2017 | Dearest Lou

Mama and Z Style: Comfy Casual Skechers

We have partnered with Skechers for this Mama and Z style post. This is look 1/2, we will be sharing look 2 some time next week so be sure to come back and check it out! This look is definitely on the casual side. I can totally see both Z and I wearing these Skechers on a regular basis.

Cecilia's Vaso-Bota Skechers: I love that these are super easy to put on. If a shoe has buckles or laces I'm less likely to choose them over zippers or slip on shoes.. any one else the same way? I tend to only buy tan shoes and was in need of a gray pair! I love these and although I styled them with jeans and a t-shirt you could totally style these with a dress for a sporty-chic look!

Z's Guzman-Seeperz Skechers: Z owns shoes very similar to these and they are his go to shoes. However, what I love about these ones versus the ones from Old Navy is the top web fabric strap! Zaden has super skinny feet and this extra strap for support makes all the difference for ensuring a perfect fit. Zaden says these shoes are "very cool" and I totally agree (;

PS For those of you who don't know, we are moving at the end of this month. We applied for a condo earlier this week and crossing our fingers that we get it! I'll either be hearing back from the landlord today or Monday.. wish us luck!

Owlet to The Rescue

Any other mamas have the hardest time leaving your baby alone to sleep in a room? Whether it’s naptime or bedtime,  I'm always worried about my little one's well being. I didn’t have any sort of monitor with my first baby (Zaden) and I remember checking up on him constantly even though his crib was literally touching our bed. I never left the room when he was napping and it made it really hard for me to get things done around the house. Fast forward to last year and my pregnancy with Adrien, I knew I needed something to help ease this mama’s anxiety.

That’s where the Owlet Baby Monitor came to the rescue! This my friends is something every mama needs. Owlet is designed to notify you if your baby’s heart rate or oxygen fall outside the preset zones. It has a pulse oximeter in the sock that syncs to the base station. The base station connects to your home internet and keeps track of their heart/respiration rate. The Owlet Smart Sock 2 is pretty amazing. The new innovated design offers an even more secure fit, can go on either foot, and comes in 3 different sizes.

I can’t begin to tell you how handy this comes and made it so easy especially those first couple weeks when Adrien spent a majority of his time sleeping. It’s been so nice being able to look on my app and see he is doing just fine when I’m in another room playing and taking care of big brother, working, or doing chores around the house. Knowing there is an extra set of eyes helping watch over Adrien has made the transition from 1 to 2 kids so much easier.

For more information or to purchase visit Owlet!

*This post is sponsored by Owlet, but all thoughts are my own

Basic Invite + Giveaway

How darling are these CUSTOM Thank You cards from Basic Invite? I was in need of a set of thank you cards for business and personal use and am so happy with how these turned out. I love that I was able to add my own personal touch to these invites.

Did you know that I custom chose the color for my invites? Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. How amazing is that? This feature alone sets Basic Invite apart from almost any other online stationery company!

Basic Invite allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation to see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before placing an order. I was very confident in my design but it was nice knowing I had the option to order just one before placing a big order on something I might have not loved.

I love that Basic Invite provides peel and seal envelopes! It really makes all the difference, especially around the holidays when you are sending mass amounts of cards. They also offer 40 different colors of envelopes which makes your invitation stand out even before it is opened. 

Oh and did you know that Basic Invite offers a FREE address collection service? All you need to do is share a link and Basic Invite will collect addresses and get free envelope printing. I definitely know where we will be doing our holiday cards this year (; 

Graduation season is upon us! If you are a procrastinator like myself and are still in the market for graduation cards Basic Invite has your back. I absolutely love their customizable graduation invitations, there is surely something for every grad. If you didn't send graduation card invitations you can always send Thank You cards for those who went to the ceremony, gave you a gift, or were just there along the way cheering you on. 

I've partnered with Basic Invite to giveaway a $50 credit to one lucky reader. 

To enter, simply fill out the rafflecopter widget below so I can keep track of your entries. The more entries you complete the better chance you have of winning. Giveaway is open to ALL Dearest Lou readers thru May 5 at 11:59PM EST. If your twitter, facebook, or instagram profile is on P R I V A T E please set your settings to P U B L I C on May 6, 2017 since I will be verifying the random winners entries at that time, private profiles will not be eligible of winning. Winners will be announced here on or after May 6th and contacted via email shortly after.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Evy's Tree Style: Sophie in Deco Rose

I'm wearing: The Sophie in Deco Rose | Delancy Top | Leggings | Shoes (similar) | Watch (use code CHARVARD for 15% off)

Yesterday I finally caught up on my laundry! It's been weeks since I have had empty laundry baskets. Anyone else struggle with a never-ending pile of laundry? What's harder than washing and drying is folding. I have been doing a small load of necessities every week to get me and the kids by but that is just about it.

Oh and.... MY HAIR IS NOW ROSE GOLD. I have posted a few pictures on Instagram but am just now realizing this is my first post on the blog with my new hair. My friend Christy (stalk her insta here) always makes my hair dreams come true. She's the best guys.

How perfect is this Sophie hoodie from Evy's Tree? I'm loving the deco rose color, perfect for Spring and it really compliments my new hair. The Sophie fit is one of my favorites since it's nice and flowy. It's also more of a fancy cut hoodie in my opinion and can add that extra oomph to any look (;

Six Wedding Rules You Should Break

Be it in the form of etiquette, tradition or superstition, weddings have long been associated with rules. Haven’t we evolved at all from dressing all of our bridesmaids alike to hide the bride from enemy tribesmen coming to steal her in the night?
Sure, if it’s going to save the bride from an untimely kidnapping, you’ll gladly buy an unflattering gown that you will never wear again. But, with a modern and dramatic decrease in bride-snatching, we’re pretty sure we can abandon that, and several other rules that have lost their original importance.
(Note: we definitely recognize that some people positively love tradition – our suggestions are all about doing your thing no matter how traditional, or not, you happen to be).
That leads us to the first breakable wedding rule:

1. Bridesmaids must match.

No two girlish figures are the same, and no two financial situations are either. Further, people are not decorations. Choose a single color, shades of one color, or a complementary palette of colors and let your bridal party select gowns in which they are comfortable. A line of happy bridesmaids in different styles and shades of pink bridesmaid dresses is far more fetching in photos than a line of identically clad and wholly irritated ladies.

2. You must give your guests favors.

Personalized trinkets are not the reason why guests attend weddings. They invest time and money in attending a celebration of two new lives becoming one. They will come wherever you imagine your wedding to be, because they appreciate the most important day of your life!
If you’re no fan of favors, skip them!
Your wedding guests will never miss them, your wedding party won’t skewer you in secret because you made them tie 300 tiny bows, and the world’s suppliers of shot glasses and colorful candy almonds will survive.

3. Guests must sit on the bride’s side or groom’s side according to their allegiances.

This isn’t Game of Thrones and there will be no popular vote or winner of the wedding. Half the time hapless ushers are so smitten with the pretty girls in pink bridesmaid dresses or distracted as they fuss with their faux bow ties, they forget which side is which anyway. While we hate to sound like broken records, weddings are about joining families, not apportioning them.
Don’t make your guests take a side.

4. The bride’s shoes must be white or ivory to match her gown.

Heavens no! Not only are pristine, matching shoes not required, they are downright boring! Some of our favorite wedding photos include some shockingly bright and shamelessly beautiful shoes in just about any possible color peeking out from beneath layers of elegant fabric.
And during a night of dancing, we’ll gladly accept anything from barely-there flip-flop sandals to just plain bare feet. Whatever keeps you on the dance floor and having the time of your life!

5. Full-length dresses are only for formal weddings.

While formality still dictates some attire choices (especially for men), a full-length gown is in an option any time of day. Choose your bridal gown and bridesmaid attire based on your fashion sense, practical considerations presented by your venue, and (quite sensibly) the weather.

6. You must toss and smash according to custom.

The garter retrieval and toss lacks some tact. The bouquet toss can be really embarrassing for some single guests and smashing cake in your new spouse’s face is not only a bad way to start a relationship; it is kind of barbarian. Skip ‘em if you’re so inclined.
In fact, skip any custom or formality that doesn’t honor your relationship, express who you are, or jive with your beliefs. Go ahead and break those rules!

Author Bio

Wendy Dessler
Title: Super-Connector at OutreachMamaWendy is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Youth Noise NJ who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. You can contact her on Twitter.

Friday Finds: Century 21 Mother's Day Outfit Inspiration

Today's stumble across post features Century 21! I love that this store has not only women's clothing but men, children, beauty products, and home decor. There's truly something for everyone.

Century 21 is a US based company and has been around over 50 years. They have retail stores around the country and for those of us who don't have a store nearby there's the option to online shop. They are best known for having designer items at amazing prices. I do have a bit of an expensive taste and love looking at designer items for inspiration!

I created a Century 21 Mother's Day outfit! With Mother's Day only three weeks away now is the time to start shopping. All of the items are under $50 and if you are on a budget like myself, your welcome (; If you aren't quite sure what to get a special mama in your life a gift card to Century 21 would make a fantastic gift!

Century 21 Mothers Day Outfit

Century 21 Mothers Day Outfit by dearestlou on Polyvore
Vienna Wrap Dress- This stunning black dress would make for a perfect classy Mother's Day piece. I created this look around this dress since I could totally see myself wearing this on a weekly basis. I love that it has a nursing friendly neckline, cute ruffled sleeves, and a flowy skirt. I can only imagine how gorgeous the skirt portion of this dress would be if it caught some wind (; It's also on sale for 55% off which is a steal for such a staple.
Givenchy Bangles (1,2)- Since dying my hair rose gold I have been even more obsessed with that color and want all things rose gold! I love these givenchy bangles. They are timeless,  beautiful, and on sale for less that $30 a piece.
Givenchy Drop Earrings- I love a good statement earring and these are definitely high on my wishlist! These would really pop if you have short hair like me or wear your hair up on Mother's Day.
Marc Fisher Pumps- Every mama is in need of a good neutral heel and I'm really loving these caged pumps. The heel isn't too high which would make them bearable to walk in for a few hours before needing to switch to flats, lol. 
Under One Sky Tote- Every mama needs a good ol' tote. Now that I own a Tote Savvy I know I can use any bag as a diaper bag and I would totally use it with this Under One Sky tote. I love that it's very basic and would go with any outfit. Oh and did I mention it's REVERSIBLE? You get two bags in one and for only $26.99 that's such a steal.

Perfect Play Teepee

Rainy days are best cuddling and playing indoors or jumping in puddles! Zaden has outgrown his rain boots so today has been an inside day (; Whenever we pull out the boys Whimsy Way Teepee there are so many giggles, tickles, and rounds of peek-a-boo. It's also the perfect hiding spot to hide from bears and ghosts (Z has quite the imagination) or to snuggle and read a good book. 

Something unique about the design about this teepee vs other similar ones I've seen is that it has a cute little side window. Perfect for getting a little more natural light into the teepee and for more creative play. In the photos above you can see that Z stuck Adrien's plush elephant in the window, haha. 

The boys play and get along so well together and it makes my heart so happy. I always worried that a nearly 4 year age gap would be a problem but the age gap doesn't seem to stop these two cuties.

City Select Stroller

Towards the end of my pregnancy with Adrien I knew we would need to upgrade to a double stroller. I figured for the most part we could get by with baby wearing Adrien in a baby carrier and having Z hop in the stroller but sometimes it's nice to have a little break from baby wearing. Especially when shopping at the mall for clothes, haha. After looking around online I stumbled across the City Select Stroller by Baby Jogger. I loved the variation in seating, comfortable seats, and large canopys.

Variation in seating-What attracted me to this stroller is it's versatility. This stroller can be a single stroller, double stroller, or even triple stroller (you can get a little glider board for the back for an older child). It has a total of 16 different variations (configuration guide here).
Comfortable seats- These seats were made for comfort and can hold up to 45 lbs. I also love that the seats recline.
Large Canopys- There's nothing more annoying than having the sun in  your eyes when trying to sleep. I love the large canopy's on the City Select seats. They also have a peek-a-boo window which is perfect for checking in on little sleepers. I love that it has a magnetic closure and not a noisy Velcro strip.

The only con to this stroller is storing it in a compact car. The stroller along with the seats take up quite a bit of space in our trunk which leaves little room for other things. It's just something to consider!

Overall we love this stroller and highly recommend it.

Lorena Canals Rug

How gorgeous is this rug from Lorena Canals? Our current rug in our living room is just about ready to make its way to the dumpster but I'm holding onto it until we move. I figured it would be best to use and style this rug at our next place.

We received the Berber in Black for our review. I wanted something very versatile and dark so it wouldn't show wear as easily. I immediately fell in love with the design and it seems very durable so far. If I'm completely honest I have only used it in the boys playroom for a few weeks. I can't testify that it is durable but so far it seems to be holding up great and still looks brand new. The selling point with these rugs are that they are MACHINE WASHABLE! I know I'm going to need to get another one for our bedroom, I really love the Berber in Beige and Azteca Natural.

Since I'm currently working on decluttering and getting ready to move here in the next few weeks I decided I would style this rug at Be More Studios! My friend Tara recently upgraded to a larger creative space and it's absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The open house is tomorrow 11-2pm (261 N. University Ave. Provo, UT). They are giving away free sessions and monthly sessions, trust me guys, you don't want to miss it.

The Perfect Everyday Maxi

I'm wearing: Mikah Maxi Dress | Brooklyn Hat Co Fedora | Mashugana Earrings | Shoes (similar)

How perfect is this maxi dress? Now that summer is quickly approaching I'm on the lookout for affordable/modest dresses. This Mikah Maxi Dress is the best of both worlds. Under $30 ($24 when you sign up for emails) you can't get much cheaper than that for a new maxi dress! I love that this dress is modest, has a flowy but flattering fit, and HAS POCKETS! Pockets are a mama's best friend and I know I will be purchasing this beauty in the black and white stripe print so I can wear it while I shoot weddings this summer (;

I styled my maxi dress with this cute fedora from Brooklyn Hat Company! This fedora which is part of the spring/summer collection. It's the perfect everyday hat except it's a little too big on me. I finished off my look with orange stud earrings, and my tan cut out flats!