Small Spaces: Tip #1

small spaces tip #1 maggie whitley

When we first moved to Los Angeles, just over two years ago, we hardly had any material possessions. We packed our Jeep and drove from Minneapolis to LA, and I was not quite 14 weeks pregnant with Maxwell. We brought with us an heirloom baby cradle, my sewing machine, a box of sewing notions/fabric, minimal clothes, a small selection of meaningful items/decorations, Bauer’s dog crate, and plenty of tools should the Jeep need any servicing. We actually planned on sleeping in the Jeep on our drive out here, but as we were selling/packing/cleaning out the house we were renting in Minneapolis I found more and more things I just couldn’t leave behind. We had never made a move this large or far away and didn’t quite know what to expect. (Our families have the rest of our valuables and meaningful items stored in Michigan.) Suddenly the Jeep was full of “absolute musts” to bring to Los Angeles, so there wasn’t room for sleeping (or packing much else).

Funny, we didn’t bring more than a few boxes of stuff, but what we did bring took up a lot of space in the Jeep.

As hard as it’s been, I’ve learned over the last 25 months that it really is possible to live with less.

It’s an incredibly emotional process — especially how we’re indirectly trained to become attached to things — but it’s taught me so much.

Once we found our first apartment in Los Angeles we started making small purchases for our home. Of course all of this took lots of time, lots of saving, and a lot of discipline to not spend money on unnecessary things.

There are still things and clothes and furniture I think we need that we haven’t purchased yet, and the reason why has mixed results. Do we really need this? Can we afford it? And so we continue wait.

I remember clear as day showing a friend our first apartment after we had settled in. She saw our closet and then asked me, Where are the rest of your clothes? I thought to myself, They’ve been sold. And for a minute I actually felt embarrassed over my small wardrobe.

But that’s a perfect example of how we live with less, and how it’s been a discipline not to make a purchase “just because”.

Living with less shouldn’t feel weird or wrong. In fact, it’s actually taught me a lot about myself and personal tendencies. I’ve learned how to decorate our home with our favorite, most-cherished things instead of packing them away “for another time”.

When we display memories of our adventures, or make space in our cozy home for things that have value, we re-ignite life moments that once made our souls feel something. And how inspiring is that?

I’ve been trained to look at the big picture in life instead of a small, Maggie-centered life. Because of what we put inside our home, when I walk outside I actually notice the beautiful pink flowers growing on the branches. I rocked our firstborn to sleep in a cradle that once rocked me, and once again it’s in the nursery, anticipating another baby. My nightstand holds a bird lamp, a gift from my parents — one that “I really really really realllly wanted” about seven years ago. One kitchen cupboard shelf — which was once empty, is now full of coffee cups given to us by family & friends. They each tell a story of adventure and friendship in California. The bed quilts inside our closet hold meaning and are handmade, and the books on our bookshelf are incredibly inspiring, funny or from our very favorite authors.

My point is our home may be small but it’s incredibly large with meaning, and that brings me deep happiness.

Tip #1: have your home showcase the things that mean the most.

Introducing our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!

Well hello, October! I’m so happy it’s the first of the month. The weather is finally cooling off a bit here in Los Angeles and the holiday-themed family/kiddo activity emails are appearing in my personal inbox. It’s so exciting :) And not to mention, October is the month our second baby is due!!! We’ll see though when baby actually makes his or her debut…

Our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide launches today and runs through December 15th. I’m really excited to share with you the 17 shops that are participating this year as they feature some really fun items! Most of them are offering a unique discount code to the MWD community, which is so generous of them! I wanted to give you a tease of what’s inside our Holiday Gift Guide so below are photos of my favorite items with a direct link to each shop.

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Baby Bjorn:

A Swedish family-owned business started in 1961. Our concept is to make day-to-day life easier for parents of small children by developing safe & innovative products of the highest quality for children up to three years old.

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Baby Mama Sew Shop:

Purses, bags, clutches and zipper pouches, as well as clothing items such as skirts and aprons for women and kids.

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Delva B. Tree:

Stylish and fun handmade baby bibs, burp cloths, blankets, children’s crayon wallets and other accessories.

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Drawstring Studio:

Modern home decor items to fit everyone’s needs and budget.

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Fountain Top Creations:

A shop full of cozy crocheted and knitted hats, scarves, cowls, ear-warmers, and more!

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Gingiber:

An illustrative paper goods and homeware store filled with prints, pillows, tea towels, cards, tote bags, and more.

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LilyAlyssa Boutique:

Sweet women’s accessories crocheted and sewn: headbands, scarves, hats, ear warmers, etc.

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 Love Forward:

Handmade accessories, home goods, and gifts; inspired by love.

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Oh So Antsy:

Hand cut custom state and country shaped jewelry.

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Paper + Spark:

Fresh, fun, and functional everyday essentials for your desktop, workspace, and home.

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Pink Poppy Party Shoppe:

An array of handcrafted personalized party decorations.

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Purpose Jewelry:

Handcrafted jewelry made by survivors of sexual slavery. 100% of the proceeds go to International Sanctuary, a non-profit that provides holistic care, and empowers rescued women & girls to obtain true freedom.

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Saffron and Nutmeg:

Hand knit and sewn items made for mamas and kiddos.

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Shared Joy:

Boutique quality headbands for the fashionable joys in your life!

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 Silly Mama Quilts:

Fresh and fun handmade gift and home décor items. Original designed pieces make some of the best gifts for a wedding, new baby, holiday or treat for yourself.

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Simple and Trendy:

Modern style with classical appeal. Mason jar tumblers, monogrammed wine glasses, iPhone charger decals and stickers.

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The Vintage Honey Shop:

Specializing in handmade necklaces that mamas wear, but is safe for babies to chomp on while teething!

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We’re so excited about this years Holiday Gift Guide and for all of the participating shops! Offering a unique discount code to our community so we can start our holiday shopping is incredibly generous of them, so thank you sponsors!

35 weeks baby bump.

35 weeks bump maggie whitley

35 weeks bump maggie whitley

35 weeks bump maggie whitley

35 weeks bump maggie whitley

We’re in the home stretch! Only five weeks to go (hopefully I won’t deliver 10 days overdue like with Maxwell, but we shall see…) and I’m definitely counting down. Like, for real counting down. I’m sure it’s mostly because I have a 34″ sidekick with me during the day, but I’m so so tired this time around. Seems like one week I have a lot of energy and then the following week brings exhaustion. It’s a little crazy how diverse I feel each week.

Because I’m so far along (and my bump feels huuuuuge), my wardrobe pretty much revolves around the question, What is the comfiest outfit I can wear today? ;) Plus, it’s been super warm in Los Angeles! We finally have A/C in our cozy apartment so I’ve been wearing some pieces of my fall wardrobe just so I can wear a few of my most comfortable pieces! Ha.

We’re going to wait a couple more weeks before fully setting up the nursery. Our parents fly in the end of October (we’ll set up another bed for them in there, and we’ll move the heirloom cradle out to the living room). Aside from that there’s not much that has to be done, only wants and wishes. And, next week I start my weekly OB appointments!

Yesterday I bought a couple knotted newborn hats from Little Hip Squeaks (coral & mint) — I can’t wait for them to arrive. They’ll be going in our hospital bag for sure :) I read the other day in my weekly What to Expect pregnancy updates that the baby is about 18″ long and just over 5 lbs. Learning what’s happening on the inside makes me smile so big. It brings an extra dose of baby love!

Since this is my second pregnancy, I’m anticipating the delivery and my postpartum comfort. I’m definitely nervous to try for a VBAC (although this is something we’ve been planning with my OB all along), and I’m already thinking about my postpartum clothes. Do you have any postpartum clothing favorites? I ordered a couple pairs of these jogger pants (strawberry pink & iron heather) but I’d like to get a few new tops. What I have in mind is something nursing-friendly, but still cute/semi-fitted and full of color — any recommendations?

PS. what I’m wearing: leggings c/o Albion Fit, gray top c/o Asos, white BeBand from Target, classic sandals from Old Navy

Preparing for a new chapter of mamahood…

maxwell tiger maggie whitley

The days where it’s just Max and I at home are dwindling fast. We’re down to about 35 days; even typing that brings an overwhelming rush of emotions.

I remember so so clearly the day we brought Maxwell home from the hospital, the day Zack went back to work, the day our families went back to Michigan. Each day was a stepping stone towards it being just Max and I at home together (with Bauer, of course!). And we’ve done so well, just Max and I :)

Most of our day is spent doing something together. He’ll play by himself for a few minutes, then he’s off to find me. He’s constantly curious to know what I’m doing, and he absolutely loves when we do something together.

The heirloom baby cradle is set up and tucked into a corner of the nursery, waiting to be filled with weight. Once Baby #2 is born we’ll bring it to the living room next to our bed, but for now it’s across from Max’s crib in the nursery.

But even though I do most of the talking about the baby joining our family “very soon”, it’s almost like Max can feel it, too — in his own 18-month-old way. He wants to be held multiple times each hour, which I can’t do as often (per my OB). Instead, we snuggle and read together on the couch during the day and at night for bedtime lullabies.

Just like when he nursed for the last time and I cried knowing that chapter was over, Max will be a big brother soon and once again we’ll be turning another page in our book. These are all healthy (but hard) changes, definitely something to cherish as life continues to circle and the pages continue to turn.

Maxwell may not be “a baby” anymore, but he’ll always be my baby. And watching him grow from baby to little boy is seriously so amazing. Life is transforming before my eyes, in more ways than one.

Becoming a mama has revised me into the richest and fullest version of my self.

Mamahood is my best story to tell, but also my most untold story, and it is perfect imperfection.