Father’s Day Gift Guide – Amazon.com Prime

Are you a last minute shopper (like me), not wanting to spend a ton of cash, but still want to give your baby daddy (or your own Dad!) something to make them feel extra special on Father’s Day this year? Then look no further – this is the gift guide for you! All of the gifts listed are under 100 dollars and have FREE 1-2 day shipping, if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

If you aren’t one already, definitely hop aboard the Prime train – you won’t be disappointed. My Prime membership easily pays for itself within a few weeks. I save hundreds per year by shopping for everything from the comfort of my home, office, car (as a passenger of course), waiting in line, etc. My husband thinks I’m crazy for how many boxes arrive on a daily weekly basis, but it works for our busy lifestyle.

If you don’t have Prime yet you can get a free 30 Day Trial HERE, just in time to purchase a gift from this list. Orrrrrrrr you can just trust me and go ahead and sign up for Amazon Prime HERE. “Once you go Prime you never go back,”  doesn’t really have a ring to it, but it’s still totally true. Check out ALL the cool stuff you’ll get access to with your Prime membership, in addition to free 1-2 day shipping and free returns, here.

Now back to what you came here for: The Ultimate Amazon.com Prime Gift Guide for Guys (all items are under $100, and many are on super sale!):

  1. Echo Dot (439.99) and a customized Case ($19.99) to suit his style.
  2. Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener ($12.46)
  3. The Wire – The Complete Series ($72.80)
  4. Sharpest Tool Socks ($16.92)
  5. Homebrewing Craft Beer Making Kit ($49.99)
  6. Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada, by Jimmy Fallon ($12.84)
  7. All Natural Beard Conditioning Oil ($14.99)
  8. 1st Father’s Day Onesie ($21.00)
  9. Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife ($24.99)

  10. SENSO Bluetooth Headphones Wireless Sports Earphones ($37.97)

  11. Daniel Wellington Men’s Watch w/ Black Leather Band ($89.99)

  12. Slim Minimalist Genuine Leather Front Pocket Wallet ($12.99)

  13. Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player ($39.99)

  14. Vintage Leather Canvas Travel Toiletry Bag Shaving Kit ($18.99)
  15. YETI Rambler 20 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler with Lid ($24.99)
  16. Bevel Shave System Kit ($75.95)
  17. Dad’s Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time ($7.67)
  18. Oversized Canvas Genuine Leather Travel Weekend Bag ($46.99)
  19. Dad Mug ($19.98)
  20. BBQ Meat Branding Iron with Changeable Letters ($15.97)

What are you getting your honey for Father’s Day this year? How are you celebrating?!

xo, Ashley (1)

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Pin this list for the next time you need an eleventh-hour gift for a guy in your life:


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How A Baby Changes Everything

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Although they are little, babies sure can create BIG change in our lives.

From the day Taylor was born until today SO much has changed for us. If you follow us on Instagram you probably already know that we moved to our new home/city last weekend and that in about a month I will be leaving a 10+ year, successful career to stay home with Taylor. If interested, you can read more about that decision HERE. The reason for mass amounts of change in a relatively short timeframe? An itty, bitty newborn baby who has grown way too quickly into an {almost} full blown toddler.

Our move represents the incredible way that a baby can change your internal + external priorities and reality…

Before and even during pregnancy, I thought I wanted to be a working mom of 1 child only, and my hubby and I had our life planned accordingly. We certainly didn’t think that, within a year of T’s birth, that we would reorganize our financial and physical life in order to allow me to stay at home with her. Nor did we imagine we would search for a home that would be able to (hopefully, someday, no I’m not pregnant) accommodate another baby! But, as I am sure you have experienced in your own way, a baby can be quite the catalyst for change.

As we packed up the home we spent our first year as a family in I couldn’t stop thinking of all the memories we made in those rooms and how much growing we all did in different ways. However, I’m super excited for this new chapter in our lives. It will be one with undoubtedly less “me time,” but filled with so much more “us” time and for that, I’m incredibly grateful.

Luckily, through all of the change, Carter’s has us covered.  Taylor has grown up in their zip-up playsuits (hello, easy diaper changes!) and I may or may not have spent WAY too much money during their Memorial Day sale on tons of the cutest swimsuits and outfits for Taylor’s summer.  Carter’s has compiled some of their most classic, tried & true styles (including the zip-up playsuits) to comprise the Little Baby Basics Collection.

Little Baby Basics baby clothes are sized newborn through 24 months. As your baby – and you –  go through all the changes (and growth spurts) involved in the first 1+ year of their life this is a line of baby boy clothes and baby girl clothes that you can count on for consistent quality, affordable prices, comfort and – very importantly – cuteness! I mean, look at the elephant detail…those pant ruffles… *sigh*

The Original Body Suits from the Little Baby Basics Collection, like the ones Taylor is shown wearing throughout this post, are must-haves in any baby wardrobe. They are sold (for incredibly reasonable prices) in packs of 5 coordinating patterns + designs which also makes them an adorable baby shower gift.

Carter’s has offered a generous coupon to my readers, available now through July 4th, 2017. With this coupon, you’ll receive 20% off their already great prices if you spend $40 or more, in store or online. Stock up for now, later or even a future baby shower gift:


Not sure where your local Carter’s store is? You can find the nearest store by clicking here.

Happy Shopping and remember to savor each and every moment with your little one/s – it flies by too quickly not to!

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LipSense Lip Color – A Mama Must Have

A lipstick that is kiss proof, smudge proof, water proof and lasts up to 18 hours?

Seems too good to be true, right? No way those claims are actually legit.

That’s exactly what I thought every time I saw LipSense pop up in my social media feeds over the last year or so. However, the idea of being able to put on lip color in the morning, kiss Taylor and my hubby goodbye/drink way too many cups of coffee without leaving a mark,  and not have to think about reapplying throughout my entire work day sounded really appealing. When I initially connected with my girl Shana of Montana Lips and More, who offered to send me a Lip Kit to review and potentially share with you,  I was cautiously optimistic to give LipSense a try.

She sent me a Lip Kit which included a super pretty natural lip stain (Bella), clear Glossy Gloss, a pot of Lip Scrub and an Ooops Lip Color Remover. The first day I tried LipSense I could not get over how cool it was. It takes a little longer to apply than a regular lipstick, but no more than a minute for the whole process.  I definitely think I demoed how I could drink out of my coffee cup and not leave a single trace of lip color behind to way too many co-workers that day. I mean, check out this picture taken right before I left work the other day – after drinking multiple cups of coffee, yapping my way through several meetings, and eating a burrito for lunch – with color still clearly in tact:

 

 

9.5 hours later, LipSense still hanging on!
Gloss, Dusty Rose, Heartbreaker and Bella.
I’m not even kidding when I say I don’t think I’ll  ever go back to traditional lip color.  After the initially LipSense experience, I contacted Shana right away and ordered two additional colors to add to my collection. I wore Dusty Rose, a slightly darker yet natural looking color, the day of Taylor’s first birthday party and never once had to reapply. I also wore Dusty Rose  to a friend’s wedding celebration out of town. and had to wait until the next day  to take it off as I had forgotten my Ooops Remover! How’s that for long lasting?!  Lastly, here’s an admittedly ridiculous picture of me in the middle of a work day sporting Heartbreaker, a fun spring/summer color:

Duck face for the sake of showcasing Heartbreaker.
This stuff is a total Mama Must Have, and I wouldn’t be posting about it today if I didn’t think it would be worth it for you to try out. LipSense would also make for a great Mother’s Day Gift, and Shana can hook you up with a Gift Certificate just in time. Check out the colors she has in stock now HERE. To order, comment “sold” on the photo of the item you would like in the in-stock album or just message through her Facebook page. Between now and 6/7/17 you can save 10% with Shana using the code TaylorMade.

What other beauty hacks am I missing out on? Please do tell!

Why I’m Leaving My Career To Be A Stay At Home Mom

Working Mom. Stay At Home Mom. Work At Home Mom.

An unfortunate truth is that, no matter what your decision or family circumstance in regards to work and motherhood, there will always be people who question, criticize or judge.

Since making the choice to put my career on pause to be at home with Taylor most everyone has been amazingly encouraging (i.e. the overwhelming, positive response on Instagram when I originally shared our news in this post). However, I have also had people ask directly – or behind my back – why I’m making the decision that I am, why I’m leaving what I’ve worked so hard to achieve over the last 10+ years…

Well, my answer is this: it feels right to my heart, I want to be the one to care for Taylor every day of the week, and it’s what is possible & best for our family. I know I will be the best version of myself as an individual, wife and mom because of this choice. Not to mention, I am also confident that my skills and drive will not simply vanish because I choose to stay home for a season of life.

Trust me, I can hold my ambition AND my baby. 

Not every mom feels like I do. Not every mom is wired the same. Not every mom has the same family circumstances and/or opportunities.

There are moms who absolutely love to work outside the home and would go crazy staying at home every day. They enjoy their work. They wouldn’t be the best version of themselves as an individual, wife and mom staying at home.  If that is you (I thought I would be you), be proud in your ability to balance work and home life in a way that feels good and right for you and your family; Although you may hear differently, there is nothing “wrong” or “selfish” with working outside the home because you want to. I know you know this, but you don’t love your career more than your child because you choose to work.

I know working moms who would love nothing more than to stay home with their babies, but are not able to do so. If that is you, please know that you are giving everything you can to contribute to raising and sustaining your family, and you are simply amazing. I feel your heart – being a working (outside the home) mom isn’t easy to begin with, but it’s downright hard when your heart wishes you were elsewhere. 

Work from home moms…I seriously don’t know how you do it. I can’t even get anything with this little side job blog of mine done from home now that Taylor’s down to one nap on my Friday off… If you’re pulling off the work at home mom life, my hat is off to you.

Then there are moms who have always envisioned being a mom and who couldn’t wait to quit their day job when they became one to stay home and raise their babies. In a world where so many moms do work outside the home by necessity or choice, you might feel like the minority (again, maybe that’s just the area where I live?). You may feel isolated, and even find yourself wondering if the 24/7 job you are doing is even noticed. Well, it is by those of us who “get it” and, most importantly, by your kids/family every day. Don’t ever feel less than because you are “just” a mom. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Finally, there are moms who make the difficult (and expensive) choice to leave successful careers to stay at home at some point in motherhood. Co-workers or others around you may not quite understand why you’re leaving the workforce to be “just” a mom. You’re letting down women who paved the way before you. You’re wasting your degrees.  Even some friends and family may question why you’d walk away from a job, salary and potential career opportunities you’ve worked hard to earn – and expensive mistake…Although I can only hope you have loved ones who are nothing but supportive.

Why I chose to put my career on hold to be a stay at home mom

I know that I am a very girl to have the choice to make between working and staying home with Taylor. Staying home is a luxury. I recognize that having a parent at home not every family’s reality, especially given the insane housing market (or is that just where I live?).  For me the decision to move toward Stay At Home Mom-dom was made after making the initial choice to return back to work after Taylor was born. I thought that’s what I wanted to do. I envisioned that as being my perfect reality of having “it all”. I did have my version of “it all,” but I couldn’t balance it. At least, not in a way that took away the ache or made me feel at peace in my heart.  Even working part time, and having my mom and husband watching Taylor in our home while I worked, the anticipation of needing to go back to full time eventually provoked an anxiety in me. I wasn’t expecting to feel that way, but there it was.

Long story – full of prayer, worry, life changes, thought and decision making – short, my husband and I are now changing up our entire life to make this happen because it is what we want and what works best for our family.  Over time, my parenting and work life will both ebb and flow, but neither will end; For this season, I am afforded the precious, irretrievable gift of time with Taylor, and any other babes we may be blessed with. Work can wait.

Criticism about your choice to work, stay home or somewhere in between?

What I want to say to you – and myself – is this:  

If you decide to continue or start working outside of the home when you have kids, even if you don’t financially need to…

If you decide to leave a successful career to be a stay at home mom…

If all you’ve ever wanted to be in life is a mom, and now you are one, happily at home…

There will always be people (even friends and family) – for reasons of insecurity, jealousy, selfishness, ignorance, or boredom- who will criticize the decisions you make in your life. Trust me when I say that it will only serve to bring YOU down and/or drive you crazy if you let the opinions of others influence the way you feel or cause you to question what you know to be right. So, whatever your #momlife looks like, remember that only you and your family truly know what works, and believe that your mama heart is just a committed as the next. And, if you’ve made it to the end of this very long post – thank you : )

Have you ever felt judged for the decision you’ve made to either work or stay home? I’d love to hear about your experiences and answer any questions you have about my journey. 

If you related to this post, I would appreciate if you would share it on Facebook with THIS LINK!

P.S. If you are considering making the decision to leave a job you like/love to stay at home for a season like I was, I encourage you to be confident, brave and just take the plunge. Do I have worries and some anxiety about making the transition? Do I worry about how, when and if I’ll get back onto my career path some day? Sure. Although I know the transition won’t necessarily be completely smooth sailing, I can honestly say have not felt any regret and my heart is at ease. I hope the same for you!

Toddler Girl Fashion – Must Haves For Spring & Summer

Almost all of these toddler girl fashion must haves for Spring (and Summer!) are on sale right now so if you see something you like, snag it today.

Here are my favorite pieces for little ladies this season:

1.LIGHTWEIGHT NEUTRAL CARDIGAN – on sale for $13

A staple for transitioning from warm spring days into cooler evenings when you’re out and about with your little lady. This one goes with everything, and I think it’s a steal at $13.

2. SUNGLASSES – $5.90

3. FLOPPY STRAW SUN HAT – on sale for $13.50

Taylor won’t allow me to put anything on her head at the moment, but I’m hoping that changes soon (or I can figure out an effective way to coerce her) as it makes shielding her from the Spring and Summer sun when we are doing something outdoors so much easier! Perfect hat for a day at the beach or a picnic in the park.

4. LACE TRIM KEYHOLE TANK – on sale for $9 (4 color options, including basic white) OR

LACE TRIM TANK BODYSUIT – $14.95

Taylor wore the bodysuit versions all the time last summer as a newborn, and I just took advantage of Gap’s Last Days of Spring Sale to grab her two of the white lace tanks, and one pink. These are also a great staple as they can be paired with pretty much any shorts or skirts your babe may have.

5. MULTI-STRIPE SHORTS – on sale for $19.99

I love that these shorts have several different colors highlighted throughout the coral base. These over even a plain white Onesie would be adorable.

6. THE POCKET SKIRT -$12, or $11 each for 3+

If you have been a reader for a while, you already know about my affinity for Primary Clothing for kids and babes, but their fitted tanks (#8) and pocket skirts are definite warm weather staples for a little miss. Super soft and a price making it inviting to stock up on several colors.

7. EYELET PEPLUM TOP – on sale for $16.99 (3 color options)

Isn’t this top the sweetest?

8. THE TANK -$9, or $8 each for 3+ (15 color options!)

9. PINEAPPLE ROMPER – $29.95

For those warmer spring days we get here in California, I love dressing Taylor in a quick, easy and comfy one piece. This romper is the perfect blend of function and fun for play time!

10. RUFFLED BACK BIKINI – on sale for $10

I am dying over how cute this little itty bitty bikini is. At only $10 I’m sure these won’t last long!

11. RUFFLED CHAMBRAY SHORTS – on sale for $10

Every little lady needs a pair of feminine jeans shorts in her Spring wardrobe. I had these for Taylor in a 0-3 month size last year and she was in them nearly every day!

12. JELLY SANDALS – $24.95

I feel like Jelly sandals are a rite of passage for little girls in a way. Did you wear them growing up? I know I did! I’m definitely snagging a pair for Taylor to sport on summer days at the pool in our new community. I can’t believe we move in a month!

Where are your favorite places to shop for your little one? What colors do you tend to go toward? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE. Subscribers are automatically entered to win bi-monthly Mama Must-Have Giveaways!

xo, Ashley (1)

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Weaning After 1 Year of Breastfeeding – A Bittersweet Experience (Featuring Bun Maternity)

This post was sponsored by Bun Maternity, the most comfortable nursing apparel I own! All opinions (and emotions) in this post are 100% mine.

From the outset of this post I want to affirm that every mother has her own personal journey with feeding and then weaning her baby. I believe wholeheartedly that “fed is best” and that every mom should do what is best for she and her baby. We each “mom” our own way, and I’m just here to share mine.  

My experience with weaning after one year of breastfeeding:

Before having Taylor, and even while I was pregnant, I was actually kind of uncomfortable with the whole concept of breastfeeding. I saw posts of mothers nursing their babies on social media with hashtags like “#normalizebreastfeeding” and I couldn’t imagine that being me. I didn’t think I wanted that experience. I read about the health and bonding benefits and felt,  if it were possible for me to provide that for her, that I wanted to do so. Despite my discomfort and questioning on the outset, I made a commitment to breastfeed Taylor for as long as it was possible for me to do so, and for as long as she showed interest.

From the first moment she was laid on my chest, I understood that this is what I was made to do for her and all my previous discomfort (mental, not physical, because that i$h HURT the first 6 weeks!) melted away as a bond I can never put words to began.

Flash forward 354 days and our sacred, stressful, beautiful, and at times even painful journey with nursing has come to an end. To be honest, there is a sadness that’s come over me which started during the last couple weeks of our weaning process. I didn’t recognize the “down” feeling I had as being connected at first; For so long, I had been thinking of all the positives that would come along with being done with nursing (freedom!), but there it was. I didn’t understand how to go about the whole weaning process, so we kind of just started… Right away I saw that she was ready physically and emotionally and, even though I thought I would be, I wasn’t so much. From start to finish weaning lasted less than 3 weeks for us. I cradled her to me in the wee hours of our last morning and tears streamed down my cheeks as I felt her little body relax and flashes of the thousands of times I held, comforted and nourished her in this way passed through my mind.

Bittersweet. That’s the best word to summarize how I feel about the nursing chapter of my relationship with Taylor coming to a close. Bitter: a feeling of loss of something special between just she and I, and missing the baby that I can’t expect to stay small forever.  Sweet: a sense of freedom, pride in (barely) making it this far, and gaining back time in the day and my body as my own.

Taylor reaped benefits from nearly twelve months of breastfeeding but, unexpectedly, it was also the best thing for me.  My days at home and work were planned around when to nurse or pump. Although (very) frustrating at times, this broke my selfishness and gave me a sense of connection to her even when I was at work – both were things I needed. Although the emotional bond still remains, the end of breastfeeding is a loss of a connection between a mother and child that will never be there again. That’s hard to let go of, and just another sign that my baby is growing up right before my eyes. However, I know that just because she needs me less physically, does not mean she needs less of me. Even though I now have my body back to myself, I will still be 100% there for her in whatever ways she needs me now.

Bun Maternity – Perfect Apparel for Breastfeeding & Beyond

Mirroring the bond that carries over from breastfeeding to independence, the clothing I have from Bun Maternity are also pieces I can continue to wear beyond my breastfeeding days. Bun Maternity has the most stylish, comfortable and convenient, nursing friendly  apparel I’ve come across. I only wish I had known about this clothing line sooner. I’m sure I’ll be stocking up when (if we are so lucky) Taylor gets a sibling… Bun Maternity is affordable anyway, but they also offer FREE shipping on orders of $50 or more, and right now you can save 15% on orders over $50 using code SWEET15.

The design and versatility of these ponchos, hoodies, wraps, tees and tanks make it really easy to incorporate breastfeeding easily at any time. No one would guess that these are nursing tops. Plus, they are super comfy and soft, which are musts for me. The three pieces I own are fantastic for times when we’re on the go and I’ve needed to discreetly nurse in public – shopping, going out to eat, rushing back from the gym to a hungry baby, etc. 

So Soft Breezy Nursing Hoodie (Navy) – Even though I’m now done with nursing, I will continue to wear this breathable, light-weight hoodie for casual errand running and trips to the gym.

High Low Swing Tank (Kale) – This top comes in several colors, but I couldn’t resist the green/kale. The material is very soft and it looks just like a regular tank but with “secret” side panel access for baby; the ideal tank for a busy day of shopping:

Cozy Nursing Hoodie (Black) – Seriously the most comfortable hoodie I own. If you’re in the market for nursing apparel, definitely snag this one! It is perfect for discreet nursing and the shoulder snap is actually hidden by the hood – you would never guess it’s meant for breastfeeding. I’m definitely continuing to wear this staple beyond breastfeeding. Am I the only one that will wear the same, fav sweatshirt every night for like, a week straight? I may or may not be wearing it right now as I edit this post….

For reference, I am 5’ 10” and wear a size Medium in Bun Maternity apparel.

Check out the entire nursing friendly line at www.bunmaternity.com.

If you were a nursing mom, I wonder if you can relate to the thoughts and emotions I sorted through during weaning. How did you feel when you were done with breastfeeding? If you’re still nursing, do you have a plan for when and how you’ll wean? I’d love to hear about your own experience in the comments.

Thank you so much for reading. 

P.S. If you’re still nursing, make sure to check out all my posts on breastfeeding & pumping.

“You Look Tired” – and other phrases no tired mom wants to hear (featuring Juice Beauty)

This post was sponsored by JuiceBeauty.com.  All opinions are 100% mine. 

Let’s cut to the chase – I absolutely do look tired – like I’ve aged five years in one even, but with good reason. I had a newborn who slept through the night from 6 weeks to 4 months old, and thought I had it absolutely made…then her sleep patterns suddenly changed. Since 4 months old, she has essentially woken up anywhere from 2 -5 times a night, and she will be one year old in a week. That’s nine months of solid sleep deprivation. Sure, there have been a handful (3 4, but who’s counting) of nights when she has slept from the time we put her down until somewhere between 5:00 and 6:30 AM, but that certainly doesn’t make up for the hours upon hours of dark-circle, puffy-eye inducing lost sleep. Oh, and “sleep when the baby sleeps” is great in theory, but very hard to practice when you’re at work from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM or just trying to get things done around the house, am I right?

This post  isn’t a plea for pity because, A) I know you may be feeling just as tired as I am, and B) I know that being a mama is 100% a blessing, no matter how many hours of sleep I lose. The post is also not about sleep training – what we have tried, what we have been too tired/scared/lazy to stick with, my thoughts/feelings on ‘Cry It Out’, the monthly colds that thwarted our efforts, etc. This is a post about the things well-meaning people have said to me about looking tired that were just not helpful, followed by wishful thinking of things could be said instead. The last thing a tired, emotionally vulnerable (thanks hormones) new mom wants to hear is that she looks as tired as she feel. We already know, but it’s just not fun to be reminded.

Below are some of the things people have said to me about looking tired over the last year, for real:

  • “I can help you with those perma-bags.” (NOT a good sales tactic…)
  • “You look SO tired.” (multiple iterations of this one)
  • “Are you sick?”  Me: No, just tired. “I was going to say…you have that look to you.”
  • “Nursing does that to your face.” (really???)
  • “Is your baby letting you sleep?”  Me: No, not really. “I can tell.”

You know what?

I do look tired. I do have bags and dark circles under my eyes. My skin has become more dehydrated and wrinkled from devoting 99.999% of my physical and mental being to another life over the last year…But, catching up on sleep isn’t really an option in this phase of life (and neither are other chemical laden, anti-aging products when you’re nursing) so comments on looking tired are both anxiety producing and impossible to treat/solve.

I’ve been thinking up some alternatives to, “you look so tired,” that come from the same place of care and concern, but would actually be helpful or even music to a new and/or tired mama’s ears:

  • “Let me come over and do a couple loads of laundry/watch the baby while you nap for a few hours.” Instant angel status, for sure.
  • “I can’t believe you have a baby, you look way too well rested.”  Just full-on, unabashed false flattery is actually welcome, sometimes.
  • “I’ll come sleep over and give your baby a bottle when he/she wakes in the night; you just put your earplugs in and get a full night’s sleep – I can imagine you haven’t had that in a while!” – My mom has actually offered to do this multiple times and, while I haven’t taken her up on it, it’s seriously one of the most appreciated gestures a new, tired mama could receive.
  • Just send me this article to read, written by the amazing, Jena Lee Nardella
  • “I found this amazing, anti-aging eye and skin care line that’s safe to use while nursing, and it’s  made my eyes and skin look a lot more refreshed and vibrant than I actually feel – wanna try it out with me?”

Seriously though – I really do use an anti-wrinkle eye and skin care line that is not only effective (and smells DELISH), but all natural, organic and safe for nursing moms like me – Juice Beauty.  I think you’ll love it as much as I do.

The Stem Cellular Instant Eye Lift Masks and Perfecting Concealer are my cheats to looking more refreshed on days when I’m running on 3 hours of sleep and copious amounts of caffeine; the eye masks are a bit pricey, but they truly do work and I only use them every once in awhile when I really need an extra confidence boost (date night, blog photo shoot, etc.). Juice Beauty even has an apple-based peel that is safe and made specifically for pregnant and nursing mothers to exfoliate, brighten and tone your skin. I wish I had know about that product sooner (next time, God willing, it will be on my skin care rotation).

My go-to under eye concealer.
Vials of activator.
Activate the instant eye-lifting goodness!
Wait ten minutes then, voilá, refreshed!

I also had the opportunity to try out the Anti-Wrinkle skin care line over the last couple of weeks and so far I’m really liking it. Clinically Validated Results from a 4 week trial revealed that 95% of women who used the product reported smoother, younger looking skin and 86% reported a significant improvement in the appearance of lines & wrinkles! I hope I can say the same myself in a couple more weeks. I feel like I’m looking less tired already, and it’s certainly not because T is sleeping better… The Anti-Wrinkle regimen is also completely safe to use while pregnant or nursing, whereas many similar lines are not. Juice Beauty uses a combination of fruit stems cells infused into Vitamin C and organic grapeseed to help promote younger, smoother looking skin. Here is a quick run down on each product in the line:

  1. Booster Serum – I noticed a tingly sensation as soon as I put this on my skin, which automatically made me feel like it’s working it’s magic. I also worried a bit that it would dry my skin out, but that has not been the case at all.
  2. Eye Treatment – The eye treatment is applied with a built in applicator so as to avoid any tugging on the eye area. I have been using this eye treatment at night, and my other eye cream during the day.
  3. Moisturizer – I am loving the fresh, citrus smell of this moisturizer. It also creates a tingling (borderline burning) sensation on the skin, yet provides ample hydration. I’ve been using this morning and night.
  4.  Exfoliating Peel Spray – This is BY FAR the coolest skin care product I’ve tried! You apply a small, pea-sized amount all over your face, neck and decollatage, rub for about 15-20 seconds and the top layer of dead skin cells begins to pill up. It’s kinda creepy, but obviously effective. Rinse with warm water, and you’ve got a fresh face. I only use this product twice per week because of it’s strength.

Giveaway!

I’m partnering with Juice Beauty to giveaway a 3 product Anti-Wrinkle Solutions Kit.  The kit includes Juice Beauty’s anti-wrinkle booster serum, moisturizer, and eye treatment. It is an over $100 value, that is actually on sale for $50 right now, in case you want to go ahead and snag one for yourself. 

To enter the Giveaway, become a subscriber by entering your name and email in the fields below. If you are already a subscriber you will not be subscribed twice:

  • This Giveaway CLOSED on Sunday April 9, 2017 at 12:00AM PST.
  • The winner will be contacted by email on Monday April 10, 2017.
  • The winner must respond within 24 hours, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Good Luck!

Has a well meaning friend or colleague  said anything to you about looking tired that bugged you? Alternatively, what have loved ones done for you to help you at your most tired?

The Ultimate 1st Birthday Party Planning Guide

Unless you’re a party planner by trade or natural inclination, preparing for your baby’s 1st Birthday Party can be a bit stressful: Where do I start? What theme to choose? Who to invite? To buy or DIY decorations? How much money do I really need to spend on a party the baby won’t remember? What exactly is a “smash cake” anyway?

I have been determined NOT to get stressed out over planning Taylor’s birthday party, because Lord knows I already have enough emotions going on with the winding down of our nursing relationship, seeing her basically turn into a kid right before my eyes, etc. to add stress to the emotional mix. If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know that the only way I get anything accomplished (without losing my mind to stress) is through some kind over over-analyzed organizational system (but that’s kinda why you like me, right?).

True to form, that’s exactly how I’ve tackled planning Taylor’s birthday party and it’s been smooth sailing thus far. T Minus two weeks until the big day! I wanted to share the following with you in the hopes that it will help your own party planning process go smoothly.

  1. A 1st Birthday Party planning checklist
  2. Unique 1st Birthday Party themes
  3. Perfect Gift Ideas for a 1 Year Old

1st Birthday Party Planning Checklist:

This checklist has helped keep me organized and able to ENJOY the process of planning such a milestone event for Taylor:

Access the printable PDF version HERE.

Creative 1st Birthday Party Theme Ideas:

These theme ideas were crowdsourced from my AMAZING Instagram family in this original post. Some words of advice that I found really helpful were to pick a color palette and theme early on, and then to focus on a few key pieces and decor to bring your theme to life. My favorite idea is definitely the last one on the list, from The Mamaste Blog. I actually ended up coming up with a theme that isn’t included on the list below…I can’t wait to reveal what we picked!

Access the printable PDF version HERE.

The Best Gifts for a 1 Year Old (Girl or Boy!)

These are gifts I’ve either purchased in recent months, or are on our current wish list for Taylor’s 1st Birthday! Some are toys while others serve as creative play spaces for little ones. Many of the linked items are Amazon Prime eligible (free 1-2 day shipping and free returns, among other perks!), so if you don’t already have a Prime membership, sign up for an Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial here.

  1. Personalized Wooden Name Puzzle (option for pastel or primary colored lettering)
  2. Something to ride like the classic Little Tikes Cozy Coup (red or pink), The Step2 Easy Steer Sportster, or a splurge on this motorized Land Rover
  3. Little Tikes Trampoline
  4. Happy Birthday Baby  or Baby Touch & Feel: Happy Birthday board books
  5. Pop Up Play Tunnel
  6. Crayola Wonder Color Drawing Paper (mess free coloring!)
  7. Hape Pound and Tap Bench with Xylophone
  8. Fisher Price Little People Fun Sounds Farm
  9. Manhattan Nurturing First Baby Doll and accessories: Stroller, Feeding Set and Changing Set. I got a brown-haired Stella doll for Taylor that giggles and says, “mama”!
  10. Water Table like this one (best seller and available on Amazon Prime) or this one with an umbrella, but my personal favorite is this one (pictured above).
  11. Land of Nod Tee Pee and cushion
  12. Fisher Price Corn Popper
  13. Playroom table and chairs set
  14. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorter
  15. Mega Blocks or Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks
  16. Ball Pit (this inflatable pool) and Balls (100 count, so I would by a couple sets). You could even add a slide for extra fun!!

I hope this planning guide is helpful to you or a mama you know (please do share!).

Is there anything I left off the party planning checklist? What about other gift ideas for a 1 year old? I would love to know what you are planning to choose or what you did choose for your child’s first birthday theme. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

xo, Ashley (1)
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Fab Fit Fun Spring Box Review: An Easy & Affordable Splurge

 

 This post is sponsored by fabfitfun.com. All views and opinions are 100% my own.

When was the last time you did something just for you?

Do you incorporate self care into your days, weeks or months? Trust me, I know it’s hard to find the time to take care of, let alone spoil yourself. Luckily, one thing I’ve found during this first year of motherhood is that little splurges can go a long way in the self care department: a 15 minute lavender scented bubble bath, a 20 minute walk around the block listening to a favorite podcast, taking the time to give yourself a mani/pedi with a fresh polish color, getting up before the baby to read a chapter of a soul-filling book with a hot cup of coffee (before you have to reheat it 3 x), or receiving a package in the mail you’ve been looking forward to. I think it’s important to our well being to do little things to take care of and treat ourselves regularly when we devote so much of our time, energy and selves to caring for others.

A week ago I received a package I was really looking forward to, full of self care goodness, from Fab Fit Fun. You may have seen Fab Fit Fun advertised all over social media, and with good reason: this box is seriously awesome.  There are a lot of subscription boxes out there, and I’ve had the opportunity to try out a few, but none come close to the quality and value of Fab Fit Fun.

As busy woman we don’t often have the time to go out hunting for the latest and greatest in beauty, fitness, health and wellness products. Fortunately, Fab Fit Fun delivers a box of full-sized, premium products to you four times per year, with each new season. Boxes contain everything from health food products, to skincare, to hip travel coffee mugs, to the latest eyeshadow palette – whatever is in demand and in style for the season! As soon as I opened the Spring Box I felt instantly spoiled and couldn’t wait to share this positive experience with you. I think you’ll really like it! The value of the box is worth well over $200 for only $49.99, or $39.99 using the my discount code: TAYLORMADE.

Although part of the fun in opening your first Fab Fit Fun box is discovering all the fun goodies inside, I wanted to give you a sneak peak of what is in the Spring Box and some details on each product, in case you are considering a splurge for yourself. Don’t forget, you can get $10.00 off of your first box at fabfitfun.com using the code TAYLORMADE at checkout.

What’s In The Spring Box:

  • Emerald Duv “Josua Tree” Cage Bracelet (retail value: $80) – This lovely cage bracelet is a classic. It will compliment and add an elegant flair to just about any look.

  • Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator (retail value: $79) – Free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates (yuck!), this natural exfoliator polishes away all dead skins cells and leaves you with a healthy glow. I have a tendency to break out after using scrubs if they are to harsh, but this one is gentle and I’ve had no issues so far. In my opinion, this product is worth the cost of the whole box if you’re looking for a good exfoliator! Younger looking skin? Yes please!

  • Karuna Hydrating Face Mask (retail value: $28) – Perfect for a quick 10-20 minute self care sesh! This box comes with 4 deep-conditioning sheet masks made of all natural wood-pulp fiber, recommended for weekly use. I popped one of these on, set my iPhone timer for 20 minutes and indulged while editing photos for this post (self care + productivity for the win!). Karuna states that the mask will improve hydration by 40% after 1 use and, while if would be hard to stick a percent on it, I do have to say that my skin looked a lot more hydrated afterward! I’ll definitely be ordering these again from Amazon (linked here). My one complaint would be that I could not for the life of me get this mask to lay flat on my skin as shown on the packaging (see picture below for a good laugh). My face definitely didn’t fit the masks as intended…

Not exactly pretty, but effective!
  • Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails Gummies (retail value: $15) – I’m loving the strawberry flavor so much that I have to utilize willpower to only eat the daily dose of 2.  I have never taken a Biotin supplement before, but I’m looking forward to incorporating these guys and hopefully improving the health of my hair, skin and nails.

  • Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray (retail value: $20) – This is perfect for dry, brittle, color-treated or postpartum hair like mine. In your hair needs some extra TLC this is a great product to have on deck. It both nourishes split ends and protects hair from heat and UV rays, plus it smells super yummy! I’m glad it was included in the Spring Box as I wouldn’t normally have thought to use it.

  • REALHER Lip Kit in Deep Red (mine), Deep Nude, or Neutral Pink (retail value: $48) – The creator of REALHER is a dad who made this entire brand in honor of his daughter as a way to empower her and all women to be themselves and start their days in a way that makes them feel great. There are motivation quotes and affirmations on each, all natural product. I LOVE the heart and message behind this brand. Now, on to it’s color and staying power: while I would have preferred to receive the nude or neutral kit (and will probably purchase on my own), I have to say that this is by far the most easy to apply and longest lasting lip product I have ever owned. Without the gloss overlay it is also kiss proof!

  • Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish Set in Shape of My Heart + Like a Virgin (retail value: $19) – Perfect hues for spring that will look great on any skin tone:

  • Gypsy 05 Roundie (retail value: $50) – This was the item I was most excited about when I initially opened my box as I’ve always wanted a roundie for picnics, beach trips, park days, etc. I really like the pattern that came in my Spring Box, but there are several other options that are just as cute, including a blue hue tie dye!
  • The Milly Zip Pouch (retail value: $45) would be perfect to tote around disposable utensils, napkins, sunscreen, wipes or whatever you need to pack for a day out. I honestly don’t love the saying on the zip pouch that was sent to me because it is a play on a cuss word (although it is cheeky for a beach trip). However, there are several other options you may receive in your Spring Box( i.e. “Slay All Day,” or “Haute Mess”).

Is Fab Fit Fun a box you would consider trying out? Even if you don’t go for the Spring Box, I still encourage you to find little ways to take care of yourself each day because you definitely deserve it. 

Have a wonderful day and thank you so much for reading!

xo, Ashley (1)

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Must Have Baby & Child Wardrobe Basics

I can’t believe Taylor turns 1 year old in less than a month. Like, I can’t even…

I’ve been busy planning her first birthday party (more to come on that) and reminiscing on what an amazing experience it has been to be her mama these last 11+ months. Despite the unplanned, drug-induced haze after her delivery I so vividly remember the first time I saw her face (and those dimples!) as she was laid on my chest. It was a face that my heart instantly recognized and felt I’d known my whole life, yet I knew nothing about her at the same time – if that makes any sense. From that moment on I’ve been absolutely obsessed with loving and learning all about this precious gift I’ve been given.

Watching her literally grow up before our eyes is absolutely amazing, but bittersweet knowing that she won’t be little forever. Taylor’s not the only one who has been growing and developing this year; we parents experience immense growth during the first year, through the joys and the challenges of figuring out how to do this whole parenthood thing. I am forever a different person than I was before April 15th, 2016.

Today, I want to share about the clothing company that has been “with us” throughout Taylor’s first year of life, from the white beanie she wore at the hospital to the body suits, hoodies and leggings she currently wears to “run around” or explore at her Little Gym classes every Friday afternoon – Primary.com.

Taylor in the baby hoodie in lilac.

Here are 10 reasons we love Primary.com (and think you will too!)

1.A variety of styles – personally, I am absolutely obsessed with their hoodies, leggings and zip romper pajamas, but there are so many cute styles to choose from for both boys and girls. Here are just a few of my other favorite pieces:

2. Vibrant colors that don’t fade  – You can choose from the following array of colors for almost every item in stock, making it easy to coordinate with existing wardrobe pieces:

I’ve washed and washed Taylor’s Primary pieces, because she wears them multiple times per week, and they still look like new. We used a bright orange baby suit as a part of T’s Halloween costume this year:

3. A great price point every item on Primary.com is under $25, starting at only $8! There is even a discount for buying 3+ of an item.

4. The softest fabrics – seriously, the cotton feels like butter; they’re basically the Lularoe leggings of baby/child apparel. So, so comfortable for babies sensitive skin. For the price, I honestly haven’t found anything that beats the quality of Primary.com clothing.

Taylor in the baby dress (mint) and leggings in spruce.
5. No logos, tags or slogans – this is another reason the clothing is super comfortable, and also easy to pair with any other pieces in your babe’s closet. Primary.com is a great place to stock up on your baby/kiddo basics to build a comfy wardrobe around.

6. Digital gift cards – even if you don’t have a little one in the home, the digital gift card option would be a GREAT gift for new mom friends, kid’s birthday parties, etc. Check out this post for some other great gift ideas for new moms.

7. Sizes from Newborn through Kid’s 12 – I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve bought the gray hoodie and black baby leggings for Taylor in 3 sizes over her first year – they’re staples! Primary.com can grow with your family.

T wearing a zip romper in petal
8. Versatility – kiddos can crawl/run/play around in these comfy clothes, but the pieces can also be accessorized for a more dressy occasion – a bow and sparkly cardigan over the swing dress or pocket skirt, the polo shirt with a pair of boys’ slacks to give you a couple of ideas. So many of these comfy basics can be worn casually around the house or for a dressed up (yet super comfy) look.

9. Free Shipping on orders over $50 – I bought $50-75 worth of Primary staple pieces before each size jump Taylor has gone through this year, which kept us perfectly stocked on all the basics she needed. 

10. 20% off of your very first order (click the link below) – So, what are you waiting for? Happy shopping!

Primary_Kids_Clothing_20_Percent_Off

This month, the Mama Must Have Giveaway includes a $25 gift card to Primary.com as part of an Emergency Baby Car Kit (my most popular blog post to date!). If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe in order to be automatically entered to win.

As always, thank you for reading and let me know if and what you buy from Primary.com in the comments below!

xo, Ashley (1)

P.S. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you utilize a link to make a purchase, I make a small commission at no cost to you. THANK YOU!

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