Thursday, January 29, 2015

Meeting Sophia

I'm officially an aunt now!  My sister Denise had her baby at the beginning of January, and the weekend before last I decided to take a trip up to North Carolina to meet my niece for the first time.  I was worried that Denise might be too tired to want to hang out/talk, but she seemed to welcome my company.  Also, I know this is stupid, but I'm very inexperienced with newborns and don't think that I'm a "natural."  Once kids get past 16 months, I feel like I know what to do since I've worked in a toddler room before, but as for the infant stage...well, I'm kind of clueless. Denise told me to relax and that there was no special secret to holding her besides that I should just support her head.  Once I held her, I got over my hesitation and just wanted to hold her more.

Sophia was a lot smaller than I thought she would be, but Denise said that's because she lost some weight at first, and it was also because most of her pictures were taken close up. Regardless of her size, Sophia is adorable and the outfits Denise dresses her up in certainly don't take away from the cute-ness factor!  Sophia already a bunch of fun hair accessories, too.

Denise filled me in on Sophia's personality and described her as "a diva."  She likes to be held constantly, she's starting to like the swing I bought her, and she enjoys sleeping on top of my sis. Denise said that sometimes she'll fall asleep and not realize if she is being held or not, so what she'll do is she'll open her eye just the tiniest bit.  If she sees that no one is holding her, she'll start to wail in hopes of getting picked up.

Although she isn't spending a lot of time in her nursery quite yet, it's super cute.  Denise said she used Pinterest as inspiration to decorate it.  My favorite thing is the holder that Denise made for all of Sophia's ribbons, headbands, and bows.

Growing up, none of us were close to our aunts.  They seem like nice people, but we just lived so far away from them and didn't get to see them that often because of the physical distance between us.  I know that I'm not too far away from Denise now (about 5.5 hours driving if there's no traffic/construction), but I guess one of my fears is that Sophia might grow up without really knowing me and we both don't want that to happen.  I'm thinking of teaching internationally again next year and if I did, I wouldn't be able to make a weekend trip here and there, which bums me out, but at least I'd be able to see her during the summer.  I just hope that I'm always a part of her life and that I'm a good (and involved) aunt.

As for Denise, I was really surprised at how calm and put together she was.  The poor thing told me that a good night's sleep for her is 2 hours total, so I expected her to be grouchy or stressed, but she just seemed really happy (albeit tired.)  She's got this!  She went ahead and put in her notice at her teaching job in order to be a full-time mom to Sophia.  I knew that once she met her she wouldn't want to go back to work, and she figured that this would happen. Even though my sis is a new mom, she is already an amazing one--I can just tell. :)

I'll leave you with a collage of Sophia and her many expressions. My faves are her big, sleepy grins. Denise says she does that a lot after getting fed.


 What's your favorite thing about babies?  Any tips for my sis that I can pass along to her? If you have kids already, what theme did you pick for your baby's nursery?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gifts for the Francophile

I've always been a bit of a Francophile.  As a child, my favorite books were The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant and other books in the Babar series.  Most of the Madeline books were well-loved by me, as well.  Even today, I am still drawn to a French theme when it comes to purchasing accessories, treats, or decorative items.  That's why I decided to share some items that I already own with you, as well as a few things that I think might appeal to fellow, female, Francophiles.

1) Rosa "Merci" Thank You Note Cards by Rifle Paper Co.  I'm already a fan of Rifle Paper Co. because of their gorgeous floral designs, but adding some French to it makes it even better!  Thank you cards come in handy any time of the year, so why not have some stylish ones on hand?

2) Paris Je T'Aime Paris France Art Print- I was browsing Pinterest for some prints, and came across this one that I absolutely love from evivart's Etsy shop.  My personal favorite was the pink, gold, and red color scheme, but there are also some other colors available.

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3) Red wine from Bordeaux or St. Emilion- If you ever visit France, wine tasting in Bordeaux is a must!  Many years ago I had the opportunity to go on a tour in Bordeaux and visited several vineyards, including one in the quaint town of St. Emilion.  I have been drinking wine produced in St. Emilion ever since.  Click here for a list of St. Emilion wines available for purchase.

4) Amelie: Original Soundtrack Recording  Chances are that if you know someone who is a Francophile, they probably already own the movie Amelie but they might not have the soundtrack to the film.  I bought this soundtrack while living in France, and listening to it always takes me back.  It really is just magical!

5) Macarons- When I lived in Ohio, I made trips down to Columbus for brunch and macarons at Pistacia Vera.  Their macarons were always fresh, and they had a variety of different flavors to choose from.  If you can't find macarons near you, you could always order some from Pistacia Vera.

6) FrenchBox- This is a fairy new subscription box in which you are able to get French beauty and fashion items sent to you for $24/month.  Personally, I only got the first box which I reviewed here, but I might re-subscribe if I hear about a good spoiler in an upcoming box.  

7) La Mere Poulard - Palets Butter Cookies - La Mere Poulard is a French company that sells a variety of different cookies, but the ones I'm the most interested in are these shortbread cookies (pallet) from Bretagne.  Yes, it's nice to be able to try the cookies, but another huge draw is getting to keep the decorative tin.  Thankfully, these are available on Amazon.

8) Savon de Marseille- Marseille has a long history of producing olive oil based hand soap.  Now it is also available in a less traditional, liquid form.

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9) Bon Weekend Tote from The Atelier- I've seen this tote around on some other blogs, and have wanted it ever since.  It would be ideal for teaching since I'm always lugging stuff around, and because like most of us, I live for the weekend!

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10) Garance Dore i-Phone Case-  Garance Dore, a Corsican artist, has a whole bunch of fabulous, French-themed items on her site.  This i-Phone case really caught my eye.

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Are you a Francophile?  Which items on the list are your favorite?

* There are some affiliate links in this post for which I will receive a small amount of compensation, but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Moved...Again

As many of you know, I moved from Ohio to a small town outside of Savannah in June.  I ended up moving a second time because I work in South Carolina but was living over an hour away from my place of employment.  My former roommate would just commute every day, but considering that my work hours are long, I just couldn't take driving for almost three hours each weekday. Yesterday, I worked from 7 AM until 6:30 pm finishing up students' grade cards.  I cringe to think of how two hours plus of drive time would have affected me.  I drove it for my first month, but decided that enough was enough and started looking for a new place. Unfortunately, my fabulous roommates were uninterested in moving with me.  

When I first started to look for an apartment, I was appalled at how pricey a one bedroom place was around here.  Just the rent alone would take up a full two week paycheck.  I figured that the cost of living would be higher here off of the coast of South Carolina, but I never thought that I would have trouble finding a place that I could afford.  When I talked to my mentor teacher about it, she confirmed that most teachers for the district have to either get a roommate or get a second job.  The second job thing is laughable and just not possible for me at this point.  I've done the whole finding a roommate of Craig's List thing once (which was enough for me) and came to the conclusion that I was unwilling to try to live with a complete stranger again.  When another teacher caught wind of my situation, she told me about her best friend who had a house about 10 minutes away from our school. Within the house was a separate, furnished apartment that she was looking to rent out.  The price she was asking was one I could actually afford and it included all utilities.  It's also right on the marsh. Sounds perfect, right?  

Before I set up a meeting, Ev and I decided to scope it out on our own.  He told me all sorts of horrible things because he likes to tease and also because I don't think he wanted me to move out.  On our drive there, here are some of the things he said to me:

"Oh, how nice, abandoned building, abandoned building, cheap hotel.  It looks really safe."
"Another teacher in my grade level lived around the marsh, and she came home one day to find nothing left of her dog except for its two hind legs because an alligator got to it.  I wouldn't trust living on the marsh with those gators."
"Look at this street!  I take that back about the gators because on this street they would probably be the least of your worries."  

I ended up going ahead and looking at the apartment and meeting the lady who was renting it out.  In the end, I did decide to move in.  (It is seriously fine...Ev was being dramatic.)  I was sad to move farther away from Savannah, but I figured I'd rather drive the 45 minutes to Savannah once on the weekend as opposed to driving almost three hours each day.  Now I do live alone, but I feel okay about it because I'm connected to someone's house, so if I screamed over something, I know they'd be able to hear me and help.  I also am relieved that the place is furnished and that she didn't make me sign a year-long lease.  Plus, the lady that I rent from and I are becoming friends now and she'll invite me over for a cocktail every once in awhile.  Overall, I think it's a good "starter" place because it's such a relief not to have to buy all sorts of new furniture and appliances all at once. 

Truthfully, sometimes I miss not living with Ev and Jared.  I also truly miss their (not so) little dachshund, Claude.  I never knew I could become so attached to a dog, but he really is the cutest! I even bought him a Christmas present, hahaha.  At least I have extra time in the day so that I have some time to unwind after work, and by unwind I mean watch Netflix.   

Here's a little tour of my new place before I started moving my stuff in.  Also, the bedroom picture isn't the best and doesn't do the room justice, but you get the idea.  I don't feel like the place is "my own" since I haven't decorated it or anything, but it is just fine for right now. :)

 When was the last time you moved?