Friday, February 27, 2015

10 Great Early Spring Craft Projects

10 Great Early Spring Craft Projects // Bubby and Bean
1. Moss and Flower Table Centerpieces, Heather Christo  //  2. Spring Flower Sign, A Beautiful Mess // 3. Egg Carton Daffodils, Mr. Printables  //  4. Tulip Wreath, The DIY Village  //  5. Painted Wheatgrass Pots, Oh Happy Day  //  6. Spring Sachets, Country Living  //  7. DIY Terrariums, BHG  //  8. Floral Fabric Pots, Better Decorating Bible  //  9. Kids Cloud and Rainbow, Meet the Dubiens  //  10. Twig Birdhouse, Yahoo Lifestyle

Okay, so spring is technically over three weeks away. But around here, we're starting the celebration now. Early spring is one of my favorite times of year. Those first days when you feel the warmth of the sun on your skin through the windows, and you hear the tree branches release droplets of melted ice water onto the ground between the sounds of early morning robins, and maybe, if you're lucky, you spot a bright yellow daffodil beginning to peek up through the dirt - those days feel like magic to me. As cheesy as it may sound, I come back to life during the early days of springtime.

Essley and I had so much fun making her Valentines a couple of weeks ago, and it got me pumped to do more crafting just for fun (something that admittedly has fallen to the wayside for me over the last couple of years). Since I've already been keeping my eye out for fun early spring-related projects, this edition of 10 Great seemed like the perfect time to share some of them with you guys. These represent all different levels of crafting - from those that can be done with little kids to more advanced projects. But each of them is great for getting into the early springtime spirit. And although I actually did a 10 Great roundup in the past that featured springtime DIYs, this one, my friends, is specifically inspired by and dedicated to those very first days of spring in all its glory - that time when it's likely still too chilly to dig in the dirt or work on outdoor projects, but there are hints of brighter, sunnier days right around the corner.

See ya, winter! It's time for something fresh.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I'm Wearing Now: February

What I'm Wearing Now: February // Bubby and Bean
1. 'I Need Coffee' Tee (actually a sleep shirt; I wear it as a tunic), F21  //  2. Faux Shearling Jacket (sold out but google 'faux shearling coat' and you can find a ton on sale right now) //  3. Deena & Ozzy Shredded Square Scarf, UO  //  4. Buffalo Plaid Flannel Shirt, Woolrich  //  5. Black slim ankle jeans (bought at a random boutique in Indianapolis last year; love this very similar pair from UO)  //  6. Sweatshirt Dress, H&M  //  7. Hi Top Back Zip Boot, Minnetonka  //  8. Alms Boot, Blowfish  //  9. Black Knit Beanie (same one from last month, going strong), F21 // 10. Striped Jersey Top, H&M  

Last month, I started a new series called 'What I'm Wearing Now.' (You can check out January's installment right here.) My motivation behind it was mainly in response to our beginning-of-year reader survey, where many commented that they missed seeing outfit posts, which have admittedly dwindled down to maybe once a month since I had Essley (and even less in the winter). In an effort to share what I'm wearing at the moment without relying exclusively on my inconsistent outfit posts, I decided that I'd put together a monthly round-up collage featuring some of the clothing and accessory items (or the most similar pieces I can find, if certain items are sold out, old, or thrifted/vintage) that I'm wearing the most that particular month. And here we are, on to February.

This month there really wasn't much of a change from January, if we're being honest here. The Chicago area has mostly been bitterly cold, and I gravitated to many of the same simple, comfy, layered pieces I wore last month. I have been adding some subtle touches of color, which I'm assuming is a subconscious attempt to grasp onto spring in the midst of my depressingly colorless winter surroundings. For the most part though, as you can see, I've continued to favor casual, neutral basics.

I'll be spending a third of the month of March in Arizona, so it will be interesting to see if there is a more dramatic change between this month's What I'm Wearing Now and the next. I have visions of short dresses and sun hats dancing in my head just about every time I close my eyes.

What type of clothing and accessory pieces have you been wearing most in February?


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Paired Up: Spring Wines + Spring Recipes

By Food + Drink Contributor Sara Little

Pairing Spring Wines with Spring Recipes // Bubby and Bean

Spring is coming! I realize that I have no room to complain here. Winter in Sonoma is pretty much like any other time of the year with a few anticipated and welcomed days of rain. However, I know this is not the case for most of the country, and having spent my childhood in Indiana, I'm well aware of how eager you become for spring after a few months of schlepping through the snow. Here is a little hope - spring wine picks to stock up on now and share on sunny days ahead, each paired up with a delicious spring recipe.

1. 2012 Peay Vineyards Russian River Rosé of Pinot Noir
2. 2010 Bodegas Muga Rioja Rosado
3. Jansz Brut Rosé NV

Let's face it, there is always an occasion for rosé regardless of the time of year. Rosés work for me as a compliment to fall, winter, spring, and summer fare. Try any of these rosé picks with a simple roasted veggies recipe, and enjoy!

4. Do Ferreiro Albariño 2013
5. 2014 Parejas Cellars Albariño
6. 2010 Martin Codax Albariño

Albariño is a Spanish varietal that is typically light, high is acidity and minerality, and very aromatic. It's a great alternative to Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. It’s my 'go to' when picking a white wine off a wine list and a perfect pairing for this rich, creamy spring pea soup recipe.

7. 2010 Littorai Mays Canyon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
8. 2010 Hirsch Vineyards Bohan Dillon Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
9. 2011 Stoller Family Estate Reserve Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a transitional wine for me. I love it moving into the fall and again from winter to spring as a medium bodied red that can really pair with a wide variety of dishes. There is a ton of diversity in Pinot Noirs and I think that young Pinots really lend themselves to be great spring picks as they are a little more fruit forward. Try these Pinot Noirs with a simple grilled meat and a yummy rhubarb chutney like this one.

Which spring wines are your favorites? Do you enjoy pairing them with any specific foods? -Sara

Thank you Sara for getting us in the spring spirit with these delicious recommendations! I'm all about trying one of those Albariño picks with that spring pea soup. Yum. Sara is an event planner and "expert in indulgence" who has lived in the heart of Sonoma County California's wine country for 12 years.  In addition to sharing her favorite foods and wines, recipes and more as our Food and Drink Contributor, she plans unique, personalized getaways to and events in wine country for her hospitality business, Wine Country Goodness, and travels the country in search of the best places to stay, explore, eat, and drink. You can also find Sara on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Essley's Favorite Books

The Best Books for Toddlers // Bubby and Bean

Ever since Essley first learned to grasp things with her tiny hands, she's gravitated toward books. She's only 13.5 months old, so obviously she doesn't read yet - but there is something about the act of being able to turn each page to discover a whole new set of colors and shapes and words that thrills her. Of all of the toys and games and activities that now sprawl across both her bedroom and the space that was once our living room (sigh), it is almost always books that she chooses first. When she toddles up to me with a book in hand then climbs up on my lap so I can read to her, my heart melts. Although I'll admit that the best is when she sits on the floor and quietly occupies herself with books long enough for me to return some work emails or clean the kitchen or, you know, get two whole minutes of uninterrupted bathroom time.

Essley has a lot of books (I kept most of mine from childhood, we started buying them for her when I was pregnant, and she's received a lot as gifts as well), and it will be fun to see which ones end up being her go-to's over time through the various stages of her learning. Right now, she's (of course) a fan of baby and toddler level board books that are easy for her to hold, contain interesting pictures and pretty colors, and have simple stories. Her favorites change week to week, but she does have handful to which she is most attached. The books you see above and listed/linked below are the ones you'll find her carrying around and looking through repeatedly throughout the day, everyday. A few of them (#4, #5, and #11) were my favorites as a toddler too. If you're in search of some really great books for a special baby or toddler your in life, these are the ones that I'd recommend. (And judging by her apparent bond with each of them, Essley would too).

1. Sally in the Snow by Stephen Huneck 
(Beautiful illustrations and a sweet story about a dog's skiing adventure.)
2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle 
(A simple story with gorgeous animal images and rhythmic text.)
3. Baby Loves to Rock by Wednesday Kirwan 
(A fun, modern book is full of colorful illustrations of animals rocking to different types of music.)
4. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
(A classic and the ultimate bedtime story.)
5. I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry 
(A beautifully illustrated simple story of the seasons, originally published in 1963.)
6. On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman 
(Sweet, tender, and affectionate story about celebrating the birth of your little one.)
7. That's Not My Puppy, Its Coat Is Too Hairy by Rachel Wells
(A fun touch and feel book with bold illustrations great for sensory skills.)
8. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram 
(Sentimental and endearing with pretty watercolor pictures.)
9. Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton 
(Earthy colored, folk-style artwork accompanies a sweetly reassuring story.)
10. My Very First Book of Colors by Eric Carle 
(This first book in which Essley took interest as a newborn. Teaches color matching through vibrant artwork.)
11. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper 
(A slightly abridged version of the classic children's book made for toddlers.)
12. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd 
(Another classic by Margaret Wise Brown filled with poetically rhythmic text and a mix of lovely black and white and color illustrations.)
13. Hello Baby: Animals by Roger Priddy 
(Full of high contrast colors and simple animal shapes, great for stimulating sight and learning simple words.)
14. Little Miss Austen: Pride and Prejudice by Alison Oliver and Jennifer Adams 
(Part of the super clever BabyLit series; teaches numbers via charming Jane Austen-inspired illustrations.)

Those of you with kids (or nieces/nephews, or grandkids, or children of friends who you love), are any of these books among your little ones' favorites as well? What were your favorites as a young child?


Friday, February 20, 2015

Home Decor Roundup: Grey is Here to Stay

By Home Contributor Paige Ronchetti
Grey Home Decor Roundup // Bubby and Bean

At the beginning of the year, there are always a bunch of articles floating around about the neat-o home trends we can expect to see over the next 365 days. Most of the time I enjoy them and agree with what they say, but I read one a couple of weeks ago that said grey is on the way out.


I'm not even going to link to it because it will only ruin our collective day. It was so out of place among other things I'd read about how grey is the new black, so maybe the author was on cold medicine that day and a bunch of crazy talk ended up on their computer screen. I don't know. But in case you saw the same thing, I want to tell you that grey is here to stay. Remember how tan and beige were popular for a good decade (and definitely still work in some spaces)? That's grey now. It's extremely trendy but because it also has the advantage of being the most versatile neutral--meaning it can be a warm shade or a cool shade--it will never truly go out of style.

Above are a bunch of goodies I found for you to peruse, just in case you're feeling a knee-jerk reaction to buy some new things and defend your love, and below we have a great visual example of why grey is the best. I saw these rooms within 30 seconds of each other on Pinterest the other day and had to smoosh them together for you:

left  //  right

Airy kitchen, meet glitzy bathroom. Most colors can go from tranquil to dramatic with styling and architecture, but what really gets me here is the intensity of the grey itself. It's hard to be bold without going over-the-top, but grey can do it. Just like it can be a whisper of color on the walls and countertops of a kitchen without totally fading away into nothing.

Are you sold? Who else is Team Grey? (And I mean the color, not 50 Shades of Grey, ugh.) How do you like these rooms? What's your favorite piece from the roundup? -Paige

Grey forever. I'm in agreement that when it comes to home decor, this is one color that is not on its way out of style. Period. In addition to writing for Bubby and Bean as our Home Contributor, Paige works as an Interior Designer (check out her biz, The Room Kit) and blogs over at Little Nostalgia. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram