Rainy Day at the Museum

When it rains here in Boston, flocks of children descend upon our museums where they can expend some energy roaming exhibit halls.  We followed suit and found ourselves at the Harvard Museum of Natural History where I was pleasantly surprised by its intimate space yet impressive collection of curiosities and critters from our natural world.  From the display of colorful rocks to the menagerie of animals, I felt like we were on the set of Doctor Dolittle.

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This is the golden age for jumpsuits.  They are back in a big way for all ages and I can't think of a better silhouette for our walking toddler.  Like any Soor Ploom piece, the cut of the Frankie Jumpsuit is perfection.  Mila can move freely without restriction and the soft pre-washed linen can be worn year-round which is wonderful news for us long-suffering New Englanders.  Minikin, purveyor of the world's most enchanting children's wear, has a wonderful selection of these Brooklyn made garments including a gorgeous Minikin exclusive, this Birdie Tunic in coral.  

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I have a tendency to scoop up anything in a blue green shade which compliments Elise's eyes so this Soor Ploom Peasant Tunic was a no brainer.  Aside from the dreamy fabric and gorgeous gathering, I am absolutely loving that it can be worn first as a short dress, extending its longevity.  Fresh out of the lavender infused packaging from Minikin, Elise tells me she "smells like roses."      

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Mila is dwarfed by the museum's kingdom of creatures.  This is a wonderful place to loose yourself on a rainy day and a mesmerizing experience for curious youngsters.    

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Spring Necessities

Bring on floral, pastels and frills.  We crave a warm summer day as snow is still teasing us in the forecast.  But while it might be brisk outside, we can at least pretend with these lovely pieces that are sure to take us joyfully into the warmer days ahead.  While we're not exactly a family of musicians (at least 3 of us are tone deaf), the girls do love to make some noise.  Mila's first stop in the toy bin is her collection of musical instruments.

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Enter the most adorable Briar Handmade summer bonnet which pairs beautifully with this sweet coral dress from Tocoto Vintage, both available at Minikin (in other words, get them now!).  Some of my all time favorite pieces are from Tocoto Vintage, a brand that generates feelings of romanticism and nostalgia.  Their fabrics are oh so soft and the styles are as precious as the babe who wears them.  

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The only thing that comes between Elise and her ukulele is the perfect summertime dress from our Alaskan friends, Oma + Jo.  "A Shop for Teeny Adventurers" Oma + Jo encapsulates all the wonder and adventure that is childhood into playful and wearable pieces that are timeless yet modern and unique.   

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Above Elise plays with the adorable Animal Seesaw from Manzanita Kids.  Its tactile, fun to balance and of course, beautiful to look at!  

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A few of our favorite things

There is rarely a dull moment in our home these days with an almost-walking one year old and a lively almost-4 year old.  Yet all of us at times like to escape into our own little imaginary worlds.  Elise draws on daily experiences to create magical scenarios with her friends.  We choose toys that allow her to make her own scripts with few interferences.  For this reason, I'm naturally drawn to clean and simple playthings that act as a canvas for her fantasies.  Toys like those made by the talented husband and wife team at Manzanita Kids.  

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Adrienne and David bring us this wonderful brand from their Seattle home.  I first discovered one of their rattles at a local Boston store and it was love at first sight.  The little bird rattle sang to me and I couldn't get it out of my head or hands for that matter!  Yes their products are gorgeous and feel wonderful but when I read their "featured shop" interview on Etsy, I was completely smitten.  To know that our little rattle and dollhouse were born from ideas, drawings, conversations and prototypes gives me just as much joy as they bring my girls.    

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Mila's deer rattle was beutifully engraved with her name.  Her little fingers love grabbing every interesting edge and shaking it to hear the soothing rattle which sounds a lot like rain drops on a roof.  

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Ok so I have to admit I am a little obsessed with dollhouses and when Elise started to show an interest in them, my part time job suddenly became searching for unique mini abodes.  Much to my delight, these creative animal themed modular dollhouses from Manzanita Kids fit the bill.  The unique shapes add an element of interest and offer endless configurations with the other dollhouse offerings in their shop.  But the icing on the cake for us is that it comes with a ladder!  This little three year old will tell you that is a very important detail.

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As I write this, our wish list for more of their beautiful creations is growing.  We are eyeing their adorable Animal Seesaws and the clever Modular Tree House.  

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Gifting Ideas for Littles

Whoa, hello there December!  I swear this year you were two weeks early, or maybe I just need two more weeks of you.  In any case, you're here and we're in the thick of holiday gifting.  It was both fun and challenging shopping for the girls this year.  What do you get a younger sibling who seemingly has everything she could need?  I've given a lot of thought to this and other gifting quandaries and wanted to share my little list of favorite items.  Some we've had for a while and some are newly acquired but all are well loved and hail from our favorite manufacturers.  From one maker's hands to our little hands, there is something special that transpires during the holiday season of giving.  

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1. Sarah & Bendrix Handmade Wooden Dog with Xylophone - I cannot get over this gorgeous toy which was handmade in the Czech Republic from sustainable sources.  As you pull the adorable doggie across the floor, he plays a xylophone with a darling 'ting ting.'  I'm also a sucker for sentimental packaging.  With every Sarah & Bendrix toy, a special tag reads, "I have traveled from a small factory in the heart of Europe, to be your friend. You can name me and take me on all your adventures. When you grow up, pass me on to other children, so I can recount all our tales...I'm here to stay."

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2.  Eperfa The Hillside Forest Set from Over the Ocean - These darling wooden figures were inspired by the surroundings of Lake Balaton in Hungary and the hills around Budapest.  Each piece was thoughtfully created to represent the natural world that surrounds these regions.  They in turn inspire us to appreciate and protect our own environs.   

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3. 1978 Fox Boot in Chocolate from Zimmerman Shoes - I don't think I could have imagined a more perfect shoe for Mila's first steps.  As her confidence builds and with the help of her big sister, she'll be walking before long.  These gorgeous baby booties are sturdy enough to support her baby steps and double as a beautiful heirloom decoration for baby's room.  


4. Bambi Blanket Beige in Organic Cotton from Fabulous Goose - A great gift for anyone in the family, you simply cannot go wrong with a Fabulous Goose blanket.  Thoughtful Scandinavian design paired with organic GOTS certification is a recipe for one 'Fabulous' blanket.  They have served us well, from stroller rides, to picnic settings and most recently, designated dance floors for indoor lip sync parties.  

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5. Sugar Plum Adventure Belt from Oma + Jo - We've been eyeing these adventure belts from Oma + Jo for some time now so when they came out with a (gulp) shiny purple version, there was no hesitation.  We are at the age of favorite colors and purple rules the roost these days.  With a little hint of glitz and a big appetite for adventure, this belt has quicly become a favorite place to stash our treasured findings.  

Among the Trees

Mila is now ten months old, sporting two bottom teeth and a constant smile.  At just over 15 pounds, her size fools most but her physical determination is unmatched.  With one leg out front and the other bent at the knee she'll crawl out of sight in the blink of an eye.  So how do you get a baby like this to stay in one place?  Stick her in a tree!  With leaves and twigs to explore, she's perfectly content with her tree trunk position.  While Elise could spend her day playing indoors, Mila is most certainly our outdoor explorer.  

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With a baby this petit, I was eager to fill her wardrobe with the coziest of knits and easy layering pieces like this gorgeous Misha and Puff tunic dress and wool Briar Handmade bonnet.  We've been eyeing this lovely bonnet brand based in the Pacific Northwest for some time now.  The details are darling, down to the Liberty of London print ties that stay perfectly in place.   

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To keep Elise's noggin just as toasty, I reached for her new Peppermint Pine Fair Isle hat that we custom created with the help of knitter extraordinaire, Megan.  For me, knitting is therapy and one of my great escapes but it seems I never have the time (I am a rather slow knitter!).  I am also a bit of a yarn snob so I was super excited to find Megan's beautiful creations made with the the softest acrylic and wool blend in a array of delicious colors.   

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As of late, Elise has been toting around a doe that lives peacefully inside a medicine bag made by Marie of Leather Treasures in Martha's Vinyard.  She's at that age when little treasures like this doe, bring great comfort and joy just knowing they are near.  

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Misha and Puff is a long time favorite in our house and you could say we were waiting (not so patiently) for their fall release this year.  Thankfully one of our favorite retailers has a wonderful selection of these pieces.  Thank you Minikin for somehow always reading my mind!  

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Petrichor is on a list of the most romantic sounding words in the English language and the meaning might have something to do with its appeal.  It is an earthy smell that follows rain after a long period of dry weather.  Judging from when I last wore my wellies, and how frequently my husband has been watering our window boxes, I'd say we've had a stretch of fairly dry weather so this wet patch is actually feeling pretty nice right now.

Elise is wearing one of our favorite pieces for fall from the coveted label, Soor Ploom.  You can find many of their pieces at Minikin and you won't regret shopping with this lovely retailer who truly makes you feel like one of the family.

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Rain + toddler = indoor play and since city living can feel cramped at times, we've tried to make the most of the girls' play area with toys that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.  

When I was expecting with Elise (which seems like ages ago!) I first came across Povl Kjer's rocking sheep and knew I'd want to adopt one someday.  Well that day came after Mila's arrival and now I wonder why I waited so long.  It is the perfect staple for any toddler's playroom and is a beautiful piece that works wonderfully with our space.  

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I've been known to over-research things at times (sound familiar fellow internet shoppers?) and when the tipi tent became popular I spent a fair share of time finding one that would fit our space and color palate.  Enter the Gray Label tipi tent.  The construction is top notch and the material..., well if you know anything about Emily  Gray's beautiful collection, you know she only selects the highest quality fabrics.  I didn't know I could love a tipi tent as much as I do.  Its Elise's favorite place to read stories to her babies and even Mila enjoys playing peek-a-boo behind its curtains.

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I could do an entire post on this Carl Hansen & Sons desk and chair (and surely I will).  For now, please join me in admiring its clean lines and classic Danish construction.  All pieces are fully assembled like a puzzle with no nails or tools.  Genius.  

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A hunting we will go...

We were on the search for the perfect pine cones and acorns which we'll use as decoration for a new mobile in Mila's room.  Not quite sure yet how this will all unfold but at least we have a good stash of found objects to start spinning our creative wheels.  This is my favorite time of year to venture into the woods.  No pesky mosquitos to shoo away and fewer people means we can take in all the quite noises of nature.

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Just past the site of Henry David Thoreau's cabin on Walden Pond, we came across this majestic tree that seemed to be lit up by a ray of light.  It felt fitting that we say hello.  These are the unexpected treats we find when we go exploring and they never get old.

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Doesn't this dress remind you of a tropical island?  Well it flew all the way from Hawaii from the skilled hands of Naisish Handmade who creates lovely one of a kind pieces sold exclusively through Instagram. The colors and embroidery on this piece make it a favorite in our household.

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Elise carries her findings in a woven basket by April Showers which was purchased at our favorite online retailer, Minikin.  When its not being used to collect woodland treasures, it makes for the perfect storage for her dolls' wardrobe.

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Believe it or not, both my husband and I have brown eyes. Crazy huh?  These baby blues came from a blue eyed grandparent on each side.  Now back to work on that mobile...

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Picnic Time

Elise is about to start school five days a week and I'm trying to savor every last moment with her before the bustle of fall begins.  We took a trip to Ipswich in search of a pair of these Royal Horticultural Society Hunter boots for moi.  I'm a bit of a want to be gardener even though I've managed to kill even the most hearty of succulents and I do appreciate a good flower show (husband makes fun of this on a regular basis but there is NOTHING wrong with it!) so these boots were calling my name, naturally.  

This town is too cute.  A short distance past the town center there is a darling river walk where we sat down for a picnic.  It wasn't too hot thankfully so we were able to pull out some of the girls' early fall pieces.  Where do I start?


When I first came across The Tame Fox I immediately began to fill my shopping cart with goodies from their website including Elise's ivory blouse.  The pieces are handmade to order in Alaska and the love that goes into each piece is apparent in every detail.  This top is stunning.  It is fully lined and charming cap sleeves are adorned with the perfect amount of gathering.  


Now travel back to New England for the birthplace of Misha and Puff, designer of Mila's merino hand dyed romper.  This is an essential three season piece and she'll be wearing it well into spring.  I've been in love with this brand for a few years now when I first saw it appear in select stores around Boston.  Minikin has a great selection of these pieces and as I've said before, they are always a pleasure to purchase from. 


Flower shows aside, I have a weakness for Scandinavian design.  I even once planned a vacation around it (more about that on another day).  This part of the world can do no wrong in my eyes when it comes to clean design and environmental awareness.  The union of these two elements encompasses the brand Fabulous Goose, maker of the softest fleece blankets which also happen to meet the strictest requirements for quality.  This blanket is made from GOTS certified organic cotton and feels like velvet.  


Everything old is new again

Our New England travels took us on a last minute trip to my hometown in Connecticut last week and we all soaked in some grandparent pampering and fresh air.  I came back with a treasure trove of dresses and tops from when I was Elise's age.  For the most part, they are timeless, classic pieces and I can't wait to repurpose them.  Others scream the early 80's but lucky us, that late 70's early 80's vibe is back big time this year.  

The little dress that Mila wears below is from our favorite store for vintage clothing, Mary Beth Hale's Etsy shop.  I first ordered some items from her when my husband and I were in search of Halloween costumes for a party last year and I was blown away by the quality and pristine condition.  


This little dress has the perfect amount of smocking and embroidered rosettes.  I love that some of my favorite photos of Mila at this age are with her in this simple piece.  


Apparently Elise's floral dress was a favorite of mine when I was her age.  It was the first of my own vintage finds that she reached for.


If you're on the lookout for vintage children's clothing, you may run across sheer white dresses similar to what Elise has on below.  I'm guessing they were worn with a slip underneath or perhaps they were undergarments.   For our purposes, they are delicate, airy works of art from times past that are perfect for hot summer days.  This was another find from Mary Beth Hale's shop and one of my favorite pieces.  I imagine Mila will wear it as a dress not too long from now.  


Its fitting that Elise's blouse pairs so well with shorts from a brand named Tocoto Vintage.  The blouse that Mila wears above is also from this nostalgic children's brand.  In fact the brand was conceived from a love of antique patterns and clothing.  The collection can be purchased at Minikin in the U.S.


Thankfully it is still sandal weather and these classic Stevie sandals by Zimmerman have been good to us.  Fall we be here soon so on the to do list this week is to measure Elise's feet for our next pair.  Tough part is deciding which of these beauties we'll be ordering!  


Babies on Beaches

The concept seems simple, (bring baby to beach) but it is far from that as any parent knows.  In Nantucket we were a short walk away from Steps Beach which much like the name implies, can only be accessed by walking down a steep set of stairs.  Toys, tent, umbrella, chairs, baby, toddler, they all made the trek.  And these smiling faces made it all worthwhile.  

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Shortly after Mila was born, I knew I wanted her to have a something special of her own that could be passed down, something timeless.  I also knew that Minikin was sure to have what we were after.  I find myself drawn to their aesthetic and always love shopping with them because they create a personal connection with their customers that is hard to find elsewhere.  They carried a gorgeous Spring collection from Tocoto Vintage and we found Mila an adorable three piece set; bonnet, blouse and bloomers.  The pieces were made from a featherweight cotton and are adorned with ruffles and lace trim, truly special.  

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Tiny Cottons, an imaginative brand based in Barcelona, produced this muslin swaddle which has become one of my essentials.  I rarely leave the house without it and only wish I had purchased more.  This print is from their spring/summer Camp-Pin-Pump collection and features a swim logo print that took me right back to my swim team days.  

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