Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Favorite Blogs

I'm sorry for being MIA lately-- things are getting hectic with only 10 weeks left before baby arrives.

Anyway, if you guys are anything like me, I know how hard it is to wait for a favorite blogger to do a new post so I have a few I enjoy reading so I always know at least one will have a new post! I thought I'd share a few of my favorite go to blogs of the moment with you:

Mommy blogs:

xomrsmeasom.com/  The cutest mommy blogger! I love and appreciate how she's so open and honest about the realities of motherhood, it doesn't hurt that she's got amazing style either! ;) She's posted some cute, helpful videos lately as well!

littlebabygarvin.blogspot.com/ This mommy is SO creative and crafty and festive! She's great inspiration for celebrating any holiday in style! She's also incredibly funny and relatable. Did I mention she's incredible at chalk art and has her own etsy where she sells chalk art prints?? Seriously, check her out!

http://omydarlingsblog.blogspot.com/ I just don't know how this mommy does it. Her life seems like a sparkly, pastel wonderland! From her incredible wardrobe, her perfectly decorated home, her genius birthday party decor to her adorable little girl (who's always dressed in only the best clothing-- fit for a princess I might add!) it makes the term "super mom" actually exist in human form!

jeadore.com/ Her style and creativity amazes me! Where do these mom's come from?? Is there a course I can take?? Sign me up! She has an etsy selling the most darling floral pieces that dreams are made of. And??? She's managed to make kiddie toys CHIC! How is that possible?

Home decor blogs:

livecreatingyourself.com/ One of the founders of the everygirl-- and she's got the style to show for it! Love seeing how she makes her small space chic!

fabulouskstyle.com/ Her home decor style is so clean and feminine! Just love it!

http://thedoctorscloset.com/ If I could have my entire home look like hers, I would! She always has perfect pictures too! How do these bloggers do it??

http://frugal-finds.net/ Love how she decorated her tiny apartment so stylishly on a budget! Such an inspiration!


I'm expecting some shipments to come in soon with all sorts of baby goodies I can share with you guys so keep an eye out!

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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Cloth Diapering

I'm sure from the title you're probably thinking "has she lost her mind??!!"--well, I haven't...or maybe I have, but here's why we've decided to cloth diaper along with some great tips and tricks I've learned in my research.

My husband and I had been making smarter decisions about what was going in and on our bodies before I discovered I was pregnant. Once I learned I was pregnant, of course I started researching organic alternatives to all the chemical laden, harsh products that are made for babies. All of this research led me to the idea of cloth diapering. I had never even considered cloth diapering and just the thought of it freaked me out because I had no idea how easy and simple it could be. When I learned of all the harsh chemicals used in typical disposable diapers it was enough for me to open my mind a bit to cloth diapers (not to mention the amount of money you save cloth diapering!) and the fact that they can be used for future babies is an added bonus (and money saver).

Now, I am speaking from an inexperienced stand point because my little man has not arrived yet so I've not tried them out personally, but I do plan on keeping you guys updated on how things go with the cloth diapering.

Here are some pros and cons of cloth diapering:

Pros:

  • Potentially saves you hundreds of dollars-- compared to what you'd spend on disposables
  • You are able to save them and use them for future children
  • (I have read) Leaks and blow outs are less likely to happen
  • Diaper rash is less likely to happen
  • They're super cute! (Common, you know those colors and patterns are tempting!)
  • No harsh chemicals up against baby's skin
  • (If you get one size fits all) The diapers grow with baby so you aren't constantly buying more
  • No late night diaper runs

Cons:

  • More laundry (if you don't normally wash every 2 days)
  • Have to use specific laundry detergent and diaper rash cream that are safe for cloth diapers
  • Can be pricey (up-front but will save you money in the long run)
  • The one size fits all diapers don't always fit newborns properly, leaving you finding an alternative diapering method (buying NB sized cloth diapers/using disposables) until baby can fit properly into the one sized
  • You have to pack a sufficient amount of diapers when traveling and if you will be gone for an extended period of time you need access to a washer

For me, it was very easy to get around most of the cons. I plan on making the baby's detergent and diaper rash cream anyway and just found cloth diaper safe ones. These are my favorite cloth diaper safe baby rash cream and detergent:

Diaper rash cream - I plan on trying this same recipe however, I don't plan on using the essential oils.

Luckily, these DIY recipes are very cost savvy and will end up being cheaper than store bought diaper rash cream and detergent, especially organic ones (BIG thumbs up!). 

We will be washing every 2 days to keep our diapers in the best condition but we will hang dry them to cut costs. This is also great if there is any staining-- you can lay the diaper to dry in the sun.

For our cloth diapers we have chose Bum Genius 4.0 one-size diapers. I've heard nothing but good reviews about Bum Genius and they seem to be the most simple and convenient for our lifestyle. They are a bit more pricey than other brands but the convenience is a big factor for us. They come with everything you need (cover and 2 inserts) and minimal assembly. They also grow with your baby- from  7 to 35+ lbs. We love that we won't have to worry about diapers with future babies as well because these can be reused.

For dirty diaper storage until we are ready to wash, I plan on using the Ubbi diaper pail with a cloth liner. Keeps the stink at bay (his clothing will be in a separate laundry hamper) and the cloth liner is a great way to save (no re-buying disposable bags/liners) and I can just toss it in the wash with the diapers (and his cloth wipes!). For the messier diapers, I plan on rinsing or wiping off any mess before tossing it into the pail to help prevent staining.

Any mommies out there who have experience with cloth diapers? Any tips/tricks? I'd love to hear your feedback!

I've got a bunch of tutorials I will be posting once it gets closer to time for the little man to arrive (May!) including his diaper rash cream and cloth diaper safe detergent, so keep an eye out!


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Friday, 14 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!



Happy Valentine's Day lovelies!

This is way late, but it's never too late to treat yourself right? ;) (especially if the treat is pink/gold and glittery!)
1.) Pink Agate Coasters - Calypso St Barth
2.) Heart clips - SHOPbymonika
3.) Heart vase - Love Star
4.) Polkadot heart keychain - Deux Lux
5.) Leather heart keychain - Deux Lux
6.) "Love" beaded pillow - Jonathan Adler
7.) Metallic leather "love" pillow - Calypso St Barth
8.) Gold lipstick stain mug - SHOPbymonika


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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Bread Pudding




I know, not the prettiest bread pudding in the world but it sure is yummy!

I am going to apologize in advance for no "in-the-process" pictures, I tried a new method for my bread pudding tonight (along with making it in a smaller batch) and wanted to be sure it turned out ok before I took any photos. I will also make it known that I am horrible with measurements and I always "eye it" when adding ingredients, I don't use specific measurements so the measurements I give you, you can adjust to your taste.

Here's what you need:

This makes a smaller bread pudding (cake).

3-4 slices of bread (I used a really soft, dense, doughy kind of bread, but I'm sure whatever you like best will do just fine)
1 egg
1/2 can of evaporated milk
1/4 of condensed milk (add more or less to taste)
1/4 white sugar (again, you can use whatever sweetener you prefer)
sprinkling of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla

butter for greasing baking dish


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Tear all except half of one slice of bread into pieces (I'd say about half an inch, small enough so you can mash them), add them to a medium bowl. Add all the other ingredients and whisk in, mashing the bread as you go. 

Once it is mixed thoroughly and the bread is mostly mashed add the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, but not too runny. (You can skip this step if you prefer your bread pudding more chunky but I decided to do it this way this time to get a smoother texture)

Pour mixture into greased baking dish and top with torn pieces of the half a slice of bread remaining and sprinkle lightly with sugar and cinnamon. (The cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top can also be omitted if you like, you can try other things like Nutella, or condensed milk or caramel....)

Put it in the oven and bake until golden brown.


I added Nutella on top of my slice just as it came out of the oven so it got all melty and delicious! (chocolate makes everything better)



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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Home Decor Wish List

I've been daydreaming about a few items lately-- particularly home decor items. I always love to see what other bloggers are drooling over so I thought I'd show you a few of my home decor wish list items with you.


Brass goodies: 

Brass Nautilus Shell Planter - I was inspired by this lovely coffee table set up, I'd use mine as a vase for flowers as well.

Vintage Brass Danish Candlesticks - I think the proper name is Illums Bolighus Danish brass candlesticks. Love these for a centerpiece on a dining table!

Perfect Pile of Pillows:

Oh how I long to cuddle up with these lovelies on a navy blue sectional!

Flamestitch Pillow - I wasn't a fan of the whole flamestitch thing at first but this one grew on me-- I'm a sucker for neutrals!

Bengal Bazaar Ikat Pillow in Grey - So in love with this pattern!

Mongolian Fur Pillow (white) - This was a Target pillow but it sold so I'm looking for one similar-- I like that this one has a kind of curl to the fur.

Nate Burkus for Target Foil Print Pillow (gold/black) - This was another Target pillow, it just recently sold out-- so bummed! I'll be checking ebay for a good deal.

Johnathan Adler Needlepoint Initial Pillow - Love this but it's pricey so I'm looking for a cheaper alternative. PB Teen makes a good one, I'm still debating if I like the lower case letters or not...

JA Ceramics:

Mustache Vase - So simple and unique.

Circus Trainer Vase - This is so quirky and cute! Love that it is reversible, an easy way to change up the look! I also like this king and queen version.

Horse Bowl - This would be great to keep near the front door for stashing keys and loose items.

Love Canister; Joy Canister - I love things that are cute and serve a purpose!

Squirrel Match Strike - Cute alternative to those ugly match boxes I will inevitably have hanging around due to my love of candles.

Gold and White Zebra Dish - Great to have on the bedside table to keep me from losing bits of jewelry/trinkets I need to set down.

Gold and White "Asterisk" Vase - Love this SO much!! Unfortunately, the JA store no longer sells this so I'll have to scour ebay...

Black and White Striped "Glitter" Canister; "Eyelashes" Canister - These are another great storage option while still looking adorable. I'd probably put hair clips in one and not sure what in the other. JA still has the "Glitter" canister for sale but I prefer the taller version which is no longer on their website.

White Baroque-style Lamp; Clear Baroque-style Lamp - I want two of these for our bedside tables. I can't decide if I want to get two clear or one clear and one white...


A few other things that have me swooning lately...

via

This is so hilarious and cute! I'd love to hang these two prints with mirrored candle holder sconces on either side. I've been looking back at some everygirl Style At Home features and this living room is what drew my attention to these prints (and the mirrored sconces!). 


I also loveee Moroccan wedding blankets (doesn't everyone?). This website has the best prices that I've found.


Looking at this list it seems huge! And yet, there are so many things not listed that I'd love to have for my future home. My plan is to gradually purchase items as I can afford them. I cant wait to get my own place so I can decorate!

I'd love to know what your favorite home decor pieces are in the comments below!

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Saturday, 1 February 2014

D.I.Y Oil Facial Cleanser


In my last post I talked about face products I can't do without and included my DIY oil facial cleanser. My skin can get really dry and my pores get clogged-- this method will also help with oily skin because it replaces the moisture your skin loses through the day so your pores don't produce excess sebum (or oil). It is also great for sensitive skin.

I also love it because it is a cheap, easy and clean product to use on my skin. I try to use organic products (and food!) as much as I can, and though this isn't necessarily organic (you would have to use oil that is specifically organic) it has a lot less junk and chemicals in it than most moisturizers I'm sure.


What you need:

Olive oil (for moisture)
Castor oil (for cleaning dirt out of pores)
Tea Tree oil (to help clean up and prevent any bumps, optional)

How to make it:

I use one part castor oil to three parts olive oil and a small drop of tea tree oil or no tea tree at all. This just means if I use 3 teaspoons of olive oil I will use one teaspoon of castor oil. However, if you have oily skin, you may want to use three parts castor oil to one part olive oil. Those with normal skin can use a one-to-one ratio (one part castor and one part olive oil). 

This will make you enough cleanser to last a few times.

What to do:

Combine all the ingredients in a container or mason jar-- whatever you plan on storing it in and give it a quick stir with a spoon. (This is probably not the most sanitary but...) I dip my fingers in and get a bit of the oil mixture and apply it all over my face and gently massage it in. Then, soak a rag in hot water (as hot as you can stand), squeeze it out just so it's damp and place it over your face, leave it on for about a minute, re-soak the rag and squeeze it out again and place it over your face for another minute (this is all to "steam" your face or open your pores to allow for the oil to best clean and moisturize). Re-soak and squeeze out the rag and gently wipe any excess oil off your face. And you're done! 

If you don't want to use the hot rag method you can boil water and pour it into a bowl, lean over it and place a towel over your head to keep the steam it. Also, Conair (and I'm sure other brands too) makes a face steamer which is also fine to use. Secret Life of a Bio Nerd has a great youtube video on how she does the oil cleansing method-- check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5vpJe2vFMk

I learned about this cleansing method on these great blogs, be sure to check them out for more info on the method!

http://mylittlecelebration.com/the-oil-cleansing-method-how-to-minimize-blackheads/

http://theartofsimple.net/oil-cleansing-method/



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Friday, 31 January 2014

Favorite Face Products

I am extremely picky when it comes to facial products. I spent most of my life having extremely oily skin, recently I started getting dry patches on my cheeks and occasionally around the corner of my bottom lip. Since becoming pregnant everywhere on my face seems to be dry now, I am flakey and peeling everywhere, even on my eyelid just below my eyebrow! It has gotten to the point where it is painful in some spots (around my nose).

These are the products I can't do without-- oily or dry skin.


Olay Regenerist microdermabrasion and peel kit- This stuff is seriously a miracle worker. It leaves your face feeling unbelievably soft and cleans out all your clogged pores. It sloughs off all the dead skin cells and is amazing for anyone who has problems with dark spots and hyper pigmentation. I started getting dark spots my last year in high school and soon my entire cheeks were covered in them. I hated it and nothing I tried made it go away. I no longer have them and I think this product is one of the big reasons why. You can only use this every two days though, it literally strips the top layer off your skin so using it too often can make your face raw and sore.

Pond's cold cream cleanser- I use this to remove my makeup. It is the only product that gets every single bit of my makeup off (including eye makeup) and it leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturised.

D.I.Y oil cleanser- I will post a tutorial on this! It's a mixture of olive oil, Castor oil and tea tree oil. This is great for moisturising your face and removing dirt from clogged pores. (Don't mind the organic baby food container, it makes for great storage!)

Clarisonic Mia 2- I think everyone knows about this product and has heard all the rave reviews by now. Buy it, your skin will thank you. I use this every day, except on days I use my Olay kit.

These are two other facial products I love but am not currently using because they've finished.


The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Night Cream- I adore this. I put it on my face after using the Olay kit or after washing my face before bed. It's super gentle and soothing and it leaves my skin soft, smooth and moisturised.

Pond's Clarant B3 moisturiser for normal to dry skin- I use this as my day time moisturiser before I apply makeup. This is also great for brightening skin and helping to fade dark spots.

Two things not pictured are tea tree oil and vitamin e capsules. Tea tree oil is great for spot treating any bumps that pop up on your face. I use a needle and burst the vitamin e liquid capsules and use the gel/serum inside on any dark spots after washing my face and it really helps fade them!

What are skin products you can't do without?

Update! Here's the tutorial on my DIY oil facial cleanser.


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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Being Grateful and Letting Go

Sometimes I get so caught up in aspiring to have things I want and don't yet have that I lose sight of how great the things are that I have already. I charge full speed ahead like a bull seeing red at what I think will get me to where I want to be and I'm in a constant chase for things I really have no control over. Admitting I have no control is a hard feat but accepting it, is far more difficult. I'm (slowly) learning to accept that I simply can't control everything, to let go and let God deal with my future and to relax and appreciate the blessings He has already so richly blessed me with.

We all have moments now and then when we want something SO bad we do everything in our power to aim towards it, even though most of the time, we have no control of whether or not we obtain said thing. There had been things in my life I'd already wanted but finding out I was pregnant felt like it put a time line on every goal. I've been so busy trying to make the impossible happen that I'm spending more time feeling depressed, stressed and frustrated than I am enjoying my pregnancy and my sweet loved ones I am so blessed with. 

I'm stubbornly learning to hand complete control over to God because I know, whatever he has in store for me is far greater than anything I can dream up for myself. It's hard to be patient and wait for things to fall into place when you feel like you have an impending deadline (due date) hovering over your head. Sure, I feel like it would be more convenient to have all the things I'd like to have and all my goals accomplished by the time baby arrives but perhaps God sees what I cannot. 

I often want things all at once, for everything to happen NOW, because I am not a fan of waiting but I realize (unfortunately) things aren't always like that.

It's been an incredible wake up call realizing I have zero control-- no matter how hard it is to admit! I'm learning patience, appreciation and most of all, faith

I plan to take each day at a time, appreciating even the little blessings in my life, because there are so many things I have that others would love to have. I am richly blessed, but I will never be able to enjoy those blessings unless I allow myself to. 

WE determine our own happiness.




Thursday, 16 January 2014

Nursery Mood Boards

Lately I've been a busy little bee over on Polyvore, creating inspiration boards for outfits, rooms, you name it! Of course, with a little one on the way, I've been really interested in nursery design. There are so many gorgeous styles for nurseries but I seem to gravitate toward slightly themed nurseries.

Here are a few nurseries I've designed lately:


My little one's nursery  


Sweet Peter Pan nursery


I've got lots more in the works as well-- you can follow my Polyvore here to keep up! I also post my finished inspiration boards (outfits as well) on my Pinterest.

I love designing nurseries and would be more than happy to create a inspiration board for anyone who likes my designs and need a little help (completely free of charge)!



Friday, 10 January 2014

Baby Essentials, Part 2 (Nursery Edition)

This is part 2 to my first post on baby must-haves. Babies need so many things! And then, there are those super cute items you can't help but buy because baby "needs" it...

I've put together a few items that I consider essentials for a baby and I've divided them up according to their uses. These are our must-haves for the nursery:



Prince Lionheart Warmies Wipe Warmer - We plan on using cloth wipes with our own solution so this is a perfect way to store them while helping prevent mould/mildew!

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail - Even though we are cloth diapering, this is where we will keep the soiled diapers until we are ready to wash them. This way, the dirty diapers/cloth wipes don't mix with his other clothes in the laundry hamper. Ubbi diaper pails also don't require a special plastic bag! You can use whatever liner you like! We chose white because it matches with any decor.

Cloud B Sleep Sheep and Gentle Giraffe - White noise is great for helping soothe baby to sleep. These got excellent reviews- plus, they're so cuddly and cute! I can't decide between the sheep or the giraffe.. I think the giraffe is cuter and it matches better with the theme of the nursery but the sheep will be more neutral to use in future nurseries. The sheep also has better white noise sounds which is annoying, they should all come with the same sounds.

Summer Infant Baby Video Monitor - We love this monitor because it has video. There is also night vision and a cool feature that allows you to talk to baby! You also have the ability to pan and zoom in or out with the camera. I do wish it didn't cost so much though...

Feel free to leave any tips or must-haves you have!

Watch this space for more baby related posts!


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Baby Essentials (and announcement...)

IT'S A BOYYY!!!! So excited to be able to be able to shop for nursery items and clothing (which will be more gender specific) now. We are trying our best to keep most things gender neutral so we can get future use out of the items.

Here's a snippet of a gender reveal photo shoot we did!


Since I found out I'm expecting, everything has been about baby mentally. I spend countless hours researching every baby product there is and deciding what we need to best fit our lifestyle. I always enjoy seeing lists of baby must-haves from mommies and expectant mommies so I figured I'd compile one of my own!

These are the things we've been loving/buying for baby lately:


Bum Genius cloth diapers - We plan on cloth diapering to save on cost and so baby doesn't have all those nasty chemicals found in disposables so close to his skin. BumGenius seem to get the best reviews and they conveniently come with all needed inserts (you don't have to buy anything separately). We chose the 4.0 one-size fits all version so they grow with baby. 

Aden & Anais swaddle blankets - I chose the bamboo swaddles in Mela because they are gender neutral and so pretty! These blankets got such great reviews and are nice and breathable which is essential, living on a tropical island. 

JellyCat Stuffed Animals - I simply ADORE these stuffed animals! I plan on buying a few more as well. My favorite is the light blue Bashful Rhino.

BARE Baby Bottles - I plan on breastfeeding but once I have to return to work I will have to pump and  use bottles for baby. These seem to be an easy transition for a breast feeding baby and helps to prevent gas!

Lamaze Mortimer the Moose - He is just too adorable -- I couldn't resist! He's a great learning toy, he sqeaks, two of his feet crinkle and one rattles, his antlers are great for chewing on when baby is teething and he's got a loop for hooking those plastic rings on that babies seem so fascinated by. There's also a girl version named "Muffin the Moose", too cute!

We haven't purchased all that we need yet, so here are a few more things we plan on buying:



Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bibs - These are perfect for preventing milk from getting into baby's sweet little neck rolls!

Gerber Cloth Diapers - I actually plan on using these for burp cloths! A friend recommended them because they are so absorbent. 

Solly Baby Wrap - I have researched just about every baby wrap/carrier out there and this one has been my favorite so far. 

Woombie - These swaddles are great-- super easy and baby can't wriggle out of it! It's also better for when baby gets stronger and can break out of the velcro swaddlers. We plan on using sleep sacks once he gets too big.

Zo-li Baby Nail Trimmer - This is a BIG must-have since I'm wayyy too clumsy to go anywhere NEAR those teeny baby fingers with a nail trimmer. The Zo-li is basically an electronic nail file.

Vulli Natural Rubber Chew Toy - I know Sophie is the go to teether for most moms but I feel it's a little too girly for a boy. This little guy is adorable and is very similar to Sophie. 

Phillips Avent Pacifier - These got great reviews and come in pretty colors, they're also BPA free.

Brica Baby In-Sight Mirror - This is great for keeping an eye on baby those first few months the carseat isn't facing you.

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow - I already have a Boppy but I've read alot of reviews that say this nursing pillow offers a better fit and better support for the newborn stage.

Fisher-Price Rock n' Play Sleeper - This is what our little one will be sleeping in at first. The angled and not completely flat angle it keeps baby at helps reduce colic and tummy troubles. It also can rock to soothe baby back to sleep when he stirs.

I am also considering a BUMBO, however, I don't know how much (and for what) we'll use it and don't want to spend money on something we never use. Any advice/tips about the BUMBO, those of you mommies who have tried it?


Stay tuned for part 2 of this post- "Nursery and Clothing Must-Haves"! Also keep an eye out for a "What's in my Diaper Bag" post!

Feel free to leave any tips/advice about must-haves for you in the comments!