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Birth Announcements + Baby Update

Hello friends! Today Aidan is 6 weeks old so I thought I’d write a little post to tell you how it’s been with a new baby in our life. But first, would you like to see the letterpress birth announcements that I worked with Tara Hogan from Ink+Wit to design? I’m so proud of them! They’ll be sent to close friends and family and I plan to frame one for his bedroom, but for now I’ve posted one on the inspiration board in my office. It thrills me whenever I look at it since it brings me back to a most precious beginning and a beautiful day on Sunday, February 9, 2014. The day our little guy came into our life and things truly haven’t been the same – and never will be. Thank God.

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In addition to the announcements, I took a few photos of him this afternoon on his changing table to share with him for this little update post. I know, not the best place for a photo shoot (where we change his diapers!) but I had to take a few photos because the poor little guy HATES the changing table. I mean, he hates it. He screams the moment we put him on it, unless he is sleepy, then he’s really chill. That’s why I wanted to capture his chillin’ out on the changing table moment today since it’s so rare, I had to capture the sheer bliss of it all.

As  mentioned, today marks 6 weeks since he was born but it’s truly felt like 6 months because days are so much longer with an infant, there is so much more to live for, and there is SO MUCH TO LEARN and a lot of care and troubleshooting involved that keeps you on your toes initially, especially when you are first time parents and don’t have a CLUE or a mother living nearby to bail you out. My mom is in Boston and if she were living locally this would be so much easier. She’d be cooking, cleaning, rocking, singing, and loving her way into Aidan’s heart. She just be so ON this grandmother thing. Thankfully, she’s coming to spend a month with us this summer so that will be a real treat. And I must mention that aside from the whole newness of being first time parents, we had a kink along the way when Aidan lost 500 grams the first week and we had to really work hard to get him to regain the weight. Our midwife has been an angel and after 4 weeks of following her wisdom, he was back to his birth weight and now he’s above it by about 300 grams, so that’s wonderful.

Had he not had the weight loss issue, which then lead to him becoming extreme colic-y (we finally realized yesterday that he DOES NOT have colic but allergies), it may have been world’s easier during his first 6 weeks instead of being super fussy, crying on and off from morning until night with extreme bloat/gas pains in his stomach, etc. Some days have been nonstop D.R.A.M.A. around here, though I have a sense of humor and patience so I’m able to handle everything well though I can’t say I haven’t been dying for a glass (bottle!) of wine now and then but I’m breastfeeding and caring for him through the nights so I have to abstain so I can stay on my game (plus wine makes me super tired, I may be putting his diaper on his head or putting him down to sleep in the bathtub instead of his cot).  Humor aside, mothering him has come very naturally to me and I love it – nothing gets under my skin because the moment I start feeling irritated I tune out the cries and tap into the whole induction/hospital drama and how just having a healthy baby was all I wanted during those labor moments. The reality check keeps me positive.

I must also report that I take a shower each day! I am below my pre-pregnancy weight already! I wear makeup! I even curl my hair! Yes, really. And our house is neat and clean, laundry done, I’m grocery shopping, prepping meals, showering and getting properly dressed each morning, and this has been since day one. I’ve even rented a few movies on iTunes and keep up with pinning, blogging and work stuff. We also take the baby out 3 times a week currently for a few hours each time. We have friends over every few days since he was born – and I have been getting out now with friends to shop and eat so I feel like balance is returning to my life (I am someone who really needs my girl time). Looking at how we’re doing so far, I am proud to say that we’re actually doing really well as first time parents. BUT. The first 6 weeks of his little life have been hard because his symptoms were such a big mystery and I incorrectly self-(and internet) diagnosed colic, but he doesn’t have colic but as I said, allergies. Also since he is young, he never wants to leave our arms so I’m going to start wearing a baby sling this week so my hands can be free. Though I still cannot manage to not want to hold him every second because I really love it when he falls asleep on my shoulder as he does so many times each day. I snuggle him and kiss his soft cheeks and I melt and feel incredibly loved and completely, fully happy. If you are a parent, you must get this. It’s sublime.

On the flipside of the alleriges, there has been something positive to gain. I was telling my husband that had he not been so fussy, we may not be pouring over him so much, giving him 24/7 care… In fact, maybe if he did sleep all day or was extremely quiet like some babies are, we may just put him in his bouncy seat while we work, or handed him over to grandma to babysit, or perhaps we would have let him lay in his crib and play with his toes or something while I work, travel, teach, write… Perhaps we would have not spent so much time with him. Perhaps these 6 weeks would have flown by. But truth is, they haven’t – they’ve been the longest 6 months of my life and every moment (even the hard moments) have done something to my heart that words cannot explain. I keep telling everyone that having a child closed the circle for me – I’d always felt a gap that I tried to fill with everything else, but the baby has closed the gap and I finally feel the restlessness gone from my heart and head. I feel peace like never before and more creativity and joy than ever before. No kidding. Having Aidan forced me to reach DEEP into my soul, the very unselfish part, the INTERNET CAN WAIT and THE CAREER CAN WAIT part, and it’s made me love and value our son even more. Even those times when he’s a red-faced screaming pterodactyl. Yes, this little guy below definitely goes there. In fact, he can go from sweet to screaming in seconds as I scramble through the WHAT COULD BE WRONG list until I hit what it is, address it, then BOOM – silence. And this is what that looks like in photos. Golden moments indeed.

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So yes, today our little boy has turned 6 weeks and I’m more in love with him than I ever imagined and I can’t wait to learn more about him, address his needs and continue to care for him, and watch his continue to gain weight and grow into a beautiful little boy. So that’s my baby update. I’ll write more about him in about 6 weeks again in case of you would like these mini updates. :)

By the way, have you ever dealt with a baby who has allergies? Or colic-like symptoms? Or colic in general? How did you deal with it? What did you do to help your baby?

xo, Holly

(images: holly becker)

Posted in real talk on March 23, 2014
decor8 great.ly shop

Enter To Win: Blogging Your Way e-course!

Hello everyone and happy Friday! Today is my birthday, our book releases in the UK (and it’s already #1 on Amazon!), and we’ve just opened enrollment for our super fab e-course that kicks off in April for four weeks called Blogging Your Way. March is also a special month because I celebrate FIVE years of teaching Blogging Your Way since we launched this time in 2009! I can’t believe I’ve been teaching the web’s first e-course on blogging for so many years, an honor and delight to me. For each course, I invite different co-teachers and for the next one, we have Tina Fussell teaching alongside of us and she’ll cover everything from how to write a DIY post that gets shared to travel and fashion/lifestyle posts that will definitely get your readers attention. For the complete curriculum, click here.

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To celebrate all of this, I thought I’d host a lovely giveaway! To enter, all you need to do is tweet this post and say,

“I’ve entered to win a FREE seat in the Blogging Your Way e-course for Spring! You can too! http://tinyurl.com/bywcontest #bywstudents @decor8

If you don’t have a twitter account, this is a good chance to create one for free – twitter is such a terrific tool for bloggers to stay in touch. After you’ve tweeted, comment below to let me know that you’ve tweeted and also leave your twitter handle and mention why you want a seat. I will giveaway 3 FREE SPOTS ($149 value each) to the upcoming class (outlined here). These are not transferrable or redeemable for cash. If you’ve already registered and paid for this class, and you win, you will receive a full refund.

By the way… The above photos are from Tina, and are a great way for you to see just how talented she is (her blog is her own content – she styles and shoots it all!). I can’t wait to have her sharing her secrets with all of us. In this special class, Tina will give you a video tour of her studio space in Copenhagen. (first ever online!), too. If you love her blog and her style, you will LOVE learning from her in this class as she’ll show you how to create blog posts that range from travel to fashion and lifestyle. Space is limited, so if you want to register, please do so here.

I’m taking the day off, but I’ll see you all again on Monday with more Blogger’s Favorites posts, a new mommy update from me, a few of my favorite things and so much more! The winners of this contest will be announced on April 1st! Once it sells out, you won’t be able to register so please don’t delay. And remember, if you win this contest and you’ve registered already, you will receive a full refund.

Have a wonderful weekend!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. WINNERS ANNOUNCED HERE >CLICK<

(images: tina fussell)

Posted in blogs on March 21, 2014

Blogger’s Favorites: Happy Interior

I have to begin this post by saying that I’m so happy to have Igor Josifovic from the Happy Interior blog here today because I really, truly adore this guy. He is just so likable and authentic. I’ve met up with him in “real time” on a few occassions over the past years and always find him so professional on one side and really warm and funny on the flipside. He’s a bit of a chameleon, he can be crazy and go bonkers with the best of us but also be a very professional, knowledgeable guy as the situation calls. I think he’s just the sweetest blogger out there and so I’m thrilled he agreed to be part of my Blogger’s Favorites mini series on decor8.

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If you don’t know Igor (shown above), he lives and works in Munich but is frequently in Paris and also visiting numerous design fairs around Europe – he’s very much a fan of design and though his day job is a good one (he’s a marketing guru at Seimens), he is super passionate about decorating, design, art and styling. I’ve loved watching him grow his blog over the years and I’m quite proud of him for what he is accomplishing as a blogger. Go, Igor, rock on! So let’s talk to Igor about his favorite things (ax) today, shall we?

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Five favorite things:
1: Favorite look- I love interiors that are very personal and reveal a bit of the dweller’s character. My personal style is an urban mix of Scandinavian design with vibrant, colorful accents and ethnic elements. I love to combine the cool, sharp Scandi design with eclectic ethnic pieces with vivacious colours.

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2: Favorite trend - As an avid ‘Urban Jungle Blogger’ I love the trend to add greens to interiors. All sorts of houseplants are making their way into interiors – even in cool shops and on design fairs I’ve seen houseplants galore. And it’s a myth that you need to have a ‘green thumb’ to add plants to your home. All you need to do is just get to know the plant a little bit better and then it’s as easy as anything else.

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3: Favorite object - More plant pots by London based ceramicist Stella Baggott! I already own four of her handmade planters but I really need more to extend my beloved collection. However, it is pretty tricky to get hold of her design pieces: Many people have already heard of ‘Atelier Stella’ and her online sales are sold out within minutes. But I am ready for her next sale!

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4: Favorite object that you see everywhere at the moment: I love the String shelving units. I love their simple yet striking design and they offer lots of storage place as well as styling space. As a Scandinavian design classic I keep seeing them everywhere – on blogs and in interior magazines.

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5: Favorite miscellaneous: I am a travel maniac (that’s an ocean scene above my bed, a favorite place of mine). If I don’t travel for a while, I feel like something’s wrong in my life. Traveling fuels my creativity and inspires my life – if I were doomed to an idle life, I’d go crazy probably. That’s why my next trip is already booked and I am in the middle of my preparations: Soon I’ll be off to Israel and discovering Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea!

Why do you like these five – what attracts you? I think this mix of likes is rooted in my mixed background. I was born in Austria to Serbian parents, I had spent most of my childhood summers in what then was Yugoslavia, I studied in Athens, Greece, and traveled the country from north to south, I worked in Vienna and Berlin and now I live between Munich and Paris. All these combined with my happy personality sort of explains my likings and preferences as stated above.

What trends are you tired of? COPPER. I am getting to the point of ‘I’ve seen enough copper’. Maybe it’s time to move on.

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What do you predict will be hot next? The reign of unique, handmade pieces. From furniture to décor items – I see a growing number of bloggers adding special, custom- made or simply handmade pieces to their homes. Whether it’s a custom-made shelving unit for their home or handmade, one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces – I think we are going more and more towards a more individual approach and a stronger appreciation of handmade pieces in our interiors.

Connect with Igor: Happy Interior Blog / Pinterest / Instagram

Don’t miss the other bloggers already featured in this series:
The Style Files
Happy Mundane
Justina Blakeney

Feel free to say hello to Igor in the comments section or ask him any questions that you may have!

(images: igor josif except portrait, taken by riikka kantinkoski and the string shelves by string.)

Posted in blogs on March 18, 2014

Food In Motion: Apricot Marzipan Cakes Recipe

It’s Liz from Liz & Jewels with another episode of Food in Motion for decor8. Last week nature exploded and brought with it a flurry of yellow flowers. All this spring air made me feel active and I decided to combine this Food in Motion episode with a recipe from my latest book and an easy pre-Easter DIY packaging idea. My daughter helped (as always!) and was eager to glue the yellow dots on the string. (Although she asked why we couldn’t use red, green and blue dots as well!) The Apricot-Marzipan-Cakes recipe seemed tailor-made for this burst of activity. They’re easy to make and when baked in little cake forms make ideal presents. Just place them in a cardboard box, wrap the dotted string around it and decorate it with some colorful feathers. And your homemade present is ready to go!

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And aren’t homemade presents just the best? I think it’s great to receive gifts from friends and know that they took their precious time and prepared something just for me. That’s why my co-author Lars Wentrup and I created a book just with that topic. „Grüße aus meiner Küche“ (Greetings from my kitchen) was published this January and includes photographs by Jewels (Julia Cawley) and me. We were double-happy because we were also responsible for the complete design package and the illustrations. The book includes easy recipes, DIY-ideas and ready to copy labels. Why not welcome spring with some creativity of your own?

Apricot Marzipan Cakes

Grüße aus meiner Küche

Apricot Marzipan Cakes

Apricot-Marzipan-Cakes (makes 6 little cakes)

1 cup dried apricots
1/3 cup brown rum
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup marzipan (4.4 oz)

Cut apricots into small pieces and pour the rum over the apricots. Cover with foil and stand for a few hours or over night in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 C). Mix butter and sugar with the electric mixer until well combined. Add an egg, the almonds and flour and mix. Cut the marzipan into small pieces. Add marzipan and apricots to the dough and combine with a spoon. Grease pans (or use silicone pans) and fill in the dough. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Yummy! Enjoy and we’ll see you again in April! – Liz

(images/video: liz and jewels)

Posted in food, Food In Motion on March 17, 2014

Books:

Available now on Amazon

Further editions available include: Portuguese, Danish, Czech, Slovak, French

Courses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way for Beginners
e-course, April 17 – May 15, 2014
Find out more and sign up now.

Styling With Holly Becker
London, May 2014 (Date TBD)