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?

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.

 

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 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!

The day I gave away my greencard

I became an American Citizen on Friday.

That morning I felt so frustrated, so alone and so rushed as I was getting ready for my ceremony. I even had a dream about my first half marathon race in New York. These feelings were similar, 7 years ago I ran my first half marathon in Queens NY, and after I crossed the finish line I walked away with a medal weighing heavy on my heart and felt my heart break with every tear that ran down my cheek.

It was such a big accomplishment, yet I felt so alone. There was no one there to witness this super important event, no one to cheer me on. My naturalization day came with similar feelings, except I invited friends to come, and they came. They responded, they texted and were present before I even I realized that I needed to be the one to invite them.

When your baby is asleep in your arms, but you have to take an oath to become an american. 


I gave up my citizenship of Ukraine on Friday. I gave up the country I was born in and grew up in. Today, I realize that for almost 15 years I tried really hard to fit in and be this American, which I wasn’t, be this person I thought an American should be. So who is this american that we all chase trying to become? Is it a dream that drives us as individuals to achieve, because in achieving THE dream we become the evidence of what this country is built on?

I was brought up valuing community; the people around you – they mean everything and share everything with you. The pain, the joy, the sorrow and the bliss. Everyone knows everything and you don’t mind one bit doing life with people all up in your business. Ukrainians value community, it’s not spoken of, but you know it when you go to a friends house for a baby shower and leave 9 hours later or when you have people show up at your house within hours notice, or no notice at all, and you all sit around the dinner table drinking tea until it’s 1:30 am and you can’t be late to work anymore, so they go home. I married an American and I had to learn this new way of doing community.

The American dream is about each individual achieveihg their dream life. Today I gave citizenship of the country I grew up in and I know in my soul that for me, being an American means to take the old and the new into the same melting pot and live from the lessons of the past. I didn’t have anyone come to cheer me on my first race because I didn’t ask, I felt alone because I didn’t let anyone in. Maybe I just needed a break from everyone knowing my business like when I grew up, but I am so thankful for the reminder to reach out, to ask, to let others know what goes on with me and invite them into my life.

That piece of paper is so important. It’s the one piece that you need that proves this day a reality.  Also, I wore the good shoes for the occasion. 


Perhaps later I can share with you more about what my American Dream is, but for now, I hope to make you appreciate your country, your origin, your ethnicity and your nationality. Be proud of where you come from and proud of where you are going. I hope to inspire you to think of what your dream is and take the reroute if your dreams have taken the back burner spot. Detours in life happen, but you can always turn around.

I feel blessed to have friends who either showed up, or responded to my invitation to come witness my swearing in ceremony. I feel freedom. I think that I will continue to experience freedom and learn its meaning in many new ways in the years to come, and very soon as I am rushing to get a passport for our first trip out of the country as all american citizen. As my country of birth has been at war and without peace for a some years now, I have peace, knowing that no new law or regulation or mistake can make me leave a place I know and now call home and the many people I now call family.

Taking a photo next to the county clerk and the judge, both of whom my husband knows from working together. Only to think that I wouldn’t have these photos if my friend Brigit didn’t show up with less then an hours notice ( love you lady!!) 


I will take lessons from both countries. I will be the dream chaser like a true American inspiration. I will be a gentle soul and a true friend or the community like my parents taught me to be, and I will do my best to inspire you to hug your close ones tight, be present in their life and get all up in each other’s business because that’s what makes us not alone, but a community.

P.S. here are some fun things that happened during the ceremony. The whole thing took about two hours, and if you have a baby, you know they will be hungry and need a nap and a diaper change within that kind of time frame. So I sat there, then nursed my baby without a nursing cover of my nursing friendly shirt, I rocked my baby gently to sleep for a 30 minute nap and he woke up just as my husband got there. That way I didn’t hold him in my arms as I went to get the official papers. And my friend who came with her baby got to experience the same thing and some baby talking on top of everything. We ran into a couple of people we knew in the court room and it was a memorable day as I shared this experience with 66 individuals from 47 countries. Also, I had to surrender my green card, which was my travel ticket for so long!

p.s.s. What’s your naturalization story?

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.

 

 

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.

A mom’s rant on “the new normal”

After I had the baby everyone started telling me this is your “new normal” so get used to it. Get used to this life as if it’s going to be BAD, as if I should expect it to be a punishment. Punishment for love? (I mean, we all know where babies come from)

Frankly, I do feel waves of guilt and feelings of “this is my punishment” crawling their way into my mind slowly and it’s a conscious effort to keep that space clear from negative emotion. Ok, so most days I fail at keeping the attic of my brain clean, but so what, it doesn’t mean I should give up, it means I should fight harder.

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This week I learned something about myself. Not that I didn’t know it, not that I had never heard it before, I just learned it. I mean really learned something about myself that made me feel all empowered and like I am getting to know this new ME, at this stage of my life. I just sat there marveling at this quality and I think I am going to continue getting to know me and instead of getting down on all the failures, I will attempt with all my effort to build on my strengths instead.

This week as I reflected on some circumstances of my life, I learned that I am resilient. So many times I’ve fallen down, been disappointed, yet I still stay positive and keep trying. The thought of completely giving up has not registered long enough to become reality. This is huge news to me. It means a great deal of self empowerment and a true encouragement.

If I was honest though, at the same time this week an overwhelming feeling came over me when I was painting my nails. There is one thing I NEED – to be able to walk into a grocery store or shake anyone’s hand before a business meeting with a nice looking manicure. So about a month or two ago I started doing my own mani/pedi. I wash dishes, cook, constantly wash my hands – so it means doing my nails every other night if I’d want to keep my manicure fresh. Who’s got time for that?! I really got fed up – because while baby is down for the night, I’d rather cuddle on the couch with my husband then wait for the nail polish to dry.

So instead of feeling all beat up about my new normal – I am now going back to get my manicure done and embracing womanhood – because its empowering. Because when my baby boy is growing up I want him to know that a woman isn’t meant to do it all, she is meant to be the best at the role she was designed to do. I want him to know she is beautiful and graceful at every moment of joy and every moment of diaper spill all over the floor. I want him to know a woman who builds a life on her strengths and isn’t destroyed by her failures.

Yes, I am aware that the new normal is having a little human cry for you from early morning until night, and then in the middle of the night, tugging on your body parts expecting food every two hours, without considering that you may be hungry too, since it always happens as you are about to sit down to eat. The new normal is pregnant – but not too pregnant so people can still look at you and say “awe, you’re all belly”. Then in 3 months you’re expected to loose the baby weight, go back to work, have him sleep through the night and roll over (what if your baby doesn’t want to yet?) There is the house, dishes (every day), meals to cook (every day), clean floors, shower and washed hair at least 2 times a week, change all the diapers, put on makeup (every day), give time for your husband, spend time with friends.. I know I am missing a lot more on this list as every mom’s to-do list is different, but seriously, can we just stop and celebrate how resilient a woman’s body is?

You allow your body to go through so much and experience the joy of giving birth (whoever says that by the way never had to go through it without the drugs), then you bring the baby home to experience the “New Normal”.

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Let me just say that after 5 months of this new normal I think that WE – The Woman – are pretty freaking amazing. Let me just stop for a paragraph and tell you – husband, girlfriend, sister, co-worker – go celebrate your woman, especially if she is the mother of your offspring. Let me stop and tell you that if you’re not celebrated and you’re too exhausted to ask for it and demand it – you are amazing, you are resilient and you are beautiful. Your every effort will not go in vain, even though dishes in the sink and the pile of laundry on top of the dining room table remind you of the better version of you there once was. Be the best you today. Be the best version of you for your baby and for your husband, but most of all – be the best version you can be for yourself.

The new chapter of life where quiet frankly you – the mom – are the hero, the lifesaver is a great kind of normal, not a punishment.

Today, I will let the dishes sit for a little longer so I can hold my baby in my arms and take in every sigh, smile and every cuddle he will give me. Today, I will not let the Instagrammable world of expectations become the reality for my life. I will let the love of God allow me to love myself for who I am, and my every imperfection to be able to truly love on my family and friends.

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p.s. if you are a new mom, kudos, you did it. Not feeling me on this one yet? Just wait until month 4 – after three months of cluster feeding and growth spurts, I really think it gets a LOT easier!

 

Stay fabulous!

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.