Denim Basics for Back to School

back to school denim basics.9

I’m such a huge fan of denim. It’s my favorite neutral because it can be dressed up or down, goes with everything, and is classic. My son wears a uniform for school, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do a little bit of fun back to school shopping for some denim basics to pair with his navy and white uniform. I have fun memories of doing back to school shopping with my mom: the anticipation of a new year and the excitement of some new outfits to wear. I’d like to carry on that tradition with my boys. I was super happy to find stylish denim options for back to school this year thanks to Arizona Jeans at JCPenney.

back to school denim basics.9 back to school denim basics.9

Jeans are a staple in our house, and a well made pair is a must considering my son is notorious for getting holes in every knee of every pair of pants he wears. He’ll wear jeans on the weekends and can also wear them on free dress days at school. If the wash is dark enough he can even wear denim as part of his uniform. I love that this pair of Arizona Denim jeans is fitted without being too tight. It gives Charlie room to be comfortable and play while still looking stylish.

back to school denim basics.9 back to school denim basics.9

I’m also a sucker for a denim jacket. A good denim jacket can last forever! This one is also Arizona Denim and is perfect for chilly mornings when we’re headed to school and will transition well into fall. I also love that it has a hood and the sleeves give it a letterman jacket style that fits well with a school uniform.

Besides having great back to school styles this season, JCPenney also partnered with the YMCA to help ensure every kid has the basics they need to start the school year off right. JCPenney will donate $1 for each pair of Arizona Jeans sold to support the Y’s academic achievement programs through their #SoWorthIt campaign. As if you didn’t have a good enough reason to buy great denim basics before, now there’s an even better reason to go shop. Because shopping for a good cause makes great deals even sweeter, am I right?

This post is sponsored by JCPenney, but all opinions are my own.

Designing A Shared Boys’ Bedroom

Shared Art Room & Office Space | Oh Lovely Day

The time has come to evict Quincy from our bedroom and put him in the nursery (because I really need more sleep!) Which means the time has come to evict Calvin from the nursery and move him in with Charlie. I’ve always planned to have the boys share a bedroom, but Quincy’s arrival made that happen a little earlier than I originally planned since we ran out of bedrooms sooner than expected.

Combining an almost 6 year old and a two year old in one room that needs to function as both a bedroom and playroom for both is a bit of a challenge. Especially when you are as sleep deprived as I am. So I enlisted the help of the Design Services team from The Land of Nod. We started with a Pinterest board of my design ideas and I provided a detailed layout description with wall and window measurements. Within a few days my designer Stephanie emailed me back an inspiration/design mood board that reflected my ideas with a few design elements thrown in that I hadn’t thought of. She also created a 3D layout of the room with furniture and items we wanted to include and an overall floor plan. I can’t tell you how much I love this and how helpful it has been for me in planning the space!

I am not a theme-y type of person. I was inspired more by color, things the boys love, and making a space that is functional as well as beautiful. I don’t function well in chaos and neither does Charlie (it’s hard to tell with Calvin but I think he functions well in any and all spaces) so I wanted to move much of the toy storage into their walk-in, under stairs style closet so that the room itself wasn’t cluttered and chaotic.

designing a shared boys' room with The Land of Nod designing a shared boys' room with The Land of Nod designing a shared boys' room with The Land of NodWe already have a campaign dresser and that teepee, which I’ll be including in the room. I also have a play kitchen that we want to keep, book shelves already installed on one wall, and some windows, doors, and a space heater to design around. But I think the end result will work great for them.

We’ll be getting the Abridged Bunk Beds from The Land of Nod — I love that they aren’t as high as traditional bunk beds, which works perfectly in our space and for our boys. I also like the placement of the ladder – it doesn’t jut out into the space.

I’m also including this Bin Play Table and two of these Little Felix Chairs. I love that the table has a bin below for storing legos or other small toys and that it looks WAY nicer than the ugly plastic lego table we currently have. And it will grow with the boys and can be moved to other spaces and still look really nice.

Other than that I’m including some bedding designed by Ampersand Studio and a few key decor pieces, like this Cryptids banner, a volcano pillow (Charlie LOVES volcanos!), these prints from Brainstorm, and a couple of details from some of my favorite makers.

Stay tuned for the finished room tour, hopefully coming by late September! Any tips for transitioning a toddler into a bed from a crib (Charlie was in a crib till 3 so it was easier, and he’s a rule follower) or moving two littles in together?

 

This room is being done in collaboration with The Land of Nod.

How To Choose An Engagement Ring

How To Choose An Engagement Ring

This post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service and is sponsored by Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, but all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Choosing an engagement ring can be so difficult, and for good reason. It is more than a ring — it is a symbol of your commitment and future marriage. It is something that will be worn forever (hopefully). It will be ogled and photographed and passed on to future generations. There is just SO much pressure to choose the right one.

How To Choose An Engagement Ring

Before you start, you should ask yourself a few questions:

  • What kind of ring does she like? Does she like a round stone, or a princess cut? Does she prefer a solitaire stone or a more detailed setting? 4 prongs or 6? Platinum or gold or rose gold? If you don’t know, ask a friend, sister, or even your girl herself.
  • What is your budget? Setting a budget and sharing it with your jeweler will ensure your expectations are met and you are able to find something that works for you.
  • What is her style? Classic, trendy, fashion forward, timeless? Would she like something vintage or modern? Remember this is the ring she’ll not only wear now, but forever.
  • What is her ring size? Besides the obvious need to know what size ring to get, some styles work better with specific sizes.
  • Are you working with a trusted jeweler? Don’t rush into a purchase and don’t let yourself be pressured into buying anything before you are ready and have done your research.

Where you choose to buy your ring is really important. That’s why Jared is so great — it has the advantage of scale and selection as well as the feel and intimacy of a local independent jeweler. They have a full custom design studio in every store, which means they can literally make your engagement ring dreams come true. They have exclusive products from well-known designer collections like Neil Lane, Vera Wang, and Angel Sanchez to name a few. And now they have Chosen by Jared, a new collection of diamonds that allow you to go from raw diamond to the engagement ring of her dreams, and incorporate the diamond’s journey into your love story.

How To Choose An Engagement Ring

But regardless of style, size, cost, or cut, at the end of the day, you’ll have a beautiful ring that she’s sure to love, most of all because she loves you.

A Few Lessons I’ve Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies

What I've Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies | Oh Lovely Day

I’ve shared quite a bit about my motherhood experience both here on my blog and over in my instagram feed (and these days on Snapchat as well). I try to be pretty honest without constantly oversharing. I try to be encouraging so other moms find a community of support and maybe solutions to something they are going through (or at least to see they aren’t going it alone). I try to be real. On some days the real me doesn’t get dressed until the afternoon, and only if I have to leave the house. On some days the real me has a hard time and there is a lot of anxiety. On some days the real me feels really good about myself and like I’m kicking ass as a mom. But after having three babies I at least have learned that I’m not alone. I know we all have hard days. I know we all feel like we’re doing a shitty job sometimes. But there was a time when I struggled really hard as a mom and I thought it was just me — like I was doing it the worst. Do you ever feel like that?Read More

Favorite Gift Ideas For Baby Girls + A Giveaway

Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

You’ve heard the phrase “always a bridesmaid” — well, I’m the boy mom version of that. Always a boy mom, never a girl. And I’m ok with that, really I am (maybe 10% of me still dreams of a baby girl…) But as a blogger who gets to work with and learn about so many great brands, makers, and products I know what I’m missing in the cute girl stuff department. My best friend recently had a baby girl (after having two boys as well. Actually, I have TWO besties who had two boys and then had a baby girl!) so I revisited my favorite cute little things for baby girls list to send her. Then I thought, why don’t I share a whole baby girl gift guide on the blog and just get it out of my system 🙂 So, here ya go!

Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

I love both of these brands for my boys and they wear them both often. But this hot pink hamburger onesie from Mamacase Prints is quite possibly my favorite ever. And the hair accessories, swing dresses, rompers, tights, and bubble gum pink striped blanket from June & January make my ovaries ache.

Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

Yes, boys can wear Freshly Picked moccs. And my boys do. But they can’t (well, I guess they could, but it wouldn’t be the same…) wear the pink and gold heirloom moccs! Or any of the other super girly colors or prints that are all my favorites. I mean, aren’t these just the cutest!?

Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

I use the onesie stickers and the memory book from Lucy Darling for my boys. But I have ALL the heart eyes for the girl versions! The pastels and the gold and the florals — they make this girly mama happy. A must have for any baby girl for sure.

Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

I’ve been obsessed with the swaddle scarves from Coveted Things for, like ever. But this diamond stunner is perfect for a baby girl! Diamond swaddles are a baby girl’s best friend, you know?

Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

One of my favorite baby gifts to give any baby are personalized wooden state rattles from Bannor Toys — I super love that you can include birth details to make for a wonderful keepsake. But my inner childhood princess is a little obsessed with their star wand.

Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

Every time new baby products come out from the Oh Joy for Target line (from one of my favorite design blogger mommas, Joy Cho), it makes me wish I had a girl to buy it all for. Sure, there are baby boy things too and they are really cute also — Quincy has quite a lot of it. But the girl versions — the neon polka dots and patterns on the swaddles and clothes, and this flamingo lovey — are darling! Cutest lovey award winner in my book (the hedgie that Quincy has is adorable too and may just be in my baby boy gift guide coming next mont, hint hint!)

Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

The best part is I’m giving a bundle of these away to one lucky reader. One of you will win:

You know what else I love about these goodies? They are all made by momma entrepreneurs! How amazing is that!?

The giveaway runs from 8/1/16 through 8/6/16 and a randomly selected winner will be chosen and displayed in the entry widget below on 8/7/16. Enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Favorite Places to Take Your Little Kids in Los Angeles

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Living in Los Angeles, I know how lucky I am to be a mom in a city with great weather 95% of the time. And with great weather come lots of cool places to visit that are mostly outdoors. I posted these a while ago but many of you are new to reading so I wanted to revisit for any end-of-summer adventures you may be planning since these are still our faves. So here are my favorite family friendly places to visit in Los Angeles for those of you who live here or are planning a visit.

1. LACMA & The La Brea Tar Pits. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a great spot to visit for way more than art. Since it is in our neighborhood we’ve really gotten the chance to experience its full potential. You can grab a yummy latte or pastry at Coffee & Milk to drink while you watch your kids run around in the noodles. The noodles is actually an art installation that you can walk through and play in and everyone, young and old, loves to play hide and seek and take selfies in it. I have a taken a series of photos with Charlie in the noodles since our first visit there when he was around 18 months old, and with Calvin since he was in my belly, and shared them on instagram with the hashtag #charlielovestheyellownoodles so I could compare all of them over the years (or as long as instagram and hashtags are in existence).  This is definitely my kids’ favorite spot at LACMA.

Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.comOh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.com

LACMA has an amazing program called NEXGEN, where kids are allowed to become members for free, and one adult is free with their membership as well, so we can basically go see any exhibit or activity that isn’t in a limited run (where you need to buy a special ticket). The LACMA campus is adjacent to the famed La Brea Tar Pits, so we walk through those to chat with the mammoths on our way to the museum. Charlie also loves to “climb the tree” and “roll down the big hill.” Basically there are about 50 kinds of fun in one spot, depending on his mood that day.

I love to visit the Children’s Art Room, where you can paint and make messes and someone else cleans it up! Because I have a car-obsessed 4-year-old boy, we also visit the Metropolis II exhibit by Chris Burden (it’s like a matchbox car city on steroids that runs for an hour on and then an hour off on the weekends and is impressive even to grown ups).  We walk under what Charlie calls “the big rock” but everyone else calls Levitated Mass (I call it the Pisa of LA because tourists are constantly taking photos of themselves “holding up” the rock. Do it at your own risk of looking like a total tourist. But I did it in Pisa, and I’m sure the locals there think that’s lame too, so no judgement…) We also did a family photoshoot there just before I got pregnant with Calvin since it is one of our favorite places.

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

A visit to LACMA is never complete without a visit to the “pretty lights.” We like to play hide-and-seek and take photos, and if you have the chance to see it at night it is breathtaking (but we’re rarely out after dark with the kids – it’s the plight of parents everywhere). And then we hop across the street to have lunch at one of the many yummy food trucks parked along Wilshire Blvd before we walk home. The LACMA Cafe is also really good for lunch.

2. The Original Farmer’s Market & The Grove. I recommend that anyone visiting LA go to the Original LA Farmer’s Market. (It is over 75 years old!) You will find every kind of food represented. (Our favorites are Loteria, Charlie’s, and The French Crepe Company, but there are so many great spots.) It’s loud enough that your kids won’t bother anyone, and everyone can order food from wherever they want and then sit cafeteria style at one of the outdoor tables. There are also souvenir shops, coffee spots, and great people watching. Oh, and two beer & wine bars. Then walk next door to The Grove. The kids will love the Dylan’s Candy and the American Girl store, and if you go to the third floor of Barnes & Noble there is a children’s play area with lots of toys and books perfect for younger kids. Another huge hit with the kiddos—the koi fish pond with dancing fountains. There’s also a movie theater if you want to catch a movie.

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

3. Griffith Park. Griffith Park is great in general. You can hike, picnic, and play. But if you have kids, the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round is a must-visit if you’re in the area. It was built in 1926, and Walt Disney used to visit with his daughters and was inspired to build Disneyland.

A little boy with his father rides the merry go roundFavorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Both girls and boys will love the Travel Town Museum, located in Griffith Park. See retired train cars and engines, and you can even climb on a couple. There is a train ride and a museum. Oh, and it’s free (you can make entrance donations). It is perfect for both short or long visits, and is close enough to both the zoo and the merry-go-round that you could do them all in the same visit. We also frequently visit and love the LA Zoo, but if you’re visiting from a city that has its own zoo, you can skip it. (It isn’t the most impressive zoo I’ve ever been to.) But if you’d like to visit a zoo it is a fun place to spend an afternoon.

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

Finally, the gem of Griffith Park is the Griffith Park Observatory. The kids will love exploring and learning about space, there’s a planetarium show and one viewing a day is for kids 4 and under, and the views are hard to beat. The on-site cafe is great for lunch as well. There are also some great hiking trails that start/end at the Observatory. Even if you don’t want to do a full hike with little ones, they will love exploring a bit of the trail.

4. The Calfornia Science Center. A huge gem in the city is the California Science Center. With so much to do for kids of all ages, you could literally spend all day there if you want to. And the best part — it’s free! You do need $10 cash to park in the adjacent lots, but that’s nothing compared to what you get during your visit. There is just about every kind of activity you can think of related to science: from the human body to bugs, to sea life (with an aquarium), space, and of course, it is the home of the Endeavor. Definitely worth a visit.

Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.comFavorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely DayFavorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

We also love to visit the Natural History Museum, which is on the same campus (so you can walk over after visiting the Science Center without paying more for parking). But it isn’t free. If you’re local, I highly recommend a membership (it gets you into the Page Museum at the Tar Pits as well!). The dinos alone are worth a visit but there is a great butterfly pavillion (seasonal) and lots of other things to see as well (below).

Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.com

5. Santa Monica Pier/Beach. My last pick is a hard choice because there are a few great beach locations with piers (Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, etc.), but I chose the Santa Monica Pier because overall it offers the most bang for your buck. Plus, it is the closest to the other locations in Los Angeles, and if you want to make it a day, its proximity to the Annenberg Beach House is perfect (another great spot on a warm beach day). There are fun rides, decent food, and beautiful views. Fun for all ages.

Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day Favorite Family-Friendly Places To Visit In Los Angeles | Oh Lovely Day

6. Santa Monica Airport

This place is a gem and so much fun for all of your plane-obsessed littles. You can park right next to the airport, walk up to the observation deck (just look for the elevator or stairs to take you up by the Typhoon restaurant), and watch small airplanes take off and land till your heart’s content. There are tables and chairs, so bring a lunch! Best of all, it is FREE and never crowded.

Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.com Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.com Oh Lovely Day's favorite family-friendly places in Los Angeles | where to take your kids in LA | ohlovelyday.com

What are your favorite places to visit in Los Angeles? You can follow me on instagram or snapchat (I’m chandrafredrick there) for peeks into our family adventures and see more favorites under the #OLDsfaveplacesinLA feed on instagram.

(photo credits: photos 1, 4 & 9 by Jennifer Roper, the rest by me, all property of Chandra Fredrick)