Falling in love with Dublin

Ireland is the first country we traveled to as a family. My husband recently found out that he is 10% Irish  and another couple % from Europe, so this trip to Dublin was rather spontaneous. (we were originally planning to go to London until about 2 weeks before we left)

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We traveled via Aer Lingus and had a great time! It seems like Europeans are very family and baby friendly, which we just loved! We had a problem with our original tickets, so we purchased our ticket to Dublin from JFK a couple hours from departure, even so, we were seated first row (hello leg room!) next to another family. They also had a bassinet that attached to the wall so the baby can sleep in there. The family next to us used it, and we didn’t ask for one this time.

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Once we arrived, I was so tired! Of course the long weekend traveling prior to this flight, the packing and the over night flight, add the hunger and a baby to take care of.. and then we were picked up (we basically had a driver take us to our airbnb apartment).

and that’s when I fell in love with Dublin.

Just driving the streets towards where we were staying, the architecture, the buildings and the sun, it all made me so excited to be there!

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The thing is, since my husband is the Irish one, this trip was for him. What I looked forward to on this vacation was Paris – that was a gift for my birthday. (I talked about my birthday fails and crazies in an earlier post here) I was waiting until Paris and did not expect to have a good time in Dublin.

Then I fell in love.

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Let’s start with the apartment!

It just spoke to me. From the pictures online until we walked into the building, I was just mesmerized! It was a million dollar apartment, (probably worth more actually), in the best of neighborhoods, fully furnished, and the 25 foot high ceiling made me feel like I was in a museum.

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Opening the door into the apartment for the first time. And yes, he’s a great husband who carries my pink diaper bag.

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The photos do not do it justice. We later found out that this apartment is usually rented out to movie stars/producers when they come to film and stay for a few months at a time. It really feels like home.

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These incredibly large windows allowed for only the best light for a selfie!

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We’re standing in front of the door into our building. I miss saying “our building” because it really felt like a dream living there for a few days.
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The best was a french press and a fully loaded kitchen ready for us to use!

I’ll talk about our experience with airbnb in the next few days, but seriously, aren’t you convinced? (subscribed, or be sure to check in the next week or so to get a list of our top tips and must haves when looking at airbnb apartments to stay wherever your travels take you)

Then there was food.

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We found the cutest coffee station at the public market. It was across the street from our apartment every Thursday. This truck was an old ambulance car from the 50s in the south of France. They even showed us the pieces they left in the truck that showed its history. The espresso was as good as the story of their truck!

I love beef and Ireland is a beef country! We enjoyed some great food! (it is entirely possibly that on this trip I liked food better in Dublin then in Paris, and we had amazing food in Paris)

Restaurants we would recommend:

FX Buckley’s amazing meats! I had the best steak I’ve ever had, like ever in my entire life! They had an incredible selection of meat that was locally grown, or within the region. Rollo was so tired he ate some food and passed out for a nap, I laid him down on the seat/bench next to me for a long nap and enjoyed my meal.

Matt the Thresher  – this restaurant had amazing food and drinks selection and they were the most baby friendly. They were accommodating and had good space, especially for a big city restaurant; we were able to come in and have the stroller and a high chair next to our table, where in other places we couldn’t even bring the stroller inside because of lack of room. Our favorites here were french fries with truffle cheese and the beef stew pie.

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We left this beautiful city with nothing but good memories and a strong desire to go back.

Traveling with a baby certainly limits some places where you can go, but it didn’t stop us from having a great time. It rained on us, so we bought a rain cover for the stroller and went on with what we planned. The sun was out and we were so excited to enjoy this beautiful city and walked around for hours looking at buildings to see if there was anyone famous who used to live there.

Thank you for being so charming and lovely. I miss you Dublin.

Until next time.

L.

 

Picnic at the Eiffel Tower

Our recent trip to Paris was so fun!

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Naturally, you can’t go to Paris and not visit the Eiffel tower!

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Fun fact: my husband speaks french and has been to the country 13 times and not been even close to the tower. When we went together for the first time, and his 14th time in the country, I found a hotel with the view of the tower from our bedroom window, and made him go to visit! We climbed all the stars and took the elevator to the very top! He doesn’t think the tower is as ugly as he used to, but he’s still not a fan, which makes him the only human being I know who isn’t wowed by the Eiffel tower.

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We didn’t have a photographer following us around, so the photos may be a little blurry taken with my iPhone. In the end, we decided to leave the camera back in the States (it wasn’t a good idea because of what happened to the camera, long story), yet the memories we made mean just so much!

Back at home we have a bread guy. He lives on our street and sells bread at the public market. On Saturdays my husband walks over to his house to pick up french baguettes and pain au chocolat, they taste just like they do in Paris, which is basically the impossible right?!

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I love Rollo’s hair here! It’s so wild! 

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Fact: we ate bread every day. During this picnic we had a full loaf my husband and I ate and it was the perfect lunch! Because when on vacation calories don’t count right?

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The only pair of heels I brought with me. This trip I was so good at packing!!

There were soldiers walking around Champ de Mars and only days later it made sense since there was an incident at Notre Dame. With so many people out walking and hanging out near the Eiffel tower it was definitely noticeable that the security was increased significantly.

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What we brought with us to the picnic:

(stroller comes in super handy in this case)

  • Baguette
  • Foie gras
  • Camembert (one of my favorite cheeses)
  • Saucisson (my husbands favorite meat to eat in France)
  • White wine, my husband even chilled it so it was perfect!
  • Cups/dishes, thankfully our airbnb host had plates we could use.
  • A sheet. Yup, we couldn’t find a blanket so we ended up using a plain white sheet. It worked just fine and it was to be able to spread out on it.
  • Water – super important when it’s so hot out!

It was simple, but definitely enough food, especially since it’s our favorite snack/ hour d’oeuvres kind of food.

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I think I need to write another post with a list of places where I nursed my baby. It would be basically everywhere. So he was hungry here too.

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I hope you enjoyed some snapshots of our picnic and a glimpse into a Paris afternoon.

Whats your favorite food to take on a picnic? Does it change depending on what country you are visiting?

The Crazies of my 30th Birthday in Paris


That day I woke up at 3 Am in Dublin, Ireland. I got dressed, woke up my baby boy and put him into the baby carrier as my husband packed our luggage into the taxi. I walked through our Dublin apartment and said my last goodbyes to the beautiful Georgian place that was our home away for a few days.


We went through the airport and the 1 hour flight so quickly that the next thing I remember was sitting at the cafe in Charles de Gaulle airport watching the reunited couples making out as their coffee was cooling off on the table, totally a Paris thing, the full on making out in public that is.

Paris in June, for my 30th birthday.

The day when nothing went right but ended up perfect.

So what if my day started out with tired but wired where I couldn’t sleep of excitement and once we came to our Paris apartment, which was also just an absolute dream, I passed out for a few hours for a good nap!


What I found out later, like 2 days later, was that while I was napping my husband went to find a store which sold perfume, with the sweetest of love stories, and since they only sell that perfume in Paris and not online he went to pick it up. After finding the store, of course it was still closed, he waited for a while until past the time it was supposed to open, and there was still no one there, so he came back. (we visited the store 2 more times during this week and it was still closed – no luck, but the thought to get there and all the walking around really counts too)

Walking down on the street where we stayed.

We were staying in 7th Arr. and it was just beautiful! There was a store next door where they sold candles with a perfumer creating a scent for each arrondissement of Paris. Since we were staying in 7th, my husband picked up a candle for 7th and 6th to remind me of the smell and this place! Now that we are home for the last two days I am already burning the candle and it smells just like Paris.


It was a beautiful sunny day out so we went out thinking maybe we could squeeze a museum visit out of it, it didn’t happen once we saw the line. Naturally we went further to get something to snack or even find a place to eat dinner.


This is where fun started. We were walking as a family, looking at this beautiful city, and kept walking, and kept walking, my husband had a specific place in mind with a great view to sit and eat dinner there. We sat down to enjoy dinner, fed the baby, had a great view, a musician came over and situated himself in front of the restaurant playing saxophone, a family walking by broke into dancing and that was really fun to watch.

View from the restaurant. The musician came shortly after thusbphoto was taken.

Then the fun really started! Our food came and baby was sitting back in the stroller chewing some bread when my husband’s stomach pain became too real and he went to get some medicine at the near by pharmacy. He was complaining of stomach pain, but we thought he was just hungry. Within a minute of taking some medicine they recommended he said he was feeling nauseous, got up from the table and barely walked 10 feet before he just threw up. In the street. In front of the restaurant.

Once I recovered from basically dying and going through the ground to disappear from sitting front row center in the middle of the sidewalk, which is usually a great spot for a Paris cafe, I apologized for my husband to the people around, collected my baby and called a cab.

One thing I am thankful for – right before we left for our long walk to get to this restaurant we stopped by the bakery and picked up some dessert for later that night. There was wine at the apartment and two spacious bathrooms with a soaking tub. Once both my babies were asleep, one recovering from a day of travel and being shoved around in the stroller, and the other from food poisoning or whatever made him sick, I filled that tub!


Certainly I didn’t plan to spend my day this way. But life throws a curve ball, you just go with it. Oh, and I ate ALL of the dessert we bought that night.


This year I will take every opportunity to be thankful, for turning 30, going on a spontaneous trip to Dublin and Paris, for having a healthy baby and a trip where no one got sick or injured (well except for the one night ..). This year I am starting with valuing what I have, my family, my friends, people who surround me and love me for who I am. This year I am going to be thankful for crazy memories of diaper leaking in Louis Vuitton (more on that later) and throwing up in front of a restaurant, for missed flights, for mistakes, and most of all for forgiveness.


This was an amazing way to celebrate and a trip I will most definitely remember for a lifetime.

10 Must have toiletries for travel

I love traveling, as you can to tell by my IG and Insta stories. This year I have learned so much about myself and what my own needs are, not just wants, because my goal has been to declutter and take less stuff with me (in life and) as I travel. Going to places with a baby is fun, but also takes so much more space in your luggage so here are my absolute must haves when traveling.

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I do not compromise on skincare. When traveling through the dry air of the airport and the cool/hot/or just all together unstable conditions of the airplane air, it all takes a toll on your skin. Add the stress of packing and taking care of a little one at the same time – is calling for dry patches, weird skin issues and pimples. Anyone experience this before?

We just came home from being away for 10 days, car driving, airports, multiple countries and multiple flights. My skin has remained clear, clean and super soft just like I like it! So I am sharing what has worked for me!

1.Hand Sanitizer: I brought 4-5 with me on the trip to keep in every room and every purse! I used it on the baby, with diaper changes and especially throughout the airport on all of us!

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 Babyganics hand sanitizer in this small size is super key!  

2. Cleansing brush: this one is called Mary Kay skinvigorate cleansing brush, its amazing on the price and compatibility! No cords or extra space needed – battery operated and makes an incredible difference when washing face after a long flight! I personally love this purple color because its so fun, usually it comes in white, this was a limited edition color, and the best part – it’s only $50!

3. Jergens Natural Glow tinted body moisturizer. I am as pale as it comes, and for vacation I like to have a little glow. I love this body moisturizer because it gives a great color right away, within an hour or two of applying it – which makes it super convenient when you forget to put it on “on time” and want some color on your legs before you head out the door. (which has happened to me lots of times before).

Tip: for a clean look and seamless tan – shave, then apply moisturizer all over, then apply the fake tan lotion. Especially around the elbows and knees – it will take on the tint better and will look more even once it dries.

4. Men: My husbands 1 must have when traveling is the Mary Kay Moisturizer for men. It has spf and all the anti aging my man needs. Once he forgot to bring it with him on vacation and didn’t want to use my moisturizer, so he made me contact a local beauty consultant and have her drop one off for us at the hotel!

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5. My absolute favorite cleanser I’ve ever triedMary Kay Volufirm Foaming cleanser   The real reason I love this cleanser is because of how it foams when I use my cleansing brush with it! Also, it leaves my skin feeling so smooth and this tube is so big it lasts me a really long time, about 5-6 months!

6. Eye Makeup remover! In the photo I have the full size bottle in the back, because what I take with me is the mini, it’s just perfect size for my travels. (If you need the mini eye makeup remover for traveling and smart packing, ask me! I will often have a promotion where you can’t the mini for free when you buy 2 products)

I can’t say enough about this product, honestly the best makeup remover I’ve ever used!

7. Charcoal Mask – this is a brand new product for this company and I am SO in love! I think I have a new tradition now! As I am packing up to leave I put the mask on (because I am packing it will stay on longer then it needs to, but I am ok with that!) that way my skin is super fresh and clean to go! I even had my husband do it with me! So far this mask has been with me to New York, Dublin and Paris!

On a separate note – I saw a huge difference in my husband’s pores and blackheads, I keep my skin care regiment tight, so I saw a difference but not as big as on his face!

8. Night Solution and Volufirm Lifting Serum: I couldn’t decide which one to bring so I took both with me! These two products are my absolute must have for a night routine! After I wash my face I apply the lifting serum and then the night solution serum. The vitamins and the boost is incredible! I see such a huge difference if I stop using it just for a day or two. A lot of women comment on my porcelain type skin, and honestly these two are the reason for it! I swear!

The lifting serum is the most expensive skin care item I am using right now but I think it is the one that makes the biggest difference in the elasticity of my skin and the youthfulness!

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9. Eye Cream: I LOVE this eye cream because of the cool metal tip – it calms the skin down and allows the puffiness to go down and to me that’s exactly what my eyes need after an over night flight with lack of sleep, jet leg and taking care of a baby tired.

10. Revealing Radiance Facial Peal: let’s talk about taking some skin layers off and doing a serious detox on your skin! I love this one as soon as we get settled into our apartment or hotel room. Nothing freshens up my skin better! I like to do this one at night just in case I have some redness and I leave it on my skin for about 30 minutes (which is more then you need to do) while enjoying a glass of wine and relaxing because that’s what vacation is about!

extra: my favorite deodorant right now is this one from Dove, I like how its easy to use and doesn’t leave white marks on clothes. I give it a thumbs up! Pictured in the above photo.

Another item I bring but not all the time is the Lip mask – allowing my dry lips to recover!

Here is the list of all of them again, click on the image for more details and a link is underneath for each product.

 

6 months old photoshoot in NYC

Who doesn’t love New York City?

It was my dream for a long time to have a photo with the city skyline in the background. My husband and I visited New York often together, we live only a couple of hours away. We have gone there for a weekend, for a day, and even our first honeymoon was in New York.

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We spent half of our honeymoon at a bed and breakfast in the upstate NY and it was a dream. Then we went to the city for a few days and stayed in the beautiful Novotel in a room overlooking Times Square.

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The day after we got there my husband of six days at that time was moving the car parking spot and was t-boned by a taxi on Park ave. He left his phone (it was supposed to be a quick move the parking spot trip) so I got a call from the ambulance drivers phone to go to the hospital to meet him.

In the end its a crazy story, married for 6 days and could have lost each other. If I was in the car with him, I would have been severely injured, the car was totaled and we had to rent a car to get home. It was my dads car by the way.

Now when we go back to New York, its so many memories!

Our second date was in the city where we almost had our first kiss on Park ave, but I thought it was too early.

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We got engaged in Central Park. And we will continue making memories.

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Favorite spot for food in New York: Halal Guys. We love truck food and we always get it for lunch in the city. You stand in line for a while, then you sit on whatever surface is available and eat. The full experience is great because it brings so many memories for us and you can’t get truck food like this anywhere else in the state or in the country.

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I hope you enjoy these family photos. We had so much fun working with our photographer and would recommend her services any day! She was amazing with our baby and got his attention to make sure he looked into the camera and smiled.

Styling details: 

I am really loving all the blush tones this year! I have a little obsession with cherry blossoms this year. You can find the dress I’m wearing here. Also a similar one here. And another option here and here.

Shoes are Manolo Blahnik, you can buy them here or rent them for a special occasion here.

Makeup:

I am wearing Mary Kay products, on the eyes: Into the garden collection eye shadow palette, it was a spring limited edition and I only have 2 left for grabs.

Lipstick is Matte Mauve Moment – current favorite for a pink nude type of lipstick for this spring, you can get it here, and Light nude lip liner you can check out here. Bronzer is a must this season, I am not tan yet, I am using this bronzer here.

Mascara is a huge deal right now because I am not using any eye liner and giving all the volume to my lashes with this amazing mascara, check it out here, and the review I wrote on it here.

 

My Americanized to do list

 

Two weeks ago I took an oath and became a citizen of United States. You can read more about my experience HERE, and see pictures from the ceremony.


When I was in college my two friends Scott and Eileen had a great time making fun of my accent and my immigration status. I was in the process of getting my green card at the time and they came up with a list of things I needed to do to become americanized. 


Here is my list:


Watch a football game  

The first football game I watched was super bowl 2013, we just moved to a new city and were newly married. One of our new friends invited us to a super bowl party and in a couple of weeks we will see him in Ireland where he currently lives. Also, our son was born on his birthday. I just liked the commercials that year, Beyonce was performing the half time show and it was my favorite one so far, I’ve seen 3 more super bowl games since then, and that year also had the absolute best puppy and horses commercials.

Drink a beer

I hate beer. I never liked the smell of it, so I don’t drink it, but the first time I tasted it was by accident actually. I was running Rochester Flower City Half Marathon 7 years ago and at one of the stops they were giving out beer instead of water. I almost choked on it because it wasn’t what I expected. Now I will only taste beer from a brewing company our friends started, even though I don’t think I will ever like beer.

Eat a cadbury egg

I don’t know why this one was significant. I just never tasted a cadbury egg or knew what the big deal was. So my first Cadbury egg tasting was during Intro to Psych class; I’m sure my friend Eileen brought them the next day after adding that to the list.

Attend a baseball game

I am not a huge sports fan and baseball is definitely farthest on the list. My first game in person was in Rochester NY with friends from Grace road church. I remember it was very cold, very long, and it was the first time I had Dippin dots ice cream. Turns out ice cream was better then the game and my friends had to explain everything to me.

Shoot a gun

The first time and so far the only time I shot a gun was in 2011. A good friend of mine took a bunch of us through some good training on safety and let us practice with different guns. Let me tell ya, I did some damage to the dirt in that field and took very memorable photos.

 

Go to a hockey game

Apparently there is a theme to becoming an American and it has to do with sports. I didn’t grow up with sports, its not something a girl does anyway, and even now I am not a huge fan of sports, but I have attended multiple sports events to support events, fundraisers and sometimes just because my husband wants to go. My first hockey game was in Binghamton, NY, with southern tier young professionals group in 2013. It was a great way to meet people in a new city and I haven’t been to a game since.

Visit New York City

 

The first time I went to New York to go to visit and not just drive through the city was in 2010. I went by myself via train, it was the most memorable time as the city was hit with a huge snow storm and it was very cold. I walked the streets for hours, window-shopped, did some actual shopping and caught up with good friends. My favorite part was going to see Wicked on Broadway and people watching. That trip was so important for me, I found inspiration to run in New York and I came back 4 months later to run in my first half marathon, I found peace and forgiveness, I let go of things that were causing me a great deal of pain at that time of my life. I don’t remember how many times I’ve been to the city now, but last time was 2 weeks ago for my baby’s 6 months birthday. It is one of my favorite cities and I will go back every chance I get.

P.s. Lately we have been using AirBnB instead of a hotel to stay in New York. It’s been the best experience ever. If you’d like to receive $50 discount on your stay via AirBnB comment below and I will email you a code to use!

I Am Immigrant.

I am a first generation immigrant.


Today is a big anniversary for my family and since becoming an American citizen 2 weeks ago I am doing a lot of reflecting on what it means and how I got here.


My family immigrated to United States as refugees 15 years ago, no one spoke English and the only person we knew was my uncle who moved to Rochester, NY a few years before we did and “invited” us to move also. I don’t know the official terminology, I just know you can’t simply move, you have to have someone sponsor you into the country. I was under 14 years old at the time so I didn’t need to go through interviews upon interviews my parents went through with immigration officers in Kiev, Ukraine and in Moscow, Russia. What I remember is leaving my childhood, my friends, my life as I had known it in a small town called Smila, Cherkaskiy oblast, and move to a country I only saw in Beethoven (the movie about st Bernard dog) and seen in pictures from the lives of Americans who visited our town.

Fun fact, we now live just feet away from Beethoven St and drive on it every day to get home. I do think about that movie often as it was my favorite for years, I really thought that it was exactly what life was like in United States. I just didn’t know it was called suburbs. Also, feel free to send me that movie on dvd if you find it, I can’t wait for my kids to watch it with me.


So many people from “back home”, as it’s not home and hasn’t been my home for years, thought and talked about America as the country with money and opportunity and money. The way I remember growing up, the memories I have, the good times and the bad times, I know all my memories are coming through the glasses of a naive girl who didn’t grow up with opportunity and felt alone most of her childhood. Maybe one day I will be able to talk about my memories of growing up but for now my heart is filled with greatfulness for what we have. Moving to united states at 14 years old where we were sharing a 2 bedroom half of a house with 8 siblings and an outhouse for the bathroom; if you didn’t catch that, it means no toilet inside the house. Fast forwarding 15 years later I am a wife and a mom living in a 5 bedroom house with 3 (three!!!!) bathrooms ALL inside. I learned the language, learned how to drive a car, got rid of my accent (mostly), earned a degree in English education, started a business, and married an African American who now takes me traveling everywhere.

Another fun fact. The first time I saw a black person in the actual person was at the airport, at 14 years old. I remember it at JFK, but I am sure we saw them on the plane also, I just probably don’t remember.


15 years is a long time. It feels like a lifetime because my life is so different now. Sometimes I wonder if I will even remember my childhood and life in Ukraine because I never think about it anymore.


This country offers so many opportunities for every single individual who will take it. There are so many second chances to get back on your feet after a bankruptcy or losing a home, you have a dream – and you have the tools to achieve it if you look for it. It’s the definition of hard work pays off, my parents are the example of that. We all had worked to get ahead in every opportunity that was given us, and I’m so thankful for the freedom to be able to do that here, in a country I am a citizen of.


My parents now speak English, own their own home, have multiple cars (they still have teenagers at home who drive). I was the first one out of my family to finish a bachelors degree and this year my brother is graduating with a PhD in Chemical Engineering, and another brother graduated college last year as a Ceramics Engineer. I can list so many things that my family has come through from good to bad, from food stamps to a life we have now, and I am greatful for every single person who made a difference in my family’s life through this journey.

It’s almost impossible to list every one – but I will do my best to tag you all on Facebook – thank you for your support, prayers, financial support, teaching me to drive, driving my family around when we couldn’t, and being a part of our story!


Tomorrow I will talk about my get americanized list – a list my friends in college created for me as I was going through the process of getting my green card. It’s a fun list for sure and one of the things on there is probably going to freak out my dad a little… if he reads this that is. So subscribe or stop in tomorrow!

I hope you enjoyed my stories and going down memeory lane. Even though I got everything on my list checked off, the things I am most proud of are the accomplishments I talked about earlier, the education, the travel, and opportunities to experience so much in America that I wouldn’t have otherwise.


Treasure our country! I say as an American now and it feels strange because I’ve never said “our” in reference to this nation; treasure the freedom and take every single opportunity there is. You owe it to all the immigrants who came here years ago and made it possible for your life to be on this continent.

I am immigrant.

What we learned about traveling with an infant

Our first trip as a family was over Christmas and NYE to San Diego (from NY so it was a long flight), and our baby boy was just 2 months old.

Babies are more resilient then you think, so take your baby with you. Live the experiences. Our new mantra.

I was so nervous as a new mom taking my baby out into public, I’d cover him up (car seat cover that’s not see through), and people would ask me if there is even a baby in there. Now, after traveling on the plane, in the car, restaurants, malls and just everywhere I need to go, I can’t imagine not having him with me.

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Here are some thoughts my husband and I have about our personal experiences traveling with an infant.

Build in time for the baby’s needs: feeding, play, down time, tummy time, naps.

Don’t over plan, be picky about time you give to others and to your family.

When going to a place where there is going to be friends and family, be prepared for people touching your baby. I was not always prepared for this one, especially when it was extended family whom I didn’t know well and didn’t trust exactly.

You don’t need as much as you think you do. the first time we basically brought everything but the kitchen sink. It took us a few trips, like 5 or 6 before I figured out what we needed and never used.

You know your baby, he’s not like anyone else’s baby, you know what you’re doing, so take care of him the best you know how! This is personal to me, there are so many people out there, moms and not moms, who give baby advice but I know that its not all good, not all for me. Even though it is hard to filter, it’s necessary to keep my head sane from feeling like a real failure of a mom. My baby is awesome, and I will do all I can to take care of him. Especially applies when traveling. Period.

Make sure the baby has the shots appropriate to age done before the traveling. We found it helpful to talk to the doctor and ask advice about traveling locations and safety. Doctors have a network they can rely on to help you even when you’re out of town, as long as it in the US territory. I found it so comforting that if something happened to us on the trip our doctor at home could still help us out.

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Nothing happened to the baby on our trips, by the way, when we were in San Diego my husband caught the stomach flu, and we spent a lot of time in the hotel with him ordering room service, but baby R and I were great, and enjoyed lots of walks outside.

Traveling with an infant: Weekend edition

 

The very first trip we took was to visit family over thanksgiving. We packed the car full. The whole trunk was filled with everything and anything we could possibly need. In the end, a tiny little baby barely needed any of the stuff, he just needed me, (boobs really), and a safe place to sleep. But hey, we were super prepared for ANYTHING!

I packed the car to the you could barely see in the rear view mirror, even back seat next to the car seat had stuff, and then I realized that there is NO room for our dog. (The whole reason to buy this SUV was to fit us and the dog when we traveled) So we ended up taking two cars to be able to bring up pup with us, she’s a harlequin great dane, so my little diva takes space.

I certainly don’t consider myself a travel expert. But I am pretty much a packing ninja by now so forgive me if I feel like it gives me the right to give advice to parents traveling with an infant.

Since our baby was born he has been on 7 weekend trips. Each trip I learn something new and get an opportunity to improve on the whole approach to packing, feeding and baby carrying. This is what I learned from our travels, I hope you find it helpful and I hope I remember my own lessons learned and not have to re-live it.

Driving

Time the drive during the baby’s nap. If you have to leave at a certain time, keep your baby up for a longer time and do whatever you can to adjust their schedule to nap during the car ride. This worked every time we were driving.

For us, it worked best to leave in the morning at 8:30/9 am, which is when R usually takes his fist nap after waking up.

Feed the baby right before the ride. It’s less likely that they will wake up.

Let the baby fall asleep in the car seat on the drive. I found that our baby slept better and longer if he fell asleep in the car on his own.

Time your own bathroom breaks. I drink SO much water, because of breastfeeding, so I get the bathroom needs. If you need to make a stop, and there is more then one adult in the car, then have them drive the car while you go to the rest area, and then switch. Every time we stop and stay staionaty for longer then 2 minutes, the baby always wakes up.


After doing this drive multiple times, my preferred time to go back home on Sunday is 6-6:30 pm. My baby goes to bed for the night between 7 and 8 pm, so its perfect if his bed time is a tiny bit early this time. During travels he doesn’t sleep much during the day, so it allows him to sleep longer during the night. If he’s asleep by 6:30 or so in the car, everything goes so smoothly! I put him into pjs, feed him, and off we go. When we get home he goes right into the crib and usually sleeps 8-9 hours before waking up for another meal.

Feeding

The first thing, you have to feed you, the adults. Because you need to function to get to your destination and not loose brain power. It’s actually so important that I’m starting with it, if the adults who are traveling are fed, there is less likely to be a fight, fatigue, dehydration and other issues that parents who are already sleep deprived can experience. So I have to think ahead and pack the car with food I can eat on the go, small meal type that I can grab quickly and eat while nursing my baby. Sandwiches work best, since in the case of hunger and fatigue from running around packing the car, taking care of the baby and putting your own clothes on while at the same time trying to remember to lock the house and the home security password, you will run out of brain power and a protein bar won’t do it. At least it doesn’t fix it for me. Some people prefer shakes, they don’t work for me either.

We all know that the hardest part about finding a place to eat during travel is often picking a cuisine. I find that it helps to look up restaurants ahead of time, before you even start packing for the trip, so when you get to your destination, you know where to go eat and can take care of your baby’s needs faster.

This happened to us. We arrived to the city where my husband was born and lived for at least two decades, where we met and still visit often, and we just sat in the car completely blank coming up with a place to go eat. It’s the baby brain, and it aparantly daddy brain is a thing too.

Keep your own (adults on the trip) meal times the same as at home. It will allow the infant to feel like its the normal day routine, well at least a little bit.

Feeding the baby – that’s easy. Write down the times your baby usually nurses/feeds at home, try to stick to that schedule. I don’t often have enough memeory to remember all of it, so I use this app to remember and keep track of feedings and sleep. It’s especially helpful when traveling. (Infant stage, so I’m exclusively breastfeeding and writing about my experience, I know it’s different when you have to bring formula, a pump, or other foods if your baby is eating solids)

Packing

Divide the responsibilities very clearly. Do it based on your strenghts. Im the one who packs, because Im very good at it. Even packing the car. Because I’ve had so much practice it doesn’t take very long. My husband will bring out the heavy stuff to the car, but I put it in, while he puts the baby into the car seat.

These photos were taken when we were visiting family over the weekend and both of our outfits we bought that weekend. I always end up going shopping, since where we are there are not too many options, and so now I pack less clothing for myself and that way can fit in what we buy when shopping out of town. You especially have to take this into consideration when you have luggage on the plane.

When leaving, pack fast, you will have to unpack and do laundry anyway, so it doesn’t matter how and where in the car everthtyhing will fit. Just shove. This is also when I take care of the baby, feed him, give him a sponge bath, and put him into pjs. By the time we are done, my husband can pack the car up and we are ready to leave.

What to pack?

After doing it almost a dozen times now, this is what worked best for me, because baby spit up.

Check out my packing check list and screen shot to save it.

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Gear

Stroller, car seat, sleeping arrangement (it’s different for every family)

This car seat toy attachment is the best! Keeps the baby entertained for a while! (or this one, you can find lots of variety).

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We also love this rocker because it folds easily to be stored in a car and we found it super helpful with our infant.

Sleeping gear was easy for us, for the first 3 months we brought the stroller and pram body where our baby would nap during the day and at night. It was easy to transport and was close to the shape of the bassinet where he slept at home.

Timing

Plan around baby’s schedule, even if your baby doesn’t have a set schedule yet, you should still be aware of general tendencies toward timing of your baby’s feeding, play time, and down time. Keep it as close to what it is at home as possible.

If you have a day when your baby is just fussy, it’s happened to us, take some time to find a quiet corner, a comfy chair, or just stay in bed for a while and hold your baby, sometimes that alone fixes fussy and out of scheduled routine baby issues.

You know your baby well, so pay attention to see if it’s the stress from traveling, a cold coming on, teething or something even more serious that’s causing extra baby fussiness.

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Baby carrier is optional, we used it once on our trips, so its up to you if you will need it or not. But since they don’t take much room, you can add this one to your list.

Expectations

Most importantly perhaps, set the expectations for the trip ahead of time. Where to go, what to do and see, don’t over book yourself and especially be prepared for plan changes and complete detours, and even returning home, if necessary.

Being prepared for the unexpected to come up allows less stress for when it actually happens to you.
I hope you found some good suggestions here from what worked for our family so far.

Where is your next weekend adventure taking you and your infant?
Xoxo

L.

Paris in November

We all dream of a trip to Paris don’t we? Especially since meeting my husband we have been dreaming of going together. He is fluent in French, and has been to the country almost 20 times. Yes, be jealous, I am. I knew France would be a big part of our life because of my husband’s love for the country (I’m not complaining), our mutual love for french wine, and my love for french Baroque decor.

Here are some highlights from our trip and my theory on traveling in general!

Traveling Details & Tips

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  • We live a couple of hours away from New York, so we drove there to save money on an extra flight, it was a little crazy because we had just flown in from a week in Colorado at midnight the night before. I picked an over night flight so we got to Paris in the morning and had the entire day to explore after getting a quick nap in.
  • Favorite things: braids and or a hat when traveling make it easier to look chic even when you’re tired. Loose fitted shirt in case airplane makes you bloat or not feel so good. Simple makeup with bold eye liner, mascara, and a favorite lipstick. Retouch is easy when you land and you can still look glam!

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  • On the plane: bring water, snacks that can fit into your purse – I always get hungry waiting for the plane to board, and some reading material.
  • My theory is to always bring the coat with me on the plane to save space in the luggage. I love my favorite oversized Burberry scarf on the plane. I often get cold and would rather have my coat in the overhead bin and get cozy with my scarf.
  • We flew via British airways using up some traveling points. One thing I wish we did was upgrade our seats or at least pay the extra 40 to pick our own seats, since this time we ended up all the way in the back of the plane. Lesson learned for the future.
  • After researching the luggage policy, we took 4 suitcases ( 2 carry ons and 2 large ones checked in). They were almost empty since I knew I’d be shopping and bringing stuff back! It really helped because we could bring wine and heavier items back and still fit into the weight limit. ** Key is to bring a travel scale, it saved us so much money and the embarrassing repacking in the terminal.

Hotel Stay

Hôtel Eiffel Trocadéro

  • I did a LOT of research on the hotel and where to stay, we set a budget on the hotel and since we were there for a week, it all adds up! We could not be happier with the hotel! I was there every day waking up and pinching myself!
  • You can find this hotel website here, or look it up on Expedia.com Link. We picked the Deluxe room with a view, and it was just unreal to wake up to the view of the Eiffel tower! And from the other window in the room we could see Arc de Triomphe.
  • Location was everything! We were steps away from the metro, coffee, food, the Eiffel tower, pharmacy (which we needed to visit often due to getting sick), and even some grocery story for shopping.

Here are some photos of our room, I was so in awe of our room I didn’t take pictures before we invaded with our luggage!

  • My tips – do the research and decide on what’s important to you – spend most of your money on that! Hotel stay with location and view was important to me, so I am very happy with the choice!

Food, food, food

  • I am pretty sure we ate a loaf of bread each day, baguette fresh from the bakery down the street was just about the best thing ever!
  • I can never go back to eating crepes in US, they now taste like pancakes in comparison to what I ate in Paris.
  • Experiment, have fun and try something different, I did and do not regret it! Check out my post about all my favorite food coming soon!
  • Coffee – if you love your extra large cup of coffee french pressed in the morning like I do, you may be disappointed. It was impossible to find a big mug of coffee first thing when you wake up! Parisians drink espresso shots like it’s water! So we did like Parisians do. Then we went home and bought an espresso machine for our home.

 

Experiences

  • My husband speaks fluent french, has many friends living in Paris, and it was actually his first time doing some of the touristy things because I wanted to, and it was his first time staying at a hotel in Paris since he always had a friend’s couch to crash on.
  • So we took on life in Paris for a week like we belonged there. It fit so well I wanted to stay forever! We walked the streets for hours, visited with friends, did some shopping and enjoyed some amazing views, food and deserts!
  • We planned to fly to London for a day super quick and unfortunately it didn’t work out. It was the middle of our trip and I woke up with a fever, sore throat and all the other pleasantries of being sick! Good thing my husband could visit the pharmacy real quick and get me some meds! I got thru the week getting him sick also, but we just embraced it and kept going out to do stuff pumped up on pain killers!

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The Louvre. Amazing. Take like a day to go and hang out!
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Hotel de Ville

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One of the fun things was finding a designer store with my name on it, and another one with my sister’s name.

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Hotel de Ville. Such a beautiful building, that hosts people working for the government. There is also great shopping just around the corner from this place.

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Love my hat to travel with. Saves you bad hair days. You’re welcome.

 

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Quick tip for tourists: if you want a picture of the two of you traveling look for a stranger who is old, handicapped (and can’t run away with your camera), or part of a family group; they are then less likely to take your camera or your phone and run. Especially around these famous locations there are a lot of people who speak english, and having to ask someone to take your photo is kind of a universal language. 

Thanks for checking out my favorite trip so far! Comment and give me a thumbs up!!

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xoxo

Luba