OMG! Enter to win a YEAR of free meals + manis

These days, there are a few things I wish I had in unlimited supply: Uninterrupted sleep. Time to do stuff around the house. The ability to do my hair and makeup with one arm while holding a squirming (and sometimes screaming) baby. The motivation and self-confidence to wear real pants.

As much as we wish we had the time and ability to check everything off our lists while still looking presentable, it’s just not always possible. Babies don’t seem to get the memo to take a nap so we can put on a moisturizing mask, or wash our hair, or even cook a dinner that wasn’t once frozen in a box.


Time is valuable … but our well-being is, too, which is why I am SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED to tell you about the Year of Free Meals and Manicures Contest from PrettyQuick and Radish, two apps that make my life infinitely easier and lots more enjoyable. Download them now, thank me later.

pq radish phones

One lucky winner will receive a year of manicures and meals from PrettyQuick and Radish, which is valued at more than $1500. Go – seriously, GO RIGHT NOW – to the Meals and Manis page and enter your email address in the box.

That’s it! It couldn’t be easier to gain entry for a year’s worth of YOU time.


What would winning this contest mean? It would mean more of the confidence-boosting beauty treatments you’ve probably avoided because you’re too tired and busy. More opportunities to eat healthy without the hassle. And, most importantly, more time to give your drooling baby (or, you know, your non-drooling partner) a billion kisses instead of scouring the pantry for tonight’s dinner.


The contest runs through April 14, but you really shouldn’t wait to enter – it’s easy enough to do when you’re toting around a baby and when you’re sleep-deprived. And while you’re at it, download PrettyQuick (use referral code FANCYKINS for a free manicure) or see what’s on the menu over at Radish. Oh man, there’s just something about Chicago apps that gives me the warm-fuzzies, and these are two of the absolute best.

I mean, who doesn’t want to make their life easier and a billion times more enjoyable? Someone who doesn’t enter this contest, clearly.


Oh, I almost forgot to tell you the best part! The PrettyQuick weekly credit will roll over each week and can be used toward any service on PrettyQuick. Do you know what that means? You can treat yourself to all the most incredible, luxurious, decadent beauty treatments this side of the Mississippi.

What would YOU get if you won an ENTIRE YEAR of services? Oh man. I can hardly think about it without getting giddy.

How to style a stylin’ mantle: The sequel

One of the most popular posts on this here blog was an inaugural mantle-styling how-to, starring James putting up some garland while I stood on the couch on the other side of the room and barked orders at him. He is a really great helper, and we loved that mantle setup so much, we didn’t change it until we moved and put all the crap into boxes.

Well, guess what? We’re done moving. It’s time to decorate the mantle in the new digs using the same layering technique we used in the first post. Also heavily relying on a technique I like to call “Put stuff where the cat can’t get it,” and so far, this technique works, because she has yet to jump up on the mantle and stick her paw in a jar full of marbles.

Enough of my yammering. LET’S DO THIS!

STEP 1: Start with the Big Stuff … and an empty mantle.

In this case, I started with three framed Dolan Geiman prints, which you might have seen before. They’re kind of crooked, but life goes on. Also, those cool reclaimed wood-lookin’ frames? HOMEGOODS. SO CHEAP. Find me one person who can’t find a treasure at HomeGoods and I will make that person my enemy.

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STEP 2: Add something soft-looking to balance the hard edges of larger items.

It should come as no shock to you that I’m choosing (AGAIN) to incorporate what some may consider Christmas-y decor, but greenery always has the green light in my book. If you think otherwise, throw up a cool berry swag or some really pretty magnolia leaf garland here. The options! They’re endless!

fancykins mantle 13 fancykins mantle 14Also in soft-ish looking things, I added a yellow basket smack-dab in the middle of the fireplace to make the whole thing look more purposeful, thanks to the yellow fireplace tiles and yellow elements in the hanging art. Also, I just really like the basket.

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STEP 3: Anchor your corners.

Making a second mantle appearance (!!!) is this silver candelabra, dug out from a box of Halloween decorations, opposite a tall lantern with a Luminara LED candle inside. Also, that candle? I’m obsessed with it. It’s quite possibly the star of the mantle … and our entire home. LED candles have come a long way, people.

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STEP 4: Finish it off with random knickknacks.

Obviously the best part of the whole thing … unless you’re drinking while decorating, in which case this is the SECOND most fun part. I was feeling saucy – thanks in part to a baby who refuses to let me sleep for more than a few hours straight each night – so I threw knickknacks on in a few stages: large, medium, small. SO CLEVER, I’M AWARE.

First up, we have the big guys, AKA some jars I didn’t have room for anywhere else in the house. One of them is empty, and I didn’t care because I’m lazy and sleep deprivation is a real thing.

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Next, we have medium, AKA a few candle holder things, which hold candles I will probably never light.

fancykins mantle 18 fancykins mantle 9And, finally, we have tiny things, AKA a small bird that the cat thinks is a toy, and a tin cup with a candle inside … that I also probably will never light.

fancykins mantle 17 fancykins mantle 8BAM. Done.

Behold the finished product, complete with a second lantern and Luminara candle (obsessed, really), a wood block of votive candles, and a crock of blankets. Also (accidentally) pictured are a bag of almonds and a basket of breast pump parts. KEEPING IT CLASSY PER USUAL.

fancykins mantle 2 fancykins mantle 7 fancykins mantle 6 fancykins mantle 5 fancykins mantle 4And, for the sake of keeping it real and all that jazz, here’s what the living room looks like ALL THE TIME NOW. Baby gear up the wazoo.

fancykins mantle 1There’s Wilder taking a quick morning snooze in the Snugapuppy Rock ‘n Play, which we resisited buying because I thought it was obnoxious and unnecessary, but then finally caved and bought it and OH MY GOD, GREATEST NAPTIME PURCHASE EVER. Buy this thing, and you will be able to pee and shower and cook dinner and do laundry and anything else you could possibly dream of.

Sigh. If only adulting was as fun as mantle decorating.

What fun stuff are YOU guys up to lately?

Here’s a sneak peek of Wilder’s nursery

Hey, remember when this blog was more about decorating an apartment than having a baby? Yeah … those were the days. We’ll get back to design stuff soon enough – I still have to post about our actual FINISHED house, for crying out loud – but in the meantime, let’s combine furnishings and babying and do a little nursery preview, shall we?

fancykins nursery preview 1 (2)And what good is a baby-related post without a picture of a squirmy, cooing baby wearing a sweater outfit?

Note to self (and anyone else considering putting their child in a sweater outfit): The cuteness does not make up for the fact that the buttons take FOR-EVER during a diaper change. Especially when the baby is furiously kicking his legs. And screaming.

fancykins nursery preview 4

fancykins nursery preview 2 fancykins nursery preview 5 fancykins nursery preview 6 fancykins nursery preview 7 fancykins nursery preview 3fancykins nursery preview 8 (1)All the details – including before and after pictures, paint colors and a bunch of teeny, tiny baby things that are heart-stoppingly cute – coming soon, but for now, Wilder and I are putting our Baby K’Tan carrier to good use and ACTUALLY LEAVING THE HOUSE. After being so cooped up for so long, this is a really huge deal. Fingers crossed he doesn’t scream his head off or spit up all over me, both of which are totally possible … and horrifying.


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