Real Life On Our Couch

September 5, 2015 • BabyDesignLoveStyle

a while ago a belgian journalist contacted me because she was preparing an article about mamas on instagram. as i have been sharing a lot of #julietrabaey on there, it didn’t surprise me she considered me ‘an instamom.’ i shared some of my favorite pics with her to be published in the magazine she writes for, and didn’t really think about it again until the article came out. i shared a picture of it on ig (BUT OF COURSE) and i wanted to repeat here what i mentioned there.

my life is far from perfect. it’s complicated, it’s messy and it can be exhausting. sometimes i feel like sharing how this makes me feel – like when juliet had such a difficult time those first three months of her life. i posted a few pictures on instagram to share how hard it was on me and our family, and got so much comfort and encouragement from the comments that followed. i’ll forever be grateful to everyone who shared their own stories with me or offered me some words of sympathy. i don’t think i’m exaggerating when i say they really helped me get through a tough few months.

luckily, juliet is doing much, much better now. she’s as happy and healthy as a baby can be. it took me a little longer to adapt to my new life (and it’s probably still an ongoing process), but i can honestly say i am feeling happy much more often than not. i choose not to dwell on things, and to move forward, so that is why on ig i’m back to sharing happy moments and memories. i don’t think that means i’m being dishonest. it just means that whenever possible, i like to spread joy and optimism.

what does all this have to do with that article, i hear you think. the instamoms that were represented in the article, were all examples of perfectionists and aesthetes. they like to think about the photos they post, perhaps even style them a little bit before they take them. i plead guilty, but as the article said – it’s not so much about trying to ‘fake’ something, than about wanting to remember the best of everything. just like back in the day when moms used to book a professional photographer to take their family portrait. so even though the article never accused me of anything, it did make me think about how i’m presenting myself online and what i’m feeling and thinking in reality. and it made me want to share a little more than i usually do.

like the story behind the pictures you see above. because juliet had such a difficult time those first three months, there was barely a moment she was awake and not crying. we were exhausted and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and the last thing on our minds was organizing a photoshoot to commemorate the start of our little family. i pushed back thoughts of regretting that later on, but of course time passed, juliet’s troubles went away and i regretted having lived on fast-forward for three months without taking the time to letting it all sink in.

so when we finally set up the tripod and took the time for a family picture, we sat down on the couch on which we had cried, laughed, rocked juliet to sleep, watched netflix endlessly through the sleepless nights and nursed ourselves and juliet back to health. it was an emotional moment yet at the same time there was absolutely nothing ceremonial about it. juliet only liked sitting still for about five minutes, my husband felt silly having to pose, and it took about a million shots to finally find the pose where we all didn’t look like complete morons.

so actually, nothing about the pictures above is perfect, but they are pretty perfect to me. when the journalist described the setting as carefully thought through and composed, she was only partially right. yes, we’re all wearing EMOI EMOI because their sweaters look great and have cute messages on them. yes, we’re sitting on the absolutely perfect moroso couch which we carefully selected for our home at MASTER MEUBEL. and yes, we look like a happy family because that’s what we are, in the end. but what you don’t see is the conflicted emotions, the happy tears, the sad tears and everything else going on behind the scenes, and perhaps that is a shame, because sometimes it can be a beautiful thing to share, too.

The Wedding // More Details

March 27, 2014 • Love

you guys, i promise this is the last wedding post – p r o m i s e. there were just a few more things that made our day feel special, and that i wanted to share with you. early last year, i met xavier – a wonderful swiss guy and the founder and owner of TATTYOO. his company designs temporary tattoos for adults and kids, and they also offer a rad custom service so that you can design (or have xavier design) your own, personal tattoos.

he offered me the chance to do just that for our wedding, and i took it with both hands. inspired by my recent collab with diamanti per tutti, i played around with geometric heart shapes, different textures and experimented with pencils and pens, stamping little triangles and drawing tiny dots. i added our two hashtags to the tattoo – #bestdayever and #stephandmatti, just in case our guests wanted to flaunt their geek flag (and they did!)

as much fun as i had designing the tattoos and seeing them in real life – i squealed when i opened the box – i could never have predicted the fun we’d have with them at the wedding. as i showed you before, we had a photobooth corner with an instax camera, and we placed a basket with the tattoos nearby. in the hours leading up to the ceremony and during the drinks afterwards, guests were flocking to that corner and having fun with it all. i really liked the idea of the tattoos staying on for a few more days after the weekend – like it didn’t have to end just yet.

the last picture is of the napkins we used during cocktail hour and at the welcome dinner. unfortunately we didn’t get a good picture of them at the wedding, but i saved some (you can totally tell i’m the kind of person that keeps boxes full of souvenirs like this, right?) if you’re about to get married, i recommend having a kind of logo that you can plaster onto everything. it makes even the most ordinary things feel special. the napkins were provided by RENOVA, which offers the customization of their napkins as a super simple online service (and with free shipping worldwide!)

sigh. it makes me kinda sad that this was the last thing i could share about the wedding. it’s funny how nostalgic i already get thinking back of six months ago. many of my friends are getting hitched this year though, so i’m reliving all those beautiful moments via them. and some of my favorite bloggers are preparing for their weddings, too (check out cassie’s amazing handmade wedding lighting and breanna’s beautiful save the dates). tell me, are any of you engaged right now? i’d love to hear all about your plans!

and if you’re interested in wedding-y stuff, check out the other posts about our wedding last september // the one where rubi jones taught me to braid my hair // the one about our wedding branding // the one with all the little details // the one where we said i do // the one in which it rained and we still posed for pictures // the one about the welcome dinner // the one with the tour of our wedding hotel // can you tell i’ve been watching ALL the friends episodes?

photos by stephanie duval // many thanks to TATTYOO for the custom temporary tattoos and RENOVA for the customized napkins


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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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