Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall 2011 Color Trends - Part 3 of 4 (Escape)

If the farm isn't your "happy" space and modern lines feel too rigid to you, find your bliss by escaping to the clouds.  Ethereal wispiness is what this trend is all about and, if you're considering it for your nursery, it can produce beautiful results.

If you're having a girl, pinks - from rosey to pastels - are a definite must.  Imagine a summer sunset with pearlescent clouds and the shimmery last rays of sun.  Beautiful, right?  Translucent butterfly or fairy wings make a great compliment, too!

Baby boys don't have to be left out of this trend, though.  All shades of blue, from pastels to deep navy - can be incorporated for a celestial nursery theme.  Accent with silvery clouds and golden stars and you've got a dreamy spot for baby to slumber!

Finally, when it comes to fabrics, satins and anything with some shimmer will tie in quite nicely.  Anything that makes you, and better yet your baby, feel like you're floating on clouds is perfect!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall 2011 Color Trends - Part 2 of 4 (Order)

Welcome to Part 2 of our short series!  If you read Part 1 already, you know that colors from the farm will be popular this fall.  But, if feeling like you're hanging out on Old MacDonald's farm is not for you, keep reading.  Our next trend couldn't be any more opposite.

Finding balance through order isn't so surprising.  With the busy-ness of our lives these days, decor that offers simplicity and order can be just what the doctor, well, ordered (no pun intended).   How exactly does that translate to nursery decor? 

First, think primary colors.  I did this with my first child's room.  Everything was red, blue, yellow, and white.  Okay, I cheated a bit and added green but they were all very basic colors.  It was a delight to be in that room.  It felt like the promise of a freshly opened 8 crayon box of Crayolas.

If a splash of primary colors still seems a little much for you, try just one but do a monochromatic theme in the room.  Multiple shades of blues, for instance, is beautiful and reminds one of the peacefulness of the ocean or the clear sky in summer.

Still need more simplicity?  Go black and white but add some pops of bright color here and there.  A shock of hot pink in a crib blanket or a splash of orange on a bookcase; it can be the dramatic touch you're looking for without feeling like you're going overboard.

Finally, this trend embraces clean lines and simple shapes.  Whether it's polka dots, stripes, or graphic shapes randomly appearing throughout the room, it all works.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Image of Pregnant Woman "Not Suitable" for Facebook

**WARNING** According to Facebook, the image and accompanying verbiage you will encounter in this blog are "not suitable to appear on Facebook" in part because they received "negative user feedback concerning the ad's content."

Normally, I try to start my blogs with a reasonable opening.  Today I can't find one.  I've been pregnant three times and have worked in the maternity industry for five years.  To me, pregnancy is a joyful, beautiful time.  One of the reasons I've loved this industry so much is because it isn't filled with people who are angry or spiteful or nasty.  Babies put people in a good mood and that's a very good thing.

That's not to say, though, that I haven't seen controversy spring up.  From an online standpoint, controversy generally springs up in the form of written arguments for or against a particular topic such as vaccinations.  The only controversy I've ever seen that relates to images has been in the case of photos of women breastfeeding.  Personally, I don't see anything wrong with that, but I do understand why some of the photos I've seen would make some people uncomfortable.

Fast forward to what I was greeted with in my inbox this morning.  An email from the Facebook Ads Team (who, conveniently, leave no way of contacting them back).  Three days ago, I reactivated an ad that I ran two years ago.  Exact same ad.  Same photo; same verbiage; same targeted audience.  Just clicked the button and changed its status from "paused" to "active".  I'll admit, it did seem odd to me that I wasn't getting the level of click throughs on the ad that I did last time.  When I read the email, I was livid.  I've pasted below exactly what they sent me (apologies for the image; I had to blow it up significantly so it was readable here).

So, yeah, can you see why I'm a little hot over this?  The image that they say is "not suitable" shows absolutely no nudity of anything that could be considered a "private part" anywhere in the western world.  It is a profesional image that I purchased the right to use many years back and HAVE used on Facebook before in an ad campaign that then ran for over two weeks.  It's a woman's belly for crying out loud!  How, please tell me, is this photo not suitable or offensive in any way?

As for the content, it states that the ad was disapproved due to "negative user feedback concerning the ad's content".  Huh?  The ad's content is this:
100% natural gifts for new mothers and mothers-to-be. Get exclusive offers by becoming a fan today!
  • women
  • living in the US
  • age 21-40
  • who are in a relationship, are engaged or married
  • who are not already connected with Eternal Maternal
  • who like Isabella Oliver Maternity, Motherhood Maternity, or pregnancy
Again, THIS is improper targeting for an ad that promotes maternity products?  I'm at a loss.

SO, dear readers, if YOU think this is a load of poo like I do, please take a moment to support me.  You can send a little "suggestion" to FB on how they can improve their ads by following this link:   The name of the ad is Eternal Maternal.  Let them know that images like this ARE suitable for FB.  Let them know that this content is NOT offensive.  Let them know that a mama bear is not one to mess with!

And, thanks tons to all!  Our readers, followers, retailers and customers are THE BEST!!
THAT received negative user feedback?  The email tells me that, in general, negative feedback is given for "offensive content" or improperly targeted audience.  (1) If someone can explain to me what was offensive about the verbiage, I'd love to hear their argument.  (2) The targeted audience for this ad was:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall 2011 Color Trends - Part 1 of 4 (Farm)

Expecting a baby this fall and wanting to do more than decorate the nursery in traditional pink or blue?  No problem!  At Benjamin Moore's recent ColorPulse 2011 web conference fall trends were discussed and there were some great ones!

The first of the trends in the overall theme of balance that we'll discuss is Farm.  Yes, farm.  It's definitely in response to the economy.  We're all getting back to basics. 

For wall and linen colors, you can go bright or neutral.  If brights are your thing, think of the vibrant orange of carrots and pumpkins, the vivid greens of peas and beans, the deep reds of ripe tomatoes or radishes.  If you're looking for a more neutral tone for walls, look to earthy browns and tans.  When it comes to whites, forget the stark version and go a bit creamier.  And, yellows are light like freshly made butter or new sweet corn. 

Maybe you're more inspired by print or texture.  Black and white cow print will surely add some whimsy this fall.  Textures like burlap, straw, or old boards fit right in with this trend, too.  Not sure how to bring that into a nursery, though?  Try a series of hooks to hang baby's first shoes, special trinkets and coats from.  Start with an old board cut to your desired length, top with a strip of burlap, and finish off with vintage style hooks.  Super simple and loads of charm!

Need some artwork that's a little more personal?  Now's the time to ask Grandma for a special needlepoint or crosstitch piece.  A sampler is a great standby if your not sure of a design or theme for a piece, too.  All those letters and numbers will surely come in handy when baby gets older and is learning the A, B, C's and 1, 2, 3's!

Stay tuned for Parts 2-4.  We promise, if Old MacDonald and his Farm aren't your cup of tea, there will be something else to excite and inspire you!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Who's Your (Grand)Daddy?

What do you call your grandparents? For myself, it was the traditional Grandma and Grandpa, with the notable exception of my paternal grandmother who was Gram. The only really different name that was ever used by family members of my own was Bobsha (I hope I spelled that correctly). It's the name some of my cousins called their father's mother. She was Polish, and the name means "grandma" in Polish. My own children call my stepdad Papa, but that's as unusual as the monikers get in my immediate family.

However, in a world where we routinely come across more and more unique baby names, the traditional 'Grandma' and 'Grandpa' titles seem to fall a little short. So, just when you thought all you had to choose was a new baby name, there may be the added pressure of figuring out just what the right grandparent names should be, too. Just in time to save you, though, is The New Grandparents Name Book by Lin Wellford. Containing over 700 names for the new grandparents, you'll have fun finding the perfect aliases for your folks and his. You could even wrap up this cute little 5"x5" book and give it as a gift to them to announce your new arrival.
As for the Eternal Maternal Mama, grandparent status is still probably at least five years or more off (fingers crossed!), but I currently am thinking I'd make a great Grammy.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Learning to Say No... to Yourself!

One thing I learned long ago - although I'm still not a master at it - is saying "no". I'm a people pleaser by nature so I'm generally the first to volunteer for something only to find myself overwhelmed later on. Even if I'm not volunteering, it seems like someone is always asking if I can help with this or that. In the past, my answer was always "sure, no problem!".

After having children, though, I realized that saying no to requests that are outside my time constraints is not a bad thing. My family, after all, was my first priority. It was difficult at first but I quickly realized that there weren't too many people that were irritated by my saying no. It seems I wasn't, despite my thinking, the only person that could do the job! So, lesson number one - you don't have to do everything; it's OK to say no. People will understand; really they will!

Lesson number wo came along within another year or two. Maybe I should rephrase that...another child or two later. While I was busy saying no to those activities and events that I just couldn't fit into our busy schedule, I had still managed to fill up all that time with doing things for other people - my husband, my kids, my parents, etc. What I learned then was that it's OK to say no to them, too.

We moms take on a lot of work, and I do mean A LOT! The trouble is, what we end up doing is running ourselves to the ragged edge. We skip meals; we stay up late working on the costume for the school play; we still are trying to do it all. Is it any wonder that, when you ask a mom what she likes to do in her spare time, she usually replies, "What spare time?" What we really need is to just take a break now and then. Determine to take some time to do something you enjoy. It can be 15 minutes or an hour or even more. Set a timer and sit down with a magazine or book you've been meaning to read. Let the laundry sit for an hour and go take a bath. Better yet, if you can, escape the house and go somewhere you love - the bookstore, the mall (you don't have to buy anything), the local coffee shop. Trust me, the small amount of time you take for yourself will energize you more than you can imagine. Your mind will be clearer and you'll feel ready to tackle what comes your way.

Lesson three is something I learned just a couple of years ago when I was experiencing a terrible cold.  Saying no to myself. When we're sick, it's like self-imposed down time. As a mom, though, it's hard to accept that. I knew I was sick. My head felt like a giant beach ball, I was exhausted just getting up to shuffle to the bathroom, and I just felt yucky. The first few days, I tried to continue on my normal schedule of things to do. By day three, though, I was spent. So, when work and blogging called, I had to take a hard look at what was most important. Would the world spin off its axis if I didn't check email that day? Most likely no. Would someone not be able to name their child if I didn't blog about baby names. Unlikely. Instead, I burrowed under the covers and slept. I conserved the energy I had for letting my body do what it needed to do and for only the essential tasks. Dinner still got made but the kitchen wasn't as tidy as I would have liked it. The children all had clean socks to wear but, boy, did I have a lot of laundry to do when I felt better. And, guess what, the earth is still spinning nicely despite it all.

The point is, a lot of us do and do and do for others. When you're pregnant, it's important to know your limitations. What used to be a piece of cake for you to do, now may seem like a monumental task. Remember that it's OK to tell someone you can't take on more. Trust me, they'll most likely understand.

It's also OK to take time for yourself. This pregnancy will only last nine months so enjoy it while you can. Get a pedicure. Window shop for a great piece of clothing for after you have the baby. Sit in a coffe shop and read a good book. Whatever you do, though, make it something that is just for you!

Lastly, know when you need to say no to yourself. You don't have to accomplish EVERYTHING on your To Do list today. Go with the essentials first and, after that, if you still have the steam, then you can begin adding more to your schedule.

And, finally, above all, live mindfully and take care of YOU!