Nursery Ideas for My Friends (Or No, Mom, I’m Not Pregnant)

Progress on my bedroom redesign project has been agonizingly slow. The entire process has been complicated by a tight budget, some pieces I don’t really like (but can’t financially justify replacing), and severely limited space. I’m closer to a breakthrough than when I began the project last spring, though. I no longer want to keep the lights off or close my eyes when I enter the room, so there’s that. That said, I’m not really ready for a work in progress post. It’s just so disjointed you’d wonder what I’ve been smoking all summer. I essentially know how I want to connect the design dots, but it’s all in my head. And it won’t translate to a decent post yet.

Instead, I want to switch gears and discuss a different kind of bedroom.

I want to talk about nurseries.

Not because I have any need for one, mind you, but because three of my good friends will this spring. I promise this isn’t one of those, “I have this friend who is pregnant and needs ideas,” posts. I’m really not pregnant. (Please assure my mother of this if she calls and asks.)

Also? I’m not baby crazy. I just like nurseries. I think it’s probably because I’m basically a big kid myself and nurseries provide a real opportunity to be whimsical and indulge your inner child in your design. Plus I like toys and bright colors, both of which go hand in hand with babies.

Here are some of my favorite nurseries.

I LOVE the Shel Silverstein “Giving Tree” closet in this nursery. I mean, I need it in my life. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

This Tin Tin inspired nursery is delightful. I adore the soft blue and yellow juxtaposed with bright accents. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

I can’t help myself. I’m in loooove. Can anyone say Cowboy Baby? #texasforever Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

I dig the vintage-y Jenny Lind crib in this room, and I like the way it stands out against the charcoal wall. Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is a fairly gender neutral nursery… for your friends brave enough to want to be surprised by their baby’s gender. Photo courtesy of Apartment Therapy

This nursery is way sleek and totally gender neutral. Photo Courtesy of Houzz.

And now it’s time to get a little more girly.

I like the subtle feminine influence in this nursery. The room is soft and a little frilly without being too princess-y or over the top. Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

I love the use of black and white in this nursery from 346 Living. It’s eye-catching, and it prevents the feminine elements from taking over.

I’m way into this navy and white wall. The mobile and the baby animal print from The Animal Print Shop are great accents too. Photo Courtesy of the Animal Print Shop Blog.

And last but certainly not least is this amazing nursery from Bailey McCarthy of Peppermint Bliss. If you haven’t checked out her blog, you must. She is crazy talented. And hilarious.

I adore Bailey’s designs! They are bright, courageous, and playful. Photo Courtesy of Design Sponge.

And because one pic of this nursery isn’t enough, here’s another angle.

I die for this chandelier. Die. Photo Courtesy of Design Sponge.

If you want to see a more comprehensive photo gallery, check out the Nursery Board I created on Pinterest. You know, just in case you have a pregnant friend. Or something.

Birthday Boys Like Bacon (Or How to Make Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf)

Today I went to Beverly Hills to meet my new birthday buddy, Connor. He arrived five weeks early (on my birthday!), and he’s just the most adorable little guy ever. I did some research on visiting new moms, and found this helpful post on etiquette for dropping off food and visiting and whatnot

See, most of my friends with kids don’t live in LA, so the whole visiting thing is new to me and I didn’t want to mess it up.

We went the hang out all afternoon route instead of the drive by food delivery route, and we had a great time. I learned all kinds of things about preemies today. Up until now my only experience with preemies looked something like this.

My first Cabbage Patch Kid Preemie Upton Xavier (or something) had these elephant overalls and bad orthopedic shoes but much better hair. Photo Courtesy of Fran’s House of Dolls and Toys.

I didn’t have brothers and sisters, but I did have nine of Cabbage Patch Kids. It turns out they taught me nothing about babies, though.

Who knew?

So, anyway, I wanted to bring over food instead of just showing up with a gift because new parents don’t have time for showering and sleeping let alone cooking.

I made bacon wrapped meatloaf because I know Connor’s parents like it, and because it’s the sort of dish you can reheat and it still tastes delicious. I brought the meatloaf over in bowl form and did the bacon swaddling at their place. (See? I learned a new word today. Swaddling.)

Here’s the dinner situation in its traveling state.

I have slightly modified the meatloaf recipe from Two Dudes, One Pan. I know the chefs behind the cookbook well. They started out with a catering business and now have two incredibly successful restaurants in LA. (I actually used to help them out with parties back in their catering days.) It’s a fun cookbook with a lot of personality. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s totally worth checking out.

One of the best things about the meatloaf recipe (aside from the bit where the meat is wrapped in other tasty meat) is that it calls for bread crumbs instead of bread slices. It skips that whole step where you have to soak milk in bread.

I haaaaated meatloaf as a kid, but this recipe converted me, and now I’m like born again for meatloaf. Oh, and if you’re ever in LA, you can check out the chefs in action at Animal or Son of a Gun.

So, here’s how you make it.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

2 pounds of ground beef (I use 20% fat)
1 pound of ground pork
1 C onion, finely diced
¾ C panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs
1 C ketchup (I like Trader Joe’s organic)
1/3 C whole milk
½ C Italian parsley, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp Tabasco (or Tapatio)
1 tsp cayenne pepper

6-8 slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place all of the ingredients except the bacon in a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients with your hands until they are thoroughly mixed. (It’s kind of fun – trust me.)

Set a piece of plastic wrap on your counter or work surface. Lay the bacon strips on the plastic wrap. Place your meat mixture on top of the bacon strips and form a loaf with your hands. Use the edges of the plastic wrap to fold the bacon around the loaf.

Transfer the bacon-wrapped loaf onto the baking pan and flip it over so that it is bacon side up. Remove the plastic wrap.

Here’s the meatloaf all wrapped in bacon. Mmm.

Bake until the loaf is firm, and the bacon has started to brown, about 50-60 minutes. If you prefer your bacon to be crispy, turn on the broiler for about 3 minutes, but keep an eye on it because this can be a quick process.

Allow the meatloaf to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

I wish I had a better photo of the final dish, but we were so hungry we tore into that beast so fast I sort of forgot to take a photo.