Wednesday, January 30, 2013

bump : week 24










Life has been cold and rainy, with bits of snow and ice thrown in for good measure.  We live in what I would consider "typical" Chicago - bricks and alleys, power lines, sirens blaring, and of course, houses built only a few feet from one another.  There are so many wonderful places to see in the city, but my heart still aches for the lush green and open fields of the countryside.  When we finally settle in on a true home, I'm hoping we can compromise somewhere in the middle.  Until then, I am seeing bits of the beauty around me - even if it is fighting to stay alive.

WEARING: CALIFORNIA FLEECE CAPE IN IMPERIAL PURPLE BY AMERICAN APPAREL   |   PHOTOS: BY ERICK

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

off switch magazine : kickstarter








The big day is finally here - in just a few short weeks, Off Switch Magazine has launched their Kickstarter campaign, updated their new website, and taken a huge plunge... and they need your help! If you've been inspired as I have by the magazine, or if you're anxious to start building your collection, Katie has come up with some fabulous rewards for making a pledge to her project.  I am so, so proud of the hard work that has been put in, especially by Katie, and I know how incredibly important this funding is to the future of her business.

Artists everywhere can understand - when you love something so much and give it everything you have, jumping out into the unknown is always terrifying.  I have faith that even if there are a few mistakes along the way, we get a few bruised knees, broken hearts, sleepless nights... it's all worth it in the end.

Click here to see the campaign!

Monday, January 28, 2013

noticing every day


Sofia - your hair is longer, you've grown a few inches, you're thinning out, your pants are too short.  I'm trying to take it all in - the way we get such perfect late afternoon light or how you love when your Papa kisses your hands. Soon, I'll have another little one and even more to notice! More moments, more love, more tiny breaths and the scent of soft baby skin.

We are supposed to be getting some incredibly warm (though, rainy) weather tomorrow and it looks like I'll have gotten my wish after all.

Are you getting some fresh air this week?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

4/52


"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013"

Sofia: Actually seeing and understanding the concept of snow, or "nooo!" for the first time.

Through all of our memories this week, this was most definitely my favorite. The way Sofia cried when I told her and her dripping, red nose that it was time to go back inside was a good indicator of just how much she loved it.  You know, I never thought there would be a day when I could say honestly that a Chicago snowfall had put a smile on my face, yet here we are.  Times are a-changing.

Stay warm, everyone!

(Or if you're in the southern hemisphere, stay cool...)

PART OF THE 52 PORTRAIT SERIES  :  STARTED BY CHE & FIDEL

Thursday, January 24, 2013

curious little gifts : a moonbeatle giveaway




A few of you may remember the talented Fritha from Tigerlily Quinn, as I interviewed her a few weeks back on the blog.  She so generously has offered up the perfect little collection of curious gifts from her Etsy shop - Moonbeatle!  I am in love with everything she creates, especially the brand new hand-painted kids tees... aren't they perfect?  Complete with prints, tea towels, plates and a tee for the little one in your life, this is the perfect gift set (maybe even in time for Valentine's Day!) Here's what one lucky Diapers & Skinny Jeans reader will receive:


1. One illustrated Trailer Park Love tea towel, perfect with your morning cup of tea, or to decorate your kitchen. Winner will choose their preferred style - valued at $16

2. The sweetest hand-illustrated plate, just in time for Valentine's Day. Before Fritha, I never knew that an octopus has three hearts! - valued at $12

3. An A4 size, unframed ink illustration of Moonbeatle's Deep Down print. I'm such a sucker for geometric patterns, and this beautiful piece is sure to brighten up any room. - valued at $16

4. The Cadno Fox t-shirt for your crafty little one is truly one-of-a-kind. Hand-painted on fair trade 100% cotton, this is the perfect addition to your child's wardrobe. Winner will choose size, from 12-24months. - valued at $25


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You can enter to win this giveaway a maximum of three times:

• first entry - leave a comment with your favorite item from the Moonbeatle shop.
• second entry - be a follower of Tigerlilly Quinn or popping over to her Facebook and hitting like.
• third entry - be a follower of Diapers & Skinny Jeans (link at the top!) or liking on Facebook.

Please leave a separate comment with your email address for each entry.

Winners will be chosen by random number generator and announced right back here on this post Thursday, February 1st at 12PM CST. Giveaway is open to all readers internationally, and if prizes go unclaimed after 72 hours new winners will be drawn.

PS- all Diapers & Skinny Jeans readers can enjoy 10% off the entire Moonbeatle shop with code "happyten".  Hurrah!

Good luck to all of you :)

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UPDATE



Random.org chose lucky comment #1 as our winner - Sarah Kyle, that's you lovely! 

Thank you all for playing along.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

winter : keeping it real






Every Wednesday, it has been a somewhat-tradition of ours to take the family out for brunch and make time for adventures and exploration. When we woke today to a depressingly gray sky and bitter winds, I knew in my heart that it would keep us cooped up inside, yet again.  To say I'm not beginning to feel the pangs of frustration and the "winter-blues" would be a lie, and boy did it hit me a bit harder than I was expecting!

Tick-tick-tick as moments kept passing us by, no work in the house was done and the course of the day had left us irritated and feeling a bit aggravated with where we were at.  I remembered a recent conversation where Erick and I had discussed how just when we think that everyone else out there seems to have it so great, that they're consistently putting out great work on their portfolio or have a picture-perfect home without any washing pile in sight, in reality we're only seeing their highlight reel.  Unless you spend every waking moment with someone, you'll never truly understand just how their day-to-day is like.  I am fully aware that most things I post on Diapers & Skinny Jeans seem to come from a positive place, (which by all means they are!) but I'm sure we could come off in the same light. I do plan on continuing to highlight the happy, simple moments from our life, but remember just like every one else, we still have our trials and tribulations that get the best of us one time or another - like today.

By four in the evening I had finally decided we've had enough, and bundled Sofia up in double layers. We escaped down the front steps and spent a half-hour playing in one of the only snowfalls we've had this season.  Squeals and giggles and rosy cheeks a plenty!

It was magical, and just what we needed.

Afterwards I allowed myself the time to make a bowl-sized portion of chai with cream, then lit some nag chama and drew a warm bath.  There I sat for the remainder of the night, taking the time to settle my thoughts and try to get back to some form of collectedness.

I'd like to think we all have nights like this, and right now the thought alone is enough.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

interview : soul singing liv


Our last sponsor interview for January is the radiant Olivia from Soul Singing Liv.  This beautiful mama lovingly refers to her family as "the tribe"... and goodness, it doesn't get much better than that!  I was initially drawn in to Olivia's blog through her words, she has the unique ability to share stories from the heart while still keeping such a strong and positive vibe for her readers to take solace in.  She's one remarkable woman who has had quite the year.  Won't you help me welcome this inspiring mama?

And as always, we had a bit of a chat:

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What is it about blogging that you love?

I have always thought of my blog as a little treasure box, a place I go at the end of the day to put my thoughts and hopes and ideas down, a place where I cultivate positive energy and love.  Writing is therapeutic for me, it brings me closer to myself and allows me the space to reflect.  I enjoy sharing our stories with others and building a community through the common threads we all share.  There is something so powerful about allowing other people to walk with you on your journey, inviting them to share in your highs and lows.  I value the friendships I have made through blogging so much, the support and encouragement are invaluable.

What is one piece of advice you wish you'd been given as a mom?

I wish that someone would have reminded me to take more videos of my girls.  Though we have thousands of photos of every moment of their lives, I wish we had more videos to look back on.  I hope to be more intentional about that in the future.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by hearing stories, learning more about people, understanding where they come from and why they do things.  I am a life long learner and never grow tired of challenging myself.  I never want to get comfortable, never want to become stagnant.  This world is so vast and the adventures are plenty: I want to live big and bright and with purpose.  Being a mother has inspired me beyond belief: I am so aware of how intently my girls are watching me, learning from my actions.  Their definition of what a woman should be will be connected to their perception of me.  I feel inspired to make that definition count.

Tell us a bit more about you - where are you from?

I was born and raised in a tiny little town on a bayou in Louisiana.  I belong to a very large, very loud Cajun family and my French roots run deep inside my soul.  I grew up surrounded by cousins and chickens and cows, running wild in the great outdoors.  My adventurous spirit led me to join the United States Navy after high school, I served my country for four years and met some of the most amazing friends whom I still consider family.  I also met my husband, the one made for me.  Together we traveled through the Pacific Ocean and lived in Japan in a big house by the sea.  After the Navy, we moved home to Louisiana to live in New Orleans: a young married couple living it up in the Big Easy.  When we were blessed with the news of our first little girl, we made the trek back to my hometown, needing the community and support of family.  And here we stand today: small town life, our own home on four acres, two daughters, 12 years of marriage.  Life is good.

Any projects or special new things you're working on?

I am preparing to take my GRE in the spring and will be starting graduate school this year.  My career as a Registered Nurse inspires me daily and I am so excited to begin this next phase of learning and growth.  We also have big plans for our spring garden and a laundry room renovation.  Home ownership is never dull.

If told to only use three words to describe yourself, what would you choose?

Grateful, soulful, free.  That's me.
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* PS- if you're interested in sponsoring Diapers & Skinny Jeans for February, I have a few spots available.  Statistics and incentives are also available through email, just ask!  It has been so wonderful meeting and supporting new blogs and businesses, and I appreciate each and every one of your inquiries.

Monday, January 21, 2013

bump : week 23














The sub-zero weather has kept us indoors, but it hasn't kept us from having the most amount of fun possible.  I've been enjoying hot cups of tea served with teaspoons of sugar and condensed milk, curling up with my favorite blanket and enjoying the tap-tap, nudge-nudge of the littlest De La Rosa.  Though I find myself playing catch up yet again (I'm 24 weeks!) I'm not complaining in the least bit.  I've had this little family of mine all to myself for a full four days with no work, no emails, no agenda and no pressure.  Ahhhhh... happy winter celebration, little baby.

PS- did you know Erick finally launched his website?  It's up, it's responsive, and it's gorgeous.

I'm a proud muma bear.

WEARING : SHORT SLEEVE CREW NECK TSHIRT DRESS IN ASH GREY SEA FOAM BY AMERICAN APPAREL   |    PHOTOS:  BY ERICK 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

3/52


"A portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2013."

Sofia: "PREEENKLES!" Having a bit of fun with mama's leftover sprinkles from a different photoshoot.

We have all had so many memories of playing together as a family on that bed.  Since Sofia was a baby we've slept there, played there, read and cuddled there, spent time talking and planning out our future there... it's the center of all things great in our home - and my favorite place to be!

PART OF THE 52 PORTRAIT SERIES : STARTED BY CHE & FIDEL

cake for a birthday




Today, Erick is celebrating a birthday.

Never have I met someone with the drive and ambition as this man. (Certainly this is one out of the many reasons I married him!)  And to think it is just a coincidence that he was born on the exact same day as my father, oh it's just too much!  January 19th is definitely a special day in our house, and our wide-eyed and bushy-tailed alarm clock woke us up extra early.  I spent the morning trying to envision the perfect cake while making a batch of french toast for the hungry little clutching to my legs. Coffee in hand, we shared breakfast together and sat at the table like we always do, not being able to imagine my life without this family of mine.  The years keep flying by for both of us, and I know we are looking forward to many more of them together.

Happy birthday, my love.


GOLDEN LAYER CAKE WITH BLUEBERRY MERENGUE BUTTERCREAM

YOU WILL NEED:

• 2-1/4 c flour
• 1-1/2 c sugar
• 3-1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 c butter, softened
• 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
• 3/4 c milk
• 4 egg whites, room temperature

YIELDS 2 9"ROUND CAKE PANS, SPLIT HORIZONTALLY AND LAYERED )

CLEMENTINE BUTTERCREAM FILLING - optional*

• 1/2 c butter, softened
• 2 c confectioner's sugar
• 1/4 c half & half
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 pinch salt
• zest and juice of 1 clementine

BLUEBERRY MERENGUE BUTTERCREAM

• 5 egg whites
• 1-1/4 c sugar
• 1-1/2 c cold butter (3 sticks) cut into cubes
• 1 c fresh blueberries, pureed (yields ~ 1/2c)
• 1 pinch salt
• 2 tsp vanilla


DIRECTIONS:

For the cake - Preheat oven to 350ª.  Grease and flour 2 round 9" cake pans. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add butter, vanilla and milk.  Beat on a low setting until incorporated.  Add in your unbeaten egg whites and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Don't over mix! Fill cake pans around halfway full and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until cakes are golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

* For the traditional citrus buttercream filling - (This is a completely optional, makeshift recipe as I ran out of blueberry merengue to fill the cake with.  If you double the original recipe, this cake could be filled and iced with the blueberry merengue buttercream.) Cream together butter and sugar, then add in vanilla, cream and salt. Zest and juice your clementine into the bowl and mix until incorporated.  

For the blueberry merengue buttercream - Simmer egg whites and sugar over a bowl of hot water, whisking gently but constantly until mixture is smooth and glossy and has reached a temperature of 160º. If you're unable to locate a candy thermometer, just keep in mind this process can take up to 20 minutes. Egg whites should be hot, and sugar should be dissolved. Take mixture off heat and whip with an electric mixer at a high speed until the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, but completely neutral, around 10 minutes or so. Begin adding in your cold butter a few cubes at a time - it is very important to wait for this step until you know you have a cool bowl.  Once all butter is incorporated, add in your blueberry puree, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Mix for a few additional minutes on medium until you have a thick, shiny buttercream. Can be refrigerated prior to use.   


( MERENGUE BUTTERCREAM ADAPTED FROM SWEETPOLITA )

Thursday, January 17, 2013

winter : days at home




One of my most treasured memories about winter is the time spent cuddling indoors.  When we're all together, you can usually find us hanging out in the bedroom: taking naps, getting in tickle-fights, or turning up the tunes and having a dance party.  Sofia will usually request to "fly" (belly on our feet up in the air!) and her shrieks and giggles are enough to make me wish those moments would last forever.  These photos prove it to me even more each day - our little girl is growing up.

Do you have any favorite indoor activities?

Maybe a book together on the couch, cocoa by the fire, or late-night snuggles...  all perfect if you ask me! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

shaken and shifting


Over the last few days I can sense a shift within me - knowing it's partially because of a close call at Erick's job that shook us both to our core.

Never before have either of us had "life flash before our eyes," but since that day, I am reminded at how quickly something could be taken away. As difficult as it is, I've made up my mind to stop focusing on what could have happened and instead rejoice in gratitude for the life we are blessed to spend another day... together.  It was such a strange thing, cars pummeling into retail stores, right? We are just so thankful that no one was seriously injured.

And life goes on.

This morning Sofia woke early and I tried coaxing her into cuddling in a bit longer in the big bed with Erick and I.  We stayed in for most of the day, lounging about and sneaking in a few afternoon naps (growing a human is exhausting!) before heading downtown to shop for groceries. I'm happy to say I've been much better at conscious shopping and planning our meals ahead of time.  Tonight's dinner was a slow-simmered stew of chorizo, red beans and short ribs - the warmth and spices were just what we needed on this January night.

Later this week we've planned some time away from work to spend together as a family. Erick has a birthday quickly approaching, and Sofia is in for a huge surprise on Saturday.

Hoping your week is lovely and wonderfully relaxing, as it should be... x

PHOTO LOCATION : byTHE BARKERS   |   TAKEN BY : ERICK

Sunday, January 13, 2013

the mallett home










Yesterday I gathered with a few friends to bake.

Fresh scones were dunked in slow-drip coffee, cheesecake was enjoyed out of golden ramekins and lemon tart bubbled and caramelized on the stove. We shared stories and conversation, careful to remember all of the helpful kitchen tips and tricks I had learned throughout the course of the day.  Lately even my days off have been spent working and seldom do I have the chance for a gathering like this - but, when I do, I appreciate my time that much more.  Not too many things are better than stepping out of the house and (far!) away from the cleaning and almighty to-do list.  Abby, Katherine and Catherine, thank you.  It felt wonderful to, quite literally, get our hands dirty in the best labor of love there is - baking.

My day was spent with these bloggers you may already know :

Abbyblujay  |   Gathered Heart