Top 6 lessons traveling to Australia

Bring another adult if you are traveling with a kid  

My husband and I are on a trip to Australia and New Zealand for 3 weeks with out 1 year old boy. This time we really felt a need for another adult as bed time and naps would trump going out for a nice dinner by the water.

Going on a longer trip with just your family is great, amazing and also crowded. It’s possible that you will want to have some adult time and stay up later then your kid. Anytime we tried to push bedtime to a later time we had a fussy baby at the restaurant. So if you can, definitely bribe someone to come along with you!

Don’t leave souvenir shopping for the last day

Like most tourists, I’m sure you would want to do some souvenir shopping and bring things back for yourself or for your family and friends. I find it simpler and easier to get all the shopping done before your last day on vacation. First of all, if you find something you love, just buy it, it may not be available at another spot and you won’t have to go back to get it. Second, find from the locals where the market is with all the small trinkets that’s away from the touristy spot. They will have the best prices and best bang for your buck.

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Ask Airbnb host, or your hotel, to check in early

Our family has traveled via Airbnb on 3 continents, 4 countries and so many different apartments. We’ve learned a lot from using Airbnb and I wrote about it here.

I would definitely recommend staying via Airbnb, it’s cheaper, better prices, laundry available, and often you can stay in a hotel using Airbnb with better prices (we’ve done this also). A lot of hotels and apartments won’t let you check in until 2-3 pm, and most of the time when we asked to check in early or at least leave our bags there early, they were very accommodating.

Don’t land anywhere in the middle of the night

So much to be said about this one, and unfortunately this lesson we learned the hard way. Unless you are staying next to the airport, meaning walking distance, or you have someone picking you up.

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Have a flexible plan

It’s so important to have a list of what you want to do, when you want to do it, but with a family, or small kid(s) it can change, so I find it helpful to be flexible and mentally open to change itinerary if needed. When you go into  your vacation with no expectations, everything will be amazing and better then you thought it would be.

Also, have a plan and at least 2 day itinerary booked and planned. We’ve been rained on and had to be super flexible often on this trip. We were still able to enjoy our time and have a great trip despite all the challenges and detours.

Spend more time at the beach 

The beach in Australia and in New Zealand is nothing like I’ve ever seen. It’s incredible and our regret is not staying at the beach longer while we were around Sydney.

 

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3 tips on how to switch baby’s sleep to a new timezone.

If you’re preparing to travel with a baby or a toddler, and you’re a mom, you definitely worry about sleep. You worry about loosing your own sleep and then worry that your little one won’t have enough rest to recover from all the activities you’ve planned.

With the daylight savings time and packing for our next trip, sleep time switch is what we are going through right now, so I wanted to share what worked for us to gently change our baby’s routine and move the sleep schedule. As parents know, if baby sleeps, we sleep. It’s so much more important for everyone’s immune system (not to get sick from germ infested airports) and recovery from jet leg during time zone travels.

First of all, the most important thing to remember is that you need to plan your day to make sure you know what 12 hours of the day you want your baby to sleep – creating the night hours for them.

It is completely appropriate for these hours to vary depending on where you are staying and what your activities are as a family. For example, when we were in Paris, France, 7 pm bedtime in NY would be 12 am bedtime in Paris. We decided to keep it that way and started baby’s bed routine at 10:30 pm. It worked out perfectly for us because there was no switch! (except for me to count the times of day he was napping) We had a slow morning, kept the room dark with room darkening curtains, and  would take turns going out in the morning. It was great because it allowed my husband and I to have alone time, which is very important when we travel and spend 24/7 together. We took turns running errands in the morning before noon (baby’s wake up time) and then went on with our day together once he was up. Parisians eat dinner late, so it fit into our schedule perfectly, we would take a stroll through the city one last time before coming back ‘home’ to our airbnb apartment around 10 in time for baby’s bed things. You may choose to do it differently, but make sure it works for your family! Another time – when we were in Arizona, baby’s sleep was 7 pm – 7 am, and we had to do a switch for him to get adjusted to a new schedule, it worked great for all of us!

Here are my top 3 tips:

Keep your baby up.

No matter what, no matter how tired your baby is, keep them up, distract them, tire them out even more and put them to bed at the time that you decide and establish as the NEW sleep time. For example, with daylight savings time, we gained an hour and what normally was 7 pm bedtime would become 6 pm. In my opinion it’s too early, so we started keeping baby up until 8 pm 2 days before Sunday, by 8 pm he was so tired and went to bed easily and very quickly. Once daylight savings day came (Sunday), he was half way to the switch; I do feel like it’s harder to move sleep by one hour, but you get it done! If the timezone is 3 hours difference or more, your baby may need a quick nap before the new proposed bedtime, so let them sleep for 45 minutes (a full baby sleep cycle) and then wake baby up for a couple of hours before the new bedtime. Same goes for nap time, keep your baby up until the new schedule nap time is up.

Keep your baby asleep.

I know, it’s the hardest thing to do when your baby just doesn’t want to sleep! Here is what works for us: keep curtains shut and put in extra layer of light blocking curtains to keep the hotel room as dark as possible. If you need some light, then keep it as dim as possible. If your baby wakes up too early and doesn’t know that you’re trying to switch them to sleep in for a couple more hours, take them to bed with you, while you’re laying down, cuddle, hang out, don’t let them play with toys, try to keep them laying down (I know its nearly impossible once your baby is on the move), give them a bottle of warm milk, it will make them sleepy, and in general keep voices low and the atmosphere as calm as possible. When the hour comes when you want them to wake up, turn the lights on, open up the curtains and let the sun in, letting them know it’s waking time. Their body will catch up to those signals really quickly!

Don’t give in!

No matter what, don’t give in and let your baby sleep in, or wake up early, or go to bed earlier then the NEW time YOU set for them! It’s so hard for those 3 days when you’re making them switch and adapt to a new schedule, but it’s so worth it in the end! My baby always did the full switch by day 4, as if his own biological clock was reset and he was ready to do it like nothing ever happened! Don’t get me wrong though, these 3 days to get there (can be more) will be tough! You will either wake up hours earlier then you want to, or loose sleep some other way. It’s hardest when its 1-4 hours difference, and easiest when its 6+ hours of a change.

For full disclosure, I did not sleep train my baby, I tried reading the books, but it was just not for me. My philosophy was to pay very close attention to my baby and his needs, his wake time and when he would want to go to sleep. I believe that we found a sweet spot where he sleeps 12-13 hours at night, 2 naps that usually last 1.5-2 hours each. This has been our schedule since he was 7 months and now is almost 13 months old. Of course we’ve had some really bad nights and teething sleeplessness, sick baby and tired parents times, no one is immune to those.

Would you like to hear more about our baby’s sleep schedule and how I learned from him what he needed?

Comment below your questions and comments about sleep, I’ll do my best to share our story. I am an expert in my baby’s sleep, because I have to be, and hope that it can help another mama friend!

XX

L.

Traveling via AirBnB

Heard mixed reviews? Well, let me tell you a little bit about our experience with Airbnb.com. Our little family used the services half a dozen times and we only have good things to say!

Do you have a horror story to tell with your host? Comment below, I’d love to hear your experiences weather positive or negative! If you have a really amazing property that you stayed at, link that below in the comments section, who knows, maybe we will be going there soon and will check it out! P.s. currently looking for good suggestions in Sydney, Australia, so if you have a home you loved, leave a comment with the home ID number!

Some photos from our top two apartments we rented via Airbnb.com

If you are traveling using Airbnb.com use my link to get $40 credit towards your stay!

Click on the photo to see my caption.

All the good stuff, in my own opinion after using the website and services, I think these are important items to consider when using Airbnb:

Personal profile.

Creating a profile with your current photo may help in letting the host know who you are and allowing them to pick you. With some international apartments for rent the host is often a business that rents out fully furnished apartments to business travelers and they look for ‘renters’ who will spend a month or multiple months instead of 2-5 days like typical tourists. Some hosts do not allow families with small children who could potentially ruin their furniture, or simply will wait for someone to book the home for a longer period. I found that writing a brief story about your reason for visit, what you’re looking for, will help in booking the place you want. We had this happen to us, and I was glad that I wrote to the host, she later told us that they have never had anyone stay for a few days, it was always for months at a time and usually actors or actresses who were abroad filming a movie. Another time we had booked an apartment we really wanted in Arizona and the only reason the host agreed was because our baby was not walking yet. There was a balcony at the apartment and she was worried about kids being able to walk out on their own and possibly fall, but she said our personal message request led her to understand that our baby was little and was under constant watch as he was not walking yet. Look for pictures of that balcony here below, it was one of the most beautiful apartments we’ve stayed in with the most incredible view from the balcony!

Choose a home type. 

Be very specific about your expectations and where you want to stay. Fill out all possible fields with what you want out of the type of home or room you are looking for. We have only used entire home rentals with smoke free environment, some were pet friendly, and all with location as the primary focus. You have to do what works best for your family or your travel lifestyle. You may enjoy renting a room instead of the entire place, just do what fits your budget and preferences.

Ratings are everything!

I 100% rely on rating and reviews when choosing an apartment for our family. I also leave a review in as much detail as I can after using the home in hopes to help someone else make their decision to stay there or not. So please, leave a detailed rating in the end, I will thank you for doing that because chances are, if we travel to that city I will rely on ratings of others to determine where we would like to stay.

Communication.

The way you communicate with the host is key! If they are responsive and answer all your questions well from the beginning, it will most likely mean that they will be very helpful in the entire process and make it easier to stay there.

If you have to wait a while to get a response, even though they are allowed up to 24 hours, just expect that to continue.

My must haves:

  • Safety
  • Location
  • Price, in that order.
  • Availability after our stay, in case we choose to extend our trip.
  • Laundry on site. We pack light, especially since we have to have a stroller with us and having laundry for those emergencies is key when traveling with a baby! Oh, the countless diaper blow outs where I was able to save the outfit!
  • Two bedrooms. Our preference is to have two bedrooms, but we also have found places with one bedroom that is separate from the living space so the baby can nap during the day and allow us to enjoy ourselves without whispers and waking him.
  • Smoke free and pet free. Generally these homes are cleaner!
  • Good cancelation policy.
  • Crib or pack and play. We stayed in places without a crib, and it all worked out well!  If you love the place but they don’t offer a crib, just book it! Comment below for my real life hacks in creating a safe space for a baby to sleep without having to pack extra gear into your luggage!
  • Check in and check out time. Some homes do it just like the hotels, but we like to leave in the afternoon around 1 pm, and have the flexibility for our family. Some places are extremely strict on this.

Reservation fee. 

Even though this fee is listed in the description, sometimes you just miss it and then your debit card can have a huge sum held up for this booking. Just something to look out for when you’re booking a trip! Some places have a high reservation fee that goes towards your booking total cost in the end, some have a very reasonable price to hold the booking.

Neighborhood.

When you are unsure of the neighborhood and don’t trust the photos, go to zillow.com and look at the location on the map where it shows the cost of the homes. Compare that to the other neighborhoods and make your decision that way. It’s not always reliable, but it usually helps to find out if you’re in the hood where you shouldn’t bring your family into. But then again, reviews from others who have stayed there help significantly! You can also look at the map and just google where the mall is, you can deduct from the location of the higher end stores where the best parts of that city are. It’s not always accurate, but it will help when you’re visiting a location you are not familiar with!

Rare gem.

Sometimes, and that’s rare, but sometimes a new listing will come on and you will have to take a leap of faith and stay there even though there aren’t any reviews yet. Someone has to be the first to try it out. If you know the city well and know that you can trust that building or that street, go for it! That home may have been just newly listed on the website and the initial price can be lowered until they get busy and have more visitors and reviews!

Be nice!

The host will review your stay, so be mindful and treat it like it was your home, or like it was better then your home. The host deciding to let you stay in their apartment will be able to see the reviews others left for you!

Leave a gift or flowers.

Pass on some good thoughts to the host, especially if it’s their home and not just a rental property. Buy flowers and keep them in a vase to enjoy for your stay and then add a simple thank you note so that the homeowner can enjoy the flowers too.

Ask for recommendations.

When we stayed in NYC, we had great reccoendations for food, take out places (like chinese are new tradition) and wine shops to visit. Shopping streets/locations, public transportation etc. Not all will list their recommendations, but they will usually help the most with these details to make your stay easier because they live there and do this every day!

Instant Booking

This feature is fantastic! When you are in a hurry and really need to find a place fast, we needed to use this feature to find a place to stay the next day or even the same day, it comes in super handy! You can select it in your preferences to have instant booking which means you will be instantly approved to stay there.

Cancelation Policy. 

Some policies are very strict and do not leave any breathing room for you to make changes to your trip. When choosing to travel via AirBnB you have a lot of flexibility, so it’s always good to check what you’re signing up for. We had to cancel a trip before due to a snow storm and we lost money because they needed 7 days to get only 50% of our money back. If their cancelation policy is outrageous or unreasonable we generally stay away from the home, because then I wonder if the price is just as unreasonable.

 

I hope you enjoyed my full review and some photos! Was it helpful?

Comment below and let me know if you found this info useful and if it helped you for future travels!

Don’t forget to use my code to get $40 off your trip! You can click here to claim it!

XX

L.

Stroller review: Mutsy

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Oh the choices for strollers we have! So many options and even more opinions. I figured I might as well contribute to the opinionated voices out there and share my experience with the very first stroller we purchased! 

(click on this link to check it out, its currently on sale)

I found it on Instagram (is shopping via IG the new Pinterest?), fell in love with the simple design and after reading some reviews decided to go for it! Since then we’ve taken it with us to Ireland, Paris, France, and a at least 5 states. After having the stroller for a year, I’m convinced it was the perfect choice!

The first time I took this baby out for a walk was when he was 2 days old and we walked to an appointment at the hospital in our neighborhood. I took our dog with us (she was being walked by my sister while we were at the appointment) and it reminded me about the first time that I took the stroller out while pregnant and started training my dog on how to walk with a stroller.

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We kept the pram downstairs and baby boy napped there during the day as our pup watched over him.

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Our first trip with the baby was when he was 3 weeks old. We only traveled about an hour away from our home, but I was so nervous! Probably overpacked, but we had an amazing time and we all survived!

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Last year in December when Rollo was just barely 2 months old we took our little family to San Diego, CA for a little Christmas get away. Traveling in the airport with this pram was great, he was able to nap there, it was easy to transport him around and change diapers too. It worked out so much better then a car seat since we took the pram everywhere with us and walked everywhere when in San Diego. I didn’t have time to buy a bag for the stroller, and it turned out fine, the airport and gate check people handled our stroller carefully and I found no scratches or issues after.

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Happy to say that even in the snow the stroller handled perfectly! The wheels didn’t get stuck or have issues going through areas that are not plowed.

The car seat we used came with adapters for the stroller and was very easy to install. One of my favorite features was the car seat cover, it came in so handy while driving in the car for a road trip or regular daily stuff. I was able to get baby to sleep while walking with friends and the cover was breathable and sun blocking. I actually miss the cover since the convertible car seat is all exposed to the sun rays while in the car.

 

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This was fun to go back through memories and adventures this stroller took us on.

My favorite features:

  • Fold down handle, its the easiest at restaurants and tight spaces
  • The storage space under the stroller
  • The pram attachment
  • How easy it is to fold it down and open it up
  • The sleek and sexy style, simple yet so elegant

Not so great:

  • I wish that it folded together into one piece instead of two separate pieces. It would be so much easier for travel
  • When traveling I miss having a bag to store it in. They make bags for car seats when you travel, and that’s what I would have loved to have to be able to protect it from scratches
  • It would be great to have an attachable cup holder. I bought a different one and made it work, but it would have been nice to have a cup holder that was designed for it

In case you missed the link earlier, click here to look at more details on the website, the exact one we have is on sale right now.

I hope you enjoyed the review and the pictures! If you have a Mutsy stroller, what’s your favorite part about it?

xx

L.

 

Grand Canyon Railway Tour

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If you’ve never been to Grand Canyon, you have to go!

A couple of years ago we drove past it and ever since then I regretted the fact that we did stop to see it. I would have loved to hike and explore it but that’s not very easy with a baby. So this year we had the opportunity to visit Grand Canyon with our baby boy and I wanted to share some of our favorite moments!

We had a great time and loved this package from the Railway Hotel in Williams. You can find more details here and watch their video here. The video preview is really what sold us on it and got us very excited about doing it with our baby!

We chose to take the grand canyon tour via bus, and it was perfect for our family! They drove us around and stopped at each location to see the view, talked about history and details that otherwise we wouldn’t have known, and best of all, it was super easy with a baby! He slept on the bus ride, then woke up in time for us to walk around the canyon views and take some photos! It was very hot outside so having a bus that’s air-conditioned was the best!

What no one tells you is that the Grand Canyon is at 8000 feet elevation, its very dry and feels hotter outside then it actually is. At night it gets cold, but not by much. It was uncomfortably hot even though it was technically only 80 degrees out. So research the weather for the season in which you plan on going.

The train entertainment was very fun! There were musicians singing (lots of country music), robbers who go on the train from chasing it on horses, a sherif who was then chasing after them, just over all very family friendly.

 

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We brought a sign home as a souvenir too. 
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Our train. The dome observing deck was really cool, but they don’t allow kids under 2 years old up there, if you look at the pictures from their website, it’s really cool views! 

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His teeth crack me up! Just the night before his third tooth broke thru even though you couldn’t see it yet.
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Part of the entertainment on the train. The robbers got on the train from horses and were robbing the people on the train. You could leave out cash and things if you wanted them to rob you. They loved the baby of course.
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How cute are they!?

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Everyone loved the baby on the train, even the conductor came by for a photo!
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Just hanging out on the bus!
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Someone was very good and took a nice nap on the train and on the bus waking up right in time for us to walk the rim of the Canyon.
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What it was really like taking photos with this kiddo! After about 100 takes we had a good one. If you have kids, you know the struggle.

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XX

L.

 

The BEST Lactation cookie! (dairy free)

Let me tell you, this cookie is amazing! Just stop your search and try this recipe!

We are currently traveling with our baby in Arizona (more on that later) and the day we landed in Phoenix I got sick and was very happy to have a stash of my lactation cookies to help me while away from home and a shrinking supply. The first night I had 3 or maybe 5 cookies (they are really delicious, ok!?) and by morning I was engorged, which barely ever happens now.

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So here is my cookie, I hope you enjoy and it helps your supply from “just enough-er” like to me to fit the need of your little one!

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Start here >

1 cup organic brown sugar

1/2 cup organic granulated sugar

1 cup organic coconut oil

Mix together on low speed in a mixer until fluffy and mixed well.

Add one at a time:

2 eggs

1 tsp organic vanilla extract

2 tbs water

Mix together on low speed

In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cup organic wholegrain flour

1 tsp salt

5 tbs brewers yiest

6 fenugreek capsules

Gently fold  the dry mixture into the first part that you whisked in the mixer earlier.

I really like the oatmeal mix of a cookie I created, so this is what I used in mine:

Mix together all the dry ingredients and fold them into the rest of the mixture.

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup organic coconut flakes (I prefer to use raw and not toasted flakes)

1/2 cup organic chia seeds

2/3 cup organic ground flax meal

2/3 cup organic almonds shreds

2/3 cup organic  sunflower seeds (not toasted)

1/2 cup organic semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup organic mixed berry (I like this one from the grocery store they have different options and I love the one with mulberries, cherries, cranberries and a few different options that I wouldn’t normally get individually)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place cookies on a baking sheet 1 inch apart.

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. These will be easy to burn on the bottom so watch the timer closely! I found that with coconut oil the cookies seemed to burn faster. My oven is new and I’m still learning how it works and how it bakes, yours may take a little longer bake then 8 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before taking them off.

I use these little zip-log bags to be store them. It makes it super easy for me to throw one into my diaper bag or purse and have it during a coffee break during the day. Or I freeze them for later need.

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If you try this recipe and it does wonders for you like it did for me, could you do me a huge favor? Come back and tell me about it! I’d love to hear it!

Stay fabulous!

XX

L.

5 tips to keep a clean house

Have you struggled with keeping your house clean and organized ALL week and ALL the time instead of just only the day that it gets cleaned?

I’ve been there and lived through it! In the last year I made it a goal to live in a decluttered house and keep organized! It does good for my soul! So here are my 5 tips that have proven to work for me every single day, making sure that if someone stops by my house I am not embarrassed to welcome visitors!

  • Make the bed firs thing in the morning. This needs to happen before you get dressed, sometimes before you go down to get a cup of coffee. If you run a little behind or the kid(s) drive you crazy, just make sure it’s done before you leave the house! I think that having a made up bed is SO important for your mind! It just starts out the day with the mindset of get it done and it certainly pays off!

 

  • Open the curtains as the second thing in the morning. Ok, so this one I do after I have my coffee made, but definitely most often it’s while I am still in my PJs hanging out with baby R in the living room waiting for the caffeine to kick in. We have curtains in our house and I absolutely love the character curtains bring in! At night we close them for privacy since we live in a neighborhood with people walking on our street in the evening, but in the morning there is just something about opening curtains and having the light flow into the room that wakes you up for the day! It’s a gesture of being ready for the day, even if the coffee isn’t working yet, I always find that my mind is accepting of the day’s work load ahead and I usually accomplish more!

 

  • Distribute household chores between the days of the week. It seems so simple, but this one was the hardest for me to get into a habit of doing. I grew up in a family where Saturday was cleaning day, the kind of day where the whole house is turned upside down and every corner cleaned with dust bunnies picked up from under the bed. I sometimes will still do that, but mostly when I am dealing with some sort of frustration and cleaning helps me clear my mind. Having a chore assigned to each day allows you to have 30 minute cleaning sessions a day (a lot of times less then that) and your work load is much lighter to keep everything looking good throughout the week. For example, Monday is when I clean the bathrooms. So I don’t do any other house work except bathrooms and it feels very manageable. If you need to combine days, move things around, it’s all flexible of course, but having a day dedicated to a room or a chore is definitely what helped me!

 

  • Laundry. The enemy of every mom? The least desired task in the home ever? I remember a woman once told me she hates doing laundry so much she will go out to buy new underwear and clothes just so she doesn’t have to do the laundry. Now, that is wasteful in my opinion, it probably takes more time to drive to the store to pick out a new outfit then it would take to do a load of laundry and fold it into the closet! I have experimented with doing laundry all in one day and then leaving it all to be folded on a different day, or having to do it all at the same time and all in one day (yikes!) but what I found that works best for me mentally and physically is spreading it out. Here is what I mean!

I split the laundry into 3 categories: all whites (which basically includes towels and bedding), gentle cycle clothes (typically baby clothes and dress shirts), and everything else.

I spread out laundry over the week days, for example on a day that I don’t have a lot of house hold cleaning to do I do 2 loads of laundry, so the total amount of chore time is still the same day-to-day. On a day that I have more work – like cleaning the floors, I focus on doing 1 load of towels, which usually is run while I do the floors, and then I fold them and put them away after. Since it’s towels usually it’s the fastest to fold and put away as far as any laundry item.

The most helpful tip for me when it comes to laundry is putting it away within 24 hours of it coming out of the dryer. I find that if I don’t do it the same day then it will probably not get done for a while. The best thing you can do for yourself is build in time for tasks like laundry so it feels less overwhelming and very manageable.

Clothes that you see in your closet will get worn, clothes that are put away into your closet will keep better in long term then being tossed into a wrinkly pile in the corner of the room, and clothes that are easily accessible in your closet will save you money to not have to go search for new things at the store to avoid laundry days.

  • 5 minute check at night. You can create your own name for this part. In my opinion how you start the day and how you end the day is THE key to cleanliness and organization of your home!

At the end of the night before I go upstairs to get ready for bed (or just get ready for bed when you don’t have a multi level home), I take 5-10 minutes to just straighten things out. I have a hard time putting into words but you all know exactly what I mean.

It looks exactly like the 5 minutes you take to make your house look good when you get a call that your in-laws are coming over or your husband is brining a colleague over after work. It’s the 5 miraculous minutes it takes to take your house from a complete mess covered in toys, pillows in the wrong spot of the couch, and random shoes on the floor to a presentable home establishment.

Except, this time you take 5 minutes to do it for YOU! So that what you wake up in the morning to come open the curtains and let the sun into the home, you will find peace when you turn around to face your living space picked up. It gives me hope and energy for the new day and it jump starts my next productive day.

 

Let’s have a quick reality check here. Is my house perfectly squeaky clean all the time? No. I wish! Is my laundry all done on time every week? Nope. But I am ok with that! These 5 rules I created for myself to help me keep accountable and get things done in a timely manner. I am not perfect and when I slack off and things don’t get done it’s hard to get back into the flow. When my system works however, I am at my happiest and I am in my best mindset to be there as a wife, mom, friend and business owner.

I hope you find this inspirational to strive to change 1 thing at a time to a more organized life and home. Don’t strive for perfection, make it a goal to becoming better over time.

 

L.

5 Nursing BRA Reviews

I know I am not the only mom who had a hard time finding a good nursing bra. If this is for you lady, then keep reading – I’m talking my personal experience with nursing bras!

Since I had the baby I feel like my rib cage expanded and its wider, my cup size increased and the shape of my breast changed. As frustrating as it is, these are all normal things to experience for a nursing mama.

When I look for a good bra I look for: support, comfort, underwire, no uniboob, no back boob, reasonable price, refund policy (just incase), soft material but also thick enough not to show nipples though. Sorry if it’s tmi, but those are important to me. When I look at a company, I want the best return policy, just in case and remember its always a good idea to get professionally measured at 2 months postpartum and at 6-9 months postpartum.

But in case you are a DIYer girl, here is a link to see a video on how to find out your size. 

Sleeper bra

My first nursing bra was from Amazon. A still use it as a sleeping bra, its soft and gives me good support during the night, but it’s not enough during the day. The material feels nice, it handles the wash well, I bought the pink one and its lost some color since washing it but I still like it. During the first 2-3 weeks this served as a good transition bra for me. Ultimately it’s not a fantastic fit for the day look because I didn’t find enough support for during the day and this one has a thin material that would show nippling.

Demi Cushioned from Motherhood Maternity 

This is my favorite when you want a seamless look. It is easy to wear under clothes that show lines and lace material through, also any see-through type shirts, this bra is great! I find that it runs small, I would order a size or two bigger then what you normally would wear. The band tends to be very tight so order a size up again. The material is soft and it wears well. This is my favorite bra from Motherhood Maternity and the only one I’d recommend. (I tried 4 from this store)

Jessica Simpson Underwire Bra 

The only thing I like about this bra is the price. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 6. It’s not bad, I still wear it when I need to, but if it was gone out of my closet magically I wouldn’t miss it. It is underwire and the cup material is thicker then I’m used to. What I don’t like is how it shows the lines of it under clothing – especially if it’s a smooth material top. A perk of this bra is that it gives you rounder-ish shape and the shape of the cup stays just the way it is. So if you feel like you need to have the girls stay in nice shape, this will be a good fit.

Third Love Underwire Nursing Bra

This bra definitely impressed me. I had my eye out for the regular line undergarments this company has, and when they came out with a nursing bra, I jumped right on it! I think this one runs a size smaller, but the best part is that you have 100% satisfaction guarantee, they take good care of you! You have to click the link to check it out but I just love the front clasp and the softness of the cups. This bra fits me best out of all of the ones I’ve tried. No side boob, no back cleavage, no weird tight spots anywhere, so it has my vote! When I got the package I love the little tag that says “the best bra is the one you never think about” – what a great moto to have!

Heidi Klum Lace Bra no underwire

I called this one my sexy bra. For the first few months motherhood is so far from glamorous. Spit in clothes and hair, dry shampoo, showers once a week or sometimes two times a day, diapers upon diapers, and just so much pulling and tugging on your body that it’s hard to remember that you are a graceful, beautiful creature underneath that new title mommy. About 4-6 weeks postpartum is when I found this bra and it made me feel all womanly, feminine and sexy again for the first time in what felt like ages. I love the lace and how soft it is! I love the lace detail even when you pull the side down to nurse – that’s probably my favorite thing about it! There are about 5 extra clasps at the end so it accommodates your body changes and the fact that you can loose weight and this bra transitions with you! Heidi sure know what she’s doing with this design, comfort and function! This is my second favorite bra out of these 5!

 

I hope you found this review helpful! This is my personal experience, so take what you need.

P.s. I tried some bras from Target and Walmart and had really bad experience. They didn’t properly, fell apart quickly and just didn’t work for me. You know, the kind of bra you put on and immediately it sounds like you need some wd40 to oil up those corners (or whatever is making that squeaky noise every time you move an arm).

10 things I wish I knew about breastfeeding

Pain

I loved my pregnancy journey and really enjoyed my breastfeeding journey with my now 9 months old baby. I am still exclusively breastfeeding and I love the bond it created between my baby and I. At the same time I know that not everyone is able to breastfeed and that means that their baby will love them just as much as they would love their momma anyway, the bond you will have or already have with your baby is going to be strong no matter how you nourish your child. I am simply sharing my own experiences.

These days there are many resources available online and at different medical facilities. Maybe you are like me and found it too overwhelming and simply too much information. I was feeling the hormonal changes right away and it resulted in a heightened ability to worry, not that I needed this one to be a side affect of pregnancy.

When I read up on breastfeeding and almost everyone was saying how painful it was. I was expecting pain, naturally. However, it was far from truth for me. Baby and I had a rough beginning of our breastfeeding experience and once we both learned what to do it was a breeze. Sometimes I was uncomfortable, sometimes I had sore nipples during a growth spurt where my baby was attached to me for what felt like 20 hours out of 24, but nothing that lasted and a little bit of nipple balm wouldn’t fix. If you are expecting your first baby and don’t know what to expect with breastfeeding, I hope this gives you some comfort, your experience may not be painful at all.

NICU baby

My birth plan was simple: delivery a baby into the world in the healthiest and safest way. I certainly did not plan on sending my newborn to NICU, but he was born with a swollen head and a high fever. I barely had a chance to hold him but for a second as they pressed him against me and then took him away.

NICU experience significantly influenced the initial bond and made it harder on our nursing journey. The nurses at the hospital were great and do what they need to make sure that the babies are safe and recover. When I held my son for the first time he was recovering wonderfully and had a pacifier in his mouth. I don’t believe he needed it, and if I am ever in that situation again I will make sure to ask that they don’t give a newborn a paci. When I held him and tried to latch him on he would just fall asleep, as he did with the pacifier. The nurses were trying to help and kept trying a few times every couple of hours. I was given a nipple shield when he still wasn’t latching on, and that’s when we had first success.

If you plan on breastfeeding, my advice is to avoid the paci before you have a chance to teach the baby how to latch on, and definitely DO NOT use a nipple shield if you don’t need one. I did not need it and using it actually hurt me and gave me a lot of soreness (also because they gave me a size too small). Once we started out this way, my baby would not latch on by himself without the nipple shield. We kept working at it and I was honestly starting to hate it and was praying for a change.

Day 7 was amazing. Baby boy decided he was done with the shield and wanted to latch on by himself. My discomfort was gone and it became so much easier for both of us. Maybe it was because my milk came in by that point and he wasn’t getting enough, I was just happy to throw that nipple shield away. Did you have to use one? Was breastfeeding successful for you after having your baby in NICU?

Education

The first thing you will teach your baby is how to eat. I think that’s so incredible! I love that my body was made for this and is doing the job of growing this baby boy into a little moving crawling chatty curly head of hair! If you’re like me you were probably worried about some things and started to read books.. Well, that didn’t last long because I became more overwhelmed while doing research on how to educate and help my baby become the best learner. Now he is 9 months old and I think he’s doing amazing. I trust my intuition, I always have, and I know that no matter what I will always do my best trying to take care of him. That’s basically what we all do right? Just our best effort at screwing up the least while being super sleep deprived, hormonally unbalanced and hungry most of the time.

I certainly didn’t expect to have to teach my baby how to do this eating thing. After about 2 months he really got good at it and didn’t need much assistance in latching on or nursing in general.

Professional help

I had great advice from mom friends who were also nurses or in the medical professional field. From the beginning a couple of them recommended to talk to a lactation specialist at the hospital and after we came home. It was excellent advice and I am so glad I listened! Maternity nurses are great and I loved mine, but the most help and guidance I received was from a lactation specialist; and trust me I needed it!! Every hospital should have a lactation specialist and it’s often free. My baby was in the NICU for the first 10 hours of his life and we did not have skin to skin right away, more on this below, so it really made a difference in talking to professionals to help me figure it out when I was already exhausted from labor and worried about my baby’s health especially if they didn’t let me see him right away.

Another cool thing was going back to get help at 2 weeks and then at 2 months. They helped me measure how much the baby took of my milk at one feeding, it was really helpful since I was not using a bottle.

Bras

Buy a really good, even if very expensive, nursing bra right away! First of all, can Victoria Secret finally come out with a nursing line?! Because we ladies need good support and pretty bras after the baby too. I had a hard time finding a bra with the perfect fit, comfort, function and sexiness. I believe those are all key to a good nursing bra!

I ordered a couple soft nursing bras on amazon to go into my hospital bag and I still use them, but they’re back up only at this point. My favorite nursing bra right now is from Third Love, they just came out with one literally within a couple weeks ago and I love how fast mine came in the mail. The fit is perfect, there is a clasp in the front, and I wish I had it from the beginning of my breastfeeding journey! I also LOVE this one from Heidi Klum collection, so far Heidi’s collection is my favorite and I only wish there were more options with an underwire bra. My advice – buy a good bra right away, it should be so comfortable that you never have to think about it.

Changes

I wish I knew the changes my body would experience. But then again if I really knew everything that would happen I am not sure I would have gone through with having the baby pushed out of me thing… Right?

Two months postpartum I had one really really rough night. I was trying to nurse, my baby was obviously hungry, he kept crying and wanted more but I knew that there was no more milk for him. I was getting so frustrated, I was sobbing, emotional hormonal mess, and really sad that this may have been the last time I would breastfeed my baby boy. We just got good at it and now my milk is gone? Well, we survived the night, and in the morning I went to the lactation specialist extremely worried. We live 2 blocks away from a hospital, so this was very convenient! She was very helpful and encouraging, so many more reasons to seek help from a professional. We weighed the baby before he ate and after, he took in 4 oz, and I still felt like he wasn’t getting enough. What I learned is that right at that mark of 8-12 weeks postpartum boobs change, basically, they don’t feel full all the time like in the first weeks and when baby is going through a growth spurt at 2 months there isn’t enough for him to drink, but its so important to keep breastfeeding him extra (even if it feels like 24/7) because it will help communicate to your body that it needs to produce more.

When you feel like your body is failing you, push thru! Your body will go thru so much in such a short period of time, but it’s designed for this! We are going 9 months strong through every step and challenge.

Milk blisters

I wish that I still didn’t what these were! Yikes. I know you will probably just google it, but trust me it’s not good, not comfortable and definitely painful. Essentially it is a thin layer of skin that covers one of the openings on the nipple so milk can’t come out and results in a clogged milk duct.

One morning I woke up and I knew my breasts were more full then usual, I knew I had a clogged milk duct but it didn’t go away after baby nursed. I also started to feel very sharp pain in my nipple and knew something was wrong. After about 4-6 hours it wasn’t going away and I consulted google. After trying absolutely everything on the list of recommendations nothing worked, so I used a needle to basically break the skin and everything went back to normal within five minutes. If you have more questions about my experience and want more details just message me, this is not a fun experience to go through!

Mastitis

I wish I knew what to do to avoid mastitis from the beginning. Sure, I read up on what helped others, but honestly, there is so much to keep track of I just wasn’t paying attention. (This is where professional help is super!) I wish I knew to make sure that I was pumping and switching sides regularly to avoid being too full. After mastitis hit me once, I was really paying attention to what my body was feeling like and it was easier to take care of the early symptoms.

I hope it doesn’t affect you. It’s so painful!

Pumping

My worst enemy.

Some of my dear friends are exclusively pumping and I applaud you! Seriously, it is such hard work and so much dedication to push through and provide nourishment for your baby. My boy hates the bottle, even at 9 months he will still not take it, so I stopped pumping around 3-4 months because it would just go to waste at the end.

I was still able to create a good freezer stash using this awesome silicone pump, and I believe that if I got my hands on it from the beginning I could have avoided some overflow issues and probably mastitis too… You can read more about my freezer stash without pumping here.

Now when I try to pump with an electric pump 6 months postpartum and after, I just run into issues and pain. I also could never get much out that way anyway, so I just stopped and put Medela into storage. (has anyone else experience this?)

Comfort

What I didn’t expect at all is having this need to take care of my baby and feed him. Sometimes after a bad day full of unexpected or everything going wrong I would just hold my baby, nurse him in the rocking chair and everything would feel so much better. Maybe it’s the hormonal mess of a mother’s life, maybe it’s the true mystery, I still find breastfeeding comforting and very calming to my soul. I’m not the only one in that right?

 

 

I hope that my story is helpful to someone else, I believe we all experience the same things but receive them differently and thats absolutely ok! If you’re taking care of feeding your baby you are a super star in my eyes; and if you are exclusively breastfeeding – I feel ya!

xx

L.

Designer shoes for the best price!

I love shoes!

Seriously, LOVE them! With the baby my wardrobe simplified and now I find that shoes are my perfect accessory! I also love girl bosses who have a business, run the household and take care of a family! So today I would like to share with you a friend of mine who is in the business of shoes and making dreams come true.

So you know how you get ready for your wedding and you want those amazing shoes Maholo Blahnik shoes to wear as your something blue? I was that girl, but I couldn’t afford them. I know many girls have been there and have to choose between the dress, a couple extra guests on the list or the shoes! Maybe you are preparing for prom or a special occasion his summer and you really want to stand out, this may be the perfect option for you!

IMG_1918

Kristine thought of the girl who wants to be in the perfect shoe for the perfect occasion and started a business to make it easier! A designer shoe at an affordable price? Yes, please!

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WEBSITE & CHECK OUT THE SHOE OPTIONS FOR RENT 

There are so many different options for the perfect cinderella moment!

Click here for the Facebook page          &         Click here to see the jewelry and purses

Order the shoes for your next event, family photoshoot, birthday party or a date night out.

Here is how I wore the shoes during a photo shoot in New York:

Nixon family-3Nixon family-21Nixon family-266Nixon family-296

DISCOUNT: Enjoy 15% off when you mention this blog post.

PC: NYC photoshoot is done by Delaine, to get more information visit her website:  www.delainedacko.com

Do you have a business that services women and allows dream to come true? Email me for a collaboration and to be featured on my blog.

Stay fabulous!

xoxo

L.