I am a woman before I am a mother.

Today is Mother’s Day. You would expect that I would be thinking about what it means to be a mom and how motherhood changed me. But it’s not what I am thinking about.

I have been a mom for five minutes and I feel like I still have so much to learn! Every day brings new joys and new learning experiences, new opportunities to learn about myself and about my baby. One day I hope to be like the mom my children can adore and see Jesus through every word (thats hard for me), and every eye roll, and every hug and every tear.

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I am every woman. I am a mother. I live postpartum. You may see the depth of my eyes and the strong love for my baby, but what I see is the body that carried that baby, the wide shoulders that still carry that baby and won’t let me wear my old clothes. But he needs me.

This past week my thoughts have been consumed by more insecurity and negative thoughts of my body, my wifery (if that makes sense), and the way I am doing this motherhood thing. Today I am thinking of WHY. Why is it that some days I am not able to see past the imperfections of my body and feel proud of what the stretch marks mean, and feel proud of the wide shoulders and strong arms that carry a big baby boy around all day long?!

Why is it that some days I am not able to see past my questions and struggles as a business woman to confidently help others?

Why is it that the emotions and insecurities I used to struggle with as a teen are not going away? Maybe this one you also feel with me.

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I will choose to put my trust in God and take photos like these to remember that I am loved and I need no further reason to get dolled up, more often then I do.

Every time I share my thoughts with a woman or a teen girl, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a married and a single woman, I find we all have something in common. We, a woman, each have the girl inside who is scared and wants to be loved for who she is, especially on the days when she can’t love herself. I feel like a lot of my adulthood revolved around either hiding this girl or pleasing her need to sulk in loneliness.

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I am not going to let the negativity stay. Every one of my fat cells belongs to a beautiful baby boy right now. And I feel like this picture can summarize my joy and my pain all in one. Because with every imperfection I am reminded that God loves me first, He made me in His image, by honoring my body I honor Him. Also, rolls made beautiful by lace.

Today I would to speak to that girl whom you like to hide, from one soul sister to another.

I am with you.

Let me hold your hand, look deep into your eyes until the human connection makes you teary, squeeze your hand a little and feel that lump in your throat that you’re unable to swallow.

I am with you. I feel your pains. I feel your insecurities. I see the imperfections in the mirror.

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I am here to tell you that you are beautiful, you are not alone and NO, you don’t look bloated, and NO, you don’t look 4 months pregnant. People don’t see what you see, they see the smile, the genuine laughter, the strong hugs you give that take your breath away a little, they see that bright lipstick, they see your hair curl and fall into your face, and they think its cute.

You are beautiful! Especially because it is Mother’s Day take a moment to love you, the real you. If you are a mother and if you are not, take a moment to hug that young girl who’s hiding deep inside, bring her out to the sunshine (even if its raining all weekend like it is where I am). Spend a minute with God and let His presence and truth fill your heart with hope. Because when you are filled with love only God can provide and truth only He can make true, you will be equipped to love yourself truly, be a better daughter, a kinder friend, and a more patiently loving wife.

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I teach women how to apply makeup, I love my job. To me there is a great joy in what I do because I am on a mission to make the world more beautiful one face at a time. When a woman feels good about how she looks, when she is equipped to be able to do her makeup the way that makes her feel beautiful, my job is complete. So, here is an open invitation. If you need that feeling, talk to me, find me, and let me help you find your way to beautify.

Take time today to beautify. I love that word because to me it brings hope. You can take anything and make it more beautiful! I believe God does that with every one of us! Start with your hair, do something special, not like every day, add just a little more mascara then usual, wear the good shoes and that dress that makes your body curve in just the right ways. (if you don’t have a dress like that talk to me)

Go out of the house, love yourself and go love on your mom. Bring her flowers with some good quality time.

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I am a mother now and I love things, but no matter how many things I have on my wish list, the best gift for me is spent with my baby when I don’t have to worry about taking care of anything else but him.

I am a mother now, but I am first a woman. I believe that if I am a better woman then I will also be a better mom. If you’re not a momma yet, take the time now to better yourself and prepare because that strength you will need later.

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I hope you will be inspired to be the best version of yourself, the woman God wants you to be. Set aside and fight insecurities! Encourage the woman next to you! Hug your mama extra tight tonight.

Love,

your soul sister.

 

P.s. Photos are taken by Delaine, a New York City photographer. It was a dream to work with her! Something you may never see, she really is good at what she does, is how busy and hectic that morning was for me, my hair wasn’t the way I wanted it, the dress I wanted to wear didn’t come in on time, and other stuff that just kept getting in the way of how I wanted to feel that day. So I put my good shoes on and wore a little extra mascara.

p.s.s. Blue shoes are my favorite. It’s the best statement color because it looks good on everyone!

My favorite diaper bag

We planned a spontaneous trip to NYC and I started to worry about how I would get around with everything I would need for the day with the baby. In the last week or two I have been eyeing this diaper bag and couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I ordered it with 2 day shipping.
Guess what?

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We got packed and ready to leave, then I had to come back to the house to get diapers that I forgot to bring with us, and then left the second time, and still no FedEx delivery. I was literally praying for the truck to show up on our street.

Guess what?

The truck shows up on our street a block away and we wave the driver to slow down and ask him if he has a delivery for us! So I got my big box and we kept driving to our weekend get away in NYC. After using this bag, I wanted to share some thoughts and give you all a sneak peak, I will update this post with a full review and more detailed pictures in a few days.


Let me start out with the fact that I am generally not a fan of diaper bags, at all. The idea is GREAT, I just hate how they all look – I’m a sucker for pretty things and this bag is SO adorable, functional, and large to fit everything! I like having a backpack for traveling and to make it easier if I have my baby in the carrier. My back is always hurting and it’s so much easier having hands free.

Pros:

  • Color: Pink or Charcoal – both so chic and sophisticated. I want them both honestly! (So if you want to send me one in charcoal, I’ll wear that one too!)
  • Large size: for traveling, for mamas with more then one kid – SO MUCH ROOM!
  • Large padded shoulder handles, they are soft and SUPER comfy!
  • Pockets within pockets: the way its organized is simple and allows you to fit everything and find everything easily.
  • Pockets and pockets: the outside pockets are so well positioned and easy to access while holding the baby and having the backpack on your shoulders. Because every mom is multitasking.
  • That hassle: so cute it deserves its own category.
  • Vegan leather: easy to wipe, clean and maintain. It got us through lots of rain.
  • Good price and quality.
  • Extra handles to hang on the stroller – visit the website to see an example.
  • Changing pad: I love that its padded, it matches the bag inside color and I don’t have to think to include one!

 

We’ve had lots of questions about this stroller and car seat cover. Scroll down below I included links for both. The stroller is currently on sale. 

Cons:

  • Size: its so roomy that for every day seems too big to carry around, this depends on personal preference and how much you carry with you as a mom.
  • Doesn’t have an insulated pocket for bottles/food. It’s the only thing that I really need in this bag to make it 100% perfect. (its so close!)
  • Changing pad doesn’t have a waterproof side to it. It’s still easy to clean and wash but I wish it was easier to clean with just a wipe if there is a mess, and we had one of those messes to clean up after already.

I hope that you find this review helpful and enjoy a diaper bag that can be function, fashion all in one! To shop for it click here: Greenwich Diaper Backpack  and if you get yours – tag me in it, I want to hear what you think of it and if your review would be similar to mine!

Stroller: Mutsy EVO – On sale right now

Car Seat: MaxiCosi

Carseat cover: MaxiCosi

Boots: Steve Madden 

Stay fabulous mamas!

L.

 

 

Inappropriate things people say to new moms 

It’s completely possible that you have said something inappropriate to new mom and didn’t even know it!

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I mean really, it’s like adults need education on what NOT to say and very often what questions NOT to ask! So here are my top favorite (means I dread them the most) inappropriate things people have said to me.

When are you going to have another one?

Ok. So you just had a baby, and the first time you’re in public, barely able to walk, feeling every stitch and every stretched muscle that just brought this babe into the world, and someone, there is always someone who will say “oh your baby is so cute! You should have another one!” Ok, people, slow down, let my behind heal first and maybe we can talk again in the future after a lot of chocolate, wine and “so sorry”s.

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Is he sleeping through the night yet?

Um. So the first time someone asked me this one, my baby was 2-3 weeks old, and I was sleep deprived, in pain, on Advil, sore, super hormonal, hungry, bloated, and all I wanted was to go to a grocery store. That someone came dangerously close to having been punched in the face by a crying hot mad new mom of a newborn. People, you just don’t ask that, ever. Because that’s salt on a wound of someone who isn’t sleeping.

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He’s perfect the way he is. Both of my babies are. 

Is he rolling over yet? Is he crawling? Is he saying words yet? Is he eating solids yet?

There have been so many in this category, and I am just going to put it all into one category of “milestones”. As soon as you find out how old my baby is and you want to know if my baby is doing what others are ‘supposed’ to do at that age? Well, my baby doesn’t like to roll over. He’s on his belly lots, doing tummy time and he loves it, but he’s perfectly content, there is nothing wrong with him if he isn’t doing one or another thing that other babies usually do at a certain age. That kind of question comes with lots of explaining and judgy looks, and I am sure I am not the only mom who was made feel guilty. No. Just no, my baby is a freaking genius, just wait and see.

Is there a baby in there?

This one is probably my favorite. So I am in the store, doing my business shopping for groceries, and my newborn is perfectly asleep in the car seat with a full cover. The cover is there specifically for these nosy people who want to see and often touch the baby. DO NOT TOUCH A SLEEPING BABY! You might wake a mama bear. Every single time I am out in public with this car seat cover I am asked if there is a baby in there, and then if they can see. Um, no, I’m walking around with a stroller and car seat as a fashion statement. Cracks me up.

Just wait until they grow up, boys are terrible when they are a toddler, I have a toddler who drives me crazy!

Let’s just sum up every comment I’ve ever received in this category about someone else terrible toddler or the most amazing infant. So what if my infant isn’t the most amazing, or what if that night I didn’t sleep, what if I’m already scared and you’re going to freak me out with your horror stories of terrible twos? Don’t jinx my baby. All I’m saying.

What I have learned so far is that there is no perfect baby, no perfect parent.  We are both just doing the best we can at this thing that’s new and difficult for both of us. Being a baby and learning how to do literally everything is not easy I am sure. Maybe I have been that mom to brag about my amazing baby who’s perfect and you walk away whispering under your breath and feeling that knot in your stomach because you haven’t slept in what feels like a decade.

Let me tell you, I’ve had and still have lots and lots of great moments, and lots and lots of pull your week old unwashed hair moments. I’ve had to deal with skin care issues and a baby who couldn’t breathe properly for 3 months because of congestion, rash of every kind hitting him up all at once, while I couldn’t do much to fix it and soothe him, I was doing what you moms do every day. I was trying to do my best and fail and get up and learn from it.

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Most of my mornings he’s either watching me do my makeup, or in my lap while I do my beauty routine of the day. I know I am not alone in this. 

So moms everywhere, keep up the good work, you’re doing a great job. And please continue doing a great job taking care of your babies.

If you don’t have a baby yet, and find this post some what comical, great! It was meant to be so! Also, just in case you need some suggestions, here is an appropriate thing to say instead to a new mom. In my opinion.

Your baby is adorable, I am sure all your babies will make the most beautiful family!

How is he/she sleeping? Are they letting you get some rest?

How is your baby doing?

The key: open ended questions.

Please don’t share horror stories and if you do share a lovely story about your babies, no matter what age they are, please consider leaving the young new mom in a hopeful and positive mood.

 

Stay fabulous!

L.

5 Baby things I wish I didn’t buy

Are you getting unwanted advice from everyone and their mother yet?

When I was pregnant and through the first months after R was born I was getting all kinds of advice from moms and even women who are not moms. THE BEST advice I’ve ever received hands down is from a couple who also have a newborn, they said to listen to what people have to say, but only take the advice that you need, that applies to you! So in this case, I am writing from my personal experience, this is what has worked and not worked for me and my baby. So take what you need from this post and I hope you find it helpful if this applies to you!

We got lots of help from friends and family with baby items, some we haven’t started using yet, some we really love, and some items we really didn’t find practical or useful at all. Here are a few that I wish I didn’t buy or ask for on my registry.

1. 4moms tub

It’s certainly fancy! It’s has a temp reading to tell you if it’s warm enough for the baby, but honestly, you can get a thermostat for that or even better – use your judgement. You know your baby best and I trust that you will get the appropriate temps for the tub!

The water in this tub stays shallow, my baby wasn’t comfortable, so my husband had to hold his head while I washed him so he wouldn’t fall to the side. I have a big baby, and on top of that he kept growing so fast that within 3 weeks the water was not even covering his tummy and I have to put a warm wet towel on top to keep him warm. Maybe it’s best for tiny babies if you have something for their head to keep them from rolling to the side.

Pros:

  • best for smaller babies
  • temp measurement
  • small in size

 

Here is a tub that I love: Infant & toddler Tub and I would use.  

The actual baby tub I love is hand me down from my mom, she saved it from my baby sister who is now 9 years old. It’s the only hand me down item I got so I’m cherishing it! My baby absolutely loves it and I adore it for how easy it is to use! I am always on the look out for the items that I can keep using and not buy a different one once the baby grows out of it. I know this one I will keep for a while, once my baby can sit, he can just splash it all he wants!

2. Wipe warmer

Again, this is my opinion. Waste of money on this thing. The wipes dry out if left open inside the warmer, and by the time I take it out and get to the baby’s bottom, the whole thing is cooled off.

I tried a few different brands of baby wipes and found the one my baby liked the most. I still use it. It’s a Wegmans brand (our local grocery store) sensitive thin wipes. The price is great, its super soft, just moist enough, and my baby doest react negatively to it. (I love all organic stuff, tried them all, our favorite one is Burts Bees baby wipes, but they are the most expensive on the market and when you go through SO many wipes, it’s not worth it for me.

3. Blooming bath – the Flower bath thing

I love the idea of this as a bath for my baby and I didn’t actually purchase one myself or tested it out (just being honest) but every mom I’ve talked to who used it, did not like it as much as a traditional simple bath tub. My friend who used this also has a big baby (our babies were actually born the same weight and length) and it was very uncomfortable to keep the baby stable and comfortable while washing him.

Cons:

  • it’s larger then it looks
  • you have to put it in the dryer to dry it because its big and heavy with water once your bath is done
  • you have to pour water over it to keep it warm, to keep the baby warm
  • creates unnecessary steps after the bath to take care of it, the ‘clean up’ seems too much work for a mom who has to bath the baby, dry the baby, lotion, and put a diaper on, especially if your baby does not love bath time

Pros:

  • it’s super duper cute – and we, the women, buy most of the things that are cute
  • best for babies who can sit on their own
  • portable, easy to transport around
  • saves space if you don’t have a lot of storage for a tub

 

4. Diaper bag

This is MY opinion. So don’t judge please, make your own decisions on this one. I love my purses, I love being a woman and after giving birth I felt like I needed something of my old stuff to make me feel more womanly to help me come back to the new normal and feel sexy again. Because there are so many things after the baby that make you feel SO NOT sexy, you have to work hard on this one, in my opinion.

Diaper bag, even though they have SO many cute ones now, just didn’t make me feel like a sexy mom. I have a beautiful diaper bag, exactly what I asked for and I love it! So far I used it twice maybe… I think I will get more use out of it once my baby is older and I will need more space in the bag or when traveling and I need something thats organized well.

Instead I’ve been using my own purse as a diaper bag and use a ToteSavy insert for organization. It’s worked perfect so far! It helps to keep me organized and not have to carry lots of stuff around. You may not find it as easy if you need to bring a lot of bottles/formula, I am breastfeeding and for now its a very convenient solution.

5. Baby wrap carrier

I think this item is LOVE it or HATE it kind of thing. I hate it, not because of what it is, but because my baby hates it. I tried 3 different ones, I tried to wrap it around and after trying it and fighting it, I returned all of them but one – baby K’tan wrap. I only used this carrier when we were on vacation and I needed something easy to carry him.

Every baby is different. R gets hot and over heated very quickly, so I can’t use a carrier that will heat him up being so tight next to me. He is very independent (which makes me happy and saddens me at the same time) and doesn’t want to be pressed into me all the time. I also found it so difficult trying to do the whole wrap around me. I want something that’s quick to put on and take off, simple and easy is my friend now.

 

I hope you found this helpful! In the end, what you feel is best for you and your baby, every one is so different, so what I didn’t like you may love!

Stay fabulous mom!

 

xoxo

L.

 

10 Baby things we can’t live without

So I got pregnant.

Then about month 7 I got my nesting urge and the research for baby things began.

I am a brand new mom and I am still trying to figure things out. But in my search for what I would need as a new parent to help me navigate the first days with the baby I found comfort in knowing that I was not alone in feeling lost and overwhelmed with the amount of products out there.

Can I hear an amen?

My baby boy is now 4 months old and maybe sharing my experience with some of our favorite products may help someone else who just feels overwhelmed with all the products out there.

1. Musty Stroller 

One of my favorite baby products is definitely this stroller. We have taken it with us traveling on the airplane, in the car for road trips, around town and just walking down he street. It’s super stylist, very easy to fold and unfold, lightweight but at the same time durable for walks through snow and rough terrain (if I needed it). Another great feature is the adjustable handle bar, its perfect to adjust to anyone’s height, my husband is tall so he loves it, and also to fold it down for easier access to the baby.

Taking a walk in the snow. Love how it handles snow and hills.
Traveling to San Diego for Christmas. The best decision to bring this stroller!
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1 week postpartum going to a doctors visit, which was just down the street since we live around the corner from a hospital.

2. Maxi Cost Car seat 

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I was looking for a functional and fashionable car seat for a while, I also wanted it to be light weight and work with my stroller of choice. I could not be happier with my choice in the end. This car seat is one of the lightest I found in weight, and fits perfectly with my stroller!

3. Mamaroo from 4moms

My husband was not excited about the price tag of this item. But it became one of his favorite items when he’s the baby sitter. Sure he set it up on the highest setting and poor guy was too dizzy to cry, but I could step out of the house for an errand without a problem. I use it quiet often too and enjoy how it’s compact, how gentle swing is and the fact that I can control the settings from my phone. I still use it even though now he’s getting long!

4. Baby bouncer/rocker 

My little helper,baking cookies.

There are so many different rockers and bouncers, it feels overwhelming trying to choose one. So I decided to just breathe and decide based on these things:

  • What would work best for us as a family?
  • It was important for me that first of all, my baby liked it, second – it was compact and foldable for travel, especially when going out of town to see family. I also don’t like clutter around the house and like things that fold down and unfold easy. Sometimes I keep him in it and just carry him from room to room if I need to get things done.
  • Simple in color, yet has something interesting for the baby to look at and play. We picked one in green and grey combo.
  • Good price. With so many baby things to get, I like that it’s affordable.
  • It’s a plus that it fits on the counter for him to watch me cook, this is how I make meals in the kitchen every day.

5. Dockatot

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When daddy comes home for lunch. We join him. This is so like them, each in their own world.

Ok, so this thing just took over Instagram by storm, and almost every mom I follow was using it, so we splurged. Rollo was about 10 days old when we received it in the mail. He was a pretty good sleeper waking up every 3 hours or so at night. Once he got swaddled up into the dockatot his first sleep stretch of the night went up to 6-7 hours. As a new mom recovering from a rough delivery I really loved the extra sleep and rest. Now I like to keep him in it during the day if he’s just hanging out near by us and learning how to entertain himself.

6. Silicone Pump 

I talked about this one in a different blog post, you can find it here – > How I built a freezer stash without pumping. I wish I knew about this thing before we went on vacation because it may have been all I would use! Now, its super helpful because even if I don’t continue building my freezer supply, I use whatever is pumped from this one to give R with some organic oatmeal cereal at night.

7. Diaper genie

We love the convenience of having a way to dispose of diapers quickly, and efficiently. So much so that we got a second one, keep one in our bedroom where he gets changed at night (will be moved to the nursery once he’s in the crib) and one downstairs where we spend time during the day. I also love the amazon option to have the refill bags automatically sent to our house. Super convenient!

8. Swaddles/PJs 

0-2 months: SwaddleMe worked best for us! he didn’t get out of it as much and was able to sleep better.
0-2 months: Nested Bean Swaddle I was a little skeptical at first, but this swaddle became my go to during sleep regression and nap times during the days of extra fussy baby. Once he grew out of SwaddleMe in length, this was perfect to help him rest. I just wish he didn’t grow out of this one in length also.
2-5 months: Aden and Anais easy swaddle has been my go to for the last two months. I got it in size L and love the clips to adjust the tightness of the swaddle, or adjust with growth of the baby. The only swaddle R didn’t get out that often. We used this swaddle until R was ready to sleep unswaddled (which came too soon and I wasn’t prepared for him to be all independent but then I can’t stop starring at him sleep).
4 monts +: One of my favorite brands so far for Pjs is Kickee Pants  – the softest bamboo material, super breathable (my baby gets so hot under blankets!)  I’m so happy to have this easy on easy off kind of clothing for the baby at home to lounge in and to sleep in. My go to for pjs now is anything with a zipper, its quick and my husbands request now.

9. Non-slip Socks 

Ok, so everyone knows that those baby feet can’t keep the socks on. It’s a struggle I’ve seen my friends go through before. At my baby shower I received a set of non slip socks that my friend swore would stay on his feet! And they did! I am pretty obsessed with these socks now, I’ve bought them in every size and became a loyal customer. My favorite brand so far is robeez. There are other brands you can find.

AND MY FAVORITE:

10. Baby Tracking APP: 

This is my most used app. Seriously. I am using it to keep track of my baby’s day, diapers, feedings, and sleep. From the beginning I wanted an app that I could use to track his sleep to see what his sleep pattern was. I ended up purchasing the upgrade and I absolutely love it! I am breastfeeding, and I have friends who are bottle feeding and use this app, they find it extremely helpful to keep track of baby’s feedings. Best five bucks spent.

Bonus: Skin Care Items

Babyganics ointment

A must! This winter has been so dry that my baby’s skin needs all the moisture possible! When R was born he had the most velvety beautiful skin, and two weeks later poor thing was hit with every skin issue possible! We found out that he has very sensitive skin and ended up getting almost every rash a newborn can get. It was 2-3 months before his skin issues were completely gone. (I am considering writing about it in another post). For dry skin nothing worked, and I mean, he had dry skin that was flaking off, I’ve never seen anything like it! Vaseline didn’t do it, so I’m happy I was able to get his skin back to the proper moisture! Now, its my go to.

Mom’s must haves:
as a new mom I received some valuable advice from mom friends to stock up on these items, so if you are a mom to be for the first time like I was, seriously, stock up on these items. Some of them I haven’t had to use yet (we haven’t had a diaper rash yet, thank God) but when an issue comes up, I’m happy that I don’t have to go to the store.

  • A&D Cream
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Tylenol for infants
  • Gripe water
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Stool softeners
  • Saline Spray
  • Humidifier

I hope that you found this product review post helpful! It’s been a journey for me as a new mom to discover what works and what doesn’t. It’s my favorite items, so allow me my opinion, if you don’t love them as much, its ok too.

I actually love gadgets and products, so send me what your favorites are for babies and busy moms, I’ll definitely look into them!

Stay fabulous!

xoxo

L.