Letter to my former self: freshman year of college

06/30/2010 at 3:32 pm | Posted in Bloggy, just plain fun | 4 Comments

Dear Suzanne,

First things first. Grow those bangs out. Really. You will thank me later.

And, hey. Stop worrying so much about your GPA. Not a SINGLE ONE of the people who interview you for jobs will ask for it. Now I’m not saying to skip class or anything. Make good grades. Just quit OBSESSING so much over this-number-point-that-number.

Another thing: drinking a beer will not send you straight to hell.

Trust me.

Everything in moderation, of course (you’ll learn this the day after your 21st birthday – don’t say you weren’t warned), but loosen up. Have a little fun.

Breaking up with your high school sweetheart is going to suck. Big time. But it’s also going to open a lot of doors for you. Doors with shaggy blonde hair or butts that look good in speedos. Again, trust me.

You are at one of the best universities in the country, on one of the coolest campuses there is.


Every bit of it.

Oh, I’m so excited for you! This place is going to open your eyes.

You are going to meet people who will STILL be your friend nearly 15 years later. You are going to learn A LOT from some amazing teachers. You’re going to try a new sport. Take a stab at newspaper reporting.

And succeed.

And fail.

And laugh. And travel to interesting new places. And maybe cry in the bathroom stall a time or two.

Most of all, you will become YOU.

Live it up! Try not to worry so much. And, really, don’t ever go back to bangs. Ever.

I love you,

your 34-year-old-self

This is part of a blog hop started by Joanna over at Raising Madison. Read more letters, including Joanna’s, here.

Mama and baby

06/30/2010 at 9:25 am | Posted in family, Love, snap happy | 4 Comments

I just love this photo of Laura and baby O, taken in the midst of a great deal of chaos on Mother’s Day.

Those smiles!

When O was born, she was the spitting image of her father (sorry, sis). But every day since then, she’s looking more and more like her mommy, too.

It amazes me to see my sister in her daughter’s smile. Just amazing.


06/29/2010 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Motherhood, Love, Bloggy | 2 Comments
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Oh my gosh I just discovered the most incredible story.

Apparently I have been living under a rock, because until today, I had never heard of Stephanie Nielson. She authors the Nie Nie Dialogues, one of Babble’s Top 50 Mommy Blogs.

She is just awesome. Her story is heart-breaking and inspiring. And beautiful.

It stopped me in my tracks.

She makes me want to be a better mother.

More present. More appreciative.

Better able to see all the beauty and love in my life and not take one single bit of it for granted.

Thank you, Stephanie.

Happiness is: a good bargain

06/29/2010 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Happiness is | 2 Comments
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I found this bracelet on sale at Old Navy for $3.50!


It’s so much fun to wear, all jingly and shiny. Plus, I just love the green.

Aaaaand I bought another one in coral. Because, hey, who couldn’t use a little extra cuteness in their life for just a few bucks?

What was the last little treat you bought yourself just because? Your best bargain?

Do share!

Hit the road Jack!

06/29/2010 at 7:54 am | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 3 Comments
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(This is part of Belly to Butterfly, by my sis Laura.)

Suzanne came over recently while C was at band practice. We watched “500 Days of Summer” (love Zooey!) and ate homemade blondies. Okay, we also had cookie dough ice cream. It was girls’ night … double-sweet worthy. (I love that I can call hanging with San “girls’night.”  It allows for all kinds of fun indulgences!)

We chatted for a while before hitting play. (I’m trying to get better about talking through movies…so we always leave some time at the beginning to fill each other in on life.)

This time around I had to share my latest epiphany. (Side note: I like to call any post-newborn clear thought I have an epiphany … makes it sound more grand, and not just a result of sleep!)  I realized that I don’t have to be chained to the house or O in the evenings. She goes down for sleep and more importantly, stays there … regularly now.

It’s so weird!

We’ve gotten the hang of the sleep thing so well most of the time she doesn’t even cry when we put her down.  She’s got her thumb, her blankie, her bumper to spoon and she’s set. I can even tell her goodnight and give her a kiss.  Most nights I try to squeeze in a little “Twinkle, Twinkle” or “Goodnight Moon” but I’m pretty sure she’d rather me just let her sleep. I think she loves sleep as much as I do.

Whenever I do leave I feel like I’m missing something … my phone, my bra, my baby. Just as I had to relearn eating slowly, not driving at warp speed because of a crying baby and sleeping without waking worried that she’s not breathing, I need to relearn fun … and freedom. Sometimes I sit, frozen, overwhelmed with all the possibilities … sewing, writing, dessert out, dinner out, anything out … I feel like I have to make it good as it’s my last one or something. But it’s not. I’m going to have more free time tomorrow night. And the next.

So the big question is, what the heck do I with my next evening out? And the “smaller” question of … how do I reserve some energy throughout the day to actually have the juice to be active after 8pm?!

In which I pimp my blog AGAIN

06/28/2010 at 10:18 am | Posted in Bloggy | 9 Comments
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Y’all! I’ve been nominated for a BlogLuxe Award, which at first I thought was a joke or a really creative spammer, but I was wrong.

Usually I’m pretty insistent on being right (see previous post on the perils of being married to me), but this time, I’m happy to admit otherwise.

Much to my delight and surprise, this award is real.

pretty*swell is up for “best eye candy,” which the website describes as: “Beautiful blogs visually, ideally with oodles of pictures that you can’t keep your eyes off of!”

The blog awards are given by the Avery SocialLuxe Lounge, an event hosted by three fabulous bloggers during the BlogHer ’10 conference in New York.

Honestly? I’m not really sure what it all means because this will be my first year attending the conference. But the words “pampering party” sound awfully nice. And to be nominated for an award in the company of a number of blogs I admire is just a thrill.

So, here I am again asking for your vote.

Just click on this link.

After you cast your ballot, they’ll ask for your e-mail address. Once you confirm it, your vote counts. This is just to verify that you are a real live human being and not a robot. Voting closes on July 12. You can vote up to once a day until then. Five finalists in each category will be announced on August 5.

THANK YOU a million times over!

You guys are the reason pretty*swell is making waves. This little ol’ blog wouldn’t be here without your support.

I heart y’all.


06/27/2010 at 3:56 pm | Posted in snap happy | 5 Comments

Upon popular demand, here’s a photo of Small Fry’s new BFF in Ohio, Scooter puppy.

He is as patient as he is adorable. And he has the Dairy Queen drive-through ladies wrapped around his little paw.

Smart guy.

Swell Stuff {Paper Cakes} + giveaway winner!

06/25/2010 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Bloggy, Swell Stuff | 4 Comments
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My new haircut is making me do all sorts of crazy things. Like surf Etsy shops for cute hair accessories. I think these pins would be darling on Dolly P.

Yes, you’re reading the blog of someone who named her haircut. Still friends?

I also love this, for when Dolly’s feeling fancy:

Or maybe this little lovely, for date night:

In other words, Dolly P and I have a new favorite Etsy shop: Paper Cakes.

And it’s not all hair stuff. There are home goods, like this funky vintage tea set, and jewelry that will make you smile, like this necklace. Oh, and these adorable pom-pom earrings.

I’m in trouble!

I blame Dolly.


The winner of the Moxie Kids giveaway is Jessica from The B Keeps Us Honest.
Congratulations, lucky lady! Happy shopping!!


You Capture: get down low

06/24/2010 at 11:28 am | Posted in just plain fun, Small Fry, snap happy | 12 Comments
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I just love this week’s You Capture theme!

Get down low, baby.

Julie’s lush green grass in Ohio was too irresistible NOT to plop down on. I took this little series of shots on one of our last days there.

You gotta love a good sneeze:

And our girl was DETERMINED to do a head stand. She tried and tried …

… and finally made it up in the air, thanks to a little help from her auntie. I just love the delight in her face. And ice cream shorts? Everyone needs a pair of ice cream shorts.

Small Fry is also quite the photographer. She LOVES to get her hands on my camera. We have dozens of shots up her nose, so this one was a real treat. Taken from her perspective “down low” …

Happiness is: beer-cap art

06/23/2010 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Happiness is | 4 Comments
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Our friend David, who made this impressive table, brews his own beer.

He is our next-door neighbor.

We are lucky.

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