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the search for a dignified diaper bag

the search for a dignified diaper bag

I could have called this post "summer uniform: white+denim, part forever".
Can't stop, won't stop.

 Forever 21 top, Gap jeans, Target scarf (similar), boots free from Avalon Exchange after trading in clothes (affordable similar and high quality similar versions)

This started out as an outfit post, but since I'm also using my diaper bag in this photo, I thought I'd write a bit about it. I wanted something that didn't scream "diaper bag", and nothing with cutesy prints on it. (pardon this tangent - why is everything that is to be used with babies bright colored and floral patterned? The baby is not going to be entertained by my nursing pillow, however it is going to sit out at my house a lot and I don't want to constantly look at pink and purple polka dots!! How about some nice solid colors?) That might beg the question, why not just use a normal purse or tote as a diaper bag? I did consider that, and sometimes I do just throw a diaper and some wipes into a smaller bag. However, I wanted some of the special features of a diaper bag: a changing pad, wipe-clean material, and many, many pockets. I went with the Skip Hop Versa diaper bag, and I love it.

Here's what I like about the Versa bag:

  • The look - I chose black for versatility and I like the gold hardware and zippers which add a bit more style.
  • A cross-body option is a must for having hands free. This one can be cross-body or a shoulder bag because of the adjustable strap.
  • There are straps for attaching the bag to a stroller handle.
  • The main inside pocket is very roomy and there is a zipper down the middle of the bag to expand it even more. You can see this in the manufacturer's photo. I usually keep it closed because the bag feels enormous when expanded.
  • The changing pad is in its own zipper pocket on the back of the bag. In our Jeep diaper backpack, it floats in the main pocket and gets all scrunched up.
  • On the front of the bag, there are open pockets for items that need to be easily accessible, like phone and keys.
  • Also on the front of the bag, there are zippered pockets that are perfect for keeping bottles upright.
  • On the inside of the bag, there are four additional pockets - I use one for diapers, one for wipes, one for my wallet, and one for burp cloths.

Instead of trying to find something that my husband and I would both feel comfortable carrying (i.e. something that wouldn't look like a purse when he carried it), I got the bag with the look I liked and we registered for this Jeep backpack (thanks Kyle and Jennedy!) for when my husband will be carrying the bag. Mr. mindful closet loves it (another aside - my husband says he likes it when I mention him on the blog and call him Mr. mindful closet.. Here you go, honey. It's almost as funny as when I used to work with kids and they'd call him Mr. Gillespie. They didn't know that we have different last names.) We try to keep both bags fully stocked at all times so that it's not a huge pain to switch back and forth.

After checking out the Versa bag in person, I bought mine barely used on Ebay for about half the retail price. If you wanted to go through Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you could use those 20% off coupons that are always coming in the mail for a pretty great deal. P.S. Did you know you can use those Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons at Buy Buy Baby too? Keep that in mind for the next time you're buying a friend a gift off the registry there.

Anyone else have great tips for choosing a stylish diaper bag?


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calming nursery design

calming nursery design

Our spare bedroom had been being used as a guest room/my office/my closet, but it was recently time to turn it into a nursery.  Here are a few of the inspiration photos I pinned to my "nursery" board on Pinterest.

I love the brass accents and the rich danish wood.

Another calm, soothing space - love the grey and white.

Per usual, I wanted to be thrifty, didn't want to buy all new things, and was hoping to use some furniture that we already owned. Anytime I'm designing a space, I have to have a visual representation of my ideas so that I can see whether things will work together. I also made a little paper representation of the room and all the pieces of furniture that needed to fit so that I could move them around. Here's my first moodboard:

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

As you can see from my inspiration photos, I liked the calmness of grey, white, and wood with touches of gold and thought I might add in some dark teal or navy. As we started to actually measure (it's a pretty small room) and think more logically about the layout, a lot changed.

  • While the Eames (knockoff) rocker is perfect stylistically, it's obviously not that functional as a glider. We were given the advice that we'd really want a reclining glider for nights when the baby gets rocked to sleep and we don't want to disturb him by transferring him to the crib. If you think it's hard to find a cute, modern glider, add "reclining" into the mix and see how much harder it gets. We finally found this one on, which is comfy, and the lines are simpler than most.
  • After adding a large chair into the room, there was no longer room for the daybed, which we use for guests. It got moved into my husband's studio (our third bedroom).
  • The long, low Danish modern dresser, which we already own (similar to the picture above, that's obviously not ours), also wouldn't fit. We'll use instead a higher, narrow Danish modern dresser, which we also already own. We'll use the top of it as a changing table.
  • For some weird reason, even though we were very undecided about having children for a long time, I had been collecting these vintage wooden rolling toys for years. I would pick them up whenever I saw one in a thrift store and I have about a dozen of them. I think they're so cute. I had this idea that I would display them (secured by museum glue) on a long IKEA Lack shelf above the crib. Well,  I did until I started thinking about earthquakes. I decided I didn't want anything heavy above the crib, and there was no other good wall to put a long shelf on, so that idea got scrapped.

Other notes:

  • In addition to the dresser, we already own the starburst, the gold dipped bowl, and the grey curtains.
  • My sister is a saint and was willing to get us whatever we needed from IKEA in Atlanta, since we didn't forsee being able to take a trip to an IKEA anytime soon. Unfortunately, the crib we wanted (simple and affordable!) was out of stock for months there. Luckily, we found the exact crib for sale on Craigslist here in St. Louis.
  • She was able to get us the pendant lamp we wanted, the Maskros, as well as the desk top and drawers we needed to make our new workspace. Just an FYI, if you're thinking about buying this lamp, we got the "small" version, and it's pretty huge.
  • I couldn't commit to the rug, I was afraid that the darker color might darken the small room too much.

Here's what the moodboard looked like after all of this:

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

Instead of displaying the toys on the long shelf, I bought this small IKEA Expedit shelf. The toys and books can go there for now, and I'm sure we'll need to add baskets for more storage soon. The lamp is just an inspiration - IRL, I took a silver and gold vase and added a lamp kit to it to make a metallic lamp. We still need a pouf or footrest of some kind, and a small rug. And just in case you think the room will be devoid of all color, I'm planning to frame some bright Charley Harper animal prints to go above the crib. In addition, my quilting genius of a mother-in-law is making us a crib quilt from this Michael Miller Waterfront fabric collection. How cute are these prints?

Here are a few peeks into the room so far, it's still not entirely done:

And our new workspace used to look like this...

And now looks like this...

Stendig calendar, IKEA Vika desktop and Micke file drawer, chair, thrifted lamp and accessories


thrifting a baby boy wardrobe

thrifting a baby boy wardrobe

I'll admit (although I'm not supposed to), I was a bit disappointed when I found out I was having a boy. Of course, I'm completely happy now that everyone's healthy and happy. I had been kindof looking forward to dressing a girl. Clothing choices are a bit more limited for baby boys, but at the same time, it's ok, because I wasn't going to be into super pink frou-frou stuff for girls anyway, so it would have still taken some searching. 

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

Baby clothes, as cute as they are, are something that are used for such a short time that it seems ridiculous to spend much money on. Above is a collection of some of the clothes I came across online that I really loved -  no surprise, I'm envisioning a French baby as I shop. However, the prices on these are crazy, up to $100 or more for some of them - again, for things they'll wear for months! Finding things secondhand is going to be the way to go for me.

Here's an assortment of some of the things I've found so far at thrift stores, which are close enough to the fancy stuff for me. The most expensive thing in these (bad iPhone) pictures are the shoes, which were $4. Most things were $1 - all infant clothing at the Goodwill is $1 per piece. 

PS those are baby Carhartts in the bottom left corner!

Many of the items still have tags on, and the rest (well, actually all of them) will get a few good hot water washes. I have not had great luck finding secondhand maternity wear, but perhaps because babies go through so many sizes so quickly, there's a huge amount of really good stuff out there. 

The absolute best day of thrifting baby clothes was when I got the pile of stuff above at the Goodwill outlet - 21 pieces for $2.84!! That's 13 and a half cents per item - crazy!  Cheap and giving new life to still useful things.

What do you think? Would you buy secondhand things for your baby?