Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

We’re home again, home again.

Phew, what a week it’s been for our little family. Greyson earned his first wings flying for the first time as we made our annual trip to visit with my husband’s family for the holidays. He did better than I could ever imagine – no problems with his ears and he slept on most of our flights. We were a bit nervous to see how he would do knowing we had connecting flights and weren’t sure how his ears would fare. Thankfully he’s one of the best babies to travel with as he made friends with everyone, flirted with the flight attendants, and slept most of the way to and from Texas. I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better travel experience. Traveling light was the way to go and made our trip that much less stressful from beginning to end.

P.S. apologies for the iPhone photos that follow 😉

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

Now that we’re settled back home and getting into our normal routines, Grey included, I wanted to take some time to share with you all a few scenes from our week in Texas!

Christmas Cookies

Every year my MIL bakes her delicious sugar cookies and the kids (who are now adults, haha) get to decorate them. She makes her icing from scratch and adds her own flavors, which to me makes it that much more fun. This year I didn’t participate, rather it was my husband getting to share in this tradition with his Goddaughter – talk about precious. It was great getting to see the two of them bond and pick up as if it really hasn’t been a year since they saw each other last.

Another great aspect to having her visit was for her to meet Greyson for the first time whom is her Godbrother. Not only is my husband the Godfather to her, but her mom is Godmother to Greyson. I just love it! My hope is that they grow up and have a bond similar as their parents.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve with our Texas family is always a good time. My FILs family hosts everyone and we come over for food, drinks, a bit of catching up, an epic white elephant gift exchange and this (see video above). This is one of my favorite aspects to celebrating Christmas Eve because the guys get together to play while we, as a family, sing Christmas carols. Greyson loves music and getting to be a part of this was amazing – plus I loved that he got to listen to his Grandpa play!

Christmas Day

Christmas morning was always a special time growing up and now as we embark on Christmas with Greyson it takes on a whole new, and yet different, meaning. Thankfully with the time zone difference and just being tuckered out from traveling and a busy Christmas Eve, Greyson allowed us to sleep in before tearing into his presents. I’m going to cherish this sleeping-in thing considering I know once he understands Christmas we’ll be awoken at 6am (or sooner) just like we did as kids to our parents.

Although a lot of his gifts will be shipped back to us in CA, it was fun letting him tear into his presents. He loved his stacking rings and activity walker from Grandma! He also received a lot of fun books and cute clothes, which are fantastic gifts considering this boy is already into 18 month clothes! We are just so grateful for the love surrounding Grey and his baby cousin this year!

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

Greyson got to meet his great-grandfather on our trip too!

Gruene, TX

There’s something special about this little town of Gruene, which is about an hour or so from San Antonio. The husband first took me here almost five years ago when we first began dating and we were visiting Texas to see family and for me to meet his family for the first time. It’s a quaint little place with shops, antiques, a little wine tasting, and then there’s Gruene Hall, which is a dance hall where the beer is cold and live music can be heard around the block. We were happy to be able to make it back with Greyson this year and take in some music and enjoy a beer, a little tradition of sorts for Philip.

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

A fun little tradition the husband and I have is that whenever we get the opportunity to sneak away to Gruene we always take a photo right in front of the H.D. Gruene Antiques store like we did when I came to Texas for the first time almost 5 years ago. We were only dating then (bottom right) and I got to visit this town (and I distinctly remember it being a bajillion degrees out) for the first time. We visited again a couple years later while in town for Christmas and this year was special because our little family grew by one. It’ll be fun to see how these photos change over the years and for how long we can keep up with this little impromptu tradition (apologies for the early years of Instagram filters!)

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

Seriously though…having a bit of fun at the antique store 😀

Fredericksburg, TX

On our last day in Texas my FIL took us all out to (yet another) cute small German town of Fredericksburg. The biergartens were plentiful (and even drinking along the streets is legal) and the food and atmosphere was friendly. We grabbed a beer, took an opportunity for some photos, had a wine tasting, and finished off our day with a fantastic dinner t in a way celebrate the holidays coming to an end and time spent with family.

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

I feel like I should frame this photo for the obvious reasons.

Once we arrived to Texas it felt as if we hit the ground running. We cherished time with our friends who now live in the area, created special memories with our family, and took in the sights and sounds the best we could. Oh, and the wine continued to flow and Scrabble and Catchphrase battles ensued. Christmas with the babies made it even more special for us – getting to meet our baby nephew for the first time and trying to remember the time when Greyson at 2 months old. Even though we were there for seven days, the days just seemed to fly by.

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 5 | |

Goofy Grandpa

Now we’re settled back home and looking forward to ringing in 2017 as our little family. We also sit here anticipating our D.C. trip coming up in March (Grey gets to meet my side of the family next!) and having my husband’s parents visit for his first birthday once we return! Oh, the thought of this guy turning one! Gah!

Happy holidays everyone as I hope you all enjoyed the season with loved ones and surrounded by good company. Cheers to a new year…or anyone who actually stays up to midnight to ring in 2017 (I mean, I feel like NYE should be an Olympic sport for moms. Who actually stays up that late with their kids?)!

How did you spend your Christmas holiday?

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Best of 2016 | A Look Back

It’s almost the new year which means it’s a great time to take a peek back at some of my most popular posts from the year. This is not only great as a means to see which posts you all have enjoyed reading in 2016, but it’s great to keep a thumb on the pulse of my blog and see what kind of content brings you all to visit! Today I am sharing my TOP 10 popular posts from the past year!

#10 The Only Child Debate: 7 Reasons We May Only Have One

Ever since Greyson was born we had a strong feeling of completeness to our family. So much so that even 9 months later we’re still 99.99% sure that he’ll be our only child. Of course things can change over time, but there’s this concept that only wanting one child is debatable. So, one of my favorite posts from the year was laying out the pros to having only one and the seven reasons my husband and I may only be a family of three.

#9 About Page

Okay, this isn’t really a post at all, but it goes to show that an About page is very important as it ranks as one of my highest traffic pages on my blog. Updating my About page is as equally important (learn more tips on maintaining your blog) as well as including a little bit more about myself and why I blog. This page is also important for collaborations or brands to get a sense of who you are – so make it pretty!

#8 Storybook Baby Shower + Invite Etiquette

I loved putting together this baby shower inspiration board because I loved getting to see how others pulled together a common baby shower theme: storybooks. I knew right away that I wanted a shower that would also serve a practical purpose and receiving books for Greyson’s first home library was great. Also, instead of a traditional guest book I really liked the idea of everyone bringing a favorite book and writing a little note to him inside – that way he remembers all the friends and family who love on him.

#7 Styling With Stitch Fix | December

Apparently this past month’s Stitch Fix was a hit! And I am glad because it was one of my favorites since scheduling them again. My stylist Whitney seems to really know me by now and I have really looked forward to the goodies she’s been sending my way. December was full of cozy knits, sweaters, and this awesome olive cargo jacket!

#6 Stitch Fix

I love using this Indexes plugin for WordPress because its allowed me to easily showcase index pages all on one landing page. Since I have multiple posts related to style and my Stitch Fix reviews, which are apparently pretty popular this year, having this index helps my readers browse and see which post they’d like to visit without having to scroll through entire posts. I highly recommend this plugin to anyone wanting to clean up their site!

#5 Styling With Stitch Fix | November

November’s fix was my first Stitch Fix since welcoming Greyson nine months ago. I was curious to see if my stylist could find me new pieces after being absent for so long and clothing that would make me feel comfortable in my postpartum body. I have yet to really lose the baby weight around my midsection and finding high-waisted pants and flowy tops are key for me right now. I wasn’t disappointed and I’m glad this was amongst the top 5 most popular posts!

#4 Bringing Up Bebe: The Art Of Doing Their Nights

When I was pregnant there were thousands of baby books to choose from that aimed to help prepare me for what will happen once baby comes home. It was overwhelming for me to say the least, but one book stood out above all the rest and that was Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. I really enjoyed reading every chapter of this book (as well as hosting this study!), especially about how the French sleep train their newborns and get them to sleep soundly during the night. A lot of what I read in this book, and the helpful tips from French parenting customs, has helped my husband and I get a hold on raising our infant son even to this day (read about our crying it out journey).

#3 Top Picks: Minimalist Baby Registry

Other popular posts have been related to living minimally and this registry board was a very popular post in 2016. I think there’s a misconception that new moms need everything under the sun and to not have certain products will leave you in distress or not as capable to care for your baby as others. All you really need are the basics or baby items that have longevity. This posts is dedicated to my favorite baby products that helped me transition home with baby and helped us into his first few months.

#2 Stitch Fix | Maternity Edition v2

Thankfully Stitch Fix began offering maternity fashions right after I got pregnant and so I was eager to find a few items that were affordable and would last me the rest of my pregnancy. I only had two maternity fixes, but really enjoyed the items I received from my stylist during such a transitional time. I ended up keeping four out of the five items and even still wear my thick cardigan today! The top I was undecided on, I ended up keeping, was perfect for me right after delivery as it was drapey, comfortable, and covered me up.

#1 Optimize Your Blog SEO Today

One of my favorite posts to write this year was exactly the kind of post I so often need reminding of: what to write when you have nothing to write about. Maintaining your blog is essential to any type of success and with blogging being very popular these days, you’re competing for page views and traffic against hundreds of thousands of others doing the same thing. Writing content is only a small percentage of your overall time and these helpful tips are geared to help you in those stagnant times.

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The Minimalist Traveler + A Dog & Baby

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

Making the transition to living minimally has proven to have many benefits. Everything in our home has purpose; our closets are cultivated specifically for multiple outfits with a basic number of pieces, we utilize the space in our small one bedroom apartment, and we never bring anything in without donating, selling, or ditching the things we no longer use.

By living this way it’s helped me reevaluate the way I travel too and this week we’re flying for the first time with not only our baby, but our Murphy in tow as well.

How To Be The Minimalist Traveler

Traveling, even without a baby or a dog, is stressful. There’s getting to the airport in enough time, getting through security, finding your terminal, meanwhile navigating around every other person who is trying to accomplish the very same thing you are. Not to mention bearing those ridiculously long lines to get that essential cup of coffee or to get that last pee in before your flight (thanks to said coffee). Furthermore, the holidays make this an especially stressful task due to the number of people flying the same day you are.

However, traveling with a minimalistic attitude helps cut down on those unnecessary stressors such as fumbling with your (often too many) bags or not having things like your wallet, boarding pass, or keys easily accessible. Simply reevaluating the way you pack can easily eliminate those stressful aspects to traveling.

Here’s how we are flying with two adults, a baby, and a dog all in a duffle bag and a backpack.

Be Prepared

I’m starting with the obvious task here and that’s simply being prepared both with your time and with how you pack. When catching a flight with a baby and dog in tow, timing is of the upmost importance for us. Packing ahead of time and having those key items within reach such as our wallets, I.Ds., and boarding passes will save us so much time in the long run.

Tip For Family/Pregnant Travelers: once you find your terminal, speak to one of the people at the desk to see if you can board first before they call the groups so that you have time to get settled. We do this all the time when we travel with our dog, when I was pregnant, and now even moreso with Greyson. It’s rare that they will ever turn you down.

The Golden Rule of Packing

Whether your packing for a quick weekend or a weeklong trip (like us) it’s important this golden rule of packing: only take the essentials. Leave everything else behind or purchase them when you arrive to your destination. There’s no reason anyone should have to check luggage the size of their body regardless of how long you’ll be traveling for. I used to be one of those people and have since learned how much easier it is getting in and out of the airport when I only travel with my essentials. So, what are these?

Essentials: toiletries, makeup, wallet (even invest in a special wallet case for your phone), phone, devices & their chargers (iPad, Laptop, etc.), clothes, socks, shoes, and anything absolutely needed for the trip or while on the plane.

Even though checking a bag takes it off your hands while navigating the airport, in the end you risk losing it or at the very least standing in the myriad of people attempting to pick it up after your flight. For me, it’s never worth the hassle. By cutting out checking a bag we’re able to quickly move throughout the terminals, board and deplane quickly, and get on the road once we arrive at our destination. It’s all in how we pack that makes this simple even with a baby and dog.

The Backpack Diaper Bag

Traveling with a backpack is almost as great as rolling carry-on luggage – but better. It only requires super packing skills and a determination to bring just enough to fit in the bag. For our trip, we decided that Greyson’s diaper bag will be this backpack. I should mention that we are very fortunate enough to have much of what Greyson will need already stocked at my husband’s family’s house. This really helped us cut down on the number of things that we would have had to take with us on our flight. Anything Greyson would need in addition to what we bring will just be purchased once we arrive in San Antonio.

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

I am using Ziploc bags to keep his packed items clean and easily accessible in his backpack. I also made sure to pack new toys for the plane so that it’ll keep his interest during the flight.

Nonetheless, packing for baby follows the essentials rule too! We are only packing him items for:

  1. diaper changing
  2. one bottle with enough prepared formula for two bottles and snacks like Puffs
  3. a couple of his favorite toys and books to keep him busy
  4. his infant Tylenol, his favorite Wubbanub pacifier, and lovey

This is in addition to the few outfits and socks we packed for the week and spare clothes for any blowouts that may occur.

We are utilizing our Baby Tula carrier instead of bringing our stroller so that it keeps our hands free and is less to manage once we’re at the airport. My husband will carry Greyson like a backpack, I’ll have his diaper bag backpack on me, then it’s just our shared duffle bag and Murphy in his dog travel carrier. Backpacks are the way to go for anyone who needs to move quickly and at the airport it’s essential to have mobility!

Two Adults In One Bag

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

Because I’m wearing one of my outfits on the plane, I’m saving so much room in our carry on!

This is when minimalism combined with a capsule wardrobe comes into play and becomes a huge benefit when traveling. Having a capsule wardrobe already in use helps me narrow down just a few items to pack, which includes:

  1. 1 pair of jeans/pants
  2. 3-4 tops including sweaters
  3. my new outerwear jacket
  4. 1-2 accessories including a scarf
  5. 1 pair of shoes (which I’ll wear to the airport)
  6. 1 sleep/loungewear outfit

This also take into consideration what I plan to wear for our flights, which should be comfortable but with practical use too. I also plan to pack any camis, bra, and underwear for the week. We share a toiletries bag, but I do have makeup of which I’ll need to make room for. It really helps when my husband can get away with packing one pair of jeans and multiple shirts and be good for the week – helps save more room for me 😉

A Story Of Traveling Minimally + A Dog & Baby | |

Shop this travel look below! My cargo vest and black skinnies are from my recent Stitch Fixes but I have included similar items.

I hope you all have a joyous Christmas weekend and enjoy the company of family and friends! Be sure to follow along with me and my little family on social media!

The Minimalist Traveler: See what tips & tricks I have found to be the best way to fly in one carry on and a backpack with dog and baby in tow. | |

What are your favorite flying essentials? What tips & tricks do you have flying with a baby?

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Holiday Home Tour 2016

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Welcome to our home for this years holiday home tour! | |

Today I am welcoming you all into our home for this years Holiday Home Tour (take a peek at our home last year)! Although our decorations tend to stay pretty consistent each year, there are a few new additions. I also moved things around in our living room to not only change things up, but to also create a more physical boundary now that Greyson is super mobile. He’s off crawling everywhere and these days I’m burning many a calorie just trying to keep up.

Our Christmas here in our little apartment is nothing uber exciting nor is it something out of a Joanna Gaines episode, but it is the place we call home. I’ve always had grand ideas for how to transform this little place of ours – and perhaps I will when we move into our two bedroom apartment in the spring. Until then, here is what make Christmas special in our home.

So, get comfy and grab a hot cup of your favorite coffee and join me as I share with you our home for the holidays!

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Welcome to our home for this years holiday home tour! | |

One of my favorite pieces I added a few years ago is this rustic card display I purchased from Etsy. I believe the shop is now no longer selling them, but you can easily find similar displays to browse through. I needed something that I could use year-round, and especially at Christmastime, to display all the lovely cards we receive from our family and friends. This year I decided to keep my fall garland up in the kitchen and use my Christmas one draped along the frame of this display. It ended up turning out really cute and being the perfect length!

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Welcome to our home for this years holiday home tour! | |

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Welcome to our home for this years holiday home tour! | |

Every year, as a Daniel family tradition, we pick out a new ornament that best represents something that year that was meaningful to us. Our first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs. we purchased a California shaped ornament, last year it was our rooster from Kauai, HI (and quite possibly where Greyson was conceived), and this year is our beautiful lightcatcher photo ornament from our photographer when we had our holiday photos taken. We’ve also added the On The Night You Were Born ornament my MIL gave us last year (to match Grey’s book and stuffed polar bear) and a salt-dough handprint ornament that I made celebrating his first Christmas this year.

Another ornament I’m very excited about is our White House Historical Association’s official ornament for 2016, which commemorates Hoover’s administration (read the importance of this ornament here). Beginning in 2016 I plan to order one every year in hopes to share it’s importance with Greyson as it relates to my grandfather as well as the excitement to see what the following year will be (they change designs every year). You can check them out for yourselves and even order one here!

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Welcome to our home for this years holiday home tour! | |

We are loving Greyson’s new chair from his Grandma! It’s exactly what we were looking for and using BabyList to put together his Christmas registry was so easy. I loved using it when I was pregnant and thought to use it again to help our family and friends pick out the toys, books, and other items we desperately need like diapers! I love being able to create this registry by pulling from all across my favorite brands and place them into one easy to access place. Who says baby registries should only be used once?!

Pottery Barn Kids has an amazing referral service! Use this code and you’ll receive $25 off when placing your first order of $100 or more (which is pretty easy at PBK).

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Welcome to our home for this years holiday home tour! | |

Greyson still has his mini stocking, but I’m thinking next year we’ll upgrade it so we can actually put some goodies in there. Considering we travel each year for Christmas I’m trying to determine whether or not he’ll get to do Christmas presents early or if he waits until we get back. Decisions, decisions.

What are your family traditions with opening presents?

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Welcome to our home for this years holiday home tour! | |

I am loving our new prints from our session with Toki Lee Photography! She was able to capture these precious photos of our family during this especially exciting time. This is just one of the many photographs we have adorning our home.

Thank you for stopping by! If you have shared a peek into your home for the holidays be sure to leave me your link! Do you decorate for the holidays? What part of decorating is your favorite?

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