August 30, 2018

Behind the Gram: Part One

Happy almost Fall everyone!! Okay, I realize the first day of fall isn't until September 22 but for me, as soon as September 1st hits, I'm pulling out all the Fall decor! In honor of Summer 2018, I wanted to go back and share "Behind the Gram". This is something I've seen a lot of different bloggers do and I thought this was a fun way to add a little realism to the blog ;) Basically, I'll be going through my favorite Instagram posts from this summer and sharing a little behind the scenes with y'all.  I plan to share these at the end of every season so let me know if you like this one by leaving a comment below!

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who follows me on Instagram! That sounds so silly but I mean it. I am able to work with some amazing brands and shops that I love because of you! I only ever collaborate with brands or shops that I really love and care about. It's such a great way for me to share with you some products that have made a difference for us. So, THANK YOU! Y'all are amazing! Okay, we'll just jump right into it, yeah? :)


We love patriotic holidays around here ;) She is so little - I can't get over it! She was actually super happy this day, so the faces don't lie. This was right around the time that I started to take my blog and Instagram brand more seriously. Since then, I've been able to work on a lot of collabs (many more coming!) and even more importantly, I feel more like myself than I have in a long time. Setting goals and working hard helps me to feel a lot of purpose! 


This was taken obviously on Fourth of July but what you can't see is poor Nova's scrapped head and bruised eye :( I talked about it on my Instagram just before this post but if you didn't know, this summer Nova fell at the waterpark. Out of her stroller. Onto concrete. Yeah, I was feeling pretty crappy about myself that week. It was awful! I think I cried more than she did but the mom guilt was strong. Thank goodness babies are very resilient and she's such a happy baby! I am so grateful she was free of any permanent damage or a concussion. But this day that this picture was taken, was the first day that I finally felt better about things and let it go and had the best day! 


If I showed you how many outtakes there were from this photo.. well I wouldn't because it's an embarrassing number! Most of them are from Ryan holding the letter board on our bed so I could tell him where to hold the camera! This post actually is really special to me because it was the first time I hit 300+ likes! Such a silly thing to say, I know. But I don't care because it was exciting for me!


This was taken just before I started to get Nova ready for bed and the caption says it all: it was crazy-pants. I mean it was BANANAS. Nothing would make that cute girl smile except to be in my arms, staring at herself in the mirror! I was smiling here and really I was okay, just a little overwhelmed by the day with a fussy baby. But the moment I laid her down and walked out of her room, I climbed into Ryan's lap and sobbed for a good five minutes. Not because I was sad or really even upset. It was just one of those times where you needed to cry because crying felt good. Once I felt better, he went and got us dinner (because that's what kind of day it was) and brought home ice cream. & at the end of it, I was just grateful for an amazing husband and a sleeping baby!


Just thinking about the behind the scenes of this one makes me crack up! If you flipped this picture upside down, you'd more easily notice that Nova's headband is pushed really far back and make her forehead look HUGE! So I just flipped it upside down because she is SO CUTE. Also, this was taken on a Friday afternoon, not Sunday morning sooo... :)

That wraps up some of my favorite pics from this summer! Hope you liked this little behind-the-scenes of my Instagram :) Just a little sneak-peek for you, I'll be posting this coming Monday, September 3rd (Labor Day) on Instagram and over here for a GIVEAWAY! I'll be teaming up with Incredibundles.com to give one lucky winner a free 3-month diaper and wipes subscription! I hope you all enter because that is an amazing prize! Anyways, everyone have a wonderful holiday weekend!

August 24, 2018

The Perfect Gift


Thank you so much to Hooray Heroes for sponsoring this post!


If there is anything to know about me, it is that I am an extremely sentimental person. I hold on to movie tickets from dates with my husband, every little note written to me and journals from different stages of my life. I have a box for Nova that has her first outfit, hospital records, pictures and a journal I kept while I was pregnant up until now. I do it because imagine her finding those things and enjoying the memories as well! I hope to inspire her to record and remember things from her life that are personal to her. 

With Nova's first birthday just around the corner, and yes I teared up typing that out, I have been on the hunt for the perfect gift! I wanted to ensure that her gifts were a reflection of how much she means to me and that is when I found Hooray Heroes. They are an amazing company whose mission is to make every child feel special through their very own, personalized book! How stinkin' cute and creative is that?!


Hooray Heroes were sweet enough to send us a personalized book just for Nova titled, "When Nova Grows Up"! Their website makes it easy for anyone to personalize their child and themselves as the mother. You get to go through and choose ten potential futures for your child like will she be a Vet? A race-car driver? Or a Professor? 


Hooray Heroes created a book to help your toddler while potty training and in their own words, "brings potty training to a whole new level"! "Bye Bye Binky" is another great book for helping your child kick the habit of using a pacifier. They just releasing their sibling book and a new personalized Christmas book will be released October 1st!

Of course, my absolute favorite part was being able to write my sweet Nova a personalized note that was printed at the very beginning of the book. Even though she can't read it now, I love the idea of that when she can, she will read those words and remember them forever. This is such a special way to tell your children how much you care about them and how much you cherish them. There is nothing sweeter than a gift that accomplishes all of that and that is exactly why it was our favorite gift for Nova's first birthday!


You can find Hooray Heroes on Instagram and on their website: hoorayheroes.com

Use my code for 15% off on any of their books!
FULLERTON15


August 16, 2018

Our Favorite Baby Shops

Thank you to Ellie & Coco Boutique for sponsoring this post!

If you are familiar with my blog or instagram, you would know that I love dressing my little Nova in bows and giving her the best toys and books! I wouldn't consider myself "picky" when it comes to shopping for her, but rather particular ;) After trying several different types of products, finding these sweet shops has made shopping for accessorizing and play-time much easier!

I've always been a huge supporter of small businesses. There is something about them that I love so much more than shopping at big retailers. It could be the personal conversations I can have with them about their products or the fact that I know they were made with love! Bill Rancic once said, "I’m a big fan of small business ownership. I think it’s the backbone of American innovation. But to be successful, you first have to have the courage to go for it." These small business owners have definitely gone for it! Every single one of these shops I'm sharing with you have excellent products so let's get right into it!



 E L L I E  &  C O C O   B O U T I Q U E 

We need to talk about how adorable these custom teething rings and smoothies are!! There are several shops that sell wooden baby toys or teethers but this is the first shop that I have found that will customize it for you. Samantha takes time to get to know her customers and makes sure each item is perfect for your little one! On her Etsy page, you will find a wide variety of bows, headbands, pacifier clips and wooden teethers. Everything is so unique and clean. 


I absolutely love this personalized teether and soothie she sent to us. It couldn't have been more perfect because Nova loves muslin cotton and the fabric on these teethers is so similar to that. In just one day, this teether has made it's way around our home in the tightest grip of the tiniest hands. Nova loves her new teether! I could tell right away it was helping her with soothing her gums more than her other teething toys. The best part is, when she is done using it, it is the perfect keep-sake for her baby box that is personal to her and she doesn't have to share with future siblings ;)

How cute is it that her new headband bow matches her teether?! The bow is chunky and the nylon is a great quality that I know will last a really long time. It looks so cute on my little lady's head!  The shop owner is really on top of her orders and tries to get them all out as quickly as possible! Trust me, your little babe needs this personalized teething ring in their life! & for your sanity, you do too!

Thank you again to Ellie & Coco Boutique!




B O W S   B Y   K I M B E R L Y

photographs taken by J Michelsen Photography
Bows by Kimberly makes the cutest little bows for your sweet girl! The exciting thing about their bows is that they are meant to grow with your baby! In each set, alligator clips are included so that when your child is ready for clip-in bows, all you have to do is cut the nylon and slip in the clip. It is as easy and convenient as that! The nylon on these headbands is much thiner than most of the headbands we have for Nova which is a nice feature!

Kimberly makes the ordering process simple! Bows by Kimberly sells through Instagram so be sure to check them out there to make a purchase! 




L A T T E R - D A Y   B A B Y


If you are out looking for sweet, Christian books for your child and have a hard time finding them, well look no further! This sweet little shop has three baby books available right now. For $10, your baby can learn about Joseph Smith, the LDS Temple around the world or the Book of Mormon! We love bringing these books with us to church so Nova can learn about what we love about our church so much! The illustrations are simple and perfect for this age Nova is in.




B A B Y   F A B

While I do love to buy organic cotton from time-to-time, it is so expensive! Honestly, that is why I love Babyfab so much. Their prices are hard to beat and they have a wide selection from rompers to dresses and sweats for your baby! They always have a selection from $9.99 and under which I love. I bought a jumpsuit from them and it lasted so long! The variety and adorable prints are so cute and really make me wish they had my size! Another bonus is you get FREE SHIPPING on all orders!

This jumper doesn't fit anymore so this picture from April will have to do ;)


Go check out all of these wonderful ladies and give them some love! Supporting small businesses is supporting families and individuals. Thanks so much for reading!


*Disclaimer: I received free product in exchange for my honest review*


August 8, 2018

n o v a : t e n | m o n t h s

Unlike updates in the past (you can check those out here), Nova only let me take one really good picture of her! It was a real life moment that I don't want to fake by trying to take more another day. She is teething and just wanted to snuggle me so I got my one shot and moved on with our day! She is still cute as ever!

Nova surprises us every day with how advance and intelligent she is. Our pediatrician has told us that in several ways, Nova is ahead of the game! We are so proud to be her parents and lucky to watch her learn. I absolutely love [and am slightly terrified of] her strong personality! She knows what she wants. It's so fun to see her problem-solve and even at times be sneaky to get it!



| h e r  t e n t h  m o n t h |

 loves to sit by doors to open and close them

 cutting her top four teeth! ouch!

 loves sharing green smoothies with mama in the morning

♡ gives daddy the biggest hugs before bed

 loves the water and would swim for hours if we let her!

 been more picky about her veggies this month

♡ learned to say "ball" but loves to say "mama" more than anything!

 loves petting and playing with her puppy, Scout

thinks it's really funny to spit her food out at mama - it's not very funny

---

 Every day I wonder if I do enough to raise a smart, independent and caring girl. I want everything for her, including trials and heartbreaks. I hope for her to experience life the way it is meant to be, through learning and growing. I hope she knows how much we love her and care for her. There is very rarely a moment that goes by that I don't feel an overwhelming amount of gratitude for her sweet spirit. She humbles me in the best ways possible and I am blessed to be her mama!

August 2, 2018

Homemade Chili Seasoning

For a long time, I've relied on the convenience of packaged seasonings and marinades. While there are still a few I like to use, I've discovered the frugality of making my own! Plus, have you ever read what is in those packages?! To save even more money, buy your spices and dried herbs in bulk. Personally, here in Southern California, I love shopping at Winco Foods. They have amazing prices and offer organic options.  I typically will buy large amounts of salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, cumin and others so that I have plenty to make several different seasonings. Growing your own herbs and drying them is also a great option.

With Fall just around the corner, I'm getting all my favorite seasonings ready to go! The one I make the most of is my homemade chili seasoning. This has been a game changer in our house! My husband  L O V E S  chili so you can only imagine how often I'm making it in the colder months. I finally found the perfect portions of each herb and spice to create the most delicious chili ever! It is versatile while also sticking true to the traditional flavor of homemade chili. 

12 tbsp Chili Powder

6 tbsp Ground Cumin

1 tbsp Garlic Powder

4 tbsp Salt
(I prefer Pink Himalayan)

1 tbsp Cayenne

1 tbsp Ground Black Pepper

2 tbsp Dried Oregano

2 tbsp Onion Powder



Mix all of the ingredients together in mixing bowl. 

Store in an airtight jar or container for up to three years!

For smaller portions of recipe, you can divide in half or smaller and it will have the same outcome. 





August 1, 2018

Being A Mom in 2018

I was fortunate enough to grow up around many mothers. All of whom were amazing and loving towards their children in their own ways. I learned early on that no one parents the same, and with good reason. Every child's needs and personalities are different. What I learned from these mothers, especially my own mother and my sisters, was that as long as you love your children with all that you've got, you're doing it right. 

Being a parent in 2018 is much different than it was when my mother had my oldest sister, or even when my sister had her son 6 years ago. Things have changed tremendously! The biggest change is the affect of social media has on our lives. How often do mothers in 2018 feel pressured to buy certain products or to dress a certain way? If your baby doesn't have what her baby has, you should just give up! I have really had to change my frame of mind and focus on what is best for Nova and our family to avoid allowing social media to make me feel that way.

The basics of parenting haven't changed much but the pressures and standards have. I don't want to convey that I am an expert or that my ways are the best ways. But rather share what helps me to thrive as a mother with the world and society bombarding us with the highest standards. 




f i n d
s u p p o r t  t h r o u g h
s o c i a l  m e d i a
                      .                       

Once I was able to look to social media for support instead of comparison, it became a safe haven. While struggling with low milk supply, I found several women experiencing the same thing and became part of three Facebook support groups. I cannot tell you the countless tears of gratitude I shed when receiving guidance, advice and encouragement from other women going through the same challenges. 

I really believe once you are able to look outside of yourself and support other women and mothers, you can learn so much from them. The loneliness that oftentimes comes with being a mother, seems to fade just a little when you use social media for good. It's also important to remember what you see in your feed should be light to you. If you follow individuals who don't inspire or uplift you, unfollow them. 


t a k e  a d v a n t a g e
o f  p r o d u c t s
                      .                       

There are so many products on the market now that help us monitor our babies and find peace of mind that mothers before didn't have the luxury of accessing! One of which that we have yet to try for ourselves, but fully intend to for whenever we have another baby, is the Owlet Sock Monitor. It allows you to monitor your baby's oxygen levels and heart rate without needing to disturb their sleep!  We really wish we would have invested in this product after bringing our baby home. While in the hospital, she stopped breathing twice so you can imagine the sleepless nights we experienced from the fear of losing her.

Take advantage of the products that make mom life easier! The investment is well worth your sanity, trust me. There are so many baby products that help take some weight off of our shoulders but I will save that list for another post ;)

p r a c t i c e  
s e l f - c a r e  
                      .                       

If you follow me on Instagram (if not you totally should ;), you know that I am a huge advocate for self-care! I learned the hard way how important it is to put yourself first when you can. There is a balance to be found between putting yourself first and sacrificing for your family. It is possible! You just need to find what works for you.

For me, I practice daily self-care when Nova is sleeping by showering, writing in my journal, watching youtube or doing a facial. Every month, I try to leave Nova with someone so I can go grocery shopping by myself or get my nails done. This has made a night and day difference for my mental health. I love this article from Get Mom Balanced, 15 Minute Self-Care: 15 Quick and Effective Strategies. She gives wonderful ideas for practicing self-care if you are struggling knowing where to start.



b e  h u m b l e  & a s k  
  f o r  h e l p  
w h e n  y o u  n e e d  i t
                      .                       

I think like most people, I struggle asking for help. Why is that?! Why do we think we can do it all? Haven't we heard that it takes a village to raise a child? It took having a child for me to realize that I really do need help. Once, when Nova was only a few days old, I called my mom bawling because I couldn't sooth Nova. She ended up staying until 7am the next day so Ryan and I could get some sleep. It surprised me how quick she was to come over and how willing she was to stay. She wanted to help me and realizing that made it easier to ask for help in the future.

Our society teaches us that we can only rely on ourselves. "Don't trust anyone" is a common phrase in movies and tv shows. That's teaching us that we are supposed to constantly stretch ourselves thin and that is exactly what leads to depression and anxiety. It's important to be self-reliant and independent but it's just as equally important to be humble and know your limits. If you are struggling, ask someone for help! I can garuntee they would be more than willing.



t r u s t 
y o u r s e l f  &  G o d ' s
p l a n  f o r  y o u
                      .                       

This doesn't need much elaboration. Trust your mom-gut, love your babies and remember that God has a plan for you. Even on the toughest days, He is there. He knows you. He loves you and He is always ready to listen. 

You got this, mama.