farewell, san francisco & personal reflections

Posted on: Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Eeep! We only have a couple days left in San Francisco and the past few weeks have felt like quite the whirlwind. While I’m excited to do something new, to live somewhere different, to have a new pace of life, it’s so so so hard to leave San Francisco. I’m going to try to capture it all in this blog post, but truly don’t think I have all the words for the jumble of emotions I have about this place. I also couldn’t even begin to choose photos to perfectly capture my time here (hello, hundreds of Instagram photos / Facebook albums and thousands of photos on my phone) so I just picked a few that have been my profile photos over the past almost 8 years.

I moved to San Francisco when I was 22 years old, right after graduating college. I didn’t know anyone, hadn’t been to SF or California or really anywhere west of Arkansas, and to be honest, I had zero expectations or plans. I told myself I would give it two years and re-evaluate. Before the move, I didn’t really do a whole lot of planning or researching. I wasn’t Googling all the SF things, or asking people on Instagram the coolest neighborhoods to live, or where to go. I’m really grateful that I moved here when I was young and fairly naive and that I possessed the “let’s see how this goes!” attitude.

A friend of mine I met (online only) through blogging, Rayne, offered to “take me in” and let me live with her and her husband north of the city for a few weeks. She picked up clueless, slightly terrified me from the Oakland airport and taught me the California ropes, explaining different SF neighborhoods to me, taking me wine tasting for first time, walking me through public transit, etc. She helped me move into my first apartment a few weeks later. Thank you, Rayne, for taking me under your wing and for cheering me on.

San Francisco is where I started my career. I moved here for a job at Edelman Digital that set the course for my professional career thus far. I’m grateful for my first manager, Jenna, who has become a long-term friend and personal/professional mentor. She took a chance on hiring a random girl from Ohio based off a few phone interviews, and really helped me grow as a communications and creative professional. I met most of my “first SF friends” at Edelman, and we explored the city (almost all of us as transplants); many of them I’m still super close with. These are people who have helped me (so much!) professionally, who give me baby advice and makeup advice and workout advice and life advice, and are just good friends. I’m truly forever grateful that the job I moved here for has enabled so many amazing opportunities – personally and professionally. Since that job, I  worked at two startups and learned A LOT. I worked at Facebook for two years and now, I’ve had my own business, Lucky Collective, for about two and half years. I couldn’t have asked for a better city to spend the first 8 years of my career and work in fulfilling, interesting, and frankly, cool jobs that have helped me grow.

San Francisco is where I cultivated my deepest and best friendships. A few months after I moved, some of my best friends from OU, Courtney and Aimee, moved to SF. The following year, another best friend, Ali, moved too. I was friends with all of them in college, but living in San Francisco together in our early 20s created a bond like no other. We explored, brunched, daydrank, OKCupid-ed, MUNIed, and wandered our way around the city. There are many big and monumental moments, and even more small, ordinary and everyday moments and memories here in San Francisco I have with them. Without them, my experience in SF wouldn’t be the same.  It may sound cheesy, but our time here really shifted us from “college friends” to sisters. I’m not going to let myself go down a rabbit hole of emotions about my friendship with these gals in this blog post, because it’s not bound solely by San Francisco or living in the same place. All of that being said, I am so glad that San Francisco was the backdrop and stomping ground of our time together. And, outside of these three friends, there are so many other people I’ve met in San Francisco — through work and blogging and baby + mom yoga and the dog park and random friend-of-a-friend connections — that have become great friends. Some of them are like family, like Rob, who went from being a random friend I met via Courtney to being one of my first roommates and one of my closest friends. Or like Christine, who went from being my “work friend” to someone who knows everything going on in my life, babysits Jack and Lucy, and tweets with my sisters.  The people I’ve met here are what I’ll miss most about the city.

San Francisco is where I met “my person.” I met Eric when I was 24 at a music festival in the park. We went on what was pretty much a blind date a few weeks later, and immediately started dating. To me, he is quintessentially California — he grew up here and loves surfing, hiking, fishing, and doing all the other outdoorsy things. I really started exploring California more with E —  trips to Big Sur, Mendocino and up the coast, wine country, Yosemite, Southern California, and so on. All of these places in California (including tons here in SF) that we went together have so many special memories attached to them from our first few years as a couple. He proposed two years later on a beach in Big Sur (here’s the story). We turned our tiny 650(ish) square apartment smack dab in the middle of the SF in the Lower Haight into a home. We adopted Jack. We kept exploring – San Francisco, California, Vancouver, other parts of the U.S., Central America, Europe. I’m so grateful that our adventure started here in San Francisco and for the five years we’ve spent together here together.

San Francisco is where I became a mother. In May 2017, in my teeny tiny bathroom, I took a pregnancy test and everything changed. There was a “before baby” and an “after baby” and I believe it started right then and there in the bathroom. I spent my pregnancy trekking around San Francisco, taking Jack to the dog parks, doing urban hikes with E and friends, meeting friends for coffee or lunch. During my pregnancy, I would drive past the hospital where I would deliver, and I would say a little prayer every time – just asking God to take care of my baby, and to watch over whatever was going to happen to us in that hospital when she was born. In January, little Lucy Grey made her grand debut (here’s her birth story)! She’s spent the first seven months of her life as a true San Francisco baby. She’s had lemon ricotta pancakes at Plow and bread from The Mill and rice and (cooked) salmon from our favorite sushi spot, Domo. She goes on frequent walks at the beach and swings at Alamo Square Park and has playdates in Dolores Park. A few weeks ago, my friend Rob said  “Lucy is so lucky that she gets to tell people she was born in San Francisco.” I couldn’t agree more. As a mom in SF, I’ve met so so so many amazing moms who have become a support system and “in it” (motherhood) with me. I don’t know if this exists in other places, but I’ve learned everything from these moms — the best stroller for travel, teething tips, how to babyproof, etc. I’m so grateful that SF is where we grew our little family.

SF is the city where I became an adult and grew into who I am today. I moved here in 2011 with a couple of suitcases, not knowing anyone. I’m leaving with friends that have turned into family, a husband, a dog, a daughter, incredible professional experience, and millions of amazing memories. The city has stretched and grown me, and truly I feel like SF is part of my identity.  I’m so used to saying “I live in San Francisco!” and it feels so weird to think that I won’t get to do that anymore. I’m excited and hopeful about the move, but also really scared and overwhelmed. It’s so bittersweet to leave this place. I wouldn’t be who I am right now without the millions of moments and experiences that have shaped me over the last (almost) 8 years in San Francisco.

If you know me personally, I’ve probably told you this story, but as Rayne was driving me to her house after the airport, she said something and it’s stuck with me. She said “bravery and courage are always rewarded.” Little did I know how very true that would be. I made a brave choice to move to San Francisco almost eight years ago, alone and clueless about what was ahead, but the rewards have been so so so worth it and beyond what I could have ever imagined. Grateful for the city that I’ve had the opportunity to call home for the past 7.5 years. 

Onwards!

life update – we’re moving!

Posted on: Thursday, August 16, 2018

Life update! We are moving to Nashville!

Cue: all the emotions! 🤗😬

So, a little backstory on the move: I lovelovelovelovelove San Francisco, but didn’t ever think SF would be my forever place. When I first moved, I gave myself two years and told myself I would re-evaluate after that. Nope, two years wasn’t enough (not even close) — some of my very best friends had moved here and I met Eric and tons of other friends-turned-family and the city just felt like home. At that point, I always said that leaving San Francisco (when and if I did) would be the hardest decision I’d ever make.  I hadn’t really thought of leaving again until after Lucy was born. Then, we decided we would most likely leave San Francisco proper before she entered preschool (and not because of the lack of space…mostly because the preschool +  public school lottery system in SF is bananas and because I want my children to hopefully grow up close to family). We didn’t know if that would be somewhere else in the Bay Area or elsewhere. We weren’t looking to move right this second, but Eric recently got the opportunity to relocate to the Lyft office in Nashville, where most of his team works. It sort of just felt…right. Of course, it’s scary and weird and overwhelming and emotional, but also, good. A new chapter and adventure. Closer to my fam and lots of friends in the Midwest/East Coast. More space and a yard (!!) and laundry. A new city and part of the country to explore! We are going into the move not knowing if Nashville is our “forever place” (as we want to live abroad for a year and eventually be closer to my fam in Ohio), BUT excited for what’s to come with this move!


We’ve visited Nashville a ton because Eric travels there a lot for work, so now we’re just figuring out where to live based on neighborhoods we like, and managing the moving-related logistics. We’re actually moving a lot faster than we’d like (on September 7th), but strategically planning it so the movers come get our stuff a few days before we fly to Europe for vacation. Since we’ll be in Europe for 3 weeks, we’re going to have our stuff moved out while we’re gone (since it will take 2-3 weeks) and then we’ll to pick up Jack in LA ( source link OBVIOUSLY) and fly to Nashville. We felt that coming back to SF after vacation and then immediately turning around and moving to Nashville would be really difficult emotionally, logistically, etc. We’re sort of “ripping off the San Francisco band-aid” all at once, so we can get all the move stuff done and then truly unwind and chug copious amounts of wine 🍷 in Europe to drown our sorrows (#kidding). But, we think timing the move this way will be a really good to start fresh in our new home post-vacation. ☺️ 

As you may know, I’ve lived in San Francisco for almost 7.5 years, and moved here right after graduating college. I didn’t know anyone, I hadn’t ever been to SF / California / west of Arkansas, but decided to take the leap and move. While I’m really excited for a new chapter and adventure with my crew, it’s also buy modafinil online uk paypal really really hard to leave SF and very bittersweet. I’m working on a separate post reflecting on my experience here. Just working on putting my feelings into words…but stay tuned for that. <3

I wanted to share a blurb I wrote on my blog in March 2011, as I was about to graduate college and move to San Francisco.

buy Gabapentin online “Although I’m excited for new changes and transitions, it is a little scary. Rather than surround myself with fear of the unknown, I will surround myself with hope and excitement. I wouldn’t be who I am without the last four years, and I probably wouldn’t be looking for the same future opportunities I’m pursuing now. This has been such a key time in my life to grow up and grow into the person I was created to be.”

29-year-old me doesn’t have a ton more to add on to what 22-year-old me shared in that post.  💛 I’m scared and nervous and worried and so sad about leaving San Francisco, but also hopeful, excited, grateful and optimistic about what’s to come in this next chapter.

Here’s to what’s ahead! ✨

xx
Andi

P.S. I asked my good friend Tory to snap some photos in our apartment to announce our move and because we don’t have any family photos with all four of us! 👩🏼👨🏼👶🏼🐶 I’m so glad we have these to remember this little apartment where we started our family. Check out Tory’s portfolio here – she’s the best. 💛

baby registry essentials

Posted on: Monday, July 23, 2018

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a VERY long time, and here I am, sharing it finally right before Lucy turns 6 months. Oops! Better late than never. Anyway, a lot of pregnant friends have reached out asking about what to put on their baby registry, so wanted to finally compile my list! I’m going to share what we added to our registry, what we used/didn’t use, etc. We have a small apartment, so I really tried to be mindful of what products we registered for, and limit the number of large baby items we received. I also wanted to ensure that the baby items were ideally (1) functional, (2) easy to store away and (3) ideally, aesthetically pleasing. Basically, I didn’t want our already small space to be completely overrun with baby things, but instead, integrate “baby” into our existing space.

Note that I didn’t include anything about clothes + accessories, although I did register for some specific brands. No matter what, you will get a ton of clothes, and people tend to not follow the registry for clothing gifts anyway. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I also didn’t include toys/books in this list. I have a ton of our favorite baby books listed in this post, and will do a follow-up post about our favorite baby toys sometime soon. 😊

Without further ado, here’s my list of baby registry essentials!

BABY GEAR

Wraps, slings and carriers – I registered for a Wildbird ring sling, a Solly baby wrap, and a more structured LilleBaby carrier. I received two Wildbird slings, two Solly wraps and the LilleBaby, and since, have acquired/bought 2 more Wildbird slings and 3 more Sollys. 🙊 I’m really obsessed with them and love wearing Lucy! She’s in either the Wildbird or Solly at least once every day, so…this is definitely a top used item around here. I haven’t used the LilleBaby yet, but Eric uses it pretty regularly. Photos of Lucy in the Wildbird sling here and here (and also below) and in the Solly here and here.

Bumbo floor seat – not for newborns, but great for when baby is 4M+ and starting to sit up on their own! We have this with accompanying tray.

Bouncer – we opted for the SkipHop Multi-Lift Adjustable Bouncer. We used it a little bit early on, but now as she’s a bit older, we use it several times a day! This one is nice because it completely folds/breaks down, so super convenient for easy storage in small apartments, like ours. This is the only “baby contraption” we have in the apartment, as we opted to not get a jumper or Exersaucer. It’s worked out just fine for us!

Sound machine – we were gifted two, but now just use our iPad with a Spotify “rain noises” playlist on repeat. We found that the iPad was easiest to keep charged and stayed loud entire night. (Yep, learned this the hard way 2x when sound machines stopped in middle of night and Lucy woke up). I did buy this small portable sound machine after a friend’s recommendation and we use it all the time in the car!

Play mat – I registered for these pretty and functional play mats from Little Nomad. We didn’t get them and haven’t had a need for them (yet) but as Lucy starts moving more, I think I’m going to purchase so there’s a soft and supportive play area for her to be on (that isn’t brightly colored and also sort of “goes” with our apartment decor 😉)

Wooden Activity Gym – another beautiful and functional item! I LOVE this and we get compliments on how cute it is every time someone comes over. We started using this when Lucy was a few months old and she still plays with/under it. Again, I was/am aiming for not a ton of super loud/bright/plastic/bulky baby items, so this definitely fit the bill in terms of form and function. Pictured below.

SLEEP, ETC.

Dockatot – obviously a splurge, but so nice and so happy we received one! I’ve heard good things about the SnuggleMe Organic lounger too. The Dockatot is technically for co-sleeping, but we had Lucy sleep in this inside her Moses basket, in the bed, on the floor, really everywhere. A huge plus is that you can remove Dockatot cover to easily wash.

Rock n Play –  I didn’t originally register for this because I thought they were ugly and just an “extra baby thing.” Boy, was I wrong. Yes, this thing isn’t pretty, but IT WORKS. There’s tons of variations, but we actually bought ours secondhand off of Facebook Marketplace for like $30 when Lucy was like 3 weeks old, and I’m SO glad we did. Lucy slept in this thing for probably 2.5 months and ours vibrated and rocked to sleep. Truly magic and in my opinion, a necessity in those really sleep-deprived newborn days. I personally wouldn’t buy one new or full price and you can get tons in great condition secondhand, since people only use these for a few months.

Moses basket & rocking stand – I was eyeing the Plum+Sparrow Moses baskets pretty much from the second I found out I was pregnant. They are super hard to score, but my sisters were able to snag one! We used this as a bassinet for Lucy to sleep in next to our bed in the super early newborn days and now, she just hangs out in there. I bought this Moses basket stand from Jolly Jumper on Facebook Marketplace. Pictured below.

Stokke Mini Cribperfect for small spaces and so pretty. We have it in the “Natural” color and I’m so glad we registered for this crib, and received from my parents. I have several Stokke Mini crib sheets from this Etsy shop. You can see our crib with the Dockatot inside in the photo below.

Swaddles and blankets – you can’t have too many baby swaddles and blankets! We religiously swaddled Lucy and still use swaddling blankets daily. Here’s a post all about my favorite swaddles/blankets!

ON-THE-GO

NUNA MIXX Stroller & PIPA Lite LX Infant Car Seat Set – this is the stroller and carseat we have and LOVE it. It comes with *everything* you need – carseat and carseat base as well as the stroller. The stroller has a HUGE basket (perfect for #allthethings) and is sleek and so easy to maneuver. The stroller “seat” is removable (so you can click in the carseat) and also has several options (front facing, rear facing, fully flat bassinet). It’s amazing. Our in-laws gifted this for us during the Nordstrom sale (when it’s ~$250 off). The stroller is pictured below!

Mountain Buggy Nano Travel Stroller – we didn’t register for this, but ended up getting it before our trip to Austin and SO happy we did. We absolutely love our NUNA, but wanted a super easy-to-fold and lightweight stroller for traveling, especially when we’re in Europe this summer. SO happy we bought this. We use this when traveling and keep it in the car, and keep our NUNA in our apartment lobby for walking around SF (which we do regularly).

Stroller Organizer – we registered for a different one, but ended up buying this SkipHop stroller organizer because it fit our stroller the best. Perfect for holding keys/coffee/water/chapstick/phone/#allthethings.

Car Seat Cover – definitely an essential for us! Lucy gets so distracted, so good for her to be covered to nap on-the-go. We received one and now have two (in case one is in laundry, lol). We have one from Copper Pearl (can also be used as a nursing cover) and one from MilkSnob.

Baby Car Mirror – Lucy LOVES staring at herself in the mirror, so keeps her happy in car and nice for us to be able to see her from the front seat.

BundleMe – this is a super cozy and soft car seat cover. Perfect for winter babies (or any SF babies). We used nonstop in January/February.

Fawn Design Diaper Bag – this is a backpack style diaper bag that is so pretty and stylish and I always get compliments on it!

Diaper Bag Insert – I am obsessed with this thing. I keep all diaper bag stuff (diapers, wipes, a few toys, burp cloth, extra diaper, etc.) in the ToteSavvy Mini and then can easily put the insert into any “regular” purse. Usually I just use my Madewell tote with the ToteSavvy Mini inside as my “diaper bag.”

NURSING & FEEDING

Boppy – I really liked having this nursing pillow, especially in newborn phase and in middle of night. Now, we use the Boppy as a “Lucy lounger” (pictured below)
High chair – we don’t have a ton of space and I didn’t want a big, bulky high chair. We registered for and received this Inglesina high chair that hooks onto our dining table and love it!
Bibs – once baby starts solids, you can’t have too many bibs! The silicone ones like this are easiest to clean up, but I also love our MatiMati ones (8 bibs for $20), and the SUPER cute Little Unicorn ones like this. I *try* to keep the “cute” bibs for teething/drooling rather than eating because BABIES ARE SO MESSY.
Bottles – I did research and registered for three types that I heard great things about — ComoTomo, Avent Natural and Lifefactory. As you know from IG story, not a bottle fan and we ended up trying all of them without luck. She finally *does* accept a Lasinhoh bottle. I’d recommend registering for a variety pack and NOT BUYING/REGISTERING FOR TOO MANY DIFFERENT BOTTLES. You will have so many bottles leftover that you don’t use (or, what my friend calls “a bottle graveyard”) 😂
Baby Bottle Cleaner – we got this Munchkin stainless steel one and it doesn’t bother me to have it sitting out because it’s not bright green/blue like all of the other ones out there…🙃
Bottle Drying Rack – bottles and pumps come with so many parts! We got this clear bottle drying rack.
Burp Cloths – very important. We have some from Burt’s Bees and also have like a 20 pack of these plain, super absorbent ones.

BATH

Baby bathtub – we registered for and received the Boon Soak Infant Bathtub. We used it once and gave it away because Lucy preferred to take baths with me instead! It doesn’t bother me at all, and actually really fun for us to take a bath together for now. 🛁
Bath products – our favorite brands for baby shampoo, body wash, etc. are Tubby Todd, Honest and Burt’s Bees.

DIAPERING

Keekaroo Peanut Changer – obsessed with this changing pad. I love how modern it looks and even more, LOVE that we can easily wipe it clean (vs. having to wash and swap out changing pad sheets). We have this on top of a dresser in our room – see photo below.
Ubbi Diaper Pail – we almost didn’t get one of these because I thought it was “just another baby thing” BUT so happy we did!
Changing Mat – I love our leather Gathre changing mat. Easy to fold into diaper bag and wipe clean, plus looks so pretty. This is such a great, simple baby shower gift!
Wipe Warmer – we didn’t register for one, but ended up buying one at 2am on the Amazon app…because no one wants to deal with a baby screaming at 1:45am because of cold wipes. Probably not a necessity, but very, very nice to have, especially in early days.
Diapers & wipes – the easiest baby shower gift because THEY WILL BE USED. We registered for Honest and usually use these, but truly now use “whatever we can get.”

HEALTH

Humidifier – adds moisture to the air, so especially helpful in the winter or when someone is feeling sick. It’s helpful for sinus congestion, sore throats, allergies, colds, dry skin, etc.

Air Purifier – cleans up stuffy air in our apartment, especially helpful if you have a pet or live in an old building, like we do!

Thermometer

Windi – not glamorous but incredibly effective and brilliant product for “helping baby pass gas.” Basically a lifesaver when she was pretty gassy early on.

NoseFrida – another brilliant product from same brand above. This is great for when baby has runny or stuffy nose. We use all the time.
Nail Clippers – babies have surprisingly sharp fingernails! We have this one, but clipping nails still scares me, so Eric is the one who does this during what we call “Lucy spa days.” 💆🏼‍♀️
FYI, here’s the (now very outdated) link to our original baby registry.

swaddle storage solution + our favorite swaddles

Posted on: Monday, July 16, 2018

As you likely know, we live in a pretty tiny apartment and converted E’s walk-in closet into a nursery! I’m always looking for ways to be smart and strategic with our space, and today, I wanted to share my one creative and inexpensive solution for storing baby blankets and swaddles. I purchased an over-the-door hanging shoe organizer ($8) and hung it on the door in between Lucy’s closet-turned-nursery and the kitchen. We store all of Lucy’s swaddles and lightweight blankets here! Not only is this an inexpensive solution, but it’s also super convenient to find and easily grab a swaddle/blanket when we need.

Our swaddle and blanket collection has evolved and changed already since these photos from December/January, but a few of my favorite brands for swaddles are below! Swaddling was HUGELY important for getting Lucy to sleep early on…she wouldn’t sleep unless she was tightly bundled and secure. Eric literally bundled her up like a little burrito. 😅 When Lucy was about 3.5 months old, we transitioned out of being wrapped in a swaddle to the Love to Dream SwaddleUp 50/50 because she likes to sleep with her hands out/in her mouth. We still use swaddles every day for park days, playing at home, bundling up in the car/on-the-go, etc. I will also sometimes do a half swaddle (arms out) over her SwaddleUp on super cold nights.

Okay anyway here’s the swaddles I love! Of course, we have a few others from different brands but these are my very favorites and top recommendations. You can’t go wrong with any of these and in my experience, it’s worth it to pay a little bit more for better quality swaddles because they’ll get used more!

Solly – I’m obsessed with wearing Lucy in our Solly baby wrap, but also love their swaddles. They are seriously the softest blankets and I have 5 of them. They come in beautiful colors and a few simple, modern patterns

Copper Pearl – Lightweight and so so soft. They also have SUCH cute and fun patterns! We have this beautiful watercolor floral swaddle

Clementine Kids – Adorable cotton muslin swaddles. We have this floral swaddle and this rainbow swaddle

Little Unicorn Official – cotton swaddles. Everything from this brand, from swaddles to bibs and everything in between, is just gorgeous ✨

Aden + Anais – This a cult mom fave and the swaddles hold up so well in the wash. We have this ‘indigo’ silky soft swaddle set (3 pack) and this ‘jungle jam’ classic swaddle set (4 pack). Also, thought this was interesting to share — there’s the main aden + anais swaddles I mentioned/linked to and there’s also “aden by aden + anais” swaddles available at different retailers (like Kroger, Buy Buy Baby, Target, etc.) The main/”boutique” aden + anais swaddles are a bit more expensive, but have a higher quality weave (so they are softer) and three inches bigger than the made-for-store aden by aden + anais swaddles. We have the other type too, but I can definitely tell a difference in quality between “boutique” swaddles from a+a and the retailer ones.

Thanks for reading!

Top three photos via Hannah Pobar || Bottom photo via Leigh Nile

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