Friday, April 29, 2016

Cinco de Mayo Outfit Inspiration + GIVEAWAY

I don't know about ya'll but I love Cinco de Mayo, when I was in school we actually celebrated the day by putting on a dance performance.  I also enjoy having an excuse to eat all the tacos and margaritas I want although this year I'll just enjoy tacos and an excuse to dress up!

So when I got the opportunity to collaborate with Pink Blush, I knew I wanted to choose something that would help me feel festive in a chic and fashionable way while being nursing friendly. Pink Blush offers clothing for all stages in a women's life from maternity to nursing to regular and plus sizes. This Ivory Embroidered Accent Tie Front Blouse isn't from their nursing line but that's what I love about Pink Blush, majority of their pieces are so versatile and can cross over into whatever stage of life you are in.




I love that this blouse has a button front closure, certainly makes nursing easier while out enjoying tacos but those tassels details are darling! Who else is loving the tassel trend?






So now onto the GIVEAWAY! Pink Blush was so nice to extend a $50 gift card to one of you lucky ladies! Enter to win using the widget below.  

Disclaimer: Please allow us 24 hours to verify all entries and choose a fair winner. If you have won a PinkBlush giveaway within the last 3 months, you will not be eligible to win, winners must wait 3 months before they are eligible to enter to win again. The winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond to the congratulatory email before a new winner is chosen. May the odds ever be in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sense of Style

When I first started decorating my house, I would always try to completely mimic my inspiration. While this may work for some people, I found that I become tired quickly of the choice. So I have been taking my time with certain projects. 

One inspiration that has been in my head for a few years now is painting furniture but I have yet to bite the bullet. Maybe I'm late on this trend but I always see a ton of pieces painted white and now other colors although I am more attracted to the white painted furniture than anything. About a year or so ago I started debating about painting the buffet cabinet I received from my grandmother.


I was having a major debate because I love the white furniture in so many other people's houses but this piece I have is an antique. And yeah I know the distress trend is hot right now as well and I love that trend too but what I also love is a good piece of dark wood furniture. While I may jump on the trend to paint other antique furniture in my house (like maybe the dining table), I am leaving the heirloom pieces alone and honestly they look better as is. 

All this to say I am taking longer to decorate my house for two reasons; the biggest reason: budget. And the second is I want to be sure I decorate our house to my mix-match style that fits our home. What looks good in your home may not look good in mine and vice versa so I wanna take it slow but manly because I don't have the money. Just keeping it real.


What is your home decor style? Do you lean to one style or are you a hot mess like me and love a mixture of this and that?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Gift Guide | Mother's Day

This post is sponsored by ModCloth 
but all opinions and ideas are my own. 

When considering what to buy the mother in your life a gift, be sure the gift is truly for her. What I mean is that new kitchen appliance she has mentioned wanting is nice and it's what she wants but she wants it to provide yummies for you. What she needs is a nice refresher for her soul, to remind her that she is her. A person. She is not just so and so's mom. So when picking out a gift, pick one that speaks to her as a person.

Treat her to a relaxed spa day. Watch the kids and allow her to enjoy a manicure and pedicure and a haircut without the worry of the baby crying or little Jimmy and Jill fighting over a chair. It'll be so nice and refreshing for her to truly focus on herself.

Spoil your mama with some jewelry. A small pair of studs are so simple yet timeless (and she doesn't have to worry about baby Charlie pulling them out her ears).


Gift her with the latest trendy clutch to keep her in style because let's get real we would love to carry something else besides a diaper bag all the time!


Heck do all three and than send her to lunch with her best gal friends while you hubbies watch the kiddos so they can have actual girl time without having to direct a circus.

And most importantly, make the mama in your life feel appreciated and loved (even more so than you already do) for all she has sacrificed for your family.

What do you plan on getting for the special mama in your life?



Friday, April 22, 2016

Gift Guide | Teacher Appreciation

With Teacher Appreciation Week quickly approaching, I thought I would give ya'll the inside scoop of what types of gifts teachers are sure to appreciate and remember your kiddos by. These gifts are nothing fancy and most are quick and easy plus they are inexpensive.

Click the pictures to be taken to the original posts.


Tumblers

These are so cute and easy to put together. You can also get really creative to make it more fitting for your favorite teacher. Stuff the cup with candy, pens, post-its, a gift card to the teacher's favorite store, the possibilities are really endless. To make it even more unique, get the tumbler monogrammed with the teachers name or initials and maybe get it in their favorite color!


Fresh Flowers

There is nothing more beautiful than fresh flowers especially fresh flowers in a cute and creative vase. I have received flowers in a vintage milk jug, a ladybug vase, a mason jar with a jute bow; just be creative and remember it doesn't have to be extravagant!

Tip: Add a small picture of your child to the tag.


Clip Boards

I have received three personalized clip boards and they never get old! I love the thought and care each clip board has. Whether you DIY one or order one off Etsy, the teacher is sure to love it!

Tip: If you decide on the DIY route, be sure to put a finishing/protective coat after you are finished. One of the clipboards I received didn't have a protective layer so it got a little messed up.




EOS Lip Balm

I never knew what was so special about these lip balms and probably would have never owned one if I wasn't gifted with it. I loved the cute little printable that I received with the lip balm. It really made the gift so cute and much more special than just receiving the balm itself.

Tip: Have your child sign their name to make it more personal.



If you are/were a teacher, what is/was your favorite gift to receive? What made it memorable?


Steals & Deals




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wardrobe Remixing | Nursing Mom Edition Vol. 1

If you have been sticking around than you know how I talked about trying to find my new mom style in this post and how I'm resisting the urge to shop in this post. Well I am sticking to my guns (who even came up with that phrase? And what does guns have to do with making a decision?).

I decided to continue remixing my current wardrobe and making it work for me with my new role as a nursing momma. I talked about buying nursing camis and button ups to make nursing easier and they certainly do BUT you can still wear regular clothes and nurse your baby just fine! 


I wanted something that was simple yet pulled together and this shirt makes it so easy to do just that and by pairing it with a nursing cami underneath I was able to nurse Little Love without showing any belly. 



I am still wearing my maternity jeans because this momma still has extra fluff. #noshameinmygame #reallifemom







I hope you were able to gain inspiration and realizing you don't have to purchase a whole new wardrobe after baby even if you are a nursing momma. I would recommend only investing in a few nursing camis and nursing bras (I have two camis, one bra and two night time bras) but other than that use what is in your closet and make it work for you! And don't feel you have to fit into your regular jeans or shirts right away. It's not realistic and it will take time to get your pre-pregnancy body back (don't forget it took 10 months to put it on). 

Another tip: If you are really tight on budget like we are, use some of those gift cards from your babyshower to purchase nursing bras or camis. I felt guilty at first but realized it benefits the baby as well so go head girl!

Side Note: Ignore my horrible posing, I might get it one day but for right now forgive me and give me pointers if you have any! It's no secret I am in need of it. And to think I use to want to be America's Next Top Model as a teenager. Psh.


Shop the Look

My Outfit
Shirt | Charming Charlie (similar)
Nursing Cami | H&M
Maternity Jeans | Motherhood Maternity
Sandals | gift (similar)

Little Love's Outfit
Headband | gift
Sun Dress w/ bloomers | Target

*some affiliate links used

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tips & Tricks for Making Money on eBay

A few months ago, I shared some ways to bring in a little extra money. One of those ways was selling items on eBay and since that is where I bring in most of our extra income I decided to expand on what type of items I sell and what my monthly profit has been looking like to give y'all a general idea.

1. Clothes - this is the biggest category of items I try to sell. They range from brand new never worn items with or without tags and used clothing that is name brand and in good condition. The reason why I only sell name brand on eBay is because buyers are looking for a good deal on brands they love and typically you can't get much for clothing items that are not of a popular brand. For example, I have sold an H&M shirt, Under Armour clothing items, Nike, Kenneth Cole, etc.

2. Shoes - the shipping cost on shoes is high because they weigh so much and most times require you to do Priority shipping. I charge the buyers for shipping but you must know the exact weight of the item to determine what you should charge for shipping. I don't have a postage scale so it's kind of a hassle but I do plan on getting one so I can get better at charging the correct amount. I have cut into my profit numerous times by undercharging for shipping. This is one of the highest profit items though so it's worth trying to sell shoes as long as they are in good or better condition.

3. Hats - I really thought this item would be the fastest selling item yet I only sold 2 hat out of the 7 I had listed for the past two months. Hoping they sell soon though as I made some adjustments to their listing!

4. Watches/Activity Trackers - these items are the quickest and highest bidding items I have sold. People go into bidding wars for these items, I guess because of the fitness trend right now. 


Extra Tips & Tricks

Before listing an item, if I do not know their worth I try to find the exact item on the stores website. If the item is new with a tag, I try to get the actual value amount. If the item is new without a tag, I try to get at least half the value or more (this is where setting the item as an auction item comes in handy). If the item is used than I typically go with eBay's suggested starting bid price and hope I get numerous bids. Sometimes I do research the eBay site for similar items that others have sold to get an idea of what buyers are willing to pay.

If an item doesn't sell I relist it, sometimes at a reduced price depending on how desperate I am to get rid of the item. For example, I have a pair a KSwiss shoes I'm trying to sell and I have the bid starting at $30; I noticed I get watchers and a lot of views but no one has placed a bid so after relisting it numerous times I now dropped the starting bid to $20. We will see what happens. Sometimes you just have to be patient for the right buyer to come along.

My Monthly Profit

So how much profit have I made these last few months? Well I have had good months and I have had really slow months. I can't make a living off eBay but it helps having extra cash here and there. 

November - $43.54
December - $80.25
January - $284.69
February - $159.45
March - $8.01
April - $56.40 and counting

I determine my profit by subtracting shipping cost, shipping materials (I buy these in a bundle as needed), eBay fees and PayPal fees from my sell price. I have created a spreadsheet in Excel to help keep me organized and calculate my profit for me.

I hope these tips and tricks helped you out and you were able to get a realistic view into how much profit a regular person makes selling stuff around the house.

What do you do to make extra cash? Do you keep account of your profit? If so, do you have an excel spreadsheet or do you do it by hand?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Savoring this Season

Since before Anthony and I got married, we wanted children and we tried for years with countless negative pregnancy tests. Many sleepless nights of conversations wondering what our future children will be like and if we would even be able to have children. Starting a family seemed so far away with each negative test until that one turned positive. 

We really started imagining what this little person would be like, what parenthood would entail. But I never realized how hard it would be in these first few months. I knew about the frequent feeding, the loss of sleep, the endless diaper changes but I wasn't warned about the endless crying, at least it seems like it's endless. 

However, that crying means she's here. This child we dreamed of, we talked about, we planned and tried to have for years is here. Yes, she is needy and I am having to sacrifice more of myself then I ever realized but before I know it, she won't need me. 

There will be a time when she no longer needs to hear my heartbeat to calm her.


There will be a time when she no longer needs to feel me (and smell me) laying next to her.


There will be a time when she no longer needs me to hold her.



There will come a time when she is so interested in exploring the world around her that I can't keep her still long enough to hold and hug her.

There will come a time when she leaves the nest to start her own family.

So in this tough season of being a new mom to a newborn, I want to savor every little moment including the hard ones because there will come a time when she will no longer need me.

I love you sweet girl.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Real Everyday Style of a New Mom

I can't be the only new mom wondering how the heck other bloggers or Instagram mommas always look so put together? I mean I can barely manage to brush my teeth in the morning let alone get dressed! No joke, I stay in my pajamas until noon which is when my husband comes home for lunch so he can entertain Little Love while I throw on some clothes. Maybe if I woke up before Little Love's morning feeding I could probably manage a morning routine but lets get real waking about every 2-3 hours I'm too exhausted to try to wake up earlier than her at this point. Also, lets not forget to mention the extra fluff us everyday moms still have from the pregnancy and I don't have the budget to buy a whole new wardrobe.

Side Story: When I first tried to gain inspiration for my new style as a mom I typed in everyday looks for moms on Pinterest and a lot of the outfits are cute and simple but most of them are moms wearing jeans or dresses or skirts. For one, jeans are not comfortable for me to lay around in or get on the floor plus my jeans still don't fit right now. Number two, when you have a child you don't want to have to worry about sitting like a lady so that takes out the skirts and dresses all together PLUS being a nursing momma I have to have the right dress that allows easy access to the boob but again who has time to sit like a lady when you have a newborn in tow?

Back to the point, I decided to share what I have been wearing on the day to day this last month as a new momma. I recreated each outfit I remember wearing since I was to occupied taking photos of my babygirl everyday that I didn't manage to take snapshots of me wearing each outfit but be warned these outfits are not fashionable by any means. My everyday style right now is meant for comfort and easy access to nurse my daughter.

Side Note: I do try to dress nicer when we have somewhere to go but if we are home all day than comfort wins overall.

The first three outfits were on constant repeat the first week and half postpartum because they were the only nursing shirts I had (and yes those are the same shorts, don't judge). I did however decide to shop (see my review here) and bought a few more nursing friendly shirts.
Striped Nursing Shirt | Shorts (similar)
Maternity Shirt (similar| Shorts (similar)

Maternity Cross-Front Shirt (similar) | Shorts (similar)
The two nursing camis quickly became my favorite and those were on constant repeat and I would only wear the others when the nursing camis needed to be washed.
Nursing Camis | Nike Shorts (similar)
Nursing Camis | Nike Shorts (similar)
Nursing Tops | Shorts (similar)
Nursing Camis | Shorts (similar)
Nursing Tops | Nike Shorts (similar)
I finally came to the conclusion that you don't necessarily need nursing shirts or button up shirts to nurse, they make things easier but they aren't necessarily necessary so I started wearing my regular camis as well and I just pull down the strap when I nurse, after all I am home in my room so no need to be discreet.
Basic Camis (similar) | Nike Shorts (similar)
I hope you were able to grab inspiration and enjoyed seeing the real everyday look of a new momma.

Monday, April 11, 2016

What to Ask While on a Maternity Hospital Tour


After finding out we were pregnant and we chose our doctor and decided on a hospital, we knew we wanted to go on a tour of the hospital so I began making a list of questions I wanted to ask while on our tour of the maternity ward and I also created a list of requests (crazy new mom much?). All jokes aside I do believe it is important to be prepared and to ask questions to know what to expect during your stay especially if your a new momma or your going to a new hospital than your previous births and to make a list of requests so your birthing experience is catered to you and your family, as it should be.

Side Note: These requests will be apart of your birth plan but I wanted to bring some up during the tour to make sure the hospital I chose would be accommodating.


So what were the questions I asked?

Side Note: I also make a list of questions in my phone for our doctors before appointments and it sometimes helps to remember what to bring up to your doctor. As a new parent, we freak out about every little thing but we are also sleep deprived and may be too busy calming our little baby during an appointment, these questions or concerns may slip our mind but if they are written down, you are more likely to remember to ask.

What is the estimated cost of  a natural vaginal birth?
It's good to know in advance how much you are going to have to fork out especially if you need more time to save up to make the payment. Also, ask about a payment plan!

Is the lactation consultant and breastfeeding class apart of that cost or do they cost extra?
Some hospitals don't have either so its good to also ask if they even provide these services and if the do, what are the costs? We ended up not taking a breastfeeding class but we did have the lacation consultant come in to help me learn how to use my breast pump and to answer any questions I had that the nurses weren't able to. 

The nurses in my care were all very knowledgeable about breastfeeding but I heard most nurses do not know anything about breastfeeding or do not offer help so if that is the case, ask about the lactation consultant (they can also help with formula fed babies as well).

Is it possible for an all female staff to be assigned to us?
When I was first pregnant, I did not want any males to be assigned to me. Obviously they are professionals but I didn't feel comfortable having a man who was not my husband all up in my cookie HOWEVER I cannot remember who was all in my room when it actually came down to pushing. I was so focused on getting that little baby out, I hardly remember my husband being next to me holding my leg.

I would like all staff to be apart of my insurance network, is that possible? 
When you go to the hospital for any type of care or procedure always, ALWAYS, ask for the staff involved in your care to be apart of your insurance network. This will help keep the costs down. The only person I heard who is hard to get in your network is the anesthesiologist, for some reason. Does anyone know why that is? Leave a comment, if you do.

Side Note: I also listed this in my birth plan and I highly recommend you do the same

Does the hospital allow photography during delivery?
For obvious reasons, I wanted to be able to have photographic memories of the day we became parents.

Is a birth photographer allowed to be in the labor & delivery room?
Birth photographers are expensive and they are hard to find, at least I had a hard time finding one but before you make a deposit (they are non-refundable most of the time) be sure your hospital even allows a birth photographer. Our hospital did not allow professional photographers as they had their own within the hospital but their photographers did a Fresh 48 (newborn photography) instead. I really wanted professional photos of our birth to capture those sweet moments between my husband and I as we waited and finally got to meet our baby girl because like I said I barely remember those actual moments.

How many people are allowed in the room during delivery?
If you don't mind having your family members or friends all up in your cookie, than find out in advance how many people are allowed in the delivery room.

Can I have more information on the "golden hour"?
My hospital said they provided the golden hour which is an uninterrupted hour of skin to skin contact between the mother and baby, which is very important to create that bond and for breastfeeding. We had our hour but another nurse came in like three or four times asking if we were ready for guests and my nurse had to keep telling her no we were in the middle of establishing breastfeeding so be sure to mention the golden hour right after you deliver if you want that uninterrupted time.

Those were the questions I asked while on my tour of the hospital but I also had a list of requests I wanted to be sure the hospital would accommodate.


Pre-Birth Plan Requests
I do not want a pacifier given to my baby.
My baby will be strictly breastfed, do not give formula or sugar water.
I would like my baby to remain in the room with us at all times therefore all newborn procedures can be performed in our room. (I told ya'll I am that crazy new mom).
I would like more information about cord blood donation.

Did you ask any questions or make demands while on a maternity tour? I can't be the only crazy new mom. hehe. Is there a question I didn't ask that I should have? 

I would love to hear from ya'll and ya'lls experience.

More Pregnancy Tips & Tricks:

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fashion Finds | New Mommy

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Remember how in this post, I was talking about my urge to shop, well I gave in BUT for good reason! I needed more nursing friendly clothes as I only had two nursing shirts and one nursing dress and luckily I was a winner of a Pink Blush gift card giveaway! So technically, I didn't purchase those;) but before I break down each item I wanted to give you guys my size for size reference. Before pregnancy I wore a S or M in tops depending on the make and during pregnancy I wore a S or M in maternity shirts.
Navy Stripe Button Up Blouse
This blouse is so beautiful and perfect to dress up or dress down and being a button up allows easy access to nurse! I went ahead a picked a medium but as you can see on the model this shirt has a very relaxed and loose fit therefore I am exchanging mine for a small because I prefer it to be a little more fitted than that.

Coral Button Up Blouse
The detailing on this shirt called me, I love the sheerness near the collar bone area, it makes a typically button up look different. I picked out a medium in this shirt but as I still have extra fluff from the pregnancy, it is a little tight when I button it but it has nice stretch to it so I plan to keep the medium until it fits better.
Yellow Button Front Cutout Accent Sleeveless Blouse
This shirt is not my usual style but I decided to give it a try since it has buttons (shirts with buttons provide that easy access to nurse) however the buttons are just for details, the shirt doesn't actually button up. I was willing to let that slide since the shirt is very flowy and see-through therefore I could easily wear a nursing cami underneath. I picked a medium and even though the shirt is meant to be big and flowly, it was also big in the arm pit area so I am exchanging it for a small as well.

The next two items were purchases I actually made because I wanted something more casual to wear at home. I made both of these purchases from H&M and pre-pregnancy I always had to size up because their clothing seemed to run small and/or they would shrink after being washed and dried.
Nursing Camis
These shirts are a God-send! I love them and wear them pretty much every day, no joke. I need to purchase more. I bought these in a large and they fit perfectly in the chest region and a little loose around my tummy area but not too much just enough for comfort.
Nursing Tops
I was really excited about these but was a little disappointed. I purchased a large because like I said the items I have purchased from H&M run small and/or shrink when washed. When I tried them on they did fit loose and especially loose in the chest region but I thought they would shrink when washed (as that has been my previous experience) and they did not. Since they are washed I can no longer return or exchange them so I'm stuck with these very loose nursing shirts. If I would have gotten them in a medium, I think they would be amazing though so just a heads up to get your actual size in these!

Well that's it for today's fashion finds and stay tuned for an awesome collaboration coming in the next few weeks!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

One Month Update | Little Love


How is it that one month has already gone by? My little love has been around one whole month. I have been a momma one whole month. People were not kidding when they said time will fly before our eyes. I'm so glad, I took daily photos and posted them on my instagram (if you aren't already following me, you should(:) and my what a big difference in my sweet little girl. I feel like she isn't so little anymore and she is only a month old!! What am I gonna do when she is 1 or 15??? I don't even want to think about that!




So what have I learned now that I have one month of motherhood under my belt? Um, selflessness. If I am being honest I am (was?) a selfish person, it is (was?) one of my biggest faults. At times when Sophia is just crying and screaming and I am exhausted beyond measure and can't figure out why this little person cries, I want to give up and just let her cry (and sometimes I do but I only last for maybe a minute) and I look at her in her eyes and take a deep breath and I just hug her and love on her. I may not be able to always know why she cries (I don't think she even knows) but I do what I would want my mom to do if I was crying; I hug on her and I love on her and I nurse her even if I just nursed her ten minutes ago and I'm sore but I know that it is a soothing mechanism for her. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't and we just circle around until I can get my sweet little baby to calm down. So saying all that, I learn selflessness. I put my exhaustion, my soreness, my laziness aside for this sweet little girl of mine.


I mean look at that face, how could you not bend over backwards to make this little thing happy?


One Month Stats
Weight: 9 pounds 3 ounces
Height: 21 inches
Head Circumference: 14.02 inches

Firsts
Smile

Loves
Nursing
Daddy singing Rock-a-bye Baby
Being held
Co-sleeping
Going on walks

Hates
Bathtime
Diaper changes (most of the time)
Waiting to eat
Being cold
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