Maternity Leave! (Photo Post)

Things at our house have been very different these past two weeks since bringing our newest family member home. There have been a lot of naps and loads of laundry, but I’m lucky enough to have 12 weeks of Maternity Leave to get settled with our new tiny human. Entries may be a bit shorter these next few weeks while my brain gets used to sleep deprivation, but I have plenty of photos to make up for it (which is much more fun anyway 😉
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Naps on Naps on Naps

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Stay Gold,

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Grace

Week 39 – 40: Meet Harper Amelia!

On Friday, August 21st at 12:10 pm, we welcomed our family’s newest (and cutest) member; Harper Amelia McCabe. After 13 hours of labor and only 10 pushes, she came into the world at 6 lbs 14 oz and 19 inches long. We’re very tired but extremely happy and very much in awe of this beautiful and healthy little girl. We’ve had an amazing few days of introducing this little lady to family and friends. My brain is a little too fried for words at the moment, but I’ll let these photos do the talking 🙂

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We love Kayma

We love Kayma

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Stay Gold,

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Grace (and Harper)

A Mile High Visit: Denver in a Week

My sister and best friend M, and my brother in law, C, had my family’s first grandson this past December. They live in Denver, so I was getting daily photo updates and frequent FaceTime sessions, but I couldn’t wait to meet little Louie in person. So when my mom told me our lovely neighbors had flyer miles that were about to expire, I jumped at the opportunity to head to the mountains. After nearly missing my flight and running through the terminal to score the last standby spot on the plane, M was waiting at DIA to scoop me up with our newest family member snoozing adorably in back.

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First Hellos

After a quick nap we were ready to get some grub. M, having been taking care of a newborn for the past six weeks, was excited to head out of the house with an extra set of hands to help her with Louie. We met up with one of M’s good friends, A, and her one year old baby girl at True Food Kitchen, a healthy lunch spot in Cherry Creek North.

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The place was packed! But the food was awesome and fresh and the babies were very well behaved. After ordering a fresh pressed juice to-go after our meal, we headed back home to rest before dinner.

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Cuddle Puddle with Louie and Ruby

For my first dinner in town M and I decided on Trillium, located in an up-and-coming-but-still-kind-of-sketchy part of Downtown Denver.

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M, looking beautiful as usual, ordered scallops over beet risotto.

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Gorgeous sister!

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I, of course, ordered the steak.

MEAT

MEAT

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Also, not seen, was our steaming plate of mussels and delicious cheese plate. The service was great, if not a little overly talkative…Overall we enjoyed the atmosphere, sipping ginger beers and giving M a well deserved break from being a new mom.

The next day, Saturday, my brother-in-law, C, headed up to Crested Butte for a ski weekend, so M and I hung out with Louie and Ruby, got them dressed, and went out on the town.

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He just falls asleep, regardless of where he’s at.

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Ruby, Rooster, Ruben, Rooby Dooby

We headed to City Park to meet M’s friend and take a long walk around the gorgeous area. M staged this shot to send to my mom, with the caption “Grace the new mom.” …yikes.

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a glimpse into the future, perhaps?

As it is hard for anyone to handle both an energetic dog and a newborn baby (albeit a VERY well-behaved one), we decided to drop Ruby at home at stop by the Lowry Beer Garden for Fish N’ Chips and Soft Serve. The beer garden is awesome; its in an old airplane hangar. It was super nice, sunny and 60, so we sat on the picnic tables outside and soaked up the sun; something I haven’t done in quite some time, with Chicago having one of the worst winters in history. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun; a great place to bring a group of friends for trivia or a round of bags.

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The next day I met up with one of my best friends, C, who was my lifesaver when I briefly lived in Denver. C lives in Boulder, so she was nice enough to scoop me up to head to the Highlands for brunch at Linger; a new hot spot located in the old Olinger Mortuary.

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After getting pretty lost (thanks for nothing, Siri) and finding parking, we headed into the packed space. We were starving so we chose to sit at the bar upstairs, rather than wait for a table on the sprawling ground level. Linger is lofty and cozy at the same time with leather  booths and stools in warm shades and huge windows overlooking the city.

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The decor definitely plays with the space’s grim former purpose; water is served in old iodine bottles and mimosas are brought to tables in huge bubbling test tubes. Starving, C and I were eager to order from the solid spread of brunch selections.

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My beautiful mountain friend!

C went with a classic BLT, where I couldn’t help but drool at the sound of Adobo Pork Benedict. I was not disappointed…

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Perfectly poached…

After catching up and making plans for our next visit, C dropped me back home so I could hang out with M and Louie before meeting up with ANOTHER friend from school, Hoagie. Colorado is one of those places people flock to, and I really understand why. While it was -25 and grey in Chicago, it was 60 and sunny in Denver. I didn’t realize how much I missed the sunshine until I got a big mountain dose to shake me out of the winter blues.

Hoagie, one of my best friends from the dorms, had just recently moved to Denver so we went exploring for a cool spot to sit and hang out. We ended up at The P.S. Lounge, a dive on Colfax, where the bartender gave me a rose and I fed the jukebox all of my singles. It was great to catch up and reconnect in a new city and talk about the crazy past and the scary future.

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Modern gentleman.

As it was a last minute trip, I still had some work to do from M’s on Monday, so Hoagie and I called it an early night with promises to visit again soon.

I cannot imagine being a full-time working woman and a new mom. As a test of my new baby-whispering skills, M left Louie and I posted up in her bed (which is where I worked from, most of the time) while she headed to a dentist appointment. I have a newfound respect for moms, as I was pretty useless while trying to work and watch Lou at the same time…and he was pretty much asleep the whole time (because he’s an angel.)

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Solid set up.

I managed to be productive for a while, until Louie’s nap proved too tempting and M returned to this…

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zzzzz…

After checking in for my Tuesday morning flight, I got the notification that all flights into O’hare were cancelled due to the endless Polar Vortex swirling around most of the country. So, after telling my team at work I was stranded, I booked the first available flight out of DIA to O’hare…on Thursday. So, I spent a few bonus days working while hanging out with M and Louie, helping M and C cook healthy dinners, and crying from the cuteness of my darling newborn nephew. When it was finally time to pack up and head home, I was not the happiest camper.

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Sad Death Metal

This was a really hard trip to return from. The sun and the family and the friends make Denver such a wonderful place in my life. Luckily I know the mountains, as well as some of the people I love most, will still be there next time I need to be thawed out from Chicago’s frozen winter blues. Denver, I’ll be back soon.

Stay Gold,

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Aunt Graceisgold 🙂

Crystal Cactus

Working for an online shopping company, you may have guessed that I do a lot of…online shopping. I try to limit myself to one treat a week and this past week I decided to check out model Audrey Kitching’s creation, Crystal Cactus.

crystal-cactus-by-audrey-madeofjewelryThe site is littered with one-of-a-kind gem creations at a fairly affordable price. Each item is handcrafted and of a limited quantity so you feel like each piece was made especially for you. Kitching emphasizes the importance of balance in life and incorporates the use of positive energy crystals to do just that; I’m not so sure how I feel about all the “energy” stuff but I do believe in having balance in life…and pretty things. After perusing the minimalistic and easy to navigate site, I decided on this: The Rainbow Titanium Quartz Bullet.

Shown in Gold

Shown in Gold

The description of the piece states

“Each Rainbow Titanium quartz bullet is cleansed with sage and infused with the DNA healing vibration on a 18′ gold/silver plated chain. Titanium Quartz: Quartz is infused with titanium and additional metal oxides to form one of the most precious crystals on the planet. It increases life force and vitality, attuning to the highest attribute of the Crown Chakra. It’s rainbow colors have been shown to stimulate the entire aura body! An exceptional stone for creativity.This quartz removes blockages and enhancing the flow of creativity due to its intensely visual colors. It has been used for increasing intuition and therefore an exceptional stone for promoting clairvoyance as well as all forms of “seeing”. Consider this crystal for assisting in meditation, an alternative medicine career or yogic practice. This crystal appears to stimulate the upward movement of the kundalini and is exceptional for any tantric practice.”

I’ve lately been experiencing some creative blocks as I’ve been preoccupied with work and the looming holidays; but to be honest, I thought this stone was gorgeous and it caught my eye before even reading the description. I chose to go with the silver plated option, as I’ve been favoring gold lately and wanted to switch things up. When my package arrived yesterday (only 3 days after ordering- WITH free standard shipping) I was very pleased to find several little goodies inside (including a promo code for 20% off my next purchase! Yessss.)

Coupon, Inspirational Postcard, Pink Feather, Cute Packaging...Love

Coupon, Inspirational Postcard, Pink Feather, Cute Packaging…Love

And this…a Crystal Cactus sticker accompanied with an unidentified stone…but cool nonetheless.

Oh. Cool?

Oh. Cool?

I unwrapped the packing to find my beautiful necklace tucked neatly in an adorable protective pouch.

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And the little beauty itself.

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I’ve always been partial to longer necklaces so this 18′ chain is perfect. The stone has a good weight and does not feel cheap like most of the other jewelry I own. Overall, my experience with Crystal Cactus has been a very positive one. Hopefully the stone’s positive energy helps me keep my cool with the upcoming holidays! Score one of these beautiful hand-crafted pieces from their online store HERE

Happy Tuesday

Grace is Gold (and silver, today)

Grace is Gold (and silver, today)

Social Print Studio

I love being able to hold a tangible photograph in my hands. Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram and Facebook to share and browse photos, but there’s something comforting about having the real deal. So imagine my excitement when I found Social Print Studio, a company produces high quality matte prints of your photos from Instagram or Facebook!

Free express shipping from China? Yes please.

Free express shipping from China? Yes please.

I have ordered from them before, as you may remember, but they’ve grown and made some awesome changes. You can now order your prints in four different sizes: Squares (traditional 4×4 Instagram style), Mini Prints (2×3), Mighty Prints (4×6), and Mini Squares; adorable little 2×2 prints, which I decided to go with this time. At $15 for 48 prints AND FREE EXPRESS SHIPPING (I know. What a deal.) I couldn’t resist. Plus their App, Print Studio, free in the App Store, makes it super easy to order. The App enters your photos on your device, and you select the photos you want printed!

How adorable is this packaging?

How adorable is this packaging?

Don’t you just love getting packages in the mail? I was greeted this morning with my prints on my desk at the office. Having only ordered them Wednesday I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had already arrived! So of course I had to make a mess and spread them out to see what I picked (of course I’d already forgotten.)

Tiny Prints Everywhere!

Tiny Prints Everywhere!

Your photos are printed on high quality card stock and have a matte finish. My mind is full of ideas of how to use these little guys. Here are a few of my favorites. Some with the best friend, then some with the boyfriend 🙂

The bestie, L.

The bestie, L.

The boyfriend, also L

The boyfriend, also L

I couldn’t possibly wait until I got home to put a couple of these adorable photos to use, so I decided to personalize my computer monitor…

Yeah, it,s pretty colorful over here...

Yeah, it’s pretty colorful over here…

 

I’m all about this App. The photos are of great quality and perfect to use for crafts, gifts, or simply tiling your walls. You can also order framed prints and greeting cards from the same site. Check them out and get some tiny prints of your own 🙂

Stay Gold (and take lots of Instagram photos. Selfies, in my case.)

Friday outfit :)

Friday outfit 🙂

Grace

 

Late Night Craft Scavenging

Endless Crafting Opportunities

Endless Crafting Opportunities

As it is my last night home, and having had far too much coffee today, I decided to go on a search for crafting materials to bring back to Forest Park for this Moleskine project I’m working on. It took some digging, but man, did I find some good stuff.

So much awesome paper

So much awesome paper

I’ve found a bunch of awesome old cards, great paper, vintage patches, photographs, old ticket stubs/mementos and drawings. Not to mention all the great beads and charms I found! I couldn’t help but make a couple bracelets before I forgot about the beads once again.

Cool Beads for October.

Cool Beads for October.

I also found this Grace ring which I totally forgot I had. Then I found these great turquoise beads I’d gotten for my birthday (my family knows me so well) which I used as a closure for the black skull bracelet.

Cross Closure

Cross Closure

So I’m all packed and ready to head back home after a decompressing few days at my parents’ house. I found the perfect use for this awesome Tiffany’s box; it is the new home for my craft supplies and my beautiful new camera 🙂

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With all the trying situations I’ve been faced with this past week it feels so good to create and organize. I feel like taking some time for yourself to create something beautiful is sometimes just what you need to get your mind off hard times, but it has certainly helped me. I only hope this creativity keeps coming!

By the way, I set up a Graceisgold Facebook page for my blog so feel free to “like” and check out more updates!

Alright. Time to try and sleep.

Stay Gold,

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Printstagram

So I recently saw through a couple social media sites that people were getting super awesome prints of their Instagram photos. Being the social media slut that I am, I did some searching via Facebook and Insta and found Printstagram! This site lets you select photos to order as gorgeous little matte prints (in two sizes), posters, and adorable flip books.

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How cuuuute.

I’m currently in the process of using these little beauties in a project (which I will keep you posted on) but I can’t wait to place my next order.

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Laid out for crafting while watching Mindy…

Head to Printstagr.am to order your prints today! It’s $12.00 for 24 prints of your choosing. Happy printing and remember to follow me on Instagram @graceisgold

Stay Gold.

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Grace