In Gratitude: CSN Giveaway

*Contest is now closed*
Last week, MLHP hit the 500 follower mark - woo hoo! In honor of this milestone, the great folks at CSN have graciously offered to give a $50 credit to one of you (truly wonderful) readers. If you're not familiar with CSN - it's a website comprised of over 200 online stores. The range of products is mind-boggling. They have everything from an Eames lounge chair to Le Creuset cookware - and everything in between!

You could honestly spend hours trying to decide where to spend your FREE 50 BUCKS, but since I'm so appreciative of your loyalty and readership, I've put together a few suggestions.

You could snatch up some surprisingly-fun items for $50 or less...
CSN Under 50_edited-1

...or, you could take the edge off some serious eye candy that clock in a bit higher on the price points.
CSN 50+_edited-1

I say, it's a win-win no matter how you look at it!

So, you know the drill - To Enter the Giveaway:

1) Leave a Comment (duh!) *Leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win (double-duh!) And, I wouldn't mind at all if you left a FUN or INTERESTING comment!

2) If you'd like extra entries:
*Leave additional comments if you do

The Contest will run all week, with entries allowed until Midnight EST on Friday, February 11 - I'll use a random number generator to pick the winner, and will announce it next Monday, February 14 - Sweet Valentine's Day gift, huh?

A few things of relative importance...

Today's images are brought to you by High Gloss - the newest shelter/lifestyle e-zine that launched today (in case you've been under a rock). Truly, it has left me speechless .I don't say that fleetingly. Consider it your go-to for glamorous design porn for the next few days.
High gloss premiere issue

After I posted about it, you gals flocked to HSN for Nate's Upholstered Stool like it was crack - it's now on the "almost sold out" list (powerful forces, we blogs). Sadly, because of shipping issues, I STILL haven't been able to place my own order. But I will, oh YES I will...

High Gloss table by David Jimenez

Some of you requested I source my paint and fabric ideas from this cane chair post, which I have now done.
Colorful Classic lineup_edited-1 copy
Yellow Ikat via L&S + Glidden Rich Navy

Flowering Branch via CC + Francesca by Martha Stewart Paints

Sudan by L&S + Behr Premium Ash Violet

Formosia via L&S + Glidden Deepest Wooden Green

Posh lineup_edited-1
Jamil via L&S + Glidden True Turquoise

High Gloss CA home

I'm all warm and fuzzy inside, because FIVE HUNDRED of you have decided I'm worthy of following via Google reader. Since you rock so much, I've got a giveaway coming up for you.

High Gloss Houston home

I'm Stoked!

YOU are one gracious group of lurchers! I knew you were, I just had to call you on it! I tried to respond directly to anyone who left an email address, but if I missed you, please accept my sincere thanks for the amazingly-supportive comments ya'll left after my post announcing my intent to pursue an education in design. You made my weekend, fo sho, and I can't wait to take you along with me!

Did you see the engagement announcement of Prince William to Kate Middleton? I for one will be glued to the papparazzi feeding frenzy that will ensue. I do feel badly for the scrutiny she will surely be subjected to, but, from I see of Kate - she is impeccable.
Lady is gorgeous, has effortless style in spades, and a body that won't quit. Lucky man, that Prince William!
What a thrill it would be to be a guest at what will certainly be THE social event of the year, but seriously, what do you give to someone who will inherit some of the most valuable real estate, art, antiques, and jewelry in the world? I bet they do something different, and ask for charitable donations, instead. That would seal them in the Court of Coolness for me!

We're SO there!

Technically, Autumn began with the equinox last week - by the way, did ya'll see the Harvest Moon? However, for me, The Season truly begins today: the first of October. It's always such a great moment: the anticipatory prelude, the cusp, waiting for the great things to come: Pumpkins, Leaves, Football Rivalries, Charlie Brown, and lots of Comfort Food. Can you feel it?

Isla Clayton

So, she finally arrived! Please meet Isla Clayton.
She made us a family of four on Friday, April 16. Amazingly, weighing and measuring exactly the same as Avery did: 7 lbs, 10 oz and 19 inches long.
For as long as it seemed (for me) for her to make up her mind to join us, once she made that decision, it was a "done deal." In an effort to get Baby G moving, I spent Thursday evening sitting and moving around on an exercise/birthing ball (per the wonderfully-supportive and helpful instructs from Linda), but had no contractions, etc that night.

When I woke up Friday morning and began making breakfast for Avery, etc, contractions kicked in about every five minutes, and I thought - well, OK, here we go! Then they fizzled, jumping anywhere from seven to fifteen minutes apart. (This baby was toying with me, I thought!) Around eleven a.m, they ticked back up to every five minutes, and became tougher to talk through, so I felt certain we'd be heading up to Labor and Delivery. They maintained at five for an hour, then quickly progressed to being three minutes or less apart - all the while, Ben was fighting a bad rain storm, trying to get home!

We arrived at the hospital around 1:30 pm, and I was ready to push (see told you, she had DEFINITELY made up her mind!) - from the time I got into the hospital bed, to the time Isla was born was forty-five minutes. Fast and furious - whew!

I've you've had difficult births, you have my full blessing to hate me at this point. I am lucky, but if you've followed me through this pregnancy, you also know I was very involved, informed, and pro-active about wanting as natural a birth experience as I could have while still delivering in a hospital, and I communicated this to my obstetrician. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have had those wishes respected.
More importantly, Isla is perfect and healthy - we are truly blessed.

Some highlights of the day:
Not much sweeter than a Big Sister loving "her" new baby.
Or the beam of a proud, new Daddy
And kisses from Mims...
Some of our good friends from Brazil sent us these handmade lembrancinhas - a token of remembrance of a baby's birth to hand out to family and friends who visit the new baby. I can't send you each one, but please accept the virtual gift as a thank you for all your support in reading MLHP.
We're enjoying our "Babymoon," but I will catch up soon!

P.S. - Isla is pronounced, "EYE-la" ;)

The Circle of Life

Earlier this week, I heard of a horrific loss suffered by friends of our family - a young man, on the eve of his wedding, lost in a senseless and tragic accident.
Yesterday, we received news that my cousin and his wife were celebrating the birth of their first child.
I keep thinking of the tune by The Byrds, and the bible verse on which it is based...

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven

We, too have special news - we're expecting kiddo numero two!
(This partially explains my weakened blogstress state, as I am very pooped most days, BUT I promise an update on Avery's room soon -so, get ready to comment, 'cuz I need your thoughts!)

Thank you ALL for your sweet comments upon our return to Brazil - ya'll make me feel great!!