Fashion / Motherhood

My Style: Rack Room Shoes

10/31/2017

Ingrid & Isabel Sweater | Old Navy Jeans | Dr. Scholl’s Madison Sneakers (c/o Rack Room Shoes)

If you live in the Des Moines area, you’ve likely heard of the new Outlets of Des Moines, which opened October 19. It’s an outdoor shopping center that has brought new stores to the surrounding area, like Rack Room Shoes. I checked out Rack Room Shoes online before I made it to the store, and was not disappointed with the wide variety of brands and styles of shoes they offer for the entire family (soon enough I’ll be purchasing baby shoes). I couldn’t wait to see and shop the store in person.

From premium brands to their own private brands such as Franco Fortini, you’ll find shoes for every member of your family. One of the best parts of shopping in store (and online) is every day they offer ‘Buy One, Get One 50% off’ off most styles! I ended up walking out of the store with a pair of Dr. Scholl’s Madison Sneakers, a life saver for this pregnant lady now that it’s getting harder and harder to bend down to put shoes on. The second pair I ended up with were these  Franco Fortini Niki ankle boots. There were so many cute sneaker, flats, and boot options, I had a hard time narrowing down my purchases, but here are a few other styles that I was drawn too and will be adding to my wish list! The staff at Rack Room Shoes were super kind and accommodating. The aisles of shoes were easy to navigate to find different styles and they sell accessories as well.

One of the best parts of Rack Room Shoes is each back-to-school they host a Shoes That Fit fundraiser empowering customers to give back to their local communities by supplying children in need with new shoes.The money raised is channeled through local school liaisons who identify students and school systems in need, while also coordinating the distribution of new footwear. Since 2007, Rack Room Shoes has raised a total of $5,604,113 and donated 206,201 pairs of shoes. I love finding and supporting companies that do good in the world.

This is a sponsored post with Rack Room Shoes. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting posts that make this blog possible!

Decor / Motherhood

Upgrading Our Blinds for the Nursery

10/23/2017

Hudson Crib c/o Homemakers | Ikea Chair & Ottoman | Amazon Penmanship Print| Pillowfort Wall Decor | Home Goods Side Table | Blinds.com Signature Roman Shades in Calceta Dove with Cordless Life c/o

When it first came time to start designing our baby nursery, one thing that was on our must-have list was to install black out window coverings. I debated about adding curtains to our existing blinds, but in the end, didn’t want to mess around with installing a curtain rod.  Almost two years ago we outfitted every room in our home with cellular, light-filtering blinds from Blinds.com. On our first floor we splurged for cordless top-down/bottom-up cellular shades. To save on costs, we kept the cords for all the rooms on the second level, but still kept the top-down/bottom-up functionality (see the blinds in our living room space).

I knew I wanted to update the baby’s window treatment with something that not only offered a black-out capability but was cordless as well. I reached out to Blinds.com to work with them on the nursery and they generously agreed to work with me to design the perfect window covering for the baby’s room.

Below is a what the nursery looked like as it transitioned it from Cody’s office, to a placeholder for all of my office furniture, to the nursery as you’ll see it today!

I worked one-on-one with a designer from the company to create the best solution for the room. It was important to me that we look at a cordless option for safety precautions. I know that a newborn won’t be playing with any loose cords, but I want to make sure their room is as safe as can be. Cords can be a strangulation hazard for infants and young children, so it’s important to keep that in mind and either go with a cordless option or coverings with inaccessible cords that can be out of reach for young children. Once we decided on the type of shade (Signature Roman Shade), we customized it even further.

We stuck with an inside mount, added a black-out liner, went with a plain fold and the valance was included. All that was left was to decide on a fabric. The designer sent me varying shades of grays and whites in different fabric types, up to 10 fabric samples are free from the company. Once they arrived, I took them to the local store where we purchased our rocker from and played around with the different options.

I ended up picking Calceta Dove, which complements the chair fabric and doesn’t compete with the wall color. The employee at the store made a good point that if I went with gray, you’d end up with this bright space but a ‘black hole’ of sorts with a gray window. The white allows for a seamless transition with the newly painted trim and is neutral for the space depending on how the room will change in the coming years.

Installation couldn’t have been easier. Each set of blinds or shades comes with a hardware kit. Our previous blinds had three clips that we had to remove to screw in the new hardware for the roman shade, which also had three clips. We remeasured for placement, screwed in the plates,  lined up the shade and clipped it into place.

While the nursery is far from complete, I’m super happy with the upgrades we’ve made to the room thus far.  I ended up borrowing our IKEA rocker/ottoman from Cody’s office to help decide placement of artwork and where shelving will be installed. Our rug arrives in two weeks, our rocker will be here in December, just in time for Baby Mack’s arrival in January!

I have a special promo code to share with all of you! Simply use the code thebrunetteone at check out for 20% off any order at Blinds.com. The code will expires 12/31/17.

Motherhood

Ten Ideas for Baby Gifts

10/19/2017

I’ve been adding and removing items from my baby registry for the past couple of weeks. To be honest, I copied a few registries of momma friends of mine and then tailored them to what I think we will need or swapped out a few items to make it more gender neutral once we officially decided we were going to be surprised.

Here are a few items that I think would make thoughtful and fun baby gifts that that fall under the ‘wish’ category vs. ‘need.’

  1. Highchair Mat – Gathre is known for their beautiful and functional leather mats. They create leather, wipeable/washable mats in a range of sizes. I’m partial to the highchair mat because I’ve registered for some play mats and we have a Keekaroo changing pad. I think this would be great to keep in our dining room area where Baby M’s future high chair will live.
  2. Brown Bear Baby Soothie – This 100% organic cotton knitted bear from Estella NYC is the sweetest lovey. I had a few soothie type items growing up (a monkey and a blanket, specifically), so there’s a good chance that Baby M will gravitate to something, and I could only hope it could be something as sweet as this baby bear.
  3. Heart Keepsake Blanket – This Peruvian 100% cotton blanket by Estella NYC is not only cross functional but something that we could keep for years to come. I could see us using it for monthly photos to document Baby M’s first year of life, bringing it along to Grandma’s house, and snuggling on the couch with our little family.
  4. Ollie World Swaddle – There are hundreds of swaddles to pick from but I’m drawn to these Ollie World swaddles because they are made from a custom moisture-wicking material to reduce the risk of overheating. It also allows easier access with an opening at the bottom for quick diaper changes. Not only does it allow a custom fit, it’s one size will accommodate Baby M as they continue to grow!
  5. Organic Knitted Rattles – Need I explain more? How adorable are these knitted rattles? If cute animals aren’t your thing, try sports, or my favorite, NYC themed rattles!
  6. Ring Sling – While I’ve registered for another baby carrier, I’ve seen tons of other moms post on Instagram and their blogs how much they love wearing their babies. It not only strengthens a greater bond with your babe, but to help free up your hands so you can multitask if need be! At this point, I think I’d prefer a ring sling, like this one from Lille Baby, to a wrap (which they also sell, carriers too!) as it seems less complicated, but I feel like it’s something to master. Practice, practice, practice (or watch how-to videos)! This wrap is 100% linen and even comes with a detachable pouch so you can easily access your essentials (keys, phone, chapstick).
  7. Dock A Tot – This may be the number one newborn item on my wish list. We have a crib and have registered for a portable bassinet, I know from a lot of my mom friends that the Dock A Tot is a must have around the house and for traveling. You can use it for tummy time, cuddling, playtime, diaper changes, lounging, you name it! It comes in two sizes, Deluxe for 0-8 months and Grand for 9-36 months. My nephew used both the Deluxe and now lounges in the Grand and I know he loves it!
  8. Moses Basket – I mentioned above, I’ve already registered for a portable/packable bassinet. While I’m trying to be practical with our registry, this is something I would love to have to move around our house for Baby M to nap in, photograph (they are just so beautiful), and get the rocker stand to go with it so we can use it to its full potential. It’s not a practical add to my registry, but why not add it!
  9. Shopping Cart Hammock – This shopping cart hammock from Binxy Baby is GENIUS. To be honest, a fear of mine is taking Baby M to the store for the first time on our own. From the car transfer (do you take the stroller, the sling, the car seat??) to how to handle a newborn if you need to use a cart. This hammock dissolves all my fears. It rolls up so it easily to fit in the diaper bag and can secure to most shopping carts. Not only can your baby be safe and secure from newborn size to until they can sit up, it also can hold your car seat, up to 50lb.
  10. The Story of You – Baby Book – There are so many options for baby books, but this book from Artifact Uprising would be quite the investment. After our wedding, I got some prints and made a few photo albums for each set of parents. They have amazing quality in their books and prints so I know this would be just as high quality. It would also force me to print more photos that I will inevitably take of Baby M.

I teamed up with Estella NYC to offer 15% off your order when you use ‘Motherhood15’ at checkout!

Let me know, do you prefer to shop for fun, one of a kind items, or do you stick to people’s registries when shopping for baby gifts?!

This post is sponsored by Estella NYC. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting content that makes this blog possible!