Category: Product Reviews

Five for Friday

Today I’m going to link up with ChristinaDarciApril, and Natasha for 5 on Friday to fill you in on my …

2014 resolutions

{Health} I’ve always been the big girl who struggled with food and such, and every year I make the same goal to get healthy. Now with a kiddo I am feeling more motivated than ever. I am dragging S. with me (but it is a bit of the other way around) and we are doing Atkins. I did it in high school (2000) to fit into a prom dress. It worked like a charm and now I am more focused and seeing how this lifestyle can work for us in the long run. Sugar is my drug, that’s been hard to break. I am not going to turn this blog into a weight loss journal, but don’t be surprised if I share my small victories.

{Focus} Speaking of focus, I have a pretty full plate and it wasn’t until recently I was really feeling pulled in different directions – work, kiddo, husband, etc, etc. So this year I am vowing to stop being my own worse enemy and focus on what I am doing when I am doing it. When Mike needs my attention during the day, work will stop. No more carrying to the laptop into the room while I am trying to put him down for a nap. I’m not curing cancer, work can wait 15 minutes. And when I am working (especially on days when Mike is at daycare) I am there. Personal email is closed, Facebook is not pinging with updates … this is a real challenge, but it’s time.

{Professional Comfort Zone} I’ve had more than one boss and coworker tell me over the years that I lack confidence in my professional abilities and I need to just trust my gut on things. I tend to put off tasks I am not sure about and  make me uncomfortable (calling people? Ugh!) as well as down playing my skill set. I need to work on that this year by drawing the line in the sand and promptly jumping over it.

{Blog Twice a Week} That should be easy enough, right?

{Learn a New Technology Skill} I work in the tech industry on the business development side and it’s an industry I am pretty clueless on (wait, and I downplaying my skill set?). I would love to do some research, take a class or read a book that will help me grow my technology experience. Any suggestions on which way to go? There seems to be so many options!

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Friday 5 – My First Link Up!

I’m linking up with Joy over at the Sowell Life for Friday Five, my first link-up! It seems like a fun way for bloggers to get to know each other and for me to have a bit of a writing prompt since I have had some creative writing blocks when it comes to writing about mommahood.

 

For this week’s 5, here are 5 things I didn’t expect when it came to becoming a mother:

1. I thought I was going to be the kind of mother who could run errands with my baby and just bring a diaper, wipe and bottle. In reality, I am carrying an overflowing diaper bag with 2 changes of clothes, a book, my carrier, 3 pacifiers, etc, etc, etc. I get it. I’m ‘That Mom’.

2. I thought it would be hard to give my baby to someone else to hold and snuggle. I know this time is so short and I thought I would be selfish and want to keep it to myself as long as possible. Well friends, after a few hours of snuggle time (while multitasking life) I would hand him to the janitor at the Dairy Queen across the street. First of all, I need a break. Second of all, he is my pride and joy (cliche, but true) so seeing him with other people and their reaction to him [more like noticing how amazingly perfect he is] makes me happy.

3. I knew being a momma would be life changing, but not like this. Life has gotten hectic and my head has gotten muddy, but damn if this isn’t what I am suppose to be doing right now. Everything seems to have fallen into place and fits perfectly.

4. It’s not as bad/hard/exhausting as people said when I was pregnant. Yes, there are sleepless nights. Yes, sometimes the crying is a bit much, but it just wasn’t that difficult for me. Perhaps we have a good kid, or perhaps people giving ‘advice’ and sharing ‘war stories’ is God’s way of setting expectations.

5. Being a momma automatically puts you in a club with instant friends.  I have a lot of Facebook friends (I worked for a global association for a long time, so a lot of my ‘friends’ are actually members) and many seem to be coming out of the woodwork by commenting or liking my status. It’s like they are seeing me in a new light – just like I am seeing myself in a new light. If I knew having a baby would expand my circle, I would have had him a lot sooner!

There you have it – my first link-up!

Influenster Rose VoxBox Review

It’s time for a Influenster VoxBox review! I always love getting these boxes and playing around with all the products. This time around it is the Rose VoxBox. I was pretty happy with my goodies, here’s what I thought. Oh, and don’t forget. Influenster provided the products for free, but the thoughts are my own.
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Rimmel London Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara
I am always on the look out for mascara. It tends to be the only product I wear on the regular besides moisturizer. I like long, thick lashes like every girl and this actually worked! I felt like my lashes were more prominent and made my eyes pop. I might make this my go-to mascara!

Kiss® Gradation Polishes
Fancy nails seem to be all the rage these days and I am so hard on my nails I rarely get manicures. And when I do it’s nude polish to prolong it’s life. This product made fancy nails stupid simple. I wasn’t a fan of the color, but when I posted it on Facebook and Instagram, my followers were fans (follow me!).

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I’m not really a fan of ‘biscuits’, I prefer a protein packed breakfast or a doughnut. But I’ve picked these up before for S. and he’s been a fan. I do like these for a filling snack. I will usually grab one on the way to work and it keeps me going. It’s not on my weekly ‘staples’ list, but when it’s on sale, I always grab a box.
Dr. Scholl’s® For Her Cozy Cushions
My name is Jackie and my feet are funky. Cute, but funky. They are cute, but chubby, so finding shoes sucks and there is rarely a need for me to use insoles, so these are sitting in my sock drawer. I do pull them out every so often and wish I could use them. They are so soft, a lot like the inside of Ugg boots, which I can’t wear either.
I’ve never had a Lindt truffle before! Just kidding. I’ve had a ton because they are SO good! So. Good. I love how creamy and smooth they are. I don’t even have to review these because no one reading this blog thinks they are gross. I can almost guarantee that.
There you go! Have you tried these products? What do you think?

Small Business Saturday Deal

Quite a few of my friends have been asking about my super cute teething necklaces for Mommas. WELL … I just noticed the small business I order them from is having a sale tomorrow on Small Business Saturday! Chunky Potatoes gets 4 thumbs up – 2 big ones and 2 little ones.

They have been a huge lifesaver for Mike and me. He loves to snuggle up and chew it and I get to keep him from chewing on my hand and know everything was lovingly, safely handmade. Plus, they are so pretty, I don’t mind wearing them out in public!  I highly recommend them. You can find them on Etsy.

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** I was not compensated for this post, just a fan who wants to share the love

What’s In My Bag?

The number of times I get asked daily what I carry in Mike’s diaper bag is astounding. Just kidding. No one asks. But I’m a huge US Weekly fan (judge not lest ye be judged folks) and have always enjoyed their ‘What’s In My Bag‘ series. I thought it would be fun to give you some insight into what I carry in Mike’s diaper bag. I promise, there is not one product in there that will break the bank.

What's In My Bag?

If you know me at all, I am not a huge fan of ‘baby’ stuff, like diaper bags that look like diaper bags. My Aunt hooked me up at my shower with The Cindy Tote from Thirty One. I love it because it is soft sided and I can use it again (you know – like when I don’t need a diaper bag. That time’s coming right?).

I also have a Thirty One wristlet that I think is discontinued. But it’s the right idea! A bigger wallet I can just grab out of the bag and put into a purse when I am baby free.

You always have to have a blanket/burp cloth/swaddle/rag. Always. I am a huge fan of the aden + anais line. The are huge swaddles, so perfect to cover a carseat, wrap a baby or wipe up a dribble. Plus they are pretty and Kate Middleton loves them.

My Baby K’Tan goes everywhere with me. Mike is getting heavy and lugging his car seat into the grocery store is just a pain in the neck. Plus I am never sure where a meltdown will occur, and the wrap keeps him calm. Where have I worn my baby? Walmart, Harris Teeter, home, office, winery (uh, huh), street festivals … it goes on and on.

Enfamil checks/coupons never leave my bag or purse. I have found Mike’s formula on deep discount at a few places and paired the store discount with a check and pay like $2 for a thing of formula. Score.

Thankfully Mike is still at the age where a crumpled napkin provides half an hour of entertainment. But I still like to carry a Wubba Nubba and a little toy. Even a book is good. Each page is 10 minutes of excitement!

There you have it! What’s your non-traditional must have for your diaper bag?

A Little Help From Our Friends

How are you liking my new WordPress site? Well, I am loving it and I have to give credit where credit is due. My friend and old coworker, Ashley, helped me find a solid solution to my frustration, migrated my content over AND did it with a smile.

She recently ventured out on her own and if you ever need any sort of WordPress assistance, I highly recommend he company  Radiant IT Consulting. Here’s what they do:

Website Design

  • Logos
  • Navigation/Look & Feel
  • WordPress themes design
  • Graphics  (buttons, images, slideshows)

Custom Website Development

  • WordPress Plugins & Themes Development
  • HTML & CSS coding
  • Technical Support & Maintenance
  • Quality Assurance Testing

Strategic Services

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media & Web Presence
  • Content Management & Development
  • Comparative and/or Competitive Analysis
  • Usability and 508 Compliance testing

Training

  • “Train the Trainer” Training
  • Development of training materials
  • Software/Website/Application Administration Training
  • Business Development Training

Content Creation

  • Blog/Article Writing
  • Government Proposal Writing/Editing/Organizing
  • Content Editing/Proofreading

Tell her Jackie sent you!

Momma’s Must Haves

Momma's Must Haves

Since I’ve been a Momma for just over 8 weeks, I’m considering myself an expert. Just kidding. I am flying by the seat of my pants just like everyone else.  I’ve had a few friends recently get pregnant (congrats!!) and ask me what I would recommend goes on their registry. Here are my top 5:

1. WubbaNub: I am a big pacifier fan, and thankfully so is Mikey. I read about these on another blog and decided to use some of our gift card funds to pick up a few. Mikey loves them! It’s a soft animal literally attached to a Soothie pacifier. I’ve caught Mike holding the animal in his sleep and we have yet to lose one – which makes the price tag a little easier to swallow. The only other complaint is how to wash them, which I am still working out. FYI – Babies R Us has them for cheaper.

2. Summer Infant SwaddleMe: S. took the Dad’s class and was a swaddling expert. Me on the other hand … not so much. Especially when we were in the hospital for 5 days and exhausted. Welcome the SwaddleMe. They are soft cotton pre’made’ swaddles with velcro. So you put the baby in the ‘pouch’, fold one side over, then fold the other side over and velcro closed – ta da! Instant baby burrito. Mikey was a HUGE fan of these and it helped him relax and stop crying. He looked like a glow worm.

3. adan + anais Muslin Burpy Bib:  I am obsessed with adan + anais products. I got one of these burpy bibs as a hand me down and was really impressed with it’s size. Mikey has some impressive spit ups and somehow this burp cloth catches it every time. Plus, it has small hidden snaps so it can snap around his neck covering a large area – critical if you kid spits up like mine. The muslin washes great too.

4. adan + anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets:  Guess what! Prince George was photographed with one of these blankets! First of all, finding lightweight blankets for summer babies is damn near impossible. We got a few as gifts and they were heavy or fleecy. I passed these a few times at Buy Buy Baby, but couldn’t justify to price – until I couldn’t find anything else. Best. Purchase. Ever. I’m not sure why they are marketed as swaddle blankets. I use them as blankets, car seat cover, nursing cover (when I was nursing) and a changing pad. It’s HUGE and they wash great. Plus I love their prints.

5. Baby K’Tan: I will be the first to sing the praises of the ErgoBaby carrier, but it is hard to wear and work on a computer.  I liked the concept of a sling, but slings seem be confusing to put on and time consuming.  I did some research before I went back to work and found a lot of positive reviews of the Baby K’Tan. It’s really easy to put on after the third try and it has a variety of positions. Mikey’s favorite is the hug position, facing me.  I can quickly put the sling on and slide him in and within 5 minutes he is snoring and I am working uninterrupted. What else do I love? It is 2 pieces and the big one fits in the pocket of the other piece. AND when I am wearing it, that same pocket is available for his WubbaNub or house keys. Or cookies.

VP of Snuggles

The weeks have been flying and I haven’t had a minute to get my thoughts in order – Momma brain perhaps?

Guess what? I’m officially a working momma! Sometimes the stars just align and God’s ears hear the words from my mouth. Remember in March when I was laid off? Well, my boss and run in the same social circle so we’ve stayed in touch naturally. I told her I was holding out as long as possible for a position when they could afford to bring me back, and it happened just in time! She needed and Executive Assistant/Business Development person part time to start, then full time in a few months. Which is the perfect scenario for me. But wait, it gets better. Sonjara is a virtual company, so we all work from home and go into the office as needed and while I am home and in the office, Mike can come too! I am hoping that lasts a few weeks while he is still not mobile and his needs are pretty simple.  I am beyond blessed for this opportunity and thankful I waited for a company that shares my values and is family friendly.

Today was my first day back, and Mike – my VP of Snuggles – was a trooper. He slept,  ate, and played in his LulyBoo happily.  The funny thing is my Sister in Law has her last day of work tomorrow so she can be a stay at home mom – her dream.  When I heard that she was able to do that, I felt a twinge of jealousy and it took me awhile to figure out why. Then I realized, I wish that was my dream. I wish I had the desire to stay home and spend my day with Mike, but I just don’t.

Living in the DC Metro area, 2 incomes is very necessary, so it’s not an option for us. I admire mommas and dads who stay home with their babies and I also admire mommas and dads who go to the office everyday. I am not envious of how the ‘other half live’, maybe because I am with a company that understands work-life balance (suck it Yahoo!).

Mike’s 2 month appointment is next week – can you believe it?

The Bolt Bus Hates Pregnant Women

Well, I am not going to slander the whole Bolt bus line, but if you are 30 weeks pregnant, taking a bus 5 hours is not a good option.  Do you have a Bolt Bus line in your neck of the woods? It’s a great idea. A super cheap bus line that goes from DC to NYC (and a few other stops, like Boston and the Pacific Northwest) for super cheap. Remember how cool it was to be on a coach bus watching movies on your way to the museum on a field trip? Yeah, same idea, but no movie and less cool.

I had to make a last minute trip to NYC for my part time job and you couldn’t beat the $50 round trip ticket. And it’s a bus. How bad can it be?  If I was a college student looking to soak up the NYC night life, the answer is not so bad. If I was 7 months pregnant, the answer is terrible.  First of all, it’s a 5 hour trip sitting. Here’s the run down:

Bus: Meh. It’s a coach bus. They had TVs, but no movies, which I found sad. Really? If you have them, you should use them. Would it kill you to put on Finding Nemo or Seinfield season 1?

Bathroom: Very, VERY important if you are pregnant. I sat near the back to make sure I could get there quickly. But with the way it was situated, the door opened BARELY for me to squeeze in. I’m not a huge pregnant woman either! Plus, with the rocking of the bus, I had to lean against the back wall to hike up my pants. It was a glorified porta-potty, but smelled less … porta potty. Even the toilet paper was thread bare and hanging by a string. Literally. A string.

People: It takes all kinds right? There were all kinds on the Bolt bus. I sat next to a woman from Alaska who was riding standby with her husband for a last minute trip to see some shows for her 60th birthday. She was so kind, and made sure I was comfortable (more on that later).  The couple behind me … well. They were DC hipsters going to some swanky spa in NYC and he is a photographer who photographed Joan Rivers house. Which begs the question … why were they on the Bolt bus? People seemed very pre-occupied with their laptops and ipads, so it was a quiet ride.

Wi-fi: Bolt bus loves to brag on it’s free wi-fi, which was nice. Slow, but nice. The challenge was, the seats didn’t have tray tables, so you had to hold you device in your lap. Again, great – unless you lap is taken over by a pregnant belly.

I would say by hour 4, I was getting restless. Our 10 minute break at the Delaware House wasn’t nearly enough to take care of my restless legs and swollen ankles. I will, of course, use the Bolt bus again when I am sans a pregnant belly.

On an unrelated note, I realized last minute I booked my departure ticket the same day as my return and after 48+ hours in NYC living with my boss, I was close to an epic meltdown. No reason to try to book another ticket – they were sold out for a couple hours, and my ankles didn’t allow any sort of standby.  I sucked it up and Amtraked it home. Tray tables, leg room, huge bathrooms … a pregnant woman’s dream.

Maternity Underwear is Not Sexy

It’s been awhile, yes. And I haven’t skipped blogging because I am out of witty things to say, no – I have plenty of things I think that are hilarious to say, but I have been so tired I haven’t really put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I should get better at this.

Things are going well pregnancy wise – starting to feel huge, rolling over adds a bit of hilarity to my night, Mikey is kicking up a storm … everything is as it should be. We’ve started working on the nursery and buying ‘bigger’ ticket items 2nd hand that we don’t anticipate people buying for our next baby shower (oh! I need to blog about my first one). Which begs a question – why don’t we have richer friends? We even hired a trainer for our current baby on 4 legs who is terrified of the stroller. TERRIFIED.

6a00e54f937a85883401543484e294970cI am strictly and happily in maternity clothes now, but had been struggling with my *ahem* underwear. I am pretty set in my ways regarding the style and brand of underwear that works for me (Cacique, hipsters if you must know) and I’ve had a hard time giving them up and trying something of the maternity variety because it is so hard to size right and it’s not cheap. And not sexy. Not that my hipsters will ever be on the cover of Maxim, but they aren’t nylon high-waisters from the 70s.

I had a big order going into Amazon, so I added a set of high-waisted underwear from Motherhood Maternity since my waist is getting bigger and thus the underwear will not be that high for long. When I opened the package to show Sam, we all got a good laugh. They were HUGE. Like, no way my shrinking butt and hips and growing belly would fit into those things.

But they did. Perfectly.

And holy sh*t they are comfortable.

Granted, they come up to my belly button and sag a little in my tushie, but they are an answer to my prayers. No more sitting in meetings feeling my hipsters slowly roll down my belly, or walking in the parking lot feeling them creepy down my butt. Or getting changed and seeing the imprint of the elastic on my belly. Can the baby even breathe with underwear that tight? Who cares, I am so in my comfort zone.