Feeling Lucky?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends! Many of you celebrated over the weekend, I’m sure. I did as well, though my St. Patty’s Day fun was without green beer or a shamrock painted face. Instead, the festivities began at the crack of dawn with a 6.2 mile run in my hometown. My second year running the Get to the Green Race was not easy, but despite my lackluster performance, I survived and look forward to continuing this annual tradition.

Still smiling!

Still smiling!

While in Columbia, the place I still refer to as “home”, though I haven’t lived there in nearly a decade, I reached out to many friends, family members, acquaintances, and even complete strangers in an effort to share Noonday Collection with as many women as possible. You see, I have a personal goal to introduce Noonday whenever I can in an effort to create stronger brand awareness for this amazing company. Of course, I’m almost always decked out in our accessories, which is the easiest and most obvious way to show off the line. But additionally, I am striving to inform those around me about the jewelry we sell, and the stories those pieces tell. It’s not always comfortable or natural, and there have been times, much like a few moments during Saturday’s 10K, where I feel like I am not doing what I set out to do. However, like with running, no single moment or minor setback can undo the hard work or dedication you put forth.

As I continue to learn more about Noonday Collection and explain to others how this company is creating change and economic opportunity using beautiful, handmade designs, I have realized that my passion to share what we’re doing is about much more than brand awareness. I think Noonday has something to offer every woman and I want others to see that as well. Whether it’s the story, how it began, the vision, the artisans, the ambassadors, or simply the jewelry alone, Noonday Collection is reaching women all over the world. For me, it’s about connecting with others: women in my community, among my family, old friends, new friends, even those I barely know. Most of all, it’s about feeling connected to the many women I have never met, but who make the gorgeous pieces I wear each day, and are grateful to be able to do so.

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One of those pieces from our new spring line serves as a reminder of these connections. The bold, yet feminine Linked Lace bracelet is a chain wrapped with sage-colored cotton, it’s materials as intertwined as we are with one another. Leave a comment for your chance to win your own Linked Lace Bracelet, made by our artisan group in India. Here’s hoping you have a little luck of the Irish with you today!

Linked Lace Bracelet in Sage

Linked Lace Bracelet in Sage

To those of you who have been following the Noonday blog train, thank you for stopping by! If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, head over to Bex & Bestie to catch up! And tomorrow, be sure to check out Annie’s blog as we chug along, rolling out more Noonday Collection love for all.

Merry, Bright, & Warm: A Noonday Collection Giveaway

If you know me, you know I  Noonday. So it is probably no surprise that I have spent much of this holiday season encouraging women to shop with a cause for those they love this year. ‘Tis the season to be jolly after all! And what will make you (and anyone who receives Noonday!) happier than knowing your beautiful, handmade, high-quality gift was not only created fairly and with love, but also contributed to helping women in need around the world?

2013 Postcard Christmas VistaPrint Front

My hope is that by getting you excited about Noonday Collection, you will share your enthusiasm with others, and join me in showing how we can make a difference, all while crossing names off our shopping lists.

Now, clearly there is no better way to build some buzz and spread holiday cheer, than with a giveaway! Because I know you too will fall in love with Noonday once you are draped in one of our gorgeous scarves, I am offering a cozy way to stay warm this winter, while looking brilliantly stylish, of course! One lucky winner will get to choose her favorite of these four luxurious scarves, all handmade by our artisans in Peru for the Fall/Winter 2013 line:

ScarfGiveaway

These are a few of our best-selling & undeniably festive scarves from the current collection.

Bundling up never looked so good! The Gemstone Wrap is 100% alpaca. It’s touchable softness and bold jewel tones make it stand out in any crowd. Our Moonlit Cable Infinity will dress-up every outfit, adding a hint of glimmer to even the dreariest winter day. Stay warm and bright with the Winter Garden Infinity. It’s combination of neutral shades with a bit of color make it perfect to pair with nearly any coat. Lastly, prepare to get noticed in our Carolina Pom Scarf! A great addition to any wardrobe, the magenta fringe and pom-poms pop next to the charcoal wool-blended length of the scarf.

See one you must-have? Win it! With up to fifteen entries possible, it just might be yours!

 Earn one entry for each of the following:

1. Leave a comment telling me which scarf is your favorite.

2. Like Must-Have Love on Facebook

3. Share this giveaway on your Facebook page

4. Follow @Must_Have_Love on Twitter

5. Tweet about this giveaway (include my Twitter handle, @Must_Have_Love)

Earn five entries for each of the following:

6. Book a Noonday Collection Trunk Show by emailing me at jodie.noondaycollection@gmail.com

7. Shop with a cause! Make any Noonday purchase on my site (remember to select Jodie Watson as your ambassador at checkout to get your additional entry).

ENTER HERE USING RAFFLECOPTER

A winner will be selected at random Monday, December 16th and announced right here! And because we have guaranteed Christmas delivery on all orders placed by Tuesday, December 17th at midnight, you will receive your scarf in time to wear, or gift, this Christmas.

Happy gifting-and giving!

Season’s Greetings!

It’s that time of year! Outfits have been chosen, pictures taken (and retaken), photos critiqued, and finally selected. Now for the cards! There are so many wonderful options out there, and the styles seem endless. Picking the perfect one can feel daunting if you’re anything like me. I wish just one stood out, but there are so many amazing designs (and some really great deals as well)!  Each is equally unique, seasonal, beautiful, or glitzy as the next. Plus, you can customize many of them to look exactly like you want. How is a family to choose? Well, I haven’t yet. But I have narrowed my favorites down to a few…five. Here are the ones I am loving this year:

From Minted (www.minted.com)

From Minted

Since I’m getting down to the wire and still have a little one’s second birthday to celebrate, picking one might become very easy because if I wait much longer, I’ll be considering Happy New Year’s cards instead. Hmm, I bet there are some cute ones out there…

Have you ordered or sent your holiday cards yet? If so, what kind of cards did you choose this year-and how did you pick?

Well Read

The title of this post is a play on words…you see, currently I am far from well read. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have not picked up a book for pleasure since we moved to Raleigh. Which means, other than kid lit (not to be confused with children’s literature-which I have read my fair share of-kid lit refers to the books parents immerse themselves in with their first child), I have done barely any reading at all-unless you count flipping through a magazine here and there, or skimming various blog posts a few times a week. Oh-I also read Yahoo headlines almost everyday.

So, the title of this post is not a description. It’s a suggestion. Or a command maybe. I need to read more. I want to read more. I love to read, so amid my recent complaining about this, my husband said, “Well, read!”. How simple, right? I hope so. But just in case something (or everything) gets in the way, I made a plan. Yes, I scheduled my reading time. Each day I have set aside a chunk of time for my book and me to get better acquainted. And I have to say, I’m quite excited.

My youngest sister recently read a book for her first college class and then passed it along to me. I am not sure it’s one I would have selected myself (not even sure if she would have picked it out-it was required reading and the author is an alum of her school), but I have a copy now, which made it a strong contender. Also, I figure she might want to discuss the novel, so that’s motivation for me to prioritize reading.

The Starboard Sea by

The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont

Once I finish The Starboard Sea, I plan to read:

TheSignatureofAllThings

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

ROOM

Room by Emma Donoghue

WeAreWater

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

Given my recent history, I am guessing that will be it for 2013, sadly. But I hope to begin the new year with a book in hand and not let a month (or four) pass without finishing something I am reading just because.

Have you ever fallen into a reading rut? Any suggestions to get my 2014 started strong and keep me reading?

Fall Favorites

Happy fall y’all!

FallTrees

What do I love about fall? Hmmm…just about everything! I wrote about my affinity for this season last year, so I thought I would recap with a top ten list, as to not seem redundant.

Here are my ten autumn favorites:

1. Pumpkin everything

Seriously, everything….beer, patches, lattes, scones, oatmeal, carving, smoothies, seeds, cookies, painting, muffins…I love it all! As soon as Labor Day passes each year, I become pumpkin obsessed and get so excited for the beginning of fall. And pumpkin is super healthy-it’s full of vitamins and fiber, and it’s pretty cheap to boot!

2. Apple Picking

This is actually more of a fantasy favorite since I haven’t done it in forever. Still, each year I think about how much I want to go to a farm (orchard?), pick as many apples as my arms can bear, then peel every single one to make homemade apple pie. This will probably never happen of course, but I would be content to pick some apples with my family on a nice, cool fall day and bring them home to slather in caramel enjoy.

3. Hayrides

It’s probably not acceptable for any adult over the age of nineteen to be taking a hayride by him/herself, but now that I have a child I can totally get away with taking her on one. Which is excellent news because I’m pretty sure this is something I will appreciate way more as an adult than I ever did as a kid-they’re just so scenic!

4. Holidays!!!

Halloween and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays. I love them! I love the candy, I love the costumes, I love all the decorations (pumpkins again!), I love food, I love my family and friends, I love baking, and I have a lot to be thankful for, so it only makes sense that this time of year makes me oh so happy. Also, Madeline’s birthday is technically in the fall, and of course that counts as a holiday too (for now at least). Let the celebrating begin!

5. The weather

Weeeelllll…I guess technically it doesn’t really feel like fall in NC yet, not most days at least. But the temperatures have fallen some, bringing sweet relief to my sweaty summer self. Whew! Now once we don’t have to run the AC or the heat? Yeah, then I will officially claim the fall weather has arrived.

6. Falling leaves

Due to the slow start of the season down south, as mentioned above, most trees around us are still leaf-packed and full of green; however, I do love when the leaves begin to morph into beautiful autumn shades of red, yellow, and orange, then tumble down and cover the ground. That’s the perfect time to pile them up and stomp through the crunchy stacks.

7. Scarves, sweaters, and boots

Oh my! So cute, so cozy, so ready to wear them! Almost (I hope). I’m sure many of you have long since busted out your cool weather threads and are looking cute as can be, sipping apple cider and hanging around bonfires.

8. Warm seasonal beverages

I do love a pumpkin spice latte, or a splash of gingerbread flavored creamer to get my coffee fix. The flavors are smell so good and just taste like the season, so for a few months I try to drink in as much as I can.

9. Cold seasonal beverages

Then of course there are the beers that are only available this time of year-and yeah, I love those too. So much so, that I did an entire post on my favorites last year when I tasted my way through a good many of them. This year I am showing a bit more restraint, but I do love a good Oktoberfest or pumpkin brew now and then.

10. Candy corn

Colorful sugary goodness-what’s not to love? (even if I do make myself sick on it every. single. year.). Too sweet for you? Mix some up with peanuts! Such a winning combination. I want some right now…

candycorn

Do you love fall too? What are some of your favorites this time of year?

Ways to Brighten a Rainy Day!

Since moving to Raleigh in June we have had many sunny days, some cloudy ones (what I refer to as relief in the summer), and few washouts. Most of the rain we have had passed quickly, so getting outside everyday hasn’t been out of the question. It looks like that might all change this week though. It’s early in the week, and I’m already like, “WHAT WILL WE DO IF IT RAINS EVERYDAY???!!!” “We should make some indoor plans in case the inclement weather keeps us indoors.”

Staying inside for the whole day can be quite difficult with a toddler. So I try not to. My go-to rainy day activities still involve leaving the house. Our favorites around here are:

1. Going to the library to checkout books (if we can catch story time, that’s a big plus)

2. Heading to the kids’ museum (ours is amazing)

3. Hitting up a Gymboree class (a past time Madeline loves in rain or shine)

Some days though, you just can’t make it out the front door. Perhaps it’s storming, or going to, and your child is scared. If you’re like me, it could be that you just don’t really like driving in torrential downpours. Or maybe it’s not even raining very hard-or at all. The reason for staying in doesn’t really matter. What you are going to do to entertain a rambunctious tot until nap time is what’s important. So, here are a few of our most reliable (ie: fun and stimulating) indoor activities:

1. Play Picasso

I was admittedly nervous to break out the paints and let Madeline embrace her artistic side. I just had visions of mad chaos overcoming our entire home and no paint making it onto the actual paper. But I put my fears aside and finally bought some finger paints to try out (Crayola’s washable paint is incredible-seriously, it wipes off of everything like water). I covered four paper plates with different paint colors, placed them on the floor around a canvas, and showed Madley what to do. She caught on very quickly and went at it. Needless to say, she loved painting and had a blast creating her first masterpiece.

This is awesome!

This is awesome!

I'm a mess! Now what Mama?

Are you sure I’m supposed to get this messy Mama?

The finished product

The finished product-Brilliant!

2. Churn Your Own Butter

We recently went to a Meet-up event hosted by Organic Valley where we got to churn butter out of heavy whipping cream. It was so fun! My girl is a little young to appreciate how remarkable the activity was, but I  really enjoyed it and will definitely keep it in the rotation for the future. Eventually, I think it’s something she’ll love doing. Best of all, it was so easy and much faster than I would have guessed. We were given a glass jar with a lid filled with 4oz of cream.

photo (2)

After shaking it for about three minutes, we had a cup of whipped cream. We kept shake, shake, shaking, and within five to seven minutes, butter! Once you have your final result, you can eat it plain on toast, etc. or season it with garlic, herbs, sugar and cinnamon, and so on. Neat, right?

Voila!

Voila!

3. Go Down “Unduh”

Unduh. That’s how Madeline says, “under”. She loves to climb under our dining room table with her, “yee-ul books” (meaning board books) and read. She brings out blankets and then crawls between the chair legs to settle in. This makes for perfect rainy day fun if you simply hang blankets off the sides of the table and cram under there with a flashlight, a few books, or even some paper and crayons. Basically, just build a fort!

4. Sugar Coat It

Yes, when in doubt, bake! I’m all about keeping it healthy(ish), of course. But whipping up a batch of cookies, then decorating them, or making cupcakes to frost together can be a wonderful way to pass the time. Plus, there are many opportunities for your child to learn while baking. From measuring, to counting, or telling time, this activity really lends itself to sneaking in a teaching moment or two.

Mmmm...Candy Corn! Perfect for Fall. (Best served after nap!)

Mmmm…Candy Corn! Perfect for Fall.
(Best served after nap!)

5. Think Inside the Box

Then there is the simplest way of all to make a last minute plan: keep a rainy day box on hand. Yep, it’s that easy. Stock up on a few of your child’s favorite things, store them in a box or bucket, pull it out and pop the lid off when necessary. Boom! Tons of fun at your fingertips. Madeline spends forever just sifting through all the options before choosing what we will do. I suggest puzzles, Play-Doh, streamers, bubbles, pipe cleaners, string, dry pasta, and food coloring to start. But honestly, the possibilities here are endless!

Hopefully these ideas will come in handy next time your plans are thwarted by Mother Nature. In the meantime, if you see it’s pouring out and cannot decide if it will be worse to venture out or stay home, Keep Calm and…Keep your Kids Busy! (I know, it’s been widely overused and totally exhausted. Please excuse me).

What are your best rainy day plans to keep little ones entertained? Please share!

Noonday Collection: Style Your Friends. Change the World.

I truly love being a stay-at-home mom. Spending my days with Madeline is a privilege to me.  She’s not without flaw, and I’m definitely not a perfect mother, but I adore her. Beyond that, I genuinely like her.  She amazes me and challenges me every single day and I can’t imagine not having our time together. I am blessed to have her as my daughter and feel so grateful I have been able to stay home to care for her.
With my sweet sidekick

My sweet sidekick & me

Recently though, I realized I have time to do more, give more, and be more in addition to my role as a stay-at-home mom. Like many women in similar situations, I have spent hours questioning if I’m enough, and while the answer should be a resounding, “YES!”, my desire to be involved in something more persists. So, when I learned about Noonday, I not only fell for the company’s mission, but also felt compelled to be part of the movement they have started. And now I am!
Noonday  LOGO
That’s right! After much contemplation, and some serious (over) thinking, I decided to become a Noonday Ambassador!
Postcard_No_Fall_mention
Noonday Collection began with a vision to alleviate poverty through entrepreneurship. The primary goal is to help women in vulnerable situations across the globe by providing jobs, creating fair work conditions, and increasing income opportunities that will ease their hardships.  Talented artisans from around the world create beautiful, handcrafted jewelry and accessories designed for Noonday. By purchasing with Noonday Collection, you can impact the lives of those in need while shopping your favorite styles and discovering the latest trends. If you’re like me, you are sure to become obsessed with our gorgeous fall line and the story behind each piece.
 Gatsby
If you feel inspired by Noonday or want to learn more, please be in touch! I would love to help you share Noonday Collection with others, so email me if you are interested in scheduling a trunk show or hosting an adoption fundraiser (jodie.noondaycollection@gmail.com). I am thrilled, terrified, excited, anxious, and overwhelmed by this new venture, but mostly I am eager to get started and see where my path with Noonday will lead!
Shine On

shop. style. share. advocate. 

Smashbook Love

I have always been a doodler. You know, scribbling around in notebooks and decorating binder covers as a student, filling planners with more fluffy drawings than actual reminders, or events. Also, I’m big on lists: shopping lists, to-do lists, pro/con lists-love a list! Sadly, however, I have never been very good at remembering to take pictures, or recording memories and milestones. Perhaps I am too busy making lists and then framing them in squiggly borders to prioritize the important other stuff. Enter Smashbook by K & Company, a journal/scrapbook combination of sorts. In a word: awesome.

When my sister-in-law (and doodling extraordinaire), who has a penchant for fancy paper and fine pens, introduced me to Smashbook by giving me one of my own, I knew instantly I would love it. Just a few moments leafing through hers, and I was hooked.

IMG_2702

Oh-and that pen? Yeah, it has a glue stick on one end so you can paste whatever into your book. Very cool.

These spiral bound books come in a variety of themes and are packed with blank sheets of paper just waiting to be covered and filled in. Best of all, there is plenty of space for jotting nonsense, composing multiple lists, and displaying pictures, and keeping track of important moments. You can cram just about anything between the two covers-just smash it in (hence the name…).

Here are a few ways I am currently utilizing my Smashbook:

SBBlog

For blogging ideas/publishing dates

SBposts

Scheduled posts

Smashbook

Madeline’s weekly activities

SBrunsched

My running plan

SBList

Total randomness

I have also been keeping up with what Madeline is up to each week or month in my Smashbook using “Top Ten Lists” of her current favorites, or just writing “Madley-isms” and noting the date. I know we’ll love to look back at these-they are adorable and hilarious. Since I haven’t been great about documenting every detail of our lives up to now, this is a quick and easy way to fill in the blanks on a more day-to-day basis.

Then there are the accessories…K & Company has an endless abundance of “extras” you can purchase to jam your Smashbook with important dates, cards, inspiring quotes, little reminders, mini envelopes, various stickers, and on and on and on. Having so many options can be overwhelming, but it’s a neat and effective way to personalize your book. And obviously all of the cute notepads and modernized Post-its can easily be used for anything else that tickles your creative funny bone.

SBextraSBextras2

As you can see, my Smashbook contains a little bit of everything going on in my life right now. I already want to fill it up so I can look back through it!

Do you have a Smashbook? If so, how do you use it?

***I was not compensated in any way by K&Company for this review-I just love my Smashbook and wanted to share it with y’all.***

Emmy Rundown

Did you watch the Sixty-fifth Emmy Awards last night? If so, were you like, “Whoa!”? Yeah, I had a few of those moments too.

So, I love Neil Patrick Harris and found him charming as ever. I’m nearly certain that watching anyone else try to pull off a mid-show song and dance number would have made me roll my eyes and take an unnecessary trip to the kitchen, annoyed. But NPH? Nope. In fact, I’d happily watch his little routine again right now…he’s just adorable. And beyond talented. Oh, and funny too.

Then there was the first award of the night, in which Merritt Wever surprised everyone with her unexpected win for her supporting role on Nurse Jackie. Even less predictable was her brief speech, quickly deemed, “The best ever” by countless summations on Twitter. The actual best speech of the night (by an actor at least) was Michael Douglas’-holy hilarious!

But I think it’s fair to say the real shock of the night was not an Emmy win, but two snubs. I thought I heard an audible gasp when Aaron Paul didn’t win Best Supporting Actor, but it was just me. Bryan Cranston not winning was an even bigger blow, magnified not in the moment Don Cheadle’s name was announced as much as when he later presented beside Best Actress winner Claire Danes, who almost seemed to be at a loss for words (hint: read the teleprompter). Clearly everyone had the most current, über intense, and brilliantly acted episodes of Breaking Bad in mind when Paul, then Cranston didn’t win. Or maybe that was just me again.

Breaking Bad did take home the big drama award of the night, which brought some redemption to the show and it’s remarkable cast and crew. None to me though, as I had moved on to rooting for the Netflix hit House of Cards.

Not nearly as much drama among the comedy categories, which I guess is appropriate. Clearly I need to be watching Veep. Memo received. Modern Family won again, and I do love that show, but Parks and Recreation is the best comedy on television in my opinion. And I would have been thrilled to hear the hilarious Louis C.K.’s acceptance speech.

Most importantly, who was the best-dressed of the night? Here are my favorites:

image imageimageimageimageemmys

65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Kaley Cuoco in Vera Wang was my #1 pick-love, love, love that gown!

Do you agree the Breaking Bad boys were robbed? Any other shockers? Favorite moments? And of course, who is your pick for best dressed?

Madeline is One!

…okay, getting quite close to turning two, actually. Yes, I realize my girl is twenty-one months old and will have her second birthday is three short months (cue the tears!), but I still want to document her special day, no matter how late.

foodtable

Madley turned one on Saturday, December 15, 2012. We had a safari party at home on her birthday. By the day of the event I was so wrapped up in one thousand details, I blinked and it was over. I didn’t take enough time to reflect on what happened that same day one year prior. I didn’t even take any pictures! Cal and I immediately decided that in the future we will spend our girl’s birthday as a family and throw her a party beforehand. Being born so close to the holidays made the rest of 2012 seem like a blur, so we just want to be very aware of the timing in the years ahead.

animalcutouts

Fortunately, some of our family was able to join us in Brooklyn for the party, but sadly not everyone could make the trip north. Madeline felt lots of love from many local friends, both big and small, though. She had no clue why we were celebrating of course, but it was a wonderful, fun-filled day regardless. After hours of nonstop action (and an excessive amount of sugar), she was exhausted but remained in good spirits until late in the evening.

bdaygirl

I wanted to make most of the party decorations and food, which took many nights in the weeks leading up to the big day. Some days I felt completely discouraged and didn’t know why I tried to take on so much. But in the end I was glad I did, mostly because I was able to personalize so much of the party that way. And of course it saved us a lot of money. Despite being more of a DIY wannabee, the projects I attempted all turned out just fine and everything came together nicely.

Madelinebanner

Madeline Banner

Sugar cookie party favors

Sugar cookie party favors

Of course, Madeline tasting cake for the first time was adorable and pretty hilarious. I expected her to dive right in once she tasted the rich, sweet icing, like her mama would but instead she slowly picked at the smash cake’s edges, with wide eyes fixated on everyone gathered around her as she nibbled a few bites. While the birthday cake didn’t impress her much, she was definitely eating up all the attention she was getting.

Ooooooo...for me?

Ooooooo…caaaaaake!!!

cakefun morecake

Mmm! Try it, Mama!

Mmm! Try it, Mama!

After a bath to wash away all the stickiness coating her little body, it was time to unwind a bit. We settled down with some dinner and opened presents before Madeline crashed. Hard.

It was a lovely and memorable day…a perfect close to our amazing first year as parents.

Weekly comparison pictures we took throughout the year

Weekly comparison pictures we took throughout the year

We just can’t figure out how our girl went from this:

Our little Bebe's first day home

Our little Bebe’s first day home

…to this:

I'm One!

I’m One!

…in a heartbeat.