Wednesday, February 10, 2016

My First Month with Emmett (+ Thoughts on Personal Posts)

Yesterday, my little Emmett Hunter turned one month old. Time is such a weird concept with kids - that whole "the days are long with the years are short" quote couldn't be more spot on. When Essley was a newborn, I had no idea what I was doing, she never slept more than an hour at a time (on good nights), and the whole experience was bone-crushingly exhausting to the point that I found myself almost wishing away the first few months. Then, suddenly, she was no longer a newborn, and I actually felt a little disappointed, wondering where the time went. In general, this time around is admittedly even more challenging in many ways, because I have a two year old to care for on top of a new baby. And just like with Essley, who was born around the same time of year (her birthday is December 28th and Emmett's is January 9th), my husband had to leave to go on the band's winter tour when Emmett was just a couple of weeks old. So it's just me here again, trying my best. I'm trying to get my toddler (who still dislikes sleep something fierce) to nap or sleep at night with a baby crying in the background (because it's the only real time I can finish projects and meet work deadlines, which is necessary to keep income flowing - a real maternity leave when you're self employed just doesn't exist). I'm trying to get the toddler fed and bathed and dressed with a newborn constantly hanging off my boob. I'm trying to keep the house in order (ha. hahahaha.) and run errands and pay bills and just function as a human on just a handful of hours of sleep a night. (I have a profound respect for single moms and dads.) The difference this time though, is that despite how hard it is - and anyone with a newborn, with or without other kids, will tell you it is freaking hard - I now know what a blur those first few months were with Essley, and I'm consciously aware of the disappointment I felt afterward at how quickly they passed. So with Emmett, I've really made the effort to be present and mindful, and to find bliss in the act of just holding him, nursing him, kissing his little face, even changing his diapers and getting him dressed in his teeny tiny little clothes. The crying fits and diaper blow-outs and projectile vomit that accompanied the newborn period with Essley exist with Emmett too - but this time I'm able to find the humor in them, and even appreciate them as part of the beauty of the journey.

Newborns don't exactly exhibit signs of strong personality yet, but you definitely start to get a feel for what they'll be like, even from just a few weeks old.  Every child is different and while you don't want to compare, at this stage, it's so interesting to take note of things about Emmett that are different than - and the same as - Essley when she was just a few weeks old. Just like his sister, Emmett wants to be held all the time, which is actually pretty wonderful. He has also been more receptive to baby wearing (Essley loved the Ergo but wasn't into wraps and slings), which makes for a much more productive day for me - and gives me a great excuse to squeeze in even more precious cuddle time. Emmett also goes two to three hours at night between needing to nurse, which feels like a luxury (Essley went a half hour to an hour, tops). He sleeps in a cosleeper (we've used this one with both our kids and love it) next to my side of the bed, but just like Essley, much prefers to actually be in bed with us - and often spends a couple of hours in the mornings right there, nestled in. He loves to nurse, as did his sis (for 18 sweet months). He absolutely despises being naked, even partially, so changing his diapers or clothes or bathing him is often filled with wails. He is my little old man - his thick head of dark curly hair has slowly been falling out, leaving an awesomely hilarious receding hairline that is slowly developing into a tiny balding horseshoe. He already has dark brown eyes like his daddy (Essley's were blue for three months then slowly changed to a deep hazel-brown), and keeps them wide open and alert when he's awake. And he loves to look at his sister, who is clearly starting to fall as in love with him as her parents are, after a challenging first couple of weeks. (There were several occasions where books, dolls, and play vegetables were thrown at the poor dude's head in the very beginning.) The feeling I get from witnessing the pure affection between these two kids is something I honestly can't even put into words. It's powerful and humbling and I look so forward to seeing how it blossoms as they grow older. I am thankful every single day for the pure, mind-boggling level of love that I feel for my kids. I waited until later in life to have them, and I wouldn't change the experiences I had with my career and traveling in my twenties and early thirties for anything, but these kids are by far and away the best thing that has ever happened to me.

As for me, this time around I'm (for the more part) more relaxed, despite the extra work of having two. And being able to feel more relaxed has been a huge goal for me. My house looks like crap 90% of the time as a result, but that's just how it's going to be for now. I look like crap 90% of the time too, but I'm as I begin to emerge from the mental fog of the first month, I'm starting to focus on myself a little more. I've scheduled some self-care appointments (I just got a hair cut and have a mani and pedi coming up), and I'm starting to get into a mild exercise routine again (technically I can't exercise for two more weeks but I'm finally wearing my fitness band and walking again, so theres that). I'm still mostly living in leggings and oversized tees, both because my body is in a weird in-between stage (I've lost half the pregnancy weight but know from last time around that the rest will take some work), but I'm planning a solo shopping trip the next time Robbie is home for a couple days to add a few fresh pieces to my closet so I can feel a little like myself again. I'm also aware that a good night sleep just isn't in the cards any time soon, so I'm taking a few minutes a day to just relax and meditate instead. Last time around I was so caught off guard by the newness of this stage and just didn't know how to take care of myself with so much on my plate, so I'm really grateful for the knowledge of how important it is to care for myself as well as my baby.

And on a different yet related topic, one of the things I plan to focus on with the blog this year is this inclusion of more personal updates. While this has never been a personal blog, I feel a strong pull right now toward authenticity in blogging. I've seen such a massive shift in the blogging world since I started Bubby and Bean five years ago, and many of us now run our blogs as businesses. This is a wonderful thing and I'm incredibly grateful to have a job where I can work with brands I love to produce content (not to mention having a flexible schedule that allows me to work from home with my babies) - but I also think it's important to remember how the concept of blogging originated, and that ultimately it should feel like a community, and not just one big commercial. The blogs I most love reading are a good balance of "keeping it real" and other content (including sponsored posts that are done in an authentic way). I still plan to keep my kids' presence here to a minimum, but I'd like to do more occasional posts like these, where I share some pieces of what's going on in my life outside of the less personal design and lifestyle posts upon which I tend to focus, with less-than-perfect candid cell phone pictures like you see above, etc. And for those who have asked on Instagram, yes, I will eventually be sharing Emmett's birth story like I did Essley's. That was one of the most intense posts I've ever written (you can read it here), and I think I need a few more weeks to get into a headspace that is a little less sleep deprived first. But it's coming - promise.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Building A Successful Website

Thank you GoDaddy for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from GoDaddy, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

My regular readers know that I've been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life. When I was fresh out of college, I started my eco-fashion clothing line, Mountains of the Moon, that I ran for many years before eventually closing it in late 2014 so I could focus more fully on this blog - which had become a business of its own. And although I've learned that there are many facets of running your own business that ultimately determines your success, one of the most important is a well established online presence. This means a well rounded combination of engaging social media channels, excellent branding and design, and a really great website. Whether you have a brick and mortar company, an ecommerce brand, a service you provide, or a blog (even if it's not a for-profit blog!), having the right tools to create a well executed website is imperative to attracting and keeping customers (and/or blog readers), and to manage the business itself.

I've had a lot of trial and error experiences in terms of creating my own websites over the years. I've done the majority of the site designing myself (aside from coding help that I've contracted), from my clothing business to my blogs to more personal sites (like the site I created for my husband's and my wedding several years ago), and this has enabled me to learn a lot along the way about what works and what doesn't. There is a lot involved, but one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to other business owners and bloggers is to utilize a company that offers multiple services to help build your online presence, like GoDaddy, and that's what I'm focusing on in today's post.

GoDaddy is awesome in all sorts of ways, but one of the things about them I like best is the fact that they provide an array of products - from domain services (they're the world’s largest domain registrar) to web hosting to website building to professional email to online marketing, and more. They offer just about everything you need to build your business (or just give it a boost), by giving people like us (creatives, entrepreneurs, bloggers, etc.) an easy, affordable way to get our ideas online. They also have award-winning 24/7 support, which I think is crucial when you're working on creating or growing your online business or blog. Being able to log into your account and have all of this available to you in one space is a massive time saver, and the perfect way to allow your website to be streamlined. If you're interested in giving GoDaddy a try, they offer a free Website Builder trial, so you can see for yourself how easily you can build a really great site of your own. I've also discovered some fantastic offers they have going on right now, like .com for just $.99, and additional .COMs just $9.99 per year with code cjc99com, and 30% off new products. with code cjc2off30. Woot!

I'm constantly reassessing and planning for my blog, especially in the first couple months of the year, and one of the biggest parts of this is analyzing what works and what needs to be updated or changed. So I'm thankful for services like GoDaddy that offer so much in one place. I'm also constantly thinking of ideas for new businesses, and it's nice to know I have a place to turn when it's time to take them live. For those of you have your own websites, I'd love to hear the tips and tricks you've learned along the way as well! And stay tuned for more posts on other aspects of building your website and online presence in the near future.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Moving Inspiration: Living Rooms

10 Inspiring Living Rooms (Bubby and Bean)
Living Rooms from Top: 1. My Domaine  //  2. 79 Ideas  //  3. StyleCaster  //  4. Snob Fashion Blog  //  5. Planete-Deco  //  6. My Domaine  //  7.  My Unfurnished Home  // 8. Decor8 //  9. That Kind of Woman  //  10. Domino

It's been two months since the last installment of our Moving Inspiration series, when I told you that we'd decided to put our house hunting on hold until the spring due to me being pregnant to the point of uselessness, the new baby on his way, and my husband's winter and early spring touring schedule with the band. We realistically won't be in a position to move until probably May because of these things, but just in the last few days we've started looking at listings again. Free time is incredibly scarce right now, but it feels good to be back at it when we're able. It genuinely bummed me out to halt our search back in late November, because I am the type of person who needs to feel constantly productive and finds procrastination to be majorly anxiety provoking. But I'm also glad we didn't rush into something just to get it over with. And while I need to be patient a little longer, I'm stoked to be back to looking for design and decor inspiration, room by room. For those who haven't been following along, so far I've shared my favorite kitchens, bathrooms, home offices/studios, and bedrooms. And today I'm turning my focus to the room where we all tend to spend the most time: the living room.

As with the other rooms I've featured, when it comes to living rooms and family rooms I am most attracted to an overall minimalist aesthetic with a subtle bohemian vibe. I like bright spaces, neutrals (white, grey, and black are my color besties), and clean lines with touches of bold patterns, metallics, and excessive house plants. Now that we have two little ones, I'd prefer our living room to be spacious - even if the rest of the house is small - so there's room for, you know, actual living and stuff. Oh, and if we're being picky, high ceilings would be nice. And a fireplace would be appreciated too. But really, I think we could do something fun with anything we're given as long as the potential to make it our style is there. I think my favorite room above is #6. The white feels really fresh, and I love how the bold colors from the throw pillows and houseplants so perfectly set it off. Oh, and that table! I want to live there.

What does your ideal living room look like? Do any of the spaces above appeal to you? Who else is house hunting?


Friday, February 5, 2016

Links I Love, Right Now

It's Friday! It's Friday! I'll admit that with two tiny children and a husband on the road, Fridays don't mean much to me this time of year in terms of, like, raging the night away (or even relaxing). But regardless of the situation, Fridays just don't possess the ability to suck, so I'm celebrating right along with the rest of you.

One positive aspect of repeated middle-of-the-night nursing sessions is lots of time to mindlessly browse the internet, which in turns means finding all sorts of cool things that I can then share with all of you. And that brings us to a new Links I Love post. May these interesting/fun/thought-provoking/silly findings from this week bring you as much bleary-eyed, 3 AM joy as they have me.

Twitter user @Daurmoth shows what it would be like if male scientists were written about like women. Pretty interesting.

I must be living under a rock, because I just discovered H&M Home. This patterned cushion cover (also seen in top image) shall soon be mine (for $9.99!). Also way into these "Let's Stay in Bed" pillowcases and these cool copper wire baskets.

So into this tour of Chip and Joanna Gaines' farmhouse. (By the way, I want to be BFFs with these two. I freaking love them. Killer style and great personalities.)

This piece, titled 10 Amazing Things That Start Happening When You Stop Giving a Shit About Being Weird, seriously rocks.

These gorgeous paintings by David Bowie made me tear up a little. That man epitomized the term creative genius.

If you buy me this dress I will love you forever. Or this one. Okay, or this one.

I absolutely love this article that talks about how in the '70s and '80s, Sesame Street often showed nursing mothers. These days, instead of breastfeeding, they choose to show only bottle feeding. I will never judge mothers for how they choose to feed their babies, whether by breast or bottle, breastmilk or formula, but it makes me sad that today's society often chooses to censor something so natural and healthy.

According to Time, emotional intelligence is a huge driver of success. Check out these 18 behaviors of emotionally intelligent people.

How cool is this? 19 photos that accidentally look like renaissance art.

I just discovered Piggy Paint non-toxic nail polish and immediately ordered this set for Essley. She is currently sporting her very first mani/pedi and can't stop showing everyone her little fingers and toes. I can't wait to get her a bunch more colors.

This mom donated her 7 month old son's organs after he died. In doing so, she and her son saved three lives. (Get out your box of tissues for this one. It's pretty incredible.)

I find this so interesting: scientists say the moon really does impact rainfall on earth.

Have you come across any particularly cool links this week? What are your plans for the weekend? I'll likely be spending it cleaning spit-up breastmilk off my clothing and/or removing chewed crayon from my toddler's mouth. Don't be jealous. Oh yeah, and I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow afternoon, which means a whole hour of responsibility-free bliss. I'm sure I'll share some sort of picture of the experience on Instagram and/or Snapchat (@bubbyandbean), if you're curious to see how excited I get about that sort of stuff lately. It's the little things, guys.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

GIVEAWAY // Win A $100 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions!

GIVEAWAY // Win A $100 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions from Bubby and Bean!

You guys! It's time for another incredible giveaway with our pals and long time Bubby and Bean sponsors Gaia Conceptions! This time they're giving away $100 to spend in their online shop, which features some of the most beautiful eco-friendly clothing around. They have hundreds of styles to choose from, each one of which is custom created to your size, color choice, and fabric selection. Both Essley and I own Gaia pieces and they're among our very favorites in our closets. And now one lucky Bubby and Bean reader is going to get a $100 gift card to spend on Gaia Conceptions clothing of your very own!

Win a $100 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions from Bubby and Bean

Use the form below, and/or, because the main methods of entering this giveaway (worth the most points) involve Instagram, you can also enter directly on IG, right here. There are several options for extra entries as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will run through February 11, 2016 and is open to Bubby and Bean readers worldwide. All entries from the Rafflecopter form above and Instagram will be combined. A winner will be randomly chosen via and announced here shortly after the end of the giveaway.

Thanks again to Andrea and friends over at Gaia Conceptions for giving our readers the chance to win another gift card to their amazing shop!  Good luck!