A Little Easter Shindig

3.29.2013
A-Lovely-Lark-Mini-Easter-Party Having a little family Easter party today - happy holiday weekend all! xo, Lauren

Update: A few of you have been asking for sources so here ya go!

Fringe Banner: DIY
Striped Cups: West Elm
Floral Straws: BHLDN
Wild Asters Garlands: BHLDN
Metallic Easter Eggs: Grocery Store
Flower Cupcake Toppers: MillaLove on Etsy (saved from Violet's first birthday party)
Fabric Flags: Molasses Candy on Etsy
Cake Stand: Shop Sweet Lulu (bought for Violet's second birthday party)
Linen Basket: polkadots + blooms
Floral Paper Plates: IKEA
Tulle Wands: Shortcake (left over from Violet's first birthday)
Table "Runner": Pikku Baubles Blu Gift Wrap from Luxe Paperie
Milk Glass: Thrifted

A Nursery Starts with Art


Sharing a new art-inspired nursery design over on Apartment Therapy today! You can check it out and find sources here. Happy Friday! xo, Lauren

Violet Says Vol. 5

3.27.2013


*Violet drops a crayon on the floor.*
Me: Can you pick that up please sweetheart?
V: No I tan't Mommy - I have a verwy bad told (cold).


"Daddy, you have hittups? You hold your bweath and drink some wadduh, and your wish come true!"

Talking to her Poppy:
Violet: Poppy, you want wed, boo, geen, lellow, purple, white or orange? 
Poppy: Um, I'll have white.
Violet: No, no! You want this lellow one wiiiight heeyah.

At the doctor's office:
Doctor: Violet, your Mommy is a very nice lady.
Violet: No! She not a lady. She only a Mommy.

The other night V was crying a bit at bedtime because her Daddy was out and couldn't come sing her a song. After I got her calmed down her nose was a little runny, so I asked if she needed a tissue. Her response, "No Mommy, I otay - I just lit (lick) it *slurp*"


Ah, I love this age! If only I could remember all of the funny things she says. I could write a book! 
xo, Lauren

Lovely Little Party: Decorate, Make, Cake, Take

3.26.2013

Thought maybe I'd start a new party series (I seriously enjoy coming up with party ideas - good thing now I have two kids to plan parties for!). So I'm going to include ways to decorate, things for your little guests to make, ideas for the cake, and favors for everyone to take. Here's what I'm thinking for Violet's third birthday (she's requested a princess/prince/monster party with blue and red):

Decorate with these honeycomb tissue paper poms

Make these monster masks and paper crowns

Use these paper pennants and this cake stand for your cake and cupcakes

Send your little guests home with these wooden princess wands or these DIY cardboard shields

Hello, I'm New Here.

3.25.2013

Love these fun little handmade onesies. (via Egg-a-Go-Go) That is all.

Baby Wish List No. 008


Diaper changing isn't the most glamorous job, but who says you can't have a pretty changing station? I'd love to have a few of these lovely things:

1. Organic Cotton + Wool Changing Pad: Miniluu
2. Baby Bee Multipurpose Ointment: Burt's Bees
3. Cotton Cord Basket: Doug Johston
4. Rikshaw Design Baby Blooms: J.Crew

xo, Lauren

Baby Wish List posts are generously sponsored by the online baby registryBabyList - put anything on your baby registry from any store. It's as easy to use as Pinterest, because making your baby registry should be fun!

Lovely Links + Giveaway Winners

3.22.2013


A few of my favorite parenting links from this week:
  1. Lovely newborn/family photo shoot by Paige Lowe Photography via 100 Layer Cakelet
  2. To the parents of little ones...
  3. Beautiful - "And then I worry less and breathe deeper, knowing that our children will always settle into themselves – as long as we wait for them."
  4. Thoughts on the "big girl transition".
  5. On holiday madness.
  6. On the so-called 'mommy wars'.


DIY Ideas:


















If you'd like to see more of my Apartment Therapy posts, you can check them out here

And last but not least the winners of the giveaways...

Home Depot giveaway: Tammigirl
American Blanket Co.: eRin

Congrats ladies, and thanks to all for playing! Happy Friday everyone - xo, Lauren

Baby Wish List No. 007

3.21.2013

Baby accessories make my heart go pitter patter, but they're one of the things I have trouble bringing myself to buy. These are a few I'm considering in spite of myself:

1. Headbands from Little Hip Squeaks - such cute patterns!
2. Baby Mocassins from Freshly Picked - one of each color please...
3. Knit Turbans from wolfechild - they look sooo soft.
4. Fuzzy Slippers from Sonatina - who am I kidding, I want these in adult-size for myself!

Maybe I could just pick one...

xo, Lauren

Baby Wish List posts are generously sponsored by the online baby registryBabyList - put anything on your baby registry from any store. It's as easy to use as Pinterest, because making your baby registry should be fun!

Don't Forget...

To enter both of our current giveaways - the winners will be announced tomorrow!

Enter here to win $25 gift card to the Home Depot + a Swiffer Sweeper + a pack of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers as part of their #ReadyDoneClean campaign:



And enter here to win a hand-stitched baby blanket from the American Blanket Company:


Good luck! xo, Lauren

Something To...

3.20.2013
make: origami fox - Origami Club
wear: Victoria top - Mercredi/vintage sandal - Zara
live: kids' "Eames" table - Vertigo interiors
read: I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
play: Pixie wooden toy camera - Twig Creative

Violets Third Birthday: Party Ideas


So I asked Violet what kind of birthday party she'd like this year, and she immediately said, "A pincess and a pince and a monstuh!" She's really gotten into princesses ever since her Nonny started introducing her to Disney movies. So far Cindawella, Seepin' Booty, and Snow White. I'll be honest and admit that I groaned inwardly at her response. I've got nothing against princesses - in fact I was totally a princess girl as a child, but I think princess parties can easily get cheesy really quickly. Not that Violet would  mind rhinestone encrusted tiaras and lace and frills, but I'm going to admit I'm not as into that scenario. Plus with the new baby I want to keep it fairly simple, while still making it special for her. So I turned to good ol' Pinterest for some princess party ideas that aren't too sugary sweet, and am starting to feel the party planning love :)

Here's what I've got (clockwise from the top left):
1. Pipe Cleaner Crowns (Bleubird)
2. Wooden Wand Party Favors (Fashion Loves People)
3. Paper Honeycomb Poufs (Varpunen)
4. Flag & Sprinkle Encrusted Cake (Catch My Party)

Here's hoping I can pull it off with a one-month-old in tow! xo, Lauren

On Maternity Leave and Money and Guilt

3.19.2013
I've been thinking a lot about maternity leave lately - big shocker, right? (Among other things like getting my taxes taken care of, bringing home personal items from work, getting out the co-sleeper - I mean, I'm like a ticking time bomb at this point, people!) I'm planning to take off of work until August of 2014, when the baby will be about 16 months old. Unpaid. But I'm not complaining (okay well maybe just a little) - because I know that I'm one of the lucky mothers to even have that option. Most new moms that I know (here in the U.S.) are lucky to be able to take six weeks off with their newborns and retain their jobs.

I've also been thinking about money. I'm trying to work up basically until the moment I give birth in order to get a paycheck for as long as possible. Like me, Kevin is a teacher too, which means that we aren't exactly rolling in the green stuff, so every day that I can continue to work is important. But every morning when I wake up, I have an internal battle to force myself to go to work. Honestly at this point of my pregnancy, hormones and discomfort have completely taken over. And every day I feel like a complete failure when I head home after a long day. I just don't currently have the patience, focus, or stamina that is absolutely required in my profession, and I really feel like I just shouldn't be there at this point. But I push on - another day another dollar, right?

And while 99% of the time I feel very very fortunate to be a citizen of the United States of America, lately I've been kind of dreaming about living in, oh say Sweden where they're given 480 paid days per child? Or in Denmark where women get paid time off for four weeks before giving birth. Or most any other country in the industrialized world:


Even though we have scrimped and saved enough for me to take a long unpaid leave, I feel guilty about spending that savings. Because heck, we could be using that money as a down payment on a bigger home, to pay off our student loans or free ourselves of our car payment, or on an amazing vacation (or two or three), or even just as an emergency fund. Kev would love to move out of our tiny casa (and some days so would I!) but he knows that being home with our children as much as possible is really important to me. And so we continue to make our little home work for us.

Making these big decisions is tough, and we try to take them as they come and make the best choice that we can at the time. Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball that would let me know if we were doing it 'right' - if everything was going to work out in the end. Because as much as I want to live in the present (childhood is so fleeting - I don't want to miss a minute of it!), I also don't want to be working until I'm eighty or become a financial burden to my children. I want to enjoy my golden years as much as my younger ones. Travel. Be comfortable.

Finding that balance is tough.

For now I guess I'll just try to take things one day at a time, keep putting one foot in front of the other until this baby is born, and hope for the best. (And pray that my fairy godmother comes, cleans my house, gives my kid a bath (I mean seriously, leaning over the tub at almost 37 weeks pregnant is no joke), and tells me to put my feet up and just relax already! Hey, a girl can dream, right?) xo, Lauren

Giveaway: Hand-Stitched Baby Blankets

3.18.2013
[This giveaway is no longer accepting entries]

The American Blanket Company recently sent me one of their gorgeous, soft hand-stitched baby blankets for the new baby, and I have to say I am in looove. It's super soft, has gorgeous stitching, and comes in a bunch of beautiful colors and patterns. They're handmade here in the U.S. in Massachusetts, which is an added bonus. And the best part is, they've offered to give away a blanket to one lucky reader!

I chose the Gardenia circle-stitch pattern in white:
 



But they have three different patterns and a variety of color options to choose from:


To enter, visit the American Blanket Company's site and let us know which style and color you would choose from the hand-stitched collection if you won. I'll choose a winner at the end of the week. Good luck! xo, Lauren

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. Entrants must provide a first name and email address in order to enter. Up to one entry per person. After the winner is randomly chosen he or she will be put in contact with the sponsors of the giveaway. Winnings will not be distributed by A Lovely Lark. If the winner does not claim his or her prize within ten days, they forfeit their winnings and another winner will be chosen and contacted via email. All rules and conditions are subject to change without notice.

[This giveaway is no longer accepting entries]

Easter Bunny Treat Bag: Free Printable


I figured while I was at it I might as well make a treat bag for Easter too. Here's a friendly little bunny that you can print out to hold all of those Easter goodies. The white one you can just download here, print, glue onto a paper lunch bag, and cut out. The brown bag version I just cut out the ears and painted on the face. Even cuter: glue a fluffy pom pom on the back for a tail! xo, Lauren

Download the free printable here.

P.S. Finely cut/shredded tissue paper makes my favorite Easter grass!

Last Minute St. Patty's Day Free Printable Treat Bag

3.15.2013

I just realized St. Patty's Day is this weekend and I've got nothing for Violet! Whoops :) Here's a free printable I whipped up and figured I'd share with all of you. Just print (you can download here), glue to a brown paper lunch bag, cut out the handle, and voila! Instant treat bag. I'm going to swing by the party store and stock up on some gold coins, rainbow candy, crayons, and the like. Nothing like the last minute! xo, Lauren

Link to the download

So Fresh and So Clean

3.14.2013
a-lovely-lark-master-bedroom-updateOur master bedroom is really starting to come together thanks to a fresh white coat of paint and a little elbow grease from Kev. I wish I could say I had helped, but this is one very pregnant lady who simply is not in the mood to paint! We used our long-time favorite Behr paint in Ultra Pure White (our go-to white paint color) on the walls and trim. Then I got to swoop in after the dirty work was done and play around with the fun stuff - artwork, furniture, grocery store flowers, and my favorite Orla Kiely bedding (from Bed, Bath & Beyond). Tell you what, I guess this pregnancy stuff does have its perks!

Next on the list is to have my dad come in and do some wiring so we can hang out new sconces. We ended up purchasing the Jasper sconces from Pottery Barn (and on sale too - score!) We also want a new bed frame (maybe like this one from West Elm?), and Kevin is planning to make a headboard. I hope it's finished in time for the new baby, since she'll most likely be sleeping in our room for the first few months. I'm so excited about having such a fresh and clean feeling bedroom!

City Landscapes

3.13.2013

Aren't these city landscapes from Muji just the cutest?! They're meant as pen stands, but I think they'd make a great piece of artwork just on their own. They also have Paris and Tokyo. xo, Lauren

35 Weeks


Does anyone else feel like pregnancy is a cruel joke? I'm at 35-and-a-half weeks now and the nesting instinct has kicked into overdrive, but I can't do much before I have to sit and rest for a bit. SO frustrating. And clothing? Don't even get me started. I'm at the point where not much fits (at last not comfortably) - not even a lot of my maternity clothing. I have been mostly hanging out in my Old Navy maternity tanks, yoga pants, and this nightgown. It was my mother's and it's silk and is seriously one of the only things that is keeping me sane. Unfortunately I can't wear any of that to work, but as soon as I get home you better believe the first thing I do is change.

The other cruel thing is that all I want to do at this point is stockpile some Zzz's, but it's sooo difficult to get comfortable at night. One thing that has been my saving grace is this gigantic U-shaped maternity pillow that I "bought" with credit on Zulily. I couldn't bring myself to buy one the last time around, but since this one was essentially free I went for it, and I honestly don't know if I'll ever give it up. EV-ER. (Sorry honey). Kevin's seriously been such a sweetheart about sharing the bed with this giant fluffy monster of a pillow. I would buy it all over again even if I didn't have the credit. So worth it.

I keep trying to tell myself that this is easy compared to what I'm going to be going through in a few weeks (ahem childbirth, recovery from said childbirth, a toddler, AND a newborn), but the logical part of my brain has been taken over by pregnancy hormones. Anyone have any tips for getting through the last few weeks of pregnancy? I'd really appreciate any advice I can get at this point! xo, Lauren

Recipe for a Warm, Rustic Kitchen

3.12.2013

Mmmm my favorite type of kitchen - lots of white, warm wood, and natural fibers with a few pops of happy color. Stir and enjoy! You can check out the sources over at my ideabook at Houzz.com! xo, Lauren

Over 50 Sweet (but Sugar-Free) Easter Gift Ideas

I have nothing against a little candy on holidays, but I like to fill Violet's Easter basket with other things too. Here are over fifty of my favorite alternatives to the sugary stuff:
Clockwise from top left:
1. Colors by Orla Keily
2. Knit Carrot Rattle
3. Ollie by Olivier Dunrea
4. Wooden Bug House
5. Butterfly Mask
6. Egg Crayons
7. Jump Rope
8. Bunny Slippers
9. Flower Jump Rope
10. Egg Shaker
11. Wooden Rainbow Stacking Toy
12. Gardening Tools
13. Bird Rattle
Clockwise from top left:
14. Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
15. Bunny Rabbit Prize Balls
16. Romper
17. Egg Car
18. Ant Farm
19. Bunny Slippers
20. Magnifying Glass
21. Wooly the Sheep
22. Organic Rabbit Onesie

Clockwise from top left:
23. Egg Sidewalk Chalk
24. Flower Crown
25. Wooden Heart Egg Cups
26. Chickadee Knit Booties
27. Bubbles
28. Wooden Ducky Pull Toy 
29. Cotton Petal Hair Clips
30. Plush Bunny
31. Play-Doh Eggs
32. Natural Beeswax Crayons
33. Wooden Flower Teething Ring
34. Butterfly Hair Clips
35. Colored Pencils
36. Spotted Slouch Pants

Clockwise from top left:
37. Fluffle Bunny
38. Rabbit Pacifier Clip
39. Birdy Purse
40. Plush Rabbit
41. Plush Bunny
42. Butterfly Mask
43. Bunny Coat
44. Bunny Jumper
45. Bunny Ears Headband
46. Paper Rabbit Decorations
47. Personalized Wooden Egg


Clockwise from top left:
48. Charley Harper Memory Game
49. Hi-Bounce Pinky Ball
50. Wooden Egg Toy
51. Organic Bunny Bib
52. Deer Print Leggings
53. Boon Odd Ducks
54. Paint-your-own Bunny
55. Silly Putty
56. Organic Plush Rabbit
57. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
58. Kata Golda Plush Lamb

It's Coming Together

3.11.2013

The nursery is starting to come together. I can't wait to add the finishing touches! This is my favorite spot in the house at the moment. Which I suppose is a good thing since I'll soon be spending a lot of my time here. Four-and-a-half weeks to go before I meet this little lady, as you can see from my giant mid-section:



At least I can still see my toes!

 xo, Lauren

P.S. You can follow along on Instagram @alovelylark

Party Pretties

3.08.2013

We've been talking about parties a lot around our house lately. Violet's friend has a birthday party today, my birthday is Sunday, the baby will be born in April, and Violet's birthday is in May. I have to admit I'm a little worried about having a full-fledged birthday party for her one month after giving birth, but I don't want to take away from her special day either. Even if we just keep it to grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, it's a LOT of people. On Kevin's side alone Violet has 13 cousins! It would be a great opportunity for everyone to meet the baby though too...

Anyway, aren't the pictures above just so much fun?! Here are the sources (clockwise from top left):


You can see Violet's first birthday herehere, and here and her second birthday here and here. If you want to see more party inspiration you can check out my Pinterest board here. Happy Friday!

xo, Lauren

Desk Buddies

3.06.2013

I got a couple of new desk buddies lately that I thought were worth sharing with y'all. They're both pretty sweet and simple, which is right up my alley as far as technology is concerned. The first one is a really pretty iPhone stand/sound amplifier called the Ecoustik that was sent to me by the lovely folks over at Portsmith Company. They thought it would be great for the new baby for lullaby music/white noise, but until she makes her debut I'm enjoying it for myself!

I love that it amplifies the sound just enough, but not to an obnoxiously loud level, and I think it makes the iPhone speakers sound less tinny (very technical term). And I really love that it gives me a place to call home for my iPhone that is super sweet, simple, and pretty. The stand is working out great for Face-timing as well. It's really so simple it's genius, this gives you an idea of how it works:


And that's all there is to it! They also have similar amplifiers for your iPad. You can check them out here. The other guy that I recently received has also made himself at home on my desk:



It's called a MOS Organizer (Magnetic Organization System) It's basically a magnetic dock that keeps your cables in place. I always had to dig behind the desk when my camera cord or iPhone charger would slip, so when they contacted me about trying it out, I thought - perfect! Some of the cables stick on their own, but if they don't there are little magnetic clips that will hold the cables and cords in place:


You can also mount it on the wall, but I preferred it on the desk (didn't want to mess with the wallpaper) I do wish the clips came in white (the ones I received were red, blue, and yellow), but overall I love it and it's really come in handy! You can check it out in more detail here.

Thanks so much to Portsmith Company and MOS for my new gadgets!

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this post are my own. I received both products for free to review, but was not otherwise compensated for this post.

Snow Slush Day


It's a good thing that Violet insisted on going out in the snow earlier this morning, because since then it has quickly turned to slush. We spent the rest of the morning inside playing with sand, and I must say, I'm not trying to brag or anything, but my kid is Picasso reincarnate. (disclaimer: I may be a bit biased).


And yes, her shirt is on backwards. She dressed herself :) Hope you're having a lovely day - snow or not! xo, Lauren

Around Here

3.05.2013
a-lovely-lark-back-room This little room is one of my favorite rooms in the house. I get to change out the artwork all of the time and it gets a lot of natural light during the daytime. Usually the floor is covered with a train or dress up clothing or blocks or baby dolls, but today it happened to be clean (miracle!) and I took the opportunity to take a few snapshots. Hope you're having a lovely Tuesday! xo, Lauren

Life Lately

3.04.2013
We had a pretty low-key weekend. I went to the grocery store and picked up some pretty blooms for around the house. I am so ready for spring and it helps to have some flowers sprinkled about. I also went into nesting mode and washed a few things for our new little lady. I forgot how tiny newborn clothing is! I couldn't get over it - I kept holding them up to Kevin and saying, "Look at this one!" He's been doing a good job of humoring me and my crazy pregnant lady hormones :)

Violet was a bit hot and cold as far as how she was feeling this weekend. One day she'd seem perfectly happy and healthy and the next she was extremely tired, grouchy, and refused to eat much of anything. She's still on the antibiotics and I'm hoping she's still just recovering and that there isn't something more going on with her. I tend to be on the paranoid side of things, so I found myself looking up things "like appendicitis symptoms in toddlers" on Google. We're all back to work and she's back at the sitter's today, so maybe being back in a regular routine will help? Sometimes I really wish kids came with an instruction manual!



And last but not least Kev got the bedroom painted! It looks so fresh and clean, I can't wait to share some photos. Hope you had a good weekend!

xo, Lauren

Master Bedroom Update

3.01.2013
So the floors are in! The room feels so much lighter, brighter, and cleaner now that the old carpet is out and the ugly green tile is covered. The next step is trim and paint. I'm craving white, bright, simple, and clean.







Here is what I'm looking at for inspiration:



So excited!!! Happy Friday

xo, Lauren

P.S. You can check out more of my ideas for the bedroom on my Pinterest board here.
 

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