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

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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!

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

 

The Water is Wide by Natalie Banks

This post will be a little different than my usual posts, but all my book lovers will appreciate this.

Everyone has their own hobbies and one of mine is reading. Books are such a great way to escape reality and get lost between the pages of an exciting story. I’ve been lucky to be a part of a book club for the last three years with some of the sweetest girls who I can call some of my best friends. We meet once a month for brunch to discuss the book we selected the previous month. This past weekend we had the pleasure of having an exclusive FaceTime interview with the author of our latest read, Ms. Natalie Banks! It was such an amazing and intimate experience that I got to share with my closest girlfriends.

For those of you looking to read an epic romance novel, The Water is Wide will fuel all your desires. It’s full of love, pain, loss, mystery and most of all, fate. I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad we were able to pick the authors brain a little.

Where did your inspiration and ideas come from for this book? Well, it’s difficult to say sometimes.. my mind can be a little erratic so it just popped in my head. I had seen a movie some time back where a lady saw a man that looked like her dead husband and it wasn’t.. you know, it’s completely unrelated. It kind of stuck with me like everything does and one day I was like “what would happen if she saw him and it was her husband”? and so that’s kind of how the idea started marinating and simmering until I came up with the entire plot. 

Is there any truth behind your book or is it purely fiction? It’s all fiction! I mean I’ve heard stories especially after the book came out! 

Why sons in the story when you have daughters? I actually have 2 sons! That’s a great question. My creative mind is a little ..a mind of it’s own let’s say. When I’m writing, the story kind of just comes to me. It’s not like I plan it out really, like with the plot, I kind of had a skeleton idea and then I just start writing.  I’m not really one of those writers that make like the posters or the bullet points and everything. I just write. And so I don’t really think ahead. I know that sounds really strange, but they were meant to be boys! It was fate! 

We all really loved the Kindred Spirit Mailbox, the messages of hope.. Is it really in Wilmington? It is! You should Google it. It’s a really neat thing. It’s special! 

Where do you write? Where’s your setting? Is it in your house? Is it on a beach? Or a little coffee shop? The house and the beach. When I wrote The Water is Wide I actually wrote it in my living room, but now I kind of have a little place.. it’s a sun room where I put my desk and write there now. 

Thank you, Natalie for speaking with us! We cannot wait to read your next novel and maybe one day visit Wilmington! Click here to order your copy of The Water is Wide today, you won’t regret it!

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Review Wednesdays – Binxy Baby

Happy Wednesday, Loves! When I first saw this little cart hammock for my little one, I was so impressed at how simple, yet effective this thing was. I knew we had to have one and thanks to my in-laws we do!

Rylee did so well in it the first time we used it; I kept trying to find reasons to go shopping just so I can use it again! People stop and ask us about it all the time. It’s super easy to use and it’s safe. The Binxy Baby fits perfectly in my diaper bag and it clips easily on the carts with additional safety straps. My daughter is at that age where her eyes are always wandering around so having this hammock makes shopping a dream come true because now she can see everything around her while we shop. The best part about it is you no longer have to put the car seat in the cart!

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Whether you like shopping or not, this gem is worth every penny. I’d definitely recommend this to any mommy!

5 Things I Want to do to My House This Year

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We’ll be approaching our first year in our new house! As every woman idolizes their favorite interior designer and appreciates a good home makeover, these are five things I plan to accomplish this year!

  1. Backyard Oasis for Rylee. We have a small backyard as is, but this cute little corner would fit perfectly tucked under the tree we have in the back. I would just love for Rylee to have a place to play in the backyard! AD-DIY-Backyard-Projects-Kid-3
  2. Convert our loft into an actual office space. Right now our loft is a big lump sum of everything! Laundry, office, junk, and storage for unnecessary things. I’d love to turn it into a functional office space and keep it clean! 0bbb581a231e9583ca3189127afb7753
  3. Master Bedroom Makeover. I’ve always loved how a tufted bed-set looked and I’d love to get one this year and give our master bedroom a full makeover! I’ll be 30 this year and if my husband refuses to buy new bedroom furniture, I may have to spoil myself & make the executive decision LOL! I mean, who wouldn’t want to sleep in a bed like this?!62c6067b9a440e5c44f133eec17ee664
  4. Redo the staircase. Personally, I’m not a fan of our staircase or upstairs to be honest for the only reason being that I hate the carpet. It’s shaggy and a little old so redoing the staircase & upstairs with hardwood flooring would probably be first on my list.                                     9a97079551d6dee98967e87b94ac602e
  5. Rylee’s Bookshelf. Something that my husband & I love is reading which means we have tons of books! It’s only natural that Rylee will have lots of books. I would love to set up a corner of her room with a reading area. 5bcefcc905e602c60a5c7eb38b71e655

This is a tall order of things to accomplish, but I’ve got big dreams for our home this year and I know that I can’t give up on them! These things are what makes a home and I’ll work my butt off to check each one off the list!

 

Santa Isn’t the Only One Coming to Town!

The reason why Christmas time is my favorite time of the year has to do with magical things happening during this time. On December 19, 2015 Bryce got down on one knee  and asked me to marry him and just about a year later, I told him he was going to be a daddy. And this year is extra magical because we’ll be celebrating our first Christmas with our daughter. There’s always something amazing that has happened during the holidays and I’d love to share some hidden files that I haven’t shared with anyone else in my little corner of the internet.

Shortly after we got married and returned from our once in a lifetime honeymoon in Tahiti, I was scrambling around the get my last name officially changed before the year ended. I truly understand why some women forego getting their last names changed; because it’s such a hassle to do it. Thankfully all I had left was to change my driver’s license and I’d officially be Mrs. Estephany Pierce! On December 22, 2016  I had noticed that I was a week late and thought it could just be from the pressure of getting things done, last-minute shopping, holiday stress you know? But one of our best friends and Bryce’s cousin, Devon, had told me to take a test just to be sure. He had been with me all day at the DMV while Bryce was at work and on our way home we stopped at the pharmacy and he bought me a party pack of pregnancy tests! As if I needed seven tests to be sure!

Now it may seem a little out of the ordinary to have your husband’s cousin be in the next room while you are taking your pregnancy test, BUT in my defense, if I was pregnant, I wanted to make sure that Bryce got an extra special Christmas gift. Plus, Devon was living with us at the time and there was no way to avoid him lol. After the first test read PREGNANT I thought that maybe it was false so I waited a few hours and took two more after that and sure enough, each test came back positive, but to be on the safer side, I took one more the following morning which confirmed for the fourth time that I was in fact pregnant.

As Devon and I brainstormed ideas of how or when to tell Bryce, I knew Christmas morning was the day to tell him. I had to keep a secret from him for three days and even though it doesn’t seem long, it was the longest three days of my life!

As Christmas morning came, the three of us; Bryce, Devon, and myself opened up all our presents under the tree. One by one each of us got things we wanted from each other. When we were all done, there was one more gift under the tree for Bryce…….

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This Christmas will be the best one yet! Happy Holidays from my family to yours! 🙂

The Working Mom’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

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As stated in my previous post, the last few months of the year are by far the busiest and most stressful. You’re up at the crack of dawn every morning to get ready for work while trying to get those morning snuggles from your baby to making your morning cup of coffee and setting your sitter up with bottles for the day.. I mean, the mornings alone are hectic as is!

As a full-time working mother, I’m on the go 24/7. There are no days off for us! Half-way through my working day my mind is usually elsewhere; it’s on my family, the half-done to-do list written on scratch paper, coordinating plans with friends & family during the holidays, finding a sitter for the baby when our main sitter can’t sit.. The list is literally endless and I’m sure my fellow mommas can relate.

For busy working families, the holiday break doesn’t really feel like a vacation because we’re constantly still working. It’s a plethora of activities, shopping, excitement, parties, and stress.  With that in mind, there have been a few things that have helped me tremendously during these times.

  1. Starbucks DoubleSHOT Energy Drink. This thing is a LIFESAVER! I drink one every morning to jump-start my day and I’m usually great on energy for a good majority of the day. Like most people, caffeine is a must, but there are many parents that prefer alternate ways to keep their energy up. Find what works best for you because this is the time of the year where you’ll need energy the most!
  2. Shop Online. I cannot emphasize how often I use Amazon Prime. It’s the best thing out there! I do most of my shopping on there and the free 2-day shipping is clutch! Although I do enjoy hitting the stores during the busiest time of the year, online shopping is so much better for the busy working families.
  3. Hire a Housekeeper. This sounds so ridiculous when I say that I have a housekeeper out loud, but a lot of people do and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. That is what they are there for – to clean your house. That’s 5 hours of your time that you get to spend with your family or getting your errands done. Let them take care of your house.
  4. Keep Track  of Everything you Buy. It’s the most wonderful time of the year….? More like most expensive time of the year! From all the family gifts, secret Santas, holiday parties, and White Elephant gifts, you might as well take my arm and leg! I don’t mind though because it really is better to give than receive.
  5. Take a Step Back and Enjoy the Magic. We’re all busy and stressed out, but every once in a while take a step back and really live in the moment with your loved ones. Enjoy the Christmas lights, drink hot cocoa, and take advantage of all the fun holiday events taking place in your local areas. It’s so important to not put so much pressure on ourselves during these stressful times so enjoy it while you can.