Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Nursery Tour - pre baby's arrival


The nursery wasnt 100% finished at this point, but it was mostly finished.  Since I made this video we added a valance, changing pad, picture collage and large canvas print of G's newborn picture.  We also replaced the bookshelf with a custom one my husband made.  I will try to remember to post updated pictures.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Trialing a new skincare routine

I have recently started to really show interest in a true skincare routine.  Before I only washed my face in the shower and only used a moisturizer about 50% of the time.  After reading some good articles and discussion boards I decided to really bite the bullet and go from no routine to a variant of the Korean 10 step routine.

I bought a few  things based on reviews and I bought the Sephora "The Great Cleanse" sampler. I also have acquired several deluxe size samples.

So I read several articles about the Korean 10 Step routine and then I dumbed it down for my newbie uses.

Morning:

1.) Cleanse - Purity Made Simple
2.) Exfoliate - Sometimes I use Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash, but mostly I combine this step with #3.
3.) Tone - Bliss Steep Clean Mattifying Toner Pads
4.) Serum - Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me Skin Tone Corrector (I will try their Truth Serum when I run out because its easier to find)
5.) Eye Cream - Nurish Organic Renewing Eye Cream (I am currently using a sample and I am not sure that I will repurchase it.  Its a good cream, but I want to try other options)
6.) Moisturizer - Hope Oil Free SPF 30

I follow this with a primer, Dr. Jart Black Label cream and the rest of my makeup routine

Evening:

1.) Remove Makeup - Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover
2.) Cleansing Oil - Boscia Makeup Breakup Oil
3.) Cleanse - Ole Henriksen African Tea Foaming Cleanser
4.) Exfoliate- FAB Facial Radiance Pads
5.) Tone - Combined with step 4
6.) Serum - Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me Skin Tone Corrector
7.) Eye Cream - Nurish Organic Renewing Eye Cream
8,) Facial Oil - Josie Maran Argan Oil Light
9.) Moisturizer - Hope Oil Free SPF 30
10.) Night Cream - Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation

Weekly - Boscia Luminizing Black Mask

Notes on process and products:

Overall I really like this routine.  I can definitely tell a difference in my skin tone, texture, color, and my pore size.  My favorite products (that I will definitely buy again) are Boscia Makeup Break up Oil, Ole Henriksen African Tea Foaming Cleanser, Bliss Toner Pads, and the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask.  My favorite brands so far are Boscia and Ole Henriksen.  I will be replacing the FAB pads with an additional application of the Bliss pads when I run out.  I hate the way the FAB pads smell.  The facial oil seems to help my moisturizer absorb better, but I dont think its a necessary step and I dont like the smell on the Josie Maran.  I am not sure if I will keep this step or if I will keep it and try a different product.

I noticeably left out two of the Korean Skin Routine steps: essence and sheet masks,  There are not many US brands of essence in the US and the ones I found were really expensive.  I didnt think this step was worth the cost.  I like the idea of sheet masks, but I havent decided which ones I want to try. Its recommended to use from every day to twice a week. If I decide to use this step it would be once or twice a week.

Do you have any favorites you would like to recommend?  What does your skincare routine look like?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Diapers: My choice

When I was pregnant I did a ton of research and read lots of mommy blogs and reviews about diapers.  After all this reading I knew that I was 100% going to use Pamper's Swaddlers, but consider other options when my daughter outgrew Swaddlers because I wanted to avoid Pamper's Dry Max product.

When G was born we used Pamper's Swaddlers in the Newborn size for about a month and we LOVED them!  I knew my choice had been correct!  Then came the time to switch to size 1s and boy were we in trouble!  The Pampers Swaddlers size 1s were huge on G!  You could see straight through the leg holes!  Its almost like they were 1 1/2s...lol.  Pampers just weren't going to work for us anymore.

We used Huggies Little Snugglers for awhile and during the time we were using them, they had a product change.  I noticed the inside of the newer huggies seemed kind of quilted.  I like the newer version of the Huggies much better than the old ones.

Diaper Sizing

(I meant to take a picture comparing diaper sizes by brand, but in the craziness that is new motherhood, I never made the time.  I look a bit around the web and couldn't really find a picture that really showed the size differences in the diaper brands.)

At one point I had Pamper's Swaddlers, Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive, Up and Up (Target), Huggies Little Snugglers, and Honest Company diapers in Size one.  This would have made a great photo, so I am sorry I didnt take the time to make one.

Since I dont have a photo, I will do my best with a description.

Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive are slightly larger than regular Pamper's Swaddlers.  Up and Up, Huggies, and Honest Company are similar in size, but are different in shape.  The Up and Up brand are more rounded in the bottom area, almost U shapped, while Huggies and Honest Company diapers are more rectangular.  Up and Up are fluffier feeling, Huggies are the softest, and Honest Company seem kind of stiff.



(**Oh look I did find a picture.  This picture is from the miny-moe.com website.  I am not endorsing the site, because I have never used them, but I want to give them credit for the picture.)

Honest Company, Pampers Swaddlers, Huggies Little Snugglers, Up and Up,  Parent's Choice, and Luvs
Choosing a new diaper:

During our Size 1 days I received an email from Honest Company offering me 50% off of up to 3 subscriptions.  I believe I received this email because I had signed up for the trial to get samples and then immediately canceled because we had a ton of diapers in the closest.  I redeemed the coupon for 1 month of Size 1s and 1 month of Size 2s and then canceled the subscriptions again. 

When we ran out of the Huggies we started using the Honest Company and it was love at first diapering!  The prints are so cute, they fit G great (she is tall and skinny), and they after figuring up the cost utilizing a subscription, they weren't any more costly than Pampers or Huggies.

We used Honest Company with no complaint until we went up a size to the Size 2s and then ran out of our Honest Company stockpile.  We had some Huggies in the closet so my husband wanted to use them up before we reordered our Honest Company subscription.  After 1 day of using the Huggies my husband was adamant we find a store and go by more Honest Company diapers right then!  He hated the Huggies!  I dont know why they worked so well for us when G was wearing Size 1s, but not that she is wearing Size 2s she keeps exploding out of and peeing through the Huggies diapers.  Some days twice!!!  We have now used Huggies for a week and I am so glad our new subscription of Honest Company has arrived!

The Cost: Do Pretty and Awesome diapers cost more than the others? (*based on Sz 2)

Target
Pampers Swaddlers 92 pack - $24.99 - 27 cents each
Huggies Little Snugglers 92 Pack - $24.99 - 27 cents each
Honest Company 34 pack - 35 cents each

Honest Company Subscription
240 diapers, 4 packs of wipes - $79.95 (delivered to your door - Free shipping)
  • If you subtract the cost of the wipes $4.99 each (same price as target) then you are looking at a base price of $59.99 which is 25 cents per diaper.

Its  clear!  Honest Company diapers are cheaper!!!! Plus you get to pick your designs and you dont have to go to the store!  I also really like that they are Chlorine free, plant based, and fragrance free!  Its a bonus that Honest Company wipes were already our favorite (our second favorites are Water Wipes).  You can also earn rewards at towards your Honest Company account (click here to order yours and help me earn rewards!), you can cancel your subscription at any time, and you can decide how often you want your order shipped!  






Monday, January 19, 2015

Obsessed with Reds

I seem to be loving red lippies lately! This is my collection of reds as of December 14, minus a Mary Kay Tinted Balm in Poppy.


My favorites are Bite Scarlett, Hourglass Icon, Fresh Sugar Passion, Mary Kay Gloss Rock N Red,  and Sephora Rouge Infusion Red Essence.

Getting back into the swing of things

I resolve that in 2015 I will catch up on my past promised blogs and write on a much more regular basis.  I have so many things I want to say and it will be my goal to get my thoughts "on paper" to my blog at least twice a month.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Getting the most out of your Babies R Us Registry

Because I have several friends who are pregnant and I wanted to share my experience:



Babies R Us is one of the best places to register because they offer lots of incentives to new parents.

The first thing you need to do is create a Babies R Us registry.  You can do this in a store or online, but if you register in the store you get a free bag of samples.  If you do register online, stop by your local store and let them know that you started your registry online and see if they will give you the free gift after the fact.  My local store was happy to give the the free gift.  It was full of sample and coupons.

When I opened my registry in January 2014 there was a registry incentive that gave me 10% of the value purchased from my registry, after my baby was born, maxing out at $200.  They great thing is that you can put anything on your registry and it doesnt matter if you buy the item or if the item is purchased as a gift.  I was able to earn $173 in store credit!  I received my credit via email about 2 months after my baby was  born.   Babies R Us has made this incentive program even better since I originally signed up.  Now they have a program called "Endless Earnings."  You can earn 10% back on your registry, but there is no longer a limit!

There is another program offered by Babies R Us called Rewards R Us.  This is a free rewards program and once registered, you earn 1 point for every $1 spend in Babies R Us or Toys R Us.  After earning 125 points, you get a $5 off coupon.  You can also link your rewards number to your registry so that you can earn points from items purchased off your registry by people who would not nomally have access to your rewards number.  By being a rewards member you will also get special coupons in the mail and email.

A month or so before your due date you will receive a registry completion coupon in the mail.  This coupon can be used 1 time and gives you a discount off anything on your registry.  This coupon is normally for 10% off, but I have heard of some people receiving up to 20% off.

On the day you close out your registry make sure to sign up for a Babies R Us credit card.  On the day you sign up for the card you get a 15% off coupon.  This coupon is only good for one day.  You do have to put something on the card, but you can pay it off right then if you want.

What makes Babies R Us so amazing is that you can stack your coupons!  The day I closed out my registry I had my 10% registry coupon, my 15% off credit card application coupon, $60 in rewards point coupons, a 20% off furniture coupon (one of my special rewards program discounts), a 20% off one item coupon (from my special rewards member mailing), several merchandise coupons (ie. lanolish, pampers, little tummies, playtex, etc).  They also price matched my breast pump.  For an extra bang for our buck, we scheduled our trip around the Babies R Us sales paper....by doing so we went when our stroller was marked down $50 off.

Now some of my coupons said not to combine or online only, but I went to the registry desk and they staff was more than happy to override any issue and give me the best deal possible.

Also, the website says items have to be on your registry for a certain period of time before you can use the registry completion on them, but this is not true!  When you go to close out your registry ask the registry desk for a scanner and add things as you go.  Anything on your registry when you reach the registry will get the discount!

When when finalized our purchase, we saved almost 50% off our purchases!  I also got additional rewards points to be able to use on a future purchase!

*Note this is not a sponsored post.  This is truly based on my experience.  I had a great experience at my local store, but I cannot promise that all Babies R Us stores are this helpful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pregnancy, Labor, and a newborn: Surprises, lessons learned, and favorites

Pregnancy

My pregnancy was pretty mild, but there are a few things that either I read and didnt really grasp the fully or no one told me.  Everyone mentions the heartburn (which I only had a couple of days) and the cravings, and the waddling, but no one warned me I would swell up like a balloon, be unable to go to the bathroom for week(s) at a time, or be so exhausted that getting through the day was a chore. Everyone said that I would feel pregnant forever and it actually seemed to go by really fast with the exception of the last month. No one warned me that I would miss being pregnant when it was actually over though.

The Hospital, Labor, and Delivery

I over packed for the hospital, but I dont regret packing anything.  The items I packed and didnt use were: make-up (powder, eye shadow, and blush), extra clothes, and books.  I think if my labor hadnt been so intense I might have used these things.  I could not get out of bed on my own (without excruciating pain) until the day I left, which was 4 days post-postpartum.  Because of this I never changed clothes or put on makeup.  I also spent most of my time napping when I wasnt nursing, since I was taking pain medication that made me drowsy.  If I hadnt been so sleepy, I would have read the books I brought with me.

I regret that I didnt brush my hair after delivery for the few pictures our family took of us.  I feel like I would like the pictures so much better if someone would have brushed my hair (I did labor for 20 hours!).  I also wish we would have taken more photos.  I feel like I was in shock most of my labor and so I was distant from much of the experience with the exception of the pain.  I wish we had learned more about how our hospital handled labor, because we were surprised (and a bit dismayed) that my husband had to do so much of the work.


I had read mixed comments about the mesh panties and pads that the hospital would give me for postpartum bleeding.  They were fine at the hospital because I stayed in bed the whole time.  However, once I was home I started using Depends and I would 100% recommend them over the hospital pads or regular pads.  Had I been more mobile in the hospital, I would have preferred using the Depends there too.

The First Month as a Mom and Life with a Newborn

Sleep, Nurse, Sleep, Nurse, Sleep, Nurse.

During the first two weeks I wanted to be alone with my husband and baby.  While most people complied with my wishes, there were some who didnt.  Being alone during the first week was ideal.  I felt horrible and we didnt have a routine.  I was still in a lot of pain and taking pain medication for the first week or so we were home.  Also during the couple of weeks it really hurt to sit, walk, and use the bathroom.  In fact, going to the bathroom normally involved screaming from pain.  In hindsight, I came home from the hospital with a bladder infection that was probably the cause of a portion of the pain, but I know a lot of it was a result of my 2nd degree tear.  In fact, I am now 6 weeks postpartum and going to the bathroom is still uncomfortable, although rarely painful now.  Why did no one warn me that post birth pain would last so long?

Breastfeeding really hurt for the first 2 or 3 weeks, but after that the pain was mostly gone.  The gel soothe pads were a must have for the first few weeks!  I tried Lanolish, Medela, and Motherlove nipple creams.  Beware, nipple creams do NOT help with the pain (which I was mislead on).  They do help with keeping them from being dry and cracked.  Lanolish was my least favorite and Motherlove was my favorite, although I wish it came in a squeeze tube instead of a pot.  FYI: nipple cream stains!  No one warned me about this and my nursing tanks are ruined!  I am so glad I bought my nursing bras and tanks early!  They have been a lifesaver and I cant imagine nursing without them.

Sleep when you can!  Some days I feel like I sleep all day, but its in 1 hour incriments (at best).  You never feel rested an nursing takes a lot of energy!  Dont feel bad!  If your baby is taken care of and happy, sleep when she sleeps!  Dont worry about chores!  If I manage a load of dishes or laundry a day, then I feel accomplished!

1st Month Favorites

Diapers: Pampers Swaddlers for Newborn and Huggies Snugglers for Size 1 (I like the Pampers diapers, but right now Pampers size 1 are too big in the legs).  I tried Honest Company diapers and I liked the way they fit and they are super cute, but the lack of wetness indicator is a huge detractor.

Wipes: Water Wipes, Lanolish Wipes, and Burts Bees Wipes.  (We tried Huggies Pure and Natural and hate them.  My husband says the are too dry and while I dont think thats the case, I think they stink terribly!)

Pacifiers: Mam and Soothie (Mam pacifiers were the only ones I found that came in a Newborn size, in addition to the 0-3 month size that is the standard starter size in most pacifier brands.  Soothies really didnt start working for us until 4 or 5 weeks).  We also love the Paciplushies!  I prefer them to the Wubbanub because I can change out the pacifier and wash them easier.



Bassinet: I didnt think we would really use one, but it has come in handy, especially since it has wheels and can be moved around the house.



Mittens: Luvable Friends (these are the only ones we found that had a tight enough wrist band to stay on infant hands)

Sleepers: Faded Glory, Children's Place, and Kissy Kissy ( Faded Glory and Children's Place brands zip instead of button and I prefer the zippers because they seem to fit slimmer and they are quicker to get on and off)



Gowns: I hated the Carters gowns, but all other gowns I found worked well for us.  The Carters brand gowns were to narrow (and we have a skinny baby). Gowns that button up the front are hands down better than the ones that pull over the head!

Swaddlers: Woombies are hands down my favorites.  I love the Aden and Anis swaddle blankets, because they are soft and versatile, but I Genevieve seems to wiggle out of a blanket swaddle at night.  I have tried a few velcro swaddles and havent found one I like yet.

Blankets: Carters and Aden + Anis

Soothing Toy: Fisher Price Snugapuppy Bouncer

Lotion: Shea Moisture Baby Unsented and Honest Company

Diaper Bag: Jujube BFF (although I am finding that I over pack and I think I would like to try the Jujube Be Prepared).  I also love the Jujube accessories: Be Quick and Pacipod. I love the Initials Inc Stash and Dash as an overnight/travel bag/diaper bag/car bag.

Nursing Bras/Tanks: Bravado Simple Embrace Nursing Bra, Anita 5051 Nursing Bra, and Cantaloop Nursing Tank (This tank is long like a tunic.  I wish it was shorter, but it is the only nursing tank that goes up to a J cup), and Simple Wishes Hands-free Pumping Bra (I have a very large cup size and these are the only ones I found that worked for me)

Car Seat Cover: I wasnt originally going to buy one of these, but the first time I tried to go to the grocery store it rained and my decision changed fast!  There are lots of cheap versions of these, but the cheap ones dont fasten.  I love the one I ordered from SooShabbyChic on Etsy.

Apps and Websites: ThisLife (for photos) and Baby Connect for tracking feedings, diapers, and meds.