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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oh!, Ohdeedoh Feature

What a nice surprise!  Hadleys room was featured on Ohdeedoh this Friday!  We love this blog and are inspired by it daily, honored to be here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

West African Adventures in Pregnancy, Guest Post

Sunshine Sundays is bringing you its very first guest post today from a very good gal pal of mine, Ricci from Riccimedia.  When I discovered that Ricci and I were pregnant at the same time I was thrilled to share this experience with her and many Skype dates between the two of us followed.  You see, although Ricci and I met right here in Florida, Ricci now lives in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa.  She has become an international photojournalist whom I admire very much (and always have).

I still remember many “work break” conversations between the two of us in the ally way next to our office that went something like this,

Ricci: “Liz, I really want to travel and see the world”

ME: “Ricci just go for it, you are young with no husband or mortgage tying you down- NOW IS THE TIME”.

So, she did it!  And I just feel so happy for her that she has followed her dreams and the universe responded with placing amazing opportunities, good fortune and love at her feet.  Now here she is, nearly 3 years later, married and about to embark on motherhood.  I have so enjoyed our conversations; we laughed so hard and compared so much throughout the past 9 months! For this reason I have asked Ricci to share some of her perspectives on West African health care, baby names and maternity fashion (Read: can you even get maternity clothes in Senegal?) here. 

So without further ado here is the fabulous Ricci at 38 weeks pregnant to share some of her observations on pregnancy in Senegal with all of you.
Ricci & Mbaye


Liz asked me to guest post on Sunshine Sundays, and I jumped at the chance to share my ‘West African Adventures in Pregnancy’ with her new audience. Liz and I met while working at the same magazine in Florida a few years ago, and in 2008 when I told her that I wanted to travel to West Africa to do photojournalism work, she was one of the most encouraging people to support my crazy plan and basically is somewhat responsible for what ensued.

What ensued is that besides getting to photograph for The New York Times, the United Nations, Marie Claire and more, I have also met my most-amazing husband, Mbaye and almost three years after my departure from Sarasota, my hubbie and I are currently expecting a little girl any day now!  This is my first baby, so I’m not sure exactly what it’s like to be pregnant in the United States, but I can tell you what it’s like FOR ME in West Africa.

One of the reasons I love Dakar so much is because of its cultural diversity. My doctor is Lebanese, we speak French, my husband is Senegalese/Guinean, and most of my friends are British and American. So when it comes to maternity fashion and medical advice, so many cultures can lead to clashing ideas—and especially clashing wardrobes.


Medical differences abound when it comes to stories I’ve heard from my friends in the US and what my experience has been here. My doctor is trained in the French school of thought (Senegal is a former French colony), and among other things, that basically means that they scold you if you gain weight during pregnancy! Do you want to know why French women are all skinny?, because THEY ARE SCARED OF THEIR DOCTORS. The first appointment I went to, the doctor informed me that I was already overweight (pound wise I technically am, but I workout, and I wear a size 6-10, so I really wouldn’t classify myself as overweight. Sturdy? Yes). Anyways, he said that I should not gain any weight until the second trimester. In fact, he asked, “would it be possible for me to lose a few kilos in the next month?” (This actually turned out to be what happened, but that was only because I had some extreme morning sickness disease that involved me vomiting all day, every day. Not a recommended diet method let me tell you).

I’m not sure if it’s because I was scared of him, because it was so hot here or what, but as of today, I’m more than 38 weeks, and I’ve only gained about 10 pounds. I think this is probably more due to the fact that pregnancies are weird and unique for everyone, and my body only needed 10 pounds to grow this little baby of mine. I certainly did not really watch what I ate (what I ate was mostly ice cream), though I was sick much of the time, so I didn’t really feel like eating that much. But I digress….

Like I said, my husband is from West Africa, so his aunts and extended relatives have dozens of ideas on how to prepare for the baby and take care of the little fetus. Some of these tips are awesome and helpful—for instance, they insist I rubdown with Karate butter (basically REALLY pure Shea butter – straight from the tree) every day. This will keep skin nice and pretty during and after baby. So far, no stretch marks (though I’ve heard these arrive afterwards in some cases?). Anyways, my skin feels good and looks the same as before, so I’m counting this as a winning cultural clash. Another great advantage to the West African heat is that it’s kind of bad luck to talk about an unborn baby, so no West Africans in the streets here would EVER walk up to me and touch my belly or even ask me when I’m due or tell me.. “Oh, you look like you’re about to pop!” (Why do people think pregnant women—any women—would ever want to be told she looks like she’s about to ‘pop?’ WHY?!).


But as far as fashion goes, it’s quite limited here. I bought a few $10 flowey long Old Navy dresses when I was home in the States this summer, and that’s about what I wear everyday. I have not bought one piece of official maternity clothes. I am oddly proud of this fact and will repeat it to anyone within earshot. One of the bigget upsides though to living in Senegal is that we have tailors make clothes we want for really cheap. You go to the fabric store, buy some cloth, and then show him a photo or describe to him what you want. I only did this for one linen dress, but it cost $12, I wear it at least once a week, and I’ll be able to wear it after the baby arrives. It’s also very hot, so hot that I feel very little pressure to dress up nicely in heels or something along those lines. Add to that I am a freelance photojournalist, and I can basically dress however I want, and I realize that my ‘fashion’ situation is a bit unique. Yesterday as a new low (or high?), I actually wore my husband’s cargo shorts as Capri pants. He thought I was the ‘plus mignon’ pregnant lady ever, but that’s his job to think that.


Baby names were one of the other major cultural topics to arise. Senegalese almost always name someone after someone else in the family and it's a very big deal who gets the name. We had always said we would name our daughter Aminata (pronounced Ah me Nah Tah), after my husband’s sister and aunt (and one of my favorite neices). But for some reason, after I got pregnant, Aminata just wasn’t feeling right to me. A common nickname for Aminata is Mimi though, and I really did love that. Finally, I realized that I liked the name Amelia Aminata Ndaw, so that’s what we’re going with, though this has caused my husband to worry about what his family will think. I told him we can just call her Mimi all the time, and she can be Aminata when she is in Senegal. (She will also have her daddy's last name, which means I need to change my last name on my passport ( though I will stays Ricci Shryock professionally). A friend who has a different last name than her kids warned me that international travel can be tricky if you have a different last name than your kid—especially if that kid has a different skin color.


To sum it up—as with anything there are perks and pitfalls to my “West African Adventures in Pregnancy.” As I type this, my 38 week and 4 days belly is bare and I am sweating profusely We are in the middle of the fourth power cut in 24 hours, which means no air conditioning and no fan. And … well.. It’s REALLY hot. As anyone can imagine, when you have a mini furnace inside of you, the heat can reach infernal proportions. The scorching heat aside, being here has taught me that pregnancy is just like life—it’s completely unpredictable and different for every single one of us. The West African mentality of doing whatever is in your realm of possibility and then relaxing and giving the power over to something bigger than yourself can serve every pregnant woman well. The career-driven American woman in me wants to control this process, but my experiences here have taught me that controlling pregnancy is just not possible, and letting that get me down will only make matters worse.

But what I’ve probably learned the most about being pregnant in a foreign land is that the mom club is the same all around the world—we love our babies, and we are rock stars for growing them for nine months inside our bodies. I never knew I would be so excited to feel the little thing kick around and dance inside my belly. I appreciate my own mother ten times more, and I have much more respect for mothers everywhere. These days, I get looks from women as I walk down the street now, knowing looks that say… “Don’t worry, honey. It’s hard, but man. It’s worth it.” We might speak a few different languages, but I’m pretty sure the language of motherhood is universal.

Right now I’m a minimalist Mama, and we don’t have a nursery for the baby, because we are pretty darn transient in our lives. BUT if and when we do, I want to put this photo that I took up in Baby Amelia’s room. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Made This- Hoot hoot printable!

Thank you Ohdeedoh for bringing this delightful craft mobile and blog to my attention via mini eco.  I look forward to bringing my readers more, "I Made This" posts in the coming months with this being the first.

As any of my friends or family would attest, I pretty much like to make things only if they are quick, easy and economical.  So that is what you will find here.  They also have to be pretty adorable, stunning and/or delicious to take my time away from my attention seeking 2 1/2 year old, Hadley.

This Hoot hoot printable from mini eco fits into the quick, easy, economical, and adorable categories!  Not to mention it being the most perfect little addition to Hadley's new Forest Bright, Forest Night theme bedroom.  So how could I possibly not make and blog about it?

Here are a couple of pictures of the finished product in Hadley's room:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Scouting no. 2

On Sundays I want to start sharing things from the week that I saw and loved.  Here is Sunday Scouting no. 2, Something for everyone.

For the Blogger/Graphic Artist: 
1.  Free Handwriting Fonts, font space  I was looking to redesign my blogs header earlier this week and wanted a handwritten look.  I love so many of the fonts found here and seeing these got my creative mind in action!  It really helped to visualize the look by customizing with the exact text, size and color, like this......
vtks study font
English Essay font
LT Chickenhawk font

2.  Buttons and blinkies, shabby blogs  What more can I say other then, "bling for your blog", as Megan, the creator of shabby blogs, describes it.  On the about page I read that Megan is a stay at home mom to three little girls.  I could have guessed.  These trinkets are oh-so-pretty and girly.  Thanks Megan!  I put the "If you are here, you are awesome." button on my blog.

For the Little Boy
1.  Racing track tape, The Tribe Store  OK so I realized after last weeks Sunday Scouting that it was pretty girl specific and some of my mommy friends with little men may be feeling left out.  Well, how cool is this racing track tape!  Even Hadley would love this.  Paired with a couple wooden cars, trucks or ambulances and you have a great unique and inexpensive gift at $16!

2.  Dachshund Bookends, Giggle  Yes I will admit that perhaps this find should be labeled, "for the rich little boy....", because at $150 these are some pretty pricey bookends.  But they are Jonathan Adler's which makes them worth it for sure.
For the New Mom
1.  Red Velvet Cake Diaper Bag, Petunia pickle bottom  Holy diaper bag!  This thing is amazingly beautiful.  When have we ever before or ever again described a diaper bag, yes a diaper bag, with these words, "vintage inspired floral European cut velvet with coordinating crimson tweed."  For some reason (READ: the talented designers do not want to be knocked off immediately) I cannot pull the picture from this site.  So just click above, trust me it is a worth a marvel.

For the Crafty
1.  Green, Red and Blue!  High waisted skirt, Blog post from Sophie Slim  Sophie is a new follower of Sunshine Sundays and I love reading her blog too!  She is from New Zealand.  If your reading this Sophie, how did you find Sunshine Sundays?  I was totally inspired to take a sewing class and make this pattern after seeing this.  Thanks Sophie!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunshine Sundays featured today on Spearmint Baby!

Check out todays room feature on Spearmint Baby.  Looks familiar, right?  We are thrilled to be featured on Spearmint Baby, a Top Baby Blog, that inspires us daily!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Toddler Tip Tuesday's: Eating Veggies

We love to make this Green Smoothie Recipe to be sure Hadley is getting veggies as well as fruit.  She loves them and so do we.  It is a great breakfast to make on the run.  My blender is a travel cup so I make it right in there and pour some into Hadley's cup on our way out to drink in the car.

Ingredients: 1 Banana, 1 handful of frozen blueberry's, 6 or 7 frozen strawberry's and a handful of spinach.
Put it all in the Blender and fill with water.


I had some extra spinach so here was yesterdays lunch of fresh whole wheat tortilla pizzas.  Sometimes simple food is the best and this was so yummy.  Just 4 ingredients: Tortilla, Hummus, Spinach & Tomatoes seasoned with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday Scouting

On Sunday nights I want to start sharing things from the week that I saw and loved.  I know that I have already failed you readers by giving you the first Sunday Scouting post on Monday afternoon.  I will get better at that.  

Currently I don't have the budget to buy these things so blogging about them makes me feel one step closer to owning them.  However in these tough financial times for everyone I wonder if others do things like this too.  Do you?  

Especially those of us with young families when there are so many more responsible things to spend our money on like college savings plans.  Somehow writing the monthly college saving plan check does not generate quite as much excitement as looking at these gorgeous little trinkets below.  So here they are....

1.  Watermelon Summer dress, shabby apple  Is it the dress or the girl that makes this so adorable?  I can't decide.  All I know is the combination of the two is almost too cute to bear.  

2.  All-in-one skirt, Baby Gap  I just love the idea of this.  I mean the Mary Jane socks & tights was just the most brilliant step forward in hosiery design for babies and then Gap goes and connects it to a ruffle skirt!  The multitasker in me blushes at the ingenuity of it all.  Three great fashion pieces in one, brilliant!

3.  Retro Airplane Baby Spoon, Perpetual Kid  OK, I know we have all seen these airplane shaped spoons before but I particularly love the fact that the airplane is wooden.  I could just see Santa's elves working on this at the North Pole.  My daughter, Hadley always eats better when I turn the spoon into a plane, train or kid going down a slide.  Her current favorite being the kid climbing up the stairs, then sliding down the slide.  Sometimes she won't open her mouth for the kid going down the slide; at this point I make him fall on the ground and cry.  She then develops that crease between her eyebrows, a look of grave concern, then opens her mouth and eats it.  Just so he will stop crying.  I have such a lovely little girl.  Oh and by the way all of this is done with a non-transport shaped spoon.  Imagination is a wonderful thing!
4.  We all scream for ice cream cake recipe, Better Homes and Gardens  I love to make creative cakes but don't possess the patience, skills or tools to do anything like this...

That is why I LOVE this we all scream for ice cream cake recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.  It is delightful, easy and will be Hadley's 3rd birthday cake for sure!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jasper Conran Spring/Summer 2011

I used to work for Jasper Conran, in women's wear production, when we lived in London.  Imagine my surprise when I saw the color palette he used in the Spring/Summer 2011 Collection at Somerset House this past Sunday.  I love the print pictured below.

Watch the full show here, Jasper Conran SS11 

Overall, the collection displayed a breezy flow, accented with that crisp British tailoring, that Jasper does so well.  His use of hats in the styling of each look was spot on!  I see many perfect "Royal Ascot" looks for the posh set here.

Oh, and I must mention this on names, I have always loved the name Jasper for a boy.  A boy named Jasper would grow up to be the perfect English gentleman for sure.  Or an amazing "camp" fashion designer.  I would fancy either for a son.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What I Wore The Jae C Maie Edition

So I was talking to my bestie Jolie the other day about her blog and other blogs we both love. A few months ago, Jolie introduced me to one called, "What I Wore" and I have been hooked ever since.  It is a style blog by Jessica, who snaps a photo of herself just about every day and creates a style file for her readers.  Of course you get hooked on her super cute style but what a great idea, right?

I mentioned to Jolie in our conversation that she should do a "What I Wore",  Jae C Maie edition, as a feature on her blog, asking her customers and readers to submit a photo of themselves wearing a piece of her jewelry, so we can see how they styled it and how it enhanced their outfits.  Isn't it just amazing what a good necklace can do for a plain T-shirt sometimes?

Jolie one upped this entire idea by launching it into a contest and whoever submits the best "most creative" shot wins a free piece of jewelery!  So I wanted to share with you all my very own Jae C Maie "What I Wore" submission.  I hope I win!

As a prelude to all this, I have to say that at 32 weeks pregnant, I approach snapping ANY photos of myself with much trepidation.  However I will do just about anything for my BFF Jolie and I knew exactly which Jae C Maie piece I had to style out.

About 6 months ago Jolie got her hands on some old NYC subway tokens that were used before the Metrocard.  Unfortunately, NYC phased these tokens out in 2003, for full use of the metrocard.

As soon as I heard about these, I knew I had to have a piece made from one of the 4 tokens she aquired and I placed my pre-order.  You see, to me this is just so much more than a treasure from NYC's past.  It is a treasure from just about one of the very best times in my life.  I met Jolie when we were both students at FIT in 1999 and we explored the city together on these tokens.

Here is a photo of the gorgeous necklace she made me:

And here is my personal Jae C Maie Style Edition .....

Oh and if any of my fellow expectant mom friends want to see a link to some seriously great maternity style, another great style bloggers' site is "Jen Loves Kev" especially this 9.01.10 post

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Toddler Tip Tuesday's: The Big Room Reveal

Today will be the first of my regular weekly Toddler Tip Tuesday posts.  I could not think of a better way to kick off my new weekly tradition than by sharing the photos of Hadley's big girl room design with links to where you can find the elements.  I am still working on two small projects in her room that I will feature in a later post.  Enjoy!
Overstuffed Rocker, Big Lots
Table and Chairs, Christmas Tree Shops
Vinyl Wall Decal, Decor Designs Etsy Custom Order

Sunshine Light Fixture, IKEA

Shelving, IKEA

Wooden Puzzles, Playskool Vintage

Fabric Blocks, Dwell Studio
Fabric Ice Cream & Cake Set, IKEA

Monogram Painting, Made lovingly by Mommy

Knit Dolls, Blabla

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sunshine & Slate

I heart Etsy so when I signed in this morning I was THRILLED to see this treasury picked by one mipetrunich.  It is the same colors as my Blog!   And to top it all off it is adorably entitled Sunshine & Slate.  What bliss.  If I won the lotto I would sign on right now and buy each and every lovely piece.  In the words of Rachel Zoe, "I DIE"!

If any of you readers don't know about Etsy you need to now. is a place to buy and sell all things handmade and the sellers are some seriously talented people.  A few of whom are my wonderfully creative friends, see these etsy shops,

Sunshine and Slate