The Battle of the Closet

So. Clothing issues. They're a thing. A thing that gives me a river of tears and an ocean of frustration.


I have this totally realistic notion that my child should be turned out as nicely as Quiona on a Scandi-post-mod-Mojave playdate. I'm really invested in this idea. Like if you knew how much time I spend "pretend shopping" for my child, weeping bitter tears about all the adorable outfits she would never, ever wear, you'd probably vomit. Right now. 


But my dreams of Catmini Baby Dresses are thwarted by one thing: my child's will.


Mama chose this outfit. Please note the socks which are particularly adorable. 


I had a good run there, wherein I could dictate clothing choices. It lasted about 14 joyous months. But then. Someone developed a will of her own.

Long before she could speak actual words, Stella made her opinions re. baby clothing known. This is dress is my jam. This is total and utter bunkum. And what the hell were you even thinking suggesting that, excuse me, I'll now throw a tantrum for the next 43 minutes.


This outfit: Also Mama's choice. And can we just take a moment to focus on the adorableness of Baby Stella??? Also, this skirt is still in heavy rotation, all all these years later. 


Because I was a first-time parent, I bought into the notion that I should be offering choices to my child à la "do you want to wear the pink dress or the blue dress?" You know, gold-star-A++ parenting and stuff.  That little gem of parental wisdom took me doomed to me a trip down the path of pint-sized sartorial tyranny.


We got to the point where dressing for the day is such an issue that the prospect of removing last night's pyjamas is about as attractive as removing a limb. Forget about settling on what shirt would go with what skirt, we're outside the arena of logic and reasoning: Dis one. No dis. NOOOOO! Not dis! No, I want pants, but Stella, you are wearing pants, leggings are pants, NO I WANT PAAAANNNNTS!!! PANTS!!!


Forget about daydreaming about a closet stocked with items from the Armani baby clothing range, I just wanted my child to wear clothing. And not spend 43 minutes every morning crying about them.


So, anyway, I had this brilliant idea (inspired by this post) to create a chart detailing our morning routine. I thought (naïvely) that all we needed was a bit of structure and a dash of consistency to hit this problem right at the source. Follow the same steps, at the same time, and TA DA! clothing battles would be no more.


If you want to know how to dress your girl for Autumn, THIS. 

I'd pick out two outfits, lay them out before bed, and then come morning time, Stella would check her list, and when it came to "Get Dressed" she could choose which she wanted to wear. No negotiation. No tantrums.


Stella was stoked about the chart. At first. I mean we made it together! She stuck it on the wall with Washi tape (of course). And for the first week or so, she dashed out of bed and asked to check her list. Victory, I though! I win at parenting! A bit of structure and constancy is the cure for everything!


I was so sure that I'd found the magic morning beans that I proposed to write an article about my method. 


And then came the day that Stella realised what I was up to. In a fit of rage she tore down the list, crumpled it up, and gave it a good stomping.


The next morning when I told her to go check her list she replied thusly: "I can not. I bloke my wist. I can NOT get dwessed!."


Okay. Checkmate.


So, the only solution I can really think of is to put all my eggs in the next basket, cuz this particular sartorial ship has surely sailed. Baby number two, sorry, but you'll never get any input in to your outfits. If I say Moschino baby boys clothes, than Moschino it'll be. Sorry baby boy. 


But seriously, do you have clothing battles? Do you have any tips? I mean. ARGGG!!!! I mean, I'm so glad my kid has a strong sence of style and a will of iron, but we also have priorities (see: adorablness!) and I could have more patience if these tantrums were about something serious like not being allowed ice cream for breakfast, but putting clothing on you body??!!! COME ON!

Small print: This post was written on behalf of Strawberry Children. As always, all content and opinions are mine alone. Thanks, guys! 

Small Style, Leopard Style

You know how I live in the future, right? Well, I've already done and dusted Thanksgiving. So yeah, take that, Western-dwelling folk. Ha!

Since we are neither American, nor do we live in America, and I had a major sickie baby on my hands, our celebration was rather unorthodox, involving watching and re-watching the first half of Mary Poppins about a billion time because the disk is broken and ahhh, meh, let's just watch it again, shall we?

We also tried our hand at salt dough Christmas ornaments, which in my head looked something like this, but in reality looked like the handiwork of a five-year-old monkey. Which goes to show that I should just stick to crafts that involve staple guns, because nope. Glitter and ribbon just give me rage poops.

I did, however, make a batch of cookies, and then proceeded to eat more cookies than can be reasonably fit into one human. In keeping with the season and all.

Because Stella Bella was sick, we stayed home in pjs and a tee-shirt covered in orange stains for most of the day. I did, however, wipe her nose, hand her a cookie or two, and then dress her up in a cute outfit,  so that I could take pictures for Small Style. You know. Keeping it real.

Here she is. Posing like a boss.


And now she's saying MILE!!!!


And yeah. I die. Dead. In my boots. Holy cow. This kid.


Stella Wore

Top // Polarn O. Pyret

Bottom // Zara

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go nurse a cookie belly. With another cookie. Okay. BYE!




The anatomy of a day.

Here's some real talk for you: by about 8:37 this evening I wanted to fire everyone.  You are FIRED! And You're fired! And you're fired! And YOU! AND YOU! 

Kind of like Oprah's favourite things except with terminations.

And although this day was bookened by some pretty massive tantrums (one so great that while doing "time in" {whatever the hell hippie bullshit that is"} my kid actually fell asleep. At 5:45.) it was actually a pretty great day.

And so I come here to kind of unremember the rapturous horrors, like the Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, or something.

What is this, two outdated pop culture refreneces in the same post?? I'm fired.

There was also a little bit of elevator selfie action, shaky handed, and in poor light. You know.

A little stop for MILLLLLCCCCHHHHHH, which is Stella (and possibly German) for milk at Starbucks. Because we're two and posh apparently. Considering washing a Starbucks cup for re-use at home. Good, thrifty idea, yes?

Frame store! Frame store! Frame Store! (and this is how my daughter felt about that.) Baby Honey, on the other hand, was totally indifferent about the whole affair.


Here I am, teaching my two-year-old to make a duck face, because I have no soul.


And yup, that's me, just letting my child run wild in a restaurant because I have no manners.

Indonesian food for lunch. That pink thing, you ask? 

One of life's great mysteries, apparently. (I was super disappointed that it didn't taste like candy, btw.)

We stopped in the toy store for a little concert piano. Then we bought a staple gun. I have big plans. They involve staples.

Christmas decorations are up already. PS, Indonesia's official religion is Islam.

That little pickle did not deter my kid though. She announced, "I GO TO CHRISTMAS!!!!" and was just about as excited as a little human could be.

So there you have it. There were actually lots of fun times, rage poops notwithstanding.

linking up with Morgan for Small Style. Heeeeyyyyaaaa!

Small Style, #Nablopomo Style

Well, HELLO there. Nice to see you on this fine Thursday in NABLOPOVEmber. 

In cease it was not already self evident, I'm writing a blog post per day in November, and as a side-effect of this overhasty and reckless endeavour, sometimes my brain is empty of thoughts. And yet, I still need to post.

So, in that vien, let's just slap up a few pictures, provide a Stella update, and call it a blog post, shall we?

Things are chugging along pretty nicely at Expatria Rumah. With the exception of a protracted (TWO HOUR!) bedtime routine, and resultant post-pre-school crack-ups (body slamming the floor, throwing off one shoe, only one, every time) we're all just tickety-boo around here. 

To say that Stella loves school is an understatement. She announces each morning, I GO SCHOOL! and then proceeds to loose her mind if I take too long to get ready. Alternately, she'll announce that she's going without me. Mama stay HERE. Bye mama. See you.  When it's go-time she runs into the hallway and screams aaaahhhhhhahaaaaaa as her tiny backpack flops around behind her. 

When not in school, she passes her time running up and down the hotel hallways pushing a red grocery cart. I go see cars, mama! And she's off with her groceries to look at the traffic circle and watch out for nanu-nanu cars, which, to the layperson, are police cars, fyi. 

An other favourite pastime is charming the pants of everyone in the hotel. On our trips down to the pool (shopping cart in tow, because, obvs) she waves, Hi! Good morning (ps, it's 3:30 pm) hello! how ah you!

She also loves posing for pictures. Cheeeeewwweees. 

Other favourite pastime include singing quinkle-quinkle wittle star, like a dina in da sky, and watching Olivia on her iPad on infinite repeat. She can now quote entire lines from the show, and should I suggest that iPad time is finished, she commands, MAMA GO SWEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeEEEEPPPP! She knows me, that kid. She knows. 

Stella simultaniously bows and blows a kiss when saying tee-tuuuu (again, for the uninitiated, this means thank you). Both are holdovers from previous languages (Japanese and baby sign) and each time she does it I die dead dead dead. 

She's a great shareer, and always sings, teee-tuuuu, welcome! after offering her friend a bite of her snack. She's a stickler for good manners, this kiddo.

She's never met a noodle she doesn't like. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Noodles. She's Asian, you know.

If tabasco is on the table, it's on her food. It's the way she likes it.

Stella hates rice (so I guess she's not so Asian after all), hair adornments of all kinds, bathing, anything but her beloved Native shoes, waking up from naps, and going to sleep. She'll cut you if you try to take away her iPad. She will. 

She calls her father Uncle Papi because the other kids call him that. At least she doesn't call him Uncle Butt, which is the unfortunate moniker she's bequeathed upon my husband's colleague. Oy.

And that concludes your Stella Update. The end.

Linking up with Mama Loves Papa for Small Style.

Stella Wore

dress // bobo choses

stains // chocolate ice cream + oranges.





Small Style + NoBloPo Month

Welcome to Expatria, Baby, where nonsensical rambling about ridiculousity flow as freely as gin at an expatriate ladies' luncheon (PS, so too do the hyperbolic statements, sweeping generalizations, and outdated stereotypes.) And what could be better than infrequent, mildly offensive posts about nothing?

DAILY digressive meanderings through half-formed ideas of questionable validity and limited significance. That's what.

All of which is my way of telling you that I'm committing myself to joining the NaBloPo Movement, while simultaneously committing to very probably hating myself for hastey and poorly thought out decision. 

This all came about because I was having super deep and meaningful thoughts about time management and commitments, maternal guilt, and also post-colonial guilt, and the commoditfication  of love, and my own waining markable, employable skills, my ambition and the lack of time in a day, and know what I should probably do about all of that? Write and publish one blog post a day for thirty days. That's what.

So. Yeah.

Wait, what? How does this fit in with Small Style.

I dunno. I guess it's Thursday, which is Small Style day. So.

Anyway, last Sunday, when we were awoken at, (I kid you not) 6 AM by a booming baseline, Stella and I decided to cast aside our lazies and get up to investigate.

This is what she wore.

It should probably be noted that these pants were worn by my girl when she was five months old. Oy.

Also, my very caucasian baby is totally Asian. See? This is what she does when asked to pose for a picture. 

She can also dance gangnam style. And eats ramen for breakfast. But that's another story. 

Noodles for breakfast notwithstanding, my kid looks super caucasian, and so this happens all the time. She's okay with it. 



I guess I should also tell you that this is what Stella wore for halloween because it would be criminal to keep that to myself.


Stella Wore:

Top // Bobo Choses

Bottom // Baby Gap 


NaBloPoMo November 2012

Small Style, Birthday Style

Small Stylers! I've missed you. I've got some exciting news to share, Miss Stella Bella turned TWO a couple weekends ago. And what a weekend it was. Three days off with the Chef, an anniversary celebration for the two of us (wagu beef yum), a barbecue with friends, and a co-birthday in the park with Stella's friend who is two days older. 


Can you believe it? Two years ago, we were just setteling in to live with a baby, a baby who wouldn't sleep, fussed and fussed and fussed, and needed constant hushing and loving and bouncing and rocking and nursing.


A walk on a rainy morning


Now, here we are, with a walking, talking, lovely little being who can empty her own potty, put away her own toys, carry an umbrella (sort of) stir the cake batter, wash the dishes (well, she thinks she can), make funny jokes, and cheer up crying babies.


Drinks at the neighbourhood 'Bucks




She and her Papi, up to no good, I'm sure.


The week right after her birthday was pretty much that. Every day. All the time. I dropped her off at daycare and told the teachers, Good LUCK! And I may or may not have offered her, free of charge, to an admiring shop attendant who was remarking on her kawaiiatude.


Oh wut? Time to go home? Excuse me as I run away from you.



As much as I mourn her babyness, with all of it's chubby sweetness and toothless innocence, I'm so proud of this wee girl. This little light of mine, she hugs her friends good bye. She offers other kids toys. She pats babies when they cry. She helps hatless friends retrieve their head coverings. She eats her spinach. And tabasco. And pizza pizza pizza. And when her father and I are distant and annoyed at each other after the stress of a long day and uncertainty of the upcoming months, she asks Mr. Chef and me to play Ring Around the Rosie.  

We all hold hands, husha husha, we all are love.


Birthday bubbles


Stella Wore:

::: First ::: rain coat - gifted by Nannie // jeans - Old Navy, Gifted by Auntie Carly // umbrella - Vilac

::: Second ::: top - Atsuyo Et Akiko // skirt - Baby Gap // tights - H&M

::: Third ::: Dress - Tang'Rolou

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Small Style, China Style


I got this dress in China and have been counting down the days until it was really warm enough for S to finally wear it. I love the bold, contrasting patterns, the covered buttons, and the Mandarin collar. Stella loves it too, declaring it very "itty."

Miss Stella is talking up a storm these days. Well, maybe more of a breeze. A year ago, she was barely babbling. I mean, she started with the ma-ma-mas and the da-da-das and the ba-ba-bas just sometime around her first birthday. And I was silently freaking out because OMG DELAYS and WE'RE IN JAPAN! I CAN'T GET SPEECH THERAPY for my child IN JAPANESE because THE ONLY WORD I KNOW is pee-pee. And then, suddenly bababababababa.


Now, she's stringing words together, making senteces, telling stories. She calls herslef bebe Della. And I'm not sure where that came from.

Stella's still using a mix of words and sign, some of them real (apple! elbow! bus! this way!) and some made up (bo = bread abobo = avocado and my personal favourite amam = food / eating {dir. nom nom nom}). While she's getting the hang of a lot of words, my girl is not a fan of leading consonants. Shoes are oose. Clothes are othes. And who really knows what the hell owwwww is.

I've been seeing a chiropractor, so we talk a lot about the Ahhhhhh! ::points finger in mouth while saying ahhhh:: which, obviously is a doctor. Because that's just exactly what docotors do, say ah!

The other day at breakfast her Papi asked her, "What are you going to do today?" and her response was, "Bebe Della! Go! Play!" When I told her that no, the park wasn't possible because it was raining, immediately launched into a stream of "Go! Bus! Downtown! Baby Della! Downtown." Which is proof that not only can she tell stories, make requests and communicate her needs, but she's capable of reasoning and logic and persuasive argument. So, basically, GENIOUS! But we all knew that was the case anyway, didn't we.


  Stella Wore:

Itty Dress - Tang 'roulou

ooes - See Kai Run 


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Small Style, Scarf Style


My girl has a thing for scarfs. And shopping. I mean, she shops like a pro. Browses the racks, pulls out pieces she likes, checks the label, and says, "itty!" And, for once, I'm not joking. Truth absolute.

We popped into a shop we happened upon and found this little beauty. With the star motif, it was a perfect fit for Miss Stella Stelina. She insisted on wearing it home. And who was I to deny her? I mean, bold choice of contrasting patterns, yes, but the green echoed though in both pieces, and stars offered a nice pop agains the geometric shirt. Plus, there was a snap chill in the air, so. I mean, at least that was how she justified her selection when she explained it to me. Whatever, I think she rocked it.


Plus, she's in the final few days of her pox infestation, and she's been an absolute model patient. No whining, no scratching, and she's been doing my dishes for me. She deserves a reward, no?


Stella Wore

Top: Petite Personne 

Cardi: H&M

Jeans: Baby Gap

Shoes: See Kai Run

Scarf: Epice Kids

PS, last day to enter my first ever giveaway, and I would love it love it love it if you would. Please?


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Small Style, Pinstripes Style

How much do I love this little pinstriped dress?

IMG_4012FYI my child is currently sleeping after a long and drawnout bedtime. But seeing her in this outfit makes we want to wake her up for post-bedtime snuggles. Gah. 

Oh, I'll tell you, LOTS. Almost as much as I love this new and exciting development which I will now recount in all my mama blogger braggery: YOU GUYS MY CHILD HAS A SENSE OF HUMOUR AND MADE HER FIRST JOKE TODAY AND THEN I DIED.

Its a well-known baby standard, you know, that ol' slice of bread to the ear, cocked head, "HULLO?! Papa? HI?!!!" Bahahahahahahaha bread telephone let's all die laughing. But I did, and so did she.

Later, at dinner the trickery expanded. She called me Papa. And called herself Mama. Then, when I insisted that, no, in fact, she was Stella, and I was Mama, she infomed me that she is actually ISSSSS (her BFF, who incidentally has the exact same dress OMG TWINSIES!!). And then we both died again in a puddle of giggles.

Other hilarious jokes include: spitting water out all over your pinstripe dress (actually, no, not funny at all); shaking her finger at me and stating, rather more sternly than one would think a not-yet-two-year-old capable, "OH!" {trans: NO!, and btw, it is a little bit hilarious}; running away from me at every opportunity, especially when doing so causes me great terror as I shout frantically NO! (so now that I think about it, perhaps I should rethink the "NO" game and work to establish my authority because my child clearly does not believe that I really have any).

See, running away from me. AGAIN.

But whatever, she kills me. Toddlers are hilar, and I think that I'm just on the brink of so much more fun.


IMG_4021Telling me that this is our apartment building when we both know that it actually is nothing of the sort.

Stella Wears

Top + Dress = Tea Collection 

Cardi = H&M

Shoes = Minnetonka 


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Small Style, Samurai Style

Psssst. Here's a little secret. My kid, in the almost two years she's been on this planet, has logged more miles than your average Sooty Shearwater. She has trekked across oceans and continents some 15 times, and seen the inside of more airplanes than I can count. Though, if pressed, I'd say 43. I dunno. It's a good number.

She's driven thousands of miles up and down Ontario, in and out of Michigan. She's seen Switzerland and China (three time if you count trips made while in utero). But the land of her birth. Nothing. Not thing. Well, except there was that one time in Tokyo.

Until last week. When that all changed. We criss-crossed Kyushu. And wore cute outfits and visited Samurai villages and stuff. 

I can report that Kyushu is beautiful. Stunning. And if you're in Japan, you should get down here STAT. But more about that later. We're talking Style that is Small. And I'd like to show you the proper way to dress when you are visiting Samurai Gardens and you're one:



You'll want to assemble your ensemble from pieces that are practical yet stylish. There are corners around which to run around and rocks upon which to climb, yet there will also be admiring tour groups and you'll want to attract all the cries of kawaiiii that you can. So. Stylish and comfortable. That's the ticket. 


You'll need a good bonnet. Because it's Japan, and that's just the thing. Also there is sun. And lots of white, reflecty sand. 


You'll want that bonnet to fasten under your chin in case you end up upside down. Which is a distinct possibility. 


And finally, you'll want layers. And a crust of bread. In case you get hungry and the only thing approaching food are cherry blossoms. Which are sort of like future food. Or something. 


Whatever. I needed to find a way to work in another sakura picture because it's kind of the law if you blog from Japan.

Stella Wore:

Tee - Baby Gap 

Cardi - H&M

Jeans - Baby Gap

Shoes - Chucks

Hat - Gifted (and so much loved)


Oh, hey, any one up for a TBB vote? I'd totally love it if you were.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!


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Small Style, Aqua Style

I've been away from Small Style for a couple of weeks, and I must say, I've really missed my stylish friends, big and small. But we're BACK, with a trip to the aquarium and tips for styling your toddler for aquatic environments.

Layers are good. Who knows how hot or cold it will be in those hallways and tanks. And should you sneak outside and stand at the gate of the dolphin tank in order to watch the show from the front row without actually paying, you may want to put on a sweater to stay warm. 

Also, brights are the way to go. Reds, pinks, yellows. They offer nice contrast to the bluey greens of the fish houses.

I know. I gave my kid's outfit a lot of thought before we left. Truth. **ahem**


The aquarium was the ideal destination for this lover of all things aquatic. Educational, stimulating, she was mesmerized by the schools of fish, and learned at least half a dozen new vocabulary items. See, the pictures below are proof of how much she loved our little outing.

Hahahahahaha. Kidding. In fact, this mermaid gave not one fig about the fish. Nor the aquarium.

You see, I could tell you that she loved every second of this magical day, and show you the above pictures, and you'd believe me. When the truth is that these are lucky snaps portraying what looks like awe and focus, but what is really is just one moment in the range of of expressions exhibited by a toddler in a minute of perpetual motion and constant change. 

The only thing that Miss Stella-chan liked about the aquarium was the fact that it was full of stairs. And ramps. For running. Which she did a lot of. And there was a similarly unimpressed toddler with whom she bonded over a shared disdain for the BS fishes. So, they played hugs so hard until they both fell over. The dolphins were okay, but only because they did tricks and people clapped, and then S figured out that if she clapped too, people would clap for her and thus she could regain her rightful position as center of attention.

The one bright spot in an otherwise colourless and uninspiring (says the one-year-old) outting was the petting zoo (???) touch pond (???) tank with slow-moving and harmless fish which you are allowed to pick up. (???) Again, my kid cared not that there were awesome florescent orange and electric blue  starfish. She was just happy she was allowed to put her hands in the water and shake them around for hours on end. So.

In the end, a successful and enriching day out.

Also, we rode a REAL train. Which was a super big deal.


Stella Wore
Top - Polarn O. Pyret
Vest - Baby Gap
Jeans - Baby Gap
Shoes - Chucks
Cat Stickers - ???

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Colours for Small Style

My plans for a fabulous outdoor photo shoot featuring wee miss S and springtime jacket-free outfits was foiled by a stomach bug and vom fountains. Sorry guys. Poor Stella-pop is taking a sick day.

Who am I kidding. There were no plans for amazing photos. I've had kind of a rough week or so. Waiting on pins and needles. And to top it all off, a vom fest Thursday. But you know what makes for great attention diversion? COLOURFUL BABY OUTFITS! And stories about being cute. Hooray!

Photo 1Do you know how much I love colours? Brights? A lot. 

There are two things that Miss S is really into these days: talking and clothing. 

Wee Bella B's favourite activities include shopping for clothing, where she expertly selects pieces from a rack, pulls them out, and examines them before checking the tag. It's like she's seen the whole shopping drill somewhere. I couldn't imagine where, though. She's also a big fan of folding laundry. And pulling out all the clothing from her drawers and attempting to dress her babies and then getting frustrated when she can't put the clothing on the baby and then wrapping the babies in her clothing and then being mad and then throwing everything on the floor.

Photo 2Someone is insisting on wearing my scarves. Which is totally amazing beause not only does it provide more outift options, but it also bodes well for a future of wardrobe swapping.


Also, she likes to talk. For a baby who did not babble until about 11.9 months, she's made up for lost time, wandering around the house talking in her magial langauge bitubitubitubitubitu and telling me all about her adventures at daycare with the bubbiesssssss* and the ammmms** her friend Isssssssss***.   

* = babies

** = cats

** = I'll never reveal the secret identity of Stella's BFF with whom she is too shy to actually play, but about whom she talks endlessly, although she is not too keen on using verbs or nouns, so basically we get a lot of Issssssssss bitubitubitubitu.

Photo 3Baby Flash


We've even had an official sentence: Done! Go! (trans: I'm done let's go home) {and whatever, shuttup grammar police that's totally a sentence, my kid is obviously a language prodigdy and I'll not entertain your protests of nouns and modifiers and all manner of lexical bs.)


Photo 4
And...she's gone. Standing still is not really a thing round here.

You should also probably know that she has two words in Japanese: dozo and ashi {trans: here you go! foot), two in German: bitte, and bo {trans: please, brot = bread} and xie xie, or thank you in Mandarin. 

So, what were you saying about a language delay? Oh right. That my child is a genious. Ahem.


Anyway, I bring all of this up just so that you can be fully aware of the profundity of my child's intellect and language prowess, and also to set the scene for the marriage of her two favourite things: talking and clothes. 

S ::pulls out sirt from chest of drawer, extends at arm's length, admires lovingly:: Oooooooohhhhhh yeow, itty

{Trans: Ohhhhhh, wow, pretty}

Needless to say, I'm encouraging this sort of behaviour.

Photo 5Oh this kid. Really. The best.


Stella Wore:

Jacket - Gifted 

Scarf - Target (mine)

Leggings: Tea Collection

Socks: Ploran O Pyret



Oh, big news guys. I am kind of a grown up blogger now. See, over there, on my side bar? An official ad. Like one that pays me to put it there. So, if you have any interest in health insurance, particularly if you're an expat, maybe you just want to take a quick peek on their site. 

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Small Style, China Style

Excuse me while I revel just a little longer in the memories of our China trip. Can you tell that I had, like, THE BEST time evah? 

Life in Japan is quiet and unvaried and somewhat cloistered. There are days when my most  thrilling experience, my most intense and rewarding social interaction (I mean, outside of that with my child) is the transaction with the cashier at the grocery store, whom I do not even understand. 

So going to China, I returned to where where I have real life human friends, where I lived thrill, and excitement, noise, and passion, and dirt and craziness, fireworks, and near-death taxi rides, good food and bubbly. It reminded me of myself, of who I was before Japan. I mean, I even went out! Without my kid! In the evening! To a bar! And drank the hell out of three beers! And smoked a cigarette! And talked to people! I worried that I had forgotten how. But it turns out, it's like riding a bike. 

So I feel new, and fresh. Like these pictures, which, obviously because their clarity and sharpness, were taken in Shanghai by Emily.

IMG_2482_SSduo2_smThere's some serious ton ton toning gong on over here.

My generous and kind child is obviously GIVING a toy to Jackson. And not taking it from him. Nope. 

Side eye, you crazy baby.


And then this happened. Which is why she was so warry.


I on the other hand, am loving ever minute of baby kisses.


Stella is wearing a skirt that I bought in the furniture market in Beijing. It's made in the traditional style of the Miao, and ethnic minority who live in the South Western part of China. The real skirts are typically made out of richly patterned silk and are stunningly beautiful. This one is woven, and quite cute, I must say.


Miss S, the budding clotheshorse, is now demanding that she wear skirts all the time. On the weekend, she may or may not have insisted that I take off my skirt and let her wear it. Because pants are totally unacceptable. 

Stella Wore

Skirt - Beijing Furnature Market

Top - Target

Cardi - H&M

Jacket - Baby Gap

Socks - Smartwool


Wanna connect on Facebook? I'm here. 


Oh, hey, to all of you who voted for us on Top Baby Blogs, a big, heartfelt thank you. It's silly and somewhat vapid, but  I like seeing our wee blog progress up the charts. I mean, we're by no means bigtime, but still. So thank you. It makes me happy. And if you wanted to throw a vote my way, well, please! I'd love it!


Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

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One Year of Small Style

Fifty-two weeks of stylish babies is quite an accomplishment, yay Morgan!

I joined Small Style on, like, week two. I guess you could say that I'm a Small Style pioneer. But pioneer doesn't sound very stylish. An archetypal Small Stylist? An autochthonous Small Styler? (Oh geezus! Someone take this thesaurus away from me.) Point being that I've been Small Styling for a hella long time, and it has been simply wonderful. I've met some fab Internet friends (and in Japan, where my dearth of real life friends is wide and heavy, this has been a gift) and I've simply adored watching everyone's babies grow up on my screen. Thanks, Morgan. It's been a great year. 

So in honour of this monumental occasion, I think that it's appropriate to give you the first ever DUO Small Style. Two Small Style participants united in one place.


So without further ado, take it away, Jackson and Stella.

Oh haiiiii babies, you giggly things!

Alright. So, truth time: as with most things baby, this photo shoot didn't go as planned. We set the kids up, right before bedtime in front of bright lights and flashy cameras (because BTW Emily is a grown-up photog with big kid toys like studio lights and stuff). There are, consequentially very few shots with both kids looking cute. And so, naturally, because I'm such a great friend, with the exception of the picture above, I selected only the pictures in which my kid looks good. Sorry Jackson. {Blur}.


Hey, hold on a sec, lady, there are shoes that need nomming. So, what the what? Sit down.


Here, let me ton ton ton you back. With all my strength.

HEY! I'm ton ton tonning* you my hardest! You'd better appreciate my efforts, SIR!

Now, before we depart, let's just talk for a moment how Mr. J is about the cutest, and best baby in the history of babies. Adorable, chubby, cheeks! and smiles! and shrieks! and nom nom nom, I eat feet. Oh, and the kid takes naps. I practically adopted him while we were staying at Emily's house. He worked some major magic with his giggles and coos and zzzzzs and went a long way to curing my Baby Number Two fears. 

And StellaBella was all patience, kindness, ton ton tons, and hugs. Toy snatching was minimal. Baby smacking non-existent. Jealousy was indictable. My girl. Seriously. The best. 


Stella Wore:

Sweater: Joe Fresh (I suppose that for this special occasion, I could have busted out something great, but, well, this old stand-by is much loved.)

Top: Baby Gap

Shorts: Baby Gap

Tights: Hippie Fairydust Grocery Store

Shoes: See Kai Run

*Editor's Note: ton ton tonning is the gerund of the verb ton ton ton, a commonly practiced Japanese method of soothing little babies whereby the caregiver pats the baby with the rhythm of a beating heart on the chest. 


Oh, PS. I could totally use a vote or a billion on Top Baby Blogs. The Great Fire Wall prevented me from posting. And thereby soliciting votes. And obviously this is a great tragedy and I must mobalize my interwebular friends to rectify this situation.

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

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Small Style, Mini High Fashion Edition

We're working on posing.


When I ask Miss S, "Go stand over there so I can take your picture," she does this:




Cute, yes. But we need to work on our listening comprehension. While she is "over there" she is neither standing, or is she in a particularly photogenic position. We're working on the concept of high fashion posing. You know. It's an important life skill. I want to set this kid up for success. I want her to know her flattering angles, and how to take a million selfies so that she can post them on her blaaaaawwwwggg, and then pin those pictures on pinterest so that she can show the world what impeccable taste she has. Critical, important life changing things like that. Forget the violin, I'm teaching my kid how to look cute in front of a camera.

(Do I sound like an a-hole? Because I'm totally making fun of all you fashion bloggers out there who take pictures of yourselves and post them on your blog.)*

(Oh shit. I do that too. *cough*I'madouchebag*cough*)

Anyway...moving on. Here, we're making progress.



I dunno. We're working it out.


Stella Wore

Jacket: (Gigantic, for next year, but well, if there's something new in the closet, it needs to be worn now.) Baby Gap

Pants: Tea Collection

Leg Warmers: Baby Legs

Boots: See Kai Run




Oh hey? how bout a vote on Top Baby Blogs? I kind of hate myself for caring about stuff like this, but, well I gain an enormous amount of validation as I watch our numbers climb** and so obviously a vote for me is a vote for meantal health. 


*Totally kidding. I love blogs like that. But I also love making fun of myself. 

**We're currently number one billion.


Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

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Small Style Is the One Bright Spot on This Otherwise Insane Thursday

Do you ever have one of those days? A day wherein you think you’re off to a pretty good start, breakfasted and emailed, and a quick game of vroom-vroom cars before 8:30? And you congratulate yourself on your industriousness and general maternal awesomeness, and think yes, but we’d be more awesome if were were clean, so you run the water for a shower, undress yourself, undress your kid and then get surprised by a wayward (and airborne) poop. And while you’re cleaning that up, your kid pees on the floor. 


No biggie. 


You’re about to shower, so a little pee-pee won’t hurt anyone.


And then, once out of the shower, before you can get the diaper on, there’s pee again. And so it’s back in the shower for a rinse, and then a race against the pee-pee clock to re-diaper and re-dress. And then you happen upon a cat vom, and investigate further and discover that your kids pants, the ones you were just looking for, are under the bed, incrusted in feline vom.


And then back to your email to check on a brewing storm, where you try to not lose your mind because waiting for you in your inbox is a passport problem, so annoying and ridiculous and complicated that you just might come down with a brain aneurysm, and the trip to which you are looking forward with great expectancy, a trip to visit a fellow Small Styler which could ultimately result in the first ever DUO Small Style post in the history of Small Style, appears to be in grave danger. 




Just me?


Okay. Well, welcome to my Thursday.


Thankfully Wednesday was much better. It involved bike rides in the snow. Pizza. And conversation with a wonderful real-life and tangible human friend whom I met through this blog. Stella also had a great time. Mostly because she was wearing the most adorable sweater in the history of knitted garments.


And let me tell you, I’ve got my fingers crossed for Friday.

Stella Wore:

Shirt - Zutano 

Cardi - Bobo Choses 

Jeans - Baby Gap 

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Small Style, Real Life Style

The report from daycare today: Miss Stella-chan is officially trilingual. She holds up her little pointer finger when asked, "Nansai desu ka?" (How old are you?) She follows commands. She bows good morning. She totally understands! She also walks around the house going, "bitte bitte bitte bitte bitte" (please please please please in German), before settling on exactly what she wants (usually bread. I mean, she's Swiss), pointing at it and saying "dis!" So, basically, I'm raising a genius. Truth.



Another thing that is truth: this Small Style post. Totally real life. Stella-chan is helping me do dishes. Where helping is emptying out all the contents of my drawers.




We play with her little toys. There are crumbs on the floor.




And ground up cracker. But let's not talk about that. 



There's also drool down the front of her shirt. Because there's ALWAYS drool. 

It's real life. Whining because I won't let her take pictures of me. Blurry photos. Warm clothes for this blustery day. 

Stella Wore:

Top - Polarn O. Pyret

Bottom - Tea Collection overalls, Baby Gap legwarmers, Smart Wool Socks

And smiles. 


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Tokyo Style

I had grand ambitions to get this post up last night, you know, like IN TIME for Small Style. But lo, a certain one-year-old piped up just as I was cracking open my laptop and demanded cuddles and attention because everything was terrible and there were possibly nightmares or perhaps an impending fever, dagger teeth, or other similarly horrific baby drama. And how she did scream. Turns out, though, it was all just a ploy to get out of baby jail and into my bed where she wanted to do some late night games of peak-a-boo. 

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. We were in Tokyo. And indeed, it was very stylish. And fabulous. And it gave me a new outlook on Japan. And we should probably talk about how I went, by myself with my big girl panties, to the biggest, busiest, train station in all of creation, and rode the subway, changed lines, and got to where I was going. At rush hour. And did I mention, I was by myself? Let's just say it is exactly how you imagine: a wall of people in black suits and white surgical masks envelop you and are everywhere and look busy and they know where they're going and you don't. Terrifying and exhilarating.

Tokyo was pretty amazing. Lights. Neon. Totally bonkers outfits. Shops. Restaurants. Trains. Trains. Trains. And so so so many people. Here, let me show you. (Prepare for photobombasity.)







Anyway, THAT is also neither here nor there. We're talking Small Style. While we were in Tokyo, we stayed at a super nice hotel which was super more than we could really afford but also super wonderful and amazing. And so, obviously Stella had to be extra super cute. See?




Highlights from the trip, according to Stella, were as follows: millions of chairs for climbing on; a gigantic bed for playing wild rumpus time on; papi papi papi; trains; buses (or dadeeees as she has termed them); sugar; cookies; braised beef; venison loin; indian food; pastries; more sugar; more cookies; a gigantic slide (which, side note, was also pretty much the highlight of the trip for me as well); the view the view the view omg the view; and lots of fun times with some lovely friends.

So now we're back at home detoxing from the glamorous city life (and all the white sugar that I let me kid eat) and dreaming of our next trip. But, honestly, Tokyo will be hard to beat.

Stella Wore:

Top (Stars): Bobo Choses

Top (Stripes): Tea Collection

Skirt: Bobo Choses

Leggings: H&M


Did I take a million pictures of the view? Yes. WIll I apologize for that fact? Nope. It's been almost 2.5 years since I've seen vistas like this one. Soaking it all up.

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Breaking the Rules for Small Style

Excuse me while I commit one of the worst faux pas known to Japan: shoes in the house.



Hai, Shoes!

Japan has a shoe thing. There are outdoor shoes, indoor slippers, bathroom slippers, bare feet for tatami rooms. Some times you wear shoes (malls, train stations, etc). Sometimes you wear slippers (some doctors offices, some restaurants), and in some places, you go sock-footed (the drop-in play center, for example.) It's a bit difficult to keep straight. When you go to a friend's house, do you bring your own slippers (no! learned this one the hard way.) Do you wear slippers when you try on clothes at a store (yes! And also a protective face thing to keep make-up off the clothes which makes me very unlikely to want to try on clothing. Which, I guess is good, because then I won't buy things. But still kind of annoying, if you'll allow me a bit of judgmental snarkery in poor taste.)


 You should probably know that my girl does not have a "lovie." Instead, she carries around a picture of me with my five best best best friends which was taken at one friend's wedding, many eons ago. Kids are weird, man. 

When I first moved here,  but I didn't grasp the profundity with which the shoe thing permeated daily life. When looking at apartments, we had to wear little plastic booties over our shoes. Once, a friend's young daughter came to visit. When it was home-time, she realized that she had forgotten something inside, and I suggested that she not bother taking off her shoes, just quickly run in and get it. She looked at me as though I'd suggested braised cat for dinner.


There are those GD shoes again! Wut? Were you raised in a barn????!!?


Anyway. All this to say, I sometimes let my kid wear shoes in the house because she likes them, or because I like them, or because I don't want to have to wrestle her feet into slippers and face the wrath of flailing angry toddler arms and the shoes are already on and well. You know. Mostly its the third one.

Sorry, Japan. But, basically, I'm trying to avoid this:


Picnik collage

You'll notice that my child carefully and deliberately places her body on the floor before flailing around. Sensible little bunny, she is.


But, five seconds later, she gave me this, so I'm not too upset. Fair trade. 




(Hmmmm....could I ramble more nonsense about nothing? Probably.)


Stella Wore

Dress: Baby Gap (gifted. Thanks Mum!)

Tights: Hippie Fairy Dust grocery store in Michigan (again, Thanks Mum! Look! They still fit!)

Illicit Outdoor shoes worn indoors: Livie and Luca

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Small Style, Hair Styles

There was a little bit of a hair situation going on in the EpB household. Toddler hair gone wrong. Major style. 


But before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s take a trip back in time and admire Miss S’s luscious, curly locks. 

  IMG_6937 - Version 2
Dress - Tea Collection (Trying my very best not to order a million things from the sale going on right now but OMG SO HARD)

Adorabs, right?


And then it all went wrong. Because of sleep. Seriously, around here, everything comes back to zzzz. Around the time were were teaching Stella how to sleep better on her own, she developed a little self-soothing mechanism - twirling her hair around her finger and thumb. Which was fine when her hair was short, but as it grew this habit became problematic. 


On rough, restless nights, Stella would twist and twirl her hair until it encircled her fingers. In the mornings, I’d discover little hair rings, perfectly toddler sized, at the bottom of her crib. Or she’d wake screaming, her hair wound tightly round her thumb still affixed to her head, and cutting off the circulation in her little digits.


All that constant twirling and twiddling lead us to this point: 


Outfit = Tea Collection

A very unfortunate undercut-type situation, plus a thin, scraggly mop on top. Delish.


Then Stella got sick last week. And this happened.

That's a matted, horrific dreadlock going on right there. Dirty hippies have no place under my roof, mkay? (Just kidding. I'm kind of a dirty hippy myself.)


I remained in denial about the necessity of a haircut, despite Mr. Chef's insistence. (Oh mah gawd, my baybee the passage of time and milestones and growing up and tears and blah blah blah etc etc etc).


Anyway, we did it. It was way less dramatic than I had assumed it would be. And now my Bella B has a cute little angled bob with choppy baby bangs and I die of adorableness. 

 Sweater - the old standby, Joe Fresh


And here are a few more, just so that you might fully appreciate the level of cuteness going on up in here:


Vest - Baby Gap; Sweater Dress - Baby Gap; Leggings - Joe Fresh

I love it - the cut is still messy and random enough to be babyish, but we no longer have that ridiculous mid-nineties undercut thing going on. However, Mr. Chef, the primary advocate of said hair cut, remains unmoved. He is convinced that the previous two poor nights sleep can be attributed to insufficient hair for twirling purposes. 




Now I'm just praying that the curls will come back with the humidity. Please??

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