Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cutest Girls Dresses Ever: Dot Sot Smile Swirly Girls Dress Review

If joy could be spun into a dress it would be a Dot Dot Smile Ballerina Dress. As soon as I tore open my beautiful package that Jen sent me, I immediately scrunched up the dress and hugged it close to my cheek because it was soft, so soft, and I wanted to snuggle it in.

Then I immediately held it out so I could see the adorable details in all their glory. The adorable v neck and scrunch design in front. The 3/4 length sleeves that highlight her little wrist rolls.

The sweetheart criss-cross back design. And of course, the dreamy swirly skirt - it was love at first sight for sure.

This print is called the Moana print - anyone else's kids completely obsessed with that movie right now? Mine too. I really couldn't love this dress more if I tried.

Taylor is wearing a 6-12 month size and it fits perfectly. It's so stretchy that I think this will be one of those dresses that can later double as a tunic when paired with leggings- double duty wear is always a plus when shopping for kids!

Dot Dot Smile is a family owned company based out of California, and all of their clothing is made in the USA. It is sold by independent business owners all over the country, moms like you and me. My girl Jen, hook you up with the mot adorable ballerina dress for your little princess or any other of their fun trendy, twirly girly clothing options. You can shop her entire collection on here VIP Facebook page here. It's really shopping you can feel good about!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Get Glowing Skin with Nip + Fab

You may have heard Kylie Jenner recently touting the brand Nip + Fab, so I was super excited to partner with them to try some of their Glycolic Acid treatments. Glycolic Acid is said to retexture and resurface your skin in a gentle, natural, yet effective way.

The Glycolic Cleansing Fix is a foaming facial cleanser with glycolic acid and olive oil. I loved this combination because it gently exfoliated my skin without drying it out. It left my skin glowing and fresh.

The Glycolic Scrub Fix had an amazing fresh citrus scent and is a triple action polish that gently buffed my face to a nice and glowy appearance. This one was awesome for use a couple of nights a week and I always feel my skin has a great illumination the next day after I use this. Love!

The Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme are another great way to get in an effective skin exfoliation without using a scrub. These pre-saturated pads have a super strength cocktail of glycolic acids and are the perfect way to refresh skin, especially if its congested or oily, before bed. These made my skin feel super refreshed and clean afterwards.

The Cellulite Fix Body Sculpting Gel is a fresh spa-like soothing gel that when applied twice a day to areas prone to cellulite (upper thighs - I'm talking to YOU!) really did help tighten and firm those areas for a smoother overall appearance. This gel is perfect for a pool party or any Summer activity when you want to feel your most confident.

All of Nib + Fab's products are an EXCELLENT value for how well they preform. Each of ranged in price from $7.95 to $18.25, which makes quality skincare that works available to everyone. I've gotten great results and had so much fun trying all of these new products and can't wait to see my long term results with continued use.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Fun Summer Games to Help Prevent Summer Brain Drain

Summer Brain Drain is real. We even got an email from my sons school with tips and tricks on how to prevent it. And no, it doesn't involved hours of workbook pages and flash card drills. There are lots of fun activities that you can do with your kiddos at home that will keep their little minds fresh and active all summer long.

One of my favorite ways to help prevent Summer Brain Drain is playing games with my son. We try to play one every day after I put his baby sister down for nap. I'm sharing two of our new favorite Learning Resources games that we play together below.

Lil' Lemonade Stand-Off A Matching Game is so cute! Each player takes a turn trying to earn coins by memorizing lemonade "orders" and recreating them.

 This was such a fun one to play with my little guy! We laughed and sweated it out trying to re-create the "harder" 3 coin orders and ended up playing twice in a row because the first time we tied (and the second time he won!)

Lots of fun and we already have plans to play this again when he has his little besties over - with a glass of lemonade in hand of course! Check out this cute video here to see this game in action!

Alphabet Acorns Activity Set is another fun set that game be used is a variety of ways! The set includes 26 alphabet acorns, each with a uppercase letter on the front and a color coded top with the lowercase letter underneath, and a coordinating toy that starts with that letter.

 The skies the limit with this set! Your little one can match upper and lower case letters as they put the acorns together, match the tiny toys to the acorns, or even make their own scavenger hunt as seen in the video here (we are so doing this next time we play!)

We loved working together to match up the coordinating toys to the letter acorns they belonged with. Afterwords, we emptied our acorns, and then tried to see how many different words we could make out of the acorns in our pile. This is a fun hands-on learning set that is great for a variety of ages. I can totally picture my son using it to teach his baby sister her colors and letters in a couple of short years too!

Some other ways we like to help prevent Summer Brain Drain are weekly visits to the library for story time and to check out books and having my kids help me out cooking in the kitchen. What are your favorite engaging Summer time activities for kids?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Favorites Lately - Vacation Edition

We returned home from a family Carlsbad Vacation 2 weeks ago and it was nothing short of magical. There is something about the blue skies, ocean breeze, sunshine, and salty air that just makes EVERYTHING amazing. Not to sugar coat anything, usually vacations with kids, especially when one of them is under the age of one, aren't easy, but they are always worth it. There were a few things that made our trip a little easier and I wanted to share them with you in a Favorites Lately - Vacation Edition!

Block Island Organics Natural Face Moisturizer SPF 30 - Wit the gorgeous weather of southern California, every vacation day was going to be a sun day. I applied this moisturizer liberally every morning all over my face under my makeup and it protected my skin so well. This was a terrific moisturizer and absorbed easily, not making my face shiny. Love that it is made with natural and vegan ingredients like zinc and aloe. I think I'll make this my go-to facial moisturizer this Summer and beyond!

Love Comma Cold Shoulder Top - I absolutely love the effortless style that a cold shoulder top has! Cute and trendy but effortlessly chic. This top offers everything I could ever want in a top: chic cold shoulder design, discreet nursing access, stripes, and is has a sleek front kangaroo POCKET!! Incredible, right?! The silhouette is easy and drapey without being clingy or tight. Feels just like your favorite t-shirt but with an elevated style. I wore this puppy all over San Diego on vacation because I wanted something that was effortless and easy to nurse Taylor in while we were on-the-go. Love Comma hit a home run with this top and it will for sure be one that I wear long after my breastfeeding journey is done!

Bumble and Bumble Don't Blow IT (H)Air Styler - I was introduced to this little miracle worker in a sample subscription box from Sephora and tried it on a whim and am completely in love. It's perfect for adding some texture and volume and enhancing any natural wave you have in your hair effortlessly! I just wash my hair and then rub a little bit of this in and let it air dry, When you're on vacation and you know you're going to spend all day at the beach , you don't want to spend 20 minutes drying and curling your hair. This gives it a really cute textured style that couldn't be any easier. I've been using it all Summer long because I would much rather spend more time playing with my kiddos then tending to my hair - especially in the heat! I'll be upgrading to a big tube once my sample runs out - this is a great product.

Pacific Breeze Pop Up Tent - We knew we wanted to spend as much time at the beach on our vacation as possible and this tent made it possible. It was super easy to assemble in under 5 minutes and had plenty of stakes to hold it down even on one particularly windy day. It provided a great way for us all to seek a little shelter for the sun and totally allowed us to stay at the beach much longer than we could have without it. We found ours locally at Costco about a month ago, so you can check there too! Total lifesaver and something we;ll bring with us every beach vacation going forward.
Zoku Glass Core Bottle - I took this bottle with me everywhere on vacation! I absolutely love drinking from glass bottles (it just makes everything so much cleaner and crisper tasting) but I don't love the fear of having glass break (especially with kiddos around). This bottle has a silicone cushioned bottom that absorbs impact like a champ and has the actual glass bottle suspended in between a double-wall insulating chamber for further protection and thus giving it the ability to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot - perfect for my post run on the beach water and my leisurely patio breakfast coffee after! I am very particular about water bottles (living in Phoenix I have tried everything it seems!) and ts one checks all the boxes and is my current fav for sure. I'll be carrying this around all Summer long!

What are some of your vacation or summer must-haves?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tips for Dining Out With A Baby

Before we had little Taylor, we loved to go out to eat as a family. Since both Adam and I work from home, going out to eat was always a nice way to gt out of the house and we loved trying new places out together. Bound and determined to not let new parenthood slow us down, we vowed to continue our dining out experiences. The first month or two went well, because Taylor would be sleepy and usually just sleep through he entire meal in her baby car seat. After the that though, when she became more awake and alert, dining out became a much bigger challenge. I can't tell you how many times I would take her outside to nurse, while Adam and our son would wait inside to have our food boxed up to take home, The whole situation would leave me stressed out and vowing to "not go out to eat ever again!"

Of course that didn't happen, but now that Taylor is 8 months old I think we have a pretty good system down that I wanted to share. So here are my 8 tips on eating out with a baby:

1. Location - Eat at a kid friendly place. When I say kid-friendly, I don't mean McDonald's (because, eww gross). Kid friendly to me means a big enough table to spread out, so that we can sit comfortably, with all of our baby gear. We like to go to places with lower lighting and believe it or not, sports bars or breweries, because the crowds there tend to be more loud and/or laid back, so we don't feel bad about being noisy ourselves. We also like to eat outside if the weather permits. Babies are going to get messy and throw food all over the ground and outdoor seating is just better for that.

2. Timing - You know your baby best, so make plans to dine out well before their fussy time of night, even if it means eating with the senior citizen crowd (hey, we're in be by 9:30 so it works!)

3. Chair - We recently purchased this Chicco Portable High Chair and we all LOVE it! It hooks right onto the table which is great because she's at our height and there no questions who (or more accurately. who's germs) sat in the seat prior.

4. Wipes - We love these alcohol free sanitizing wipes from Babyganics (again, from Amazon - seriously though, how did parents past function without Amazon Prime?) We try to wipe down the entire table and anything Taylor will touch when we first sit down. They are made for hands too, so they are a good option to clean up everyone's hands before and after the meal as well.

5. Toys! - We try to hold off on Taylor eating until we eat (that's how I feed her at home, while I'm eating) so pre-dinner time is toy time. This Grapple Toy Tether is an absolute lifesaver! It's suction cup base sticks to any smooth surface and has these silicone toy tethers that securely hold her toys or sippy cup to prevent them from being tossed on the ground - genius! The top even flips up which is a fun place to put a few cherrios or a small toy for her to grab for, When we are all finished with dinner, it folds up into a cute little apple shape and hooks right onto our diaper bag. Serious life saver and restaurant game changer.

6. Baby Place Mat- We couldn't eat out without our silicone baby place mat. We tried a couple of other brands but this one (again, from Amazon - we swear we shop at other places, just not regularly :))

Whats great about this one is the size, its really big (about the sizer of an adult place mat). Since it has a smooth back, it will "stick" to a table top and then we simply fasten the arms of the Chicco Travel Chair over it as an extra layer of protection from little hands that want to lift their place mats up and dump their food everywhere! It has three cute separate compartments to place the food in, which helps keep things visually interesting for Taylor, and the compartments have high walls, which help prevent the arm windshield-wiper-like waving and scattering food all over the table and floor. #DinnerDishBaby

7. Food - Taylor has a great appetite and loves to eat almost anything that we cut up for her into tiny bite-sized pieces. Restaurants are not the time to bring fancy. messy, or new foods, we reserve those for home. I like to try to bring her tried and true favorites (which recently are cheerios, strawberries, peaches, corn, and pasta). I will usually just throw some of the above mentioned foods into a little baggie (I love these cute reusable ones from Bumpkins) ahead of time.
8. Relax and Enjoy Yourself - Remember that dining out is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable experience and not  stressful one! I believe that babies pick up on their parents emotions, so if you are relaxed and enjoying yourself, then your baby will follow suit!

Do you have any other tips and tricks to make dining out with your baby more successful? Please share!

Best Bars Ever

As a breastfeeding runner I am eating ALL. THE. TIME. I am burning calories like crazy and want to make sure I'm fueled to tackle all that daily life throws at me. I'm always snacking and on-the-go and because of this, I was really excited to partner with The Best Bar Ever.

I try really hard to focus on eating real and clean foods 90% of the time. I tend to stay away from many bars because they have junk ingredients (and claim to be healthy - oh the irony!) That's one thing that impressed me about these bars off the bat was that they are made with real nourishing ingredients and don't have any artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. Since they are made with real preservatives, they are to be kept in the fridge once they reach you. This impressed me greatly, I feel like so many protein bars you buy on the shelf have been on that same shelf for ages and are not fresh at all. 

With flavors like Cinnamon Bun, Peanut Butter Chocolate, and Cookie Dough, you can't go wrong, but I think my favorite of the bunch was the Apple Pie which combines whole food ingredients like almonds, cashews, and dried apples, with a whey protein isolate to deliver 15 grams of protein in each 250ish calorie bar. The bars are very filling which I loved (since I'm always hungry!) and honestly really are the best tasting bars ever!

I love the texture of these bars too, soft and chewy, with larger bites of nuts, fruit, or chocolate chunks (depending on the flavor). It had the perfect mouth-feel for me of chewy and crunchy because #Texture Matters.

Ordering The Best Bars Ever is super easy from their website where they are made fresh and then delivered to your door. They have a special incentive which makes ordering from them a no brainer. When ordering from them for the first time, you get a code to redeem for a FREE $20 Wellness Gift Card that you can easily redeem at a wide variety of other premium online health stores (they offer everything from supplements to snacks to exercise equipment and more!) I redeemed mine for some all-natural baby wafers made from fruits and vegetables that I'm really excited to feed my daughter! 

Because The Best Bars Ever company really wants you to try their bars, they have offered to give the first 5 of my readers that purchase and email me a picture of the bars (email me at an EXTRA $20 health and wellness gift card!! It's really a pretty sweet deal, you order a 6 pack of The Best Bars Ever for $20 and then you get 2 $20 gift cards to redeem at the Health and Wellness Store of your choice! I can't wait for you all to try these and fall in love with their real food flavors too!! What flavor are you going to order?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Never Leave Your House Unprepared Again!

 No matter how many times I think I leave my house with all of the "essentials" packed - i inevitably always forget that one thing that I need!! Enter the Neat Parents Kick Organizer mat, which not only helps keep the back of my car seats clean, but literally SAVES my butt when I forget to pack the essentials.

The mat slips easily over the headrest of my seat and matches my car's grey interior great I hang it over my chair, because my 7 year old sits behind me and he is a great helper, and can dole out the necessities in case we need something while I'm driving. It has three mesh pockets that I like to keep stocked full!

These are my essentials that I like to keep packed in my pockets at all times:

Diapers and Wipes - Wipes for hands and behinds!

Change of Clothes for Baby

SNACKS - For all of us! Make sure it's something that won't melt or spoil




Lip Balm (in a squeeze tube so it won't melt)

Small Toys - Usually something the baby can safely chew on and maybe a pencil for her big brother who sometimes likes to draw or do his homework in the car.

Empty Bags - This comes in so handy!! Can be used to bag up a stinky diaper, put wet clothes in, or just to stuff with trash to help clean out the car!

Since putting our Organizer Mat in our car, our car trips (short or small!) have been so much smoother and cleaner too! Do you keep essentials in your car for your kiddos? If so, what are your must-haves?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fun in the Sun (With Some New Responsibilities!)

We have been in our new home for a little over a month now and we are just so in love with our new space! One of our very favorite features is our new pool - especially now that its Summer time! You can find us daily playing, splashing, and living it up poolside.

Since it has been over 10 year since wither Adam or I have owned a pool, it took a little bit of a learning curve to learn how to properly maintain it! He was so great about learning how to properly balance and chlorinate the pool, clean the filters, and brush the sides down.

Since I spend a lot of time on our Baja Step with the kids, what was really bothering me was the scale build up on the upper pool times. That's why I was so excited to try out this #ElevateEssentials  Pumice Stone.

 It worked wonderfully and really made our pool tiles shine again! Our only complaint was that, the #pumicestone wore down pretty quickly, but we did have an excessive amount of scaling to clean up. Bonus was that we could clean the tiles from IN the pool! If you have to do #PoolCleaning, that's the way to do it, right?

For a limited time, you can save 25% off your own pool tile cleaning block with the discount code POOLBL25. Do you have any pool maintenance tips for us?