Baby is napping so I’m squeezing in a super quick post for the nursery series :).
Here’s both a decorative and functional wall we put together for hanging clothes and things. The heroes of this wall are undoubtedly the adorable cloud, whale, panda bear, and polar bear hooks that are just to die for. All purchased on Etsy, all the way from England and Israel – see ‘Shop this Look’ below for links to the shops.
The elephant faux taxidermy is super cute and adds to the fun on this wall. I’m not huge on real taxidermy but these faux ones are so lovely in nurseries.
The shiplap wall continues to complement and I’m obsessed with it (might put shiplap in our bathroom, too)! And down below is a toy dump hamper. Yes, it’s a hamper, but it works just as perfectly for toys as it does for clothes :).
Beside the toy dump hamper is a DIY step stool that Chris put together for me, so I can reach the top of baby’s closet :P. We repurposed barnwood scraps from our basement renovation project that would have otherwise ended up in the garbage. To be honest though, it’s not the safest stool to stand on unless you were extremely, extremely careful (ha!). It loses balance. We don’t have woodworking expertise and didn’t know how to make it structurally safe. I do deem it safe for sitting though, so it’s not completely purposeless!
Stuffed animals in the toy dump (puppy dog and wolf) are just starters for now to finish the look. Colton will have a growing collection of toys going in there as he gets older and I’m sure it’ll be a huge mess soon enough!
It’s been while since I’ve shared another piece of the nursery so here it is, the bookcase area :)! If you haven’t caught the nursery series so far, you can take a peek here and here.
The styling of the bookcase has actually evolved a little bit more since this photo was taken but time is a scarcity these days so I wasn’t able to take a more updated photo. This will have to do!
I LOVE bookcases and this one was so much fun to dress up only because it was different from the rest of the bookcases we’ve decorated and filled up around the house. It’s the only one that can be styled for a baby and that occasion doesn’t come around every day!
Just 3 that I want to quickly share (before baby wakes up ;)).
1. Less is more & mind the space: Don’t overload the bookcase with things. Think of it as a wonderful storage unit but one that has to look good since it’s out for the world to see. Be mindful of space between items to create clean lines – don’t overload and err on the side of ‘less is more’. I could stockpile a lot more books than what’s in the bookcase but that’d look terrible :P. And when filling up a bookcase, don’t limit yourself to just literally books! Always complement with pretty boxes, baskets, bins, which fill the space substantially but in a neat, non-cluttered, minimalistic way; they just so happen to also work great for extra storage.
2. Decide on a tone, mood, colour scheme: You would generally want to think about an overall tone for your bookcase. Soft? Vibrant? Dark? Girly? Boyish? In our case, I wanted a soft and calm, earthy-tone bookcase, mixing colours like whites, greys, baby blues, and pastel browns together. Having this in mind will guide your shopping list and how you put everything together from your accent items to your actual books.
3. Play with book layout: The traditional way to place books in a bookcase is in the vertical upright position. But to add appeal, place some of your books horizontally/flat and then stack them on top of each other. Be mindful of the books’ spines – try to put books together with spine designs/colours that go hand in hand with each other. Might I just add that Value Village has $1.00 pre-loved nursery books that are in fantastic condition??? We picked up a whole bunch and then sanitized them. Dollars very well spent!
That’ll be all for this bookcase. It’ll be a few more weeks before we take some of these books and start reading to our little guy. For now, I’ll enjoy its completely untouched state while it lasts :).
New print of Monument Valley in Navajo Tribal Park, Utah. Feels like the movies even when you’re there in the flesh. Those majestic rock formations are just incredible. I’m really, really itching to travel especially because we didn’t get to go anywhere in 2017. Hawaii is the closest thing in sight at the end of May and it can’t come soon enough.
Someone once told me when you become a mama, you become a master multitasker and an efficiency queen. And that you do. You can never be too efficient especially with increasingly busy lives. I’m blogging and editing photos with baby in arms right now since he is relentlessly fighting sleep. I think you start off exclusively focused on a single given baby-related task at a time when everything is so brand new, but once you get into your groove, it starts to feel like multitasking becomes not only second nature but a must. You only have so many “free” hours in the day between feeding, soothing, pumping, changing diapers, napping, eating, and tidying up (clutter drives me bananas). So combining other activities with these main events is much needed, for me anyways, otherwise, there’s a good chance this super strict routine could drive me a little mad (while still strangely loving every second of it of course) :).
Quick note that I think Colton’s witching hours are changing from sometime between 5pm-2am to 11am-4pm over the last couple of days. He is just full of surprises! Adapting seems to be the name of the game. :P
Fun piece of news: the print below is one of my personal favourites and I’m so excited for its greeting card (birthday occasion) licensing opportunity coming up for the summer! We’ve just signed and sorted all paperwork as of yesterday. It’ll be our first foray into stationery, which we’ve wanted to explore for a while, so I’m super stoked about this. I’ll loop back with the actual greeting card once it’s ready!
8 days postpartum with my little peaches and cream! My body is bouncing back and I’m starting to feel really good again!
I’ve been treated like royalty by my family since giving birth. In Chinese culture, there’s something called the postnatal confinement, which is a custom practised to help mothers recover from birth, typically for about 30-45 days. The confinement (or mine anyway – they’re all a little bit different) consists mostly of a very special diet that is intended to restore strength to the body. There are a few other (questionable) components like refraining from going outside, washing your hair – things that are harder for me to buy into and are pretty much impossible to explain without sounding crazy.
I have no idea if any of it works but all the women on my side of the family swear by this ancient tradition. I figured it wouldn’t hurt, so I complied. But let me tell you, I do feel strong and energized. Sooner than I expected. In fact, I expected to be a total disaster for a few weeks and it has been a pleasant surprise to feel quite the opposite. Recovery was toughest for the first 4 days with days 2-4 being the worst. My body literally felt broken – everything ached like hell. But by day 8, I was feeling a solid 8/10. Delicious and nutritious breakfasts, lunches and dinners are made for me every single day, which takes a massive load off while tending to a newborn. Why wouldn’t I do this? :)
In terms of the little guy, he is wonderful and such a treat for most of the day and then he has his witching hours like most newborns sometime between 5pm and 2am, where he would cry and be fussy for 2-4 hours at a time. But I know this phase will come and go with the blink of an eye so I am embracing all of it completely. He is just so cute and little and helpless, it’s so hard to get frustrated even if you’re exhausted and just want to catch some shuteye. What’s great is that after he gets over the witching hours, he does sleep for a long stretch because he tires himself out :P. So that ends up being a reward for us.
It has also been so nice to have Chris at home with me. It has been a game changer to share all the responsibilities and to strengthen our partnership in this new chapter. It has also allowed us to have time to ourselves. It’s going to be another adjustment when he goes back to work :( and I will certainly miss him at home!!
Breastfeeding has taken off without a hitch. I was expecting it to be hard and painful and frustrating, much like what I’ve read all over the internet when I was gearing up for postpartum. Turns out I got lucky and it was relatively effortless for me to get into it. I am so, so, so grateful. I’ve also opted to pump so that hubby can not only help with feeding but bond with the little guy.
Here’s hubs and his baby boy. Looks more like his child than mine (lol). Truly peaches and cream, these two. Love you both to pieces.
Ahhh, I could’ve sworn this little peanut was going to come early. It really felt like it with the way my body was going. Not to mention every Tom, Dick, and Harry thought I was ready to pop since 37 weeks. But here I am, 40 weeks pregnant and still no baby. What a true test of patience, which I don’t normally have a lot of to begin with (lol)! Tough guy decided he didn’t want to be a Valentine’s baby and share his birthday with every woman in the world… I get it. But where are ya, little buddy? We’re waiting for you and can’t wait for you to arrive!
In all seriousness, for most of the third trimester, I was probably more nervous than I was excited about reaching the end. And this waiting game was almost an essential part of the process, for me anyways, to get me to cross over from nervous to excited / gung ho about go time because that’s ALL that I feel now. I’ve never been more excited to feel pain (I’m going to regret saying that, aren’t I?)
I really didn’t think I’d have a chance to get another bump picture in but I guess I do! You can never have too many pictures to look back to down the road :). Anyways, happy Valentine’s day from both of us! Hoping the next time I blog, it’s with a baby in my arms. :) xo
I’m 39 weeks and 1 day today! Went to my appointment and not a lot happening yet. This journey is so fascinatingly unpredictable. You really don’t know what’s going to happen. The entire thing is perpetually up in the air and if you are someone who takes comfort in control, this is a tough pill to swallow! (*Ahem*, me!)
I’m enjoying my time off though and taking full advantage of all the rest that I can get right before my world is turned upside down. I’ve noticed my energy levels are down and I’m very tired again. Luckily, my nesting urge has completely subsided since I’ve been nesting pretty much the entire pregnancy up until about 37 weeks. Everything is done and there is nothing left to do but rest and wait for the big day! It’s exactly what I wanted and needed so I can get my mind and body set for what’s to come.
I did end up doing some upgrades on my Macbooks and cleaned them out so they run like new again :). That felt productive! I’ve also made a ton of updates to the website and my Instagram account to get up to speed with current trends. I really wanted to run a Valentine’s Day promotion but it was too risky with an imminent newborn, so I had to pull back :(. I’ve also been walking around the house every day to get some activity in. It’s just too cold and slippery outside otherwise. I’ve also started to drink Raspberry Leaf Tea and have jumped on board with many other natural labour-inducing remedies just in case one of them works. ;) Lots of old wives’ tales but it doesn’t hurt, I guess!
New print below – a bit of summer to get through the winter.
I officially went on maternity leave as of Thursday, February 1st. :) Not sure I’ve quite adjusted to the thought of not working for the next 12 months. At the same time, I’m so pumped to refocus again on Charlene Precious Co., at least when the dust starts to settle a bit with a newborn in our lives! It’ll feel like my MBA years when I had time to build up the business except the MBA work is presumably a piece of cake compared to a newborn :P.
Here’s another bump picture! I’m really cherishing these last few preggo moments since I’m likely going to miss this belly and having a buddy everywhere I go. I’m just about ready for baby blue to come though! Don’t get too chubby in there, bud. It’s a bit crazy in these final days because you start to over-think and over-analyze every little “sign” of labour, especially because it’s my first pregnancy. I guess soon enough we’ll see what game day really looks like!
Chris’ fiscal year just ended on February 1st as well and he had an absolutely incredible year so the past 3 days have been one long celebration. We both went for a nice manicure/pedicure, a 90 minute massage, and dinner at the Keg. I also got my hair cut and coloured, which felt FANTASTIC. I waited 9 months to do this because I wasn’t sure about all the chemicals but now that babe is fully cooked, I felt better about it and decided to get pampered knowing I won’t have much time to myself for a while. Gotta take care of those overgrown roots!
So because Chris finished his year with a bang, he actually earned himself a free trip to Hawaii at the end of May and he gets to bring me along, which means….. the baby is coming with us??? What an exciting thought. Gotta get clearance from the doctor first before I get too caught up in the idea though! More to come on this.
New print below, taken in Ocho Rios, Jamaica! Perhaps this will be somewhat similar to my view in May?? ;) I’m hopeful and keeping my fingers crossed. xo.
Had another fun picture session with Chris today! I’m thinking it could be my last pregnancy photo depending on when the little guy decides to go into action. Otherwise, I may squeeze in another one at 38.5 or 39 weeks! Gotta capture these moments; it’s not every day that you’re pregnant! I’m totally going to miss my bump but will probably love a flat stomach again, too.
It was a cloudy, rainy day so lighting was not in our favour (I only use natural light) but honest to God, that new Canon L series lens I bought a few months back can conquer any lighting challenge (lens here). It is seriously a magical lens and is one of the best investments I’ve made in a while. I’m so happy with it!
And here’s one with the hubster. These ones are always the most difficult shots because we use a tripod and a remote control. Framing is limited and there’s no one to direct your poses or give you feedback on how the photos are turning out / looking. But we manage to get a few we like each time, so that’s all that matters!
I also just started to use Instagram stories; I know I’m a bit behind but better late than never! It’s really fun and kind of addicting — not sure if this is a good or bad thing (lol). Anyways, would love for you to join me on Instagram if you haven’t already @charleneprecious. :)
My legs are MUCH better than they were a week and a half ago. I can walk my normal pace again albeit still with a waddle :). Lying down is still uncomfortable and is when I feel the pain in my pelvis and groins the most but nothing unmanageable. Sleeping overall is on point other than needing to wake up every 2 hours to empty my bladder — it makes for a very choppy sleep but I have no trouble actually sleeping, which is really nice.
Alright, I’m ready to share another part of this magical room, yay! :) This is the other side of the nursery. I really don’t know which side of the room I like better – they both make me very giddy! It’s really my new zen place (perhaps until the chaos of a newborn comes).
So let’s chat quickly about the different pieces here.
1. Rocking Chair: What I love about this rocking chair is that it has the traditional arched legs vs the modern “gliders”. Not only that, the legs are made of wood, which added a nice touch and fit nicely in the room. We really wanted a traditional wooden rocking chair but the comfort is just lacking compared to modern rocking chairs, so it was awesome to find a middle ground between traditional legs and modern comfort. This piece is from Pottery Barn Kids and it’s called the Charleston Convertible Rocker.
2. Dresser: This super white dresser is the Jonesport Double Dresser from good ol’ Toys R Us. It looks fantastic and very reasonably priced. If you haven’t already noticed, I don’t love deliberately matching furniture pieces and tend to steer away from “sets”. In fact, I purposely make sure things don’t match but rather complement each other! That’s the real trick and changes the game!
3. Rustic Ladder: Boy is it ever tough to find a good looking ladder! After a few failed tries, we found one at a local store called Hearth Manor Fireplaces. This ladder was tucked away in a dusty corner and we happened to spot it. It wasn’t cheap but it had quite the beautiful rustic finish, so we took the plunge. We had to cut it down ourselves because it was a 12-foot ladder and we only have an 8-foot ceiling in this house! Other than that, I absolutely love it. Ladders are fantastic decor pieces and never fails to add character to a room :). Once the baby is able to walk/climb stuff, we’ll have to relocate this to another place in the house but ’til then, it can stay :).
4. Wall Shelves: Got these at VdeV downtown. They’re the 48 x 9″ pine shelves with small Demi Lune brackets. These shelves are super HEAVY DUTY. They weigh a ton and they are gorgeous with a finish that matched the ladder almost perfectly. The vision for the nursery was always whites and greys with rustic wood accents to add some boyishness to the overall baby softness, so these pieces delivered nicely on the “harder” accents!
5. Crochet Pouf Ottoman: Instead of spending a fortune on a matching ottoman for our rocking chair (and also because I really hate matching furniture pieces :P), we got a pouf instead. This one’s from an Etsy Shop, Looping Home. The artisan is based in Portugal and makes all sorts of beautiful custom poufs in various colours, shapes, and sizes! It’s not the cheapest (but still cheaper than a real ottoman) because nothing is cheap on Etsy but a) I love supporting artists and b) being able to customize items, so I continue to be a huge fan of this marketplace!
6. Teddy Bear Faux Taxidermy: Also bought this super cute faux taxidermy at an Etsy Shop, Heidi and Finn Studio. They’re local in Georgetown, which made me want to support them even more. They make all sorts of super cute faux taxidermies but given the colour scheme of the room, the brown bear was the right one to go with :). Real taxidermies can be a bit creepy but plush ones are simply cute as buttons. Notice his little crown as well! So adorable. Turnaround time was also impeccable with this shop; the bear came within 2 days of me ordering!
7. Changing Basket: This might honestly be one of the most impractical things I’ve purchased for the room but am still kind of proud of it! I say it’s impractical because it’s not overly big and I’m pretty sure my little guy will outgrow it in no time. Having said that, it is just the prettiest and most unique change pad. I find the traditional ones a bit of an eye sore and couldn’t get myself to buy them, so I went with this Reva Oval Changing Basket from Olli Ella. :) I also just love the finishing touch that wicker pieces bring to a room!
8. Blanket: The blanket thrown over the rocking chair is from Indigo called the Cabin Cozy Sherpa Blanket. It’s so soft and cuddly, I adore it! Rocking chairs and couches always need some sort of a throw for a finishing touch, otherwise they look bare and incomplete :).
9. Teddy: The little teddy bear on the rocking chair is actually just an old Build-A-Bear that I gave Chris as a present many years ago. Now it’s being passed down to the little guy. :)
10. Floor Lamp: Because our ceiling light fixture is dim in nature (we didn’t want an overly startling bright light), we decided to get a secondary floor lamp in case we needed the room to be brighter for any reason. This spot light is the RANARP floor/reading lamp from IKEA. Super cheap and looks awesome.
11. White linen drapes, rug, and ceiling light fixture were covered off in my first baby nursery post here.
I’d love to start by venting about how my body is feeling at 36 weeks and 2 days. Everything hurts :(. But it might have been completely all my fault. Just before I hit 36 weeks, I was feeling like a million bucks. Minor aches and pains but nothing debilitating or disruptive to my overall mobility. My energy levels were fantastic and I felt beautiful!
But then of course I injured myself by reaching for something on the top shelf of my kitchen cupboards and overstretched a little too much. I heard a crackle, crackle, and when I landed back on my feet, I was in huge pain. My groins were throbbing and it radiated to my pelvis, which now feels like it’s carrying a bowling ball that’s trying to break out of my body.
Since then, I have not been able to walk normally and have been in a full and extremely slow waddle and hobble the past 3 days. Not to mention changing positions while sleeping at night is a near impossibility. I’ve never had to be so thoughtful about how I changed sleeping positions; it has become quite the strategic task.
The doctor checked me out and everything is fine and not dangerous. I’m simply stuck with this until the end. Essentially, my body was already preparing itself for birth, releasing the hormone relaxin to start loosening up the ligaments around my pelvis and by over-stretching myself, I exaggerated the loosening of those ligaments, driving my pain and discomfort up from a dull 4/10 to a painful 10/10. Sigh. I wish I could turn back time and be more careful. I wonder if I would’ve eventually gotten here and I’ve just accelerated it or if I could’ve completely avoided it by not injuring myself. Guess we’ll never know!! We’re here now! It hasn’t been fun hobbling around at a turtle’s pace and because it’s so stressful to walk, I’ve been extra tired by the end of the work day.
Having said that, I’m still loving being pregnant and having my little buddy with me everywhere I go. So I’m happy to grin and bear this until he comes and am in no rush for him to come out. Stay in there, little guy!
Now onto the fun stuff. General Mills threw me the most lovely surprise baby shower last week. It was a flawlessly executed surprise. I was completely shocked and overwhelmed. The company takes surprises very, very seriously and the decoy plans to execute a stellar surprise are just so good, it requires some serious acting talent.
They put together quite a gorgeous setup that took my breath away. Impeccable and Pinterest-worthy. Some very kind and thoughtful words were said, which really warmed my heart. Cakes and treats were no stranger to the shower and they were both picture perfect and so delicious. We also played a good ol’ game where you match baby pictures to adult pictures and it’s always a hilarious time. The team presented me with a collection of beautiful nursery books that are going to fit perfectly in this little peanut’s bookcase and ever-growing library. They also got me a gift card to Pottery Barn Kids and although one more shopping trip to that store would make Chris absolutely delirious, it would make me very happy :). Last and certainly not least, they brought in Chris himself (who brought a bouquet of stunning flowers), my favourite person in the world, which was the cherry on top. I so loved that he got to meet all the wonderful and brilliant people I have the privilege of working with every day. I am so proud to call General Mills my workplace and second home. This place truly has a rare and outstanding gem of a culture that conquers and surpasses all obstacles we face as a team and I hope to never take it for granted. I will miss working while on maternity leave, but I know I’ll also be head over heels about motherhood :). I’m planning to work until 38 weeks, which takes me to January 31st. It’ll be a weird day!
I’ll end this long post with this one of a kind Cheerios onesie because every first time mom at General Mills earns one of these and they’re just too cute for words! xoxo
Hi, Charlene Precious here! Welcome to my blog that is both a life journal told with words and photographs and an evolving portfolio. I'm thrilled to be able to share my work and my world with you, so thank you for following! (Read more)
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