Books of 2015: July

20. I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert
I honestly did not enjoy this book at all, so I didn’t finish reading it.  I figure that there is no point in finishing books if you’re not enjoying reading them, so I stopped.  I got it from the library so I’m not upset I didn’t like it.  The main thing I didn’t like is that I was expecting a book with lots and lots of stories about event management from the get-go… but it started with her describing, in detail, her very very violent attack and the aftermath of that.  It definitely sucked that it happened to her, but I’m not interested in reading about it.  Especially when I was expecting a light book about event planning!  Too heavy for me.

21.  The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
I also got this from the library and I’m so glad I did!  While I didn’t try all the recipes in it, I tried a few, and they made me feel way more comforable and confident in the kinds of foods that I’m giving Autumn.  For example, when I’d make something with onions in them, I took them out of her portion..l this book showed me that I can give her onions, and it turns out that she actually likes them!  Great book to get you started with baby-led weaning for sure.

22. Paper Towns by John Green
I think this was my favourite book of his!  I’ve clearly been on a bit of a John Green kick, but I had been interested in reading this book ever since I saw that they were making it into a movie.  I put myself on the list for the book at the library, and was very disappointed to discover that I was number 100 on the list :(  Luckily!  I was able to borrow it from a friend.  This book was SO much fun to read! There are parts where it’s creepy, parts that are hilarious, and parts that made me think.  I really enjoyed reading this book and I am so glad that I did!  Now I am even more excited about the movie, and I’m curious to see what they do with it in movie-form.

23. I’m Happy For You (Sort of… Not Really) by Kay Wills Wyma
I’m Happy For You (Sort of…Not Really), is kind of a “how to” style book about not comparing yourself with others.  It’s got a lot of personal stories from the author about her experiences with friends and her family.  It has a little bit of spirituality in there, too.
There were parts of this book that I enjoyed, and other parts that I really didn’t enjoy at all.  A lot of it was kind of a bummer.  I know that I do compare myself with others, so it’s not that I didn’t relate to the book totally, but I didn’t feel that she really gave many solutions to the problem of comparison.  I really enjoyed the specific personal experiences and stories that the author shared about her family and friends, but the rest of the book was almost depressing.  Additionally, I was under the impression that this book would be more spiritual than it was.  The Bible and God were barely even mentioned, and I thought that this book would include more aspects of Christianity in it.  Overall, I would say that this book was okay.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review, but the opinions here are my own.

What have you been reading lately?

xoxo,
Alysa

Sakura Bloom Love

sakura bloom love

skirt: Rosegal // tank top: Old Navy // purse: Target // ring sling: Sakura Bloom //
shoes: Plato’s Closet //

sakura bloom love

sakura bloom love

 

I cannot tell you how excited I am about this sling.  We have a Boba stretchy wrap, which had been great for baby wearing for the longest time… but now that Autumn is getting bigger, it was time for something different.  I had been following the Sakura Bloom instagram account for a while now.  Every time they post something, I would look at how beautiful the fabric is, and how great it looked, and want one so bad.  I have been thinking about it for months.  I have been putting aside money for just as long, and I was finally able to purchase one!!  I LOVE it!  It’s so easy to adjust, which is different than the wrap style carrier.  It also takes up a lot less space than the wrap.  Plus, Autumn seems to like chilling out in there, and snuggling up to me in it.  It’s so great!

A few Saturday’s ago, I heard about a vintage market going on, which was the perfect place to wear this sling!  It was the Wildwoodrose Vintage Market, and it was so much fun!  A lot of really neat and interesting things, but I didn’t end up coming home with anything.  After we were there for maybe 20 minutes to a half hour, the sky just opened up and started POURING on us!  It got nicer after that, but it had mixed weather for an outdoor market.  I’m looking forward to the next one ;)

xoxo,
Alysa

new mama summer style

new mama summer style

tank top: Bluenotes // shorts: Target // shoes: Plato’s Closet // bracelet: Pandora

new mama summer style

 

Getting dressed is a little bit more complicated now.  I can’t just put something on because it’s cute, or I like it, I also have to think about if I am able to breastfeed in it.  That makes getting dressed in the morning (or whenever) a little more fun!  I have my closet divided into three sections, which helps a lot.  I’m not constantly staring at clothes that I can’t wear right now because I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed in them.  At the moment, I have my dresses section, my shirts/tops section, and my “I can’t breastfeed in this”/”this doesn’t fit me right now” section.  Luckily, the last section is behind the door, so I don’t even have to look at it if I don’t want to.

It also means that when I get to go out in the evening, and leave my baby with my husband, it’s a little bit more exciting.  I get to wear a bra that DOESN’T snap down!! I get to wear dresses that have tops that AREN’T stretchy, and higher collars!  I can wear things that don’t have buttons up the top!  It’s almost sad how excited I get about this, but it is really exciting.

Most days, though, I’m living in a variation of this outfit.  These shorts! I love them.  Then a tank top of some kind, since it’s so hot out these days.  It’s a pretty great summer outfit though.  And I can breastfeed in it ;)

xoxo,
Alysa

How to Help New Parents

how to help new parents

I know that it seems like every single blogger who recently had a baby has written this type of blog post.  There are a few on some of those that I agree with, and some that I don’t, but here are things that I noticed from when we first had Autumn.  Since we’re now 8 and a half months into it, some of it might not be for the super fresh mom, but I’d say we’re still new parents.. I would call myself a new mom still anyway!

Here are some of the things that people did that really helped me:

1. Bring Food
One of the biggest blessings we received in Autumn’s first week of life was announced through a text message from one of my friends “I’m making cinnamon buns, would you like me to bring you some when they get out of the oven?”  OH MY GOODNESS YES PLEASE!  Not only were they delicious and amazing, but they were also hot out of the oven AND I could eat them with one hand while I nursed my baby.  A++++ friend right there.  I would go as far as to say that she was my angel that week.  But seriously, new parents are figuring stuff out, eating isn’t always at the highest priority and any and all food we received in that first month was a huge blessing for us.  We were very grateful for it.  And if you feel you are not a good cook/can’t bring food for any other reason:
1b. Bring COFFEE!
A fancy coffee please! Like a latte or a Starbucks something.  There were more than a few days where someone bringing me a coffee was a huge bright spot in the day (you know, other than my beautiful little baby, that is ;) ).  Find out what the new mama’s favourite coffee drink from Starbucks is, and get that.  She’ll love you for it.

2. If you’re giving a gift/food, give a card
If your friend is like me and likes sending thank you cards for these kinds of things, she will be hugely grateful that you gave a card with your gift.  Bonus points if you write down in the card what your gift was.  A few months ago, I wrote out all the thank you cards for the gifts that I had cards for, and the ones that I could remember who didn’t give us a card… and I know I missed people.  I hate that!! I want to send everyone a thank you card because the gifts are so appreciated!  Alternatively, if you don’t give a card, don’t be upset if you don’t get a thank you card.  New parents have a lot going on, and sometimes forget to do simple things like brush their teeth (true story).  So if a new mom and dad forget who gave them that one sleeper.. it’s not their fault! They are sleep deprived and forgetful!  Know that they really appreciated your gift, and that they can’t wait to use it on their little one.
Also, the new thing is taking a picture of the baby in the clothes given or playing with the toy given, but it’s really hard to remember who gave what! If you give a card, you might even get this kind of picture! ;)

3. Don’t ask to hold the baby
Especially at first.  If there was one thing I could change about the first week or so of Autumn’s life it would be that I didn’t get to hold her enough.  No one really asked to hold the baby, but I felt like I was obligated to let people hold her… and I very often felt that I only got to hold her when she was upset or hungry.  Let the parents hold their baby when their baby is happy, too!!  And if you do get to hold the baby, don’t keep the baby for too long either!! Let it be a short visit, and get longer holds when the baby is older.  However…
3b. Ask how you can help
Chances are, she’d really like to go pee, or shower, or get herself some food.  If that’s the case, asking her if you can help in any way will probably mean holding the baby so that she can go do one of the above!  Win-win!  Also, if there’s something you notice needs to be done, offer to do that thing.. then do it.  I would personally be uncomfortable with other people doing my laundry, so I’d leave that one out, but with dishes or something like that?  It’s nice for the parents not to have to think about that.  ALSO, if they have a dog, offer to walk their dog!

4.  Don’t expect them to text you back right away
Sometimes I left my phone upstairs and I was nursing downstairs.  Sometimes I would read a text and then put down the phone to change a diaper and then forget for a couple of days. Oops! Please give your friend grace in this!

5. Visits
There are a few things to know about visiting a new mama and her baby.  Don’t just stop by, you never know if the baby just went down for a nap, or if there are breastfeeding struggles, or if she just got the baby latched and can’t physically get up to answer the door or… or… or… Just stopping by could be hugely stressful for the new mama, and she’s under enough stress as it is.  Plus, knowing when you’re coming over means that if she’s about to start feeding the baby, she can unlock the door so you can let yourself in.
Don’t stay too long.  Sometimes, even though it’s very early in the evening, a new mama might want to go for a quick nap while their baby is sleeping.  But she also wants to stay and visit with you, her friend.  If it’s a shorter visit, she can do both!
Arrive when you say you are going to arrive.  Especially in the first few weeks, sleep is precious.  If the baby gets to sleep, but someone is about to come over, the new mama might not go for a nap herself because someone is about to arrive.  If that person then doesn’t show up, that mama is missing out on sleep.  It’s kind of a big deal!
Ask what time works for the new parents for you to visit!  It’s more helpful to find out when works for them, instead of telling them when works for you.  As the day to day schedule is getting worked out, there are definitely some times that are better than others for a visit.  For example, in our first few months, Autumn and I got our best sleep in the mornings.  She would actually sleep in with me.  So, afternoons were a better time for us for people to visit.  If someone had just said “Hey, I’m coming over at 9:00am” I would have been pretty upset because then I’m losing out on sleep, and chances are so would Autumn.

6. Compliments!
This should probably go without saying, but as a new mama I kind of felt a little bit like a garbage pail human.  So, even though I didn’t fully believe them, I still liked it when people said I looked great.  It’s also nice to hear how adorable your baby is. ;)

How else can you help out new parents?

xoxo,
Alysa

Happy Day!

How was your weekend? Hoping it was great!  Ours was pretty good.  The weekend before was pretty hectic with three weddings, so it was great to relax this weekend and do pretty much nothing.

I have to say though, one of the biggest things that happened in the last week is that I finally got a Sakura Bloom ring sling of my very own!! I LOVE it! It’s in the picture up there.  It’s so fun to use and so pretty.  I’m so excited about it, especially for the summer and as Autumn gets bigger.

Here are a few other things I’ve enjoyed this past week:

1. My love for Target continues to grow
I love this story for so many reasons, but it makes me excited to go breastfeed at Target when I’m in the states this summer.  Great policy on that!

2. Becoming My Complete Self
I love this post on the Coffee and Crumbs website.  It really resonated with me

3. 10 Tips for Road-Tripping With A Baby
We’ll need this soon! It was so handy to find this.

4. How to get your body “Beach Ready”
I think I can say that my body is beach ready! I just need to get to a beach ;)

5. Some friends are trying to record an album
They are part of a worship band who would like to actually record an album, so that is their indie go-go page

6. 20 Questions with the Fringe Festival’s Jennifer Cheslock
She was my boss last summer and she’s so great!

Have a great week!

xoxo,
Alysa

What To See at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival

The Winnipeg Fringe Festival started two days ago, and so far I have seen one show!  Plus, I got to hang out in Old Market Square after.  It’s so weird not being there all the time like I was last year.

Here are my thoughts on the show:

Biggest Little Child Star

This show was HILARIOUS.  I went on opening night, and it was a lot of fun to watch.   It’s about a girl who was a child actress, and how she is getting back to her roots in her old hometown.  It’s a cast of three (one of whom plays multiple parts), and includes a 90’s playlist pre-show, many references to the movie Pretty Woman, and even a picture of Nick Carter topless.  It’s very funny and very witty.  Plus, I love how the story line included flashbacks, friendship, and even a crotchety old man.  Oh, AND there’s singing.  I really enjoyed this show and would definitely recommend it to anyone!
PLUS, not show related, this show is at the Franco Manitoban Centre, and so it has a parking lot.  Which is a huge bonus for me!

If you’re interested in checking it out, click here for more information!

Here are some other shows I’m excited for:

1. Shards
2. Hey 90’s Kids, You’re Old
3. The 11 O’Clock Number – this is an improved musical!
4. Ms. Sugarcoat
5.  One Man Lord of the Rings
6. Stitch In Time: A Knitting Cabaret

What shows are you excited for this year at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival?
Happy Fringing!

xoxo,
Alysa

Wedding Shower Gift DIYs

I don’t know about you, but there is a definite wedding-boom going on in my circles this summer!  For example, this past weekend, we went to THREE different weddings.  It worked out really well because one was on Friday evening, one was on Saturday, and the third was on Sunday, so we didn’t have to decide which one to go to.  But it is a lot for one weekend (especially for a little baby).  I feel like we’re still kind of recovering from all the excitement!  It was so nice to be able to go to all three though, and be there to celebrate with our friends as they started their new lives together as married couples.  Very beautiful weddings, too.

One of the lovely things about going to weddings is that sometimes you also get invited to the wedding or bridal shower.  It can get quite expensive, so I thought I’d share some of the diy gifts I made for some of the wedding showers I went to this year!

Personalized Mugs

diy wedding shower gift

You’ve probably seen this concept all over Pinterest already, but I figured I could do it myself just as easily as buying it!  All I did was buy two coordinating mugs, and then I bought ceramic markers from Michael’s.  You put the design on them with the ceramic markers, wait 8 hours and then bake them for about 40 minutes.  And voila!  Plus, the nice thing about using the ceramic markers as opposed to using sharpies is that these are for sure dishwasher safe.  Plus, you can write whatever you want!  I wrote the names of the couple on the other side of these mugs.  It’s fun to give personalized gifts because I think that they can feel a little bit more special.  I also like to include a pound of coffee beans or a package of tea with these, depending on what the couple likes better :)

Recipe Box & Recipes

diy wedding shower gift

I’ve done this a couple of times for friends, and I think it’s been a pretty big hit!  I find a cute vintage recipe box, and get a bunch of index cards.  Then, if I know the parents of the bride and/or groom, I ask them for some recipes from their childhood.  So the recipe box comes with some recipes already in it.  Another thing that I did was I wrote out some of the recipes of the pins the bride had pinned onto her recipes Pinterest board.  Then I know that chances are, she already wanted to try them!

What are some diy wedding shower gifts you’ve given?

xoxo,
Alysa

Turn it to 11!

So pumped to be included in this weeks Links a la Mode on the Independant Fashion Bloggers website!  Check it out here, and take a peek at the other links included, too:

Links à la Mode, July 9

SPONSOR: Shopbop sale, red bikinis, cupcakes and cashmere, Tarin Thomas, Joanna Constantine, Emanuel Ungaro, Alexa Wagner, blue dresses, black blouses, anna sui, bella freud, Adina Reyter, Ca & Lou, Paul & Joe Siste

Have a great week!

xoxo,
Alysa

yay!

new mama summer style

shirt: thrifted // shorts: Target // necklace: homemade

summer style

jump

 

new mama style

Almost every time I’m doing outfit photos, I attempt the jump shot.  I don’t know why I still do it.  Especially on days when I’m wearing a necklace, or a skirt.  It’s just fun to try!  I used to be better at it.  My old camera had a great timer feature where it would take 5 pictures in a row.  This camera only takes one.  Oh well ;)  It just means that I get a lot of me either just before I actually jumped, or just after I landed.  So basically, I have a lot of pictures of myself with bent knees.

Officially, I now have an art studio!  It makes me ridiculously happy.  I have a space where I can get stuff done, and I’ve been able to do a lot in here so far.  I love being able to just spend time in my own space and do creative things.  It also helps that if I don’t finish something, I can just leave it there and it doesn’t matter.  We’re almost at the point where, if I were to leave something elsewhere in the house, Autumn would definitely get into it haha.  Can’t have that happening!

This weekend we’re going to three weddings.  It’s going to be SO much fun, but also a lot.  I can’t wait!

What are you up to this weekend?

xoxo,
Alysa

 

8 months

8 months old

How is my itty bitty new born baby 8 months old already?  I can’t believe that in four months we’ll be celebrating her first birthday.

This month there were a lot of firsts.  It was the first time we visited the cottage as a family.  It was Autumn’s first time at the beach, and everything that has to do with the beach.  She tried many new foods, some she liked, some she didn’t seem to.  We celebrated our first Father’s day, and had a few girls weekends, too.  It was a very busy month.

Autumn keeps growing and growing.  She’s now in mostly 6 months to 9 months sized clothes, which is right where she is in months so it’s perfect, and she is slowly growing out of a lot of things, too.

Autumn’s favourite foods this month have been tofu and ice cream.  Autumn LOVED ice cream!  Her favourite toy at the moment is a small Goofy stuffed animal.  She also really enjoys playing with my hair and trying to take my glasses.  She was not impressed with bubbles.

Another month gone by too fast, but I’m looking forward to all the firsts that will happen this month!

xoxo,
Alysa