When I stumbled across Mockingbird Parties, I fell madly in love. A children's party service which designs your kid's dream party and provides every detail in a box? Heaven! Not only is Mockingbird Parties a one of a kind party planning service, but all of the details are exquisite down to the last chirp. Based out of Long Island's own Cold Spring Harbor, and run by creative genius Jennifer, she works tirelessly to ensure that your son or daughter has the ultimate party of their dreams. Jennifer understands that parents are working hard these days, and no one has time to plan all the details of a children's party, so she takes on that job for you by designing and creating all the party accessories and bestowing you with a perfect party in a box! Simply put, you choose a theme and she provides you with everything you need for the day of the party.  Jennifer is also going to be blogging on the Mockingbird Parties website and sharing awesome and easy DIY projects! 

Top Left: Birthstone Crown; Right: Fairy Headpiece; Bottom Left: Woodland Fairy Headpiece; Right: Princess Crown

Jennifer is amazingly creative and detailed, I know this first hand, not from a party stand point, but from an accessories standpoint. I contacted her before my photoshoot with Molly Leon Photography to see if I could have her make Weston something. She took some time to brainstorm and generously gifted Weston a woodland themed Robin Hood hat (his nursery is woodland themed), which has now become a family heirloom. The detailing is fantastic, and though my little creature wouldn't let me put the hat on correctly (see below!), he loved his hat, and it now sits proudly in his room. Jennifer not only curates parties, but creates gorgeous accessories for their parties...not on Long Island? No worries, you can buy her hats, crowns, and even get custom made accessories from Mockingbird Parties' online store.

Like I said, Jennifer's parties are incredibly detailed, and she provides all the supplies for what would certainly be a special day for any child. Some of the themes Mockingbird Parties have done in the past are cars, spa day, Alice in Wonderland, sharks, pirates, and frozen fairies. See photos below for examples!

And, finally, lucky for us, Mockingbird Parties is kindly giving away a gorgeous accessory for the little ladies in your life! See the form below to enter to win 2 flower felt headbands and 10% off any item of your desire in the Mockingbird Parties shop! Open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo by Molly Leon Photography
When Kabbage.com reached out to bloggers to discuss their dreams and goals, I was on board...as I love discussing what's happening in my mind, ha. Kabbage.com is a company with one goal: to help its customers achieve their dreams. You can see more info about Kabbage here.

It's funny, there seems to be a trend happening in my circle of friends right now. Everyone seems to be switching careers faster than I can count. I asked a few of my girl friends why this might be and we all surmised that after college we were desperate for any job, and now...well, now we all want our dream jobs. I was one of the lucky ones who snagged my dream job after college (seriously, I used to dream about being a Latin teacher...seriously), and now, as life twists and turns, my dreams have changed. I feel like as kids we are always asked, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" but, we never ask ourselves at 29, "what do you want to do for the next phase of your life?"

Just a few weeks ago I was at a yard sale, and staring at me from the discarded book pile was a copy of Finding Your Dream Job for Dummies. For a second I had the reflex to go pick it up, but I stopped myself, and realized, woah: you are living your dream job, dummy. Since before I can remember I wanted to be a mom, and, as I realized throughout life, just giving birth to a baby doesn't necessarily make you a mother. Not everyone loves to be home with their child all day either, which I totally understand; but, for me? I love it, I thrive in it. I love taking care of Weston, and the house, and even making Eric's lunch for work. Does it get overwhelming and I cry sometimes? Um, yes. Does that mean it's not my dream job? Not in the least. Just this week I was totally and utterly overwhelmed because Mr. One Year Old wasn't napping; I thought I was going to lose my mind...but, as most kids are, the next day was better than the previous; one can never tell the mood of the day with a one year old in tow.

I'm also living out my dream writing. I've always wanted to be a writer, tell stories, interview people, and also share other people's stories...and now, I am. It hasn't been an easy road to get there, but I've really come to believe, as you open doors, more doors open. And teaching! Oh, teaching. My greatest passion. Now that I'm not in front of the classroom, I do miss it, but I'm so lucky to be working one-on-one with some amazing kids. I love learning new subjects with them, and helping their brains expand.

Will these always be my "dream jobs"? Who knows. But for now, they are. However, this Pisces isn't settled yet, and I have some lofty goals. I would love to write a book, start a magazine, have more kids (someday), and continue connecting with all the wonderful mamas I've been meeting in real life and on the internet. I think my list of goals is never ending, actually! Write a cookbook? Sure! Start a tutoring company? Sure! I love to have my hand in many pots, and there's just not enough hours in the day!

So, do tell: are you in your dream job? What is your dream job? What are your goals? I can't wait to hear!

Photo by Molly Leon
Happy Friday, lovelies! What are you all doing this weekend? We're heading to Weston's first concert...! We're heading to The Sandbox to see Kerri Wirth perform. I'm thrilled to bring Eric to his first visit to The Sandbox and see Weston's reaction to his first real concert. I have so many exciting things happening, with writing, projects, and many giveaways coming up this month...so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out these lovely links I've collected this week!

Have a great weekend, lovelies!

Photo circa 1940 by Russell Lee
When you have a baby it really feels like you're walking into a totally new world. You don't feel the same, mentally or physically, the hues of the world are slightly different, your food tastes and smells a little off, and sometimes words just don't compute in your head right. It takes a second longer to process what people or the TV or radio is saying, it can take even longer to process what you're reading. Suddenly you're a traveler in this new land, but this time not alone: you have a tiny sidekick along for the ride, and while often that makes the journey more fun and exciting, most of the time it simply makes the journey tiring, scary, and stressful.

I entered into this new world with the love and support of my family and friends behind me. They cheered me on as Weston and I donned our travel supplies and headed out into the new world together; however, as much as everyone around me loved me and wanted to help us on our new ventures, sometimes it felt like we were just two souls traveling on our own. There were so many instances that seemed so unique and made me wonder, "is this normal?" As I would lie in bed at night, a wriggly newborn next to me, I would close my eyes and think about the path ahead of me...it seemed daunting, but doable. I thought about my son, by my side...and I realized that the journey with Weston would be amazing, but I would love to have had some people to sojourn with us. However, the winter was cold, I was feeling super gross in my sweaty post-maternity clothing, and the thought of taking a tiny baby out to make mom friends was laughable.

But, as time went on, and winter turned to spring, we started venturing out into the real world, and slowly, we made some friends. New moms who were on their own scary journey. As we would come across these women and babies, we would smile, nod, and sometimes pass on the street, but often, stop to chat. As we got to know these moms and babies, there was a great relief of finding others who knew what I was going through at that exact moment in my life. Oh, you're not sleeping either and are running on caffeine fumes? Oh, you have to see another annoying doctor, too? Oh, you started solids and the baby gagged and threw up all over, too? There was a camaraderie forming between some of the moms we came across, and I soaked it up. I loved knowing that these women were also up late rocking babies, stroking hair, and making bottles. I loved knowing I had teammates in this crazy game of parenthood.

The women I came across may not have lived the same life I have, but there was one thing we all had in common: we were all mama. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but there's a new trend in the mom-world to hark back to the "mama" title....and not just for the babes to call their mothers. I'm talking about the mom-to-mom communication: mama is making a comeback, and I love it. See, when you meet a new mom, and you throw your sweet, innocent three month old under the bus, "this kid never sleeps a wink, he's driving me nuts!" even if the mom you met just met you and has no clue what your name is, she can simply say, "oh, mama, that's so tough! I am so sorry!" Or, you're at the doctor and your baby is screaming, another mother may turn to you and say, "been there, mama, and it's the worst!" Mom and Mommy can be slightly off-putting and condescending, but there's something so sweet about mama; so old fashioned, calming, and even slightly silly.

I'm a huge fan of mamas helping mamas get through these crazy times, and by bringing back "mama," we're allowing women to generate their own villages, even just upon meeting another woman for the very first time. Mama is reassuring, it's comforting; it's putting a hand on the shoulder of the woman you just met and saying, I've been there, we've all been there, and you're going to get through this. Mama is the sweet smile to a confused mom, or the open door to the mom of twins struggling with the giant stroller. Mama is the motioning for a new mom to sit next to you at music class, or the introducing yourself to a nervous looking mom at the playspace. Mama is inviting a new mom, just as you are, to pull on her boots, strap her baby to her chest, and join you on your journey. Your paths may not always be parallel, but for that moment in time, you mamas can sigh together and understand what the other is going through.

As a mom of a little kid, sometimes the only relaxing moments to myself are when I'm driving in the car. This is when I catch up on my podcasts and listen to my music (when he's sleeping...otherwise we jam to our CD from Music Together!). On a recent busy day, while Weston napped in the car, I decided to get a McDonald's iced tea, and pop a new album into the CD player. Luckily, I was just sent Annalise Emerick's new album, Field Notes; we've posted about how much we love her music before, so I was thrilled to open the CD and get a first listen. Let me tell you, simply put: this is an album for the books. Man, is it good! Not only does she have a soulful and gorgeous voice to listen to, and her music style is dead-on, but her lyrics had me tearing up!

She's recently relocated to Nashville and you can definitely hear that in this album. It's full of soulful songs about love--the song Boston is a happy and strong love song--love for music, men, the world, and herself. The first song, The Sun and the Moon, is a sweet love song with a banjo twang in the background, but made me think of the sweet sleepy boy in the backseat:

"The sun has been up for hours, and the moon, I can see up there too, and you're still still far away in dreamland, but me I'm just looking at you. I used to be so scared, and I'd sing about terrible things but you, you make it so easy, your love gave me my wings. Cause you are the sun and I am the moon, you shine so bright and I like the night."

At this point in the car ride, I was totally crying...I mean, it's a gorgeous song and will you just look at those lyrics?! Moving on to the rest of the album, I soaked up all the music and lyrics...and listened to the album about three times in one day. Good One is the sweetest love song, and I can tell is going to become an indie-wedding standard in due time. Born This Way is an amazing anthem to the strong, adventurous and go-getter woman...it has some cool piano in it, making it feel a little Old West Saloon--which I happen to love!

Annalise is a little bit Carly, a little Carole, Patti, Emmylou, and a really intelligent version of Taylor Swift (that's a complement!). She's a story teller of Paul Simon caliber, and writes music which will stay in her listener's hearts forever. I highly recommend Field Notes (pre-order the album here!), just try to listen when you can really hear and understand the lyrics--they are worth every word! Annalise is currently touring, so be sure to check out her tour schedule and catch a show!

(PS. Don't forget to like her on Facebook to follow along on her adventures!)

Weston, Mr. One Year Old, at The Sandbox in Huntington
Can you believe it's September? This is the first year (besides maternity leave) in years that I haven't gone back to school...it's very odd! But, I get to spend my days with that vacuuming monster above. Couldn't think of a better way to spend my days! Here's a list of the things I'm loving right now, what's on your 'love-list' at the moment?

  • The Sandbox: Okay, I've heard about this amazing playspace in Huntington Village for months and months, but when I was working, and he was too small, I didn't want to see what it was all about lest I fall in love with it. Today, finally, we headed over to Gibson Street and visited Rob and Toni at their beyond gorgeous play space. I am a total convert! I am a little bit obsessed, actually. It's the most beautiful, peaceful, safe play area I've ever seen! We were the only ones in there (most people were at the beach!), so we ran around and played for over an hour...I didn't even notice the time passing. I bought a membership, so if you need me from 10-4 this winter, you know where to find me! (PS. I'll be writing more about this awesome space, pictured above, but they have the CUTEST birthday party space, so go book your kid's party!--and no, I'm not paid to say that--but if you want a Pinterest looking party, this is the place!)
  • Music: I'm currently jamming out to Phoebe Hunt's Walk With Me and Annalise Emerick's Field Notes (review coming Monday!). I'm obsessed with both albums. Love women with soul! 
  • Drinking: I'm on a 21 Day Sugar Detox right now, so I'm loving La Croix seltzers! Have you tried? I could drink the apple-berry one all day! 
  • Photos: We got our family photos back from Molly Leon Photography and...I am in love with them. I'm so glad we had someone shoot some candid family photos of us! 
What have you been loving lately? 

Last week Weston and I had some time to kill between activities, so I decided to plug a new address into my iPhone and head to Lewis Oliver Farm in Northport. I'd heard it was a great little farm, and free, so I figured why not? It was a cool summer day, and I hoped the animals would be out! 

Lewis Oliver Farm is in the middle of the total suburbs of Northport, but once you park and step on the grounds, you feel transported to an old barn chock full of animals and history. We paid our $2 donation (which isn't necessary to get in!), and got celery to feed the animals in return. It was Weston's first time seeing live animals, and he loved it! 

Lewis Oliver also has a whole little field of children's toys and climb/ride-ons, so Weston tottered around and wore himself out (just kidding, that never happens). It was such a lovely place to stop and enjoy a few quiet moments of our day! I loved watching Weston "feed" the goats, and see cows, chickens, and alpacas! I highly recommend for children as young as one years old.