Front and Center: Alice and Ivory Feature + A Giveaway

Kristina from Alice and Ivory and I both know that happy mail is the absolute best kind of mail, and there's nothing like happy mail to brighten ones day! That's why we have teamed up to bring you a giveaway!

One very lucky Happy Cupcake reader will win a "The Girl with the Wind in Her Hair Print" (pictured below with Bella's name), customized with hair color of your choice and also your name or your little princess' name!

Is this not the most adorable print ever?!
Alice and Ivory offers a wide range of products including prints of all different sizes, adult, child and baby clothing, hair accessories and home-goods (I've got my eye on a few of their throw pillows for sure!), and the list goes on! And as far as all the mermaids are concerned, I mean, c'mon... we ALL love mermaids! :)
Alice and Ivory is really such a fun, lighthearted and carefree brand. Its perfect for a little girls room and the rest of your home, especially if your home has an ocean inspired flair or casual free spirited vibe. :)

Just a very few of the super adorable items Alice and Ivory has to offer!
And wanna know what makes Alice and Ivory even better? They are a mama(prenour) owned business run right here in the United States!
If you want great quality and cute items, both at a great price, Alice and Ivory is the shop for you! Check them out! :)
All you need to do to enter the giveaway for your chance to win your very own customized "The girl with the wind in her hair" print is complete the steps in the Rafflecopter below!

You may post the giveaway image to your instagram account once per day (you must be following both myself (@lifeasahappycupake) and Alice and Ivory (@aliceandivory), use the hashtag #ivorycupcakegivaway and tag us both. Remember, if posting the giveaway image to instagram don't forget to come back and enter that you did so for your instagram entry to count. :)

The giveaway ends Friday, July 4 at midnight (EST) and winner will be announced Saturday, July 5. Open to US residents only. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!


Baby and New Mom Mini Series: 5 Baby Products You Don't Really Need

This is the second post in my Baby and New Mom Mini Series, in this and posts to come, you will find informative info on what products are lifesavers and what products you really just don't need, all from the perspective of a new mom. in todays post I'm sharing a few items that we personally thought we could have done without and saved money. :)
1. Infant bathtub.
I thought we just HAD to have one. I thankfully took everyone's advice and didn't buy the most expensive one, but in the end it turned out to be such a novelty item that we didn't use a whole lot and I actually very much disliked because it seemed we got more water everywhere than actually stayed in the tub. Plus Bella hated being in there. We ended up settling on co-showering/ bathing in the regular tub (only letting it fill up a couple inches) and both are is still a big hit at 6 and a half months! She especially loves being able to kick and splash in the water and in the infant tub there wouldn't have been nearly enough room.
2. 4 oz. bottles.
I'm still kicking myself over this one. She outgrew them so fast (once we started giving her bottles) and after just a few months we had to go buy 9 oz. bottles. If I had to do over I would have initially purchased the 9 oz. size and used those, just filling them up 2 oz., 4 oz., 6 oz. as she started growing and eating more, especially given the prices bottles sell for.
3. Sterilizer.
We spent nearly $20 on a sterilizer that we've really only used a handful of times. Would have been much wiser in my opinion to just boil everything in a big pan of water.
4. Babies really don't need as many clothes as you'd think. I thought babies needed a ton of clothes, I mean, what if she had a blowout or her diaper leaked? But what I didn't take into consideration is that we do in fact wash clothes almost daily (lol pregnancy brain at the time haha). Plus they outgrow them SO FAST! Bella had some stuff she didn't even get to wear because by the time I remembered we had it, it was already too small; and even more stuff she only wore once or twice. They especially outgrow the newborn clothes the fastest. 0-3 or 3 month she's worn the longest so far. At 6 and a half months she's already wearing 9 month and 12 month size stuff and has outgrown most of her 6 month clothing. I mean I didn't go super crazy buying as much as some people but I think we still had too many. My advice is buy a few extremely soft comfy things that they'll enjoy wearing (Bella's favorite newborn outfit was a purple velour sleeper with tiny silver glitter snowflakes:) and a few nice outfits, but don't bother with too many expensive clothes, because 3 words... baby poop stains... I don't care who you are, your baby WILL have blowouts. Lol.
5. Receiving blankets.
Yep, I'm talking about those thin flannel ones. Whoever thought up these things were both smart and dumb. Smart because they are definitely a money making item: everyone buys them for you and you go buy even more because you think they must be a necessary item because everyone makes such a huge deal out of them, right? Nope. They're much too small to swaddle a child, too thin to keep them warm, and not absorbent so you cant use them for a large burp cloth. We've really only used them for laying the baby on when we change her out in public, other than the one warm day we left her blanket at home and used it to covered her legs in the air conditioned car. My advice is to not go crazy buying receiving blankets, if someone gives you a package there's nothing wrong with keeping them but having more than one package is useless. Buy swaddle blankets, you can swaddle them, no they won't really keep them warm but during the spring and summer, but that's not really the issue for us, since blankets for Bella are more about security now that its warming up, muslin swaddle blankets are basically the equivalent of a "baby sized" bed top sheet, its nice and thin for warm nights. I mean no doubt about it, the receiving blankets are cute, but they're just not practical.


New Mama Must Haves: A Guest Blog with Megan from A Blessed Nest

Hi, I’m Megan and I blog over at A Blessed Nest, where I write about marriage, motherhood & making your house a home. I am married to my best friend and better half and we have a 13 month old daughter, Olivia Bea. April asked me to share on the topic New Mama Must Haves and I chose a few items from 5 different categories to touch on!

In addition to all the obvious things you’ll want to have on hand as a new mom – diapers, clothing, pacifiers, a carseat & stroller, etc., below I’m sharing a few of the New Mama Must Haves that I found to be extremely useful in the first weeks and months of Olivia’s life. Many are items that you may not think about but all have been valuable in one way or another.

Bath & Body

Calendula Cream [by California Baby] // This is my #1 product recommendation for any new mom. Calendula cream works miracles on any and every skin issue your baby may face – rashes, dryness, eczema, etc. Plus it smells amazing. We have been using it on Olivia since the day she was born and I will never buy another skin cream again! It was especially helpful through her first winter when her cheeks were very chapped. I would apply it before bed and she would wake up with perfectly soft skin the next morning.
BONUS: A small container lasts 6+ months because you need very little for it be effective.

Baby [Countertop] Tub // Even though we have a full sized bathtub, I still use our countertop tub to bathe Olivia and she is over a year old! It is so great not having to bend down to bathe her and strain my back plus it is the perfect size to fill with water without feeling like I am wasting 10 gallons for a 10 minute bath.
BONUS: Ours came with a baby sling that we used when she was a newborn and it can be removed as your baby grows!

Oversized High Quality Hooded Towel // Many of the towels you find in the baby section in stores are very thin and very small. Even more expensive towels are often rather small. My mom gave us a big children’s size hooded towel that is warm and cozy and big enough with room to spare to wrap Olivia up after her baths. We also bought a 2 pack of Circo hooded towels and within a month, they were so worn out I just threw them away. Invest in a high quality hooded towel, it is totally worth it.
BONUS: By buying a large size from the beginning, you will be able to use it all through childhood!

Feeding & Changing

Aden & Anais Burpy Bibs // I have such a deep love for all A&A baby products, but especially their Burpy Bibs. Not only are they are great for bottle feedings and food once your baby starts solids, but they are oversized and contoured so you are able to use them as a burp cloth after feedings. 
BONUS: They come in the softest muslin & bamboo and get softer with every wash!

High Quality Bottles [One brand] // During my pregnancy, I had such a difficult time deciding on the type of bottle I would use once I established a good breastfeeding routine. I went back and forth a million times when I registered. What I learned? Choosing one and sticking with it was the best option for us. I recommend finding a bottle that you really like and start there. Don’t buy 10 types of bottles and then try to figure out what your baby will use. Start with one and if your baby absolutely hates it, try a different one. There is a lot of hype about which bottles are best, which are the most natural, etc. but chances are, your baby won’t be picky. All they really care about? What's inside. I worried that Olivia wouldn’t like the kind we chose and she ended up loving them! Sure, I would stand behind the brand 100%, but I think she took so well to them because she didn’t have a choice. And based on our experience with her, I will hands down buy Dr. Brown’s bottles in the future for every baby. She didn’t deal with any colic or reflux, but I just love their bottles! 
BONUS: You’ll save money when you just choose ONE bottle type/brand to invest in, versus a bunch of different ones!

Aquaphor // Forget all the fancy diaper creams, the best and most effective product? Aquaphor. We have been using it on Olivia since birth and she has rarely had diaper rash. When her diaper rash was mild, Aquaphor cleared it up right away. I have talked to other moms whose babies struggled with severe diaper rash and they swear by Aquaphor just like we do! 
BONUS: A good-sized container will last for months!

Nursery & Bedding

Bassinet or Crib Mattress Pads [2] + Bassinet or Crib Sheets [2]// We were blessed to receive a beautiful bassinet as a gift for Olivia and used that for the first few months of her life before transitioning her to the crib. Regardless of where your baby will be sleeping when you bring them home, I recommend buying two sets of bassinet/crib mattress pads and two sets of sheets. Layer them: mattress pad, sheet, mattress pad, sheet. If there is ever a need to change the sheet (which there will be!), all you have to do is take off the top two layers and you’re set for baby to go back to bed.  
BONUS: Saves time AND stress, especially at 1 in the morning.

Video monitor // Having a video monitor (instead of just a sound monitor) brought us both such peace of mind when we transitioned Olivia out of our bedroom into her nursery. They can be a bit more pricey but we purchased ours with coupons after receiving gift cards from showers and we are so glad we did. It is also helpful during naps if Olivia is having a hard time getting herself down and instead of having to go in to check on her, I can just sneak a peek on the monitor. Going into my pregnancy, I thought a video monitor was too expensive and an unnecessary luxury but over the past 13 months, I’ve found it has been an excellent investment. 
BONUS: I get to wake up to the sound of Olivia talking to herself and her stuffed animals in the mornings on the monitor. Heart melting.

Halo Sleep Sacks // There are a few different styles and brands of sleep sacks but our favorites have been the Halo brand. We used the SleepSack Swaddle for the first few months and then once Olivia hit 6 months, we transitioned to the traditional SleepSack. I loved how comfortable they seem, how well they hold up in the wash, how breathable they are, and of course how much Olivia likes them. Having an extra layer of protection and warmth for sleeping that was equally safe was so valuable and they are certainly the only brand I will ever use. 
BONUS: They come in some of the most fun patterns and have a ton of gender-neutral options so you can use them for years and years of your future babies!

Cold & Flu

Boogie Wipes // These are awesome. If you’ve experienced your baby’s first cold, you’ve probably relied on Boogie Wipes to clean their nose 849301 times a day. If you haven’t? Well, you will. They are so much better to use than Kleenex because they are moist with Normal Saline and they come in a few different scents. I buy the unscented for Olivia but grape is a very popular one for most moms I’ve talked with. They are handy, a great size, and a must have in every nursery! 
BONUS: They make travel packs that are the perfect size to throw in a diaper bag.

Nose Freida // If you haven’t heard of this, you will. And if you haven’t purchased it, you should. Hands down, this is the most incredible little gadget ever. Say goodbye to the boring and inefficient bulb syringe & say hello to the new snotsucker in town! Yes, the Nose Freida is made for clearing out your babe’s tiny nostrils and it does such a great job. It is quick, painless and efficient. And when it comes to helping your babe breathe better, this is your number one tool! 
BONUS: For some odd reason, you feel super futuristic using it. Or at least, I do.

Quick-read Digital thermometer // There are so many thermometers on the market: pacifier thermometers, scan (temporal) thermometers, travel thermometers, extra large thermometers, but my go to? A basic, quick-read digital thermometer that you will be mainly be using for axillary temperatures. I also think having a high quality rectal thermometer on hand is helpful if your baby gets super sick and the pediatrician needs a very accurate temperature (for those of you who aren’t in the medical field, rectal is always the most accurate). But on a regular basis, whether a cold, flu, or just every day teething, a quick read digital thermometer is going to help you discern what action you should take next. 
BONUS: You can find a great one that will last a long time at a low price just about everywhere.

The Car

Brica Baby-in-Sight mirror // This has given me so much peace of mind always being able to see Olivia in the car. It is a mirror which you attach to the headrest above the seat in which your carseat base is and it allows you to always see your baby by looking in your rearview mirror. Olivia loves her carseat and actually claps when we put her in it (what?), but it is still so helpful to see her and know that she is comfortable. If she needs something, I am able to figure out what it is without having to get out of the car and look.
BONUS: When your baby falls asleep in their carseat, you can peek on them. There are few things more beautiful than watching your baby sleep.


These are just a few of the main New Mama Must Haves that I feel are worth investing in. We have found all of them to be well worth it -- easy to use, effective and beneficial in more ways than one. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to keep it simple. A baby’s needs are basic and the goal of the products you purchase is to make life easier on the parent and better for the baby, whether physically, safety-wise, or overall well-being. I hope this has been helpful for every Mama reading.


Leiaroux: Shop Feature + a Giveaway!

Its no secret we love our Leiaroux shoesies, and I am excited to announce that my sweet friend Andie (momprenour: owner and founder of Leiaroux) has so generously offered to give 1 pair of Leiaroux shoesies (size and style winner's choice) to one lucky Happy Cupcake reader!

How exciting, right?!

And to make it even better, the style and size is winner's choice so you can pick girly shoes or boyish shoes based on the gender of your child or if you're expecting and don't yet know the gender of your child you can still enter since Leiaroux has gender neutral shoesies as well!

These shoesies are so soft and comfy and they actually stay on those adorable little baby feet! Plus they are each and every one sewn by hand with lots of love by a sweet mama right here in the United States, in the sunny state of California!

The sizes range from newborn to 24 months and are perfect for newly crawling or walking babes... or even if your little one isn't crawling or walking yet they're just as cute! I can't tell you how many comments I've gotten on her little shoesies, mom's wanting to know where they could buy them!

All you need to do to enter to win a pair for your little one is complete the steps in the Rafflecopter below! :)

You may post the giveaway image to your instagram account once per day and you must be following both me (@mrsbondibellasmommy) and Leiaroux (@Leiaroux).
Remember, if posting the giveaway image to instagram don't forget to come back and enter that you did so for your instagram entry to count. :)

The giveaway ends Monday, June 23 at midnight and winner will be announced on the blog (as well as Instagram and Facebook) Tuesday, June 24. Open to US Residents. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!


C-Section Recovery: A Guest Blog with Brianne from The Sentimental Mama

{Please discuss all options with your doctor. The following is not from a medical doctor or OBGYN. You should consult any and all changes in your care following a major surgery with your doctor. These are just helpful tips, ideas and experience from someone that has been through a C-Section.}
Hello! First let me thank April for asking for me to be her guest blogger! I couldn’t be more thrilled to do this. In my previous blog post “Pro-Breastfeeding Mama and Why I Chose Formula” I discussed the beginning stages of my pregnancy and the grand finale of the birth but I never discussed on the C-Section Recovery aspect of it all in great detail so this is a great avenue that I get to be able to tell this side of my story.
Some of you can relate, my pregnancy was rough. It was not rainbows and butterflies for the most part. YES, I LOVED to be pregnant. I loved that my body knew exactly how to create a human. I loved that I had a second heart beating inside of me. I loved that I really felt connected to this strange alien-like creature that was busy kicking my insides like nobody’s business. I loved that only I got to have these unique feelings with this child. But my womanly body didn’t know how to be so giving and fought me most of the way with health issues. My baby also was breech the entire pregnancy which led me to having to have a C-Section. By 9 months, I was asking where do I sign on the dotted line for that surgery. I didn’t want to have a C-Section, I was roaring to go with an all natural Doula-filled birth. Come the day of the surgery, it didn’t go well. I had a panic attack on the surgery table and the surgery recovery area post-op was less of a “Golden Hour” with my baby and more of a blur.
I ended up getting Preeclampsia after delivery (yes this can happen!) so in addition to all of my pain meds, stool softeners (yes you must take those), I was also now on high blood pressure medication. A few times I almost fainted while trying to recover in the hospital. >>Not fun at all<< But with all of that the most frustrating thing was using the restroom post-op. They don’t brief you on this before you go into surgery but having to use the restroom by FAR is very nerve wrecking. You almost feel like you are going to pop a stitch. Once you have successfully mastered the restroom, you will be allowed to leave the hospital, unless like me, you beg to stay because I still wasn’t feeling right.
After my lengthy hospital stay, I was able to go home 5 days later. I tried to remember as hard as I could of all the nuances that I encountered while recovering. Let me break down some of these to you for recovering after your C-Section:
Before surgery (if possible) purchase YOGA pants. At least a handful. You will live in them while your surgery site heals.
Take things day by day. Focus on walking daily…slowly.
Request a Post Op Belly Binder. This is an elastic wrap with Velcro that you can wrap your tummy up every time you get up to walk. It holds everything in and just makes you feel more stable. Check with your insurance because my insurance covered it!
If you were supposed to have a natural birth and ended up having a C-Section, don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s just not worth it. Go hold your baby and focus on today, not yesterday.
It’s okay to say no to people visiting you in the hospital. I was there for quite a few days but some of those days my husband did have to tell our friends to try back tomorrow. You will have ups and downs in recovery and that’s okay.
Try to take as many hospital panties home that you can as well as the long pads. My nurses were kinda stingy but I was glad to have a handful when I left.
If you run out of pads/hospital panties when you are home, ladies Depends underwear works perfectly.
When you get to go home, tell your driver to take their time. You will feel every bump especially if your almost due for your next pain medicine dose.
Leads me to the next tip, DON’T slack on taking your pain meds for at least 5 days post op. You can slowly start weaning yourself off but take your time. You don’t need to be wobbling around with your newborn in pain. Even if you’re breast feeding. They won’t give you pain meds that will affect your milk… believe me I asked 1 million times J I had to keep a record on paper for my own knowledge (because I obviously had doped up baby brain!) and my husband’s knowledge. If you can, make yourself a spreadsheet before you go into surgery so that it is ready for you when you get home!
Try to avoid foods that will make your belly gurgle or get the B.G’s {bubble guts} hehe a little silly but so true!!
DRINK WATER. I forgot quite a bit and noticed a huge difference. Plus it helps you remember to go to the restroom!
Your surgery site will be weird. My scare is still thick but pretty low. Parts are still numb and after reading a blog or two this is normal with other C-Section Mamas.
GLUE: There will be a ton of glue on your surgery site. You will have to remove it when the doctor gives you the green light. It’s gunky and weird. Sort of like eyelash glue on steroids if you were curious.
Once you no longer have an open incision, rub vitamin e oil on it. And/or some Mederma Cream to help speed up the healing of the scar.
Remember to take a shower EVERY DAY. This doesn’t stop at the hospital. Some may be shocked I even have to say this but you will see… I even failed on this. My newborns needs went way before my needs. But I remember a friend telling me how amazing she felt (hence why I stated earlier to take a shower in the hospital) after a shower and each shower I firmly agreed with her. If you are solo, bring that baby with you in the bathroom. He/She will just lie there anyways and even if you can just squeeze in a 5 minute chicken shower – DO IT.
Don’t clean, don’t bend down, and don’t use the stairs. Self explanatory.
Well I hope this helps some of you Mama’s out there! Nothing can really prep you for the most important surgery of your life even when it comes to post-op. Every lady has a different pregnancy. Every Mama has a different birth. And every Mama has a different recovery. Take it day by day, love on that little bundle of joy and don’t forget the baby needs their Mama, so take care of yourself too.
Brianne Geiger also dubbed The Sentimental Mama is a 30 year old Mother of one located in the {warm} state of Arizona. When she isn’t taking pictures of her little boy Gentry, she is blogging and sharing her life on social media. She is a wife, stay at home Mama, lover of Jesus and all things sentimental.