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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Chairish is my joint. They’re an online marketplace for vintage and gently used furniture and they have it all figured out. As a buyer, I prefer shopping Chairish because the price point is reasonable and there is an option to ‘Make an Offer’ on any piece. Their inventory has been vetted by a staff of stylists and interiors experts so you can cut right to the good stuff. As a seller, I love Chairish for listing large pieces of furniture because they take care of the shipping. GENIUS. YAS. THANK YOU.
Because Halloween is in full effect I’m feeling inspired by the set design of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. Lately I’m also really feeling the comeback trend of the Milan-based Memphis Group movement of the 1980’s. My style concept is a mashup of the two – here’s a visual of my inspiration in case that sounds like snooty design jibberish to you:
How to Stock a Killer Bar Cart for your Next Event:
Having tended bar for most of my twenties, I know a thing or two about whipping up some dranks. Now that I’m hosting parties and holidays in my home, I’ve learned that setting up a well stocked bar cart for guests to help themselves is the best trick to hosting a great party. Nobody likes to play conversational double dutch and wait for their opening to ask for another Manhattan.
Here’s a checklist of everything you need for a fully stocked bar cart. Just add booze and you’ll be wowing guests with your artisanal mixologist skillz in no time.
Pick the Right Spot: If you don’t have a bar cart, you should head over to Chairish and get one! If you’re waiting for that perfect piece, you can set up a bar on almost any tabletop, bookcase or sideboard in the meantime. The best location for the cart is in a transitional space like a large entryway or off to the side in your main gathering space. You want it to be easy for guests to spot so pick a place that people will walk by often. Folks will probably linger there, so if you can give it some breathing room even better. Word to the wise: definitely keep it out of the kitchen! There’s enough going on in there and you want to give people an excuse to hang elsewhere.
Simplify your Drink Menu: I like to choose a seasonal cocktail (spiced whiskey in fall, citrus-y vodka fizzes in summer…) and make a large batch ahead of time. Pour it into a pretty pitcher, punch bowl or beverage dispenser. Offer garnishes in small bowls and write the name of your drink on a place card. This way people can pour their own and you don’t have to fiddle with all of the complicated (and sticky!) steps on demand. To keep things simple I always offer beer in a large bucket with ice and wine in a carafe or wine cooler alongside. Don’t forget a small bowl for bottle caps next to your opener and a bin for empties.
Jeuge the Presentation: Have a little fun and infuse some personality into your setup by choosing vintage glassware, bold flowers in an interesting vase, framed art or something sculptural. If you don’t have good lighting in the space, pull a lamp over or light a votive candle to warm the space.
Over time, you’ll build a collection of beautiful barware and tools and a shelf of quality display-worthy spirits. Next thing you know, you’ll be throwing parties just to try out that new cocktail recipe!
BTW: Although Chairish did approach me to write this post, it is not a paid sponsorship and all recommendations and opinions are my own.
Before I had Vince I wondered how life would be as a work-at-home slash stay-at-home Mom. Because of the internet and the sparkly world portrayed in the blogosphere I seriously thought it would be something like this: me sitting at my computer in a cute outfit with a cute top bun and my cute hipster glasses, windows open, French music playing, coffee and avocado toast, editing photos and humming along…oh, and an adorable baby cooing behind me playing with all wooden toys, occasionally looking over to make sure I was still there.
What a douche I am.
BIG NOPE. Unless you have a staff of baby loving interns, a take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards vital life shit like eating and sleeping, paid childcare or a prescription for speed, you don’t work slash stay-at-home mom. You Mom. Or you work.
I’m learning that the hard way and trying to squeeze projects for friends and clients in while Vince takes one of his famous 20 minute naps.
All the veteran moms are tossing their heads back laughing at me. It’s cool. I’m a rookie.
We have a baby! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we had a healthy, happy, awesome baby boy in February. Vincent Andrew Natarelli is a big butterball of bundly joy and we call him Vince (or Bubs, or Roo, or Chango).
We named him after James’ Grandfather, Vince, and my father, Andy. He has his Daddy’s eyes and flirty disposition and he has my chubby baby thighs and penchant for partying instead of napping.
Needless to say, we’re blissfully distracted by this sweet peanut and bursting with happiness now that he’s in our lives. Of course, we’re also working on getting our sea legs as new parents and trying to adjust to the zombie versions of our former selves. It’s everything everyone said it would be times ten. The wildest ride yet.
Although I haven’t been able to get to blogging during Vince’s first few months, I’m still squeezing in design work in between boobs and blowouts. I keep hoping to catch up on posts and restock the shop…and then this little cherub’s chirp calls me from the nursery. Cutie.
Speaking of nursery, how about an update in that department? Here’s what it’s looking like these days…
I based the design of the room around vintage boyhood adventures with a modern twist. We wanted a playful vibe (since we don’t have a separate playroom) that was calming at the same time.
As a refresher, this was the mood board that I put together before he was born. We’ve achieved something close to this but we’ve also made some changes from our original plan.
We decided to go with the Babyletto Lolly Crib and we LOVE it. Originally we were going to go with this one in natural (no longer offered), which is gorgeous but slightly less functional and more expensive. The Lolly is modern, cute and converts to a toddler bed…also James put it together in under an hour.
We kept our custom driftwood mobile in place which was a wedding gift from a friend who makes them. I’d been a little worried that it wouldn’t do the trick as a baby mobile because it doesn’t have little baby things hanging from it, but Vince loves it and I think it works as well as any baby mobile would.
We are using an IKEA Hemnes dresser as our changing table and dresser. I was having serious designer guilt about selling our beautiful mid-century low boy on Craigslist to swap in this big box hand-me-down. But practicality is king and I definitely don’t regret it when I think about the stubborn drawers and awkward height of the other more stylish piece. See ya.
A changing table/dresser combo is key for smaller nurseries because it performs double duty and affords lots of storage and extra counter space. For the supplies we use every day, a little melamine tray keeps them neatly collected at arm’s length. It’s easy to quickly straighten up the chaos from a day of wiggly diaper changes and free pee’s.
I picked up a small fan to keep air circulating in the room (a must for newborns). I wanted something compact and pleasing to the eye. As a bonus, this guy folds up for travel and the ‘blades’ are made of cloth, making it perfect for a child’s room. I kind of love it.
The tissue box is just one of those plain wood ‘paint-your-own’ ones from Michael’s that I left alone. An easy hack if you like this look but don’t want to pay $50 for a tissue box!! WTF?!
When Vince was born, our friend and children’s illustrator Mary Engelbreit sent one of her originals as a gift. The quote by Audrey Hepburn reads, “Nothing is impossible. Why, the word itself says, ‘I’m Possible!'”. I cried a whole bunch of blubbery postpartum tears when I opened it. A whole bunch.
I’ve spent almost 200 days and nights nursing Vince in this glider from West Elm. The high back and cozy velvet upholstery are great for dozing and cuddling during his 3am feedings. Plus, it’s a piece that I wouldn’t mind having in any room of the house because it doesn’t scream ‘baby’.
I have this thing with rabbits.
We still have some things on our to-do list, but for now the room is done. We need to repaint the bookcase before Vince starts potentially eating the chipping lead paint. And I want to make these hooks from some of his wooden blocks to hang a cute garland above his changing table that I’m making.
Things move much more slowly these days, but who cares when you have this little duckling to look after?