Friday, July 26, 2013

Etsy favorites

I feel like Etsy and Pinterest can be a blessing and a curse at times. Both sites offer so much to choose from that it can be overwhelming. Although, I don't know where I would be without either of them these days! Pinterest has become my recipe book and Etsy is a great resource for invitations and fun gifts.

Monthly Onesie Stickers
These monthly onesie stickers have become very popular. I ordered these a few days after we brought Carter home from the hospital. It was a lot of fun to take his picture every month and look back to see how much he had grown. The pictures make a special keepsake. Etsy offers hundreds of different options for a great price.

Custom Birth Announcement Nursery Print
This was one of my favorite finds on Etsy. It looks so cute in Carter's room. You can choose your color scheme and the picture in the middle. I bought a frame with matting from Ikea for $9.99. This would make a great gift.

J.crew Inspired Bubble Necklace
I'm sure everyone remembers when J.Crew first introduced this necklace. However, they charged around $88 for it which I find ridiculous. Now you can find them in a lot of stores but I found mine on Etsy for a great price and the quality is nice too.

Under the Sea Birthday Party Invitations
Etsy has quickly become my go-to for invitations. There are hundreds of options and as I mentioned above sometimes it becomes overwhelming but it's worth it. You'll find that most shops offer you a custom digital file so you can print it yourself. I don't have a printer at home so I used Hatched Prints because she printed them for me. One less thing to worry about in my opinion! You also can't beat the prices. This particular invitation I ordered for Carter's first birthday which was an Under the Sea theme.

I also found the two invitations below from Etsy. The first one was for a baby shower and the second for an engagement party. Unfortunately the shop owner is no longer in business but there are many others who offer very similar invitations.

Sailboat Baby Shower Invitations

Stock the Bar Invitations

Under the Sea Happy Birthday Banner
Etsy also offers endless party supplies. I found this really cute banner when I was looking for supplies for Carter's first birthday. A lot of shops will sell things in sets- a banner, stickers for water bottles, napkins, etc.
Personalized Cufflinks
This make a great gift for the guy(s) in your life. I love how you can personalize them to your favorite cities.

Home Sweet Home Tank
Another great gift idea or present to yourself!

Monogrammed Chevron Infinity Scarf
Scarves don't seem like they'll ever go out of style and the infinity scarf has become very popular. I love the chevron print and when you throw a monogram on there it makes it even better! 

Obviously your options are endless so happy shopping!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christmas in July

It's hard to think about Christmas in the middle of summer, especially when it's extremely hot outside. However, it will be here before we know it. A lot of stores run specials on Christmas clothing and decor this time of year so if you can manage to think that far down the road it's an especially good time to get your children's holiday attire!

I love Zulily but sometimes you'll find yourself waiting several weeks for your package to arrive. I wouldn't suggest purchasing something from them if you need it quickly. But this is a perfect time to order Christmas clothing since you aren't in a rush. I've purchased almost all of Carter's smocked clothing from Zulily. Smocked clothing isn't cheap so if I can find a way to save a little money then count me in. The only downside with ordering from Zulily is that items are usually final sale and the sizing differs greatly between brands. For instance, if you order anything from Candyland keep in mind that it runs big. Carter's Halloween and Thanksgiving outfits last year were size six months and they about swallowed him whole, even though he was wearing six months in all his other clothes.

Here are the outfits I scored today.

Silly Goose Overalls

Reindeer Pjs

They also have a lot of great choices for little girls, especially precious Bishop dresses. 
Vive La Fete Bishop Dress

Waistin' Away Zigzag Dress

Only 152 days until Christmas!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

It's that time of year! Nordstrom's anniversary sale. Over the past few years I've learned that this is the best time to score great deals on boots and jeans. I know it's hard to think about fall clothes when it's 98 degrees outside with a heat index of 105 but if you want to save some money this is the time to do it. Last year I scored a pair of Frye riding boots and this year I got a great pair of black leather booties among a few other goodies.

Vince Camuto 'Vive' Bootie
The best thing about these booties is the heel height. I'm always searching for a stylish shoe that doesn't have a four inch heel. Why do women's shoes always have an enormous heel on them? I can't make it through the work day in sky high heels. Nor do I want to go out to dinner in them because by the end of the night I feel like I need to get on my hands and knees and crawl to the car my feet hurt so bad. These are a great looking shoe and have a perfect heel height. They had them in the store in black leather, burgundy suede and leopard print. I loved the red and leopard ones but I figured black take me a lot further, especially at work. Best part, they were $84 normally $129. 

I also found this great camel colored pencil skirt. I have been searching for a camel colored skirt for about three years now. I do not understand why it has been so hard to find. But when I least expected it and when I wasn't really searching for one I found it. Best part, it was $45! 

Halogen Seamed Pencil Skirt

It's also that time to replenish my tinted moisturizer and under eye concealer. I have been using Laura Mercier for the past few years and can't say enough great things about their products. Their tinted moisturizer provides just enough coverage and is lightweight. They offer it in regular, oil-free, and illuminating and you can choose from the tube or a cream compact.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Before I left  I made a quick stop at Gymboree to get Carter some bubbles. If you didn't know, they have the absolute best bubbles ever! Crazy huh? You wouldn't necessarily think to go to a kid's clothing store for bubbles but we discovered these through a friend and they're great. Basically the only way to pop them is to stomp on them with your foot. 

Gymboree Bubbles

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


If you're a make-up and beauty product junkie like me and haven't joined Birchbox then I highly suggest that you do! Birchbox introduces you to unique and sometimes new beauty and lifestyle products that you may not necessarily have discovered on your own. Each month you'll receive a cute little Birchbox filled with samples off different skincare, make-up, hair care products and possibly a surprise or two. I love coming home from work and finding their package waiting for me on the door step. Half of the excitement is not knowing what you're going to get each month. 

You can usually count on receiving at least one or maybe two full sized products. For instance, in June I received a pink lip stain and mint green nail polish. This month I received a liquid eyeliner and some really cute bobby pins. These were only a few things within the Birchbox. I have discovered a number of items that I've put into my daily routine that I don't think I ever would have discovered. One month I even received a $50 gift card to

The subscription runs $10 a month. When I originally placed my request to join it took about a month before I received my confirmation. Once you've been confirmed you can create a profile to indicate what products interest you the most and they will tailor your Birchbox to your taste. This would make a great gift for a friend! Who doesn't love to receive a package in the mail? And better yet, one every single month that is purely created for pampering yourself! 

If you do find a product that you really love in your Birchbox you can easily purchase it from their shop and earn rewards through their loyalty program. Better yet, if you decide to purchase a full size item from the current month's Birchbox you get free shipping.

Here are examples of the past Birchboxes I have received and some of my favorite products.

March Birchbox
Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum- great for break outs and it doesn't dry your skin or make it red and itchy.

Benefit Stay Don't Stray Primer- keeps your eye-shadow in place all day.

June Birchbox

LAQA & Co. Lil' Lip Duo- chunky lip pencil with great pigment and gloss. It lasts for hours!

Davines Hair Products- I used the shampoo and conditioner when were in St. John and my hair felt sleek and smooth. I use a hair straightener every day and this made my hair feel nourished. 

I've had intentions to paint my toes with the mint green color they sent me every night this week and so far no such luck! 

July Birchbox
Birchbox Bobby Pins- So fun and you can't beat the price....for decorative bobby pins. :)

I haven't used the eye liner yet but it's a great color. I'm also excited to use the Kerastase leave-in treatment. All of their products are incredible; however, they aren't cheap. 

So this is just a little taste of what you get each month. So instead of buying your lunch two days out of the month, pack your lunch and pocket the money and subscribe for a Birchbox. It is a special treat to yourself that you'll highly enjoy.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend fun!

Chris went to NYC on Friday to play Bethpage Black so Carter had some quality time with my mom and me on Friday and most of the day Saturday. We had hoped to go out to dinner Friday night but thanks to some heavy rain moving through our area we decided to stay put and hang out at home! Sometimes it's hard to beat a lazy Friday night at home.
Chillin' in the kitchen with Mom & Gigi
On Saturday we took Carter to his first music class. The Fairlington Community Center is located in our neighborhood and they offer several different programs for babies and toddlers. This particular class meets once a week for about 5 weeks and is a time for kids to sing, play with different noise makers/musical instruments and learn basic sign language. I think Carter enjoyed the class; however, it was close to his nap so half of the time he was in a trance by what was taking place.

After Carter took his morning nap we packed up and headed to Potomac Mills to the Stride Rite Outlet. For all my NC folks, it's just like Concord Mills. Would you ever go to Concord Mills at 1:00p.m. on a Saturday? My guess is probably not. Should you go to Potomac Mills at 1:00p.m. on a Saturday, definitely not. Potomac Mills has an Ikea so you can imagine the crowd it draws on the weekends. Ideally you should make this trip during the middle of the week about mid-morning. However, when you work 9-5, Monday-Friday you don't get that opportunity. It was pure chaos getting to the actual store, but we eventually made it and Carter got four new pairs of shoes (three to grow into) and I got a great deal on them. I wanted to try to sneak a trip into Ikea but no such luck. Maybe next time!

Shoe shopping makes my thirsty!

Check out my new kicks!
Saturday afternoon we went to Gavin's 1st birthday party. Gavin is Carter's buddy that we do the nanny share with. Carter and Gavin have spent almost every week day together since they were three months old. We were excited to help Gavin celebrate such a special day!

On Sunday my mom headed back to Charlotte. We were sad to see her leave! She was with us for twelve days so I had become accustomed to having her around. She worked extremely hard with Carter for a week and half on his motor skill development and it was amazing to see his accomplishments. It was also nice to have an extra set of hands when it came to taking care of Carter. She devoted every minute of the day to him and I know Carter loved it. I believe he was a little confused yesterday afternoon and this morning when he didn't see her. He especially didn't know what to think when I sat down to feed him his breakfast this morning. It's times like these when I wish we lived closer to our family. I have a lot of friends that have parents who come over to babysit their kids or even devote a day or two out of their week to keep them. If this is your situation, I am very jealous! It will happen for us one of these days I just have to remind myself to be patient.

After my mom left we spent some time at the pool and Chris spent the afternoon installing baby gates. Thankfully we can put that behind us for the time being. Baby proofing is a lot of work and I'm sure this is only the beginning. Carter has discovered that he can pull the video monitor into his crib and he likes to chew on the cord! I guess there will always be something.
I love to go to the pool!

Doesn't he look like an inmate? Yes, he's asleep!
I hope everyone had a great weekend. It's miserably hot here and is supposed to stay this way all week long so try to stay cool!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby Essentials

As a first time mom you quickly learn what baby products are essential. I remember when Chris and I made the trip to Babies"R"Us to complete our baby registry. Fortunately I had several family members and friends give me suggestions on the necessities beforehand, but when you walk into the store you feel like you need everything! It's easy to go overboard in a matter of minutes.

Here is a list of some things that I couldn't have lived without the first year and some things that I still consider  necessities.


Aden and Anais make the greatest baby blankets, especially to use this time of year. They are 100% cotton muslin and are incredibly soft and lightweight. We were easily able to swaddle Carter in these blankets and he didn't get too hot. They're also great to take on walks to drape over the car seat to keep the sun out of your baby's face. I received several sets of these as baby gifts and couldn't figure out why there were so popular but now I know why. Now that Carter has gotten older we've purchased their sleep sacks. They're just as great! I can't say enough wonderful things about their products. Yes, they're a little pricey but well worth the investment.

aden + anais swaddle blankets

aden + anais sleep sack

During the winter months we used Halo fleece sleep sacks and really liked them as well. We have a few of their cotton ones and they do just the trick; however, they aren't as breathable as the muslin ones.
Halo Micro-Fleece SleepSack

Fisher Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper

I don't know what we would have done without this! My sister-in-law used it with my nephew and had given it to us a few weeks before Carter was born. I stashed it away in the nursery and hadn't given it much thought until we came home from the hospital. I vividly remember Carter falling asleep the afternoon we came home and we set it up in the living room so he could sleep and we could keep an eye on him. He curled up in it and slept for over two hours! I immediately knew we were on to something. The greatest thing about it is it's very portable. I could put him to sleep in the living room and at night we would move it into our bedroom. Once Carter was three weeks old we moved the rock 'n play into his room for naps and bedtime. When we traveled it was easy to take along and Carter always had his own bed. We even took it with us down to the beach and he slept in it! I cannot say enough great things about it. I did worry about the transition from the rock 'n play into his crib. He was so cozy and slept at in incline, so going from that to a hard, flat mattress seemed terrible. But that's where our great nanny came into play. I came home from work one day and she told me that Carter took both of his naps in his crib. It had gotten to a point where Carter was too big for the rock 'n play and was simply uncomfortable. So for any moms out there that are stressed about the transition, don't worry! They will do it when they're ready.
Rock 'n Play Sleeper
Rock 'n Play on the beach

Could he be any cuter?

The NoseFrida Snotsucker

Sounds crazy right? I could not live without this contraption. The nasal aspirators that they give at the hospital are a complete joke. They may work to get snot that is practically dipping out of your child's nose, but when they get a cold and have serious congestion then you can forget about it. When Carter got his first cold I was so paranoid that he would get an ear infection so I was obsessive about keeping him clear and the snotsucker did the trick! I would always put a drop or two of Little Noses in each nostril and let that loosen things up and then off I'd go. If you don't have one, go and get one immediately. You can order it from Amazon and if you're a prime member it's free two day shipping. How much easier can it be?
NoseFrida Snotsucker

Breast Pump

Yes, they're incredibly expensive and a little terrifying as a first time mom but invest in a good one. I highly recommend the Medela Freestyle breast pump. A dear friend of mine let me borrow her Freestyle pump and it changed my outlook on pumping altogether. I got one of the hands free bras to use with it and I felt free- to an extend. No longer was I confined to a chair while pumping. At nights I would wash the dishes and actually do things around the house, to a certain extent, while pumping. In the mornings I dried my hair and did my make-up while pumping. It even made a world of difference while sitting because I could read a magazine and move around easily. It's very lightweight and travel friendly.
Medela Freestyle Breastpump

Water Bottle

Get  a water bottle to have with you at all times. For some reason the second you sit down to feed your little one or pump you will become so dehydrated you don't know what to do. It happens at the flip of a switch. I was given my water bottle at one of my showers and I didn't think much of it but ever since that day my water bottle hasn't left my side. Seriously. Ask any of my friends or family members. I take it with me everywhere I go. Plus, drinking a lot of water while nursing/pumping helps you drop the lbs!! Yay!

CamelBak Water Bottle

Babywise Book

This book basically gives you pointers on how to get your baby on a schedule. I know that there is a lot of controversy about whether or not you should put your child on a schedule and feed on demand, but I can't say enough great things about our success with Baby Wise. I've had several friends use this method so I thought I would give it a try. I had Carter on a schedule by the time he was two weeks old. A lot of people claim that I just got lucky with an easy baby, and while I do agree with them to an extent, I also attribute his great mood and sleeping patterns to the fact that I kept and keep him on a schedule. Of course there days when we don't make it home in time for regular nap time but for the most part he eats and naps at the same time every single day and has since the day he was born. He takes wonderful naps, eats like a champion and sleeps 11-12 hours every night. That's not to say that we didn't have bumps along the road, because we certainly did, but this book helps you create stability in your baby's life and I think that is key to a happy and healthy child.

On Becoming Baby Wise

Diaper Bag

Invest in a nice diaper bag because you will carry it everywhere you go and you'll quickly learn that it will replace your handbag for a significant period of time. I wanted a nice bag that didn't scream DIAPER BAG! I also wanted something that Chris wouldn't mind carrying when he was out with Carter. In my opinion, most diaper bags are terrible. I ended up with a black Kate Spade bag very similar to the one below. I personally like mine better because it has outside pockets which are great for quick access to your phone, a bottle or a burp cloth. I scored mine at the Kate Spade outlet on a holiday weekend and ended up getting it for 50% off.
Kate Spade Diaper Bags

Video Monitor

Yes, they're expensive too (are you catching on to a pattern?) but invest in one! They've even drastically improved since Carter was born. It is nice to be able to see your baby when they go to sleep. The newer ones will sync with your iPhone which is incredible. I'm sure by the time we have baby number two (not anytime soon) they will have improved even more. Chris always loves an excuse to buy an electronic gadget.
Summer Video Monitors

Baby Carrier

Some folks use baby carriers a lot and others never take them out of the box. I really loved ours. We got the Beco Gemini carrier. I heard that the Ergo places a lot of stress on your shoulders and this carrier is designed to distribute the weight across your waist. You can wear the child facing you or outward facing. Once they're bigger you can move them to your back. I used this a lot when Carter was really little to go on walks when we didn't want to fool with the stroller. It was also a life saver when I flew with Carter by myself. I was able to strap him on and go through security without having to take him out. It was essential that I had the use of both arms and hands when traveling alone.
Beco Gemini Baby Carrier

JJ Cole bundleme 

I don't know what we would have done without this over the winter. It's the greatest! They suggest that you don't put your child in a heavy coat when strapping them into their car seat. Plus, they get really hot once they're buckled in. This allows you to put your child in the car seat in their regular clothes, throw a toboggan on their head and zip this up over them and they will stay toasty warm. If it's really windy outside then you can even pull this up over their head until you can make it to the car or inside. They also make bigger ones for toddlers so you can use them in their stroller.

JJ Cole bundleme

Carseat Travel Bag

If you fly a lot, or even once, you need this bag. It allows you to put your car seat and base in one bag and you can strap it onto your shoulders and off you go. I have even had Carter strapped on the front, worn this on my back and pulled a suit case through the airport! It can be done and this is a life saver.
J.L. Childress Ultimate Car Seat Travel Bag


This is a great little chair to use when your child is first learning to sit up and eat solids. Definitely invest in the tray because it's perfect to feed them and easy to clean. It's also very portable!
Bumbo Chair & Tray


I preferred the Boppy over My Breast Friend. I absolutely hated having to strap on the MBF and it never stayed up high enough to support Carter. I loved the Boppy because I could easily move it around to get the right support I needed and it also doubled as a great support pillow for Carter on the floor or bed. I highly recommend the slip-covered one and get at least two slipcovers because one will inevitably be in the wash.
Boppy Slipcovered Pillow

Bravado Nursing Bras

These are great nursing bras. They're very comfortable and actually provide decent support when it's time for you to actually get dressed and go out for the day. They also make great nursing tanks. For a cheap nursing bra, perfect to sleep in, check out Target. They have some great options.

Bravado Nursing Bras

Nursing Cover

There will be plenty of times you'll need to feed your little one and you may have an audience. This is a great cover because you can see what you're doing and move the baby around easily from side to side. They actually make some cute patterns so you feel somewhat stylish. I used this a number of times in the car to cover up while I was pumping as we cruised down the highway.
Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover

Baby Connect App

This is a great app you can download on your iPhone. It has a timer which is a perfect when it comes to feeding your baby. You can also track your child's feedings, diapers, sleep schedule, outings, medical history, milestones, etc. The greatest thing about this app is that you can have multiple users under one account. We added our nanny as a user so we can check the app at any point throughout the day and we can see what Carter's schedule has been. This is very helpful when it comes to his meal times because I try not to feed him the same thing for dinner as he had for lunch. It also makes you feel like a part of his day when you know what he's up to.

Plastic bibs with a pocket

I don't know what we'd do without these bibs. They're waterproof and the pocket is essential. It catches all the food that mysteriously seems to fall out of a babies hands and mouth. You can easily wash them in warm soapy water after meal time and they're dry and ready to go just in time for the next one.

Bumpkins Waterproof SuperBib

Munchkin Bowls 

I love these bowls because they come in different sizes and have lids. There are plenty of times when Carter doesn't finish everything in one sitting so you can easily snap the lid on the bowl and place it in the refrigerator. Once they get a little older you can suction the bowl to the table and they can feed themselves. They're great to travel with too. 

Munchkin Stay Put Suction Bowls with Lids

Dreft Laundry Spray Remover

Once your little one starts to eat solids it's amazing how dirty they get. I have found stains in places on Carter's clothes that I can't even believe. This is by far the best strain remover I've found. It's great to get red wine stains out too! The only store I've been able to find it in is Target.

Dreft Laundry Stain Remover

It's important to have a comfortable chair in your baby's nursery. You'll spend many hours there feeding your baby, reading stories and rocking them to sleep. There are a lot of different options; however, if you're looking for one that takes up minimal space I highly recommend the Monte Luca glider. I did a lot of research on gliders and I had several moms recommend this particular brand but I wasn't sold on the look at first. I thought it was too modern for my taste. However, it grew on my and I love it now! Chris and I ran into a lot of problems with the chairs because of our height and most of the backs didn't come up high enough. But this one does the trick. They're covered in a stain resistant suede microfiber which is perfect considering you'll have milk stains on it in no time.

Monte Luca Glider

Glider in Carter's nursery

Amazon Prime Membership

This is probably the number one thing I couldn't live without. I had only ordered a handful of things in my lifetime from Amazon before Carter came along. I was given a complimentary prime membership through Amazon as a first time mom so I thought I'd give it a try. Now I don't know what I would do without it. Once the evenings and weekends roll around the last thing I want to do is go out and shop for household necessities. I rather spend that time with my family so I've resorted to ordering as much as I possibly can from Amazon and The free two day shipping is hard to beat and the subscribe and save is worth gold! I have diapers, diaper genie refills, and wipes set up on the subscribe and save. I never have to worry about running out of any of the items because they're scheduled to be delivered on our time line. When we've traveled places in the past I've even ordered diapers, etc and had them shipped to our location beforehand so we didn't have to travel with extra baggage and we didn't have to go shopping upon our arrival. If you don't have it I highly recommend getting a membership today! 

These are just a few things that I consider to be essentials for at least the first year of Carter's life. I'm sure I'm missing some things but I wanted to pass along my suggestions with the hope that it will help some other mom's out there. 

Let me know if I'm missing out on anything!