The Momofuku Birthday Cake

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I'm a fan of a good novelty cake. Even when I was on Whole30, I had a fun "cake". Scott surprised me this birthday weekend starting off with Milk Bar's Momofuku famous Birthday Cake from Goldbely. We wanted to try some in NYC last time we visited but we were short on time and missed the opportunity. And then Friday afternoon, the UPS man drops off a cake I've been thinking about trying for months. I'm on a AIP diet for most days and this cake was a treat to have. I had a slice, prayed it didn't cause mess up my AI (it didn't!) and shared the rest with friends. According to Milk Bar, this cake is a"vanilla rainbow cake layered with rainbow cake crumbs, topped with vanilla frosting". 

Goldbely is a service that delivers delicious food all over the country, this isn't sponsored but if you use my referral code, I'll get credit to order more fun items to show on this blog in the future! 

Swaddle Diaries- ErgoBaby Infant Swaddle

I started a series of swaddle posts because when people say “slept like a baby”, I really thought something was wrong with them, because have they met my baby?? Miko doesn’t sleep much. She doesn’t always nap and she was up often feeding or just playing. She’s four months and it took us awhile to find swaddles she loves, and she's so particular. Now that she’s in the beginnings of teething, she’s even more uncomfortable and I’m doing what I can to help the girl out. I’m hoping these posts will help a fussy baby sleep! Every baby is different but little did I know every swaddle is different too! 

Modeling in her Poppy and Co. Bow, and her Out of Print Onesie. 

Modeling in her Poppy and Co. Bow, and her Out of Print Onesie. 

Miko has always been a wild and independent baby since day one. When she came out of the womb, one of the surgeons was so upset by her screaming, she told me it was the angriest baby she’s ever seen in her career. When they first handed her to me, bundled and swaddled, her stare was intense. She was angry I woke her up and took her out of her warm wet sheltered home and brought her into a sterile cold bright place. A mother knows and I knew. So, we did what we would do to any newborn- we swaddled her and hoped for a pleasant baby. We noticed a pattern right away- she hated the swaddle. Her arms would flail and the familiar arm hitting certain organs made sense from the last weeks she was in utero. We kept trying, but she sometimes wakes up at night angry, and trying to flail her arms again. We remove the swaddle and she’s fine, she’s happy. Well, most of the time. 

We've use the Ergobaby Sleep Swaddle since week one, it was the first Ergobaby product I ever tried. It’s been our saving grace for extra sleep at night. I have tried traditional muslin swaddles but this girl needs the extra structure. She will kick and scream her way out of every swaddle and remind us about it all night. This one however, has been the one we keep going back to. 

What I liked about it-

+ This is a must for nap fighters and reluctant swaddled babies. I also like The Sleeping Bag Swaddle from Ergo, but this is one piece, which makes it easier for laundry. She tries to get out but is knocked out within a few minutes. 

+ It's breathable. Infants can't control their temperature yet and I'm always worried she's too hot and there's been SIDS report leading to hot babies. This makes me worry less!  

+ I can still change her diaper in it. 

+ I never had a chance to try out their previous swaddle, but this claims to be 33% lighter. 

+ The velcro isn't cheap. This is one thing I noticed about Ergobaby- they don't hold back on quality and that also includes every seam and even velcro! 

+ It comes in neutral colors. It sounds like a silly thing to like but I loved it so much, I couldn't help but wonder if it can be used for the next baby if there is one. 

+ Bells and whistles aside, it works. She's knocked out so quick. 

What I didn't like-

+ It looks confusing at first. Whatever you do, don't use it on a screaming sleepy newborn for the first time, ha! Once you get the hang of it, which took a couple times to not keep glancing at the instructions, it was so easy. I even ended up swaddling her towels similar to how it folds this after bath time, like picking up a new habit. 

I know new moms want the best for their babies and they don't want to spend a lot but this is worth a try to help your babe sleep. I love beautiful swaddles but unfortunately, Miko doesn't. This has been a huge help for us in her sleeping. Get the Infant Swaddle here

This post is in collaboration with Ergobaby. This swaddle post has been long overdue, it's tough to take photos at night indoors without waking Miko but I caught her at a good time! All honest opinions are my own and there's no monetary influence. Just keepin' real! Other products mentioned are not associated with this blog, I just really love them. Thanks for the support in reading! 

 

 

Dressed for 40 Days

2 years ago was the first time I participated in lent, I gave up TV and I loved it. This year I wanted to challenge myself but giving up TV seems too easy. I spend all my time with Miko and the TV is rarely on these days. Lent is about service, fasting, and prayer so what could I do as a woman, wife, and mom that would provide all these to my family and God?

I wanted to get dressed. Really. That's it. As in putting on a pant leg one at a time like anyone else. It seems too easy, but it's a challenge right now. I give all my time to my family right now, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity to serve them while working a paid job for a company at home. However, I noticed a pattern- when I was in my pj's all day, at the end of the night I was bad company. I enjoyed my baby but I resented parts of motherhood, my marriage, even my grief and played victim. I felt beaten, and I was inspired by Anna's post to do something more than breastfeed and give my family the bare minimum of myself. The line between relaxing, depression, and laziness was so blurred. I was overwhelmed and I started from the beginning-- to get up and get dressed. I think of this verse when God is talking to Elijah- 

The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." - 1 Kings 19:7

Elijah was spiritually depressed, fearful, anxious and life was too much for him. He made bad decisions, he wasn't taking care of himself, and his traumatic events stayed with him. I felt like Elijah at the moment I read this. 1 Kings 19:1-18 is the story of a spiritual falling and getting back up. I understand God will accept all of us, no matter where we are, but I've been better and I wanted to get there. I understand I'm in a position I cried many nights over to be in but that doesn't mean everything is suddenly a-ok. 

So far, it has been a challenge. I don't want to do laundry on my spare time, I don't want to get out of bed, wallowing and self-pity is comfortable. I hate to admit it, but I feel better. I mean, I can't say I look better in a spit up dirty tee and undone hair, but a clean pair of jeans goes far these days. I worked in salon for 10+ years and I was in the business of vanity. I remember how those new tired moms would walk in the salon and dragged themselves to the salon chair and I especially remember how they would feel when they strutted out with the extra hair flip. This dedication to get out of pj's represents more than pj's- it means I'm getting out of bed, getting uncomfortable, and if I've learned anything from my life, is being uncomfortable means some major growth is coming. I'll update on this after the 40 days! 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a collection of things I find darling.

+ I love the new board from threepotatofour in collaboration with Shop Bando! My mantel has pink now! This lyric is from Ben Howard's Keep Your Head Up, one of my favorite songs from him. 

+ Ashley from MakeupTIA popped in for a visit to California. We had coffee, chatted, took a walk, and she shared her great LA and beach trip on her IG stories- now I'm inspired to get out more. 

+ Torrid has a new Beauty and The Beast line. I'm loving this print on this flattering peplum

+ Read 15 Classic Books in Under a Minute

+ Since the movie is coming out this month, why not? Beauty and The Beast Le Creuset? Okay!

+ Finding Books in The Least Unexpected Places in LA  

+ The conflict between millennials and Gen X'ers. I'm neither, I'm right in the middle and this is an interesting article. 

+ The History of Dream Pop 1983-2017

+ A taco pizza? It's friday pizza night. 

Happy Friday! 

The Co-Sleeper That Helps With More Than Co-Sleeping

As a baby loss mom, I have to be completely honest about motherhood- we are on constant panic mode. That’s not to say a mom who hasn’t experienced baby loss isn’t but there’s a joy stolen from motherhood we’ll never get back and it’s always in the back of our heads. There’s the paranoia you joke about, and there’s the real clinical paranoia that comes with trauma. Unfortunately, I worry about everything, and I mean e v e r y t h i n g. I also want to experience everything, including co-sleeping. I wanted Miko snuggled right next to me but how do I do that without risk? I read about the Dock A Tot, loved the idea behind it, trusted the research and the brand, and from the day I brought Miko home (still feels so unreal to say that), it’s become our most used baby item in the house. 

A quick note- yes, this is a collaborated post with Dock A Tot, but I was a customer before I became a partner. I loved the product so much, I contacted them to praise their co-sleeper. I seriously love this product and I’m so excited to tell you about it!

What I loved about it!

  • What I first loved about it is it’s breathable, meaning when Miko’s face turns and she ends up close to the edge, I won’t have to worry about her breathing. I always check to make sure she’s okay and gently move her face away but I won’t suffocate her.
  • It’s designed to snuggle like a womb. Adding this plus a swaddle- pure gold for the best (4 hours or whatever amount they'll allow you to) sleep ever. 
  • It helps with tummy time. We tried all kinds of special tummy time mats with Miko but nothing was working. Finally, I tried the Dock A Tot and it worked for her! 
Tummy time is saved! 

Tummy time is saved! 

  • It has replaced the crib for now. Just like my treadmill at one point was used for housing laundry when I was pregnant, Miko’s crib is used as a catch-all except the baby. I tried using it and she wasn’t ready for it. We keep coming back to the Dock A Tot
  • It protects from common risks of co-sleeping. I don’t roll over on her because the sides are high enough to protect her. 
  • I just generally feel safe having her in it. I love baby wearing because I feel safe with her close to me, but this is the next best thing. It’s like a little cocoon next to me. It has a handle to carry easily from space to space, and can easily adjust at the ends as baby grows. 
  • Another joy of motherhood is engorgement and realistically, I can't carry her when that happens. I set the sleeper on the table and you can even add a gym by placing the sleeper over the gym to keep them busy. 

What I Didn’t Like About It

I was a little shocked at first at the price but since it’s replaced my crib, some use of the bassinet, and given me peace of mind to sleep better (when I can sleep!) it’s worth every dollar. Miko uses the Deluxe version, for infants. When she grows, I plan on using the Grand for kids even if she's no longer co-sleeping. 

There’s risk in everything we do for our babies, and the times we do take that risk it can be re-assuring knowing there’s something out there that will help parents breathe a little easier at night. I’m a big fan of co-sleeping with the correct safety precautions and Dock A Tot makes me sleep easier at night (when I finally do get sleep!)

The Swaddle Diaries: The ErgoBaby Sleeping Bag + Swaddle

Update- I changed out some of the photos from the original post. I was using the swaddle wrong, yikes! The sleeping bag should go underneath the swaddle, not over it! My sincere apologies to ErgoBaby, mom's reading this and of course Miko! 

I've been parenting for 3 months and getting to know my baby. One thing I know for sure is she doesn't agree all swaddles are the same. She's picky at everything, including what she's swaddled in. The ErgoBaby Sleeping Bag arrived in my mail and I’ll admit I was hesitant. Miko is a wild baby when it comes to sleeping and it took me a long time for me to use one type of swaddle for her at night (the ErgoBaby Sleep Swaddle, but that’s for another post!) If she uses another kind, it’s like she notices something is off and we start all over again. 

I used the ErgoBaby Sleeping Bag on nap time. She rarely takes naps at 3 months and I didn’t want to risk losing her sleeping pattern and I was okay losing an afternoon on testing it out. Well, it didn’t go as planned. I didn’t lose an afternoon, I gained one. I was able to do things I couldn’t do when I normally wear her around the house- I worked out, I showered, I did my hair (a m e n), and I’m pretty sure half the time I was checking in on her. Now I finally understood what “sleep like a baby” means. She slept! I still reserve her other swaddler for night time but this is a good start! 

What I liked -

  • I instantly liked the two-piece set. It has a similar design to the ErgoBaby Sleep Swaddle but she can grow into it as her shoulder size grows. 
  • It’s adjustable. There’s three different size settings on the shoulders and at 3 months, she can comfortably fit in the smallest size, but still be roomy for the biggest one. 
  • I used the other Ergo Swaddle and when I doubled it, she had no problem sleeping.
  • The light fabric is 100% cotton, and breathable.
  • My favorite part of the design was the little peek in the fabric to check her diaper. I know it’s such a small detail but it’s a big help. I don’t have to unswaddle her to check and risk waking her. 
  • The swaddle is customizable. It can be worn alone, with the sleeping bag, or just the bag and no swaddle. It can be worn to fit her arms, one arm, or around her belly to calm her. 
  • I can leave the swaddle on and change her diaper. omg. I never thought I’d get so excited about these things but this is parenthood, right?? 

What I didn’t like-

  • I couldn’t find anything to critique. Seriously. Maybe because it doesn’t come in pink?? Is that a valid review? Ha! 

You can pick up your ErgoBaby Sleeping Bag here, and it comes in adorable sheep and elephant patterns! I promise more the ErgoBaby Swaddler soon! I should also note I played with the ABM PS actions and I really love the layers of Pearl and Just Kissed. It brings out Miko's pretty blues. 

This post was a paid collaboration with Ergobaby. My opinions are mine. Other products mentioned and this blog are not associated, I just really love them.Thanks for your support! 

Friday Darlings

Every Friday I have a collection of things I find darling.

+ This week Moorea Seal and photographer Marissa Maharaj came to the house to take some photos for Moorea's new book, Make Yourself at Home, coming out in Fall. Here's a sneak peek of how I set it up. My kitchen has never been so clean!

+ It's Feb 3, but you still have time to catch up on Kate Gabrielle's February Photo Challenge.

+ It's almost spring but I'm holding on to whatever cold weather California is offering. I love this floral  dress with brown suede booties. 

+ Why We Should Celebrate Beyonce's Pregnancy in an Era of Trump. 

+ Developing Your Scrapbook Style. 

+ Sleater Kinney cover David Bowie and George Michael

+ I can't stop watching this video. Amazing!

+ Friday night pizza night.  

Enjoy your weekend! 

Editing My Closet

Years ago, I read the book Overdressed and it changed my thinking on shopping. Over time, I was discouraged with shopping indie designers- they didn't have my size, they were expensive, or they didn't have the quality and tailoring skills I was used to with most designers. I don't have time to go to thrift stores and sort through so many racks. Plus, have you read that David Sedaris story where he gets crabs from a thrift store? I grew up on thrifting but it because my family had to, not because I wanted to. The book was intense and I was ready to change! Or so I thought. 

Even after reading such a heart breaking book on the fashion industry, I went back to my old habits. Fast fashion is cheap and shopping is fun! I tried Marie Kondo method, I tried a wardrobe capsule. I tried wardrobe subscriptions. I tried a personal stylist at a department store. I even moved across the country expecting it to force me to minimize my spending. Nothing was working. Then I read The Curated Closet and I suddenly got it. I kept buying clothes because I was searching for a style to label. I went through my punk phase in high school, my preppy Brooks Brothers phase in my 20's, my rockabilly phase, and every personality you can think to come from a woman's closet, I had the clothes for. Once I removed the idea a closet doesn't need a label, getting dressed got easier. 

The book breaks down to figure out what style you love. There are no labels, you can call it whatever you want. I'm a mix of basics mixed bombshell (eg. a low cut wrap dress in every color, yes please). Once I figured that out, I edited my closet. Heavily. I sold on Poshmark and I loved it. It was easier than Instagram, I couldn't keep up with another account. Poshmark is completely separate app, it has millions of users to introduce your closet to, and it takes care of shipping fee's on the sellers side. All I have to do is print, package it and drop it off.

A couple important things to keep in mind when using the app-

Value is different for everyone. Poshmark has an "offer" button, and sometimes I'll get outlandish offers like $10 for a great condition Marc Jacobs wallet. It may be offensive, but value perception is different for everyone. I'm selling some cute Kate Spade silk blouses I paid full price for, but at this point, the value of extra space is more worth to me than having to hold on to them for a better price. So don't look too shocked when you get a crazy offer. You can turn it down or wait for the right buyer. 

Buy secondhand.- Right now I'm toggling in between sizes and instead of buying full price or even searching for a brand new item, I buy secondhand. It saves money, the environment and you support another person who's trying to declutter. Read more details on Katrina's great blog post on the benefits of secondhand. 

Overall I would recommend the book and the app. Together, it can be a powefful combo in your tools to edit your wardrobe. You can shop my closet here. 

 

A Softer Version of a Tougher Moment

Warning to readers with baby loss sensitivityThis post contains sensitive material containing NICU babies, with photography and discussion on infant loss. If you know a family or loved one, or a patient who would benefit from this service, please read on to contact Gavrielle. 

I remember when I ordered our Christmas Cards from 2014. It’s not the ones I had in mind. I was hoping for a fresh baby with a silly Santa suit or beard, or Christmas lights wrapped around him. Or even him coming out of an unwrapped box- he was a gift after all. Instead it’s a photoshopped pair of his feet. Not only were his feet not dipped in Christmas colored paint as the digital alter implies, but we only have his right foot. The nurse who cleaned him and wrote his death certificate gave us only one foot. I wasn’t there to ask for a clip of his hair, an outline of his hand, or even ask to hold him. I was struggling with him for the past 25 hours, I didn’t know what to ask for.

When I think of the day he was born, I wish they would have given me options, that I was more focused, or had at least one minute of clarity, asked for privacy, or that I simply could have held him for a long time. I constantly think about him, he is everywhere I go, everything I listen to , he’s in all the beautiful "instagramable" sights I see, he’s in the fragrance of everywhere I step. He's in Miko, he's in his dad, he's even in me when I catch myself in store front windows. I think of his face, his lashes, his lips and his cheeks. This is all I was given and I will take it all in as much as I can. 

I wish I had met Gavrielle earlier. I wish someone would have offered me the service Gavrielle offers to families.  She's a photographer offering her resources for families that need that moment to remember. I'd like to say she has a soft heart but no, it's the opposite.

To walk in and endure the pain of a family from a sick child, to endure the possibility that a family may come out one family member less doesn't take a soft heart. It's the opposite, but yet her softness comes out in her photos. She's inspired by the loss of her mother, a small doll she was given as a child and the meaning it brought her through her grief. This is her version of that doll- to give something back to families. Questioning and denying what she had to do and experiencing panic attacks from the "what if's" swimming in her head, she fought against herself to do what was right. This is an uncomfortable setting and she does it with grace and servitude to the families. It may be rewarding to her at the end of the day, but it's more than that. When the family looks at a photo of "that one time" and the anguish they experienced, the uncertainty, it's a quiet and powerful thank you at each glance. 

In her own words- "I feel like that was exactly what I needed to do to prepare for the situations I encountered/may encounter in the future. I now know that I have to give myself time to heal also - I felt selfish for that for a long time because it seemed so awful that I would even take my own feelings into consideration after what these families were going through, but it really weighs heavy on your heart. Their situations aren’t fair, and I don’t want to get used to that feeling. However, the good stories far outweigh the bad stories, and I don’t want anyone reading this to give up hope. Hope is so important. These babies, and their parents who love them so fiercely, give me hope. I get such an overwhelming feeling of happiness when I see their updates posted about them reaching hospital milestones, or better yet, them going home. They all have such a special place in my heart."

You can reach Gavrielle on her website, Instagram or Facebook. Photos copyright of Gavrielle Webb. 

The Nursing Station + Ergobaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow

I'm so grateful I get the opportunity to work with Ergobaby. Every time I tested out a product, I felt safe with each item and safer knowing Miko was backed up by science and years of research in product.

Today I'm happy to test out the Natural Curve Nursing Pillow. I have a "nursing station", an IKEA Raskog kitchen cart I've been using to hold my essentials during nursing- hand sanitizer, a mini-breast pillow (great when engorged, ouch, and the extra support helps), a clean swaddle, nipple balm, tissue, hand lotion, lactation bars, my Kindle, iPad, headphones, a heating pad, and I had my Spectra pump charging when I took this photo, along with The Pumpin Pal (a MUST if you have a hard time with regular pumps). I take it with me everywhere I'm nursing around the house, along with the pillow that fits right at the bottom. These are my "must-haves" when nursing at home, and the pillow has become one of them. I tried nursing in public for the first time recently and all I could think is how silly I must have looked carrying around a big pillow but I wish I brought it! 

Here's what I loved about the pillow!

  • Holds flanges for pumping like a table! I loved that because I'm hands-free. I couldn't remember the last time I opened up a paperback book and wasn't struggling reading my Kindle. 
  • It really does have a natural curve to fit each body type- Sometimes Scott wears this to help feed Miko. He's tall and lean, and he loves it. 
  • It feels safer. I was gifted some other popular breast feeding pillows and while I could see why they're popular, for me, they were too big. I feel like I have a desk wrapped around my waist and all I need is an old telephone and a stapler with my laptop and I'm set to answer your calls. Miko could easily roll off those if I wasn't careful and the Ergo pillow tucks her away. 
  • It's sleek looking. I hate to admit, I LOVE this feature. It looks good anywhere and it doesn't look out of place, like it belongs only in the nursery.
  • It feels good. It's a little hard at first, but once I started using it, I noticed the pillow got softer. I noticed Miko will just chill on the pillow, and not get as fussy. I can't tell if it's the head placement, the fabric or just the curve part of the pillow, but something about it, she really loves. 
  • It's washable. You can remove the cover and throw in the wash. AMEN. 
  • I have big boobs and with this pillow, I don't have to hold myself to feed Miko. I don't know how to explain it unless you've experienced it, but I can rest easy with it. It's the little things that really help! 
  • You don't need a back pillow. I use one because my nursing chair is so far back, but I don't need it anywhere else I'm sitting. 

What I didn't like!

  • I was still swollen after surgery and I couldn't have this fit. It would either rest on my stomach, but it was awkward and I felt like the pillow was too far from my body. Keep in mind, I was fresh out of surgery with no pain medication and if you barely touched my stomach I would be in pain. I also couldn't fit in my nursing chair, that's how swollen my hips were, too. I only tried it on the chair and couch, but someone told me I should have used it sitting on the bed and I would have better luck. Just a tip if you want to try something else!

That's the only critical feedback I have towards the Ergobaby Pillow! I love this pillow and I've been telling everyone to add it to their baby registry. Buy it here!  

This post was a paid collaboration with Ergobaby. My opinions are mine. Other products mentioned and this blog are not associated, I just really love them. Thanks for your support!