a cape cod maternity shoot.

a cape cod maternity shoot by Kate Headley

a cape cod maternity shoot by Kate Headley

a cape cod maternity shoot by Kate Headley

a cape cod maternity shoot by Kate Headley

a cape cod maternity shoot by Kate Headley

a cape cod maternity shoot by Kate Headley
{all photos used with permission from Kate Headley  //  outfit details: dress | sweater | necklace}

A few weeks ago, I spent the day on Cape Cod with my dear friend, Kate Headley. We met in DC in 2009 when I started the interview process for wedding photographers. Thankfully, I only had to interview one. She won me over from our first meeting and captured our wedding day perfectly. Kate has taken my photo many times over the years, but this time was a bit different: baby {v} was in the photos with me. Trying to feel comfortable "posing" with my bump was a new phenomenon. I count my blessings that when Kate is behind the lens, I feel completely at ease in front of it. 

During our blustery afternoon in Falmouth, Kate captured this special season of my life in a way no one else could. I am beyond grateful -- and always will be -- for these images. I can't wait to have Kate shoot our growing family in the coming years. Endless thanks to Kate for taking these priceless photos and letting me share them with you. xoxo {av}

P.S. You can see a more images from this shoot here. You can also see a few of our past shoots here, here + here.

eight shades of gray (paint).

eight great shades of gray from @benjamin_moore -- perfect for a neutral color palette.

A few weeks back, I asked for your advice on choosing the right paint for your home. Your responses were incredibly thoughtful and insightful. Not only did your input guide the decisions we made, it allowed me to maintain some shred of sanity in the final days of our build. Though we didn't go with an entirely gray color palette for the #bartonbuild, it is definitely prevalent throughout our home.  I tested these hues in every room and also did a side-by-side comparison (which I tried and failed to capture with my iPhone). After a ton of deliberation, these are the colors we chose for the aforementioned spaces:

Open-Concept Kitchen, Living Room + Foyer: Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (HC-172) Since this space spans two floors, we needed something that would pop against our trim and this hue did the trick. In person, Revere Pewter shows tan in some lights and gray in others. We were pleased with how it warmed up our home -- without making it too dark.

Guest Bedroom + OfficeBenjamin Moore Gray Owl (OC-52) These two rooms receive the first light in the morning. We went with Gray Owl for these spaces because it is a touch 'cooler' than some of the other grays we tried.

Nursery + Spare BedroomBenjamin Moore Stonington Gray (HC-170) If I'm being honest, we chose Stonington Gray for the nursery because it best matched the swatch for glider we chose. I kept it going in the other (mirrored) bedroom because the glider might one day move to that room. It is also slightly 'warmer; than Gray Owl in person.

Master BedroomBenjamin Moore Horizon (OC-53) Not to be confused with Horizon Gray (2141-50), Horizon was a last-minute addition to my sample options. Since we have a deep gray headboard (almost like the Chelsea Gray seen above), we didn't want anything too dark. Using our fabric swatch as a guide, we agreed this was a light enough hue without being a boring choice.

Master BathroomBenjamin Moore Gray Owl (OC-52) Our master bathroom is outfitted with some beautiful marble. Even in the absence of windows, the Carrara tile just popped next to Gray Owl.

The extras: The other bathrooms, mudroom, laundry room and master closet add a bit of color -- and another paint distributor -- to the mix. (I'll share those in another post soon!) 

Though it may look like it, this post was not sponsored by Benjamin Moore. I simply liked a few of their colors better and invested the majority of my research on their color families. I learned a lot about paint stores in this process. The biggest takeaway? Any paint store can use another distributor's color numbers as guides to create the paint. It may not be exact, but it comes out close. If you're worried about precision, it is best to trust that particular brand's experts. 

I loved nearly every shade of gray we tested, but some had to win. As always, this post isn't one-sided. If you have other grays you love which I missed, be sure to share them in the comments below. Thank you again for all of your wonderful insight in this process -- I can't wait to share some photos with the paint in action! xoxo {av}

how to stay organized during your next move + free printables.

how to stay organized during your next move -- printable moving labels + excel worksheet included!

With our move sneaking up on us, I developed a little system to stay organized (and combat my pregnancy brain). When we moved last summer, I felt like boxes ended up in the wrong corners of our apartment and I was absolutely lost when it came time to unpack. Since we'll be moving from an apartment to a house this time around, we gain a bit more space to keep everything straight. I am trying to pack a few boxes a day in preparation because we don't know when baby {v} will decide to join us. As luck would have it, I will be full-term the week we expect to get possession of the house, so organization during our packing process is absolutely key.

The system I am implementing with this move is simple: I plan to place one of these labels on each box we pack and then add the information collected into one master Excel doc. (I also made this handy door sign to reduce confusion with our movers.) You can see what each of the elements of this system look like below!

how to stay organized during your next move -- printable moving labels + excel worksheet included!

Many of the boxes we've used over the years include a box which captures similar information, but it didn't always give the range of options necessary for our situation. I placed the "room" space at the top (since it is most pertinent to the movers -- or whomever you have carrying your boxes). Directly below it, I included an "instructions" space to capture whether anything was fragile or if the box was extremely heavy. The "contents" space is pretty self-explanatory, but this is essential for keeping your head on straight when you're trying to find an item in a pinch. The "box number" will ensure you have an easy way to identify a box. The packing information is useful if you're not the only one packing up!

A couple of notes: this 8.5" x 11" should be cut in half (down the center) for optimal use. Tape one half of the label to the top of the box and tape the other half to the side of the box. (This will allow you to see what is in the box from the top and side!) When printing the .PDF, I recommend choosing the "fit" to paper option -- if available. It will make the label as large as the margins of your printer allow.

how to stay organized during your next move -- printable moving labels + excel worksheet included!

I know this seems like a simple sheet, but it is an essential one. Whether you hire a moving company or promise your friends a pizza for their help, this door sign will help identify where to place the box they're carrying. This will reduce the number of times you get asked where any particular room is (and serves as your proxy if you have to make a lunch run or need more packing tape).

how to stay organized during your next move -- printable moving labels + excel worksheet included!

This Excel document will help you maintain your sanity in the best way possible. With everything in one place, you will not have to worry about the whereabouts of your favorite sweater or the next book in the series you're reading. I included a couple of example lines (which you can promptly delete) to serve as a guide behind my Type A madness. It may take a couple of minutes on the front end to enter the contents of the box into your spreadsheet, but it will pay dividends later. (There is even an app for Google Drive, if you wanted to add this information using your phone!) 

Of course, no move is foolproof. My hope is that this system provides peace of mind as you prepare for your next move. If you're not moving any day soon, you can always pin this post for future reference when the time does come. Since I know my readers are full of fantastic ideas, please feel free to leave a comment below about your "best practices" for moving. Sharing is caring ;) xoxo {av}

16 apple cider sips.

16 apple cider drinks ideas.

RECIPES: 1) Cider Jack Cocktail via Intoxicology 101 || 2) Mulled Apple Cider via Gardenista || 3) Smoky Apple Cider Cocktail via Tasteseekers Kitchen || 4) Apple Cider Moscow Mules via Sugar and Charm || 5) Spiced Apple Cider Sangria via My Life as a Mrs. || 6) Cider Pumpkin Float via Dine and Dish || 7) Spiced Apple Cider Champagne Cocktail via Dishing Up the Dirt || 8) Fizzy Apple Cider Punch via Just Putzing Around the Kitchen || 9) Caramel Apple Cider via Ciera Design Studio || 10) Homemade Apple Cider via Sugar and Charm || 11) Cider Rum Punch via Emma Dime || 12) Apple Cider Sangria via How Sweet It Is || 13) Apple Cider Mimosa via Style Within Reach || 14) Caramel Apple Cider via Pastry Affair || 15) Ginger, Apple + Bourbon via The Tampopo Post || 16) Bourbon Apple Cider via Set the Table

Though I may not be drinking the "hard stuff" this fall, I am far from immune to the onslaught of apple cider goodness across the blogosphere. After pinning cider-related concoctions like mad this week, I decided to create a little round-up of the best recipes from my research. Most of these recipes involve alcohol, but there are a few which could easily be adapted for those who prefer their cider straight ;) Enjoy! xoxo {av}

the ultimate guide to diaper bags for chic moms.

the ultimate guide to diaper bags for chic moms: 12 options for ALL budgets!

second row {from left - $99 to $138}: Skip Hop Chelsea Diaper Bag | C. Wonder Signature Diaper Bag (**) | LeSportsac Ryan Baby Bag (**)
(**) Shopbop is currently holding a friends + family sale for 25% off their entire site, these bags included, just use the code FAMILY25!

As my due date approaches, I am tackling the ten million decisions on my plate one by one. What color do we paint the nursery? {Still undecided, though we may go with the gold standard Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.} What type of carseat do we buy? {We're going with the Maxi Cosi Mico AP!} Finding the answer to the question: what diaper bag do I want to carry? prompted this post. 

It may be selfish, but I don't want to lose all elements of fashionability in the delivery room. One of my closest friends told me a good diaper bag is worth the investment because you carry it every single day. With this in mind, I decided to go on the hunt for a few chic diaper bags. I was happily surprised with my research! 

The 12 options above prove that becoming a mom doesn't automatically signal the shift to hideous handbags. {My personal favorites include this Skip Hop score and this Rebecca Minkoff stunner.} FYI: Many of the bags above are available in other colors, but I pulled the black options for uniformity.

Current mamas: what advice would you give on the diaper bag decision? This ultimate guide to diaper bags needs your two cents, of course. If you're not on the mom path just yet, you might just want to pin this post for future reference ;) xoxo {av}

shop the full selection of diaper bags at these reliable retailers: 
NordstromSaks Fifth Avenue (25% off thru 10-19!!) | Shopbop (25% off thru 10-16!!) | TargetZappos

monday smiles.

autumn... the year's last, loveliest smile.

After a few rough weeks, I made my way to Durham, North Carolina to spend one last quiet weekend away before baby {v} arrives. Surrounded by three of my closest girlfriends, it was one of those weekends which will forever be written on my heart. I know my world is about to change in a big way, but it is such a comfort to know that some things will always remain the same. Though I may lack sisters, baby {v} will have no shortage of loving and doting aunties. They proved that this weekend.

This wasn't my first trip to Durham, but we did visit a number of new-to-me places worthy of a look if you're in town. Let's just say that baby {v} ate very well this weekend. I wish FedEx could deliver Pizzeria Toro to my door on a weekly basis, along with a few amazing bites from Mateo. As always, Parker and Otis hit it out of the park with their brunch  {and their amazing gallery wall seen above}.  

Autumn hadn't quite hit Durham, but we pretended it had with a trip to the pumpkin patch {as evidenced with those cute pumpkins at the top of this post}. The sunny weather also made a lovely picnic in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens possible. {I only wish I could have brought that warmth with me to Rhode Island. Waking up to temps in the 40s was a hard reality this morning!} I packed for cooler weather, so the bump looked rather autumnal. It is still crazy to see myself in pictures with this 31-week bump. Time is flying. 

As an aside: I've been paying extra attention to amazing stock-up sales in an attempt to dress the bump. As it cools down quickly in New England, finding pieces which will work now and later are most certainly on my radar. I have been living in this Splendid cardigan, which is now 25% off at Nordstrom. {I seriously want it in every color. It is so soft and machine washable. #winwin} Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you know that the Tory Burch Friends + Family sale ends today... 25% off doesn't hurt anyone! Gap is also having a fabulous flash one-day sale: $45 off a purchase of $100+ online makes many of these gender neutral goodies extra affordable. Fall shopping doesn't have to kill your bank account after all ;)

A special thank you goes out to my girlfriends for making baby {v} and me feel so loved. If there is one thing I have learned in my 20s, it is this: investing in friendships is one of the best decisions you can ever make. The same applies to the readers of this blog: though posts have been sporadic lately, thank you for sticking with me. This is an unbelievably hectic but incredibly special time -- and it is a joy to have you along for the ride. Have a very happy week, everyone! xoxo {av}