our weekend

I hope everyone had an amazing weekend!! Ours was quite the whirlwind. After a busy {and exhausting week}, on Friday night I got a much-needed pedicure and then we just relaxed at home as a family. My day on Saturday started at 2:30am when I woke up to a phone call from my best friend saying she was in labor. She had asked me to be at the birth and photograph her delivery so I jumped in the shower and headed out the door around 3am. What a gift to be invited to take part in something so special.

I got home later that morning and our new fridge was being delivered; between the chaos and excitement of that and the lack of sleep I'd had, Dustin took Olivia to the park for a bit so I could relax and get ready for our maternity photos that night. That little girl would live outdoors & sleep in the backyard if she could.

After a week of forecasted storms, we were blessed with the most beautiful summer weather for our photos. We have been so privileged to work with the same photographer since we got engaged in 2011 and this was our 10th shoot with her over the past 4 years!! Above are just two pictures I snapped with my phone while Ashley was working her magic, but gosh I am already so in love with the whole feel of the shoot and am so excited to see them all.

Sunday was Father's Day so after church we enjoyed a big pancake brunch at my parents' house per Dustin's request and then relaxed while Olivia napped. The evening was spent building Olivia's new dresser for her big girl room. Olivia loves helping Dad with projects and can seriously spot a hammer a mile away. Her twin bed arrives on Wednesday and I'll be revamping her walls and decor all week + weekend long. I'm so excited to transform her nursery into a room fit for my two year old sweetheart.

Hope everyone's week is off to a great start! XO


shop spotlight | dainty cheeks boutique

One of my favorite parts of designing a nursery for baby girl #2 has been adding one of a kind handmade plush animals and dolls, customized with her name, initials or something extra special. I love seeing them sitting in her nursery on her glider or in her crib and knowing in a few short months she will be cuddling them in her tiny hands. 

This week's Shop Spotlight features one of my all-time favorite shops for such creations - Dainty Cheeks Boutique. It seems every time I turn around, Chrissy is adding another gorgeous piece to her shop that just blows me away. She made a custom unicorn plush for our little lady with a "P" emblem added and "Poppy" stitched on the back of the leg, as well as one of my favorite quotes stitched on the front -- "I love you beyond measure."

Chrissy shares more of her story below

I’m Chrissy, a native New Yorker currently living in Ohio, owner of Dainty Cheeks Boutique. I graduated from FIT with a degree in Fashion Design, and worked for a knitwear company in NYC before relocating here. I have a 6 year old who is my mini muse and the best guy in all the land who also helps with shipping and cutting patterns when orders get heave. I also have a slight obsession with sweaters and thrifting for vintage “gems.”

My business officially started once I had my daughter. I had worked for a knitwear company and acquired a ton (understatement) of sweaters. I remember looking in my closet when she was a just a few days old. I wondered if they would ever fit again, but then I immediately had the urge to create something beautiful for her out of what I had always loved for myself. I started making baby knit hats out of my old sweaters. That led to other pieces and products out of upcycled knit and fabrics not only for her but for others. And so with the birth of my daughter, Dainty Cheeks was born.

When my daughter was born, her “dainty cheeks” were the first things that my mom pointed out as we were admiring all of her little features.

Truly, I find inspiration in just about anything. I find it differs from day to day and mood. I think that some of the best inspiration has developed when I am not even looking from it; color combos in nature on a day off. Sketches that my daughter draws. When I am looking for it, I love Pinterest (uhhh... who doesn't??). I love thrifting too. I think there is so much potential in vintage and thrift stores -- it really gets my mind going. Sometimes I love to just pull out scraps of fabric that I already have and lay them all out and continue to move them in different places, next to new ones. It’s such an awesome way to find color stories you may not have originally even given a chance.

The most challenging part is finding the balance between family and work, especially owning a business and working from home. It's really important to manage my time and devote both time for work and time to play with my little one. The most rewarding piece is packing up orders once they are complete and sending them off to their new homes. The customer feedback is so rewarding too. Each piece is made with so much time and love and I think when customers take the time to let you know how much it means to them, it totally makes my day. That and customer photos.

The best part of owning my own business is having a flexible schedule, especially being a mom. Also having creative freedom.

Of all the products I make, I enjoy making my heirloom dolls the most. Each one is totally unique. I love incorporating vintage fabrics too. It's neat how I am never quite sure how they will look until they are complete. Each one has its own personality that sort of takes shape through the process.

One of my favorite parts about Poppy's unicorn is it's large size -- it makes such a statement in a room and because it's a neutral color, it looks great with any and every decor style. It has the perfect mix of vintage and modern, with the softest mane and tail and the coziest body. Unicorns are whimsical and charming, making them the perfect childhood friend.

To make her creations, Chrissy uses a wide variety of materials, including vintage chenille, upcycled knit, recycled sweaters and hand dyed cotton, so each piece is truly one of a kind. Chrissy is great to work with to add custom touches, including names, initials, and quotes. She completely brought my vision to life and our unicorn turned out even more perfect than I could imagine. I especially adore seeing "Poppy" stitched into the leg, knowing it was made just for our little girl.

Because it's impossible to choose just one favorite piece from Dainty Cheeks, below are a few of my absolute favorites:

The quality of her products is unmatched and the whimsy + creativity that Chrissy incorporates is inspiring. I couldn't think of a more perfect home than a babe's nursery for one of her incredible creations. I just adore them all.

If you'd like to snag a piece from Dainty Cheeks Boutique for your little one, Blessed Nest readers can save 15% off their total purchase this week only using the code BLESSEDNEST15 at checkout. {Discount valid from 6.22 through 6.28 only} // START SHOPPING HERE

Happy Monday!! 


replay recycled + a giveaway

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you'll know at the top of my list of favorite toddler products ranks Replay Recycled, a dishware company based on the East Coast that makes durable, BPA- and phlatate-free products that make mealtime easier and way more fun, all made in the USA from recycled milk jugs!

I've teamed up with Replay Recycled to give away a Patriotic dish set to one lucky Blessed Nest reader! We've been using Replay products since Olivia was a year old and they're the only toddler dishware I use. We just love them!! You can find my original Replay review here.

To enter, simply complete the steps below in the Rafflecopter. This giveaway will run from Wednesday, June 17 through Tuesday, June 23. All entries will be verified and the winner is responsible for contacting A Blessed Nest within 24 hours of being announced! Happy Wednesday!


summer swim favorites

We've officially hit the 90s here and Olivia is loving every bit of summer! I've rounded up a few of my favorite swimsuit picks for hot days and sunshine below. My parents have a pool that we've been enjoying but I also want to take V to a few different splash pads this summer, since last summer she was a bit young for them. There are so many cute swimsuits and I could seriously buy them all. I'll be able to save them for Poppy, so it's a legitimate investment, right? 

I'm absolutely loving black and white right now, especially basic stripes {4} & the giraffe print one-piece {2}. So classy but still fun. For the colorful ones, the pair of flamingos is pretty hard to beat, but I really like the paint splatter shoulder suit too {8}. 

Another favorite part of our summer wardrobe are sunglasses. Olivia got three pairs for her 2nd birthday and loves wearing them all day long. Oh, especially while eating mini donuts! 

What are your summer essentials with little ones?


shop spotlight | sydnie lynn couture

Remember on Monday how I said I am obsessed with floral everything? Well, today's Shop Spotlight feature continues on with the same theme! I'm so excited to share Sydnie Lynn Couture, the shop + talent behind this gorgeous set of custom floral crowns for our girls.

Synie Lynn Couture is owned by Jamie -- Mama to three and the crazy talent behind everything you see in her shop. Her flower crowns are whimsical, feminine and just plain gorgeous. They are made of the highest quality materials and I love how life-like they look, like the flowers were just picked this morning. They are so beautiful that I just have them hanging in the nursery as part of our gallery wall; art in and of themselves. And I cannot wait to put them on the girls for photos this summer after our little lady arrives. 

Jamie shares more of her story below

"Hello, my name is Jamie, I am the owner and designer of Sydnie Lynn Couture. The one woman show behind all these handmade, headbands, bows, flower crowns & accessories that I pour my heart and soul into. I am a mother to two boys, 13 and 7, and one girl named Sydnie, who is 3 years old and the inspiration for this journey and all my creations. "

"Before starting my small business two years ago, I had recently became a stay at home mom when Sydnie was born. Before having Sydnie, I worked in a salon as a hairstylist for years and my husband was in the Navy; he just retired last august, but he's still young so of course he got another job to give another 20 years of his life to. But when Sydnie was born he was gone all the time and since she was our third, it was time to quite my day job and focus on the kids (not to mention who can afford daycare by your third child). I have ALWAYS wanted a little girl; I myself am very girly and into fashion, home decor, DIY, etc. so naturally I started making and sewing headbands and accessories for Sydnie right when she was born. I actually never thought of starting a business out of it, but every where we went I would have people stop me and ask me where I bought her headband. When I told them I made it next question always seemed to be do you sell them on Etsy or something?!...I quickly decided to research starting my own business and before you know it I was selling some items in a local store in my town, then opening a Etsy last year and this year, I have been blown away, from all the love and orders I have received. Including seeing my flower crowns were even used in a photo shoot for Kardashian Kids clothing line."

"I am so grateful for the opportunities that owning my own business has provided for my family. I am now able to stay home with my kids, the money allows them to play sports, play and instrument, ballet, etc and though my nights may be long and sometimes I feel like I need coffee to be distributed through and IV just to keep up with all these orders. I wouldn't change a thing. I mean what would I be doing if I wasn't making you all pretty things, probably just staying up too late pinning things on Pinterest and late night rearranging my furniture. So thank you for shopping small and supporting Sydnie Lynn Couture. God has truly blessed our family and I look forward to what each year and opportunity brings as my shop and brand grows."

In addition to floral crowns, Jamie also offers a wide variety of headwraps and bows. If you don't find something in her shop that matches the theme you are looking for, Jamie offers custom crowns as well. I love how perfectly the sister set turned out, with the same overall color + flower theme but slight variations for each one. 

A few of my favorite crowns are linked below

Her standard crowns listed in the shop are available in size toddler through adult and are on an adjustable wire base, but you can have smaller versions {like our newborn crown} made through a custom order. Jamie is so great at what she does and she brought to life my vision so perfectly; ours turned out even better than I could have imagined they would. All the little details on the crown, including every little leaf and branch, are perfectly placed and her colors are vibrant and eye-catching.

coupon code || Because I want all of you to be able to put flower crowns on your little girls, Jamie is offering an exclusive discount for Blessed Nest readers this week only! Save 15% off your total purchase using the code BLESSEDNEST15 at checkout / Discount valid from June 10 through June 17 only || start shopping here

giveaway || And because I'm so wild about these crowns, we're giving away a $20 shop credit to apply toward anything from Sydnie Lynn Couture! To enter, simply complete the steps below in the Rafflectoper. Giveaway runs from Wednesday, June 10 through Tuesday, June 16. All entries will be verified and the winner is responsible for contacting A Blessed Nest within 24 hours of being announced. Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!


shop spotlight | kb cute designs

One of my very favorite things in the whole wide world is floral. Modern floral, vintage floral, bright floral, basic floral...if it is covered in flowers, it's just lovely in every way. I love the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, "The earth laughs in flowers" and truly believe you can't look at flowers without smiling. 

Combine one of my favorite things with the highest quality, handmade bedding and textiles around and I'm a happy Mama. In today's Shop Spotlight, I'm thrilled to be featuring KB Cute Designs and giving away a $100 shop credit to one lucky reader! Owner and designer Kerri is beyond sweet and I just love that three of her beautiful handmade pieces are part of Miss Penelope's nursery. 

Kerri shares more of her story below

"My name is Kerri Blaser. My mother taught me to sew when I was 6 and every summer she had me pick out a sewing project to complete by summer's end. The first summer was matching nightgowns for me and my doll, and the last summer before I refused to sew because it was so "old fashioned," I sewed a twin quilt top and hand quilted the entire thing! I didn't do a whole lot of sewing after that until about two years ago when my husband lost his job right after we had our third child. 

"I started sewing anything and everything people would hire me to do for the extra income and then I got a request for a fitted crib sheet. After that order I wanted to figure out how to make some pack-n-play sheets because that is what my baby was sleeping in at the time. Soon after making the sheets I discovered the somewhat newer and growing modern quilting that was happening and I started drawing up some new designs. The quilts that I make are basic but all originate from hand drawn designs in my notebooks. I am drawn to bold prints and bright colors while also loving the classic and contemporary black and white designs. I think a lot about the fabrics I work with and everything I make reflects that."

"When I'm not sewing, packaging, replying to emails or looking for new fabrics, I am doing the everyday "mom tasks" and playing with my kids. We are already doing a lot of swimming now that the hot summer days are here to stay in Arizona. On the weekends when we can escape the heat, you can often find us camping, hiking and staying active doing anything outdoors. My kids are only 5, 4, and 2 and my oldest two can out-hike me every time! I feel very lucky to be doing something that I love doing while still being able to be home and take care of the three most important little people in my life!"

In her shop, KB Cute Designs, Kerri hand-makes everything from quilts, crib sheets & changing pad covers to the most beautiful boppy covers, vintage floral swaddles and newborn hats {talk about swoon-worthy} and more. I love that her shop offers so many options for both boys and girls and she even offers custom orders if you have something specific in mind for your babe's special space that you don't see in her shop.

The floral bedding set Kerri sent was one of the final pieces to go in Penelope's nursery and I love the vibrant, fresh feel it adds. I never tire of seeing the bright colors and oversized flowers; they are eye-catching and cheerful. I was so impressed with the quality of everything, especially how well the changing pad cover and fitted crib sheet stay on because of the high-quality elastic. The matching plus sign quilt in coral was the perfect addition to drape over the crib and I'm so excited to photograph Miss Poppy laying in all the floral goodness in less than three months!

All the fabrics Kerri uses are top notch and I love her eye for simple, modern design. She executes her vision perfectly because of her background and skill and every piece in her shop is nothing short of amazing.

A few of my favorite pieces are linked below:

favorite hat + swaddle set for baby girl / favorite hat + swaddle set for baby boy
favorite quilt for baby girl or gender neutral / favorite quilt for baby boy or gender neutral
favorite crib sheet for baby girl / favorite crib sheet for baby boy / favorite gender neutral crib sheet
favorite boppy cover / favorite changing pad cover

how to purchase || Visit Kerri's shop on Etsy here

coupon code || Blessed Nest readers can save 20% on their total purchase from KB Cute Designs using the code BLESSEDNEST20 at checkout / Discount valid from Monday, June 8 through Friday, June 12 only

giveaway || To make your Monday just a little brighter, Kerri has so generously offered up a $100 shop credit for ONE lucky reader! To enter, simply complete the steps below in the Rafflecopter. Giveaway will run from Monday, June 8 through Sunday, June 14. All entries will be verified and the winner is responsible for contacting A Blessed Nest within 24 hours of being announced. Happy Monday!


top picks in summer picture books | june lit list

This month, we are all about beach + summer books. There are so many fun options in both picture books and board book styles to beach out your little one's bookshelves. Below are my top picks for June books to get you in the mood for the summer sunshine & your toes in the sand!


our weekend

Happy Monday and Happy June 1!! I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that it is already June. Just yesterday I felt like it was the first day of May. To finish out one of my favorite months, we enjoyed a really fun weekend as a family making lots of new memories and as always, taking lots of pictures.

On Friday we had a date night out to one of our favorite restaurants and then did a little window shopping. It was a rainy night but it was perfect for lettuce wraps, kung pao chicken & cheesecake by candlelight. It's always fun to get dressed up and feel like we are dating again. We try to go on dates at least every other weekend and I always look forward to them.

On Saturday we relaxed and I did some things around the house. I also did some shopping solo and picked up a floral dress on sale (!!!) for an upcoming wedding we have and then found the prettiest vintage-looking sweater at a little boutique and because it was the last one, the owner gave me 40% off without me even asking. Score.

Saturday night was spent reading lots of books in bed with Miss Olivia with the windows open and then I enjoyed a long bubble bath. One of my favorite ways to end the day. So much so that almost every day ends with me there. At least Dustin can't say I didn't use my soaking tub enough, even if our water bill goes through the roof. Ha.

On Sunday after church we headed to a quaint little town that we just adore, filled with brick buildings, antique shops, an old fashioned candy store and all situated on beautiful waterfront. We packed a picnic and visited the neatest park, filled with teddy bear stone sculptures -- right up V's ally. Afterward we headed to an icecream shop that offers the most gigantic child portions I've ever seen. The child cone {below} was enough for all three of us to share!! We noshed on maple nut {of course} and white chocolate raspberry truffle. It was beautiful weather and such a fun way to spend a Sunday. Because our little babe could be here in less than three months, we try to make weekends extra special for Olivia before our newest arrival.

A new Lit List for June is coming soon along with some incredible Shop Spotlights + giveaways all month long!! Hope everyone's weekend was extra lovely. Xo

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