Thoughts for Thursday: Home Renovations- The Dream vs The Reality

About a week and a half ago I met with the builder for our kitchen and first floor renovation so that he could take some measurements.  He brought his interior designer with him which I was not expecting at all.  She was very nice but was throwing questions and ideas at me left and right that I wasn't prepared for.  While I wouldn't say I clicked with the interior designer right away she did bring up some really good points that have stuck with me ever since our meeting.

As I was describing my dream house and the way I want it to feel I was telling her and showing her pictures of houses that I loved.   The problem is that I love love love the craftsman style houses like this one below.  

 This is newly built house that just sold in Northern Virginia last year. First of all it's way bigger than my house and worth a whole lot more money, but it pretty much has everything that I'm looking for in a house.

The biggest problem though besides the fact that it's a $3 million house and not even close to where I live is that it's a craftsman style house.  I live in a colonial.  A very traditional colonial house.

 While I can have lots of features of my dream house the interior designer was explaining to me that I should respect the style of my house and modernize it from there.   It was something that I hadn't given much thought to honestly but now I really get it.   Maybe one day I will get to live in my craftsman style house but for now I live in a colonial and there are tons of way for me to update it without completely breaking the bank and trying to make it something it isn't.   So back to the drawing board I went.

If you follow Elements of Style, Erin and her husband bought a colonial in New England a few years ago and I think she's done an awesome job of updating it while respecting the fact that it's a colonial. I've been scouring her book and blog for inspiration and it's helped a lot.  

So I've been spending the last week on Pinterest looking for updated colonial ideas and I've found a lot of stuff that I really like, as far as floors and mouldings go.  My kitchen ideas don't really need to change it's more the design elements and details that I needed to tweak.   Once we hear back from the builder with the designs and plans I will share them with you all. I cannot wait to see what they come up with!

Happy Thursday Friends!

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Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day is just around the corner so I've rounded up a little gift guide with some perfect gifts for mom!  Well at least these are some gifts I would love to see pop up for me on Mother's Day ;)

Mother's Day Gift Guide


What are you getting your mom for Mother's Day?  If you're a mom are any of these gifts on your wish list?  

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Thoughts on a Monday

Happy Monday Friends! I hope you all had a great weekend.  Sorry that I totally dropped the ball on the blog last week.  Life has been busy around here!  We had a good weekend.  We started potty training Miller on Friday, it's going well, I think.  I really don't know what to expect and I will share more about our experience once I get through it but it definitely takes patience and diligence on my part.  

- I'm thinking about trying Amazon Pantry, has anyone tried it?  Taking two toddlers to the grocery store or Target is a lot these days and I feel like I always spend so much more money on stupid stuff. Either random Target finds or random things to keep my kids quiet and not screaming ;)  I would probably still go to Whole Foods or Wegmans for my meat and produce but I feel like this might cut down on my spending and their prices are better than my local grocery stores delivery.

I've been doing some spring shopping lately and have found some great affordable mom-friendly pieces.    This Loft top below is a new favorite and on repeat.

Then on Saturday I went into Old Navy looking for shorts for Miller and instead ended up with this shirt below for myself.  I think it was maybe $15 and it's so cute! I paired it with white jeans and I'm thinking of going back and getting the white version, since I'm on a white kick.

I'm finding this almost 3 year old age to be very opinionated.  In some ways I love and it others it's a struggle.  Miller loves to "do it myself" now when it comes to most things but especially dressing and putting on his shoes.  He also loves to walk Layla and pull the wagon instead of riding in it with Matthew.

We went out on Saturday night (took a potty training break) to celebrate my mom's birthday.  We went to Brio for Italian food but it was so much fun and the food was so, so good.  I splurged and got the Pasta alla vodka, I'm a sucker for vodka sauce.  It was so good and I'm going to need to work out hard for the next week to get rid of those calories.

On Sunday we just did yard work and played around the house.  We picked up another Little Tykes Car at a yardsale this weekend for $5!  The boys were obsessed and drove around the driveway all day.

Hope you all have a great week! 


Guest Post Over at Pampers and Pearls

Hi Everyone! I'm over at Pampers and Pearls today, filling in for Morgan while she patiently waits for Baby #2 to arrive!    I'm sharing my recent favorite beauty buys.  Stop on over and let me know what you think!

Do you have any drugstore beauty favorites?   Would love to hear about them! 


Tuesday Instagram Round Up

Happy Tuesday Friends!    I just wanted to share a little instagram round up with you today.

My favorite Joie blouse is on sale!!   It's marked down for the Saks Friends and Family sale and then Nordstrom is price matching.  If you've been thinking about buying it I would snag it now before it sells out.  Great for spring and summer.

It's also available in black at Saks

I wore this dress and sweater from Old Navy on Saturday to my friend's son's baptism and it's my new favorite.  The best part is the dress is only $19!  

How good are these cookies my friend Caroline made?! She just started doing this as a hobby!

Friday night night I wore my favorite Elsa blouse, this print is from last summer but all the other prints they have right now are so cute.  I've had my eye on this one for our Rosemary Beach trip, I just love the flamingos.

If you're looking for a good Sauvignon Blanc now that the weather is warming up this one is my hands down favorite! 

Miller had his last winter swim class on Sunday! While he's still not a swimmer, I can't believe how well he is doing and how brave he is in the water now!   We are going to start them up again in June and I can't wait to see how he progresses this summer. 

After reading Jess' post today I will probably be using an obnoxious watermark on the kids pictures if I post them.  I know it's happened to so many people and I feel like I've just been too lax about it lately. I hate that people are doing this to bloggers and I want to share with you all but at the same time I feel very protective of my kids privacy. So for now I'm going with the watermark, I know you all understand. 



Saturday Shopping: Sunglasses

One of the most asked questions I get on Snapchat (@eastcoastnat) is about my sunglasses.  Since I'm usually wearing a different pair everyday I decided to share with you all my favorite sunglasses and the best part is that two pairs are only $9.99!!

I had been wanting these for the past year and I finally splurged on them before our trip to Mexico. I am so glad I did because I'm obsessed! Yes they are big but they are so comfortable and I get a ton of compliments on them. Every time I wear them at least one person asks me about them.  They have also proven to be very sturdy since some little hands have gotten to them a few times and they haven't broken.  

I have been drooling over these Celine sunglasses forever but I just can't justify the $400 price tag, so I found these great lookalikes on Amazon for only $9.99!! I have the black and tortoise pair (shown above) and I love them.  You can tell they're only $10 sunglasses if you get up close but that makes them kid approved! I can wear these with the kids all the time and not stress about them getting broken or scratched.  

I picked up these sunglasses in a boutique in St. Petersburg, FL last spring.  The color I have is no longer available but this blue one looks so fun!   People always ask me about these sunglasses when I wear them I think because they have a lighter tortoise color that's different from your standard sunglasses.   They're super comfortable and under $100 which is always a win.  

I've had this style forever in the black first and now I have the tortoise.  They're simple, classic, and go with everything.  I don't think you can ever go wrong having a pair of these in your purse.  They're also really durable and have survived many tosses from the kids.   They're also on sale at Nordstrom right now thanks to price matching if you're in the market!  

What are your favorite sunglasses? Do you splurge on sunglasses? 

Interested in other things I love, shop my favorites here

Have a great weekend friends! 

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Thoughts for Thursday: Beach and Pool Essentials for Babies and Toddlers

Happy Thursday Friends!  Since I've started getting organized for our trip Rosemary Beach next month I wanted to share with you all my beach and pool essentials for babies and toddlers.  In my almost three years of parenting (I know I'm pretty much still a rookie) this is what I have found works best for us and these are the things I've come to need/want for the beach or pool.

Beach Essentials for Babies and Toddlers

1. Long sleeved rash guards-  My boys are so fair so these are essential for us! I love these solid color ones from Hanna Andersson or Land's End because they can be paired with so many more swimsuits.  When I'm looking for a matching one I do love the Carter's ones and prices can't be beat.

2. Hats- These are another must for my boys.   My hands down favorite hats are the Hanna Andersson ones.  They have a huge brim and are made of bathing suit material so they can get wet and dry super fast.   They also have a tie on them so I can tie them on and the boys can't take them off.

3. Swim Trunks- This is obvious but I had to share this adorable pair I found from Janie and Jack- how cute is this palm print!

4. Puddle Jumper-  I put these on both my boys, even in the baby pool. Since they're so close together in age and both still need a lot of supervision it's nice to have a slight peace of mind that they are wearing something that could keep their head above water god forbid something happens.  These are also coast guard approved so they can be used on a boat.  I found mine at Target but you can also find them on Amazon.

5. Babyganics Bug Spray- You never know where you might run into bugs and now with Zika virus making it's way possibly up to the US I know I will be using this more this summer.  Babyganics products are my favorite for the kids sensitive skin.  I love that they don't have a ton of chemicals.  This is my best kid friendly bug spray I've found that I can tolerate the smell and feel of.

6. Babyganics Sunscreen-  My favorite sunscreen, again because of the boys skin, but the lack of chemicals is another big plus and after using it for two years we have been burn free (knock on wood) so I know it works.

7. Huggies Little Swimmers Swim Diapers-  For the non-potty trained baby/toddlers these are my favorite swim diapers.  I've found these fit my skinny guys the best and contain what the need to.

8. Sunglasses-  Miller loves wearing sunglasses!  We just picked up a pair of Babiators for him for this summer.  He's so excited for them.  Matthew doesn't want to wear them as much so I have some of Miller's old pairs for him.

9.  Cros or Natives- I have found that toddlers and flip-flop like sandals don't mix.  Since I still want a waterproof sandproof shoe I have found that Crocs or Natives do the trick.  My boys will wear both with no compliants.

10. Go Pod- This was our favorite gadget for Matthew last summer! If you have a baby you want to keep contained but still be part of the action the Go Pod is perfect.  

11. Baby Wipes-  I always keep these with me to wipe off dirty hands, sand, bottles, toys etc.  Baby wipes are the universal cleaner and again the Babyganics are my go-to.

12. Baby Powder-  I shared in my post about traveling with kids that baby powder is a great trick to get the sand off of kids quickly.   I always keep some in my beach bag for a quick fix.

What are some of your favorite baby and toddler pool items?  

Grab the button below and link up to Annie and Natalie on your Thoughts for Thursday post.  
Use #thoughtsforthursdays on Instagram and tag us @homeofmalones and @eastcoastnat.
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Thoughts for Thursday

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Current Obsessions: Blue & White

Happy Wednesday Friends!   As I was browsing my favorite shopping sites this week I realized I am on a huge blue and white kick.   Besides black these are probably other two favorite colors to wear and I'm loving them this spring.  I've rounded up my favorites for this week below.

This tank top! It has so many good reviews and looks like it would be a great piece for spring and summer, plus it's only $34!  I'm thinking of getting it black, blue, and white.  

 Love the blue detail lace on this dress.  Looks like an easy to throw on summer shift dress.  

I always love to add a few cotton maxis to my wardrobe each summer. One's that aren't too expensive that I can just throw on and this one looks perfect.   I love the high neck so that I can run around if I wear it with the kids and not feel exposed.  

Loving this print and the pink embroidery!  Makes for such a fun summer top.  I cannot wait until it finally warms up here.  I think I definitely need to add this one to my closet this year.  

I've been looking for some ankle jeans and I kind of like this raw hem look at the bottom.  Sort of a way to add a little something different to a relax jean.   

How adorable are these pj's?  As I start to put away my winter pajamas I'm always looking for cute summer ones and these Gap ones are perfect.   They also come in a fun light pink and gray.   You can get 30% off at Gap right now with the code NOW.  

I have been wanting to get a pair of gladiator type sandals and I love these.  I like that they have a little tiny heel so they're not completely flat but not too much to give me major height.   I know these aren't blue or white but you need a good pair of neutral shoes to pair with all these cute options.  

This picture doesn't really do this shirt justice but I just got it in the mail and I'm obsessed! It's lightweight and loose but the detail around helps dress it up so it's more than just a basic tee.  I love the blue color it comes in also. 

 For some reason I'm loving the loose laid back embroidered look this season and this dress is no exception.  I feel like Gap has so much good stuff lately!  I'm so sad our store closed close to us.  

I'm not sure where all the white love is coming from these days since I have two toddlers but I just can't get this dress off my mind.  I don't have anywhere particular to wear it but I think it would just be a fun summer dress.  

I have a long running love for Toms with kids but I'm thinking I want to add some espadrilles to my collection this summer.  These are so adorable and would look great with shorts and basic tees in the summer.  

Last but not least this crossbody I've had my eye on forever.  I love the tassel details! It's a total splurge for a small bag but fun to dream about.  

Do you love blue and white?

Remember you can always shop my favorite looks by clicking here.

Linking up with Jenn for What's Happening Wednesday

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A Day in the Life

It's been so long since I've done one of these and I wanted to share a typical day now that I have two toddlers!

You can find my first day in the life when Miller was an infant here, and a glimpse into two under two here.

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Natalie- SAHM
Kyle- Works in Finance 
Miller- 33 months old
Matthew- 17 months old 

6:30am I am awake for the day, I usually try to get up at 6am but I was up late last night.  I hop in the shower and start to get ready for the day.
Kyle leaves about five minutes after I wake up.

6:45am Miller wakes up.  I bring him into our room and set him up with the ipad while I continue getting ready for the day.

7:05am Take Layla out for a mini walk because our yard was just aerated and seeded so she can't play on it.  It will be an inconvenice for awhile but we'll all survive ;)

7:10am Turn on coffee maker and then head back up stairs to get Miller up and make bed.

7:15am Matthew wakes up, I take the ipad from Miller (mini meltdown ensures).  Matthew still gets a bottle for his milk every morning.  He's pretty much off of bottles but loves his morning bottle, we call it his coffee because he's grumpy until he's finished that milk bottle.
I set the kids up with toys and I start breakfast for them.

7:40am-  Breakfast for the kids.  I sit and drink my coffee with them while they eat.  I usually turn on the Today's show and browse some blogs at this time too.

Eggs, whole grain waffle with almond butter, and fruit (typical breakfast around here) 

8:15am- Matthew is down and playing while Miller is still eating breakfast.  It's partially his slow eating and the fact that he's so distracted telling stories and not wanting to eat. Since he has school today I'm making him finish his breakfast since he rarely eats the snack at school.
I run around cleaning up the kitchen and getting ready to leave for the day.  I also change a load of laundry.  We head back upstairs to change for the day after breakfast.

8:45am- We are out the door for school.  I am always running late and I hate it. We only have a few weeks left so I keep promising myself we'll get there on time everyday until the school year ends.

9:00am- We drop Miller off at school.  It was the day to pick up school pictures, Miller looks too cute in his.  I love his little smile.  I hope he's always so happy and smiley as he is these days.  Matthew and I head back home.  Change laundry, put some clothes away and do some last minute cleaning before our cleaning lady comes at 10am.  

10:00am-  We head out as the cleaning crew arrives.   We take Layla with us since it isn't too cold out she can hang in the car while we run errands.

10:20am- Miller is in desperate need of new pajamas so I head to Kohl's to see if they have any good deals on Carter's today.  They have some dinosaur and dog ones that I know he will love and they're 50% off. Yay!!  I usually go to the Carter's store but I don't have time to drive to Annapolis today, thankfully Kohl's has the same sales.
I also find some cute home decor stuff at only 50% off.  I always forget that you can find good stuff at Kohl's.

 When Miller's at school sometimes Matthew gets to ride in his car seat since his is still facing backwards

11:30am- Pick Miller up from school.   He loves school so much and is so excited that Layla is the car waiting for him.   Since the cleaners are still at our house we head to Chick fil-a for an after school treat.   We end up going through the drive through because Miller doesn't want to go in.  Sometimes he's so exhausted after school and I don't feel like dealing with a meltdown today so we sit in the parking lot and eat and chat about school.

12:30pm-  We are back home to a clean house!  I let the kids play together before we head up for nap time.  We play in the basement until about 1:30pm.  I try to play with them with consists of taking turns and breaking up a lot of little fights.  Some days they play great together other days the spend the whole day fighting over the same toy.

1:30pm- Upstairs for books and naps.  Matthew is great about going down for a nap but Miller fights it many days.  He's probably close to giving up his nap but he has to do an hour of rest time no matter what.  Rest time usually consists of playing quietly in his room with the toys and books we keep in there.  Thankfully today he falls asleep. He usually always does on school days.

While the boys nap I usually blog, read blogs, do laundry, try to organize something.  It varies depending on the day.  Some days I just sit and watch tv and relax.  Today I read blogs, opened up some fun packages, and put away lots and lots of laundry.  I take Layla back outside for another mini walk (just to a little patch of grass by our house where she can go to the bathroom).

3:30pm- Both the boys are waking up from naps.  I bring them in our room for a few minutes and turn on the tv so I can finish putting away some laundry.

3:45pm-  My sister arrives to hang out for a little bit with my nephew.  The kids and I head down stairs for snacks and a little more tv time.  Both my kids need some time to wake up after naps so we usually do snacks and tv after a nap for 30 minutes or so.   We then just play with the boys and hang out and chat.  I love that my sister is home now and has a baby so we can do these random hangouts that we couldn't do before.  It's also fun to play with my five month old nephew and get my baby fix in :)

*This is about the time of day when I stop taking detailed notes and pictures.

5:30pm-  I start dinner for myself and the boys.  Kyle won't be home until late tonight so I don't have to make dinner for him.   The boys are having turkey tacos and I'm having a taco salad.
I pour myself a glass of wine while I cook.

6:00pm-  We sit down to eat and thankfully since it's tacos my kids will actually eat it without having to be bribed!

6:30pm- We head upstairs for bath time and bedtime.

7:30pm- The kids are both in bed.  Matthew will go right to sleep but Miller usually needs about 10 things before he can fall asleep.  A water, a snack, another stuffed animal.  He's become a pro at stalling bedtime.
I head downstairs to clean up from the day and I work on a blog post for a few minutes before deciding I'm just going to go upstairs to read.  Kyle won't be home until 10pm or after anyways.

8:45pm- I head upstairs to get ready for bed.  I usually don't go to bed until 11-11:30pm but I'm really trying to change that because some mornings I wake up so tired and cranky.   I'm aiming to be in bed by 9:30pm lately.

I just bought these and I'm really hoping they work since my hair and skin has been awful post babies.  Has anyone else tried these?  

9:15pm- I'm in bed reading magazines,  I turn the lights off around 9:45pm.   Kyle comes home around 10:15pm and I wake briefly to say hi before going back to bed.

That's my day in a nutshell!  Nothing too crazy or exciting happens and because of Kyle's work schedule I do 90% of the parenting alone and it isn't that bad anymore.   The boys and I have a great routine and they're really good about listening and staying on schedule when it's just me.  I think they know that mommy needs them to cooperate.   I would definitely say this day was a lucky happy day. No major meltdowns or tantrums.  We didn't have any crazy errands to run so it was a pretty typical day.  

What does a typical day look like for you all?  If you have kids is it similar ? 

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