Summer Lovin’

How’s your summer going? Can you believe July is nearly over? I’ve gotta get in my sunny days in while I can!

Here are some things I’m loving right now…

collage fav july

1. This baby shower tablecloth is so cute.

2. I must have this gold {temporary} tattoo.

3. Chocolate potato chips? Yes please!

4. I adore this 40th birthday. It gives me ideas for a future party for my hubby…

5. Tiny gift parade. {this has made the rounds, but I love gifts!}

6. Candy necklace napkin ring. So colorful and fun for summer.

What are you loving this summer?

Gift for a New Mom

Speaking of gifts… I remember reading awhile back (probably on a blog) about a new mom, home on maternity leave with her new baby, asking for books to read while breastfeeding. As sometimes the baby will feed for hours at a time, she was looking for ways to entertain herself beyond social media and reality tv marathons. Being a big reader myself, I found this to be an interesting and thoughtful gift idea and stored it away.

books

 

I recently had a chance to try it out, as a friend had the good timing to have her baby exactly a week before we planned to see her. We were able to see her, her new baby girl– and the amount of down time she had those first few days. We certainly wanted to get her something to celebrate the baby’s arrival — and maybe we saw her on a day that she was feeling stir-crazy, but she seemed excited by the idea of some books.

I sent her 3 of some of my recent favorites– The Signature of All Things, The Language of Flowers, and Cutting for Stone. All paperbacks, to make it a bit lighter to balance. Hopefully she will enjoy them and find this to be a useful gift.

Moms, any feedback or thoughts on this gift?

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Personalized Gifts

I love giving gifts. It’s so much fun to find the perfect item for someone, just the thing that they need or want. For special occasions, I find that personalized gifts that commemorate the moment can become the most meaningful items to share. Living overseas, it can be hard to to provide these kind of thoughtful gifts– so thank goodness for shopping online!

Uncommongoods is now offering handmade and personalized gifts, making it so much easier for me to find the perfect gift for friends and family. From jewelry to entertaining items, home decor to slippers, you can find something for everyone. Just check out some of these items…

collage uncommongoods

 

1. I met 4 new babies while I was home in the US. These pillows would have been perfect gifts for those families.

2. These shark slippers make me laugh. These would be great for a nephew or a brother.

3. I love this personalized couple/family art. So cute and good for any stage of life.

4. This handmade basket is just plain cool.

Little Gifts to Show We Care

We are back from our US adventure, jet lagged, tired, but full of love. I’m trying to get back on schedule, but that 12 hour time difference kicks me in the pants.

While we were gone we asked some friends to stay in our apartment to take care of our cat {she’s needy and hungry}. To say thank you we left a little welcome gift of Japanese chocolate covered potato chips. I wrapped them up with ribbon and a note. IMG_6895

 

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For our friends and family in the US, we wanted to share a little taste of Asia. The green tea taste has won us over, so we got some mini green tea KitKats to hand out. I added our contact information to each package. I attached the strips with special edition washi tape of the Hong Kong Star Ferry and skyline.

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We hope everyone enjoyed our gifts!

Flower Obsession

Around Japan I saw little nosegays of flowers at every corner market, perfectly wrapped up. I’ve been eying them every since. I love the patterned paper with the colorful blooms. I’m definitely trying  this, as a small gift or decorations at a party.

collage flower cones 2

 

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June Crush

Some things I can’t stop thinking about this month. #happysummer

collage june love

 

1. A how-to for writing on a cake

2. A Farmers Market First Birthday. So adorable.

3. Everything you love about your state, in a postcard.

4. Color code your bar cart. Yes please.

DIY Wellness Day

This past Sunday I hosted some girlfriends for a healthy day of yoga, juicing and massage. It was a great to relax and spend time together, and feel good about it the next day. We had so fun that we are thinking of making it a series.

One of the girls knew someone who could teach yoga as well as our juicing class, so we arranged a private class. Sandra from Latin2Yoga was a great instructor and she got along well with the entire group. She was so laid back and helped the entire day run smoothly.

sandra

The weather held out, so we were able to have the yoga class outside on the terrace. It was supposed to be a scorcher, so I put together water bottles for each of the girls, as well as sweat rags (nothing is worse than slipping and sliding on your yoga mat!)

diy wellness bottles

We started the day at 9 AM, with some light nibbles before yoga class. When everyone arrived, we had oatmeal chia bars and fruit out. I didn’t want it to be heavy, but some people need to fuel their work out, so I wanted to have something available.

morning

Our yoga class was 90 minutes of breathing, movement and relaxation at the end. It was the perfect amount of work and wellness—and I definitely felt sore the next day!

yoga

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After yoga, we were presented with cold towels, scented with peppermint. We added just a few drops to the water to give that high end hotel feeling.

diy wellness towels

Then we really dove into the fruit, oatmeal chia bars and veggies with homemade hummus. I tried new bars this time, from my every day muffins, and they drew rave reviews. I used this recipe here.  We also served cold water and flat belly water {lemon, cucumber and mint, infused over night} as a choice of beverages.

bars

veggies

After we snack a bit, we started the juicing class. It was a 2-hour class, the first hour for understanding the benefits of juicing and smoothies and the second hour for tasting. Most of us are fairly educated on the value of organic produce, so it was a lot of fun to try out new recipes we had never imagined.

collage diy wellness day

juice

smoothie

Once we were well prepped and educated, it was time for lunch. My awesome husband put together a healthy spread of various salads and roasted vegetables. They were so good and so beautiful. With lunch we served iced tea {like the proper southern girl I am!}, my favorite T2 Quince Tea and for a light dessert, I made my favorite unprocessed mounds bites.

collage diy wellness salads

lunch

Once we were good and full, we piled in a taxi and headed to get massages. One of the girls found a modern, fun place where we could get a choice of foot or body massage. It was nice to be able to all get a massage at the same time. I got a body massage and it was wonderful.

As a take away, I gave each girl a box of organic chocolates and some tea to take home to extend her wellness.

diy wellness gift

We had so much fun spending the day together, and focusing on our wellness and ourselves. And, in truth, as I spend a lot of time eating healthy, it was great to share some of my recipes and favorites with my friends. I’m looking forward to the next installment!

 

Happy Mothers’ Day!

I am lucky enough to have two amazing Mothers in my life– my mom and mother-in-law. Both women are supportive, caring, and loving to both of us. These women have raised thoughtful, creative children with an interest in the world, who were lucky enough to find each other. Our mothers have cheered us along our journey, while continuing to learn and grow themselves. They are both amazing examples of Motherhood and I hope some day to measure up.

collage air plant

 

These amazing plants were our gifts to our mothers’ present this year, from Bird and Feather Co.  I thought they were colorful, modern and playful and I could imagine both of my moms with this cool accessory in their homes. Even if the plant dies, they still have a cute bowl. Adorable side note: I asked Bird and Feather Co to include a note, and each mom mentioned how the handwriting matched mine. Cute coincidence. :)

Much Love to my two amazing moms– and all the moms out there.