Thursday, August 27, 2015

baby boy style

We all know that having a baby girl is when the truly ridiculous, adorable and fabulous baby clothes come into play. Playing dress up with a little girl is what dreams are made of. The accessories alone are enough to make anyone squeal. I think I've always thought of little boy clothes as being made up of blue and green t-shirts with cartoonish animal figures on them with phrases like "mom rocks!" (which obviously is a true statement). Overall, boy clothes err on the cheesy side, with the accessories starting and ending with bow ties and old man hats.


I have discovered, with the help of besties and blogs and online shopping, to my great excitement and relief, that boy clothes are amazing. They're insanely cute. I may be biased, but Will is seriously going to be the cutest little tyke in the history of miniature plaid button-ups. To share my dreaming and scheming for my bebe's future style, here are some of my favorite online finds this week!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

I'm a little bit obsessed with jumpers/one-pieces. Especially the black star-spangled one, which says "the moon is made of ice cream". Yes, little darling, it sure is.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Will already owns the most incredible pair of mint green pants (and a gaggle of other adorable treasures) thanks to my best friend Becky, who was the only one who knew our baby's gender ahead of time before our gender reveal! I definitely think we need to keep the color wheel going and get him some pants in green, maroon, blue, grey...

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Not but seriously. This is just a pocket version of my husband. That is adorable.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

One of the things I'm most excited about is that we're having our little boy in December (fingers crossed - could be January!). All of the cozy winter clothes and accessories are going to be so much fun! The textured cardigans! The beanies! The elbow patches! The faux-shearling-collar coat!!! Dear goodness.

1st row: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
2nd row: 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

keeper of words: favorite quotes

I love the peculiar mind-locking sensation of hearing or reading a line or phrase in a song or a story that completely captures you. There's a visceral reaction when you comprehend and are struck by a perfectly written or spoken phrase. It catches you off guard with its wittiness or makes your heart skip a beat with its ferocity or poetic accuracy. My favorite books have those pockets of power over me. I've never been much of a highlighter, physically marking up or taking notes in my actual books, but I absolutely am an internal keeper of words. Special lines stay with me for months, sometimes years.

When I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, I went to work the next day and created a collage of all of my favorites quotes from that book to hang around my cubicle wall. I wanted to be completely surrounded by those thoughts, words, feelings. The beauty of that novel struck me dumb, and it was all about the words.

My husband and I were listening to The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch on audiobook (for the second time) on our drive home this weekend, and we were practically giddy with the crude, brilliant writing. We kept skipping back to hear pieces of it again and again. The wit, the stunning wit. It tumbles around in your mind until you're dizzy with it.

I can't get Locke Lamora out of my head, so I thought today's post would be dedicated to sharing some of my favorite book quotes. There are so many to choose from, but I hope some of the ones featured here catch your mind in that extravagant way and inspire you to read and breathe them all in. Especially if there are any books in this list you haven't yet read! Go forth and remedy that at once.

Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Leisel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.

"You were the one who taught me," he said. "I never looked at you without seeing the sweetness of the way the world goes together, or without sorrow for its spoiling. I became a hero to serve you, and all that is like you."

It seemed she was in a cathedral—if, that is, the earth itself were to dream a cathedral into being over thousands of years of water weeping through stone.

I'm going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.

Sometimes I think my papa is an accordion. 
When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes.

"He must have known I'd want to leave you."
"No, he must have known you would always want to come back."

It gave her a creeping sense of impending aloneness, like she was some orphaned animal raised by do-gooders, soon to be released into the wild. 
She didn't want to be released into the wild. She wanted to be held dear.

Rose doesn’t like the flat country, but I always did – flat country seems to give the sky such a chance.

If he had a bloody gash across his throat and a physiker was trying to sew it up, Lamora would steal the needle and thread and die laughing! He steals too much!

I am what I am. I would tell you what you want to know if I could, for you have been kind to me. But I am a cat, and no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

my to-read list

I just love books and their book covers. So colorful, so different, so interesting. I've been wanting to buy more actual books lately, just to admire the covers and pages and fill my bookshelves with their art and words.

I've been falling behind in my book-reading goals this year (find me on Goodreads!), although I'm still doing significantly better than I have in past years. I'm currently 4 books behind schedule, but I'm incredibly determined to actually complete my 36 book goal this year! I think my problem is that I'm reading rather large books...perhaps my goals should be page-based instead of book-based. To read 36 books means that a 200 page book and a 1,200 page book count as the same. That feels rather deflating at times.

To be honest, I should probably start reading books about babies. My days of pleasure reading might be over for a while. I should probably be educating myself on all of the joys and horrors of birth and child-raising. While I know these things are true, I can't help but pine for a cold, rainy day spent reading magical fairy tales or spirit-lifting memoirs. That daydream might also have to do with the fact that it's been 114+ degrees this week. Fall, how I miss thee.

Here are some of the books at the top of my wishlist. Someday, somehow, I will read them!

Longing for Paris | Sarah Mae

I can already tell this book speaks to me, long before I even begin to open the front cover. How often do I feel this way? Grateful and happy for my life and for my family, but often mesmerized, distracted, and aching for something more. It's the heart of wanderlust.

Books, intrigue, and magical curiosities. Can't think of a better happy read. And the book cover glows in the dark!

Garden Spells | Sarah Addison Allen

I'm drawn to this book because it centers on a magical family of women and their enchanted garden. Sisterhood, a lasting legacy, and magically powered fruit. It sounds delightful. It's also Sarah Addison Allen's debut novel, and I'm always fascinated by an author's first book.

The Accidental Highwayman | Ben Tripp

I discovered this book while listening to a podcast from my favorite author, Brandon Sanderson, and have wanted to read it ever since. It's everything I want in a book. Adventure, notoriety, accidental heroism, a rebellious princess, goblins, magic, danger, etc. etc.

The Martian | Andy Weir

This book has been on my wishlist for a while, but I have to admit I've gained a renewed interest in it since it was announced that the movie is coming out, and will be starring Matt Damon. I think the book sounds wonderful and terrifying. I really can't wait to read it, then see it. (Always in that order).

The Storm Makers | Jennifer E. Smith

This story centers on twins Ruby and Simon, and Simon's sudden discovery that he is a Storm Marker - a member of a clandestine group of people entrusted with the power to control the weather. It sounds like an enjoyable young adult adventure, and it takes me back to the kinds of fantastical stories my dad always used to tell about my little brother and I. Sibling adventures are particularly nostalgic for me. Plus, I love the cover art.

Have you read any of these? If so, I'd love to know your review! What's on your wishlist?

Friday, August 14, 2015

reasons to panic

My best friend bought me this incredibly appropriate journal, 100 Reasons to Panic About Having a Baby: A Journal for the Knocked Up. Every few days I jot a few thoughts down, sometimes happy and anticipatory, sometimes more of the freak-out variety. At the bottom of each page is a totally valid reason to panic (ie: I'll think my baby is ugly) and an encouraging or humorous response (ie: if you spent 9 months cooped up in a small, dark space you'd be looking pretty rough, too. It'll get cuter).

My entries in this journal have jumped from describing my total breakdown when I discovered my first stretch marks, to documenting the incredible joy of our gender reveal and the overwhelming love I already feel for our little boy. Will. Saying his name is really weird and wonderful. The truth is, there really are 100 reasons to panic about having a baby. Maybe even more. For me, a ton of those reasons have to do with becoming a mom. How can I possibly prepare for such a role?

20 weeks! 
The answer, and I think many other moms will agree, is that I can't. Most of the preparations I allow myself at this point are just to make me feel better, but no matter what we do we'll be flying quite ungracefully by the seat of our pants.

Hallelujah. I find that to be rather freeing. I can take a breath when I go over my 13+ pages of recommended registry items and remind myself that last-minute runs to Target are always an option. I can trust that the stroller I choose will be totally fine. I can expect to encounter those vain moments of panic about my body's changes and the fears and insecurities I'm often confronted with. I can pretty confidently say that I will continue putting diapers on backwards. I can smile and nod at the sometimes unpleasant advice of other parents and remain firmly in the camp of Say No to Mom Wars. 

The realization I came to on Wednesday, when I had the rather sobering thought that at 20 weeks I am halfway to having a baby, is that William won't know the difference between an amateur mom and an expert one. Maybe there really isn't such a thing as an expert mom because children keep things crazy. It's part of their purpose and identity. Children are the delightful labyrinths of life. I am Will's mom, his one and only silly flawed loving mom. We were made for each other. We're literally sharing a body; he's camped out beneath my heart, making his presence known. We're in this together. I don't need to put pressure on myself to jump 100 steps ahead - every single mother on earth starts right here.

Right here, feeling the little belly kisses of their boy or girl, wondering what they'll be like and how life will change. Right here, registering for things they've never even heard of. Right here, experiencing physical and emotional changes that take them completely by surprise. Right here, scared of labor, hoping for the best, anxious to see their baby's face, hoping their baby is cute, knowing they'll love them anyway.

Right here is a pretty great place to start.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

gender reveal!

Last Wednesday we had our long-awaited ultrasound to see our sweet baby for the first time. We've heard baby's heartbeat at almost every appointment, which is such a breathtaking sound, but this was our first experience seeing the silhouette of that little face. Let me tell you, it's weird. Watching a movie of your innards. I can't get over how bizarre pregnancy is. I always struggle to find the right words to explain the strange exhilaration that overtakes you at each step. 

We decided to have a gender reveal party on Friday, so we had to wait two whole days to find out if we were having a Phoebe or a Phoebo. We gave the secret-holding envelope to my bestie Becky, and she reveled in the power she suddenly held over us. She would be the new head of the Department of Mysteries, which mainly consisted of silly-string buying, decor-making and snack-preparing. She's the best.

Instagram post 1 / 2

I thought it would be fun and easy to plan a gender reveal party. I was very wrong about myself. Apparently preparing to find out the gender of your child is a little bit more stressful than I thought. The anticipation was almost crippling, especially as Friday approached and slipped by hour by hour. I would be sitting at my desk and suddenly be seized by a pounding heart, shaking hands, and the overwhelming desire to scream.

I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly wonderful it is to know now. The night was perfect, despite my mini breakdowns and panic attacks. Becky even helped me set up a Periscope broadcast so that our long-distance friends and family could watch on a live feed! I had never even heard of Periscope, but it was such a brilliant solution. We were able to watch it together afterwards, which showed the live comments and hearts of everyone watching along! It was really special. It was especially wonderful to have that live recording on my phone afterwards, because the camera we set up to record the reveal ended up dying after only 4 seconds of video! 

I made little paper pins (bows and ties!) for people to wear to represent Team Boy or Team Girl. We also asked everyone to sign their names on the Team Board. Dusty and I were both Team Boy from the start! I also made a fun little list of Old Wives' Tales to indicate what each superstitious prediction would be for my pregnancy.

Dusty's grandma, Momo, had her own special prediction. When we first told her we were pregnant, her response was, "Oh I already knew that. God revealed that to me weeks ago."
There was a lot of laughter, surprised expressions, and "wait what??" from the rest of the family.
She then proceeded to say, "I also know the gender, but He hasn't told me to tell you that yet."
We begged her to tell us, but she wouldn't budge. Two weeks ago, she gave us a gift bag (stapled shut) with a gender-specific gift in it. The gender reveal suddenly became all about that bag. 

A video posted by caitschan (@caitschan) on

As it turns out, we were right. Momo was right. Her gift was a pair of boy's socks and a card that said, God announced! Gender revealed! A baby boy born at Christmas. I can't believe all God must have in store for your baby boy! With resounding joy! - Momo. "

Team Momo. Team God. Team BOY!

We're naming him William Boyer. His namesakes are my dad, William, and Dusty's grandpa, Bernard Boyer. William is also the middle name of Dusty's dad, and there are a few other Williams on his side of the family. I have always loved the name William, and it is such a supreme privilege to be able to name our son after my wonderful father. Seeing his face when he read the baby's name aloud was one of the happiest moments of my life! There were many tears involved, and the kind of deeply felt happiness that is the result of a lifetime of love. I am so proud of the family our son belongs to, and the legacy he will carry on. It's a legacy of strength, faith, good humor and goodness. I have always been surrounded by boys, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Will Boy, we cannot wait to meet you!

Photos by Amy O'Neil Photography!

novel dress: brandon sanderson

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson // Galileo Embroidered Midi Dress

Brandon Sanderson has very quickly and easily become one of my favorite authors of all time. I recently finished his book Warbreaker, and because of the vibrant colors and societal impressions of fashion and dyes in that world I was inspired to create another Novel Dress post. This one features dresses from both Ruche and Modcloth, and is dedicated solely to the literary works of Sanderson.

I've only included books of his that I've actually read, although there are some that are missing from this list. To date I have read 12 of his stories (including 2 of his short stories and 3 of his novellas). The Emperor's Soul is one of his novellas that I have included here, because it's brilliant.

If you've never been introduced to the world(s) of Brandon Sanderson, there are a few things you should know about him. First of all, he's known for his incredible world-building skills and his talent with magic systems. He is endlessly creative. Secondly, he writes like a dang machine. He typically has 2-3 books being released every year, and those books range from light teen fiction to his epic fantasy series. He has written and published 30-40 books and stories in 10 years. The number varies depending on whether you count his short stories and graphic novels. Either way, jumpin' jehosaphat.

The last thing you should know about Sanderson is that he has his own literary universe, called the Cosmere, in which all of his fantasy books are based and connected. While you can easily read his books in any order and enjoy each world on its own, there's a much bigger, galactic-sized story happening behind the scenes if you desire to see it. There are hints and crossover characters and mind-blowing revelations all swirling around within the Cosmere, and it's a pretty thrilling fandom to be a part of. 

So go ahead and plan out your next trip to the bookstore to pick up a copy of The Way of Kings - but in the mean time, enjoy these fantastical novel dresses. :)

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson // Parfait Party Dress
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson // Emma Maxi Dress
Legion by Brandon Sanderson // Aubree Dress
The Final Empire (Mistborn book 1) by Brandon Sanderson // Peachy Queen Dress
The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson // Goldie's Groove Dress
The Well of Ascension (Mistborn book 2) by Brandon Sanderson // Endless Entertainment Dress

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Ruche Lookbook: Class Act

I'm always elated when I get an e-mail about a new lookbook from Ruche. While I've been attempting to curb my shopping habits while we work on the new house and prepare for our baby to arrive at the end of the year, I still love to be inspired. That's why I love Ruche so much. Their collections inspire me with their beautiful clothes and thoughtful details and sets. We're getting close to my favorite time of year, which is also my favorite time of lookbooks: the fall and winter. I love all of the plaid, stripes, loafers, booties, textures, lace, gorgeous scarves, creative layering, and glitter and bling that comes along with these seasons.

Take a look and be inspired by their Back to School lookbook, Class Act
These are my favorite ensembles! You can see these and more in their New Arrivals this week.