Tuesday
Nov192013

Thanksgiving 2013!

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I LOVE Thanksgiving! Who am I kidding? I love every holiday!! If you know me you know I am an over celebrater (sorry, not sorry). This Thanksgiving we will be dining with friends and their little ones, and I am really excited about it. I have such fond memories of Thanksgiving as a child - we lived far from family so we always celebrated with our family friends. We would eat till we couldn't sit up straight anymore and then that night all of the kids went out to a movie. When we got home there were millions of pies to eat! It was the best day ever. 

This year we are planning on taking a couple of pies to share, a favorite main dish, my mom's famous baked brie cheese and, of course, green bean casserole (upon Conor's request). I am super excited to order a pie from Emporium Pies to share with our friends. If you live in the Dallas area you should check this little pie shop out! It is so cute and the pies are amazing! I thought about making one myself but I thought the novelty of one of their pies would make the day a little more fun (at least for me! Less cooking/dishes = happy mama!) Hope everyone has a great holiday!!

Saturday
Nov092013

Wayne Norman Riley: Birth Story

Wayne Norman Riley was born October 28th 2013 at 12:51 am. It was a crazy whirlwind week before and after and I have barely been able to get my mind around it all. The week leading up to Wayne's birth I was super anxious. My midwife assured me that I would not make it to my due date (October 22) because I was dilated to a 3 at 37 weeks - so I was anxiously awaiting his arrival long before he came. As my due date came and went I became even more anxious. If you have ever gone past your due date I'm sure you know what I am talking about. If you haven't ever had the pleasure let me tell you that it can drive you completely insane. It feels like your entire world has come to a complete halt and no one else has slowed a bit. I prayed and begged the universe to just let him come out. I desperately wanted to hold my baby in my arms and take care of him. I did everything I had heard of to induce labor - walking for miles, clary sage oil, pineapple, spicy food, sex, more walking... nothing worked. I was dilated to a 3 for 3 weeks and never made any progress. 

Then Henry got sick. Really sick. Throwing up, diarrhea... it was the worst. Then Conor got sick. Then I got sick. We were all throwing up and not eating anything. All of the sudden, I didn't want the baby to come out anymore. I didn't want to bring a newborn baby home to a germ infested house. I didn't want to go in to labor after not eating all day and being dehydrated. At about 10:30 pm, as I lay in bed praying that the baby would hold off for a few more days, Henry ran in crying for his mama covered in throw up. I stripped him, got him in the tub and as I sat next to him on the tile floor picking chunks of food out of his hair I felt the contractions start up. They were strong and fast immediately. 

Conor woke up his sweet mother and told her I was in labor. She took over cleaning up Henry as Conor got us ready to go to the birth center. It was 11:20 pm when we called the midwife. She told us she would meet us at the birth center at midnight. I got my running shoes on and somehow managed to get myself in the car. Conor had to pull over several times on the way there so I could throw up all over the side of the road. We reached the birth center at 12:03 am. I breathed through several contractions as I walked up the front steps. As I walked through the front door Tracy (our midwife) said she wanted to check me - sometimes when your sick you can have some pretty painful contractions but not actually be in labor... when she said that I wanted to head butt her. If this was not labor then I was a monkey's uncle! She checked me and I was at a 6. I immediately crawled in to the tub where I planned on spending the rest of the night in labor. I pressed my forehead into the side of the tub as hard as I could while trying to breath through the contraction. After about 30 minutes Tracy asked me if I wanted to push. I told her I wanted to but only because I wanted it to be over with already. I didn't think I was actually ready to push... and then I couldn't help myself. My body started to push, I had no control. And then it really started to hurt. I think there is always a point during labor where you say to yourself, I just can't do this. I'm just not strong enough. My body is too small and too weak to do this. And then you realize you have no choice in the matter at all. Your body is going to do it whether you like it or not. And do it I did. It's the craziest rush of adrenaline you'll ever get in your life.

Conor knelt down over the tub and caught Wayne and placed him on my chest. When they told me the birth time was 12:51 I was so confused. I lost all track of time and could have sworn I was in labor for longer than that. Conor cut the umbilical chord and helped me onto the bed. They stitched me up as Conor and I drooled over our new perfect little miracle. I couldn't stop telling Wayne how perfect he was. After about an hour I took a shower and got cleaned up. We settled in to the bed and took a nap for about 2 hours. We were home by 6:30 that morning. 

Henry continued to be sick for several more days. Just when we thought he was over it he would throw up again. It was a nightmare. Trying to keep everything sanitized so the baby didn't get sick, trying to comfort a sick toddler while nursing and taking care of a baby - it was one of the hardest weeks of my life. I was so worried and emotional and tired. Something had to give or I was going to lose my mind. Finally after 7 days of throwing up Henry got better. Wayne never got what we all had and things are finally starting to feel normal. It's funny what having a new baby can do to you. I have cried tears of joy everyday since he was born. I am so thankful for my little family and for all of the joy my babes bring and will bring in to my life. I know I am so lucky to be their mom and as hard and scary as it is I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world. 

Above: Wayne in his new MamaRoo Swing. When we had Henry out in Hawaii we had absolutely no room for anything other than a crib. With Wayne we still have a very minimalistic approach to baby gear but a swing is by far my new favorite baby accessory. 

Friday
Oct042013

Summer Camp

DESIGNER VACA 2013 from Jaymee Zeller Harney on Vimeo.

Happy weekend everyone! I am so glad it is F R I D A Y!! Designer friend Jaymee made this awesome video of our weekend together at Designer Vaca. I got a little teary eyed watching it. Give me a break I'm 9 months pregnant! I cry over everything. It reminded me of being young and going to summer camp and making tons of new friends that were interested in all of the same things I was! I especially love this retreat because even the girls that I think are going to be "too cool" are not. Everyone is inclusive and the drama you usually brace yourself for when interacting with 50 hot, talented, strong, women is nonexistent. I am so grateful to have been part of a group that was so encouraging and fun! That's what life is all about! Love mixing business with pleasure in such a beautiful way! 

Wednesday
Oct022013

Pretty Swell / Styling Project

Just sharing an old project on the blog this morning! While I am taking all of this time to "slow down" I'm realizing that blogging is a fun creative outlet that I really let go of recently. So today I am taking the time to post some images from a past styling project that I got to work on with some friends out in Hawaii. My friend Katie runs a little shop on Etsy called Pretty Swell - selling little fabric garlands and cake toppers. We got together with photographer Tiffany Garfield one afternoon and styled a mini shoot in Katie's living room. I love projects like this! It is so fun to get together with friends and dream up a scenario and set the stage. It is even more fun when the props include fresh strawberries, lilikoi cake and Izze drinks!  

Monday
Sep302013

When to slow down

I just got back from my trip to Palm Springs last night and honestly I am completely exhausted! Mentally and physically. I attended the annual Designer Vaca retreat with 50 other creative women and it blew my mind! I learned so much and was so inspired by others. I spent the weekend getting to know new people, speaking on a couple of panels, reconnecting with old designer friends and reflecting on how far I have come in a year. It was amazing and just what I needed at this time.

Last year as I drove home I remember writing pages worth of ideas and notes... for days! I re-designed my site and updated my portfolio. I challenged myself to work more more more and more. I revamped my work process to make it smarter and not harder. I took on new challenging projects that I never thought I would. This year as I left I just wanted to toss my laptop in the dumpster on my way out. For the past 9 months I have been looking forward to October - to my due date. Trips were scheduled for all over the country and projects were booked right up to the last second. Literally. I think everyone is still scratching their heads at how I was even allowed on that last flight! I have not slowed down for one second since last year. I have been pushing myself even harder in the last few months knowing that a baby would really slow me down. But now, I don't want to think about work. I don't want to figure out how to push myself harder and be more successful or competitive. I don't want to think about anything but my babies.

I just want to be a mom. 

I loved at the retreat when my friend Kathleen (who is also expecting) said that one of the biggest risks she is going to take in the next year is slowing down, and that it is scary. Damn right it is! I am afraid to slow down too! But I am soooo ready to. AND I am so excited for that fresh heaven smell that is going to be coming to me in a couple of weeks! I can almost feel the soft peachy fuzz on my lips. It is all I think about as I drift off to sleep at night. I also want to cherish these last days of just having 1 child. Henry and I have been best friends for the past 2 years and have done pretty much everything together. I know he is going to be the best big brother ever but my heart is aching to just hold him like a baby a little longer. 

It's definitly quitting time for me. At least for right now. It's time to wrap my babies in blankets and read them stories and kiss them like crazy. I'm sure when it's time to charge full speed ahead again it will seem like I barely had time to blink. So here's to slowing down. Here's to letting go for a season and enjoying the magic that life can bring.

P.S. I know this post may make it sound like I am really quitting and walking away, but I assure you I am not. My brain is still going a mile a minute thinking up new projects and things that I want to do. I am just giving in to this part of my life and really slowing down for a few months while my baby is small and needs me the most. 

Friday
Sep202013

Freelance Mama IV

Hello! It's been a while! I feel like I blog so randomly these days that it is really hard to just jump right in to a post. I feel like I need to excuse my absence. Or update everyone on something huge that has been happening in my life. Truth be told - I have just been a little busy. Busy with work, busy taking care of that crazy beautiful boy pictured above ... and really busy growing another human. 

The November/December issue of Verily went to press yesterday!! I celebrated by eating a huge milkshake and getting in bed at 8. It was glorious! The two weeks before we go to print I always feel like a zombie. Not the slow moving, arms out in front of me kind of zombie. More like the fast, crazy eyed, stop-at-nothing-to-get-a-taste-of-blood, World War Z type of zombie. I work as much and as fast as my tired little mind will allow me in order to meet a deadline. The other day one of my co-workers asked Conor how I got it all done at the last second and he described how I just shut down and go in to "work mode." He doesn't see much of me for those two weeks. I had never looked at it from his point of view before but I'm sure he sees a Zombie. Shut down. Not human. Thirsty for blood - AKA the day everything goes to print.

I'm telling you all of this because in a few short days I will be flying out to Palm Springs to attend the 2nd annual Designer Vaca at the Ace Hotel. I have been asked to speak on a panel with 2 of my other designer friends (Liz Grant and Alyssa Yuhas) about the over-talked about and ever-elusive work/life balance. What is that anyway? I'm pretty sure I have professed right here on my blog to know what that is, but let me tell you - I don't really know for sure! But, hey, who better to talk about it than the huge pregnant zombie in he corner over there! Right? I mean she's gotta know something about balancing work and family and life...look at her! Is she even alive?

I guess I do know a little...I mean I've managed to carve out a happy place in my life - doing what I love while raising a family. I know how to prioritize. I know how to ask for help. I know how to stay organized. I know when to let the house work elude me for days so that Henry and I can just jibber jabber in a language that only he and I understand all afternoon. I also have a husband who knows how to be a partner in all of this and not just another person I have to feed at the end of the day. Gosh, he is amazing. But I DON'T know how to place all of these things in such a way that the scale never tips... aaahhh the scale.... 

Does anyone know how to balance it all perfectly? Is it really that easy? Just do this, this and this and the scale never tips? I don't think so. And we all know exactly what side of the scale we would let fall if forced to choose. Life wins every time. So I am asking you for practical advise on how to balance the scale. Even if the scale is teetering at best. I know I have my tips and tricks that I will be sharing: child care, communication with your spouse, re-thinking spending habits in order to work less.... etc. But what are some of yours? How do you manage to keep the scale from crashing to the floor? Or how do you manage it all when one side does crash to the floor (as I know it can and will from time to time)?*

*I know from experience -and I just want to say to anyone that is going through this, IT'S OK! That stupid old scale wasn't meant to stay balanced perfectly. Life is tricky and sometimes you have to heroically save your family from a sinking ship and let work go to (you know where) :)

Wednesday
Sep042013

Introducing - Clementine Daily!

Remember this post I wrote about having some fun projects in the works? Well, the time has finally come to reveal my latest freelance project - Clementine Daily. It has been sooo much fun to work on! And I am so thrilled that it is finally here for everyone to start visiting... daily! 


A few months ago Erin Loechner (from the blog Design for Mankind) contacted me about a new project she had been dying to work on. When she explained her vision, "to create a space for real women living authentic-sometimes-frenzied-often-harried-but-always-inspired lives" I knew I wanted to be a part of it!

The site is relevant and fun and the messages strive to make you feel like you are good enough. I am so happy to have been able to work on this project and so pleased with the way it turned out! I hope you hop on over to the site to check it out! And enter the giveway!! (See below!)

Monday
Aug262013

Verily Needs a New Intern! 

Verily Magazine is looking for a design intern for the fall school semester! We are looking for someone who can start September 5th and work with us until December 31st. Click here to learn more. 

Thursday
Aug222013

A Taste of Portland

I just returned from a 2 week trip to Portland. I was there visiting my family and doing some work for Verily Magazine. It was a great break from the heat here in Dallas. I love going to Portland to visit friends and family but one of the things I love most about Portland is all of the great places to eat! I think Portland sort of has the corner on great restaurant! Have you seen the latest issue of Bon Appetite? Well, the country's #5 hottest restaurant according to BA is Ava Genes - I wanted to go - but it was a dinner spot and getting there with Henry just wasn't logistical possible while I was there. So, my sister, mom, all the kids and I did the next best thing and went to Roman Candle Bakery for brunch. It's right next door and owned and operated by the same people (the same geniuses behind Stumptown). It was great and pretty kid friendly. I highly recommend it. 

I'm going to try to post more about my travels to Portland but for now I am playing catch up on work and getting the house back in order. While I was gone Conor swapped our nursery and our office and carpeted our "new" nursery. So the house looks a little like a bomb went off! I've been waiting to make the switch for months though so I can't complain! 

Friday
Aug092013

Model for Verily

I'm so excited about this new campaign we just launched over at Verily and wanted to spread the word. At Verily we never airbrush our models. We also strive to use many different body types - not just the typical size 2 model. We are calling for real women to model for our November/December issue and want you to nominate your friends! The model chosen will be featured in our "Runway to Realway" section - one of my personal favorites. Runway to Realway is where we highlight popular trends from the runway and show readers how they can pull it off in real life. Click HERE to read all of the details on how to apply.