11.12.2018

2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | GIFTS FOR HIM

Men are seriously difficult to buy for aren't they? My husband sure is, he never wants anything, but I can't let there be nothing for him under the tree, so I've scoured the Internets for the past few months, selecting just the perfect gifts that I know he'll love and I can't wait to give them to him! These are the perfect gifts for any guy, so this year when your significant other tells you not to get them anything, you can be prepared and here's a list of some of our favorite items where you're sure to find the perfect gift!


Savannah Bee Co. Honey Gifts
Last year while on vacation in Myrtle Beach, we came across the cutest little shop called Savannah Bee Co., and of course us being as honey and honeybee obsessed as we are, we had to go inside... we even ended up going again a few days later, we love that little store that much. The honey was divine, the stuff of honeybee dreams, so as soon as we got back home, I looked them up and was elated they they offered all of their products online! Perfect slathered on homemade bread or naan flatbread, stirred into hot tea, blended into smoothies and even just eaten by the spoonful we love honey, especially honey from the Savannah Bee Co.. This Savannah honey is our absolute favorite, and I'm super excited for Frank to find it under the tree on Christmas morning as well as this whipped original honey, this Charleston honey, his favorite "tupelo honey" lip balm and even an old fashioned wooden honey dipper perfect for getting all the honey out of the jars!


A hot cup of coffee is the way Frank starts off every single morning, so I always try and find him a fun new coffee to try every Christmas. This year, he'll be finding Driftaway Coffee under the tree! The cutest little shop based in Brooklyn, New York, that offers a coffee subscription box, or you can purchase individual bags if you prefer, and it smells so heavenly! This box comes with 4 different kinds of coffee (you can personalize it after the first box to only receive the roast you love most, if you want) and I already can't wait to find out which roast will become his new favorite morning brew and wake up call. That hard to buy for person that you still have to buy for? This is the perfect gift!


2 years ago for Christmas, I gifted Frank a Field Shave Soap Canister and a Vegan Travel Shave Brush from Imperial Barber Products. And would you believe that he is STILL using that same container of shave soap? Yep, it has lasted him that long. We are just as shocked (in the best way possible) as you. It has saved us so much money from not having to purchase traditional shaving cream every month, not to mention that by using the shave soap from Imperial Barber Products, we bypass all the icky and toxic ingredients found in most traditional shaving creams sold at the store. He loves it, and says it shaves better than anything else he's ever used, and I think he looks mighty adorable and old fashioned when he's brushing on the shave soap before he shaves.


I fell in love with all of the pretty items over at Betsy Farmer Designs a few years back and just love the simple and minimal designs she offers. I own a necklace with all of our initials on it (though I need to grab an extra initial disk for it with another B, since new baby's name starts with a B) and it's one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. So when I found out that Betsy also offers products for men, I knew I had to get something for Frank. I LOVE this personalized dog tag style key chain and it's absolutely perfect for him. Frank is notoriously difficult to buy for, and is man of simple tastes who usually tells me not to get him anything (but if you know me, you know I can't not get him anything), so when I spied this personalized hand stamped dog tag keychain, I knew it would be the perfect gift for him. Not only because it's something simple that doesn't take up a lot of room since he's become a minimalist these past few years, but also because it's hand stamped and personalized with the names of the 5 people he loves and cares for most (myself and his 4 children). So if you're looking for the perfect gift for that one hard to buy for person, you've found it.


Tee shirts are one of my go-to gifts for Frank for every occasion, I feel like he's always in need of a new tee shirt or two since that's what he wears most be it at work or at home, and when I recently found this "explorer of the wild" tee from Larissa Kay Designs, I immediately knew he would love it. While he's a homebody like me, we also love exploring and adventuring, even if that means something simple like going for a drive in the countryside and discovering fun new places, or going for a nature walk, so this shirt couldn't be more perfect. It's super soft, the perfect color, and I can't wait to give it to him on Christmas morning!

11.11.2018

2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | GIFTS FOR HER

Happy Holiday Season Friends! It's that time of year, the time of year when Christmas shopping is upon us, and there are so many choices for gifts, not only for ourselves but for everyone else, that it's sometimes difficult to sort through all of the things and find "that perfect gift". So I've compiled a list of some of my personal favorite items to make it a little bit easier, also, now when your husband wants to know what you want for Christmas, you can just make it easy for him, and send him the link to this post!


One thing I was never really into growing up, was jewelry, but a few years ago, I started loving jewelry, maybe it has something to do with getting older, who knows haha. I tend to keep it minimal and not wear a lot when I wear it, but I do love having a few pretty and sparkly pieces. So when I found Everly Rings on Instagram a couple years back, I fell in love with their pieces, not only are they beautiful, but also super affordable (and they run sales constantly that make them even more affordable). I love vintage style, and all these pretty stacking rings they let me choose, are so vintage-inspired, and so timeless. I feel like they'll go with everything, and if I'm wanting a dressed up look, I can wear two or three of them as stackables, or if I'm wanting to keep it simple, I can throw just one on and wear it all day! The 3 stackable rings for $150 is such a good deal, and you can't beat the price of $99 for an engagement style ring. Everly Rings are perfect for pretty stackables, or as gifts, as a promise ring, a travel/vacation ring, an anniversary ring or even a pregnancy ring! My hands tend to swell when I'm expecting, and with my first pregnancy, I had to wear my wedding ring on a necklace around my neck for the last couple of months of my pregnancy. So this time I was going to be prepared and chose this amazing ring from Everly to get me through the last half of my pregnancy and my swelled hands, so I don't have to without a ring or wear it around my neck. These make the perfect stocking stuffers, or the best tiny under the tree gift that will make her eyes and her hands sparkle as soon as she opens them!


One reason I love art prints is because it makes it so easy to switch out art in your home during the holidays or if you're craving a fresh new look. Lily & Val is one of my favorite (and local to me, based in Pittsburgh, PA) shops to find all of the prettiest prints, we have their "Collect Beautiful Moments" print from last year framed in our living room, and it's still one of my absolute favorite pieces, I smile every single time I walk past it, reminding me that it's the moments and the people, not the things that make life good. I was wanting to find a nice holiday print to add to our home this year during the Christmas season, so this "Silent Night" print immediately caught my eye, partly because of how stunning and beautiful it is, and partly because Silent Night is both mine and Bella's most favorite Christmas song. I've sang it to her as she's fallen asleep every single night since the night she was born (almost 5 years ago), and even sang it to her while she was still growing in my belly. I have a feeling baby boy is going to love the song just as much as she and I.


I've been carrying a Fawn Design bag for almost 3 years now, and will never go back to carrying any other diaper bag. It's just that good, plus I love, love, love the sleek, minimal and classy look of their bags. I've had black, bloom (a limited edition from last year that will forever be my favorite), a brown mini (which works perfectly as a camera bag btw), and now this newly updated version of the original Fawn in Gray! I'm so excited to start wearing this bag and carrying all of my two babies things in it. One of the other reasons I love the Fawn Design bag is because of how functional it is! It holds so much, has never ending room for all of the things I always need as a mama, and I always still have extra room for my own things like my wallet, feminine and personal care items, essential oils, keys and of course my favorite natural lipstick! The new updated design has so may features that I always wanted and needed in my previous bags, a large pocket in back, removable backpack straps that can be tucked down inside, a convenient carry handle and so much more. Just. The. Most. Perfect. Bag. Ever!


One of the biggest reasons I love shopping small, is because I feel I can support causes in a bigger way that are near and dear to my heart. SUDARA products are made by women in India, women who otherwise wouldn't have an education or the resources to provide for their families and are at high risk of becoming sex slaves, and also women who have escaped and are survivors of  sex slavery, SUDARA provides them with skill training and safe jobs to put their talents to use and keep them from harms way. Because of SUDARA and all of the purchases made over the past 10 years, hundreds of women have found hope, a new life, new useful skills and freedom through living-wage employment. Many women have even graduated from the training that SUDARA has provides, and went on to start and own their own businesses! I just love these cozy SUNA grey over the heel long leggings (so perfect for cold winter days (you can use them for working out, or like me and use them for just being comfy haha). This SARU cut-out back long sleeve tee is also just the cutest, I LOVE the open slit back detail, I've never had a shirt with a fun back detail like this so I just love it.


If there's one word that resonates deeply with me, it's the word "Gather". Family and friends are so important to me, and I love gathering them around me, gathering them in my home for memory making and dinners filled with laughter. Another reason I love that word so much, is because Jesus said "if two or three gather in my name, there will I be in their midst", such an important scripture. I've wanted an art cutout of the word gather for a couple of years, and I just love this one from Twisselman Trading Co.. It's made from hand cut steel, handmade in the United States, can be any color or finish you like and is so unique! The perfect statement piece to add to your home. Twisselman Trading Co. has the cutest items for everyone, every style and every occasion, this adorable ornament  (I especially love the "joy" design option) would be perfect on any tree don't you think?

11.10.2018

2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | GIFTS FOR CHILDREN

Christmas has always been my most favorite holiday, and now as a mama, it's become even more special to me. Partly because I love seeing little faces light up, partly because I love being a part of helping create memories that will last a lifestyle for my girl, partly because Bella is my Christmas baby, and our other baby will be here any day as well to share in the excitement of the season, and partly because I'm pretty sure I may be a Christmas elf. I love gifting, especially at Christmas time, seeing all of the presents under the tree and Bella run in early on Christmas morning and squeal at the sight that she's presented with. So you can get in on the gifting fun, I'm sharing some of my top picks for little ones below!


Maileg Mouse Toys
Maileg mice are our favorite, just as much my favorite as Bella's if I'm being completely honest. I just LOVE the sweet little mice. They're such old fashioned toys with an heirloom quality and a nostalgic feel, and are perfect for hours upon hours of imaginative play. We first started Bella's little mouse collection last Christmas, and she has played with them SO MUCH. She constantly has little tea parties for them, plays with them in her wooden dollhouse (they work perfectly as dolls for dollhouses since they are the perfect size), and even uses them as room decor when she's not playing with them. These new little carry cots, which remind me of moses baskets (found here and here) and these sweet sleepy wakey mouse babies (here and here) that just released are going to be the absolute perfect addition to her mouse collection this year (though I'm sure a few more little mice will be found under the tree before the holiday shopping season is over with). If you have a little girl who loves dolls, and tiny animals, these are the most perfect gift for her that she will adore for years to come!


I may be slightly obsessed with these beautiful alphabet botanical flashcards from Coley Created, not only are the illustrations hand painted prints but just look at how sweet they are! With Bella heading off to school next year, I'm working hard to keep all the educational things as fresh as I can in her sweet head so school will be a breeze for her. I feel like these flashcards are the perfect way to do it since she loves flashcards so much. A lot of times I'll hand her a stack of flashcards while I'm prepping or cooking dinner, and have her tell me what letter/number/word is written on each one and also the sound it makes/etc. It's the perfect little refresher that we can do even while we're super busy and she loves it!


It's a given that all little girls love jewelry and sparkly things, so I wanted to add a few pieces to Bella's little jewelry collection this Christmas. I felt it was the perfect time, she will be 5 in early December, so she's getting old enough that she is learning how to take care of things, and also loves having jewelry like mommy and is constantly asking to borrow my jewelry, so she will LOVE these beautiful bracelets from Poppy Lane & Co. While these make the perfect stocking stuffer, they would also be perfect in a jewelry box under the tree! I chose this lovely metallic gold bracelet for her (I may have to give this one to her early to war all during the holiday season), as well as this unique black lava rock bracelet and this mother of pearl bracelet. Poppy & Lane Co. even sells adult sizes and I'm thinking I may need to scoop up the mama sized gold bracelet so we can do some mama + mini twinning for the holidays.


I'm always on the lookout for fun new items that will capture Bella's attention and will get played with a ton, and since you know how much I love wooden toys, it might come as no small surprise how much I loved these when I found them! Especially since I had already had my eye on these new magnetic building tiles I'd been hearing about everywhere, but was hesitant to buy since I felt they all looked so flimsy since all the ones I had previously found were made from plastic. I just love how sturdy and high quality these are Earth Tiles Wooden Magnetic Tiles from Big Future Toys are, and since we have such long winters here in Pennsylvania (and we also will have a newborn soon) I have a feeling these will get played with a ton! She's going to have so much fun building with these earth tiles and using her big imagination to create fun things with them!


Every kid loves play dough, and one of our favorite brands is ZDough! I just love that not only is it so much fun to play with, but it also smells amazing, AND doesn't contain who knows what like most play dough. Every batch of play dough is made from common household ingredients like flour, water, salt, cream of tartar, food coloring, essential oils, baking flavors and spices! Let me tell you, they smell good enough to eat (though obviously not meant for eating), but the amazing smells make crafting with it that much more fun! These fun tins full of dough are the perfect stocking stuffer, addition to a gift basket or as a gift all on their very own, and it's a gift that every child (and the child at heart) will love!

11.09.2018

2018 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | GIFTS FOR BABIES

The holiday season is upon us, which means everyone is Christmas shopping and decking the halls. With a baby boy on the way this year it's been so much fun to shop for some little boy items since I've primarily only ever shopped for all the girly things, and of course I've rounded up some of my favorite items below to share with you, perfect for babies and little boys, and the perfect under the tree must haves!


Cuddle & Kind has been one of our favorite brands for almost 4 years, Bella has just loved their sweet cuddly dolls for so long, and now that we have a little boy on the way, he needed some too! I just fell in love with Hudson the polar bear, I've loved bears, especially polar bears since I was a little girl when my Dad always called me his little bear, and I love the monochromatic minimal color theme to his outfit. Our other choice for baby boy was Everest the penguin! I mean, can you even handle the cuteness? It's LOVE. The real reason we love Cuddle & Kind (I mean other than the fact that they're so adorable), is because with every doll purchased, Cuddle & Kind gives 10 meals to a child in need! Each hand knit doll is ethically made, heirloom quality, something your child will love for so many years and gives back to help those in need! Nothing better!


We've been big fans of Tubby Todd for the past several years since discovering them. Their scents are amazing, and we love that they're made with the highest quality natural ingredients, safe for babies and toddlers sensitive skin. All of their products are just the best, and since we've loved their hair and body wash, as well as their body lotion for the past several years, of course we had to get some for baby boy, and we are excited to try out the all over ointment too! The Tubby Todd Regulars Bundle is the perfect way to go for the minimalist who wants just the essentials, or if you want to go all out, the Tubby Todd Basics Bundle is everything! All of their ingredients are 100% natural + organic, the fragrances are natural and plant based, free of toxins, parabens, sulfates and bpa, are gluten free and dairy free, certified animal-cruelty free, made in the USA and safe for all skin types (even the most sensitive skin).


Baby's name is... B----. Yep, I'm still making you wait a little bit longer. But now you at least have a hint as to what his name is, it starts with a B! I'm in love with this sweet little 'N is for' Name onesie from Cheerily, it's the perfect, soft as butter little onesie and I can't wait to see him wearing it. When purchasing and personalizing this onesie, you can keep it simple with their name, or make it fun by adding up to 3 separate lines with up to 10 characters in each line. The perfect way to introduce your brand new little one and their perfect name to the entire world!


Wooden toys are pretty much my favorite, they have such an old fashioned feel to them, and comparing them to all of the plastic toys we've owned since Bella was a baby, the wooden toys have lasted, and lasted and lasted, while most of the plastic toys have been trashed because of breaking or donated because she got tired of them after a bit. All of Bella's wooden toys, she has never tired of though and still has! Another great thing I love about wooden toys, is that because most of them are handmade, it leads to better, heirloom quality, so that you spend less on toys in the long run, as well as being able to store them away and pass them on to grandchildren down the road! We wanted to start baby boy's wooden toy collection off the right way, with this adorable wooden stacking rainbow toy from Little Sapling Toys, and it is LOVE for both Bella and us. Baby is for sure going to love these in a few months!


We got this same sweet personalized star blanket from Oliver & Adelaide for Bella a few years back, and not only is it still in perfect condition, but she also still adores it. So of course since she had one personalized with her name, baby boy needed one of his own! This sweet blanket is expertly knitted right here in the USA, and is so, so soft, the dreamy kind of soft. Perfect for snuggling teeny babies in, for cuddling up with for story time with their book, for nap time with all of the sugar plums dancing in their heads, and makes the best gift that will have everyone talking (can we say perfect baby shower gift?)! A blanket they'll love for years to come and that they'll love as a keepsake forever. I already can't wait to wrap our baby boy up in this!

11.08.2018

8 WAYS TO PRACTICE MINIMALISM, ALWAYS HAVE A CLEAN HOME + KEEP YOUR SANITY

We've been in the pursuit of simplicity and the practice of minimalism in our home for the past 4 years, and not only has it made life so much better and and our easier to clean (especially coupled with the tips I'm about to share), but it has also eliminated so much stress from our home! While we're not perfect, and are always learning more about minimalism and trying to find new ways to implement it into our lives, we have learned some great tips and tricks to make it become second nature over the past few years, and I'm excited to share them with you below!


ONE | CARRY IT WITH YOU
One thing I've done over the years to help ensure an always clean home is to carry it with me. When walking from one room to another, I'm almost never empty handed, there's always a toy that needs to go back in the toy box, an item of clothing that needs to go into the laundry hamper or a dish that needs put in the dishwasher. I've found that by carrying an item or two from one room to another, it saves time later when it comes time to actually straighten the room up, and it makes straitening rooms up not as big of a project.

TWO | EVERYTHING HAS A PLACE
This is one I've been trying to remember more lately. I'm sometimes kind of bad about remembering to put things back right away after getting them out (mostly when I'm cooking or baking), but the more often I do it the easier it becomes to remember. Cleaning up while in the midst of doing whatever it is that you're doing keeps your space so much more tidy and makes less to clean up afterwards! 

THREE | "STAGE" YOUR HOME
I started this about 4 years ago after reading a blog post about staging your home for your life and enjoyment. The blog post said something basically along the lines of how straightening your home up every night before bed, fluffing your throw pillows, setting some nice flowers out on the table, lighting a candle during the day, etc. can make your home feel so much more put together and make life more enjoyable. Pretty much everything you would do before company arrives or before a realtor showed your home to a potential buyer, but you do it for yourself and your family. Honestly it makes such a huge difference, not only in our moods, but it just makes our home feel so much cozier. There's nothing better than waking up to a clean home every morning. By clean, I mean taking 5 to 10 minutes before you go to bed to put things in their place, toys not scattered all over the floor, throw pillows not haphazardly thrown on the sofa and no crumbs on the counter tops, what I don't mean is that you have to deep clean your entire home every single night before bed haha. 

FOUR | GET MINIMAL
Another way we have a cleaner home, is because I limit the number of items brought into our home, and with every new thing brought in, I try to get rid of at least one thing, possibly two depending on what the item is that has just joined our home. Last year we got all new silverware, so of course I gave away our other set because no one truly needs more than one set of flatware in their home, when we purchase clothing, I always sell or donate another piece or two that is in good condition, or toss a piece or two that has stains or holes. Every time Bella gets a new toy, I ask her to choose 1 to 2 toys to donate to children who don't have any toys, and not only is it fun because she's getting a new toy, but it also helps foster a spirit of giving in her. Personally, I only own a few pairs of socks since I never wear them often except during the winter, and I only own 6 high quality pairs of underwear which leads me to my next tip... 

FIVE | QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Quality over quantity is something I've begun to love so much over the past few years as well. Talking about undies above, I used to own about 15 to 20 pairs, because let's face it, Walmart undies just don't last very long (they're also not comfortable at all), so eventually invested in several packages of organic cotton undies from PACT Apparel, and they have been worth every single penny not only quality-wise, but comfort-wise as well (they're soft as butter). They've lasted me almost 2 years now and before long I'll have to buy some new ones, but the life span of these are so much better than cheaper brands that only last a few months at most before losing their elasticity, getting holes or showing signs of wear. We end up saving money by purchasing higher quality pieces (even though the initial price may be more) because when you purchase higher quality items they last much longer than cheaper items. Another thing I do this with is shampoo + conditioner. I used to purchase toxin filled one that smelled amazing for cheaper but they would only last me 2 weeks or less because they didn't clean very well, then a couple of years ago, I switched to buying the more natural Jason brand shampoo + conditioner, and even though it costs more, it also lasts me 6 to 8 weeks and keeps my hair looking and feeling clean! 

SIX | FEWER TOYS EQUALS HAPPIER LITTLE ONES (AND HAPPIER PARENTS)
Another thing that a ton of studies have been done on, and that we also know from experience as parents, the fewer toys your kids have, the happier they are (also the happier that you are). Children are more likely to play with toys if they have fewer, because having toys on toys on toys in your home creates an overwhelming sense of "I have no idea what to play with first" state of mind for them and they end up not wanting to play with any of them! Go through their toys at least once a month (I do with Bella's toys) and whatever they never play with or maybe you or a relative wanted them to love and they really didn't, donate, toss or sell. I promise they won't miss them, and while don't make a huge deal of getting rid of unwanted items to the people who gift them, also don't stress yourself about possibly hurting the feelings of relatives who gift items your child doesn't love. They don't have to live with the item sitting around being un-played with and it also creates the perfect excuse to be able to offer gift idea suggestions for next time that they'll actually love and use. Books, art supplies (crayons, paints, paper, coloring books, play-dough, etc.), pajamas and of course gift cards or money (that can be put away for when they need new clothing, etc) are some of our most favorite go-to gift ideas. One of my best friend's also creates an amazon with-list for each of her children filled with items that they'll actually love and then she sends that link to family and fiends whenever they ask about gifts for her little girls. I ended up loving the idea so much I created one for Bella too! 

SEVEN | MAKE YOUR BED FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
This is such a huge one. I try to make our beds within an hour of getting up every morning, it makes me feel like I have such a head start on the day and get's me in mindset that I can accomplish so much more because our home feels so more put together, which in turn makes me feel more put together as a woman, wife and mom. Now if I'm being completely transparent, I don't always do it, some days I just don't feel like doing it right away, and on the days I wait longer, I get much less done that day and end up feeling kind of blah, so that's another reason I always try to do it sooner rather than later. 

EIGHT | IT'S AN INVESTMENT, BUT SAVES TOO
It's an investment of time, even though it saves time, you do a little all day... carrying items from one room to another and put them in their rightful place when you go from room to room, instead of having to take hours to clean and organize your home. It's an investment of money at first, since you pay more upfront usually for high quality items but in the long run, it saves you money since you're not having to constantly replace broken and ruined items. And it's also an investment into you and your family's happiness and life. By owning less, you have more time to spend with the ones that matter and doing the things you love, rather than spending all of your time cleaning and straightening up. It's also a known fact and so many studies have been done on it, that the more you own and the more clutter there is, the more stressed out you (especially women) become, and I know personally that that is so true. Also, by buying less, you have more money to spend on the things you love doing, taking your family to the zoo or the museum, hiring a babysitter and going on a date night with your spouse, even be able to donate to your church or charities that are near and dear to your heart, and save up for that dream home or that kitchen remodel you've been dreaming of.

11.04.2018

COZY WINTER CLOTHING FAVORITES FOR LITTLE GIRLS

Kids seem to outgrow their clothes so fast, or at least Bella has been lately, so with winter coming and the cold Pennsylvania weather already here, she needed a few extra cozy pieces to round out here wardrobe for the cooler months. I recently grabbed some of these adorable pieces below from over at Tea Collection and we are just loving them!

one | two | three | four | five

I just love how classic and simple each piece we chose from Tea Collection is! I try to keep out wardrobes simple and somewhat minimal, not a ton of clothing because I know that realistically, as fun as clothes are, if you have too many, there are going to be pieces that don't even get worn, which just feels like such a waste of money and space to me. So cute, timeless, mostly neutral pieces, that will be wardrobe staples and can be worn again and again, mixed and matched and that she'll not only love wearing again and again, but that I'll also love seeing her wear (aka not character printed clothing haha) are our go-to.

Not only are these pieces perfect for the upcoming holiday season, but all winter long they'll be great! I have a feeling that ruffle sleeve sweater dress may end up becoming her Christmas dress this year (and how sweet will it be for Valentine's Day paired with pink tights?), I just love the candy cane look to those striped leggings (perfect for a trip the the tree farm or a visit with Santa), that chambray jumper could definitely be an all year closet staple since it can be paired with a fun long sleeve shirt for winter (like this adorable navy and white stamped dots ruffle sleeve top) or a basic short sleeve tee or tank during warm months. This striped ruffle sleeve shoulder dress is also a big favorite, it's so classic, neutral, and yet fun at the same time, I have a feeling this one especially will get a ton of wear.

I'm just loving the simple pieces for all winter long wear, give me all the ruffles and cozy pieces this year, and of course the festive looks for the holidays! What pieces and styles are you loving for your little ones this winter?

2018 HOLIDAY PLAYLIST

Hi Friends! We've been so busy lately preparing for the holidays and for the arrival of our baby boy, wearing all the cozy clothes (okay, mostly pajamas if I'm being completely honest), putting the tree up (yep that happened already), and of course listening to alllllll the Christmas music. We're just enjoying everything this holiday season has to offer, and since I grew up in a hugely musical family, Christmas music is a big part of the holidays for me. Well, that and baking, but since I'm probably not going to be doing too much baking this year, we're just enjoying all of the Christmas carols, the amazing smell of Christmas Spirit essential oil in all the diffusers (and Thieves essential oil too to help build up  our immune systems), spending time together since it's our last few weeks as just the 3 of us, and decking our home with all things festive. Bella is constantly asking me to turn on Christmas music so she can dance, which I love, because not only do I enjoy music much more than the tv (though I do love me a good Christmas movie), but it also means she cleans the floor up before she dances without me even having to ask! Win-win for sure. Here's some of our current Christmas song favorites below!

10.28.2018

NEW BABY & BREASTFEEDING MAMA MUST HAVES

I partnered with the brands featured below for this post and received product in exchange for my honest and open opinion.

When it comes to bringing home a new baby, there are so many new products out there that sometimes it's not easy making choices on what to buy. Of course you want the best for your new little bundle of joy, so I'm sharing some of my top favorite must have items we've chosen for baby! Of course, since I'll be breastfeeding, I had to share some of my top picks for breastfeeding mamas too! Breastfeeding isn't easy, but it's oh so rewarding and I'm so excited to be able to do it again, though I'm definitely feeling more prepared this time and feel like I know a little bit of what to expect. Read all about our favorites below, if you're expecting, you'll probably just want to go ahead and add them all to your registry now. :)


PUJ BATH TIME HOODED TOWEL + WASHCLOTHS
We've loved Puj brand for years after owning multiple puj phill-up hangable cups, hug hooded towels, non-slip bath treads and now some more fun products! Bella absolutely loves her fill-up cups and plays with them every single day during bath time, and her hooded "big hug" towel she had a couple years back was the best. It was her absolute favorite towel to wrap herself up in after a bath, so of course we wanted to let baby boy in on the fun! He's going to love being wrapped up in this luxuriously soft, cozy and absorbent hooded puj hug towel after his baths, and during baths, I have a feeling he's going to love the softness of these sweet little puj fresh washcloths!




MILK BLISS ALL NATURAL GOURMET LACTATION TREATS
It's no secret at all just how much I love chocolate, and peanut butter and chocolate together? Even better! But what I love most about these treats from Milk Bliss (well besides their adorable packaging), is the fact that they'll help me along with me breastfeeding journey! I've mentioned previously, that while breastfeeding Bella, I had a lot of milk supply issues, and while I breastfed her for 9 months, only the first 6 weeks of that was exclusive breastfeeding. I tried pumping more between feedings, but even that didn't help, and I had no clue where to buy lactation products to try and up my supply. So I'm hoping that doing my research this time, being prepared with all of the right products and being equipped with new knowledge, that this time around I'll be able to exclusively breastfeed for a longer amount of time, and my goal this time is to breastfeed for a year or more. I'm super excited to try out these chocolate chip lactation cookies and also these peanut butter chip lactation cookies after baby is born to help boost my milk supply! I also really excited for these 5 pack chocolate peanut butter overnight lactation oats! Yum!



PARASOL CO. DIAPERS + WIPES + FEMININE CARE ITEMS
I've heard so many amazing things about the Parasol brand over the past couple of years and of course had to try them out for this baby (they unfortunately weren't around when Bella was a baby and I only found out about them right around the time Bella was potty training). I just love these diapers because not only are they timeless and modern in design (aka yay for no sesame street prints on the diapers), they're also very safe compared to a lot of brands! They're chemical free, free of heavy metals and free of other harmful materials (which not only makes them irritation free and safer for your baby's sensitive skin, but also makes the workplace for their employees safer)! Oh! They sell more than diapers too! They have baby wipes, diaper pants (for older babies/toddlers who are potty training), and also carry a line of amazing feminine care products such as feminine wipes and pads!



BLABLA KIDS HAND KNIT DOLLS
We simply love the adorable knit dolls from over at Blabla Kids. They're just so huggable, soft, sweet and their simple designs are always so eye catching. Each doll is handmade from high quality hand picked cotton, and knitted by skilled artisans one stitch at a time in Peru. I also love that these dolls are safe and that Blabla Kids are not only committed to the environment and your child's safety by using only 100% natural fibers, but they also have been tested and meet the both United States and European safety requirements. Oh! And they are fair trade and sustainable! Blabla Kids has been working with the same artisans for over 17 years to create their dolls! We recently added TouTou the dog to our collection for baby boy, and of course we didn't want big sister Bella to feel left out, so Jasper the deer was her choice! She falls asleep every single night hugging her little deer and it's just the cutest thing!



MILK SNOB CARSEAT COVERS, NURSING COVERS + SWADDLES
With a baby on the way during the cold months, a car seat cover is pretty much a necessity to keep those tiny little cheeks toasty warm. Even better, is when you find one that doubles as a multi functional cover that can not only be used as a cover on your baby's car seat to keep the cold or sun out of their face, but also as a nursing cover, a shopping cart cover and so much more! Though at home I don't usually use nursing covers, when I'm out and about, it's always nice to have one on hand in case I want to be more discreet (especially at church lol). Milk Snob has so many colors and prints to choose from and every single one is soft as butter. They also carry a ton more items (like this super sweet buffalo check swaddle blanket), changing pad covers, crib sheets, adorable knotted hats and gowns for the tiny ones, wrap baby carriers... pretty much just all the cutest things.



CAKE MATERNITY NURSING BRAS
With Bella I didn't bother to get any nursing bras and ended up just using my regular bras during my 9 months breastfeeding her. Though thankfully I never had any issues from it (mastitis, etc), I know it definitely would have made breastfeeding so much easier to have a nursing bra or two and I wish I would have gotten myself at least one nursing bra during that time, so this time around I made sure to grab a few. These 3 from Cake Maternity are perfect for all stages of pregnancy as well as postpartum and breastfeeding. I've actually already started wearing them because they're so comfortable as well as being super supportive and are also super cute! I love this one for when I want to feel super put together, this one for when I just want to be nothing but comfortable, and this one for sleep and those first couple of weeks postpartum (it's amazing and buttery soft ya'll). I definitely recommend these nursing bras to all the mamas who plan on breastfeeding or pumping!



We never used a pacifier clip with Bella, and it was one of those things that I was always needing, she only used a pacifier for around 6 months or less, but while she did, it was constantly falling on the floor, so a pacifier clip would have been a big help. So this time around I'm prepared with some adorable, gender neutral, and super minimal clips from Ryan & Rose! I chose the plain leather cutie clips in tan, black, and cream (the ryan real leather cutie clips) and I feel like they'll go with everything, not to mention they're super cute! I also had had my eye on these natursutten natural rubber pacifiers for awhile so I scooped up a couple of those, and I'm also loving this matching teether! Ryan & Rose has so many adorable pacifier clip options that no matter what your style, you'll find something you love.



I breastfed Bella for 9 months (I wish I could have longer) and I'm fulling planning on breastfeeding this baby, so I wanted to make sure I had some things to help out with that this time. I always felt that a ton of milk was being wasted on whatever side I wasn't feeding Bella on at the time since when I'd go to switch her to my other breast or she was done nursing, my breastpad on the opposite side would always be full. I mean, you can't expect your body to only "let-down" on one side I guess, but it still always felt so wasteful since every single drop of breastmilk is so hard to come by and so precious. So earlier this year, a friend and fellow blogger who had just had a baby, shared about this Silicone Breast Pump with Silicone Stopper from Naturebond, and I immediately knew it was a must have item for when baby #2 came along. Just suction it to whichever breast you're not currently using, and let it catch all the milk that flows when you're nursing and let down. I can't wait to use this and I'm hoping it will help me get my freezer stash going in no time. Naturebond also recently released these pretty lace reusable breastpads made from the softest bamboo cotton that are perfect for eco-conscious mamas or those who don't want to be making constant trips to the store for disposable breastpads.



Would you just look at how cute these sweet little hairbrushes and comb set from Natemia Baby are? You all know I'm not the biggest fan of plastic, so when I found out that wooden baby hairbrushes existed, it was high up on my to-get list. I just love the minimal, natural look of this wooden hair brushes and comb set and the regular brush is so silky soft, perfect for delicate newborn hair. Not only are they functional, but they also look really pretty sitting out on the dresser. I also grabbed some of these bamboo baby washcloths, and they are buttery soft, I can't wait to use them for baby's baths!



I've heard so many good things about FridaBaby over the years, but somehow never got around to getting any of their products. Well with a new baby on the way, I felt it was the perfect time to change that! Cue the NoseFrida! No clue why we haven't got this sooner, especially since our poor little Bella ended up getting a cold at 2 months old (this would have been so much more useful than the hospital bulb syringe). Hopefully I won't have to use it for a long while, but just in case, we're prepared now. The Fridet momwasher was a product that has been highly recommended to me by so many fellow mamas, everyone says it's so much better than the regular peri-bottle you are given at postpartum, so I'm actually thrilled to add this in my hospital bag and hopefully make that first week postpartum a little easier.



This was one of those must have items we had with Bella, and I honestly don't think I could have survived breastfeeding those first months without it. It was such a lifesaver. Out of all of the nursing pillows I've looked at, this one will always be my favorite just because we used the living daylights out of it when Bella was an infant. We actually ended up keeping it for a couple of years because she ended up taking such a liking to it and would use it as a cozy pillow while watching shows or cuddling with her Lambie. I had a pink one with Bella, and this time I wanted something simple, so I chose the Bare Naked Boppy pillow and I just love it. I love how simple and clean looking it is, and if I get tired of the white and want to switch things up a bit, I can just throw a cover on it (a friend actually custom made one for me, but Boppy offers so many cute options). I have a feeling this is going to be a huge favorite again this time around.
This blooming lotus baby bath is one of the things I grabbed for baby this past week. It's just so darling and I love that it can be used in a kitchen sink (where I plan on bathing baby most of the time once he/she is here) or anywhere you want as they get older. It's so soft and though it comes in a ton of pretty colors, this pretty neutral gray especially caught my eye and I knew we had to have it. When Bella was a baby, we had a hard plastic tub and she hated baths, so I eventually had her shower with me, because bathing her in her tub made her so miserable, so I'm excited to try this sweet bath out in the future. The contoured shaped petals of this blooming bath are perfectly designed to cradle your baby while bathing and it creates a safe and comfortable environment for them. It's machine washable and dry-able AND the polyurethane foam inside dries fast so there's no chance of mildew or mold. Another reason I love this adorable bath, is because it's not been treated with any harmful chemicals or any flame retardants, which is super important to me as a mama.
We LOVE the Bumbo floor seat in our home. It was another one of our most used and loved baby items when Bella was a baby, and we recommend these seats to literally everyone who is having a baby now (we've even purchased several as gifts for family members)! It's just perfect for allowing baby to sit up and look around when you may not be able to hold him/her (because all babies love to see what's going on), and we also loved it as a feeding seat for Bella until we finally purchased her a highchair at around 7 months old. It's soft and not made from hard plastic which I love, and comes in a variety of colors, we had blue with Bella, and chose "cool grey" for this baby so it would fit right into our home without clashing with anything (grey is one of the best neutrals, isn't it?). I can't wait to see our baby boy sitting in this cute seat once he's big enough!