Oh la la! The day of love is approaching and for some, it spells dread because we’ve been sold to for years that V day is all about romance with your one true love. Don’t buy into it! Gather your girlfriends, your kids, your family or spend it alone in the bathtub with something boozy to drink and bubble bath to celebrate the love you feel for yourself. Dump the dumb traditions and look at February 14th as a fun, positive day and whether you celebrate or not, next month is a great month in general to stock up on lots of fabulous things in pink and red in fun heart shapes (including those yummy candy hearts that I miss so badly here in Germany!) that you can also enjoy year round. I thought you may enjoy some inspiration to see what I mean. Here are 28 ideas that I’ve collected online (please link to those that you fancy) that you’re certain to enjoy. Kisses!
2. Cocktails! Just add heart sugar from Dellcove Spices to the rims to make it extra festive and full of love.
3. Creative photography! Arrange something pretty on a tabletop in the shape of a heart, photograph it, print, and pin to your mood board or frame like Leslie Shewring did. You can also turn this into a greeting card to give to someone dear.
4. Gift giving! Watercolor on paper and cut into hearts and attach them to presents with twine like Leslie Shewring did - she’s such a talented person!
Gift give! 5a. If you like to keep things simple, KROnPINSESSENE has a simple gift wrap idea with string and stickers. 6b. Pretzels dipped in chocolate with heart confetti 7c. Cupcakes with handmade arrows. 8d. love letter cookies from Kanela y Limon.
9. Bake cookies for your sweetheart! Love cookies made by Sweet Style Blog – could these get any sweeter?
10. Whip up a little pie! Bake up a little raspberry pie, this one was made by zucker zimt und liebe.
11. Host Brunch with friends. Make some heart waffle sandwiches with prosciutto to enjoy brunch with your lady friends on V Day! We have plenty of love in our life to go around without worrying about whether or not we have a date on February 14th! Gather the girls like Design Love Fest did and spread your own love and magic.
12. Wing it! If you don’t have time to whip up something heart-themed, why not buy some cupcakes at the bakery and add your own touch on top with a little heart you’ve made. In America around Valentine’s Day, lots of cupcakes come with a plastic heart stuck inside but you can easily remove it, cut and attach your own handmade heart using a favorite paper to a straw you’ve cut short (like a cute red and white striped one) and pop it into the cupcake.
13. Photo magic at home! Take some fun photos against a white background (hang a sheet you’ve pressed wrinkle-free) and use heart-shaped anything as props like photographer Max Wanger does (his website, his interview on decor8). Take photos of your kids, pets, whomever is around that you love. Or use a camera with a timer and photograph yourself.
Balloons! Oh yeah, definitely do the whole balloon thing. One, two, forty… Balloons say FUN and turn a simple dinner at home into a romantic joy fest. 14a. massive amounts of pink balloons at home from 100 layer cake 15b. order and deliver big hearts to someone you love like these by geronimo balloons via oh joy 16c. A small colorful collection presented to your date on his doorstep (or office) wearing your prettiest outfit like these from lark store 17d. One giant balloon with streamers tied to it like this one shot by Liz Banfield for Style Me Pretty.
18. Throw a Craft Party for Your Friends! Host your own V Day crafting party with the girls like they did over at Better Homes & Gardens… And while you’re at it, serve champagne! I also love the at home crafting party that they did over at Style Me Pretty! Nothing makes crafting together more hilarious than when you drop going for perfection – usually a glass of bubbly makes even the most perfectly perfect crafter chill out a bit.
Play dress up! Wear some hearts without being tacky! 19a. Adorable blogger Jordan Ferney in a heart sweater 20b. shoe clips by Ban.do 21c. heart skirt (love this) which looks super stylish 22d. heart blouse (I also adore this look) from little miss fearless. Fashion tip: A way to avoid this look turning too twee is to either dress or accessorize with only ONE item that has a heart pattern. Not all at once!
23. Decorate with decals! I love these black hearts against a peachy-pink wall by Ferm Living.
24. Decorate the ceiling! And why not? By Designer Emily Mugannam
25. Decorate with pillows! I like this understated heart cushion by Foto Le Maire for a living room, especially nice for those who don’t want to go bold.
26. Decorate the walls with flowers! These wall vases from Love Star are the best.
27. Decorate with hoops! This fun V day party by The Nester resulted in these crafty hoops – love!
28. Decorate with chocolate! Do you think I’m kidding? The Sweetest Occasion made a DIY heart wall. Yes, really!
See any ideas you love? I love the craft party idea, or the pretty brunch that Bri did. I also love the heart sugar for cocktail glass rims! Yum!
(images linked to their sources above)
If you’re a mom-to-be like me, or a newish mom still shopping for baby gear, I hope this post is somewhat helpful to you! My blog friend, Lesley Myrick, who just had her baby boy a few days ago (congrats, Lesley!), asked me what my baby registry essentials are and shared a link to her blog where she documented all the stuff on her wish list for feeding, sleeping, baby care and travel. Inspired by her post, I thought I’d do the same. Just as Lesley disclosed on her blog, we too haven’t yet tested these things (our son will arrive in about 10 days!), but after a ton of research and advice from friends and readers, we’ve decided to go with what’s shown and linked below. And a big BY THE WAY… If you are lucky enough to register and to have a friend throw you a shower, by all means DO IT. It’s not a German custom to have a baby shower or even a gift registry, so I had to skip both (wahhhh!), but we’ve decided to just throw a party anyway about four weeks after the baby arrives so I have an excuse to decorate, bake and let our dear family and friends meet our little guy. I’ve already ordered the paper pom-poms and bunting and cute straws – I’m getting my baby party, damn it! :)
Crib – The gorgeous (and eco!) Sparrow crib in white from Oeuf NYC is all set up in the baby’s room and makes me so happy, I’m in love! I’ve wanted this bed for years now (I LOVE the legs), so the moment I found out I was pregnant I ran to their website to see if they were available yet in Europe and they totally are – in fact, they are made in the EU. My husband and I just adore this crib and it looks fabulous in the baby’s room. I’ll show you a tour of the room early next week, I’m still finishing up but it’s nearly ready!
Bassinet – First of all, they can be really cheesy! I’m not sure what happened in bassinet design land, but most of them are just one big hot mess. Give me a vintage wicker French one, or a mid century bassinet, any day. Problem is, they are tough to find and even tougher in good condition. I didn’t find my dream bassinet but the BabyBjörn cradle (German link or US link), shown below, was the second runner-up so I purchased it we just put it together and love it already, it’s so lightweight so we can carry it all over the house! I really want our little guy to sleep in our bedroom with us for the first 3-6 months and then we’ll move him into his big boy crib – but I know I’ll want him around all of the time so a bedside bassinet is the perfect accessory for us.
Bedding - I wanted a warm and cozy blanket that looked handmade for cuddling with mommy, so I found an organic knit blanket in creamy white for a great price from Sonnenstrick. I also bought 2 organic bedding sets from Ferm Living: Robots and Clouds along with a soft Little Remix blanket and the bear quilt. I received two lovely quilts as presents too, one came from Sture & Folke (images here) – it’s lovely with the gorgeous Liberty London prints! And another came from one of my Australian students, the lady behind Alphabet Monkey, who made me the sweetest quilt ever (you can see it here and buy one just like it here). So grateful for these pretty handmade gifts. Thank you ladies!
Nursing chair - I was so excited to find a good looking glider over here because most of what I’ve found for rocking chairs and gliders in Germany are equivalent to what Americans had access to in the 1980s before we evolved and started making cooler stuff for baby’s rooms. I hope Germany starts designing or importing classy looking gliders, but until someone here taps into this chair-in-need, I relied on the Brits to see me through. I ordered the Mo-Ma Nursing Chair (shown below) from Olli & Ella in London in their brand new soft dove gray (not currently on the site) and I LOVE IT. I’ve been hanging out in it for the past month since it arrived and I adore it – comfortable, smooth gliding, noise-free, stylish… Everything I wanted and more and they ship quickly to Germany! My glider is dove gray with cream trim, and the pillow is cream with dove gray trim. I also asked them to not paint the base but rather to keep it in natural wood and they did – so it looks great against our wooden floors!
High Chair – Still shopping around for one that goes from infant to toddler. Seems Stokke is a big hit online. Anyone have suggestions?
Breast feeding gear – This is where I need YOUR help! Any suggestions on what I need to breast feed? Bottles? Warmers? Pumps? I’m a bit lost. I will ask my midwife when our son is born and I’ll have a consultation then too, but any advance ideas or help would be super helpful! I don’t want to be the only one doing the feedings though, I really want my husband involved, so how does that work exactly? I’m thinking you pump ‘n store it and then he heats and the baby eats? My husband really wants to be 100% involved in baby care alongside of me and I want that too – and I think feeding times will be a nice bonding experience for them both. Tips? Please!
Nursing Bras – I picked up a few from Noppies – they’re pretty and comfortable and priced very well. They have an online shop here. I’m so glad that nursing is encouraged and common in Germany. People breastfeed in cafes and whenever they need to and it’s nice because there’s no weirdness around it. Of course, I would be a discreet public feeder (!), some moms aren’t and I think that’s a bit much, but nursing is completely natural and if I can do it (we will see how that part goes!), I’m going for it.
Burp cloths – I imagine you just use whatever you want for burp clothes, but I bought this cute set by Babyglück and love them – they wash so well, too.
ORGANIZATION + STORAGE
Raffia “Airport” storage box from RICE - This storage box is just so lovely and came to me from my good friend Charlotte. I will love this for years to come and so will our little boy. Thank you Charlotte! It’s currently on the floor in the baby’s room filled with stuffed toys. It’s a great storage box and has a special story behind it that Charlotte doesn’t even know. But my husband and I met for the first time in an airport – so the airport motif makes my husband and I smile. Cute, right?
Ferm Living Face Boxes - I don’t actually have these yet, but I hope to by the end of the month (they’re not available yet, I’ve been waiting for two months because I wanted to include them in the baby room tour next week). Anyway, I plan to stack them on the floor so that when our son becomes a toddler, he can learn to put things away and have fun doing it. I adore the faces, they make me smile!
Dresser with changing top by Oliver Furniture – This nursery dresser, made by hand in Denmark, is such a beauty! It’s made so well, looks and fits perfectly in the baby’s room, and the changing top can be removed so he can use this dresser for years and years to come. I’m really impressed by the quality, it’s extremely sturdy. And in the future, we can paint it any color he’d like to change things up – it’s solid wood. Everyone who comes into the baby’s room says that they LOVE the dresser, it’s a favorite amongst all of my mommy friends. :)
Two Door Closet from Car Moebel - This closet is wooden and fits perfectly into the new nursery. It’s not too big, not too small – perfect for a little one and will be a great closet for at least the first ten years… After that I can foresee needing a larger one (it’s not standard to have built-in closets in Germany like it is in America), so I’ll eventually move this cabinet to another room in our home. But for the next decade, it’s staying in our son’s room. He can paint it as time goes by, stick things on it (like decals) and do whatever his decorating eye directs him to do. My husband installed some blue and white porcelain knobs on the doors and I’m considering painting it but right now, I’m kind of tired out from our move last week so I’m putting my big ideas on pause for now and just washing and filling it with baby clothes and etc. It’s a great cabinet and if you live in Germany, I can’t suggest shopping Car Moebel enough. I have lots of things from this company, I’ve been a loyal customer for the past 5 years.
Wall Display Boxes from Ferm Living – I have a few of these display wall boxes that I plan to install this weekend to store some sweet little collections inside of from Ferm Living. I like that they have plexiglass fronts that slide in, so I don’t have to think about dusting so much. Aren’t they the cutest?
Warm insert for the stroller – I ordered a soft insert for the baby stroller so our little guy can be extra cozy during these winter months. Though we’ve barely had a winter with weather in the 50s (!) but I heard it will snow around my due date and that the temps will finally drop, so an insert will be nice for him to sleep on. We live in the city and walk EVERYWHERE, so this warm insert by SunnyBaby will be just perfect.
Baby Carrier – My husband and I both work full-time from home, and he has assured me that he’ll offer as much parental help as possible so I don’t ever feel overwhelmed by baby care. In fact, he was super excited when we went to a baby fair at a local hospital and he found a really great ergonomic carrier called Bondolino (shown here) for our son. He picked it out and tried it on with a plastic baby inside, it was the cutest moment for me – I was beaming. We bought the carrier on the spot. I can’t wait to see him “wearing” our little boy, it will make me so happy and proud. The great thing about this carrier is that our little one can face towards his daddy or he can ride on his back. How fun!
Baby Seat For Home – For travel around the house and also to see the family, I decided to buy the Babybjörn babysitter in black/white stripe cotton (German link or US link). This will be so handy at the in-laws and it’s super lightweight. Plus, it gives us both a chance to bring him into our offices during the day and he can snooze while daddy or mommy works. I wanted the black and white pinstripe version because it will look nice in our home while also being very comfy for baby – win/win!
Car Seat – We bought one on Amazon for infants by a company called United Kids. He installed it already in our car in like two seconds, and it seems fine, so I’m sure it will be fine. We don’t plan to use the car much this year anyway, so we didn’t want to sink a lot of cash into an infant care seat – as long as it can get him home from the hospital! When he’s grown out of it, we plan to buy a Maxi Cosi since by then, we’ll be planning trips and doing more with the car. Everything is within walking distance from our house, we live in the city after all, so a super expensive car seat wasn’t a priority.
Stroller: Stokke Crusi Stroller & Bassinet Combo - I mentioned this already, but we are constantly walking – as in every single day. We walk to the grocery store, the park, the forest, shopping, we even walk downtown (it’s a mile so not really a big deal). We have a car but only put 4,000 miles on it since we bought it brand new in October 2012 – so you can see how little we drive. Anyway, having a top of the line stroller that can deal with dirt, mud, rocks, pavement… all surfaces, all weather, was a top priority. That’s why we decided on the Stokke Crusi Stroller & Bassinet Combo in Black Melange (US Link or German link) which isn’t black at all but a gorgeously stylish charcoal grey. We love it! My husband put it together the day it arrived and he was so happy to have a stroller that wasn’t white or red or some other color – he really loves how cool it looks. Since I want him to take the baby out for walks, I thought getting a stroller that he’d WANT to push around would be a smart choice. It’s sturdy, not at all heavy to push and extremely ergonomic for parents since everything sits a little higher off of the ground (which I love!). There is also ample storage space on the bottom and, when the baby gets older, he can ride in the stroller since the bassinet can be switched out. I truly LOVE this stroller, it’s the only one out of dozens that I shopped around for that I truly had to have. When it arrived in November, I was oohing and ahhing for days. Available here on Amazon.
Bathtub - I purchased the Flexibath in white with gray trim because it folds and this made my little heart sing because I was wondering where I’d store a baby bath in our smallish bathroom. The Flexibath, made in Denmark, was the perfect solution – it folds neatly after use. It also won a design award in 2009 from Formland in Denmark, which didn’t hurt when I was trying to make a decision. It was designed by A Real Cool World. I picked up this cute turtle bath thermometer, too.
Caped blanket - I have no idea what this is really for, but I read that you need a caped blanket for bath time, so please parents, fill me in… But I have one now so that’s a start I guess! It’s from bébé-jou and it’s super soft and very cozy, I would totally like to be wrapped in it if I were a little boy!
Blankets - I love everything from Belly Button in Hamburg, a company owned by American Dana Schweiger, who was once married to big German film star, Til Schweiger. Her children are acting in films here in Germany and they’re just such a super talented family. Anyway, Dana is the lady behind the brand Belly Button and I’m a big fan. I bought 3 little blankets and a rattle from this collection because they’re the perfect size for wrapping baby, cuddling, burping, you name it. I put these blankets in the “care” category because I’ll use them more for when our baby isn’t sleeping… I have to pick up some more cute things from them, I have a wish list growing and growing as they’ve been adding new products, I love this little onesie! Another great option for blankets (and adorable baby clothes – all organic and also 40% off this month), are those by Winter Water Factory. They sent me a sweet care package and though I cannot find the blankets they’ve sent on their website, I still have to mention them for baby things. I love their stuff!
Changing pad & cover – I bought the bébé-jou changing pad on Amazon but since the outside is plastic, I also picked up a terry cloth bébé-jou cover with two little mice on it. It looks very comfortable, like a little mattress, so I’m hoping it really is a soft spot for our little boy to rest during clean up time.
Diaper Bag – Still looking… If anyone has some suggestions, I’d love a few good links to companies that ship to Germany! I really wanted the black and white striped Harmony bag from Kate Spade but they don’t ship to Germany so I’m trying to find an alternative!
Diaper Bin – Any tips? We need a bin (non-stinky) to put in his room and I have no clue where to begin there…
Manicure set - I read somewhere that you absolutely need a little manicure set, so I picked up this one from bébé-jou, also on Amazon. Seems well made and was affordable, so I’m sure it will be just fine.
OKAY so what am I missing??? I feel like I’m spacing on something… Any suggestions of must-haves for infants that I need?—————————————— Disclosure: Stokke sent us the pram with their complements, Oeuf sent the gorgeous white Sparrow crib and bookcase that I picked out from their collection to contribute to the design of the nursery, Oliver Furniture donated the nursery changing table and Car Moebel donated the gorgeous wooden cabinet. I want to thank these four companies for their generosity. ——————————————
Next week on decor8: A tour of our new baby nursery! Yeah!
(images linked to their sources above)