celebrating three years

Six years of dating, three years of marriage and thirty-one weeks pregnant. That's a quick by-the-numbers of mine and Tim's relationship. We've spent almost a decade together (!) and we are less than two months shy of going from a loving couple to a loving family of three.

It's hard to imagine being 20 years old again, but thinking of those memories takes me right back. I was head over heels OBSESSED with Tim and was determined to make him fall for me. Little did I know he shared those same feelings which made it pretty easy to start a relationship (thank goodness). A lot has changed in the past nine years and a whole lot is about to change in the next nine weeks. No matter what, relationships are hard work. In the midst of it all, you hope you've chosen a partner that will ride out the good and the bad with you - it is "for better or for worse", after all.

Tim is the dreamer while I am the realist. He is the doer while I am the planner. He is spontaneous and sees the possibility in everything, while I tend to stay a bit more grounded (whether I like it or not). We strike a balance with one another in our similarities and our differences, and while we certainly have our ups and downs, our day-to-day is collaborative, respectful, loving and fun. Life can be challenging and it's a lot easier having someone by your side that is an eternal optimist. For that, I'm forever grateful.

Our celebrations usually take us out of town but we are in full-on nesting mode at home. We are in the midst of several projects that we'd rather power through right now so we can enjoy a bit of downtime before our little peanut comes in November. This year, our three year anniversary will be spent at my monthly obstetrician appointment, followed by dinner at Mabel's BBQ. Just your average romantic, well-rounded date night ;)

To continue the celebration, here are a few favorite photos from our wedding day...

Cheers to nine years dating, three years married and a baby on the way. I love you so much!

baby hayes / the nursery design options

Even before we knew whether we were having a boy or a girl, I had already come up with a nursery design I loved (below). The throw pillow is actually what inspired the whole look, and was the first purchase I made for the nursery (I know - NOT clothes! Who am I?!). Without intending to, the look I gravitated toward most was gender neutral and full of happy, bright pops of color. 

colorwhirl nursery design

Going into the nursery design process, I knew I didn't want a traditional "theme" or for it to be traditionally "boy" or "girl". We are planning on having more than just one baby, so I want the big pieces function for both genders and most importantly, fit the aesthetic of the rest of our house - white, wood, calm blue tones, and texture. While I love nurseries that go all out with a theme, it just isn't us and I didn't want to open the nursery door every morning and be assaulted with colors that don't exist anywhere else in our home. 

Because I'm impatient and jump into passion projects headfirst, I was working on the nursery design at 15-18 weeks - prior to knowing what we were having. As soon as we found we were having a baby girl, I reassessed the original design (above) and pushed it a little further.

I loved the overall look of the original design, but wondered if a blue rug was too much color. I didn't want to overwhelm the room with pink but wanted to bring in a few pops of pink to match the pillow, the mobile, and her ever-growing wardrobe ;) (all thanks to generous gifts from friends and hand-me-downs from family! I have only purchased one pair if itty bitty jeans so far, and I'm pretty proud of it). I scoured the internet for baby blankets and quilts that fit our playful vibe, and for rugs that were neutral but cozy that would pair with the quilt or blanket / mobile / pillow.  

After feeling stumped for a week or two I finally found things I love, but now I can't decide and I need your help! While I'm leaning toward one look, I love them all for various reasons...

colorwhirl nursery designs

Each design incorporates all of the same pieces of furniture, swapping out the rug and the blanket / quilt. Here is a breakdown of each...

colorwhirl nursery design

Option A: This Serena & Lily blanket is sweet, and I love the color palette. This rug looks so cozy, and I love the oversized tassels at each end. It's neutral and will not only work in a boy or girl's room, but can grow with either - or move to the guest bedroom and still work with existing decor. It seems like the idea of having a shag rug in a baby's room is somewhat polarizing, as they can shed like crazy, toys can hide or get stuck (who has stepped on a LEGO before? The WORST), they're hard to clean, etc. Can anyone chime in and agree / disagree? I love the idea of a cozy shag rug for our little peanut to lay on and learn to crawl on, but I also don't want to be kicking myself as I vacuum the rug 10x a day in order to avoid shag hairballs everywhere.

colorwhirl nursery design

Option B: I adore this sweet little blanket from Spearmint Love, but it is a little pricy for a simple knit blanket. This rug was my favorite and was in the original design, but I'm hesitant for two reasons: the blue might bring in TOO much color, and the shag issues I mentioned above do worry me. 

colorwhirl nursery design

Option C: This quilt is from the same store as the pillow I am obsessed with; Petit Pehr. They work nicely together for obvious reasons and I love the playfulness of the patterns. The jute rug also features tassels / fringe (I guess it's an ongoing theme?) but is woven and MUCH easier to clean, avoiding all of the shag rug issues mentioned above. Although the texture is soft, I worry that the jute might not be very forgiving on little baby knees and elbows. 

colorwhirl nursery design

Option D: This Land of Nod quilt is ridiculously sweet and I love the playful floral illustrations, although I'm not sure how well the quilt pairs with the mobile. I love this flat weave wool rug because it brings a sense of maturity to the room, making it feel more seamless with the rest of the house. However, like option C, I worry that the wool texture won't be super cozy on baby knees and elbows, and the flat weave is really thin. 

Since I posted the nursery update, we've made some progress. The stain and (water-based) polyurethane are down and the trim and doors are painted. One step closer to a furnished room...!

Now that my hunt for nursery decor basics is over (for now), I'm pretty excited about the options above. Which one is your favorite, and why? Help us choose!

baby hayes / nursery update

As of this past Sunday, I am officially in my third trimester! One minute I'm ready, the next I'm not AT ALL. Thank goodness I still have three months to go - there's a LOT of preparation that needs to happen before November 6th. 

I mentioned in the last baby bumpdate post that the nursery plans are coming along, and I wanted to share our progress. Since we bought our house in 2012, the 3rd bedroom has never been used for anything purposeful. It was an office for a short period of time until it became the dumping ground for all things wedding... and never really recovered (even though we're nearing our 3rd wedding anniversary). Clearing the room out was daunting but it feels amazing to be able to leave the door open for once, and not have to shut the door out of embarrassment when guests come over. Finally, all of the bedrooms in our house have a purpose and I'm so excited to transform this underutilized space into a sweet, cozy nursery. 

This is what the room looked like when we bought the house (apologies for the low-res screen shot, it's from the house listing):

I painted the walls bright white (Benjamin Moore White Dove) and as I was painting it, I envisioned the room as the nursery. I was nowhere near pregnant but we always knew this room would be the nursery, so I painted extra meticulously for our future baby girl / boy. Here is what we are working with now:

You'll notice that the carpeting is terribly low-grade office carpeting, aka the kind that will give you an immediate rug burn. We hated it. Each bedroom on the 2nd floor has totally different (read: BAD) carpeting, and we were so desperate to update it all with new carpeting. Since we're pinching pennies it wasn't realistic to redo the whole 2nd floor, so we decided to rip up the nursery carpeting on a whim (sound familiar?) knowing that we could afford to re-carpet the small room. 

To our surprise, we discovered hardwood floors in near-perfect condition. They were covered in a tacky residue but it was nothing some elbow grease and a good sanding (hours upon hours of sanding - Tim is earning his Great Dad badge!) couldn't fix. In fact, a friend of Tim's from CIA volunteered many of his weekend hours to help us sand the room and teach Tim how to refinish wood floors. I cannot say enough about the generosity and selflessness of good friends - Tim and I are pretty lucky. The floors are almost fully sanded, and here is what they look like today:

Even through the dust, the floors look beautiful. Once the floor is stained and sealed, the trim will be painted white. (Yep, we're doing it! Sorry, natural trim diehards. The stain is orange in person and it's the only room on the 2nd floor that hasn't been painted.) Then, once the trim is painted we can start decorating! It's been really humbling (aka frustrating) to sit back and watch while all of the hard work happens. I'm used to getting my hands dirty and doing my fair share of work, but this little lady is keeping me from exposing myself to dust and other harmful toxins. Instead, I hang out downstairs and twiddle my thumbs while Tim gets to work ;)

The room is small (9' x 10') so we are limited to a few key pieces of furniture, some of which need a dual purpose. We don't have space for a changing table and dresser, so we found a vintage dresser that is the height of a changing table and we will use it for both. To stay on track while planning the nursery, I created a floorplan to scale so that we could nix pieces of furniture that wouldn't fit within their designated space. I highly recommend it, especially if you are thrifting vintage pieces. Having measurements with you (I kept mine in my purse) helps you narrow down what will and will not work. The decor is a work in progress, much like the floorplan. Here are three options:

The doorway is in the top left corner with the closet on the lefthand side. One window on the bottom wall and one on the right make for tricky furniture positioning, especially given the small room. The recliner, crib, dresser and some sort of storage (whether it's a bookshelf or a cube storage system) will be the main furniture pieces, and a large rug will cozy up the newly finished floors. 

That's it for the nursery update, at least for now. We have less than three months to go and a lot left to do, but we're making steady progress. We'll have a decor-ready room in no time! Do you have any small-space living tips or ideas on how to maximize a teeny tiny nursery? I'd love to hear. 

Stay dry and have a wonderful weekend!

from carbs to Whole30 to eating for 2 : adapting my diet to lifestyle changes... plus, a recipe!

When I started the blog in early 2014, my original intent was to share my designs, recipes and inspiration. At the time I was (and still am!) in love with making up recipes for anything and everything, heavily revolving around starches and grains. I was accustomed to cooking with Israeli couscous, orzo, risotto... if it was in the starch family, I was all over it. I thought I was healthy, but my body felt otherwise.

colorwhirl recipes

In early 2015 I finally decided to try the Whole30 and give my digestive system the support it needed. I temporarily gave up grains, legumes (a main source of protein for me at the time), dairy, sugar and alcohol for 30 days. It sounds easy, and it is, in essence, but it was a huge challenge in shifting my emotional relationship with food, and moving away from my go-to "healthy" staples like the recipes I used to make. If you're interested in reading more about my experience, here are a few posts: week 1 recap, week 3 recap, and my overall recap

colorwhirl : whole30

While I hadn't switched entirely to a Paleo diet, I did put in place several things I learned while on the Whole30. I increased my protein, having a hardboiled egg for breakfast every morning, and tried to eliminate dairy - sneaking in delicious goat / mozzarella / feta cheese when I wanted. The biggest takeaway for me was knowing HOW I'd feel after eating certain things, rather than trying to guess what the culprit was or just recklessly eating things I knew would upset my system. I ate less legumes and grains. I also tried to cut down on my sugar intake, reminding myself how I'd crash and feel terrible after a bag of Skittles, Sour Patch Kids... etc. All a total guilty pleasure! 

Since I had changed my diet, I posted less and less recipes. It made me sad to deviate from my original vision for the blog, but my diet constraints made me feel less creative and willing to share recipes. I stuck with the new "diet" (I really do hate that word) for about a year and a half, until I found out I was pregnant. At that point, my outlook on my diet and my relationship with food changed again, now knowing I wasn't just eating for one! 

There are dozens of blog posts and forums arguing why it's safe to do the Whole30 (and implement those lifestyle changes) while pregnant, but for me, I knew that this was not a time to restrict my intake (or risk the inevitable food mood swings WITH my extra hormones... noooo thank you!). While everyone's opinions are different, I felt strongly that if I needed to increase my calcium and whole grain intake, I would do so for the health of our growing baby. (I know there are several ways to add / increase calcium into your diet without eating dairy, but adding dairy to my daily routine was the easiest and healthiest way for me increase my calcium intake.) 

Now that I'm 6 months pregnant (!), I've found that my system is adapting to dairy, grains and legumes once again. Many people experience a change in food tolerances and sensitivities while pregnant, and I've been lucky to benefit positively from that. It also gives me peace of mind knowing that our little peanut is getting all the calcium, carbohydrates and other nutrients I wasn't consuming - or consuming in limited amounts - prior to being pregnant. 

Other things I've been eating and can't get enough of lately? 

First Trimester: My all-time favorite food was grapefruit. I could NOT get enough! I'd have a half or a whole grapefruit for breakfast every morning. They are rich in folic acid so it was a win-win, knowing I was indulging in a (healthy!) craving and giving our peanut a little brain boost. 
Second Trimester: I've moved on from grapefruit and am fully obsessed with cantaloupe. Before I was pregnant, I loved cantaloupe but would always have a mild allergic reaction afterwards (itchy throat and ears). I gave it a go again and I was SO excited to find out I could eat it without any allergic reactions - to the point where I could eat an entire cantaloupe in one sitting if it wasn't completely excessive. I also crave raspberries and fruit popsicles, so I think it's safe to say this little peanut loves healthy, fresh (sweet!) foods. 

Here is one of my favorite go-to recipes lately, hitting on all of the food groups I mentioned above (that I was avoiding and now embracing!):

colorwhirl summertime pasta salad

summertime Pasta Salad

1 bag Trottole pasta (or farfalle, fusilli or bowtie)
1 can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
6 strips thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup low moisture mozzarella, diced (the solid kind, not shredded)
1/2 red onion, diced thin
1 large tomato, diced
2 ripe peaches, diced
Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing (recipe from About Food)
3/4 olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (sub apple cider vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. salt


Cook pasta according to package instructions. When noodles are al dente, drain pasta and allow to come to room temperature (or run under cold water).

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all Dijon vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine red onion, tomato, peaches, bacon and white beans. Add pasta (once cooled) and dress with Dijon vinaigrette. Add basil and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

*Note: the Dijon vinaigrette is the brightest and most tangy when served immediately. When refrigerated overnight, the vinaigrette flavor subsides quite a bit and becomes really mild.

colorwhirl summertime pasta salad