Buzzfeed came out with top best Christmas pictures/cards with new borns. These 29 kids totally nailed the traditional Christmas card. So motivated and inspired by the possibilities to make a cool Christmas card I decided to set Olly's room for the ultimate photo shoot. Shutterfly offers different templates for Christmas cards so all we really needed to do was take the picture. Well, let me tell you that getting a newborn to stay still is impossible. There is nothing 'perfect' about the pictures we took. By the time we took a FAMILY picture we, the parents, were exhausted and looked like crap (see picture).

Here what really happens when you try to make that perfect picture for Christmas with your newborn.

1. Try to stage Merry Christmas with blocks. They get knocked out from erratic movements of the baby.

2. Try to fit the baby in a Victoria's Secret Santa Hat: It will never stay on.

3. Forgot the cap on.

4. Baby is still but has scratched herself all over her body.

5. The only good picture is the one wearing a diaper

6.  It's  a Merry Imas

7. Your hair and the elephant get in the way of a perfect picture

8. The family picture with the timer is not centered and the baby is not interested whatsoever.

9.  The dog just stares at us like we are idiots

10. The parents are just fed up with the all thing.

New Year Outfits: Whether you are going somewhere or staying home, you should dress up for New Year. Don't get me wrong you can even spice up your new PJ and stay home watching movies but do something fun and different. We are staying home this year but we will be cooking a nice dinner. Below are my choices. Which one is your favorite?

new year outfits

Many of my friends and family members have asked me, "What is like to be a mom." The assumption is that I would answer that being a mom is joyful, exciting, and it's just the most memorable of all my life experiences. But that is not how I feel, at least now. Being a mom in today's society is quite different from the '50s or even '70s. Today we are super moms: we keep our jobs, we keep the house clean, we have time to decorate our rooms like Martha Stewart, we are of course devoting lovers to our partners, and we are the coolest moms for our children. Did I also mention that new moms have Victoria's Secret's bodies right after giving birth? Super model Gisele Bundchen resonates the stereotype of a modern mom when she posted the following picture on her Instagram's account.

Credit to Gisele's account to Instagram
No doubt this picture evokes beauty, a lot of 'awwww', and power to women. I even connected with the supermodel for few minutes, thinking: "look at that, I am just like her, and she is just like me: a mom at work, struggling to find balance in her life. I can do it." Sad enough the more I looked at this image the more I realize I was far from being like Gisele. So I took a picture of me reinterpreting Gisele's image. The results were not quite the same: I don't possess the peaceful beauty that comes with a new mom. Just look at how awkward I am standing in my robe, holding my baby.

Being a mom is not awesome. Who says this is full of BS. Look at my face in the picture. Do I look like I have any expression on my face? No, because new moms do not have time to even think beside making sure the new baby survives. I get between 2 and 3 hours of sleep per night because my baby has really bad gas. I work in the morning and will go back full time in the office in January after my unpaid maternity leave is over, I cook and make sure I eat healthy, I exercise one hour a day (the only time I leave the baby), and I have to do laundry, clean the house, take the dog out, etc.

Did you see my garden? That is the garden of somebody who had a child and does not have time to blow shit around. My partner helps out a lot, don't get me wrong, but even two people cannot catch up with the demands of our lives (e.g. bills, put gas in the car, grocery, Did you remember to call the vet?  Don't forget we have a social event to go to), especially if these two people are both working and career oriented.

Do I have help? Yes, I hired an expensive nanny/babysitter so I could work even thought the majority of my paycheck goes to the nanny. Why I did not quit my job? Beside the fact that I do want a career, financially, despite the fact that we both have good jobs, we cannot afford to stay at home. That is a reality of today's society. If you don't keep rolling the wheel you will end up in the well. Is that sad? Today's society is telling us that we are mothers who need to be super women, super business ladies, super cooks, and we are look down if we choose to pick one path, which we can't even do that. How did we get to this point?

For once, the lack of  support from companies during maternity leave is just repulsive. I can't believe that during such an incredible and physical and emotional hard moment (pregnancy and first months of having child) most companies including governmental agencies do not provide paid maternity leave and it is only 3 months. To me, this is uncivil. This does not even count the fact that during pregnancy you feel like shit (at least I did) and yet you have to go to work and perform 100%. If you want to stay home you use your days off (which we know in the States you get maybe 15 days compared to Europe). Furthermore, it seems that we get into this mentality that we need to suck it up, that me made the choice of raising children and be mothers, while demanding gender equality. Well, I don't see gender equality. It is apparent that women are different and our biological differences make it really hard to be equal when gender equality in society means acting like a man (the office, career, financial stability, etc.).

So, what is like to be a new mom? Exhausting and awkward. You are not sure what this little creature is and you look at her/him and you are puzzle. You try to understand her/him and manage her/him but that is just impossible. She is controlling you more than you are controlling her. It's very hard to change your lifestyle in such a short period of time. You become 24/7 absorbed with this little creature that yet has to show off personality and interact with you in such a way that is rewarding to a person. But I know the love is coming and growing. I am just not one of this people who really explode in emotions right away. It's more of a long journey, discovering and building relationships. What's like to be a mom? Emotional. You are trying to hold on to your previous life, full of social events, drinks at night, and time for yourself. We, as western people, are so individualistic that it is very hard to let go of our 'me, me,me' time and give all you got to somebody you just met.

I don't want to sound like I don't love my child. Of course I do, if not I would not spend all this time making sure I breastfeed her, talk to her in Italian and English, turn the TV off so she does not get used to crappy reality TV shows, and much more. It's just my need to vent my emotions.

Carrots with lemon-thyme vinaigrette 

As you all know, I am on a diet and fitness regime post baby partum. If you like to check out my progress go to the Fitness section of this blog. Since the holidays are approaching I had to come up with ideas for healthy and low calories dishes that still look fabulous on the plate. This recipe is from Thanksgiving and it's just perfect. The recipe is for 4 people


A bunch of long carrots with the green attached to them. You can find them at Publix, Whole Foods. They need to be very long. 
Dry or Fresh Thyme (one table spoon)
1/4 cup of extra verging olive oil
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp of minced garlic (optional)
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 tsp of honey

Mix all ingredients in a glass jar. Set aside. 

Peel the carrots with the green still attached and boil them in water for 5-8 minutes. be careful because the first time we made this carrots they came out so mushy they were not that great. I would suggest using a fork to pinch in the carrots at 5 minutes. They need to be medium soft, not saggy. 

Serve the carrots on a tray (trim the green leaving some stems for decoration). Pour the vinaigrette on top and serve. 

Where to shop in tallahassee

Shopping in Tallahassee is unique because it does not offer the experience of big cities with an infinite selection of stores and outlets. However, Tallahassee offers local shopping which is great because you will never find the same item twice or on somebody else. Plus, you are supporting local business. If you took the time to go beyond the malls and chain restaurants you would actually enjoy some of these gems in Tallahassee. From clothes to home decor here few shops I like to get lost on a weekend. So here few things to do in Tallahassee.

1. Good Finds: Antique & Vintage Furniture, accessories, and more ($)
                 3100 S, Adams St., Tallahassee, FL 32301
                                  (850) 402-3100

Good Finds is a two-story brick house packed with all kind of items, from furniture to vintage jewelry. I bought two night stands here and plenty of vintage drinking glasses. The inventory rotates frequently so make sure you check it out. 
Try to bargain down the price if you really like something. The store manager rents the space to individuals who want to sell obviously, so don't be shy. 
Audience: Anyone who likes getting lost doing vintage shopping. 

2. Peculiar Goods: Home Décor accessories and clothes ($$)

    215 E. 7th Ave., Tallahassee, FL 32303
                                     (850) 425-4663

Peculiar Goods is a hidden gem on 7th Avenue, right before the traffic light on Monroe Street. Inside thetiny homeit’s all sensory appeal -- from the miniature garden to the seasonal smells of special candles, soaps and perfumes. I particularly enjoy their selection of pajamas for classy ladies.  

Tip: Shop there and then head to Joe Mama’s for a delicious authentic Italian pizza and special brewery beer. 
Audience: Everyone who likes specialty home décor items and adores Provence style.  

3. Fab’rik: Modern clothes and accessories ($$)

              1817 Thomasville Rd # 520, Tallahassee, FL32303
                                        (850) 545-1447

Fab’rik, was one of the first clothing stores to open near Whole Foods Market. I personally love their clothes because they are fresh, trendy and affordable. Expect to find casual dresses and more elegant and classic pieces with a modern twist. When they have a rack on sale take advantage. I bought a wool skirt for $10, which I wore during pregnancy.  
Tip: When they have a rack on sale take advantage. I bought a wool skirt for $10, which I wore during pregnancy.
Audience: Young, professional, modern women.

Cole Couture

    4. Cole Couture: Boutique clothes and accessories ($$$)

               1240 Thomasville Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32303
                                   (850) 553-3327

Bring your girlfriends to this boutique in Midtown, right by the Wine Loft. A favorite of my triathlon friend Sandy the store offers everything you need to be the "it girl." From jeans, to shorts, to dresses you will not see anybody else wearing the same clothes. While their selection is fresh and trendy their prices can be quite high for a college student, but you can score dresses from $50 and up. 
Tip: Check their accessories section and interior design of the store.When you are done shopping, get a glass of wine at the Wine Loft
Audience: Anyone with a cheerful personality.

5. Quarter Moon

           1641 North Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32303
                                   (850) 222-2254

The only eclectic and ethnic shop in town provides a wide variety of charming items from Asia. You can find tea pots, chopsticks, Chinese cats, and indian clothes. This is a great place to buy gifts for friends. After done shopping walk down Black Dog's Cafe to sip on some tea and rest on their outdoor patio with your dog.  
Audience: hipsters and locals 

Tips to Stay in Shape during the Holidays

#1. Don't skip your workout. Just because it is the holiday it does not mean you need to lay on the sofa eating pie and watching TV all day. Take walks after big party meals and keep that training session at the gym. Even a 10 minutes job will make the difference. Keep your metabolism up. You can also do burpees for 10 minutes. A great quick exercise can be found here -

#2. Choose your food wisely. You might have to attend multiple Christmas parties in just one week. You will be tempted with brownies, chocolate mousse, egg nog, and who knows what else. This is where you need to pull your will power. If I go to a party and have just one bad item, I get disappointed with myself and I just keep eating all night. Just scan through the menu or buffet and see what food they have that is suitable for a diet. Most likely they will have something. Avoid alcoholic drinks and opt for water or sparkly water. Focus on talking to people rather than hitting the buffet. I know it's hard. Trust me, I started a fitness regime right before Thanksgiving.

You probably want  to avoid heavy breakfasts like this picture. Keep it simple with eggs and fresh fruit. 

#3. Cook/eat with nuts. You don't have to limit you cooking during the holidays. You can still have a memorable feast without going over your daily calories count. How? Choose to cook a roasted turkey marinated in olive oil and herbs. Serve with a side of glazed carrots, salted spinach, or a salad. Provide your guests with a wide variety of natural unsalted nuts and mandarins. Finish dinner with caramelized fruits in the oven served with vanilla ice cream. You can replace the meat with grilled fish. As a matter of fact, in Italy the New Year dinner can be very simple and healthy consisting of broiled meat, including the tongue. Everything is served with a green sauce made with parsley, olive oil, lemon and anchovies.

Sorbetto can be a healthier choice for a dessert. In the picture chocolate ice cream from SPQR in San Francisco. To make it less rich, don't include the chocolate crumbs. It is that simple. Simplify.

Want to know which ones are the best instagram fashion bloggers in 2015 to follow? Here the top fashion bloggers on Instagram.
 Tales of Endearment
Tales of Endearment: a blog about love, friends, vintage, music, and life, curated by Natalie Joo, a Belgian-born casting agent and consultant based in New York City. Her instagram account Jxxsy is truly the storytelling of a modern Alice in Wonderland.

In the Picture: Model Ulrikke Simonsen

Instagram: jxxsy

Atlantic - Pacifica. Blaire Eadie does not need much introduction. She has made us dream with her elegant classic style and yet hedgy urban touches. The Grace Kelly of our times has also done a great job in not selling herself to brands. We love her and will keep loving her. 

Instagram: blaireadiebee

Happy Grey - Mary welcomes us in her everyday life, capturing moments of joy - from a cappuccino to a walk in the woods. We like the style of her pictures, almost as her story was taking place in the Netherland. You will know what I mean if you visit her Instagram account.  

Instagram: happilygrey

Cupcake & Cashmere - Emily Schuman made us fall in love with her blog when she renovated her house, especially her dreamy kitchen. Now, that she is expecting we can't wait to see what she will pull off. 

Instagram: emilyschuman

This Time Tomorrow - Krystal Bick opens her doors and let us in her 'normal' daily life. We love her 'easy to pull' style that everybody can pull off and afford. Now, she probably has the real deal, but we are happy we can imitate her.

Instagram: krystal_bick

Olivia Palermo: While her blog has gone through many transformations becoming to look like a real brand or commerce site, we can't have enough of her Instagram's account. We are still keeping Olivia in our top list as her social influence is GIGANTIC.

Instagram: oliviapalermo

Teggy French: This is somebody we want to see more and more. Alex Weichert has sublime style, knowing well how to wear plaid with sparkling, sequin skirts. Who would ever think that, right? We just want to get to know her better.

Instagram: teggyfrench

The Blonde Salad: Whether you like or dislike her style, Chiara Ferragni is to be admired for making fashion blogging a paid profession. She might have gone overboard with too many obvious product placements in her style but the girl needs to make a living and for now we can only learn from her.

Instagram: chiaraferragni

Do you think you or another fashion blogger should have made the 'best fashion bloggers on Instagram's' list? If so comment below with the name of an awesome Fashion Blog on Instagram.

Disclosure: All pictures are taken from each blogger's Instagram account. All credits to them.
It is December 1st, which means #blogmas. I just learned about this term yesterday while surfing on Twitter for some cute fashion blogs. You blog everyday for the entire month of December. This for me an opportunity to recreate the Christmas calendar I had when I was a child. Each day I would open a little door of the calendar to find a surprise - a chocolate surprise. So everyday I will reveal a surprise about me, about my Christmas traditions and my picks for Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts ideas under $50 

I usually set a budget for all my Christmas gifts, but then I always go over budget. I am a horrible shopper for friends, because I end up buying items for myself. Yes, I know. But this year I am doing great. First, I took notes, while spending time with friends and family. I observed what they needed and liked and when I see something that represents them I just get it now, no matter if there is a reason to buy a gift or not. Second, I got most of my gifts before Thanksgiving and online via Etsy. I decided I would want something made by an artist and Etsy has original pieces. I also sell on Etsy (my shop is empty now though). 

What is in this picture?

1. Notebooks - Naughty and Nice: On Sale right now on One Kings Lane. They are $76 for both. So you could give one to a friend and the other one to another friend.
2. Nice matches - On sale on One Kings Lane. If you are like me you use matches to light your candles.  $15 on sale. 
3. Kate Spade 2015 agenda - You can find this agenda on their site, at Dillards or even at Belk ($14). If you don't care that is Kate Spade, Marshalls sells similar ones for $5. 
4. Pineapple Candle: I am obsessed with pineapple objects. I have a giant white ceramic pineapple just because. This one is from Bed Bath and Beyond. Anthropologies also has them in gold. 
5. This cute candle is from Anthropologie: There are different shapes so you can choose. Prices ranges from $24-36. I really want to buy the pineapple but don't know if I ll have any money left. 
6. Gold drinking glasses: If you run to Marshalls now you will find awesome gold trim drinking glasses with lips, with dots, with whatever you want. I don't have space for more glasses but I so wanted to get them. 
7. Coaster: if you like glitters then get those Kate Spade's coasters. They are $30, available at Dillards or on KS's site. 
8. Shopping mug: Oh yeah... How cute is this mug? I actually bought it for a friend and found it at Marshalls for just $2.00. You can also find it on Amazon, but it is more expensive. 

There you go, you can still buy something for your friends for less than $50 and make your friends very happy. Please comment on this blog if you like something in the picture. I am doing a secret giveaway, so subscribe and check regularly this month for a chance to win something in this picture.