PERFECT PIECES: TED BAKER.

Today I am sharing some of my favorite dresses from designer Ted Baker London.  I love the classic shapes, structured silhouettes, and feminine details. One of my favorite dresses ever is this red one I wore for our Valentine's Day card. The dresses below can be worn to everything from work to a wedding to a girls night out to date night. I've never seen anyone else wear a Ted Baker dress and that adds to my love for them!

 

xo,

PERFECT 10 SF: LIFE RECENTLY.

Happy Monday! We had a lovely weekend and I am happy to report that we did not do any cleaning! Ha! Every Monday post I write about how we spent so much time cleaning. Sorry to disappoint you!

A lot of readers email me saying how they love these daily life updates because it makes them feel connected to me and because they like seeing what our family is up to. We had a great weekend full of laughs, adventure, and my all-time favorite: swimming!

Our weekend consisted of: Noe Valley walks, Giants game, breakfast, and a trip up to Davis for a family celebration. Life is good and I am ready for a great work week! Stay tuned this week for more great posts!

10 Things on my mind right now:

  1. Post-Olympic Crash: I am SO sad the Olympics are over and I don't know what I am going to do! I'll probably watch some clips on YouTube. I am not kidding. I'll try and rewatch all of Kerri Walsh Jenning's and April Ross' matches online. Jesse and I have talked for years about going to Tokyo 2020!!! Can't wait! Hard to believe Lillian will be 5 the next time the Summer Olympics are on!
  2.  Birthday countdown is on!! Looking forward to celebrating my golden year on the 31!
  3. ATG Stores: Last week at the Sunset Magazine Idea House (bathroom pictured below) I discovered ATG Stores. Have you heard of it? It is an online home store and I think it is really great!
  4. Brian Boitano x Bay Scholars: On Friday night I had the pleasure of attending a private dinner with Olympic Ice Skater Brian Boitano turned celebrity chef at Credo Restaurant in support of Bay Scholars. The food was delicious and it was great to support such a wonderful cause.
  5. Back to daycare: Lillian is back to daycare after having last week off. I am happy to have her back at school and her back on a schedule and with some structure.
  6. Ikea App. Ikea has a new app but I am wondering, does anyone download apps anymore? I don't know the last one I downloaded.
  7. Baby Names: I liked this NY Times article about baby names. Why is it so hard for me to come up with boys names?? Any suggestions?
  8. Things all San Franciscans have said is worth the read!
  9. How cute are these little shoes for Lillian? <3
  10. On Friday I went to the Fairmont to see the unveiling of the Tony Bennett bronze statue. What a great day for San Francisco!

xo,

PERFECT PLACE: SUNSET MAGAZINE IDEA HOUSE.

Yesterday I had the special privilege of visiting the Sunset Magazine Idea House in the Berkeley Hills. To say that I was incredibly inspired is an understatement. I have always loved interior design and have always wished that I had taken a class or made it my career. And after walking through this gorgeous four story home designed by Lauren Geremia, I am even more enthralled with interior design. A spark was relit in me and I cannot wait to discover more.

You can read more about the house here and see my tour on Snapchat @CarolineMCurran.

Have a great Thursday!

xo,

Photos by Thomas J. Story/ Sunset Magazine.  

Photos by Thomas J. Story/ Sunset Magazine.  

PERFECT PIECES: LILLIAN'S WARDROBE UPDATE.

Happy Friday! A lot of people email me and snap me (@CarolineMCurran) asking me questions about Lillian's wardrobe so I thought I would share my approach to shopping for our little girl. Lillian has finally grown out of her 6-12 month clothes, which were primarily leggings and comfy clothes for daycare. With all of the great summer sales happening I picked her up some new pieces that reflect her big girl personality! I also just ordered a bunch of shoes that should be arriving soon! I can't wait!!

Here are some pieces that I adore:

PERFECT PAINT: PAINTZEN.

I am SO excited to introduce you to PaintZen- it's been called the Uber for paint, but it is actually so much more than that. For me, it is the solution to my constant need for change. A lot of people ask me my hobbies and I often say painting and of course, have to clarify that I mean painting walls.

When you grow up watching Trading Spaces (yes, remember that show and how cute the host Paige Davis was) it shapes your mindset that big changes can be made in a day. In our first apartment, I am pretty sure I painted our living room once, bedroom twice, and kitchen four times. Yes, four times. I had summers off at my previous job and before I started graduate school I had a lot of time. I'd head to Lowe's near me and pick up paint and a quick painting set. Jesse would leave the kitchen looking one way and come home to a completely different look.

When we moved in to our current place, the paint job was really great- the quality and colors were perfect. We decided not to paint Lillian's nursery and it was something that I regretted from the time she was born until now! See, when we moved into our current place it was the week after we found out we were pregnant and we weren't really sure how long we would stay in this place. So it always felt a little temporary. 

Since Lillian was born and especially since she started walking, our place has really felt like home. It is a true Noe Valley apartment with small rooms but it has everything that we want in a place. On Jesse's list: lots of natural light, top floor, crown molding; my list: hardwood floors, updated bathroom and kitchen, and a big closet : ). Plus we have a garage, we're across the street from a produce market and a park, coffee shop, dry cleaners, nail salon and more! Our location could not be better.

So when we agreed that we'd stay here a little bit longer I felt like that gave me the green light to PAINT! While my passion for painting is a 10, my quality is probably a 6. To make up for days when Lillian didn't have a perfect nursery I decided (and Jesse agreed) it was best to hire a professional.

I am so delighted that I discovered PaintZen. It was SO easy and I highly recommend using them. You take a brief questionnaire and then they call you to confirm a time and date and then voíla- a professional painter arrives and takes care of everything. It was really fun and I will for sure use them again.

The picture above is not Lillian's nursery but I wanted to share because it is the color we went with: Benjamin Moore Queen Anne Pink- we went with the Natura brand. Here are the images I first shared of Lillian's nursery. Honestly, the decorating and photographing happened so fast because i had a deadline to get the images to About.com so I didn't decorate it the exact way I wanted to. Now that we know Lillian and her lovely personality she is more of a pink lady. Her nursery is constantly evolving and now we are redecorating it again for her big girl lifestyle. Stay tuned for that reveal!

xo,

paint-zen

A special thank you to PaintZen for partnering on this post.

PERFECT PLANS: WEEKEND RECAP.

Happy Monday! After so many great weekends up in Sonoma, we decided that it would be best to hang around the city. With such busy weeks, especially for Jesse, on the weekends we try to savor as much family time for the three of us. I know it seems like we do "nothing" on the weekends and part of that is since I have a flexible schedule during the week I get to do all of those things that most people do on the weekends- errands, nails, appointments, nights out, dinner, and drinks. Yes, I am the one taking that 5:30 weekday dinner reservation at the restaurant that is packed on the weekends. We like our weekends to just be low key and down to earth.

Jesse and I both love sports but were both pleasantly surprised to see how much Lillian loves the Olympics. We've had the tv on 24/7 since the opening ceremonies last weekend and it's been really fun. We never have the tv on so it's fun to have the energy of the Olympics in our house.

Saturday we were in the Giants spirit! I love these photos, especially the first and last, because I feel like they capture motherhood, parenthood, Lillian, and our family dynamic. There are definitely the sweet moments with Lillian and since she is such a daredevil there are the moments when my heart stops as she is climbing on chairs, running, and being super adventurous.

If you aren't from San Francisco or a Giants fan you are probably wondering what the heck is Lillian wearing!! I realized as we were heading to the ballpark that Lillian doesn't have any SF Giants clothes that fit her (my cousin Jackie gave us the cutest newborn onesies that she's now outgrown). And everyone knows I love her in pink but I couldn't go to the ballpark with her wearing pink!! I will have to get her something on etsy. In the meantime, I threw together an orange and black outfit.

The energy by the ballpark is unlike anything else. It reminds me of the energy of Disneyland, in a way; everyone is happy, families are together, people are cheering and it is an absolute sea of black and orange. It's fun to go walk around early before a game and have a drink at The Yard. It's fun to look back at these photos from the ballpark when my blog was just a baby. And now I'm back with my baby!! <3

 

If you haven't been to the ballpark recently I recommend you go check it out!!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!!

xo,

 

 

PERFECT PIECES: SUMMER WHITES.

Happy Friday!! The weekend is here! Sharing my favorite summer dress-- this has been my go-to since purchasing it for Lillian's birthday (last seen here). To show my Olympic spirit I've been adding my favorite scarf (last seen here) and adding some red flats. I hope everyone has a great weekend! 

xo,

PERFECT PROFESSIONAL: TIPS FOR WORKING AT HOME.

Good morning, Critters!

I get a lot of emails from readers asking exactly what it is that I do. No, I'm not at all insulted when people ask that, in case you are wondering. I am always curious about how people spend their time, especially during the work week, if they don't have a traditional job. If you follow me on Snapchat (@CarolineMCurran) it might look particularly confusing to see me in the middle of the day doing something fun. I have people ask me all the time if I even work! 

Earlier this year I launched a boutique marketing agency Curran Creative. I work with companies on their marketing ideas, plans, and help implement and execute. What this means is that I use my creative juices and knowledge to help companies spread the word about themselves, their services or their products. It really is rewarding to work with great companies that I believe in and people who I genuinely enjoy.

So.....what do I do? I write blog posts, connect with customers, help with social media, brainstorm ideas, and more. I also work on my blog and meet with other entrepreneurs to hear about their company, give them feedback, and help in any way I can.

As someone who spent the last couple of years commuting to Atherton (near Palo Alto), my new career offers me the opportunity to work from the comfort of our home. It's quite funny how opposite my daily experience is from my time working in schools. At school we had a strict start time, bells set the pace, and there was so much structure. Now I have flexibility, no commute time, and complete control over my schedule.

Working from home has been wonderful for me and a lot of people ask me my tips, how I stay focused, and my perspective on the whole experience. I thought I would share my tips here because even if you work in an office, I am sure you bring your work home with you. Work doesn't end when you punch out.

I'd like to think it was my experiences as a good student and then an educator, as well as Jesse's example, my need for autonomy, and my drive that enable me to really thrive as a party of one all day. (I'm not trying to be boastful, but Adele inspires me to talk more honestly about myself). Hopefully some of my practices help make it easier for you to come up with ways to be more effective and efficient when working from home.


 

Get up early. I like to get up early and start my day before Lillian is awake. Checking a few emails, planning out my day, and looking at my to-do list makes me feel ahead of the game.

Have a routine. Jesse wakes up Lillian, I make breakfast for us, get her dressed and I drop her off at school. Having to get her up and out the door makes me start the day and get some fresh air. I'm fortunate for drop-off because it gives me structure at the beginning of the day. The only thing I feel bad about is that everyone at Lillian's daycare sees me looking like a trainwreck after I've just rolled out of bed. I drop her off, get a hot chocolate (a habit I am trying to break but I don't drink caffeine), and then exercise and hop to work. I usually don't get dressed until 10:00am so if you see me before then...SORRY! It's a sight worth avoiding!

Eat dessert first. I read an article about being more effective- 8 Habits of Highly Effective People on Real Simple - and one bit of well quoted advice is to "eat the frog", meaning do the most challenging work first so that you have mental energy to do the easiest tasks. While I like this advice and I think it applies in some cases, for me I have found that it is best to eat dessert first. I always work on my most pleasurable and enjoyable work. As a creative person I find it much more invigorating to work on what is most interesting to me. I use that momentum to carry me over to the projects I am not as eager about. If I feel stuck on a client's project or request, I will write a blog post on here about my feelings or things that inspire me. Just getting words out helps me think creatively and then bust the road block I was having.

Define a working space. While I don't have a beautiful office like the one pictured above, I have found that working in certain spots at certain times of day really helps me. Mornings I lay on our chaise, afternoons in our bed, and at night I work at the kitchen table. 

Create a space that is conducive to working. If there is one thing that gets me sidetracked it's the urge to clean our house. Since work and home are the same place it can get messy. I try and clean before bed so that I can work in a clean home office space. Even if I am exhausted I will clean so that I won't waste working hours cleaning. I also love having music on; I pretty much have it on 24/7 and am glad Lillian loves it. But I will listen to an album on repeat so that I don't even notice it. I don't have to bother with skipping annoying songs. Jesse thinks it is INSANE that I can listen to music on repeat. It honestly becomes white noise to me after I've listened to it a few times in a row that I don't even notice it. Obviously, I have 25 on repeat!!!!!

Get dressed. There are definitely days where the only people I interact with are the staff at Lillian's daycare. And that is for five minutes at drop-off and pick-up. But even on the days when I know I am not going to see anyone I get out of my pajamas and put on a comfortable work-from-home-outfit. 

Check in with someone else who works from home. It is an absolute blessing to have Claire also work from home. We check in about our days, what we are working on, and bounce ideas off of one another. I am happy to be your person you check in with! Just email me Caroline.Perfect10SF@gmail.com

Create checklists. The night before I usually make a list of everything I need to do. This helps me stay organized and get things done. 


xo,