two to begin with. For us, that was the mid-century rocker I found at CB2. It went perfectly with the vibe of our house, which was built in 1950. And, unlike West Elm (whose stuff we love, but whose customer service and large furniture turnaround time cannot be trusted), they were ON TOP of providing top notch customer service and delivery timeframes. When the guys arrived to drop the chair and a few other things, they had those booties you have to wear when you do the parade of homes and didn't step a foot inside our door until they had them on. On top of that, they brought all the things about a week or so after we ordered them, which, when it comes to large furniture items, is totally unheard of. I understand it wasn't huge and it wasn't a custom piece, BUT STILL.

Our little baby burrito in his rocker.
Raz built the bookshelves and stained them to match Oliver's crib and changing table. I'm not the best at decorating shelves aka making them not look totally cluttered, but I think I did okay here. Most of the books were mine from growing up or ones Grandma made me take from their house. Still have to go into storage and find one of my many copies of Make Way for Ducklings to add to it. Whenever Oliver and I walk by a Little Free Library that has kid books in it, I get as many as strike my fancy and read them to him. Then I decide if they're worthy of the shelf. It'll be a constant edit. We have Alexa turn on classical music and work on brain development with the book collection :).

About what we look like when we're reading. 
Raz found the super-cool rope lamp on Amazon and I think it ties everything together perfectly. Before he was born, Raz and I would spend weekend mornings with the cats in Oliver's room reading and imaging what it would be like once he was with us. It's so cool now to really be using the things we so carefully curated.

Just gazing into that face we created. 

We used to have my dad's small antler set above our bed and when Raz suggested we upgrade to a larger set when we were shopping one day in the cutest little town full of vintage shops, he knew he'd sell me by suggesting we move the smaller set of antlers to Oliver's room. It was important to me to have things that belonged to the family before him in Oliver's room, so there's a picture of my dad and uncle on the shelf, along with a gold antelope (are those antelopes?) statue I stole from Grandma and Papa's attic, and photos of us as babies on the other side that aren't pictured. We also have some of the cutest little stuffed animals Raz's grandma sent back with his parents when they visited Romania earlier this year. We'll introduce those once he's playing with toys more.

This pastel painting of the mountains was done by Papa. We had one just like it in my house growing up and I think it's somewhere in my mom's storage unit now. So, after I told Papa and Grandma I was pregnant, I asked if I could take this one from one of my uncles' childhood bedrooms. It's the perfect addition above the my changing table from when I was a baby.
I don't have a photo of the gallery wall above the crib, along with Oliver's mobile to show here, but I'll make sure to put it on my Insta stories. There are four white frames above his crib, each with a meaningful photo: fuzzy horse ears from our #Poptartmoon in Kauai, a photo of us from our pregnancy announcement, my dad's bow and arrow, and a hillside full of thatched huts from our honeymoon in Tahiti. My plan is to rotate them out as the urge hits me. As with all things great, I hope it continues to evolve as our life together does.

Big thanks to Meg Newton Photography for capturing these special memories

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