Raised by Design

5 Ridiculously Cheap Back-to-School Buys for Adulting

Even though my school days are way in my rear view mirror, Back-to-School is still pretty much my favorite time of year. Who says the fun is just for your school daze? Here are my back-to-school picks for adulating your way through September.


Wet Brush Pink Detangler Hair Brush – My current (nine dollar) beauty obsession. It reminds me of calling my boyfriend after my parents fell asleep and twirling a phone cord. Plus, this  throwback works better than any of the high end brushes I’ve tried.

gap bodysuit

GAP Soft Lapel Jumpsuit – This day-to-night jumpsuit is going to save my ass this fall. For a night out I’ll pair it with strappy heels and sparkly earrings. For the playground or a trip to the aquarium I’ll throw on a colorful scarf and my slip ons. At $80, I’m a happy girl, but wait for one of GAP’s almost daily sales and you could snag it for 40% off like I did! Suh-weet!


Ashley G Weekly Planner – Even though I keep most of my notes and important dates in my phone, I still can’t resist a new planner and I always feel more productive when I write things down. I don’t remember ever having one this cool though! Maybe because Ashley Goldberg is younger than me so she wasn’t making them yet. $17


Snarky Pencils – These genius pencils are actually proven to make you smarter, faster, better, stronger. Or at least smile. $7 for a set of 5.


Bikini So Teeny Nail Polish – I only indulge in painting my toes about once a month (you know that means it’s really 2 months, right?) so I try to choose a color that I’ll like for a long time and that goes with everything I wear. This is it, right herr! Trust me, all the cool girls are doing it! PEER PRESSURE! $9

(this post contains affiliate links)

Loveyoubye! Maggie

Don’t Lose Your Cool: Dishwasher Safe Kids’ Name Labels

Once Vince started using sippy cups and snack traps, I searched high and low for dishwasher safe name labels so we could keep track of our things at playdates, and eventually daycare or preschool. Of course I wanted something super cool, and not too cutesy baby poo-poo. (That’s a legit term, right?) No luck.

Thankfully for all you design-conscious moms out there, minted just released a collection of dishwasher, waterproof, laundry safe and non-toxic labels with outrageously cool designs. It takes two seconds to personalize and order them – you’ll spend more time trying to decide which one is your favorite.

And who’s to say the they’re just for kids? I may need some of my own! Shop the collection here:

name labels minted stationery stickers clothing labels dishwasher safe
Minted’s Super Cool Collection of Kids’ Name Labels

23 ‘Totally Worth It’ Investment Pieces from The HighBoy

I’m a high-low kind of girl – in life, love, and the pursuit of beautiful interiors. I love the thrill of a good thrift shop find and I’m not above trolling discount superstores for the best deals.

But today I want to talk about what really brings all the boys to the yard: the high end pieces that keep a home filled with bargain bin finds staying classy. Enter, The HighBoy – a curated online collection dripping with fine antiques from the farthest reaching corners of the country and the most reputable dealers in the biz.

For most of us, furnishing our homes is a gradual process and most of our furnishings aren’t all that special. But if you invest in one or two super-fantastic statement pieces your home will graduate to a gorgeous, sexy, magazine-worthy space.

Here are some of my favorite picks from The HighBoy right now:

An easy way to class up your grey upholstered sofa from West Elm (because you know you have one) is to flank it with a pair of dope side tables. Extra points for creating your own pair with a skilled mix and match:
best modern antique side tablesBrass Tubular Side Table /// 18th Century English Cricket Table /// Beveled Lucite Side Table /// Maison Jansen Mirrored Side Tables /// French Wrought Iron Gueridon with Mirrored Top /// French Art Deco Side Tables /// Art Deco Walnut Side Table

Maybe it’s time to swap out that overstuffed behemoth from Bob’s and scoop up a pair of statement armchairs. Make ’em count! Arm chairs are a great way to be bold and bring in a really sculptural shape or killer texture.

best armchairs modern antique

Swedish Art Decor Barrel Chairs /// 19th Century Caned Fauteuils /// Louis XVI Fauteuils /// Milo Baughman Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chair /// Art Deco Theatre Chairs /// Art Deco Chrome Cantilever Chairs

With so many folks working from home these days I’m all about upgrading your desk sitch. Or if you have a huge entryway, stop your guests in their tracks with a beautiful desk stacked with coffee table books and interesting objects.

best modern antique desksFrench Ebonized and Gilt-glass Desk by Jansen /// Italian Burl Vanity /// 19th Century French Carved Library Table /// Svend Madsen Desk /// Painted Italian Writing Table

There’s no easier way to make a humongous statement about your coolness than with a fancy pants chandelier and holy moly – The HighBoy is ROCKING IT in the chandelier department.

best chandeliers modern antiqueSputnik Chandelier /// Italian Blue Sputnik Chandelier /// Murano Pink Tronchi Pendant /// Mid-Century Gilded French Chandelier /// Campaign Style Tole and Brass Chandelier

The only question now is…which one of these beautiful babies are you going to splurge on?

This post is sponsored by The HighBoy – but don’t freak out! All of the words, selections and opinions are totally my own. 

mommy must list: 12 essentials for 3-6 months

With Vince’s 1st Birthday already in our rear view mirror, I’ve been looking back over his first year and I’m feeling all the feels; sad that I can’t slow time, but super excited for the fun that awaits and soaking up the fun that we’re having now.

I’m also looking back at all the stuff that we’ve accumulated and trying not to be totally horrified. I’m teasing out the best of the best and sharing my picks with you all. If you missed my essentials for newborns, check it here.

Here is the second installation of my Mommy Must List – for the 3-6 months stage, when they shed their precious (and terrifying!) brand newbie status and become rapidly developing infants. This is typically the stage when working moms go back to work (#toosoon), when most little ones are transferred to their cribs at night and when big skills like grasping toys, rolling over, sitting up and really interacting with caregivers take hold. It’s a great age – but of course, they all are.

baby registry essentials mommy must list for infants

  1. BUMBLE AND BUMBLE PRET-A-POWDER – because showers are a luxury but getting out is a necessity. This is an expensive little bottle of hair powder but I’ve had it for over  a year and I’m not even halfway through. It smells great and doesn’t give you that awful powdered wig effect.
  2. INFANTINO TEXTURED BALL SET – babes this age are learning to hold things and take in a lot of information by touch and taste. we love this set – each is a different size, color and texture.
  3. CROSS BODY BAG (similar) – once you get past the 10-diapers-a-day newborn stage, you can lighten your load and carry just the essentials for quicker outings. To keep your hands free for toting a babe, a chic cross body bag is key.
  4. GOURMET MAIL-ORDER MEALS (like Blue Apron) – friends of ours who’d had a baby a month earlier sent us a free trial of Blue Apron and it turned out to be a life saver. Even though I’m an avid cook and both sets of grandparents are local, we still needed a lot of help feeding ourselves. Even six months in I wasn’t ready to juggle meal planning, shopping and cooking every night (that didn’t come back until recently). James is a hands on husband and Dad, but he doesn’t have the years of practice that I’ve clocked in, so these turnkey meals were a great solution for us. Three nights a week I knew we would sit down to a beautiful dinner, and it became a slice of normalcy amidst our new chaos that we really looked forward to.
  5. MANHATTAN TOYS RATTLE – this rattle is great for this age and it’s design is A+
  6. MEDELA HARMONY MANUAL BREAST PUMP – I never used a mechanical pump because I didn’t have to pump all that often – Vince and I are a package deal so the boob is always there for him. But even Moms who pump at work say this is a good grab-and-go option when you don’t feel like messing with the big guns. Our lactation consultant highly recommended it and I found it to be easy to clean and good at its job.
  7. 2TB STORAGE DRIVE – you’ll quickly run out of space on your phone with your little show stopper around so snap up one or two of these to back up those 100 videos of baby cooing and pooping.
  8. MOZART TAKE-ALONG TUNES – when my bestie swore this was the best $8 bucks she’d ever spent, I’m sure I responded with a blank stare. But now I’m running around all like, “this is the best $8 bucks I’ve ever spent, you guys!” Seriously – it’s kid magic and even if you’re anti-batteries, it’s freaking Mozart, so lighten up.
  9. NOSEFRIDA NASAL ASPIRATOR – snot sucking sounds like the grossest thing ever until is your baby who needs it. This is the new go-to – bulbs are so out.
  10. MERLIN’S MAGIC SLEEPSUIT – new parents will do anything to get their babies to sleep, including dressing them up in a ridiculous astronaut suit every night so that they don’t startle themselves awake, but they can still suck their thumb.
  11. COMBAT-READY BALM FOR BABIES – this cream is made from all natural ingredients and it’s super gentle, so I use it for everything from chapped cheeks and chins to tiny scratches on his face. I’m only just ready to replace my jar after a full year of use so the price is worth it.
  12. BABY SPARKS ACTIVITY APP – unless you have a background in infant development or have tons of babies in your life, your first will be somewhat of a mystery and in these early months there’s a lot of ‘what should we do now?’. This app helped give me ideas of things to do with Vince at each age – games to play and exercises we could do with him that were fun and age appropriate. A Serious Sidenote:  The full function of this app is, in my opinion, totally over the top, neurotic Type A crazy-pants and I don’t think it’s worthwhile for a mother to subject themselves or their child to a rigorous daily checklist of developmental milestone activities. The added pressure is a nothankyou and it’s a slippery slope of self doubt and anxiety when you start comparing your little ones to imaginary textbook babies (speaking from experience!). Most babies develop fully and normally, and ALL do so on their own timeline and without a whole bunch of prompting from adults so we can all pretty much chill out on this stuff. That said, there were definitely days when I was in need of suggestions for new ways to play with Vince. This app was a great tool in that way and I’m still using it occasionally. Staring contests get old quick. 

Those are my picks for this fun age! Go play with your babes!


Put a Swan on It!

Swans are a thing now, but they still feel fresh to me. Their black and white plumage and sculptural shape play nicely with modern interiors, but they have a great Victorian quality to them as well. Plus swans are total bitches – nasty birds, really – so there’s something kind of intimidating which makes me want to plaster them all over the walls of my non-existent powder room.

I just added these little cuties to the shop today. They’re made of celluloid which was big in the 1920’s. vintage celluloid swan raised by designvintage celluloid swan raised by design

I love some of the swan trends I’m seeing out and around…

Rifle Paper Co. never lets us down – I’m really into the black background of this print – it’s moody but still playful so would work for kiddos and grownups alike! Super Duper!
Perfecto! A collection of swan planters with a granny flower painting.
Nina Campbell’s Swan Lake wallpaper and fabric are pretty feminine looking in this photo, but could be bad ass with some more masculine pieces.
Of course. Swan floaties at a wedding.
Land of Nod Sheet Set
Completely smitten with the swan head (and everything) in the nursery over at Paul & Paula. Aye!
Black beauties for your console styling pleasure.
another awesome kids' room - could work for a boy or girl
Another awesome kids’ room – could work for a boy or girl. Could just throw some swans over the end of your big girl bed. 

Are you planning a swan theme for your babe’s room? Or a chic powder or dressing room?

mommy must list: 12 baby essentials for the newborn weeks

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When you bring home a bundle of baby joy, you also bring home a giant mother load of baby shit and it takes over your life and next thing you know, you live in a daycare facility. <<<fart noise>>>

As tiny house dwellers, we aspired to be high-horse minimalist parents and failed so miserably: the boxes kept arriving with more things we thought we couldn’t live without and my anxiety levels spiked.

As we head towards Vince’s first birthday, I’m able to look back and see what really saved our asses and what we should have just said ‘no’ to.

Here are my picks for the Newborn Weeks. This list is obviously not exhaustive, but these are things that we used a LOT and I think should be on every mama’s list.

registry essentials for newborns

  1. Fisher Price Rock n’ Play – $60: Affectionately called ‘the taco’ in my mom crew, we all swear by this simple seat/rocker/bassinet combo. Vince slept swaddled at my bedside in it for his first 3 months until we moved him into his crib. It’s super light and folds up with one click so we brought it everywhere. Babies love the cozy shape and our pediatrician OK’d it for sleeping nights while he was small. There is a breathable mesh lining and the slight tilt is great for parents who worry about spitting up or reflux issues.
  2. Sassy Rattle Ring – $5: A really inexpensive toy that will move through all of baby’s stages from developing eye sight, to grasping objects, to tracking noise and later teething. This guy is just all around good design.
  3. Vornado Zippi Personal Fan – $19: They really freak you out about having good air circulation wherever baby is sleeping, so we picked up this little tabletop fan and it’s the best ever. Cloth ‘blades’ provide peace of mind and it folds up for travel. Plus it’s nice looking.
  4. Medela Lanolin Nipple Cream – $8: It’s the best one out there…and you’ll need it within the first few minutes of nursing your new babe so bring it with you to the hospital! Nipple cream for President!
  5. EO Lavender Hand Sanitizing Gel – $10: Hand sanitizer kind of grosses me out but with a newborn at home you will be using it all the time, especially during diaper changes…might as well use one that smells like a spa treatment and is infused with relaxing lavender essential oil.
  6. Nursing Tanks from Target – $20: I’m still wearing one of these everyday and to sleep at night. Nursing wardrobes are the worst worst worst, but I found my groove wearing one of these with a loose top layered over that I can easily pull up. This way my post-pregnancy belly is covered (not that I would have been comfortable baring it before pregnancy either) but my baby has easy access to the boob.
  7. BAGGU Duck Bag – $26: I was looking for an excuse to get one of these totes for a while, so I made it my diaper bag and it has worked really well for me. There’s an adjustable shoulder strap and it’s made from durable canvas so I don’t have to worry about rain, spit-up or sticky hands. It’s just the right size and best of all it doesn’t look like it comes with a side of minivan.
  8. AccuRite Indoor Humidity Monitor – $12: Another thing that new moms freak out about is humidity, so we all buy a humidifier when we have a baby (with good reason). But how do you know if it’s between the recommended 68 and 72 degrees ferenheit or if it’s above or below 55% humidity? This little guy is cheap and handy. Just get one so you can cross that anxiety trigger off of your growing list.
  9. Exercise Ball – $24: Strengthen your core? Um, no. Working out my abs is the LAST thing on my mind as a new mom. We were tipped off by our lactation consultant about this secret weapon for soothing a fussy baby. We were reluctant to buy another thing but sure enough, more than any other gadget we owned, simply holding Vince while gently bouncing on this ball was a no-fail way to get him to calm down or drift to sleep. Magic baby whisperer shit.
  10. CamelBak EDDY – $15: Throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery and all nursing sessions, this was my boyfriend, cuddled next to me and hydrating me like a champ. The no spill design is key for nursing since little hands tend to find their way into your glass.
  11. Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Mat – $75: We tried to go the design snob route and get a beautifully designed minimalist wooden activity gym with three dinky dangling toys…thinking our little budding architect would appreciate high design at an early age. After about four weeks it was clear that Vince was bored and we had wasted our money. Thankfully, a good friend loaned us this mat, which is actually pretty cute. It’s a really great, versatile toy and became a fast favorite until he was six months old and sitting up, at which point we turned it into a fort and got some of the best baby belly laughs in a raucous game of peekaboo. The moral of that story is…don’t be a douche to your baby…just get the good toys.
  12. Magnificent Baby Long Sleeve Burrito – $25: I would have outfitted Vince in these magnetic onesies every day when he was a newborn if I were a millionaire. He has super strong arms (and bad feelings about clothes going over his head) so dressing him was a struggle from day one, but this cute, gender neutral “burrito” (!!) opens in front and closes with magnets – the smartest idea ever. Bing bang bong…baby is dressed.

There we go. 12 things that I would buy ten times over if I had a litter of children to raise.

Loveyoubye! Mags

Vince’s Reading Nook

Our boy is turning one next month (agh!) and we decided to create a reading nook in his room to mark the occasion. Vince is growing into quite the little bookworm.

He tipped us off by being an early page turner at 8 months and by crawling over to his basket of books whenever we put him down. His first theatrical meltdown was staged after I finished a book and didn’t immediately begin again. And as if to seal the deal, in the last few weeks he’s decidedly chosen “book” to be his first word…pronounced “ugkkkkkk”.

Nerds that we are, we are falling over ourselves to keep reading at the top of his list and since we currently read on the living room floor, we thought he would enjoy having a special place in his own room to cozy up with a good book.

Cox and Cox via Apartment Therapy

We’re still talking about how the space will be carved out, but we know that we want a beanbag chair for him to slump into. Beanbag chairs, once reserved for the set of Austin Powers or Clarissa Explains It All, are now considered legit grown up living room furniture. But since Vince will probably smudge boogers or half eaten cookies into his, I’m going pass on the $1,000 faux fur models and instead attempt to make one.

This tutorial makes it look really easy and swears it only takes 30 minutes. Which means it will take me 3 hours, at least, between my limited sewing skills, my penchant for fucking up instructions and my cat-napping kid.


I ordered these cute string lights from Bright Lab Lights, which work great with the room’s (loose) color palette of navy, mustard, magenta and brown. I use this image as my guiding light when I feel like things are looking cray-ballz in there.

via Tulonksy

I’ll be ordering the fabric from Spoonflower and I’ve narrowed it to these six combos of a navy/coral print for the front and mustard/gold backing (shown in one yard swatches). I prefer to keep it pretty gender neutral and don’t want anything too cutesy. Versatility is key in our tiny house! It has to pass the, “Would I want this in my living room?” test.

navy coral mustard gold color palette fabric combinations
Sloane by Charlotte Winter + Moose Mustard by Pysselnabon | Spring Expression by Very Sarie + Fish by Andrea Lauren | Coral Jubilee by Ivie Cloth Co + Mustard Mod by Kimsa | Moderne by Willow Lane Textiles + Mustard Mountains by Christine Witte | Stag in Flowers by Ivie Cloth Co + Large Mustard Pluses by Gypsy Moth Design | On the Move by Nadia HassanStripes Mustard by Andrea Lauren

Which combo is your favorite? I’m leaning toward option #4, but I’m not totally sold on any of these. I wish that badass painting in the above photo was also made into fabric that was super affordable. Help!

Loveyoubye, Mags

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