Little Love Letters || July Edition

Monday, July 31, 2017

dear weekend weather, 
the perfect tease of fall, you were beyond perfect. your chilly temperatures had me in a light-weight sweater, and you're overcast skies made for sit-back-and-relax downtime. i love you more than you know. come back soon!

dear back-to-school,
how are you already here? july did you really even happen?

dear  buzzing cicadas,
you're summer sound marks the end of one season and the coming of another. you bring back so many childhood memories that i associate with your rhythmic buzz. and i love it in a sentimental way.

dear glass vase
i've got the perfect spot for you in my home. just saying. 

dear changing leaves,
i see you. you're in my neighbors' yards and there are even a few of you in my dogwood tree. you make my heart sing. 

dear mosquitos,
get lost. i know you love me, but let me be clear, i have no love for you.

dear fall magazines,
i'm eagerly waiting your august arrival to my mailbox!

dear toddler jammies,
you are adorable. i couldn't just get one pair, but this pair too. And I'm thinking she'll need this set as well.

dear pumpkins,
let me just say, i can't wait to fill my home and front porch steps with you. i know this is a little premature, but you're my favorite and it's almost the season!

dear nursery,
you're almost complete, and i can't wait to put the finishing touches on you! psst...can i still call you a nursery now that you're a toddler's room instead of a baby's??

dear open windows and cool breezes,
you make my home feel cozy and lovely. can we keep this up through the coming months?

cheers + xo's

p.s. read more little love letters.

p.p.s. don't forget twine & cotton's fall candles are in the shop and there's a promo running (see in the shop's announcement section)!

**Affiliate links were used in this post. Thank you as always for supporting this blog!

The Perfect Little Play Spot

Thursday, July 27, 2017
We are in full toddler mode over here. Greer wants to do everything and get into everything. Can anyone else with a toddler relate? While it can sometimes to be a challenge to find a toy or activity that will keep her attention, it has been so much fun to watch her discover her favorite things. One of those just so happens to be coloring (a girl after her mama's heart). She has loved drawing on plain paper or coloring in pictures, especially when it's Ariel, The Little Mermaid, (another of mama's childhood favorites). She's such a textile little learner, so we wanted her to have a space she could sit down and color or craft her heart out. Because I know as she gets older, there are so many more DIY activities she'll be getting into. 

We knew we wanted a table she could use now and also grow into. And when we found the sweetest little floral table by Fantasy Fields, we knew it would be the perfect addition to her room. I'm excited to watch her grow with it and use it throughout the years. I still remember my table from childhood, so I hope that this play table will end up being a sweet memory for her too. 

And y'all, this girl loves seeing her "self!" (as she likes to say it). Whether I'm putting a bow in her hair, brushing her teeth, or snapping a photo of her, she always wants to see. It is the most precious thing. So when we saw that there was a standing mirror that matched the play table, we knew we couldn't pass. Now she has a way to see her "self!" all by herself without mama or daddy picking her up to see. Greer loves checking out her hair or her outfit, and the first time I heard her tell herself she was "boo-full" (beautiful if you aren't sure what that toddler lingo was) I about melted. I hope she always sees herself as "boo-full" and I also wish she would say it like that always too :)

Adding two pieces of furniture to her nursery that will give her a space to stretch her imagination and admire the little person she is, has been the best. As much as I want her to stay this little forever, I'm also so excited to watch her grow and to experience her already-amazing personality in each new season. 

A special thank you to Fantasy Fields for providing both the Bouquet Table + Chairs and Mirror for our review. 
All opinion are mine alone. 

**Affiliate links were used in this post. Thank you as always for supporting this blog. 

Being A Take-Time-For-Yourself Mama

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
This motherhood gig has been my most rewarding and most draining blessing. It can put me on cloud nine and leave me down in the dumps. Typically, I can experience both of those several times a day, even within minutes of each other (do you have a toddler too??). Patience and grace have never been more needed, nor has coffee, or me-time. I've been thinking a lot lately on what it is that fuels me each day. Where I gain my stamina, focus, and gumption. And I think what I've found is that it revolves around giving myself time to be myself outside of being a mother. 

Yes, mamas, I'm telling you to use a little bit (or a lotta bit) every day to take care of yourself and give yourself the very grace you willingly (and at time must muster) to your babes. And don't start feeling selfish, because really it's not being selfish at all. I know it's no easy feat to make room for that needed time, especially when you guilt yourself for needing the time in the first place. But, oh how important it is tend to your own needs, and dare I even say, wants, so that you can take care of those precious littles to the best of your human capabilities. 

Motherhood isn't about perfection or doing it all. It's about reaching for the stars and being okay when you don't even get close. It's having lazy days where you stay in your pajamas with your kids and never make it out of the house or days when you get so much accomplished you feel like super mom. Both days are okay, and both days will inevitably happen. I find when I have a less-than-productive day, I let the guilt of... a) did my child have enough fun? b) was I engaging enough with my child c) am I a bad mom for staying in my pajamas (and happily so) all day? .... weigh me down. That guilt follows me around like a lost puppy, but it's not so cute. And then I end up questioning if I deserve me-time at all. Of course, I do! And so do you!

What I'm trying to say is that motherhood/parenthood gives so much to us, but it also takes so much out of us. And if you need a little quiet time in the middle of the day to sip on coffee and read a magazine, do it and don't feel bad for letting your little grow their imagination with independent play. You don't have to be on all. the. time. 

For instance, right now, I'm blogging this while my daughter plays with her dolls and flips through all of my magazines. She's safe, in my sight, knows she can come to me, and most of all is just plain happy. Her little imagination is budding right before me while I take some time for myself so that we can have an exceptional day together instead of dragging through until bedtime. 

Being a mama is all about compromise. Give of yourself freely to your children and also make the time for yourself. I don't think you can really have one without the other. Some days you'll need a little extra me-time and even a glass of wine of your fourth cup of coffee (because, whoa chaos), while other days you're recharged from the pure wonder of getting to be a mama in the first place.

Keep on keepin' on mamas! You've got this more than you know. I'd love to hear the ways you find to recharge yourself and how you make time for your me-time.

Take Me To The Zoo!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Saturday morning came with the impromptu idea to make a morning trip to the zoo. Greer is a lover of all animals, and she's hit the age where she not only recognizes things, but she has a basic understanding of it too. There's a small zoo not far from us, and we thought it would be a fun little family outing before the heat of the day struck (apparently the heat didn't get that memo though). So we loaded up, made the 40ish minute drive and became just as giddy as Greer guessing over how excited she would be to see animals in person. 

Fun tidbit, this zoo has been around for as long as I can remember, and I have the memories of visiting as a child. Just under two decades ago, the zoo was known for its tiger, Ruby who passed away in 2006. This monument for her in the middle of the zoo has been there forever and was recently restored. Now that Greer has had her photo with the life-size tiger statue, I think I'm going to have to dig up a photo of my sister and I with "Ruby."

From the zoo, there is a beautiful lookout of the city below. And fortunately, it also provided some shade from the sun's rays. After taking a look out from our mountain-top perch, we waited for the snow leopard to be released after the zoo keeper cleaned her cage and put out breakfast. The leopard's paws were huge, and all Greer could ask was "Hand? Hand?" because she wanted nothing more than to hold that large kitty cat's paws. She also blew the snow leopard about ten kisses, and waved with "hewwo!" and "bye-bye!" 

Greer waved to every single animal she saw, even this stone statue. And it was quite possibly the cutest thing ever. She was very much enamored by the turtles, asking to hold their hands too. She has a pari of jammies with little turtles all over (they're her favorite), so seeing turtles in real-life was super cool for her. 

And, I'll just have you notice those red leaves there in the corner. Just a little sweet reminder that fall isn't so far away :)

Everyone, meet Greer's turtle smile. You melt too, right?? After the turtles and a few other amphibians, we made our way to the train that rides around the perimeter of the zoo. It sounded just like a lawn mower, so Greer now believes that we were riding a giant "mo-mo" not a "choo choo." She loved it, so we'll let her think it was a mower if that's what she really wants :)

Besides, turtles (and dogs too) this girl's next animal love are pandas. She recognizes them on anything. So while the red panda didn't look just like the pandas she's used to see in her books (or on the side of Panda Express take-out boxes; parenting done right!), she still loved that she got to see a real panda! 

Her amazement and wonder at all of the animals and the experience itself was so worth the hour and half in the summer heat. Making little memories like this are one of the things Pete and I talked and dreamed about before we were ever parents. It's so much more fun than we could imagine. And because we love our girl like crazy and like to spoil her every now and then she got to pick out a souvenir. She went with the stuffed snow leopard, and she finally got to hold its paw :)

Fall In The Shop!

Monday, July 24, 2017

It's here!! It's here!! Our fall fragrances are back in the shop, and I'm so excited to share our five newest fragrances + wax tarts with you!! I thought I loved last year's scents (I still do), but y'all, I'm head-over-heels, smitten with these new candles. They are giving me all the fall feels, and you can bet all the money in the world that I'm burning them non-stop in the Hill house. Husband has come to accept my craze love for fall, and he doesn't even object. #truelove

So what's new?? We've got a new double wick, which creates a more even wax pool and helps with the candle's warm throw (how well it spreads its fragrance). And we've got WAX TARTS! I never thought I would be excited about tarts, but never say never. Our tarts have the most festive design and come in a bag of 8. You can pick one fragrance for all 8 or you can pick two fragrances to divide evenly between the tarts. I found some of the cutest wax warmers; I have this one on a side table in my family room and this one plugged into an outlet above my kitchen counters. 

The fall preorders are open today and run through August 4th. Then all orders will ship out on August 10th. Why order now? Because you're candles will you get to you door sooner AND the promotion: BUY 2 candles (or 2 sets of mini candles), get 4 wax tarts for FREE in two scents of your choice. This applies to every two candles. So if you purchase four candles, you'll get 8 tarts free! 

No code is needed, but you MUST make a note to the seller in the comments when you check out, detailing that you are eligible for the free tarts and which two fragrances you would like. pssst....this is a great way to smell the scents we offer ;) 

L E T    M E    I N T R O D U C E 

If you have any questions about the candles or tarts, the way something smells, etc., don't hesitate to ask me! I'm thrilled to share these with you, and so looking forward to your feedback!

**Affiliate links were used within this post. Thank you for supporting this blog!

Friday Favorites

Friday, July 21, 2017

Happy Friday!! Someone pour me a tall glass of iced coffee or just tell me which way to bed. I'm exhausted, but also so excited for this weekend! We don't really have much planned, which makes me happy to have a low-key two days with my two favorite people. We've had a really simple week too, and with the weather so blistering hot we've mostly kept ourselves indoors except for some errands. I'd bring the baby pool out, but this mama has just had a lazy week. Anyone else with me? I don't know if it's the heat or if it's the mid-summer rut. My goal is to pull it out get husband to pull the pool out this weekend for a little backyard time.

On to some favorites this week....

  • I'm thinking that I want to add this salad to next week's dinner menu rotation. And then this bbq chicken naan too. 
  • The Nordstrom Anniversary sale is live for all! And you've probably heard a ton about by now. So check out all of my top picks for a little late night perusing! 
  • Twine & Cotton (the Etsy shop I run with husband for those who may not know) is releasing our line of fall candles for pre-order on Monday!! 
  • I think I might just be doing an hour-by-hour weekend this weekend. It's been WAY too long since I've shared a post like this, so I'm pretty excited about it! 
  • My nails are officially going dark. From here until next summer I'm using dark nail colors because they're my favorite and #bringonfall. Here's a color that I want to add to my collection!

Short and simple for this tired mama brain! I hope y'all have a lovely weekend, and I'll see you here next week. xo

July Around Here

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I said it last week, once July 4th has come and gone, I clock out of summer and let the excitement of fall take over. If you've been here for awhile, you know I would gladly live in a perpetual fall. There's nothing I don't love about it. In the meantime I'm living out the rest of summer, and trying to make the most of it (go away, hot weather!).

We've been knee-deep in house projects. Who would guess those took so long, especially when you've got a toddler to keep away from all the tools and still entertained? We've only hit the pool once and we need to get back before the summer is all but gone. We have quite the water baby on our hands. Our festive fourth included a trip downtown for a small fair and sparklers. The Hill house keeps getting rearranged (anyone else love moving furniture around as much as I do?). We're eating the light and stuffed-vegetables life over here. The peach orchard is starting to wonder just how many times we'll visit this summer. We've been on countless Target runs mostly because we can't say away. And we're on the countdown to our beach vacation next month (I need a tan in a bad way!), and hoping baby girl still fits in her swimsuits by then. She's growing like a weed (I kid you not) and has grown 5 inches since September (98th percentile all the way). And once we're back from our week-long beach life, I'll be pulling out the pumpkins! Don't tell me I'm the only one :)

What is on your bucket list for the rest of summer? I could use all the inspiration! Hope your July has been full of summery fun! xo

Tomato & Basil Bruschetta

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
One thing I cannot get enough of right now is fresh bruschetta. There's just something about the crunch of toasted garlic bread, the freshness of summer tomatoes, the hint of basil, and the sweetness of balsamic vinegar. It's magic in one bite, and I could eat it non-stop. This comes from someone who could go with or without tomatoes, and most often doesn't consider herself a huge fan. My love for bruschetta is saying a lot! 

I'm finding that it's perfect for weekend lunches, so add this to your weekend plans! We've been pairing it with fresh veggies dipped in ranch dip or fresh fruit. And even though I'm eating all the carbs, it feels light and just filling enough. Beyond just lunch, it would be great as an appetizer or to take to a cookout. It's simple to make and packs a huge taste. 

  • What You'll Need
    • 4 roma tomatoes
    • 8 basil leaves (plus a couple more for extra topping)
    • 2 TSP balsamic vinegar
    • Garlic salt
    • Bake-At-Home Baguette (at Kroger)
    • Butter

  • What You'll Do
    • Preheat the oven to 350°. Slice the baguette, about a 1/4" thickness, and layout on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. 
    • Slice the butter very thin and put a piece of butter in the sent of each piece of bread. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until the edges lightly browned. If you don't use a bake-at-home baguette, cut this time down by half or until the edges are slightly browned. 
    • Wash and de-seed the tomatoes. Dice them up and add to a bowl. 
    • Roll each basil leaf up tightly, from side to side, then cut (this gives the basil the crinkle look). Toss it into the bowl.
    • Add the balsamic vinegar and a dash or two of garlic salt (to you taste). Stir gently, until well-combined. 
    • Once the bread is cooked, top with the tomato mixture. You can heap us as much or as little as you like.

**This recipe makes 8 heavily, bruschetta-topped slice of toasted, buttery garlic bread. Heap less to make more or double the recipe to make more!

I promise it is as good as it looks! If you're not sure you'll like it, I say just go for it and give it a shot. You may miss out on a new favorite if you don't :)

p.s. Go grab some fresh basil and keep it in your kitchen window. We grabbed some at a local nursery a month or so ago, and there is nothing like picking fresh basil leaves and using them in your recipes. CANNOT get enough!

Welcome To Darling Do

Monday, July 17, 2017
I am SO excited to finally share the relaunch of my blog with you! Friends, welcome to Darling Do, a concept that I've been brewing and dreaming up for the last several months. And over the weekend, I finally took the plunge and made the change. It already feels much more like me, and I'm smitten with the new aesthetic and name; it captures the essence of the blog that I have been putting together over the last four and a half years.   

I hope you find this new site to be more user friendly. There's a new search bar (top right) so that if you're looking for something specific (a recipe you remember I shared, maybe a DIY, or even a random post) you can easily search using keywords. You can also browse through the navigation bar dropdown menu, which has categorized my posts by topics. And if you want to get an email to let you know when I've shared a new post, subscribe via email (to the right, on the sidebar).

The site is still a work-in-progress as I make tweaks here and there (don't click on the "About" section under "Home" because you'll currently find nothing!). So as I make these little changes, I would LOVE to know your thoughts on the new space and what you would like to read more of. What are you favorite posts and what content would you like to see. Is there a post I haven't done? Let me know in the comments! 

I can't adequately express how thankful I am for your readership. I have loved creating this space, and I'm excited for all the things to come. I hope you always find inspiration, encouragement, and a little bit of happy when you're here. 

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I appreciate your input more than you know! xo