Friday Links.

Beauty quote | The Orange Slate

Trees & Sky | The Orange Slate

Happy 4th of July weekend! The 4th has always been one of my favorite holidays, but now it doubles as Miles’ birthday, which makes it twice as special.

Last year at this time, I was heading in for my 39-week pregnancy appointment and there were no hopeful signs that Baby McCord would arrive anytime before his due date. You really can’t ever tell with babies.;-) (Needless to say, I was THRILLED to meet him a week early.)

I am SO EXCITED about Miles’ birthday celebration tomorrow. We have some fireworks shows and a parade penciled in over the weekend as well. What are your 4th of July traditions? Whatever you have planned, have a fun, safe 4th!

While you’re resting before the fireworks shows this weekend:

Maternity rest can be an elusive fantasy moms working in small companies or in creative industries. Don’t worry – Donna Karan is in the same boat.  (via Interview Magazine)

Did you follow the crazy Reddit button story? Here’s the conclusion. (via NBC)

Are you helping to build your workplace culture?  (via Relevant)

What happens when real women tried on Victoria’s Secret bathing suits. (via BuzzFeed)

Need to write? (Your book, ebook, blog, dissertation?)  Check out these tips to help you be more disciplined. (via Write to Done)

Inspiring advice on life and career from a successful businesswoman. (via Design*Sponge)

The joy of re-reading. (via WSJ)

Can’t wait to try this yummy recipe. (via Balance and Blueberries)

Loving hats! (via CapHillStyle)

Trying to eliminate this word from my vocabulary. (via Business Insider)

 

 

Conversations About Joy.

Joy | The Orange Slate

Kite | The Orange Slate

Coffee Cup | The Orange Slate

Those of you who have read this blog for a while probably remember the Monday interview series that ran through last fall and winter into the spring. While I took a few months off from the series, it certainly hasn’t disappeared for good.

Of all the freelance projects I have ever done, interviews may be my favorite. One of the first pieces I did as a freelancer right out of college involved an interview – I couldn’t believe I was being paid to make up questions and talk to someone! I love to hear other people tell their stories and reflect on the lessons they learned and when I get to do that *and* share the conversation with other – it’s magical.

I’ve so enjoyed talking to the friends who have been willing to share their hearts on this blog and am really excited about the topics that I am lining up for the late summer and fall.

BUT. Meanwhile, for those of you haven’t been reading this blog for very long, I wanted to share some of the past interviews.

The first set of conversations centered around JOY – check out the interviews with Rachel, Erin, Katy, Stephanie, and Audrey (along with my own answers to the questions) for some wonderful encouragement and inspiration.

And if you need an extra shot of encouragement as you pursue a more joy-centered life, I encourage you to read Bob Goff’s Love Does.

_______________________________________________

*Some links are affiliate. Thank you for supporting the Orange Slate!

Grain Bowl: The Summer Grilling Version.

   Summer Grain Bowl | The Orange Slate

Summer Grain Bowl | The Orange Slate

One of my favorite rituals, and one that I want to make sure I teach Miles to treasure, is that of eating together.

What better way to spend time with your toddler or small child, to instill healthy habits, and to introduce them to new delicious “real” food than to eat alongside them?

Now that we are starting to introduce Miles to more adult food, one of my favorite things to do with him during the day is to make something that we both like, sit down on the floor with him, and share.

Miles is a little obsessed with avocados and with pesto, so this is a pretty easy game to play. I make toast with avocado, sea salt, and lime juice or slice up some bread to dip in pesto and voila! Miles gets to experience new foods that he loves, I get to eat, and we spend quality time together.

This alternative to me frantically trying to find something to eat while he’s entertaining himself for 30 seconds has made our late mornings/early afternoon routines much richer and far less frantic and it gives me an excuse to introduce Miles to foods that I otherwise forget about.

A few mornings ago, I pulled out the leftovers from our grain bowl/grilled vegetable dinner the night before. (I’m a little obsessed with the grain bowl concept featured several times in my favorite magazine, Bon Appetit. If the idea of cooking bores you, try a subscription. I promise you won’t be disappointed and your life will change forever. Or something.)

I sat down by Miles and started to eat lunch with him while we played. He was SO excited to taste the savory quinoa and grilled butternut squash and I was thrilled to find yet another delicious nutritious adult dish that he would eat.

Whether you’re looking for a healthful summer dish for yourself or trying to find creative ways to introduce your baby to new, wonderful foods, this twist on the grain bowl will definitely be a summer favorite!

Summer Grain Bowl | The Orange Slate

Ingredients: 

1 cup quinoa

1 butternut squash

1 yellow squash

1 onion

A generous assortment of other fresh vegetables. We used 1/2 purple cabbage, a couple of bell peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower.

1/4 cup butter

2 garlic cloves

2 bouillon cubes

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp. lemon juice

Pepper

Olive oil

Chop the vegetables into large pieces, at least 1 x 2 inches. Toss everything in a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few dashes of pepper. Place in a foil baking pan and set aside.

Summer Grain Bowl | The Orange Slate

Prepare the quinoa as follows:

Saute the quinoa in 1/2 a cube of butter and 2 garlic cloves. Dissolve two bouillon cubes in 1 1/2 cups of water and add. Add 1/2 cup of wine. Add fresh herbs, 1 tsp. of pepper, and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Cover and cook on medium heat until the liquid is dissolved.

Grill the vegetables in the foil pan until the squash is soft and the vegetables are well-seared. Combine with the quinoa on a plate. I like to drizzle some creamy balsamic dressing over the whole dish.

*This post contains some affiliate links. Thanks for supporting The Orange Slate!

Friday Links.

Life Quote | The Orange Slate

Hawaii flowers | The Orange Slate

Happy weekend! What are you doing to unwind? It’s hard to believe that this is last Miles’ last weekend as an under-1-year-old. (Can you tell that I’m keeping track??;-) ) I’m excited to do some birthday planning this weekend!

For your weekend reading:

The best foods to take camping and a few other camping tips. (via Simple Bites)

I have a huge crush on sparkling wine, champagne, prosecco, whatever. If it’s bubbly, I want it. So I loved this guide to champagne! (via Darling Magazine)

Cheating sleep for a year. (via Quartz)

Instagram, donuts, macarons, and investigative journalism collide. (via NYMag)

This story is so sad, but provides a fascinating look into the world of extreme recreation. (via The New York Times)

Why aren’t you ready? (via (in)courage)

A fascinating look at gratitude and cultural expectations. (via The Atlantic*)

A great reminder to stop focusing on being perfect. (via Seth Godin)

Workouts for summer arms. (via Style Me Pretty)

Why the liberal arts matter. (via Washington Post)

*Thanks to Cup of Jo for the article on gratitude and to CapHillStyle for the piece on sleep and the Instagram story.

 

Happy Father’s Day: A Love Letter.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

Mark,

Last Father’s Day, I was 36 weeks pregnant, so this is your first Father’s Day with a laughing, rambunctious, squeezable baby.

(And I know you hate Hallmark holidays almost as much as you hate social media, but humor me for just a minute.)

The grace and ease with which you slid into the role of “Dad” never fails to baffle me. Before we had Miles, you’d never spent much time around babies. You’d never changed a diaper. But you were good at being Daddy from the start.

You, so carefree and spontaneous and always making fun of me for being too cautious, are so protective of our little guy. When we first drove home from the hospital, you missed our turn, rolled slowly through an intersection and turned around to avoid turning too sharply with our sleeping bundle.

Our baby is so lucky to have you for a Daddy. Sometimes I get caught up in feeding schedules and sleep schedule and THOSE HORRIBLE NAP SCHEDULES and then you come home and tickle Miles and throw him up in the air and make him laugh so hard that he can’t breathe and you remind me that this parenting gig should be FUN.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

Father's Day | The Orange Slate

You soak up every second of Miles’ milestones with me like no other baby has ever existed. We spent fifteen minutes the other night simply passing a wooden panda bear back and forth with Miles, over and over and over, laughing hysterically at his enthusiasm for this new-found trick of “sharing”.

I pat myself on the back for my wealth of baby trivia garnered from piles of baby manuals and blogs and websites and my frequent calls to our pediatricians nursing station. But I secretly think you are actually the better parent.

Because this parenting stuff is not for the birds and when Miles gets in a fight or gets his first “D” or wrecks the car, I know that you’ll be there for him, calm and steadfast, like you always are for me. It’s just what you do.

You help Miles scoot and crawl and tackle stairs and I know this is just the beginning. Later you’ll teach him how to be brave about bigger things, harder and scarier things than living room step or the staircase.

And I suspect that when Miles is older and I still want to be controlling and protective and crazy (like I do), you will be the voice of reason and will make sure our little guy stretches his wings when he needs it the most.

And then when he has screwed up (like kids and teenagers and young adults do), you will still love him without reservation and extend him that same cheery, carefree, heartfelt grace that has always drawn people to you.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate1

Father's Day | The Orange Slate3

You show him how to feed the ducks and how to push his red ball back and forth and later you will show him how to plan a backpacking trip into the wilderness and how to leave home. And you will remind him that real adventures can’t be planned and that you can wash clothes in a sink and that we are better people when we take on the unknown.

Having a tiny baby and moving away from everyone we know isn’t always fun and games. When Miles still refused to sleep at 5 weeks and I melted in the middle of the night into a soggy puddle of tears and hysteria, you took over and let me rest even though you were the one who had class the next day.

Sometimes it drives me crazy that I spend almost every shred of sanity I have on this parenting thing and yet you somehow manage to take Miles to a happy hour without a diaper bag, a bottle, or a single piece of additional paraphernalia and you still both walk in the door smiling two hours later.

You are a daily reminder to me that this is not about schedules or instruction manuals or doing it right or being better at it than fill-in-the-blank.

We get to watch this precious little guy grow up. You take on the role of Daddy with such joy and excitement and wonder and you remind me every day what an utter privilege it is to be a parent.

And I am so grateful that I get to do this job alongside you.

Happy Father’s Day, love.

Father's Day | The Orange Slate2

Eleven Months: A Snapshot.

 11 Months | The Orange Slate6

   11 Months | The Orange Slate2

I am currently chronicling our little guy’s life through (in part) a series of letters that I’m sharing on this blog. It’s important to me to document his little adventures, his growth, the changes I notice in him, and our memories of him.

This one is a bit late in the month – I can’t believe my baby will be 1 year old in just over two weeks! For me and this project, late is much better than never. My overall goal is presence, not perfection.

11 Months | The Orange Slate1

11 Months | The Orange Slate5

DEAR MILES.

You are 11 months old! It’s sort of your last month as an infant – next month, I can’t just count your life in months anymore. This first year with you has been such a fantastic adventure.

We spent quite a bit of the last month with Mimi and Grandpa in Kona and you had such fun! Now we’re spending time with Daddy’s parents – you love all of the attention you’ve gotten from both sets of grandparents over the last few weeks!

Here are a few things I want to remember about you at this age:

11 Months | The Orange Slate4

11 Months | The Orange Slate

I want to remember how aware you are. You seem to know everything that is going on – you know when it’s bedtime; you know when Mommy has been gone on errands; you know that strangers in the grocery store love it when you flash them your enormous smile. You also know when Mommy’s not around to enforce bedtime and you give whomever is putting you down quite the bedtime battle.

I want to remember how, ever since you learned to crawl, you’ve been working so hard to get UP. You started pulling yourself up to your knees on stairs, chairs, rocks at the beach and now you can pull yourself all the way up to standing on just about anything!

I want to remember what a fantastic little traveler you are. I was terrified to take you on our scheduled red-eye flight back from the beach, but you were a champ and slept the entire way. You also adjusted to jet lag so quickly!

I want to remember how you crawl like a baby gorilla, swinging your shoulders back and forth. It’s so cute!

I want to remember how your hair got bleached by the sun at the beach and turned you into a strawberry blonde.

I want to remember the things you are doing and loving and learning too. I want to remember that you are

11 Months | The Orange Slate3

loving water and your turtle pool. You are so brave in the water now! You visited tide-pools with Grandpa and splash wildly whenever you sit in a calm pool. The waves still scared you a little, understandably. Now you spend time every day in your turtle pool and love spraying water everywhere.

trying to tackle the stairs. You’ve tackled a stair-step just a few times and somehow one day managed to make it up onto a table. I can tell that I’m going to need to block the big stairs soon.

chasing Papa’s cat and trapping him under the bureau. You are less fascinated with petting the cat and more with simply crawling after him as fast as you can possibly go. If you disappear suddenly, I know that I can normally find you sitting by the dresser where the cat likes to hide, patiently waiting for him to come out.

loving pesto, quinoa, and strawberry yogurt. You have always been a pretty good eater, but when I pull out the quinoa, pesto, or strawberry yogurt, you wiggle with excitement. I waited until just recently to introduce you to strawberry flavoring and you eat like you’re trying to catch up from 11 months of missing out.

cuddling your elephants. You have quite the collection of stuffed elephants for bedtime and nothing makes you happier than cuddling with them. Mostly, you like to chew on their noses.

shopping anywhere that I will take you. Stores and lights and the strangers there fascinate you.

playing with Mommy and Daddy. You laugh wildly at being tickled. We can also play little games together now, like hide-and-seek. You can help me put blocks IN the bowl and pull them OUT on command, with a little encouragement.

recognizing faces on screens. You love watching videos of yourself. While we were away from Daddy, you laughed when I showed you pictures of him and you wave at Mimi on FaceTime.

Can’t wait for your first birthday party, my baby boy!

11 Months | The Orange Slate

This post was originally published on The Orange Slate. This post contains some affiliate links. Thank you for helping to support The Orange Slate!

Weekend Links

Dream Quote | The Orange Slate

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Kona Sunrise | The Orange Slate

Weekends seem especially exciting during the summer, don’t they? Our anniversary is Monday (hooray!) so we are going to celebrate this weekend. Any Dallas-area restaurant recommendations before I hit Yelp? Beyond that, we’re looking forward to lots of time in the pool with Miles and GRILLING. I’m a little obsessed with the grill right now.

For your reading pleasure:

French tips on lunch. (via Kitchn)

Do you talk too much? (I love the author’s 20 second rule!) (via Harvard Business Review)

Time management tips from moms who are jugglers with the mostest. The encouragement about adding up the time each day that you spend with your kids was inspiring! (via Forbes)

An Instagram tale that will make you mad. (via CNN)

And another one that will scare your socks off. (via BuzzFeed)

What these women wish someone had told them at graduation. What do you wish someone told you? Blog teaser: posting my “wish list” next week! (via Elle)

Growing tomatoes this summer? Here’s everything you need to know. (via Modern Farmer)

Some of England’s prettiest gardens. (via WSJ)

An adorable story about a bilingual toddler. (via Espanolita Blog)

So many of my friends are having babies! This makes me giddy. It also means that I’m emailing my list of favorite registry items frequently.

Bloggers who leave. Interesting. (via Her.meneutics)

Happy weekending!

Friday Links

Kona Coast 2

Man with Guitar

Sunset Palms

Happy Friday! We’re busy settling back into a routine after a fantastic vacation with my family for Miles and me and an extended work-trip for Dad. Lots of fun pictures to come (and if you want to see some of our adventures, check out my overgramming over the last couple of weeks!). This weekend, I’m looking forward to some family time for the three of us after several weeks apart.

Check out these great links!

Traveling is on my mind. The BEST tips for flying a red-eye with a young toddler. Especially #1, #5, and #6. (via MomEdit)

And navigating baby jet lag. (via Cup of Jo)

Are you a bride or in a wedding party this summer? Save the day with this list of wedding-day must-haves. (via Style Me Pretty)

My sister always follows the coolest people on social media. Loving this feed on Instagram that she sent me.

A love affair with food. (via Life & Thyme)

A great reminder. Several of my dearest friends are still either married or married with no kids and I’d be lost without them. Playdates are important, but so is this. (via Coffee + Crumbs)

Hilarious list about Coca-Cola. Have you tried any of these? (via Huffington Post)

The beginning of summer means the start of internships for many. Here’s some tips for starting a new job. (via The Art of Manliness)

Not that I will have time to take up the hobby of quilting until about 2025. But this is such a gorgeous quilt. (via Red Red Completely Red)

Happy weekend!

Home Tour: Apartment Baby Nursery

Nursery Room Tour | The Orange Slate

Stuffed Elephant | The Orange Slate

I’ve mentioned before that we live in an apartment. It’s not small enough to qualify for some kind of T.I.N.Y. prize (like this one). It is, however, under 900 square feet – small enough to mean that every room serves at least three purposes.

So when I say “nursery”, I’m really referring less to an entire room and more to a dedicated half of a room. When Miles was tiny, he slept in a cradle in our room. At around 6 months, he migrated into his crib and about a month later finally started actually sleeping in his own room (now dubbed “the nursery”, which also doubles as “the guest room”).

When we first moved into our apartment (when Miles was 3 weeks old), I knew the he would be in our room for a while, so I didn’t stress too much about having The World’s Most Gorgeous Baby Nest perfected.

But even before Miles was born, I approached the choices I made for our baby furniture and nursery set-up much the way I approach other choices: I prioritized the major needs/wants and let the rest take its course without agonizing over it too much. Here are the priorities that guided our nursery design (beyond safety, of course):

  • Reasonable investment. Mark and I aren’t trying to reinvent the art of raising a human. Our baby needs to be safe and comfortable in aesthetically pleasant surroundings, but he’s going to spend less time with all of the baby supplies we buy him than I spent in my college dorm room. Dropping thousands of dollars on the finest baby furniture and decor in the universe is just not my thing. (I don’t mean this critically. This is a choice thing. If you like to spend money on baby furniture, that’s completely within your rights.)
  • Space-friendly. Our apartment is very small. Doors are narrow and we move pieces around a lot to accommodate changing needs, guests, my early-morning decorating whims, finals week study sessions, etc. Baby furniture needed to take up as little space as possible and pieces needed to serve various functions.
  • Aesthestically minimalist. The more visual clutter I can eliminate, the better. Small and slender was the name of the game for picking furniture. For colors, I love LIGHT, whites, and light neutrals. Our apartment carpeting and paint colors (not our choice!) are neutrals just on the darker side of cream, so I’m constantly trying to brighten up our space. No heavy dark woods for us, at least not now.

Nursery Tour | The Orange Slate1

That’s it. Those were the three guidelines. Our nursery layout is so very simple and I love it. Our crib is light and small. I obsessively use baskets for storage and have baskets of all sizes in all of our rooms. Storing Miles’ toys in one basket and his bath-time/diaper gear in another underneath the crib was an easy way to hide clutter while efficiently using space and also keeping it within easy reach.

His clothes, towels, and sheets are kept in one small dresser across the room. When he outgrows a size, I remove the pieces and store all of those clothes elsewhere so that he’s actually using all of the pieces in the dresser.

The baby furniture also includes a rocker and a cool mid-century table that we’ve collected. The beautiful hand-lettered canvas and engraved metal piece were gifts. I picked up the wooden letter at Hobby Lobby (although I’ve linked to a similar one below).

Lindsay Letters baby print | The Orange Slate

Sources for pieces are as follows:

If you have questions about our setup or about living with a young baby in a small space, let’s chat in the comments!

Adventures on The Big Island: Greenwell Farms

    Greenwell Farms Coffee | The Orange Slate

Hat and Coffee | The Orange Slate

 Greenwell Coffee Farm | The Orange Slate

One fantastic part of my visit to Hawaii was the tour of the Greenwell Farms coffee farm. On a morning during our vacation that threatened to be unfriendly to beach dwelling, we trip-trapped up the road from Kona to the beautiful farm. Tours are (generously!) free and run daily from 8:30-4:00 at intervals of 15ish minutes so pressure was low.

The tour was fun, informative (although the guide was occasionally difficult to understand), and brief. Many of the coffee plants have been there for over 100 years and the current owners are descendants of the original farmers, transplants from England during the mid-19th century. The farm’s coffee is now shipped all over the world. It’s also sold online and through their Coffee Club.

Coffee Jars | The Orange Slate

Coffee Sign | The Orange Slate

Our guide showed us much more than just coffee plants – the farm boasts banana trees, mango trees, breathtaking flowers, and the largest avocado tree I’ve ever seen. The farm sits on a bluff high above the Kona coast and the view of the west side of the island is magnificent (especially during morning hours).

Our group drank its weight in the (again, so generous) delicious and free coffee samples while we relaxed under the giant avocado tree and over-grammed our day. The beautiful lawns, stunning views, and abundant foliage made beautiful backdrops for lots of fun pictures. The staff was so kind and friendly, even to our somewhat rowdy bunch.

Coffee Cherries | The Orange Slate

Coffee Cup | The Orange Slate

If you visit the Kona side of the Big Island, I would definitely recommend a visit to one of the hundreds of coffee farms near Kona, and I’m sure that you won’t find a more pleasant one to tour than Greenwell Farms.

P.S. If you’re traveling to Hawaii soon, there is also no better guide than Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook. Local tips, secret spots, and hidden gems – both of our trips to the Big Island have been vastly enriched by this fantastic resource.

*Some links are affiliate. Thanks for supporting The Orange Slate!