the great sconce debate.

IMAGE SOURCES: TOP ROW: LEFT / MIDDLE / RIGHT | MIDDLE ROW: LEFT / RIGHT | BOTTOM ROW: LEFT / MIDDLE / RIGHT

Hello again! This post title is a bit melodramatic, but seriously: does anyone ever feel like they have these crazy internal debates about the most non-life threatening decisions? I know I do -- and I can't blame my pregnancy hormones. I'm a perpetual second guesser. It is still a wonder to me that I was able to make so many decisions for our house build while pregnant with {jv}. It is an even bigger wonder that I still love 98.9% of the decisions I did make. (I have a few minor things here and there, which is partially the source for this post.) 

In case you were wondering, the "great sconce debate" arose recently... after one too many run-ins with the lamps under our living room windows by our crazy active 13-month-old. We have a large set of windows (two double-hung windows with a picture window in between) which basically run the length of our living room. These windows do not need window treatments (hooray!) because they face the rear of the house -- and we will never have neighbors behind us (double hooray!). I just love the natural light they bring in and how open they make the house feel. Here's a little peek at the room as it stands today:

PILLOWS: locally made at Fabric Connection with Jonathan Adler for Kravet Collections Fabric | COUCH: Pottery Barn | TOY BOX: Pottery Barn Kids | LAMPS: Pottery Barn | SAILBOAT: One Kings Lane (exact boat not available currently, but it does come up frequently!) | RUG: Dash & Albert

The layout of the room necessitates that the back of the couch is parallel to this "wall of windows". There is roughly two feet from the couch to the windows, in which we currently have two large floor lamps. I loved these floor lamps in our previous apartment. Aesthetically, they work well in our current space -- bringing out the oil rubbed bronze look on the finishings (like the knobs for our built-ins, etc.). However, they do not work functionally in the space with an on-the-go kiddo. In a post a few months back about kid-friendly living rooms, I never even thought to address lamps. I was clearly wrong. In trying to come up with creative solutions, I started searching for things like "lamps over windows", which led me to sconces.

It may be weird, but I have always hated the word sconce. I always thought they were kind of an antiquated way to light a space... until recently. I started to fall in love with the idea of a few sconces over the windows in the living room to replace the floor lamps which are like fire station poles to my toddler. The above inspiration photos are also fueling my sconce love. Even though we have recessed lighting in this living room, I love the warm light that lamps provide. I just need that warmth in a more kid-friendly way!

I'd love to hear your input -- or any other tricks you think could work -- for solving this great debate of sorts. Will sconces be too specific to fit the next homeowner's decor? (Does that even matter?) Would they still give off that warm light I'm craving on a cold winter's night? Can't wait to hear what you think! xoxo {av}

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life lately.


It's been a few months since my last life lately post, so I hope you might indulge me ;) I figured I would hit you all with one post, chock full of random bits of news -- rather than drag it out across ten posts. Quality over quantity, right? Without further ado, here goes...

-In my free time (aka the time after {jv} falls asleep before I fall asleep myself), I have been working on an exciting project with a Rhode Island-based jewelry company. The final product? A labor of love by the name of alexys ryan. While I did not design the jewelry, I did give the pieces a voice. The words and taglines which go with each piece were the product of late night, ice cream-fueled brainstorm sessions. The pieces are fantastic for everyday wear, but they also work beautifully for special occasions. It is pretty surreal to see something you've put your heart into available for sale at Nordstrom! I'm just honored to be one small part of this project -- and I love that it's designed here in Rhode Island. You can see all the goodies available by clicking here:


-I have become a huge fan of saving links on the go in Facebook. I see articles all the time which float around that I may not have time to read on the fly, but I go back to reference later -- when I'm not at work or tending to a hungry 13-month old. Here are a few which caught my eye:
---I've had a love affair with Paris for as long as I can remember. I was 7 or 8 when I first visited and was entranced from the minute we stepped into the city. I stumbled across this post, sharing color photos of Paris from 1914. As a history buff and a lover of photography, I can't get enough.
---When I was an undergrad at Georgetown (way back in 2007), the 'sleep when you're dead' mentality was in full force. I appreciated this look by a current undergrad at campus culture... and how not much has changed since I was there. I must have been a robot when I was in college because I. was. always. going. (Speaking of going to college in the 2000s, this Buzzfeed list had me cracking up. I'll never forget the day the star of the Georgetown basketball team held my Motorola Razr.)
---How crazy is this fact? The typical American lives only 18 miles from their mother. I loved this look from the New York Times about the phenomenon. Even more striking, only 20% of the population lives more than two hours from their parents. When {cv} convinced me to move to New England, it put me more than 15 hours away from my parents' house by car -- but thankfully, the distance doesn't seem so great with the help of things like FaceTime.
---Since I feel like I can never beat the growing pile of laundry we produce, I figure I might as well do it right. I loved this graphic to help decode those funny codes on the tags of your clothes.


-It only took 14 months, but this house of ours really feels like home these days. When we had {jv}'s first birthday party back in November, it was also a housewarming of sorts. The house had never been cleaner! There are a few rooms still to tackle, but we have made tremendous progress. We will need to outfit the new baby's room in a few months (waiting on the gender delays this process a bit) and we need to round out the furniture for our master bedroom. All the rooms which needed window coverings now have them (woohoo!) and I'm done with hanging about 80% of what will go up on the walls. I don't think it will ever feel done, but I'm very happy and content with how it has all come together.
-One place we haven't tackled at all is our basement. We have an unfinished basement (something I dreamed of having growing up in tornado alley!) that we would eventually love to turn into a play zone / man cave / exercise room / extra guest space. If you've tackled this project, I would love any advice in this department. Did you do it piecemeal or just do it one fell swoop? I'm hoping we can make that happen before the toys pile up to the ceiling in {jv}'s room.



-I don't know if I can get away with the baby header for much longer, if the picture above is any evidence. {jv} is an active little guy, who refuses to sit still for more than ten seconds. (I try, let me tell you, to snuggle that kid. Snuggling is not in his repertoire these days.) At 13 months old, our biggest triumphs are the new words he's starting to spit out (the makings of book, ball, dog -- which is what he now calls the cats, block) and the new skills he keeps attempting (climbing on EVERYTHING, doing his shape sorter, etc.). In the sleep department, we are adjusting to his jarring new morning routine. He falls asleep well and stays asleep, but when he wakes up, he lets us know -- and will not rest until he's been rescued from his crib. After taking him to the pediatrician's walk-in hours last week because I was convinced he had an ear infection (he's had a few), they just told us it could be new teeth or his skill development... but that there wasn't much else we could do. Each new phase brings its own set of challenges, so this (and the transition away from the bottle) seem to be his most pressing issues for now. We will survive!
-What they say is true: a baby bump appears much more quickly after you've already had one child. Now that my bump is starting to make itself known, I'm excited to rock some maternity clothes again. (I did these posts about building a maternity wardrobe and workout maternity wardrobe last time around -- and still refer friends to them.) I'm happy in most of the clothes I purchased when I was pregnant with {jv}, though my seasons are off slightly. I got away with more dresses last time for work because the weather was warmer. This time around, I invested in a few pairs of work appropriate pants, including these leather trimmed leggings and these ponté pants. I make it work (as Tim Gunn says) by pairing them with a big sweater or long tunic and cute flats.
-Speaking of links I save from Facebook, I would say 90% of them are parenting related. I won't bore you with them all, but here are a few of my favorites (some which brought me comfort, others which brought me laughs):
---I know some people have mixed feelings on Chick-Fil-A, but I am personally a huge fan. (I love it so much that we even had them cater {jv}'s first birthday...) The folks at CFA always seem to be so on top of things, from their handy "table toppers" (which can be found in their high chairs to place on the tables to keep things clean) to this new valet service they're planning to roll out. It's GENIUS.
---Even as we are joyful about this latest addition to our family, I know the journey isn't always so easy. I loved this perspective from a woman who has valiantly battled infertility. It's a reminder to think about the women in our lives who may be quietly fighting this uphill battle.
---A new study shows that self-esteem is established much earlier than they previously imagined. It makes me that much more aware of the day-to-day interactions {jv} has with others and what we're doing to set him up for success in the future.
---Here's a fun one to round out the post: a video on how two brown-eyed parents have a blue-eyed child. {cv} has brown eyes and I have green eyes, but we never thought we would have a child with blue eyes in a million years. Turns out we were wrong! {jv} has two great grandparents (one on each side) with blue eyes... that's all it takes ;)

Phew! To those of you still reading to this point, I applaud you. I told you it would be a long one! As always, I'm an open book if there's anything you'd like to see more of on the blog. Have a great week! More soon... xoxo {av}

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a big update.

our little family on the beach in Hilton Head

Happy 2016! I can't believe we've turned the calendar to another new year. Everyone says that the years tick by the older you get, but I don't think I believed them until now. I feel like I'm in a constant whirlwind these days, which is likely why you haven't heard as much from me in recent months. There's also another reason... 

In case you missed it on Instagram last week, we shared some big news: we are expecting baby {v} #2 in early June! We cannot thank you enough for all the sweet comments and thoughts you've sent our way since we broke the news. I am almost halfway through this pregnancy -- and time doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.

Since I know you're doing the math in your head, I'll do it for you: there will be 18 months between the {v} crew. We know we're in for a challenge, but we are more than up for it. {cv} and I are so grateful to be given this chance to expand our family, especially after the loss we experienced prior to {jv}. We have our anatomy scan this week, so time is ticking along. Some people may think we're crazy, but we are waiting to find out the gender until I deliver -- just like we did with {jv}. It's the best surprise {cv} and I have ever experienced, so we definitely want to experience it that way again. For those who are interested, I'll give a bit more color on this second pregnancy in an upcoming post (one thing I've committed to doing more of in 2016).

a little bedhead after nap time

Mr. Blue Eyes is 13 months old this week. I'll never be able to tell you where those months have gone. It feels like a blink. He is growing like a weed, babbling up a storm, and keeping us busy from 6:30am (if he's nice) until 7:45pm (if he can even make it that late). {jv} doesn't walk anywhere: he runs! This makes his long distance running mama very happy, although having a baby on board can make some days feel like a marathon ;)

FYI: I have a slew of posts in my drafts about {jv}, but I don't want to turn into a full blown mommy blog. If you have specific questions, please email me or comment below -- and I'd love to tailor what you're seeing here to what you need!

back in the South -- and no, we're not moving back with the volume of bags

I can't claim to be a seasoned traveler with a child in tow just yet, but we are making strides toward getting our old wings back. This photo may look like nothing special, but it is: my husband is a serious rock star -- and I don't tell him that nearly enough. Here is {cv}... wearing a car seat and dragging two enormous suitcases, without complaining once. I always get nostalgic for our long distance days when we fly through Charlotte (since that was the hub of our three years apart), but seeing him in this new role in that old soft spot brought all the feels. I may have to frame this one.

taken in my best friend's gorgeous home in Charlotte

I know this has been a pretty random update, but my head is spinning with everything I want to share in this new year. I don't know how some bloggers manage to post daily when they have little ones in their arms or at their feet, but I will learn to juggle it all one day. Today is not yet that day ;) If you want more timely updates, Instagram and Snapchat are the best ways to find me -- I'm @ali_vinciguerra on both platforms. Thank you again for sticking with me -- through thick and thin. xoxo {av}

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calling all procrastinators.

last minute gift ideas -- that will still ship in time for Christmas!

Last year, {jv} made his appearance less than three weeks before Christmas. If I was a normal person, I would have done my holiday shopping before he was born... but then again, we had just moved in our new house. (In other words, I was not a normal person last Christmas season!) This year, I have made good progress on my list, but working full-time and chasing a toddler around have made the process a bit more chaotic.

Since I still have a few people on my gift list, I decided to round up a few of my favorite gift ideas and notoriously quick retailers. I also included any promotions they may be running and what the last day for shipping is. Sometimes, if I give myself a deadline, it helps ;) If you've procrastinated a bit like me, never fear -- there are still plenty of amazing options to make the folks on your gift list very happy. I hope these ideas give you the boost you need to get everything wrapped up (literally and figuratively!). xoxo {av}

Birchbox: Gift Subscriptions ship straight to recipients, beginning in January
Design Darling: Last day for ground shipping: Wednesday, December 16th; Free shipping on orders over $200
Follain: Last chance for guaranteed Christmas delivery with express shipping: Sunday, December 20th
Framebridge: $39 Instagram framed Instagram prints; Last chance for guaranteed Christmas delivery: Tuesday, December 15th
Gap: 40% off your purchase through Tuesday, December 15th with code: COZY; Last chance for guaranteed Christmas delivery: Monday, December 21st (free shipping over $50)
J.Crew: 40% off select items; 30% off your whole purchase through Tuesday, December 15th with code: GETGIFTS; Last day for free ground shipping: Monday, December 21st
lululemon: Last day for free standard shipping for most: Saturday, December 19th (some can get away with Tuesday, December 22nd -- see here for more details)
Madewell: 25% off through Thursday, December 24th with code: YOUGOTTHIS; Last day for free ground shipping: Monday, December 21st
Minted: 15% off art gifts and stationery through Wednesday, December 16th with code: GIFTS2015; Last chance for guaranteed Christmas delivery: Friday, December 18th (see more details here)
Nordstrom: Last day for free standard shipping on qualifying merchandise: Wednesday, December 23rd (order by 12:00pm EST)
Sephora: Last day for standard shipping on most merchandise: Monday, December 21st  -- fragrances must be ordered by Wednesday, December 16th (click here for all the shipping details)
Shopbop: Extra 25% off on sale items through Thursday, December 17th with code: BONUS25; Last day for free shipping Sunday, December 20th to ensure Christmas delivery + Amazon Prime Customers get free two-day shipping
Splendid: 25% off through Tuesday, December 15th with code: GIVING; Last day for free guaranteed ground shipping: Thursday, December 17th.
Zappos: Last day for free two-day shipping: Tuesday, December 22nd (see all the details here)

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