Holiday Gift Guide – His & Her

Hey there loves! The holidays are quickly approaching us and I’ve decided to do a little series of gift guides to help you find the perfect gift. I got such a great response from all of you that I’ll be sharing His & Her gift guides today. Stay tuned for more gift guides in the upcoming weeks for the whole family & much more. If there’s anything you’d like to see in particular, let me know!

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 11.18.02 AM.png

  1. These chunky knit blankets are all the rage right now and I don’t hate it. They’re comfy, cute, & I’m sure your S/O wouldn’t mind cuddling in this during the cold season!
  2. With all these new & big phones making it’s debut, it’s getting harder and harder to hold your phone. Loopy Cases are seriously the best and so convenient. It’s not an eyesore on your phone case and it’s truly functional.
  3. Need I say more? I mean, Joanna Gaines, right??
  4. I recently got on the Hydroflask binge and I gotta say, I love mine! I know yours will too!
  5. Comfy loungers/joggers are seriously what we all live in during our off days. I’m not a fan of the baggy sweat pants, but these joggers are the best!
  6. I received this Marc Jacobs hydrating lip gloss over the summer and I could not stop using it. This is perfect for the women who like a little color on their lips, but also keeping their lips hydrated!
  7. For all my boho babes out there, these Macrame wall hangers are the cutest and make for the perfect gift!
  8. Since I’ve been a SAHM, I live in sweaters these days. There’s no question that a fuzzy sweater is considered inappropriate.
  9. I’m alllll for mommy & me outfits and these Mama Bear & Baby Bear shirts are great for dressing up or down! (website is currently being renovated so I linked their Instagram for you instead)
  10. Mules are trending this year for sure! I’ve seen so many different kinds and love them all.

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 3.13.56 PM.png

  1. I’m a big fan of the scoop neck hoodies. I think all men look good in them and I’ve stolen my husbands own and I’d say they’re pretty comfy too!
  2. For the sporty men in our lives, these dri-fit long sleeves are perfect for working out or just to casually wear out.
  3. I’m a sucker for a man who dresses up! These dress shirts from Express are a great gift because you can pair it with some really great accessories.
  4. Running shoes are never a bad idea because guys wear their shoes out so quickly. Under Armor shoes have booted out Nike in my hubby’s opinion, but these kicks are sure to make your man happy.
  5. We all love gadgets that make our lives easier. What better way to show convenient than by giving him a gooseneck tablet mount?
  6. Belts! It’s such a simple gift that not a lot of people give, but should because men are always in need of a new leather belt.
  7. This backpack-duffle bag is so cool! It’s literally great for any kind of man.
  8. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I’ve learned that my husband loves the smaller Hydroflasks because it’s easier to carry. Either way, a Hydroflask is a win-win.
  9. A well dressed man can never have too many ties.
  10. Not all of them wear them, but beanies are a simple, yet great gift!
  11. And last, but not least….. a hands-free belt satchel otherwise known as a fanny pack or as the hipster kids these day say, a hip pack.

Mommy Blog Q&A –

I’ve been blogging and trying to grow my online presence for the last year and I’m at a place where I feel comfortable sharing some things I’ve learned! I’ve had multiple girlfriends who have reached out to me and asked me how I got started and the common questions anyone would ask when first starting out. By no means am I an influencer, but it is flattering when people reach out and tell you they want to start a mommy blog too! It’s seriously pretty great.

I’ve compiled a list of Q&A’s that I get asked frequently so I hope these help! 🙂

  • Where do I start? 
    • When I first started, I created my blog on WordPress.com. Came up with a title that reflected what I wanted my message/brand to be and as a first time mommy, decoding motherhood just felt right! Once I created my blog and had a few posts ready to publish, I started building my Instagram presence. I found accounts who are similar to mine and started following them and targeting their followers and learning how Instagram truly works.
  • How do I continue to grow my followers? 
    • The key is ENGAGE! Follow accounts that interest you, like and engage with their posts, write genuine comments, and get to know your fellow mommy bloggers! I’m a part of a few mommy pods and we’ve all gotten to know each other and engage with one another. We’re all trying to figure out the same thing so it’s nice to also have that support from other moms.
  • How do I get my Instagram to look cohesive and have the same aesthetic throughout?
    • This one took me a long time to figure out! I also heard that brands/people are more inclined to follow you if you have a cohesive feed – 100% true. My question was, how do I achieve this goal?? I tried for months to take great photos and use the same filters, lighting, settings, etc… but even with the same edits, it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t until I discovered presets. Absolute game changer! You gotta pay a pretty penny for it, but it is so worth it. I’m currently using Alexa Jean presets and I love them!
  • How do I keep up with posts? What if I don’t know what to write about? 
    • I keep a little calendar and I plan all my posts a head of time. I’ve been slacking the last few weeks, but when I first started, I would write 3 times a week. Decide what you want to write about and put it on a calendar so you can see everything laid out for you. I usually see what other bloggers are writing about or head to Pinterest for some inspiration!
  • How do you get great photos of your daughter smiling or laughing? 
    • Haha my quote literally every time we take pictures, “Let’s make this quick, we only need one good one out of a hundred!” My husband is the man behind the camera and he just snaps away. He usually sings the ABC’s or If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! It gets a smile, giggle, or even a little wiggle every time!

If you’re thinking of starting a mommy blog or even just a personal blog, my advice is just do it. No one is judging you for your writing ability or skills, or even more so, your feelings. Blogging is such a great platform to keep track of your life and I think it’s something that people would actually enjoy doing!

 

On the Road to 30 – Change is Coming

It’s September which means it’s my birthday month! Yes, I’m totally one of those people who celebrate the entire month because one day just isn’t enough.. especially when you’re turning 30! I’ve had such an amazing life leading into my thirties and while I’ve had my share of bad times in my twenties, the last few years definitely made up for it.

As you approach the last year before you hit a milestone birthday, you start to reflect on your life, you know? Your accomplishments, what you’re going to be doing in the next few years, your career path, etc.. I’ve been really lucky to cross off husband, house, and baby on my list, but something I have been thinking of a lot lately is my blog and what I’m doing with it and where I want it to go. I remember back when Tumblr was hot! (Shoutout to all my OG Tumblr friends). I used to blog so much back then about young love and heartache lol, and loved writing whatever was on my mind! When I resurfaced blogging again last year, I forgot why I even stopped to begin with.

In the last year of writing again and learning how to use social media as a platform to send a message, I hope I can stick to writing more often and creating content that my followers will enjoy, hence “Change is Coming.” With my one year blog-aversary approaching, I’m changing up my whole blog vibe and while every day I’m decoding motherhood, I also want to explore other outlets that I absolutely love; fashion & home decor.

I hope you’ll stick around and see what I have in store for you! Don’t worry, your dose of Rylee pictures will not be affected! 🙂

xx

Why Taking a Step Back is Important.

I knew having a baby would change everything, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be trying to balance a career and a newborn baby. I totally get it now though. I’ve been working in the hotel industry for six years and more recently I’ve been a meeting planner for the last three years. I thought running down this path with a baby wouldn’t be as hard as I’ve found it to be the last year. I came back from maternity leave in October and I’ve seen things more clearly than I ever have.

I never used to mind the long days, working weekends, sometimes working 14 days straight, having two phones, etc.. but when I came back and was in a situation where I had to work 12-15 hour days and weekends, I began to dread it because I knew waiting for me at home was the sweetest little babe and I couldn’t do anything about it because I had to work. I didn’t have the typical 9am – 5pm Monday-Friday job that allowed me to be at home more and for months I was unhappy at work knowing that I could be doing something else that wouldn’t require so much attention and stress. But what could I really be doing if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now??

I was at ends trying to figure out what I truly wanted; to be a #BossMom and juggle my life as a meeting planner and move up in the corporate world or be a more present mom who was able to come home after work less stressed and probably happier. That’s when my decision was easy – I value my family so much that I just can’t bear to sacrifice a few years of missing out on my daughter’s life just so I can move up the corporate ladder. I am completely fine taking a step back in my career if that means I can be there when my daughter needs me and when she hits all her big milestones. The thought of having to work as much as I’m working as a meeting planner is daunting to be honest.

I can’t say that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made because it is scary venturing into the unknown, but it’s the best decision for my family right now. I am so relieved and happy that I’ll be able to dedicate more time to Rylee, my husband, & myself. I’ll be working in a Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon’s office where I’ll get to leave my work at work everyday and that is truly one of the best things to come!

 

Rylee Takes the East Coast; Our First Cross Country Vacation

Good Afternoon Loves! We just got back from our week-long family vacation to the East Coast. To say the least, it was quite an experience. Weeks leading up to the trip, I was already feeling anxious and my stress was a little more elevated than usual. I had been doing tons of research and asking friends and family for advice on how to travel with a baby for the first time and once it was time for takeoff, I felt ready.

We had taken Rylee on multiple road trips to our surrounding states, but never flying across the country. Here is a list of things I learned while traveling with a baby for the first time and some advice.

  • Plan your flight early in the morning so it coincides with their morning nap schedule. Rylee slept the whole flight going to NY and we planned our flight back to Vegas late at night so she would sleep the whole night. It worked for most of the flight, but she was definitely a lot more fussy during the boarding/takeoff process.
  • I had Rylee strapped in her baby carrier while we went through security and that was probably the best decision because it was so easy-going through security. I had my cellphone, boarding pass, and ID out so I could easily put them in the bin along with the diaper bag and my purse.
  • Snacks! Don’t forget the snacks! We gave Rylee Puffs anytime we felt her getting fussy and it worked.
  • I went a little overboard and made little baggies for the passengers that sat around us that consisted of ear plugs, airheads, lollipops, & Jolly Ranchers. Since it was Rylee’s first time flying, we didn’t know what to expect, but if she was fussy, at least the passengers would have a little goodie bag to know we weren’t intentionally trying to make their flight miserable!
  • Bring an arm pillow or some thing that will keep the baby comfortable. All we brought was a blanket and I wish we would’ve been more prepared.
  • Your carry-on means everything! I was able to pack all of Rylee’s essentials on my rollaway luggage – diapers, wipes travel drying kit, bottles, formula etc.. It was nice knowing that all her essentials would stay with us.

When we finally made it to the East Coast, I thought the stress would lessen, but it definitely didn’t! We had a jam-packed week of activities and I thought with everything going on, it would keep Rylee entertained, but we learned that her attention span was short-lived. After all, how exciting is Time Square for a baby? Along with trying to keep her busy, we learned that she had three molars coming in hot! How convenient right??? As if traveling isn’t stressful enough, add three molars and an extremely fussy baby to the mix.

We tried to make the most of it and stay positive during all the meltdowns, but it’s definitely tough. Below is a list of things I learned while taking her around the city and some advice for new parents that are planning a trip.

  • Have a game plan. A lot of our trip was based on spontaneity which made it difficult to plan ahead. I had 5-6 bottles with me at all times beacause I didn’t know when we’d be able to get back to our hotel or how long we’d be gone for.
  • Have a comfortable baby carrier and stroller. We bought a travel stroller for the mere purpose we didn’t want to bring her big bulky one, but I’m so glad we ended up bringing it because she napped comfortably in her stroller when we rode the subways and cruised through the city. I don’t think it would’ve been the same had we brought the travel stroller.
  • Bring lots of wipes and hand sanitizer. I don’t know how many times I wiped Rylee’s hands because of how many times they touched the ground lol.
  • Buy disposable table mats for when you go to restaurants. I found these on Amazon and it was probably my favorite travel purchase! They stick directly on table and stick underneathe the table so when they’re in their high chair and try to put their mouth on the table, at least they’re gnawing on the table mat.
  • Rely on your significant other to help. As mom’s we’re just naturally inclined to take control of the baby and try to calm them when needed, but having a S/O who is so involved and tries to help as much as they can is seriously amazing. It helps when both the stress is on both parents and not just the moms.
  • Try and have a great time even if you’re feeling frustrated! I feel guilty for having a lot of frustrating moments during this trip which resulted in everyone being in a bad mood, but once you realize that there are somethings you can’t control, you just gotta roll with the punches and take it for what it is.

Once we finally made it back home, I was so happy! Regardless of the events that played a part in this trip, I think it’s safe to say that I’ll stick to ground transportation with Rylee for a little bit longer! We definitely loved the East Coast & all it’s beauty though – take a look at some of my favorite pictures!

Headwraps: Stevie J’s – Rylee loved them! They stayed on her head all day and they’re super comfy!

Rompers: Old Navy & PatPat

Off the Shoulder Rose Top: Angelique Leotards

Recap – San Diego, CA

Happy Weekend, loves! This month has flown by extremely fast, hence, my lack of writing this month. I finally have some down time in between work, projects, reading, and of course raising Rylee. Our family did a quick weekend trip to San Diego, CA with our cousin & his girlfriend and it was to say the least, an interesting experience. We had a great time, but traveling is definitely not what it used to be.

It’s one thing to be stuck in a car with your husband and eight month old teething baby singing to Disney soundtracks for six hours, but it’s another thing when you’re also stuck in a car with a couple who doesn’t have kids. Granted they didn’t mind when Rylee had her occasional “Wrath of Rylee” tantrum, but I definitely felt the need to apologize on her behalf lol.

We stayed at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina and the Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection. Both hotels were absolutely stunning & I wish we lived by the water more and more. The best part of the trip was being able to see Rylee discover sand, the beach, and the pool for the first time! I’d never seen so much joy in her face as I did when she got to play in the water.

There were times when we disconnected from our fellow couple and unwound in our rooms or explored hotel grounds without them and I find it so funny because we all had different intentions for this trip. Yes, we all went as a group to spend time together and to get away from Vegas, but while they were off being super cute and in love, strolling down the pier, our little family of chaos was getting excited about the usage of swim diapers and Rylee cutting two top teeth! Oh, how times have changed! Regardless of what this trip was about, we all had a great time together!

A few tips to remember when traveling with a baby:

  1. Don’t forget dish soap to wash bottles! Silly me forgot to pack soap and had no way to wash Rylee’s bottles in the room.. FML right? Thankfully we got some delivered by the hotel staff!
  2. Download their favorite movie/show on the iPad before you leave or have Netflix of Hulu on your phone! This will help tremendously during your drive or during dinners to keep them occupied.
  3. It’s always better to over pack than under pack. My husband knows better not to question how many bags I bring on our weekend trips because he know’s he’ll lose if he tries to fight me haha #MomsAlwaysWin

Family 2FamilyRylee6Rylee4

 

 

Review Wednesday – DockATot

Happy Wednesday, Loves! Today I’m sharing details about one of my favorite products to date; DockATot. When I first discovered the DockATot I fell in love. This all natural, 100% cotton multi-functional gem has made parenthood just a little easier. It’s perfect for co-sleeping parents and playtime/tummy time. I’m lucky to call myself a DockATot partner and experience this product first hand and share all the great things about it!

It comes in two sizes – The Deluxe which is for babies 0-8 months and the Grand (which Rylee has) is for babies 9-36 months.

Some of my favorite features of the DockATot include:

  • Interchangeable covers. They offers different covers and they’re all so adorable!
  • Transitions baby from parents bed to their own.
  • It’s easy to transport to & from grandparents houses or vacations.
  • It’s great for cuddling!

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve gotten our DockATot and Rylee loves it! She plays and sleeps so well in it that I have no doubt once we transition her into her big girl bed, it’ll be a smooth transition. I love that DockATot has two different sizes and can really grow with your baby.

The prices may intimidate you, but I promise it’s worth every penny and a really great investment! Head over to DockATot now and save yourself $10 off when you click this link!

RyRy2

Disclosure: I received this product as part of a partnership with DockATot. All words and opinions are completely my own.