Holiday gift guide for a one year old

 

  1. Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone – for your music loving baby
  2. Fat Brain Personalized Name Puzzle – to facilitate baby’s learning 
  3.  Little People Caring for Animals Farm Set – for your animal loving baby 
  4. Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Lil Snoopy – a classic must for your baby
  5. Melissa & Doug Safari Chunky Wooden Puzzle – easy to grasp puzzle for your baby
  6. Melissa & Doug First Play Wooden Touch and Feel Puzzle Peek-a-boo Pets Mirror – touch and feel puzzle for your baby
  7. Fat Brain Toys MiniSpinny – a travel toy for baby
  8. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Servin’ Up Fun Food Truck – a toy to stimulate imagination 

My daughter is 13 months and has some of these toys! The others she is getting from Santa this year 😉 All toys are relatively cheap and are perfect for all one year olds! Happy shopping!

How to stop looking at your phone

I listened to insanely powerful podcast the other day and just have to share it with others. It was an episode in the “3 for 30 Takeaway for Moms” podcast series. It’s title was, “How to Stop Looking at your Phone and Why it Matters So Much”.

I’ve written before about how guilty I feel when I catch myself mindlessly scrolling through my phone when I’m with Amelia. I know deep down that all of my attention should be on her, but phones can be so darn distracting! So sometimes I fall I into this trap…& I hate it. So, when I saw another mom post about this podcast I had to listen. It was everything I needed and more. It was a wake up call.

Dr. Katie Penry, a licensed clinical psychologist talks about children, their development, and how being on your phone impacts that. Here’s some interesting facts!

-Almost 80% of your child’s brain development happens from age 0-3 years, through consistent verbal and non-verbal interaction with their parents

-Look at your baby and attune to who they are and what they love–react to each other–Harvard Psychologists call this “Serve and Return”

-Daniel Stern, a renowned American psychologist, found that 70%-80% of the time that your baby is alert, he/she is looking at you

Think about that…..almost 80% of your child’s brain development happens from age 0-3 years through consistent interactions with their parents….& 70-80% of the time that your baby is awake, he/she is looking at you.

After I listened to this podcast, I put my phone down for an entire evening….& played purposefully with Amelia. We interacted, she looked at me so many times for approval or for my reaction, I made purposeful eye contact with her….this sounds ridiculous when I type it, because quite frankly it is….it felt so intentional, yet so right, and for that reason I felt so much guilt. Why have I ever allowed my phone to distract me from these precious, meaningful interactions with my daughter who needs my attention so much right now? For her brain development for god sakes!

You may have the image in your head of me just laying in the couch, constantly on my phone whenever I’m with her. This is not the case. However, occasionally, I was allowing my phone to win my attention over. Ugh.

What I liked most about this podcast was that Dr. Penry recognized that we can’t just throw away our phones or never use them again. We are very much in a society where they are needed, and can be used for positive things. Really, what she was saying, was just to simply lay some ground rules. Here they are…

1) Decide on some sacred spaces and places where you will not use your phone. (This matters more than arbitrary time limits for yourself). For example, she said you could choose while you’re breastfeeding, at the dinner table, or at the playground

2) Tell your kids what you are doing when you are looking at your phone. This holds you accountable for ONLY checking your email if that’s what you vocalize you’re going to do

3) Use your phone’s non-notification settings to help you be present at important times of day. I didn’t know this about our phones but you can set limits on screen time and set times that you don’t want to receive notifications

Dr. Penry tells a story about a two year old on the playground who was going down the slide for the first time. Instead of being present in the moment with her daughter as she went down the slide, this mom recorded it on her phone. Understandable, I’ve even been guilty of this (recording Amelia’s first steps). Instead of looking at her daughter, she looked at her daughter through the screen of a phone. A missed opportunity for connection. It makes total sense that our children are looking to our phones as a means to be seen. We so often look at our children through the lens of our phone that they’re picking up on that. No wonder why children are drawn to our phones…!

I’m not saying to never use your phone. What I’m saying is simply to be present with your child when you are with them. They really need you, for their development. In that one evening, I was shocked by how many times Amelia looked at me for approval. How sad that previously I had missed some of those moments because I was looking down at my phone and not at her. Moving forward, and making changes is what matters now!

I invite you to take the #lookupchallenge with me. Here is the link: 7 day look up challenge

Put down your phone, be more connected to your children, stop passively engaging your phone and be more purposeful in your actions!

Letterboard letters organizer

I love using letterboards. Letterboard are great for fun quotes, holiday sayings, or for your children’s important events (such as birthdays, my first Christmas, etc.) When I first started using letterboards I was finding that I was spending so much time going through the letters to find which one I wanted. It took me a good amount of time and it was all sorts of unorganized.

Then I had the idea to sort the letters in a container so it would be way easier to find what I was looking for. I went to hobby lobby and found this plastic craft organizer for $1.99. Beads and jewelry accessories were 50% so I got it for only .99! Let me tell you, it’s make my letterboard creating so much easier & faster!

It’s been a hot minute

Guys, it has been a hot minute. I just logged on to my blog for the first time in a while and noticed that my last post was in August. What? That’s two months ago. I have been slacking. Okay, truthfully I just can’t get my shit together…

Turns out, I suck at time management. I suck at prioritizing. Lastly, I suck at committing to something and actually following through. I’m not putting myself down here…I’m just stating the facts. Those are some of my personality flaws….it is what it is.

I am having SUCH a difficult time managing everything. I may seem semi put together but everyday feels like a scramble. There’s so much to be done. I never feel like I am “ahead” or like I just have free time to do something I’d actually like to do and not something that I have to do (clean the house, pick up toys, etc.) that is… if I want my life to be partly in order.

I have completely neglected my blog and social media presence. As I previously posted about on my Instagram, unfortunately, it’s the first thing to go. I need your tips! How do you balance it all?

When I pick Amelia up from daycare and am finally home with her after a long day, I don’t want to be taking the time to create a post or think of captions for my latest picture. Turns out, it’s a lot harder that it seems! Which I know sounds ridiculous…

I really try hard to not always be on my phone when I’m with her. I want to be present in the moment with her and interact with her. I get so angry when I see parents who are always sitting on their phones when their child is trying to get their attention. So, I really strive to not be that person… do I find myself sometimes mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram? Yes. Do I hate it? Yes. I get so annoyed with myself.

Then I think, all the time I just spent scrolling through Facebook could have been spent writing a blog post or doing anything else more productive. I don’t take anything away from scrolling through social media apps. It’s an unhealthy habit. A mindless one…

So, I want to say sorry. Sorry to myself and sorry to my readers for not living more purposefully. I want to be able to prioritize my time so I can reestablish my presence! But truly, as I mentioned above, send me your tips! I’m thinking of setting a goal to write a blog post when Amelia falls asleep at night or even on the weekends when she naps. I can do it. I’ll get my shit together…..slowly but surely!

5 Step Saranghae Skin Care Review

 

I was gifted a 5 step skincare set from Saranghae. I have been using is for months (started at the end of May) and I am loving the results and genuinely look forward to washing my face at the end of each day! I’ve been trying to slowly phase out many of my beauty, household, and food products that have unnecessary chemicals and crap in them. Using products that have natural ingredients in them is very important to me. So when Saranghae approached me and I did some research on the company, it was a no brainer! Saranghae is a Korean skincare line (it actually means “I love you” in Korean) that focuses on natural ingredients.

The 5-Step program consists of a cleanser, serum, face cream, eye cream and a face mask (for weekly use). Their products are plant based, vegan, and cruelty free, meaning no testing on animals! Their products are made with good for you ingredients like Green Tea extract.

The cleanser is probably my favorite of the products, it has Truffle Extract & Gold. Yes, gold! You can see little speckles all throughout the product.This unique cleansing formula combines the deep pore cleansing power of an oil cleanser with the effective make-up removal of a foam cleanser. The cleanser smells so good and really does a great job of removing all the dirt and makeup. My face truly feels clean after I use it. The eye cream is also a great product and one of my faves. The container size is very generous and you barely need a full pump to cover necessary areas, so it’ll last a while!

My skin feels more hydrated, brighter, and overall just much better. It is so nice to finally have a skin care system that is easy, effective and plant based.

The 5 steps of the Saranghae Skin Care Routine:

1. Nourishing & Moisturizing Oil + Foam Cleanser (daily)
2. Deep Radiance Essence + Serum (daily)
3. Firm & Life Regeneration Cream (daily)
4. Focus Renewal Eye Cream (daily)
5. Elemental Essence Mask (weekly or as needed)

This 5 step skin care regimen is worth every penny. I definitely do not believe in endorsing a product that I don’t believe in. I used to break out far more often than I do now (I’ve only had two breakouts since May, which I attribute to hormonal imbalance due to my thyroid issues). This is far less than I used to break out!

For more information please visit: www.lovesaranghae.com

My new favorite accessory (5 ways to style your wooden watch)

I really love a good watch. I love it’s versatility. I have been eyeing gorgeous wooden watches by Jord for quite some time now – and I couldn’t be more thrilled with my new classic timepiece! My watch is the Frankie series and is the Ebony & Gold. I love the minimalism of the watch, yet the fact that it can make such a statement. I paired my Jord watch with 5 different looks (seen below). An added bonus? Jord can personalize any watch with a heartfelt engraving. My particular watch can be found here!

I paired my Jord watch with a pair of ripped jeans from American Eagle and a striped mustard yellow top from Target

My Jord watch is paired here with that same pair of American Eagle ripped jeans and a classic Banana Republic black shirt with open arm sleeves

Here I went for a different look with a casual Derek Heart striped dress with the strap feature on the chest

Here I paired my Jord watch with a kimono from Charlotte Russe and moto leggings from Target (they were on clearance for $7, I picked up two pairs! Here is the link!)

Lastly, I paired my Jord watch with a soft sweatshirt and those same moto leggings from Target. This is my favorite look because it is so simple, and what you can find me in most often! SO comfy!

 

For a chance to win a Jord watch, you can enter my giveaway here! The giveaway closes on 8/26/18. You will receive a 10% off code for simply entering! Good luck 🙂


Wooden Wrist Watch

Farmhouse home decor on amazon

Finally! After about two months of living in our new home, we are at the point where we are decorating! Which is my favorite part, because it’s when the house truly becomes a home. Months prior to closing on our home, I was looking at different home decor styles and fell in love with the farmhouse house decor feel. I love the rustic vibes, the pallet wood and galvanized metals.

She is strong, but she is tired

Yesterday, I had a meltdown. It is a meltdown that has been brewing….it’s been bubbling, almost erupting to the surface but then suppressed back down. Sometimes, life has a way of feeling completely overwhelming. I feel as if I have literally felt a weight on my back – continually growing and continually weighing me down. It’s the weight of motherhood, of trying to settle into a new home, of trying to find the balance in something that just isn’t meant to be balanced. Yesterday, it finally all came to a head. I am strong, but I am tired.

I sobbed, I sobbed real hard….and I buried my head in my fiances chest. His words? “You are an amazing mother, you truly are. But you need to do more for you. You need to be “you”. Wow… I continued to sob but then was able to choke back my tears. Stunned, I just looked at him. He was so right.

Now, let me say this now. I am happy. I am so damn happy. I am the happiest I have ever been. I feel more fulfilled that I have ever have. Being a mother is everything I have ever dreamed of, and more. It’s little tiny hands wrapped around my neck holding me tight, it’s hearing “mama”, it’s the smile she gives me when I walk into the room – it is everything and more. However, I’m not sure if I am just exhausted with the new responsibilities of motherhood, which are constant, or if I have truly begun to neglect myself along the way.

I’ll be the first to admit it, I have always struggled with taking care of myself. Rather it be physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. I will practice self-care for a little while, but then the responsibilities weigh heavy on me and I become a last priority. Not on purpose, but just by default. There are so many things that always need to be done. This list is truly endless. At the end of the day, it’s hard to find time for me.

But today I had an epiphany – if I want to be the best mother to my daughter, I have to be the best version of myself. If anything, she should be my motivation. And she is.

Things I would like to change:

  • Prioritizing: I don’t get much time to myself, but the time I do get I want to make sure I prioritize. I swear, it’s like a constant battle for me to decide if I should rest while Amelia’s napping or get housework done (dishes, laundry, tidying up). I guess depending on the day, I’ll decide what is more important. If it’s a short nap to revitalize? I’ll take it. If it’s getting things done around the house because the clutter is driving me insane? I’ll do that. Putting first what my body and mind is saying it needs most is what I will do
  • Read: I really enjoy reading, that is if I can find a good book that I can’t put down. Instead of watching TV at night before bed, I want to incorporate reading into my nightly routine. It’s a good way to unwind after a long day and quite honestly? Do I need to get stressed out by the drama on The Real Housewives of OC right before bed? No, I don’t. No one really cares that Vicki and Kelly are feuding again over god knows what… (okay, maybe I do… just not right before bed) 😉
  • My diet: I don’t always fuel my body properly. I just eat whatever…whatever is easy or whatever is convenient. I’d like to think I eat somewhat healthy, but….I have never followed any sort of meal plan. So I’d certainly like to clean my diet up, so I feel better overall!
  • My workout routine: HA, workout routine? What’s that? I certainly don’t have one now… I like to take walks or go for runs when I get spare time (very seldom). I also enjoy taking yoga classes, but I no longer can do that with the difference in mine and my fiances schedules. So, truly, I’ve never followed any real routine (besides when I was training for my half marathons). I don’t want to take on a complex workout routine but want to make it a goal to at least get 10,000-12,000 steps per day. I will track this with the help of my Fitbit! I also want to incorporate some strength training activities (using Amelia as my very own 22 lb weight) and some yoga at home
  • My mind: This is most important. I lately am very easily getting bogged down by the “noise” – all the thoughts about all that I have to do. As I mentioned earlier, it’s truly overwhelming. At the beginning and end of each day, I just want to reflect. Self-improvement can’t happen unless there is reflection. No one is perfect. I certainly am learning that I am no where close to being perfect. Not the perfect fiance, not the perfect mother, and not even the best version of myself. I AM HUMAN. There will be good days and bad days. However, there is always room to better yourself, better your life, and in return, better the lives of those around you. I want to start to better my life NOW….I’m tired of waiting. It’s time I start doing somethings for myself again. After all, if I want to be the best mother to my daughter? I have to be the best version of myself

Baby snacks & accessories for travel

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you

 

We have family in Long Island so we’re usually traveling every two months or so. It’s been so different each time we have went. We first travel to Long Island when Amelia was three months old and then she was solely breast-fed. Next time we went she was about five and six months old and still exclusively breast-fed. Now, at 10 months old she has snacks and other, in addition to mommas breastmilk. Therefore, I had to plan a little bit differently for this road trip and visit. She barely last in a car seat for 20 minutes now so we will see how this six hour trip goes. Wish us luck!

For this trip, I’ve made sure to pack her lots of her favorite snacks as well as some of my favorite bibs & other products such as food mats.

Snacks lined up for baby
Baby snacks for road trips
Bibs, placemats and snacks for baby
Baby snacks and accessories for road trip

Amelia’s favorite snacks:

– Gerbers lil’ crunchies. Amelia only likes the garden veggie flavor

– Gerbers fruit & veggie melts. Amelia’s favorite? The very berry flavor

– Baby Mum Mums. She likes a lot of different kinds of rice rusks but prefers the apple pumpkin flavor

– Happy Baby Organic Rice Cakes. These are the blueberry & beet flavor!

* All of the above are perfect snacks to travel with – very easy and take up little space!

– Ashtonbee Silicone Bibs. These are my favorite! Super easy to clean, and I love that they catch the food she drops (which is a lot)

– Nuby Sure Grip Silicone Mat. This sticks right to her high chair tray and is also very easy to clean!

I also threw into her bag a Nik Sippy Cup & some Prunes…it’s the only purée she currently still likes and helps if she gets constipated. Hey, us moms have to be prepared for anything!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby must haves

I was gifted an Ollie Swaddle and Binxy Baby and truly wish that I had received these wonderful products months ago!

The Ollie Swaddle from Ollie World: This product came in the cutest packaging. It came in a great box with adorable illustrations. It also came with an instruction card on how to swaddle properly and a nice mesh bag for storage. The swaddle itself is made of a moisture-wicking fabric to prevent overheating and is so soft! There is only one size needed for entire use because it can be used from newborn to transitional use. The stretch fabric allows snug yet loose design and the baby’s arms to be placed either in or outside of the swaddle. There is a bottom opening for hassle-free diaper changes….like where was this product when I was changing diapers at 3 am and had to take the whole swaddle off, waking Amelia up?! I swaddled Amelia in the Ollie Swaddle for nap time recently, with her arms out of course and she slept for 4 hours. She also thought that it was the funniest thing (see pictures below). You can purchase an Ollie Swaddle here.

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The Binxy Baby: The Binxy Baby fits most standard grocery carts and can hold up to 50 pounds in weight. You can even place your car seat in the Binxy Baby. It acts as a very nice car seat sling! It has been safety tested and let me tell you what, it is so convenient! It can be easily rolled and stored in a diaper bag, or simply in a purse (that’s where I keep mine). It takes up little space in the cart and you can still put groceries or items on either sides of the Binxy Baby and even underneath it if needed. The Binxy Baby comes in so many adorable patterns. A lot of people stopped to talk to Amelia and several made comments such as, “Man, I wish they had something like that when my kids were young!” or “This is so convenient, it’s like a baby hammock!” Amelia loved it because she could still see everything and was very comfortable. You can purchase a Binxy Baby here. Follow this link to receive 10% off your purchase!