Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekend Recap: Favorite Things Brunch, a Sweet Baptism and a Little Piece of France

Yet another gorgeous* weekend here in the city. The kind where you know it's coming so you make lots of ambitious, outdoorsy-type plans but you end up wearing yourself out trying to make the most of it that you conk out. 

We enjoyed what we could. . . 

A Friday night mall visit: finally trying AEO jeggings (they are the TRUTH!)//picking up my favorite thing at Sephora for a Favorite Things brunch//Qdoba quesadillas remind me of my first job
A Lil Lovebird-requested family selfie (thank you Uncle Van for the batman glasses!)
Nia was so excited to see Baby A again who was in town for her baptism and so sweet of our friends to have a special present for our Lil Lovebird!

Caught a glimpse of the Tunnels to Towers Run

Enjoyed the last day of Fete Paradiso as my belated birthday treat - it is now on my must list! (and a separate post will follow)
Clockwise from top left: a quick glimpse of my Panera birthday treat before Lil Lovebird devoured it//excited to be attending this amazing festival//did our part for National Coffee Day//picked up a few essentials for my trip to ATL for Blogalicious at the end of this week
This pretty much sums up how we felt after the weekend!

How's your fall treating you so far? I saw lots of apple and pumpkin picking in my social media feeds over the weekend; did you go? 

*I went back and re-read a few of my recent weekend recaps and realized I keep describing them as "beautiful" and "gorgeous" but really, that's how it's been here. We've been blessed with the best September weather!

I'm Thrilled to Announce...

Keeping in line with my goals for growing Harlem Lovebirds, I have a new partnership that I'm very excited to share with you:
I'm the new brand ambassador for Robin Wilson Home which was founded by Robin Wilson, an eco-friendly interior designer and a lifestyle brand with products sold at Bed Bath & Robin is the first woman with a branded line of custom kitchen & bath cabinetry sold by over 500 dealers nationwide. She is an ambassador to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America and author of Kennedy Green House (Greenleaf, 2010). She regularly appears on the speakers circuit, on television and offers commentary in print on wellness, sustainability and allergy & asthma issues. 

Here are a few of my favorite spaces that Robin Wilson Home has designed:

As a fellow mompreneur, Robin Wilson is also an inspiration to me as she's grown her brand tremendously over the past few years with frequent appearances on national TV and print. Take a quick look at all Robin Wilson Home encompasses:

And now here's something fun for you . . .

This Thursday, October 5 Robin Wilson Home's comforters will arrive at Bed Bath and Beyond stores, and to celebrate they're giving away your choice of comforters or pillows every day - that means one winner per day until the launch. Simply enter here - you must LIKE Robin Wilson on FB, or simply click "Enter" (if already a FB fan!)...good luck!

Here are more ways you can connect with Robin Wilson Home:
Please look forward to brand spotlights on Robin Wilson Home especially as it relates to creating safe, eco-friendly spaces for you and your family.

P.S. I'll be back this afternoon with a weekend recap!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

New Yorkers Know How to Square Dance Ya'll!

I was passing by Bryant Park last week and happened to see the last of 3 square dances was happening this week. "Square dancing? In New York?" I thought and promptly checked my calendar, saw there was nothing going on and decided pending good weather I would take my Lil Lovebird after school. As the date got closer I checked the weather, saw it was going to be a beautiful night and invited my sister and a friend to join us. Next, I showed the event link to Mr. Lovebird, and he told me he wanted to come too. I was surprised that he'd be interested especially as a born-and-bred New Yorker I thought he'd think it was strange, but maybe like me he was just curious!

Regardless, it was a date and Nia was so excited that morning knowing that after school she was going to her first ever square dance party. 

We had a blast . . .

Blurry but too cute to pass up! Brings to mind their first video.

Here's a quick video of everyone warming up:


I had to do a square dance module in 5th grade, and I remember actually having a lot of fun and my class doing a big performance for friends and family. Do any of my readers have square dancing experience?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

One Week From Today: #Blogalicious5

Seven days from now I'll be in Atlanta for Blogalicious5, and I'm feeling a certain kinda way about it . . .

Last year was my first time attending blogging conferences and while there are so many to choose from I have to say of those I've attended Blogalicious is my favorite for 3 reasons:
  • Intimate environment
  • Specific, highly actionable content
  • Attention to detail
If you want more details check out my multi-part Blogalicious '12 review here. 

With a few conferences under my belt I feel very prepared going into Blogalicious5 especially because of the location - I've been to Atlanta several times, have family there and love the city! It's going to be a mini-mommy vacation for me too as my sister will be taking care of Lil Lovebird while I'm gone (it was originally supposed to be a family trip, but Mr. Lovebird has to be away on business). I'm so thankful to my sister for stepping in to help!

I wrote an epic how to do BlogHer/Blogalicious post last year, but here are a few updates for this year on how I'm prepping:
  • Technology - last year I attempted to bring a tablet to BlogHer, but this year I have a much better tablet: a Windows 8 Asus Vivo Tab RT with a keyboard which feels more like a mini-laptop; it's super portable and the battery life is outstanding (thank you Design Mom!)


  • Style - it's been said appearances shouldn't matter but to be honest, they really do; how you present yourself is crucial to making a strong first impression at conferences, and I've prepared with a fresh cut and a few updates to my wardrobe; the best part is I was able to get everything deeply discounted scouring coupon codes/sales as well as my September birthday emails for discounts
Trifecta of savings: gift code, free shipping and double points!
  • Business cards - I've updated last year's card a bit thanks to a free card offer from both Moo and Minted for Blogalicious attendees; I still have some leftover from last year so I'll be bringing both sets (also I think it's very important to have a picture of yourself on your card and for the texture to be writeable - I  like taking notes on cards immediately after meeting someone and a picture makes you more memorable!)
The last few items on my prep list are:
  • getting a mani/pedi
  • hair appointment
  • laundry
  • meal prep for Nia and my sister while I'm gone

Can't wait!

Will any of my readers be at Blogalicious5? How are you preparing? 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Truth About DIY Headboards

When I received Young House Love's new book around this past Christmastime I had fanciful dreams of the amazing DIY projects Mr. Lovebird and I would embark upon. With our move this past spring we thought it would be a good idea to implement them in our new place especially with the recent confirmation that we'll be staying put for the time being (moving 5x in the past 6 years has not been enjoyable).

Over Labor Day weekend we embarked on our first major project from the book: a DIY headboard. It was inspired by YHL, but we consulted many resources online, especially on You Tube, mostly because YHL's version wasn't as padded as we'd like. It was essentially a canvas stretcher covered in batting and fabric, which looked nice, but we needed ours to be sturdier. We found YHL's tips along with Design Sponge's how-to video to be the ideal combination and got to work measuring . . .

The end project was great, but there are definitely a few things that you should know before embarking!
  • It takes DOUBLE the time the instructions say - maybe we're just DIY challenged (or super type A!), but from measuring to cutting the foam and making sure the fabric wasn't buckling when stretched it took us about 5 hours to complete
  • Foam is EXPENSIVE - I saw this mentioned in a few instructions, but it is definitely true! It has something to do with the cost of gas and while many instructions called for batting, it just wouldn't give the same type of sturdiness we'd need. We're very happy with the foam (we used 2" foam  purchased in squares from Home Depot)
  • Measure twice, cut once - as a beginner sewer I know this, but unfortunately, I didn't follow my own instructions; well actually I did measure 2x, but I should have stopped to think through a minor adjustment that had to be made for the batting to cover and secure both the wood and foam - the width of the bolt was too narrow so I should have added more to compensate for it. As a result I had to go back for a 2nd piece of batting (it was on a super hot day too, and I really didn't want to walk 20 minutes round trip AGAIN to get it)
  • Many tutorials lacked precise, detailed pics - this was most annoying especially when it came to hanging the headboard; we saw a few mention a hangman's cleat but they didn't show exactly how to attach it or what to look for in the store - only that it was from Home Depot; many of the staff at our local HD had no clue what we were talking about and we even showed them the blog posts with it mentioned and the pictures were so awful they couldn't even tell what it was so I'm gonna help ya'll out. . .
    • This is a hangman's cleat (and by far the best and easiest way to attach a heavy hanging headboard - or anything heavy to the wall for that matter!):
 OOK Hangman 200 lb. French Cleat Picture Hanger with Wall Dog Mounting Screws (13-Pack)
    •  And it comes in a package like this:
OOK Professional French Cleat Picture Hanger, Holds up to 200 lbs.
  • Some shortcuts are ok but others are not - I saw some bad shortcuts while watching DIY videos like using glue instead of upholstery staples, but we actually did our own shortcut that was actually a good one: when we had trouble finding gray fabric the color we wanted we decided to go our local NWL and picked up a king size bedsheet to use (the clerk reprimanded us for touching the sheets, but I explained how else would we know it was something we'd want?!); we also used a less expensive wood than plywood it was still hardy but not as hard - just look around (and touch!) in the lumber section. When we inquired with the store associate what they'd recommend for our project they took us to a very expensive plywood
  • You may experience pain - we were cheap and used a manual upholstery stapler instead of splurging for an electric one; gotta admit we probably shoulda upgraded. Mr. Lovebird's hand was nearly blistered from the stapling. It was red and raw for daaaays

TOTAL COST: about $200

We're very happy with how our headboard turned out, and it definitely beats paying hundreds for the ones I've been lusting after all these years. We still have quite a few YHL we'd like to work on (can I just say how SICK I am of bare white walls???), but for now this is a good start.

Have you ever embarked on a DIY project that was more challenging than it looked? What's your next project?

P.S. I know I didn't include specific instructions here as I think the general framework is provided in enough tutorials all over the internet; I just wanted to add to them. Do a search and find what will work for your headboard needs!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Win a Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 Prize Pack

Disclosure: I received a plush and prize pack to facilitate this giveaway. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

Although I was bummed that my Lovebirds weren't able to make it to this past weekend's movie screening of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, we've still had a good time at home celebrating the premiere this Friday, September 27 thanks to a fun prize pack that came our way:

You see that stuffed strawberry? His name is Barry and he's a Foodimal. How cute is that? Nia is obsessed with it and has been sleeping with it each night (I kinda think it looks like her with its big eyes!). Here are the rest of the Foodimals:

Check out the trailer: 

I also watched a behind the scenes video explaining how the graphics team tried to make the food look really good so you'd want to reach out and eat it. I have to say they did a good job!

To celebrate this Friday's premiere I'm giving away a Cloudy Movie prize pack:

It includes a t-shirt, movie poster with activities on the back, a flat water bottle featuring a Foodimal, a pencil/erasers/sticker set and an activity book.

Enter via Rafflecopter below and as always my giveaway only has one mandatory entry with the rest being optional. Giveaway ends Tuesday, October 1 with the winner announced on Wednesday, October 2. Open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you seen the first Cloudy Movie? Did you know it's based on a book

3 Winners: Kidfresh Giveaway

Hope everyone's fall is off to a good start! 

Here are the winners of the Kidfresh giveaway:

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats and I'll be in touch shortly for your contact info!

P.S. I'll be back later with a Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 giveaway!

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Birthday Weekend Recap

I shared my big birthday hair reveal yesterday, and I have to say year 33 is off to a great start!

At the moment I'm writing this my legs are feeling like they're still moving - it was just that crazy this weekend. GoGo squeeZ events and a couple kids' parties had us all over, and I was so thankful for the beautiful weather we had here in NYC. Late afternoon yesterday truly felt like the official start of fall that it was.

I welcome autumn with open arms! 

Here's where we were up to...

Check out the vlog here        

Fun with Anna Banana Band! (Turns out Anna is also from Columbus, Ohio!)

Maker Faire is officially my new *must attend* in NYC! The former science fair nerd in me was in heaven here.
Yes, boys and girls, that is a REAL LIFE Mouse Trap. Anyone else play that game as a kid??? They set it off, but I arrived after it had already happened, however you can see it in all its glory here.
Bambino Chef is one of our favorite kids' spaces!

This was her 3rd piece of birthday cake yesterday; to say she was cake wasted is an understatement

Thank you for all the social media happy birthday wishes! So nice to hear from my family and friends =)

P.S. Today's the last day to enter my Kidfresh entree giveaway - there will be 3 winners!


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