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Baby & Bright is Back!

I'm so excited to announce that my much beloved baby line has returned!

Look how sweet darling baby Ellie looks in her scalloped hem dress! Big thanks to mama Jen Hatzung for this photo!

At the end of 2014, I made the decision to close Baby & Bright (then, Expect Clothing) because running it just wasn't fun anymore. Fast forward three years, and I am finally realizing that I was a bit hasty with that decision, and I really miss making cute tiny clothing for miniature people.

Right now the shop is stocked with dresses, but pants, tops, bloomers, and more are coming soon!

Please check out the shop on etsy and feel free to use code OOHBABYBABY for 15% off during the grand re-opening!

What Brought You to Nashville?

This is one of the most common questions I get when telling someone that I'm new to Nashville. It's a total legit question, and one that I ask to people when I meet them for the first time -- but it's hard for me to answer.

Perhaps that's because we moved to Nashville simply because we felt like it.



In mid-2015, we had been married for a little over and year and we were starting to get antsy about moving forward in our lives. Our apartment had begun to feel small and cramped, we were tired of parking on the street and sitting in traffic, the smell of actual air was becoming unfamiliar, and LA was starting to take it's toll.

We loved {and still love!} LA, especially for when we were in our early 20s, and there's a lot we miss about it, but we were just getting the feeling that it wasn't for us. Alex and I were beginning to feel like becoming homeowners -- and parents, eventually -- was what was next for us. We had been to countless open houses and looked at 1000 sqft condos that were listed for three-quarters of a million dollars, and it just seemed like homeownership, feeling settled, getting some breathing room, and reclaiming some time to relax was too far out of reach.

Alex and I hadn't really talked about it with each other, but apparently we were both thinking the same thing. I was out working a wedding one night, and unbeknownst to me, Alex was at home on the internet zooming around a map on a real estate app, when he landed on a property just outside Nashville. You can read a tiny bit more about that here.

As soon as the idea of moving to Tennessee was proposed, I was all for it. Even though it was Alex's initial idea, he eventually needed some convincing that it was the right idea. I think we both agreed that we wanted a change, but leaving LA, especially since Alex's business is based there, felt like a pretty risky move.

Our criteria for finding a place to call home boiled down to two simple things:

1. Live in a metropolitan city with a strong music or film industry. {Basically our choices were Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville.}
2. Find a place where the standard of living is better -- less traffic, smog, congestion; more space, land, elbow room -- and that is more affordable. {This essentially knocked LA and NYC out of the running.}

So, given that we were craving a change of scenery, but still hoping to find some work prospects for Alex, it seemed like Nashville was our only choice.

I guess you could say that we came to Nashville for work, but not in the traditional sense. No one paid or forced us to make this change... It was totally elective! Which, is hard to explain to people sometimes who might not get why we'd pick up and haul our entire lives across the country.

So far, it seems like the right choice. We've found it really refreshing to live in an area with tons of wide open space, clean air, friendly people, without missing out on the fun city stuff like good food and bars, community activities {heck, we just got back from a local fireworks show!}, museums, culture, etc.

I guess all this is to say, is that following a gut feeling sometimes is actually the way to go, even when your head is trying to make up all kinds of excuses. Trust it.

Whether the Weather is Cold








When I first moved away from California for college, I didn't even know it could rain during the summer. I actually have a picture I made a friend snap of me in soaking clothes after a sun shower because I was so surprised. After college, I relocated to Southern California, and living in Los Angeles for five years had made me used to dry, consistent weather. I always knew it would be at least 75 and sunny and I never checked the weather. Now that I live in Nashville, I have to get used to the mercurial climate, and be sure to actually dress for it.

Daily Dress Me has been a major help in that department. Not only do they tell you the weather, but they also give suggestions as to what to wear. This has been clutch because I often find myself thinking what does 62 feel like? or can I wear jeans in 100% humidity?

Dressing for wet, but warm summers has been a particular challenge for me since I usually associate rain with cold, and don't know how to guard myself from the elements without majorly bundling. Finding a light, cute raincoat and pink rainboots was a turning point for me. I find most wet weather gear to be all black and boring, but these two fun pieces easily spice up a basic grey dress.



Summer Bucket List

What do you consider the start of summer? I'm trying to enjoy the mild days of spring before the heat and humidity kicks in, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to some hot summer nights. I find that summer is often the hardest season for me to enjoy because it tends to slip on by without major holidays or birthdays to mark the passing of time... then I end up in September looking forward to fall, but without anything to show for the summer. I thought making a bucket list for May through August would help punctuate an otherwise sleepy season.



  1. Host a 4th of July party on our deck.
  2. Go on a boat.
  3. Visit a small town.
  4. Make my own popcicles.
  5. Go to the beach or swimming hole.
  6. Have guests stay at the house.
  7. Make a big breakfast with mimosas.
  8. Look for shooting stars.
  9. Wear dresses everyday for a week.
  10. Grill outdoors -- make pizza on the grill!
  11. Hike and exercise outdoors.
  12. Play cornhole.
  13. Visit Cheekwood Gardens and Belle Meade Mansion.
  14. Go to an outdoor concert.
  15. Roast marshmallows.
  16. Play with sparklers.
  17. Go to the farmer's market.
  18. Go on a picnic.
  19. Paint my toe nails red.
  20. Do a crafty project not related to business.
  21. Make my own cold brew and sweet tea.
  22. Make our own pickles and give some to our neighbors.
  23. Send letters to friends.
  24. Go down to Broadway.
  25. Grow something in my garden.
What are you summer must-dos? I'd love to hear more inspiring ideas for ways to enjoy these hot months before I'm all about pumpkins, orange and black, spooky cats, crunchy leaves, and cozy sweaters. {Can you tell that fall is my favorite season??}

XO,
Annika

Snapshots from My PNW Trip



Last month, I came out of wedding planning retirement for the incredible opportunity to coordinate a wedding in Whistler, BC for the best friend of my former boss. Galawezh and Nariman's big day was gorgeous, filled with personality, and so much fun. I felt so lucky to spend the final days of the ski season on Blackcomb mountain the day before the event, and even though I was extremely sore the next day, it was worth it for these views! Huge thanks for Brooke and Orange Blossom Special Events for having me, and big congrats to Galawezh and Nariman. To many more years of love and happiness!
The view from my hotel room at the Four Seasons Whistler

These snow-capped mountains were jaw-dropping

The gorgeous, happy couple

Straight from Whistler, I headed across the border to visit my sister in Olympia, Washington. She is a mega genius professor at Evergreen and I looooove telling people about her job teaching physics and calculus because it's impressive and makes me look smart my association. We yucked it up, ate tons of a seafood, and even got an afternoon of gorgeous sunshine. Thanks for having me, Maj!
A day at the beach

Oysters, barnacles, and lots of little crab covered this rocky beach

The professor enjoys a sunny day in Olympia

I took this photo because I was amused about how far she had to reach to write on the board, but also because I was impressed by how such a tiny woman could so powerfully command a room

Monday Thoughts


It seems like Alex and I have been on a whirlwind for the last two months. From finding our dream home, having an offer accepted, doing everything possible to secure the deal, closing, moving in and starting renovations {more on that soon!}, traveling to Canada and visiting my sister in Washington, getting the house put together in time for my mom's visit which flowed straight into a trip to Boston, it feels like there has barely been time to fulfill orders and eat anything besides Oscar's Tacos!

I'm excited to finally get the chance to truly settle into the house and enjoy the summer. The flooring and walls are finished {save for a few final touches}, and our furniture arrived from LA while I was away. Since we were scrambling to make our home presentable and comfortable for guests, my office, the master bathroom, and closet all remain unpacked, so it still feels a bit like being on extended vacation. But, it's starting to come together and feel like home.

I have a huge stack of cat bras to sew, but my personal goals this week are to pick paint colors and wall paper for the office, unpack my closet, and donate anything we have two of or don't need anymore. 

Happy Monday! I hope your week is off to a peaceful and productive start!

Renovations Phase One

When we first looked at our home, of course we had stars in our eyes and everything seemed amazing and perfect. After visiting it many times, it became clear to us that some changes would be necessary for this house to really be home.

First thing was that we really wanted to get rid of as much carpet as possible and replace it with hardwood. I've never been a fan of carpet, especially not in the living space where it can get dirty so easily and doesn't need to have such a cozy, warm feeling like you'd might crave in a bedroom. So, clean new hardwood floors became a must.

We decided to change out the carpet in the living room and hallway on the first floor, and the staircase, catwalk landing, and master bedroom. Since we'd be adding new hardwood throughout most of the main floor, we decided seamlessly connect it to the kitchen, and replace the existing hardwoods in the entry and dining room so that everything would match. The entry and dining room hardwoods had recently been refinished and the flooring itself was nice, but we really wanted a modern, seamless, threshold-free home, so we decided to get rid of those, too.

In order to save a couple thousand bucks, we opted to leave the carpet in the two main floor guest bedrooms. The carpet was new-ish and clean, and felt cozy in those rooms. Besides, both rooms had been recently repainted and had the beautiful wood ceilings installed, so we really didn't want to touch them at all. That also gave us the option to move in earlier and live in the two rooms of the house that weren't changing while we demo'd the rest of the house.

One guest bedroom is our office/dining/living room, and the other one we set up as a bedroom with the furniture we bought here in Tennessee that will stay in the guest area once our "real" furniture arrives from LA.

The second thing that absolutely had to change was the mirrors in the entry and dining rooms. We totally hated the jarring feeling of opening the front door and seeing a person -- yourself -- standing right in front of you. And since the dining room was going to be converted to Alex's office, we knew he didn't want to stare at himself all day, cute though he may be.

Plus we found those mirrors to be tacky, dated, ugly, and in bad taste. OUT.

We opted to remove the mirrors, and rather than hanging or repairing the drywall, cover it with stained beadboard. I remember thinking that wood paneling was totally disgusting when I was growing up, so it's kind of funny that we voluntarily added it to our house. I figure, if we don't like how much wood there is, we can paint over the beadboard with white, but it was the cheapest and easiest way to cover up the scarred walls.

We also decided to paint much of the interior stark, bright white.

So really, it boiled down to floors and walls. Here are some before + demo photos... I can't wait to share the results with you! {{I haven't even seen the finished product myself!}}



Try to see beyond my outfit and look at how nutzo these crazy mirrors {and chandelier} are!


The carpeting on these floors, on the stairs and catwalk, and in the master bedroom must go. If you look beyond that sunspot, you can see the hardwood in the entry that needs to be replaced in order to make a seamless transition to the new floors. The walls in here will also become a brighter, happier white color.


These are the two rooms we've decided not to touch. We are even leaving the drapes that the seller left behind for us. We won't be spending a ton of time in either of these rooms, so we'd like to just make the guest bedroom comfortable for visitors... but we still haven't figured out what to do with the dark blue room! Any ideas?

XO,
Annika

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