Thursday, February 28, 2013

Heading to Haven Blog Conference 2013

I'm thrilled to be heading to Atlanta this August to speak on a panel with some of my best girlfriends at Haven.  I had planned to go last year, but had a scheduling conflict.

As you know, I have a special place in my heart for home bloggers and home blog readers.  Are you going?  Please let me know- I want to meet you! :)

We did a Houston meet up awhile back and it was so fun . . .

And I went to Blissdom and got to meet some friends whose blogs I'd been reading for years. 

Connecting online is cool, but nothing beats interacting in person.  :)  

In the meantime, you can follow me here (click the picture to follow)

* * * * * 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Good for Greg Mankiw...

DIY Faux Capiz Shell Pendant

Thank you SO much for your thoughts about when to transition out of the crib.  I do consider each comment and appreciate that you take the time to write.  As a "newer mom" I'm thankful for the wise words of the women who have more experience on their side.  I must admit, I'm leaning toward the car bed because I just love to see the JOY it would give my son each day.  But, no firm decisions have been made, so we'll see . . .

Today, I'm thrilled to share an amazing DIY creation by my friend, Jennifer of The Chronicles of Home.  Look what she made- by hand!!  This gorgeous faux capiz shell pendant, inspired by the one from West Elm.

Doesn't it look sweet in her daughter's room?

For the full tutorial and to see what she made those "shells" out of, head on over to her BLOG

I've gotten to know Jennifer over the last few months as she is a contributing food writer on my health and fitness blog, Honey We're Healthy.  She not only rocks the DIY home decor projects, but is an awesome cook and photographer.  If you visit her blog, please tell her I said hi:) 

* * * * * 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why is the luxury housing market recovering so well?

The fashionable thing to say is because of foreign money.  I suspect the actual reason is that the one percent have gotten 122 percent of the recovery (h/t/ Tim Noah).

The demand curve for housing among the rich has shifted out.

Time for a Big Boy Bed?

Since our son is turning 3 soon, I've been wondering if it's time to get him out of the crib and into a big boy bed.  He's quite content in his crib and has only crawled out once though.  Looking at this picture below makes me pretty sure it's time.

I don't know why he likes to pile his crib so high with stuff.  I often find that green stool in there in the morning (it's what he uses to crawl in and he'll somehow get it inside during the night).

I'm also itching to change up his room since it still looks like his baby nursery.  See what I mean . . .

I want to add more color, drapes, and remove the top from his changing table since we don't need that any more.  I do plan to keep his Alphabet art from Z Gallerie since it's pretty kid friendly and I like the colors.

And I recently received a print I ordered from Penny Paper Co (you may know it from Aubrey & Lindsay's Blog).  I might paint the frame, but for now it's just in a white Ikea frame. 

I started browsing for beds online and saw that Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod had some great-looking beds . . .

But then I found all kinds of toddler beds for way less online and I starting PINNING them onto my Nursery/Kid Room board.  Amazon has some cute toddler beds too.  

Of course James got on my lap while I was looking at my computer and I asked which beds HE liked the best because I want to hear his opinion.  Uh-oh, of course he liked the CAR beds! Ug!  But I'm thinking, if I was a 2/almost 3 year old boy, maybe I'd like a car bed too.  

And really, you can only get away with having a car bed when you're a kid.  Seriously, can you imagine if you went to a guy's house and he had a car bed??!!  ick. 

So, when is the time to get the baby out of the crib?  And did you go from crib to toddler bed or straight to twin/full/queen??  Would you do the car/cartoon bed? I asked y'all on my Facebook page and have been reading through all of your comments- thank you!

* * * * * 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Houston readers . . .

Hope y'all are having an awesome weekend!  I'm off to a trunk show today but I wanted to pop in to share some good news with my local blog readers . . . If you are in the Houston area and interested in becoming a Stella & Dot stylist, join me next Sunday March 3 at 1:00 p.m. for a local meet S&D event.  

Email me at: (subject: Stella & Dot) for more info!  I look forward to getting together in person! :) 

The future of efficient transportation

Might look like this:

I heard a lecture from Alain Bertaud on how networked, scheduled transportation is not a good solution for many people--even in poor parts of the world.  And I can testify that auto rickshaws are often the best way to get around cities in India--they are quick, cheap, and when fueled by natural gas, environmentally not too bad (those with two stroke engines are a whole other matter).

One of the most provocative things I learned from Alain is that buses are often less fuel efficient than cars--for a bus system to work, they have to run at periods where demand is fairly low.     As it happens, while sitting at dinner in downtown Los Angeles last night, we watched bus after bus on 6th Street go by nearly empty.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

$230 GIVEAWAY (Method + Orla Kiely)

Happy Friday y'all!  I've got a super fun giveaway for you today from the wonderful team of Method + fashion designer Orla Kiely.  Five people will win a stylish Orla Kiely handbag filled with the entire limited edition Spring collection of cleaning products, a $230 value!

Have you seen (smelled?!) that cute collection of limited edition hand wash, dish soap, and all-purpose cleaners at Target lately?  They've got gel and foaming hand washes available in White Nectarine, Cloudburst, and Honeysuckle fragrances and gel hand wash, dish soap and all-purpose cleaning spray are available in Tomato Vine, an herbaceous and crisp scent.  I try to buy as many planet/people friendly products as possible these days, so it's good news that Method products are non-toxic and naturally-derived.

To enter, simply "LIKE" Method’s Facebook page to access the giveaway tab, then enter your information. The sweepstakes is open from Feb. 19 through March 5th. Mobile readers can enter HEREMethod will randomly choose 5 grand prize winners. Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, 18 years and older.

p.s. You can also check out my latest PINTEREST board (Spring fashion inspired by the Method + Orla Kiely pairing) . . . so ready for warmer weather and lots of sunshine!!

Have a great weekend!

*Big thanks to Method for sponsoring this post!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I got a sweet, but puzzling text message from my mom last night. . .

Goes to show we will always be our momma's babies:) 

*my mom's baby*

*my baby*

* * * * * 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Where's the monopsony?

President Obama, Paul Krugman and Robert Reich have all been pushing for an increase in the minimum wage.  I want to agree with them, and Krugman is certainly correct that the preponderance of empirical evidence shows that the minimum wage's impact on total employment is negligible.

But the question is, why?  Krugman's statement that human beings are not Manhattan apartments is true, and allows him to support the minimum wage while being appropriately skeptical of rent control, but it doesn't give a satisfactory answer as to why putting a floor on the price of labor would not create excess supply of labor.

There is in economic theory a set of circumstances, however, under which an increase in the minimum wage might raise employment.  If an employer has a market largely to itself--if it has monopsony power--then it will both pay its workers less than their productivity warrants and not hire enough workers to be at the most efficient level of employment.  Raising the minimum wage would then both increase pay and induce more workers into the labor market, hence increasing employment.  If government could nail the minimum wage to the marginal revenue product of the least productive  workers, the minimum wage could produce a first-best outcome--one where pay and employment levels were efficient.

For the argument to work, the demand for labor needn't be perfectly monopsonistic, but rather less than perfectly competitive.  The fact that wages and labor productivity seem to have less and less to do with each other is evidence that the demand for labor is not competitive, but it would be nice to have further, detailed evidence of the industrial organization of labor demand.  

Grown Up Coffee Table

Hi friends!  Hope you had a great weekend!  After a major deep cleaning on Saturday, I was hanging out in the living room realizing that I never shared our "grown up" coffee table with you.  Like many of you with small children, we had the easy-to-clean, safe faux leather ottoman as our coffee table for years.

It was from Overstock, fit our living room perfectly, but most importantly, was baby friendly.  I even put ugly rubber bumpers on the leg corners to be extra safe- yeah, first time mom:) 

After a couple of years, I couldn't wait to get rid of it because it was just too bulky and boxy.  I tried to camouflage it by putting a decorative tray on top, but was waiting for the day when I felt it was "safe" to put a round, glass-top coffee table in the space.  

My dreamy coffee table was from Ethan Allen, but was pricy (of course it's on sale now), so I kept looking.  Also, it was 38 inches in diameter and 19 inches high, which I thought might be a little tight.  

I found a similar alternative at West Elm for about half the price (the Foxed Mirror Coffee Table), which I couldn't find online, but they do still have the same side table.  It's oval instead of round, and mirrored instead of glass. 

Also, it might be a tad small for our living room, but I wanted to be sure we had enough room to walk around it.  

The above photos are from awhile ago, and I've since moved the cowhide rug to my home office.  

Most of the time, during the day, the table top is full of my son's cars and trains and it hasn't damaged the table.  

Do you have any "baby furniture" you're ready to be done with when the time is right?  I admit to holding onto our glider- I still rock my son in it at night!  

* * * * * 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day friends!  We are ready for my son's class party- just bringing sugar cookies and juice, which is perfect for the cutest bunch of 3-year-olds around.  To make them sweeter, I put the cookies in a plastic baggie with a V-day napkin.  

I'm really happy that James helped make the cookies and he's super excited to share them with his class.  Yes, it makes a mess and our floors are still dirty, but I'll get it all cleaned up this weekend. 

I used this sugar cookie recipe and they are tasty!  My icing on the other hand, not so much.  I didn't use buttercream, but tried to make royal icing.  

 They were supposed to look like this.  Oh well.  I'll practice and hopefully get better over time.   James still thought they were good- no complaints about the icing or the way they looked:)  

But, I decided to make a cookie I knew would be delicious- the Nestle tollhouse chocolate chip recipe with a mix of chocolate chips and Valentine's colored dark M&M's.  Cannot go wrong there.  If you really want to show off the M&M's, it's better to put them on top instead of mixing them in with the batter. 

These are the napkins I found at my grocery store to include with the cellophane bags. 

We'll give each child one of each cookie. 

It's all about . . .  

(from Hobby Lobby)

p.s.  If you're in the mood for jewelry today, Emily A. Clark is hosting a virtual trunk show & $150 Giveaway to Stella & Dot!  

* * * * * 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chalkboard Menu

When I first created the chalk wall in our kitchen (at the end of August!), I envisioned writing out our weekly menu on it, but I admit, this week is the first week I've actually done that.  I got inspired by my gorgeous friend Carmel at Our Fifth House.  She's and her family have recently gone Paleo and she shared a delicious cauliflower hummus recipe on my health blog, Honey We're Healthy last week.

I definitely prefer to plan our meals for the week, but that doesn't always happen.  And recently, while I was doing the Live Fit 12-Week training program, I was eating the same thing over and over.  I still do that a lot (especially for lunches), but lately I've really been in the mood to cook.  

The chalkboard menu is a great visual reminder of what's up for dinner each night.  I used a chalk marker to write out our meals, and the pens do leave some residual ink behind.  I wipe my chalk wall clean with windex and paper towels.

OMG- the fajitas last night were so good!  I used this recipe to marinate the skirt steak overnight- highly recommended!  This salmon recipe was really good too.  Is Friday your "eat out/mama's not cooking" night too?? :) 

* * * * * 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day Manicure

In honor of the upcoming romantic holiday, I had some fun with my manicure opting for an accent color on my ring fingers.  I'm fond of this trend right now, are you??  Too bad my first fingernail is so short compared to the rest!  My 3-year old didn't seem to care.  When I got home from the nail salon and he saw my pink nails, he said they looked, "beautiful."  Melted this mama's heart.  I told him thank you and explained that all  girls like to be told they are beautiful- it's a nice thing to say.  You can't start too early;)

This is a shellac manicure (which I highly recommend because the paint stays fresh for about two weeks!) I don't recall the name of the pale pink color, but the brighter pink is called Pink Flamenco.  

I did my toes in the brighter pink too.  Maybe I can pair those toes with these BCBG sandals?!

Would be a sweet V-day gift!  Do you have anything special on your Valentine's wish list?

* * * * * 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kids' Valentine Craft - Personalized Gift Bags

My son's preschool class will be having a Valentine's party and, over the weekend, we completed a quick, inexpensive Valentine craft for the kiddos.  We made personalized gift bags for everyone with muslin bags, an ink stamp, and red marker.  I got these 4x6 bags at Amazon (25 for $5).

I figured there will be plenty of sweets (I'm bringing cookies) at the party, so we filled the bags with goodies instead- bubbles, kazoo, and foam heart sticker.  

We got a little off track while stamping the bags . . . 

But that's part of the fun, right?!  The ink washed right off with soap and water.

I used a red sharpie to write each child's name.  (I put a piece of paper in the bag so the ink wouldn't bleed through while I was writing).  Then stuffed each bag. 

I hope they like them!

Each child is supposed to decorate a shoebox to collect their Valentines in.  I wrapped James' box with red polka dot paper left over from Christmas (from The Container Store).  

To personalize the box, I spray painted mini chip board letter and James stuck them on.  He also added the red heart stickers.  

I think we're ready for the party! 

* * * * *