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!

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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.

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“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?

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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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How To Create A Bedtime Routine For A Baby

Thank you to I See Me Books for sponsoring this post.

Do you want to help your baby have a smoother, less tearful transition to sleep at night?

Do you wish your baby would STAY asleep longer once they do drift off? 

There are so many different methods to get your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own (AKA “sleep training”) out there, which I know can be a bit overwhelming. However, one foundational element almost all sleep training methods include is developing and sticking with a bedtime routine.  

A peaceful, predictable bedtime routine is an important part of helping a baby to wind down and sleep well at night; baby who knows what is coming next is more relaxed, and therefore more likely to fall and stay asleep. Getting your baby used to a nightly routine from as early as 6 to 8 weeks not only has benefits for them, but also for you as a parent. It is nice to have special time, that you don’t have to plan or think about, set aside to connect with your little one at the end of each day.

Establishing a bedtime routine early on can also set you up for future successes in getting your little one to to brush their teeth, use the potty and complete other before-bed musts when they become a toddler. There are numerous benefits to creating a consistent bedtime routine for a baby, and it’s a critical component to helping your baby to be a better sleeper. So, why not start there?

Although there isn’t a prescription for the perfect bedtime routine for a baby (trust me, I looked!), below are 15 soothing elements you could choose to include within your little one’s nightly routine:

How To Create A Bedtime Routine:

To create the routine, my recommendation would be to keep it simple, and follow the process below:

  • Pick 4-6 elements from the list above.
  • Choose the order of those elements.
  • Time how long your routine takes to complete.
  • If the routine takes longer than you’d like, drop 1-2 of the components.
  • Once you’ve determine which elements are most soothing for your baby, and realistic for you to complete each night, continue to follow that same predictable pattern of events beginning at the same time (as much as possible) each night. 

A bedtime routine won’t be effective unless it is, well, routine.

Something important to note is that what works for one baby in a bedtime routine may not work for another. Babies are all SO different! For example, some babies are soothed and calmed by a nightly bath before going to bed. Taylor, on the other hand, gets very excited by a bath (more on her bath time routine and favs in this post), making it completely counterproductive to winding down. Another example from our experience was that ending our routine with a nursing session resulted in Taylor waking up much more frequently in the night than she does now that it comes at the beginning of her routine; However, some babies will sleep through the night regardless of when their final nursing or bottle session occurs.

The Perfect Addition To A Bedtime Routine:

We tried out several different iterations of a bedtime routine, playing with both the length of the routine as well as the components and their order, to find out what worked for both Taylor, her Dad and I. Please continue reading to find out Taylor’s current bedtime routine…but first I’m excited to share our new favorite board book from ISeeMe.com, known for their award winning personalized children’s books. We have loved incorporating this board book into Taylor’s bedtime routine lately:

It’s Taylor’s Night Night Time! is the perfect compliment to a bedtime routine for any baby – of course personalized with your babe’s own name!

Board books are essential for babies this age, and let me tell you that I See Me  has super cute ones to choose from. Each book includes adorable personalization details on almost every page. One of my favorites is the option to add a personalized inscription on the first page of the book; you can even choose to include your sweet baby’s picture to make it even more special. I See Me has personalized books for babies and kids ranging from special occasions (i.e. holidays, birthdays), to fairy tales, to coloring books, and even personalized sticker books, puzzles and growth charts.

Make sure to check out ISeeMe.com to pick up a personalized copy of the Night Night Time book for your little one!

Another adorable book from ISeeMe.com’s collection titled, T Is For Taylor.

Taylor’s Bedtime Routine (10 months old)

We start Taylor’s bedtime routine 25 minutes prior to when I’d like her to be asleep, then complete the following elements in this exact order every night:

  1. Nursing or bottle. Her last nursing session takes place outside of her room on the couch in the living room, so as to separate feeding to sleep as much as possible.
  2. We then move into her room and turn on her night light and white noise machine, and then turn off the main light in her room.
  3. I change her into her nighttime diaper and pajamas.
  4. We walk around the room saying goodnight to objects and prints in her room (e.g. “goodnight crib, elephant rocker, etc”), ending in saying good night to her ABC Poster and singing the corresponding song to her.
  5. Then, I put her into her sleep sack. Right now she is sleep in this Halo Sleep Sack that has openings in the bottom for her feet. She has always slept in some version of a Halo Sleep sack, beginning with their swaddler version for the first 5 months of her life, so this part of the routine is a main sleep cue for her.
  6. Next, we read 2-3 (okay, sometimes 10) books while rocking in the glider.
  7. Lastly, I tell her, “you’re going to go night night in your crib now,” get up from the glider walk over to the crib, give her a kiss/hug while saying a short, silent prayer for her, tell her, “mama loves you so much, have a great sleep,” and place her in the crib to drift off.

Although she can fall asleep readily on her own, Taylor does wake up 1-2 times per night. I wanted to include that as encouragement to mamas who feel like they are doing everything they can, but still have a babe who wakes during the night. I am told she may sleep through the night once we are done breastfeeding, but I’m not too worried about it. I’ll count my blessings with a baby who goes to sleep peacefully/independently!

Well, hopefully this post gave you some ideas to create, tweak or add to your baby’s bedtime routine. I would love if you would let me know the routine you create for your babe in the comments below!

xo, Ashley (1)

Personalized Alphabet Book

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Tips To Make Dining Out With A Baby Less Stressful

One of the things that my husband and I loved to do pre-baby was go out to eat. During the dating phase of our relationship he lived in San Francisco, right in the heart of the Marina District, and I in downtown Sacramento. Both cities have great dining scenes (obviously San Francisco more so) and each weekend we would eat on the town at least once. After coming out of the newborn haze, I wanted to continue that tradition and bring Taylor out to eat with us, but was honestly too intimidated to do so. During that time, people advised that we should take her out to eat while she still “slept all the time”; looking back we really should have taken advantage of that time, because now I know that it becomes a whole lot more complicated when they are awake and needing to be entertained constantly…

Entertain me please.
Taylor is 10 months old now, and we’ve been out to eat with her about once per month for the last 6 months. Through trial and error and some “interesting” experiences at restaurants we’ve learned a few tips and picked up a items that make going out to eat a lot less stressful/messy and more enjoyable for mommy, daddy and baby.

Most recently Taylor attended a dinner put on by the law firm my employer contracts with and,although it didn’t go perfectly (i.e. I had to take her out to the car in the middle of the meal to nurse because she lost it a little bit as it got closer to bedtime), the tips and tricks I’m sharing today made it possible for me to feel confident bringing her to such a setting. We love getting out of the house on weekends with Taylor now, and she is used to being out and about which I think is good for her. I hope you find the following  tips for dining out with a baby helpful for your family. I’ve also included suggestions to add to your Restaurant Kit for older babies and toddlers (see #8!):

10 Tips To Make Eating At A Restaurant With A Baby Less Stressful

1.Dine early -We try to get the the restaurant around 5:30PM. Beat the crowd and have plenty of time before bedtime/witching hour? Win, win!

2. Pick a noisy restaurant – Babies cannot be expected to sit quietly for an hour or more (if you have one that does so without any effort of your own, consider yourself super blessed!). They WILL fuss, cry, screech, chat, and growl (or perhaps that’s just my child). It makes things a lot less stressful when you know your little noise maker will blend into the rest of the background noise.

3. Ask for a table for four – This way your babe has their own space and you can clear the area of all the things their little hands would want to grab. We learned our lesson during this particular trip out for Phö. We had a tiny table for two, and spent most of the time trying to block Taylor from grabbing chili sauce, our napkins, spoons, bowls, etc.

As you can see, there was far too little room for error.
4. Buy this chair by Inglesina – I can’t recommend this product enough, and only wish we’d purchased it sooner. Taylor will NOT sit still in a highchair and one of us inevitably ends up with  her on our lap, trying to keep her little mitts off our plates, for the majority of the meal. This chair, however, she loves sitting in and it does fit on most restaurant tables we’ve been to. Another really nice feature to this comfy chair is the pocket in the back where supplies like sanitizing wipes, a toy, spoons, bibs, etc.can be stored. I keep this seat in the car in it’s attached, travel-friendly carrying bag so that we don’t have to worry about forgetting it.

Happy baby in her own space at the table.
5. Have a Ziplock bag stashed with the following in the car or easy to grab on the way out the door.

Some of the essentials to make dining with a baby easier.
Having the essentials on hand is key!
    • Spoon – One of my best girlfriends recommended these recyclable, reusable or disposable baby spoons that are only $5.49 for a pack of  24 on Amazon. If you leave one on the table, it’s not too big a deal.
    • Bib – These Burpy Bibs by Aidan and Anais are by far my favorite, portable bibs (they cover a lot of surface area!)
    • Spill Proof Sippy Cup – keep it empty in your kit and fill it up once you arrive.

  • Wipes – Use natural hand,face and baby wipes to wipe down the table surface where your baby will touch/eat snacks from, and their hands/mouth after the meal. We use these by Babyganics:
  • Snacks (2 different kinds) – T’s top three favorite baby cracks snacks are Happy Baby Puffs, Yogis and Munchies (these are like healthy Cheetos for babes!). I order these three monthly on Amazon (if you don’t already have Amazon Prime – free 2 day shipping amongst other perks – it’s so worth signing up for an account HERE).
  • Pouches – just in case you forget to grab their food from the fridge or cupboard on the way out, you’ll have a portable dinner on hand. Our favorite pouches are made by Sprout, in this flavor, which you can purchase in a pack of 5 on Amazon.


6. Buy a mini cooler for homemade baby food that needs to be refrigerated, or just grab your jar/tupperware of food if you’re heading straight to the restaurant. I use this one that’s actually meant to store breast milk, but fits and my homemade baby food jars perfectly as well.


7. Feed the baby directly after you order your food, so that by the time your meal arrives you’re able to actually eat it.

8. Bring along a novel “toy” or an activity for older babies/toddlers– this could be something as simple as a straw from the restaurant. While you’re scarfing down your food as quickly as possible eating, baby can play with this novel item and/or eat some of their small snacks. Taylor LOVES plastic chopsticks – she’s quite the musician with those things! If you have an older baby or toddler who can complete activities like reusable sticker books, reusable activity books with water pens, coloring books (Twistable, self sharpening crayons are awesome for this!), etc.

I would suggest upgrading from a Ziplock to a makeup/toiletry carrying case like one of the ones below to store all of your feeding and entertaining essentials. I got this fabulous idea from Blue i Style blog which has all sorts of amazing DIY organization tips. You can keep this Restaurant Kit with all the essentials you need to eliminate the stress of dining out with babes in your car.  I purchased this floral cosmetic bag at Target, and linked two other patterns of the same bag below:


9. Don’t forget to make and bring along your Baby Car Kit in case of a massive post-dinner poop – Trust me, you will never regret having everything you need on hand. Find out the essentials I pack in mine by reading this post.

10. Queue up an educational You Tube video on your iPhone – Okay, please don’t judge me, but after going through the bag of trick above I will let Taylor watch one particular video called “ABC’s” by ABC Kids TV. We reserve letting her do this as a last resort, but she absolutely LOVES that darn video and it’s honestly really nice to have her occupied while her dad and I get a few minutes to enjoy our meal and a bit of adult conversation.

There you have it! My top tips, tricks and preparation to make the experience of dining out with a baby as stress free as possible. Now, go make your kit and get out on the town!

What tips and tricks do you use to keep your baby, toddler or kiddo entertained when you go out to eat? I would love if you’d share those ideas with me 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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Teething Baby Troubles & Solutions

Taylor has been steadily teething since she was 3 months old, and currently has mouthful of chompers, 6 to be exact, at only 9.5 months old. I know some mamas are not okay with this, but I’ve definitely given her Infant Tylenol  before bed and employed a variety of teethers  over the last 6 months to help her get through the discomfort. The winners of the MANY versions we’ve tried are this teether/pacifier combo and this ergonomic one by Dr. Brown’s, a banana shaped terry cloth teether by Sassy, a frozen ring similar to this one, and these organic teething wafers by Happy Baby that Taylor loves to munch on.

About bout a month ago, at the onset of her sixth tooth, Taylor began to employ a  new, all-natural teething remedy which involved biting my shoulder, belly, boob, arm, chin, etc. as hard as she could for relief. Fun, I know… Per usual, I took to Pinterest to troubleshoot this problem. Apparently, one way you can redirect this biting behavior is to offer your infant something appropriate to teeth on straight away and calmly say something like, “no biting mama.” I didn’t think it was very feasible to carry around a traditional teether in my hand or pocket all the time, and I knew I needed something I could provide to her instantly. Fortunately, I discovered the oh-so-stylish Mama & Little teething jewelry that I can have on and accessible anytime I have Taylor with me.

I now try to wear my necklaces and bracelet as often as possible when we are out and about so that I can instantly offer Taylor an appropriate, baby-safe silicone teether. It’s so easy for her to just grasp at my accessory, chomp down on the beads and get some (appropriate) relief. This functional yet on-trend jewelry also adds an element of style to my outfits as well – I don’t think anyone would ever know these pieces are meant to be teethers!

A few reasons I’m a Mama & Little teething jewelry fan:

1) the exposed cord design at the neck of the necklaces so that your hair doesn’t get tangled up in the silicone beads (genius, right?),

2) they launch a new collection each season, with on-trend colors and styles so these are actually necklaces a mama would want to wear sans drooly babe, and

3) each piece comes gift wrapped and in a super cute drawstring cotton pouch that you can use to keep the jewelry clean in your purse/diaper bag when you’re on the go and not wearing it.

So, if you have a teething baby and a mind for fashion, or are looking for a unique gift for a baby shower or mama-to-be (they also carry Gift Cards!), check out the 19 original necklace designs and coordinating bracelets on the Mama & Little website.  

Use the code: TAYLORMADE at checkout for a 15% discount!

Taylor’s outfits // Kardashian Kids (chambray dress), Baby Gap (white eyelet top and denim jacket), Headband (KRZA by Krystle Dawn), Primary.com (black leggings – the BEST!)

My jewelry // Frida Silicone Teething Necklace, Rachel Silicone Teething Necklace (Black Licorice) and the Michelle Teething Bracelet (Cream)

My shirts // Stitch Fix  (LOVE this service and can’t wait to share more details with you in an upcoming post)

xo, Ashley (1)

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First Valentine’s Day Gifts for Baby (and a few for Mama!)

One of the most exciting things about a baby’s first year is celebrating all of their first holidays. Pre-Taylor I was honestly not super into holidays (I know, such a Scrooge) but I have really enjoyed doing special things for each one this year, even though she is too young to remember. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so I’ve been perusing the internet looking for a couple of special gifts to give her. I searched for non-tacky, V-Day appropriate gifts that could be could be enjoyed year round and think I found some winners. As often happens when I’m web surfing, I also found several things I wouldn’t mind receiving on Valentine’s Day myself – or gifting to myself! I’d say as new moms we’ve earned to treat ourselves on a totally commercial holiday, right? Plus, between now and 1/31/17 you can save 15% off ILY Couture’s Valentine’s Day Collection using the Promo Code: HEARTILY. Their clothing is great quality and super cute on ; I’m thinking the “Be Mine” tops Mommy & Me twinning may have to happen this year….

Here are 10 Valentine’s day gift ideas for your Littlest Valentine AND a few that you may just want to pick up for yourself (or hint/pass along to your Big Valentine to get for you!).

For Baby

  1. DIY Family Handprint  framed
  2. Bashful Poodle stuffed animal- Jellycat
  3. Valentine’s Day Board book like: Huggy Kissy, Llama Llama I Love You, Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse, or Love From The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  4. Wooden Heart Teether – this one can definitely be used year round!
  5. Blush & Red Bibdanas – on sale right now too!
  6. Snuggly Pajamas – Red or Pink (why, oh why, don’t they have these in my size?)
  7. Pink Converse Allstars – Chuck Taylor
  8. Teething Jewelry – Mama & Little   – {save 10% at checkout with Discount Code: TAYLORMADE}
  9. “Be Mine” onesie or tee -ILY Couture
  10. Heart Taggie Blanket – DIY by www.lovecreatecelebrate.com

For Mama 

  1. “Be Mine” Top (because I can’t resist a good twinning opportunity) – ILY Couture
  2. Blush Zip Around Wallet – Marc by Marc Jacobs
  3. Perfume –  J’adore by Dior (smells AMAZING)
  4. Rosé Candle – Voluspa
  5. Gift card for massage – Spafinder via Amazon.com
  6. Comfy Robe -Barefoot Dreams

There you have a list of fun gifts for your baby’s first Valentine’s Day, and some things you may want to gift yourself. I still haven’t decided which to get for Taylor – which do you think is the best option? What was your favorite 1st holiday to celebrate with your baby?

If you liked this blog post I would really appreciate your quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs. Click HERE to cast a vote. Thank you!

xo, Ashley (1)

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