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)

img_0234

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.

thumb_IMG_8454_1024.jpg

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!

thumb_IMG_8169_1024thumb_IMG_8416_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_8173_1024thumb_IMG_8179_1024thumb_IMG_8207_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_8154_1024
Opening the door into the apartment for the first time. And yes, he’s a great husband who carries my pink diaper bag.

thumb_IMG_8147_1024thumb_IMG_8148_1024thumb_IMG_8254_1024thumb_IMG_8256_1024thumb_IMG_8663_1024thumb_IMG_8755_1024thumb_IMG_8923_1024thumb_IMG_8935_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_8562_1024
These incredibly large windows allowed for only the best light for a selfie!

thumb_IMG_8641_1024thumb_IMG_8676_1024

thumb_IMG_8891_1024
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.
thumb_IMG_9116_1024
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.

thumb_IMG_8408_1024thumb_IMG_8857_1024

thumb_IMG_8953_1024
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.

thumb_IMG_8400_1024thumb_IMG_8825_1024

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!

thumb_IMG_9425_1024

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

thumb_IMG_9345_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_9383_1024

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?!

thumb_IMG_9427_1024 2thumb_IMG_9504_1024thumb_IMG_9460_1024

thumb_IMG_9491_1024
I love Rollo’s hair here! It’s so wild! 

thumb_IMG_9536_1024

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?

thumb_IMG_9565_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_9589_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_9647_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_9544_1024

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?

6 months old photoshoot in NYC

Who doesn’t love New York City?

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

Nixon family-298

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

Nixon family-268

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

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

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

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

Nixon family-196

Nixon family-209Nixon family-204Nixon family-159Nixon family-151Nixon family-230

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

Nixon family-139Nixon family-130Nixon family-134Nixon family-143Nixon family-112Nixon family-128

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

Nixon family-275

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

Styling details: 

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

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

Makeup:

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

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

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

 

My 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?

Enter a caption


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.

IMG_1169

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.

IMG_1147

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

Traveling with an infant: Weekend edition

 

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

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

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

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

Driving

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

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

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

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

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


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

Feeding

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

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

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

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

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

Packing

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

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

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

What to pack?

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

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

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 7.28.14 PM

Gear

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

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

IMG_4789

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

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

Timing

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

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

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

IMG_1760
Baby carrier is optional, we used it once on our trips, so its up to you if you will need it or not. But since they don’t take much room, you can add this one to your list.

Expectations

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

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

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

L.