Spring Refresh & Social Distancing...

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Hi. How are you feeling? We've been spending almost all of our time inside these days, but every time I pass people on the street, they are taking about the same thing: the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems to be top of mind for everyone. So, tell me, how are you? 

Right now, for our family, life feels ominous. Neda's school is closed. Brian's department asked everyone to work from home, so he's been doing taxes from a laptop in various rooms the past few days. My office closed recently, and I'm doing my best to align conference calls with nap time. We've avoided big public groups, and we bought a couple extra jars of peanut butter and Oreos. We're greeting people with elbow taps or waves, instead of hugs and cheek kisses. I'm assuming that, in days or weeks, things will continue to tighten up. It's a strange feeling. 

But, we're trying to make the most of things (ha!). While we're quarantined in our little apartment, we're doing some spring cleaning and bringing some excitement into our day-to-day routine. While I'm in a big decluttering mode (why do I have bags upon bags full of gift bags and wrapping paper?!), I've introduced a few new items to our little space that are cheering us up these days.

First up, the most important news of all and our biggest bright spot: Neda is eating solids! And she's loving it. We gave her sweet potatoes on Sunday, and she couldn't get enough. She was so into it and insisted on feeding herself. I love her passion for food and independence so much. Since Sunday, she's been living for her daily fruit or vegetable serving, and we have, too. I love this exploration time with her, it's as if everything else stops.






I also wanted to share our new posters MetropolisPrints. How cool are they?! Kurt from MetropolisPrints sent them to us, and we are obsessed. We customized them with a memorable cities we've visited, a few on deck and a few we dream to visit with Neda. We love traveling so much, I love having these as the center of our kitchen.








We've been spending a lot of time in our kitchen these days, since we're all home and all always hungry :) Making waffles together a few nights ago was so fun. We got this waffle maker and batter dispenser from Wayfair a few weeks ago, and we all look forward to waffle nights. Is it hard to clean up? Sure. Worth it? Absolutely.



We've also been spicing up our mornings with hearty breakfasts to get us through crazy mornings. Sometimes I'll look at the clock, and it's already noon. Shoot! Did I feed Neda? We should have eaten breakfast. My coffee is ice cold! We LOVE this egg scramble. It has everything delicious and is super easy to make. I love that we can make it in one pan (our Le Creuset cast iron pan), and you can serve it in that, too. We've mustered up the courage to host friends at our house again (after a six-month Neda hiatus), and this is on the menu for brunch next week!

Also, I upgraded our measuring spoons, something I should have done years ago. Our old measuring spoons were hand-me-downs that were hand-me-downs to their previous owner. They were bent and flimsy. Something so simple has sparked a lot of kitchen joy the past few weeks.

That's the motto of everything right now, really. Small changes that bring a smile. We need those smiles right now. It's such an anxious time. Hang in there; sending you lots of love <3

Shop the post: posters, waffle maker, batter dispenser, pan, measuring spoons 

(This post was sponsored by Wayfair. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Make the Most.)

Traveling on a Plane With Littles!

Monday, March 9, 2020


As soon as I found out I was pregnant last winter, I started fantasizing about the vacations we'd take as a family of three. I couldn't wait to start planning a trip, and I was committed to squeezing one in while I was on maternity leave. But, after having Neda, I was overwhelmed, and the thought of jumping on a plane with a squishy (& colicky) baby felt impossible and unnecessary. But that's when Brian (who refused to fantasize with me when I was pregnant — "one thing at a time," he says) was like "LET'S DO THIS." So, we did! We took three-month-old Neda moosh to Huntington Beach for a few days, and it was a few days I'll cherish forever and ever. It was nothing like our old vacations (I don't think I had a sip of wine!), but it was so fun. Experiencing life through her eyes is truly fascinating, and I know it's only going to get better :)




Before we left for California, I asked my Instagram followers whether we should go (a resounding yes!) and for any advice. The tips below helped us so much! Sharing in case you're looking to travel with littles, too. And, of course, some photos from our trip to Huntington Beach!



 — When booking your trip, try to find a flight that works well with your kids’ schedules. For example, if you can find a flight during your child’s usual nap time, SCORE! A lot of friends said they love red eye flights because their kids sleep through them no matter what (and a sleeping baby on a plane is well worth your own neck ache or zombie walk the following day). We didn't have that luxury on this trip (Neda's naps were all over the place!), but now that her sleep is very routine, we'll be taking note for the future.



— If you’re traveling with a stroller, check it at the gate so you can use it throughout the airport (don’t check it with your bags). If you don't have a stroller bag (we do, and it serves as insurance for the stroller), bring a few extra large heavy duty black garbage bags to wrap it in at the door of the plane (after you walk down the ramp) to protect it from getting hurt or dirty when stored under the plane. Make sure to get your tags to attach to your stroller or garbage bags before leaving it at the door of the plane.



— We used the car seat as the stroller seat, so we also brought this to the gate (and had this bag ready to go for checking it in). Even if she wasn't using that as the seat, I'd still bring it to the gate anyway. Because...

— Once you get the gate, be sure to go up and check in straight away. They will give you tags for your stroller and/or car seat if you have both/either and also help you board the plane first, which is helpful so you can get situated before all hell breaks loose (just kidding). Also, ask if the flight is full at this time! If it isn't, they'll likely let you bring on your car seat and give the baby its own (free) seat. This really helped on the way to LAX, Neda was so cozy in her car seat the whole time.




— If you’re traveling with a baby, nurse or bottle feed or give them a pacifier during take-off and landing. That constant sucking and swallowing motion can help with the plane changing pressure considerably. For toddlers, give them something to eat during this time so they are also chewing.




— Pack a carry on full of new surprises! Neda was obviously too young to care on this trip, but the diaper bag will be stuffed with things on upcoming trips — a new book, toys or stuffed animals.



— Bring something that's comforting from home. At only six-months-old, Neda won't sleep anywhere without her beloved stuffed octopus (but will sleep anywhere with him.. or her... TBD). We have a few trips planned for later this year, and the thought of landing without the octopus keeps me up at night!




— When the seat belt sign is turned off and it’s okay to move around, take a walk up and down the aisles. It’s hard enough for me as an adult to sit still for an hour or two, so I can’t imagine forcing a child to.




— Be communicative with the people around you, if you can. Sometimes it’s nice to say hello when you sit down and apologize up front for any crying or spilling or chaos that may break loose at some point during the flight, and let them know you will do your best to keep it to a minimum.




Lastly, stay flexible with your itinerary, pace yourself and have fun! It'll be crazy, but it'll be worth it. Bon voyage!


Neda's Cute Personalized Clothes!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

 

Y'all know that I love, love, love personalized everything (anything). Growing up with such a unique name, it was always hard to come by (but I'd still check every souvenir shop's item, everywhere), and Neda's going to have a similar story. But, the 2020s are different from the 1980s, and the Internet brings OPPORTUNITIES (and drawers full of personalized goodies for a lucky little girl)! Neda and I adore Stitch and so, so grateful for them sending us a onesie and some bloomers. I can't get over how cute they are, and I can't wait to add this bag and this jacket to her collection. I also love that Stitch is Chicago-based :) Thanks for the goodies, guys!

A Little Bathroom Refresh...

Sunday, January 26, 2020


Sometimes (typically at 2am, when Neda is screaming and my eyes are glued to the monitor trying to figure out why) I feel like we haven't made any strides in this parenting thing — why did she stop sleeping through the night? Why is she eating less? Does she have a cold? Is that a diaper rash? It's all-consuming. But other times, I think back over the last four months and am in awe of how much easier it has gotten. She's napping, and I'm writing a blog post! We all change our clothes in the morning! We feel comfortable having friends over! I cry less than I used to! More than anything: I'm tackling things that have been on my to-do list for years

Over the past three years that we've lived in our apartment, B and I have continuously changed little things here and there — new throw pillows in the living room, a juicer and Nespresso machine in the kitchen, a little beer and sparkling water fridge in the den — but we've never done anything to the bathroom, a room that has desperately needed a refresh. 


So, earlier this month we finally decided to give that little room a little upgrade. First up, towels. We loved our old towels. In fact, we've often said they were our favorite wedding presents. They were so, so plush! And used to feel  like you were hugging a cloud. But after much, much use, they were stiff, stained and needed to be replaced. We're loving our new Turkish cotton towels, which are extremely soft, and light, but absorbent.


We also added a new bathmat, this chic candle and this trinket dish to hold accessories before we step in the shower or at the end of the day. These are small changes, but they've made a big impact on a tiny space — has anyone else needed a new bathmat for years and just decided to do everything but buy a new one? I used to wash the old one weekly in hopes of it feeling new and finally gave in. I'd highly recommend splurging the $20 before yours also becomes paper thin. 

These days, Neda's nursery, and our bathroom and bedroom seem to be the only rooms I spend time in during the weekdays. So, a cozy towel, a relaxing scent for the end of the day and something shiny and gold, go a long way.

Shop the post: towels, bath mat, candle, trinket dish

(This post was sponsored by Wayfair. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Make the Most.)

18 Weeks With Neda

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


Here we are. Nearly 18 weeks with our sweet babe. I can't believe we're here. Whistle and Flute sent us these matching tops before Neda was born, and I just couldn't picture a baby wearing it earth-side — would it be a boy or a girl? Would we wear them outside of the house? When would hers fit?

Then Neda came, but imagining this happy scene suddenly felt even more impossible. The beginning was so hard for us. I didn't think I'd be a fan of the newborn stage, but I didn't realize how difficult it would be for me. Neda and I have conquered a lot together the past 18 weeks — mastitis, colic, a serious case of the baby blues — and I know many tough days are still ahead. But, 18 weeks later (as my maternity leave comes to an end, of course), this is truly the best. I couldn't love being a mom more. I couldn't love her more. I couldn't be more grateful <3

Matching sweaters courtesy of Whistle and Flute. We love them so much! 

2019, A Year in Review

Monday, January 6, 2020


In every way, 2019 was the year of Neda. I found out I was pregnant on January 3, and it feels like every second of every day, every thought, every ounce of energy has been dedicated to her since. I don't see that ever changing (but I wouldn't be upset if we added more sleep into the mix ;) and I'm OK with that. She's truly our whole world, and we're so, so grateful for her. We're in awe of her, and holding her close and seeing the world through her eyes has been the best thing to ever happen to me. Looking back at this year, it's beautiful to see how she entered our lives, the village she had before she even got here and how much she's grown in a few short months! We couldn't love her more. 

I'm heading back to work in a few weeks, and between that, much more limited family time and freelancing here and there, I'm not sure how much time I'll have to dedicate to this space and what it will look like in 2020. But, I want to thank you so much for being here. Whether you've been reading for years or just stopped by, thank you for visiting my very little corner of the Internet <3 

These yearly photo roundups are my favorite :) I try to not take things for granted throughout the year, but every January, going through and reminiscing about so many wonderful moments, it's hard to not get emotional. I say it every year (year in review posts from 201820172016201520142013!) but I'm so grateful for this life. There are always lows, of course, but at the end of the day, this really is as good as it gets <3 

Happy Holidays! Custom Portrait Giveaway!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


I can't believe it's almost 2020 (and what a year 2019 was!). We're heading to the suburbs this weekend to spend some time with our families, but before we go, I wanted to share this custom portrait Ashlyn of Lemon Milk Co graciously sent me! It's based off a photo we took on Thanksgiving — one of our first family photos. It's such a treasure and the cutest addition to Neda's nursery <3 Thank you, Ashlyn! 

Ashlyn is giving a Make the Most reader a free custom portrait! Check out my Instagram for details on how to enter :) Since it's a digital file, you don't have to be a U.S.-based participant for this giveaway. Yahoo! 

If you want to order from Ashlyn, message her on her Instagram account. 8x10 prints are $45, and digital portraits are $35. She's giving my followers $5 off, so let her know I sent you. She creates the portraits in less than 48 hours — the perfect last minute gift! She'll send you a draft to review, too, and can make any changes you request. I'm in awe of how quickly she turns these around!

And that's a wrap on 2019 around here!!! Thanks for visiting my corner of the Internet and sharing in all of our excitement this year. What a wonderful year. 

Snack Prep 101

Thursday, December 12, 2019


Before I went on maternity leave, a coworker told me a story about how she gained the most weight in her third pregnancy but lost it all almost instantly, in the worst way. Instead of taking care of herself once she came home from the hospital — exercising once cleared from the doctor, eating healthy and easing back to "normal"— she ate mostly only M&Ms that were in bowls around the house, and the pounds shed like crazy. Her mind was everywhere but on her own health, and she's still paying for it, she says. 

A notorious meal planner, I ate really well my whole pregnancy. I felt my best when I ate fresh foods, so I made fruits, vegetables and light meals a priority. I was in a great routine, and my mom stocked our fridge to the brim before Neda was born, so I was confident I'd stay on that path. I wasn't worried about losing the baby weight — it took nine months to put it on, I was going to give myself nine months to lose it. 


Then, Neda came. And life got much crazier than naive me was expecting. I was nursing around the clock. And when I wasn't, I was doing laundry, trying to squeeze in a quick shower or change the millionth diaper. I was exhausted, stressed and not hungry. I'd shove an Rx Bar in my mouth a few times a day (Brian called them my Kalteen bars), but other than that, feeding myself was the last thing on my list. So I, like my coworker, shed the pounds fast. Really fast. A few days after we were home, I weighed less than I did before Neda, and my poor skin, hair and breast milk supply was showing it more than anything else. 

Before I could correct anything myself, B and my mom stepped in and made little snack stations for me (B made sure the nursery always had a huge flask of water and a bowl of almonds, and I would inhale them during late night feedings). And I am so grateful. While life naturally got easier each week, I also got my energy back because I was actually eating again.


We're almost at week 13 now, and finally in a bit of a groove :) Sure, Neda's still not napping, I'm not brushing my teeth until the late afternoon and we rarely leave the house, BUT, I'm taking much better care of both of us. Every weekend, while Brian is home, I make several snacks and meals readily available and put them in these Ello containers. That way, I can just grab something without having to think about it during the day. Such a lifesaver. I'm so frazzled and lazy, that I even color coordinate the containers. For example, my mind knows that teal is vegetables, magenta is a charcuterie snack, so I know where to go for what I want. The containers are big, have tight lids and are made of glass, which is especially nice for lunches. If I have a hot meal in one, I reheat it in the microwave directly from the container and don't feel bad about heating plastic (which is the case with our decade-old Tupperware...). 

And B makes us morning coffee in these Ello travel mugs. At first I thought it was strange that he wasn't making mine in a mug (again, we aren't going anywhere...) but that's naive me again — he wants it to stay hot as possible since I usually don't get to it until the late morning, and these mugs do the trick :)


As hard as it would have been to, I wish I had prioritized my own health more in those early weeks. It took me too long to realize the importance of getting dressed every morning, and embarrassingly, even longer, the importance of my own nutrition (especially when someone else's body relies on mine). These days, meal prepping is back on the agenda and just as much of a priority as feeding Neda. Happy baby, happy mama, but also, happy mama, happy baby. And you need energy to be happy... and if you're not getting energy from sleep, you better get it from food ;)

(This post was sponsored by Ello. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Make the Most.)