Hospital Bag Reality Check (What I Really Needed)

Remember that hospital bag checklist post I published before baby arrived? Here’s my update on how that stuff actually worked out for me. Clue: it didn’t.

Hospital Bag Reality Check

At 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant I went in for one of my last routine prenatal check-ups only to find that baby was coming via c-section later that SAME day. Luckily I had tentatively packed my bags but there was still an element of surprise I was sure I’d never experience. When you’re in shock like that, even adding the remaining 3 or 4 unpacked items can seem like a huge challenge. I mean, who is in the frame of mind right then to pack intelligently? I wasn’t. Although I did curl my hair because, insanity…

I arrived at the hospital three bags in tow. I left baby’s bag and my recovery bag in the car, bringing in with me a small tote containing the few essentials I would need for waiting. Because waiting is never fun. In that bag I had my tablet, phone charger, camera and personal essentials like lip balm, hand cream, hair ties, clips etc. Mistake number one! I didn’t need that bag. I was admitted at 3.45pm, gowned by 3.50pm and by 4.45 I was being prepped for surgery! That bag turned into an inconvenience that had to be looked after at the nurses station and despite the fact that I was about to have major surgery and meet my baby, I was worrying about my belongings being safe.

Fast forward one hour. I was wheeled out of the OR, into a recovery unit where I spent another hour being prodded, poked and watched for surgical complications. Once I was sent to my room, I relaxed. I met my nurse, took my pain medication and settled into the world’s comfiest bed with baby in my arms. WE STAYED LIKE THIS FOR 2 DAYS.

I wore hospital gowns for my entire stay, they were far more convenient for skin-to-skin and feeding. Baby wore a diaper the entire time as she was skin-to-skin practically the whole stay. She was swaddled in hospital blankets and literally the ONLY thing she used that I brought was a hat (the hospital also supplied me with 3). In fact, the hospital supplied me with EVERYTHING. Diapers, wipes, blankets, hats, nasal aspirator, bath wash, wash cloths, hair brush, you name it – it was there. I was so happy but also kicking myself for agonizing over the bag of goodies I had packed. Not to mention, baby was only 5lbs 11oz and to this day still hardly fits into anything I brought with me. I used nothing but deodorant and my toothbrush until I was going home when I got dressed for the first time! The hospital provided me with all of my recovery essentials including random stuff like body wash, fluffy socks and other toiletries.

Long story short, I can’t wait to have my second baby and rock up to labor & delivery with nothing but my handbag. Well not literally but I will be going full minimalist!

What I’d Bring The Second Time Around
  • Boppy Pillow
  • Baby Going Home Outfit
  • Mom Going Home Outfit
  • 1 Muslin Swaddle Blanket
  • 1 Newborn Hat
  • Basic toiletries
  • Camera

I mean it, that’s it!

What was your hospital stay like? Were you given everything or left to fend for yourself?

Save

Save

Continue Reading

DIY Wood Letter Kids Name Decor

Long time, no post my friends! It’s been 8 joyful (and exhausting) weeks of being a mother and I was long overdue a new post. I planned on taking a month long blog break (HA!) but evidently I overestimated my abilities to juggle it all. Motherhood has been the steepest learning curve of my life but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My crafty side has been twitching from being so stagnant and today I’m bringing you this adorable DIY name project. Put your own spin on it and add the sweetest personal touch to baby’s room!

DIY Nursery Name Decor

I love my baby’s name. I should, shouldn’t I? I spent nine long months agonizing over what it might be and hopefully she likes it just as much! I’m amazed by the amount of people who haven’t heard the name before. In case you haven’t heard of it, here’s a little background.

DIY Nursery Name Art

I always wanted to display the baby’s name in the nursery but wasn’t sure how. I’m not a huge fan of letters hanging from the wall individually and since there are six of them in hers I wasn’t too wild about six permanent holes in my already terrible walls! If you search baby name craft on Pinterest you will be able to scroll for hours through wood letter craft. Some of them were just too well, ‘pinterest’ for me. I wanted something elegant and dainty yet without fuss.

DIY Nursery Name Art

To the craft store! The best part of this was the fact that I bought everything I needed for under $15! I decided on scrapbook paper to decorate. Rather than sticking to one pattern I got four different kinds for a mismatched, feminine look.

DIY Nursery Name Art

DIY Nursery Name Art

Making the name was easy as pie. I simply drew around the letters on my paper of choice, carefully cut out the shape (using a sharp scissors!) then mod podged it to the wood. Done!

DIY Nursery Name Art

Initially, I was going to display the letters simply. I purchased a narrow frame shelf on Amazon with the intention of propping them up against the wall but I (horribly) misjudged the length of the name and size of the shelf and so that was nixed. The shelf now displays some of her prettiest books in what turned into a happy accident! In the end I chose to arrange the letters in a fun design and glue them together before hanging the name as one piece. I absolutely love how it turned out!

Did you do any nursery craft? Feel free to share in the comment section 🙂

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

Since I have had the ability to read, I have been a bookworm. While reading seems to be a love it or hate it pastime, it is a pastime I cannot imagine living without. As well as something to do, reading allows one to escape the banal, live other lives and learn without limitation. There are many things I want for my daughter, one of which is to instill the same love of reading that her Dad and I have. To see Isolde enjoying books will make my heart so happy. In fact, some of the first things I bought for baby’s room, while pregnant, were books!

This post is in partnership with ‘I See Me’ Books. I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

Read bedtime stories

Reading to newborns has been linked to early speech development, wider vocabularies and better listening and communication skills. Aside from setting your child up for these benefits, some quiet story time with baby can be a lovely bonding experience.

Create a cozy reading nook

There’s something satisfying about having your own quiet space to curl up with your book, young kids like this just as much!

Visit the book stores

You don’t necessarily need to buy a book each time but make visiting the book store a fun treat. Is there anything more exciting than a child asking to check out the new releases?!

Join your local library

Books can be expensive. Especially new releases! Visit the library and choose from thousands of titles for free or a nominal annual membership fee. Usually the children’s section also offers fun arts and crafts activities and story telling events.

Start a seasonal book buying tradition

Whether they are new titles or pre-loved, start a tradition of acquiring a book for each season/event. St. Patrick’s Day, Easter,  Independence Day, Christmas etc. It’s a great way to learn about the origins of the holidays while still having fun. Growing up I would also get a new book before vacations or as a gift on vacation.

Read a book about them!

Isolde at just 4 weeks old, was lucky enough to be gifted with another book to add to her rapidly growing collection. This book though, is incredibly special. It is a a personalized book from I See Me which is all about her. I adore it and I hope she will too. There is something so special about customized books in which the individual child is the protagonist of the story.

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

Since I met her Dad, we have traveled all over Europe and the United States and so the book It’s Fancy To Be Me was the perfect choice. In the book, Isolde travels around the world experiencing the traditional dress and unique cultures of the places she visits. It is the sweetest story with gorgeous illustrations!

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

The best part of the book is that the illustrations can be customized to have your child’s hair/eye/skin color making for total customization. As well as this, her full name and date of birth is included in the first page along with a dedication of your choosing.

How To Nurture A Baby Bookworm

I am already planning my next purchase from I See Me for both Isolde and gifts for others. I was impressed with the quality and the book was delivered within one week. As well as books, you can also purchase adorable puzzles, lunch boxes and growth charts. If Isolde is anything like me she will be a puzzle master 🙂

You can check out more of what I See Me has to offer here


Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

SHE’S HERE! Introducing Isolde

Hey y’all! I’m still on my blog break but just publishing this quick post to say…SHE’S HERE! I’ve been waiting for so long to say that! On March 23rd, just five hours after a routine prenatal visit we found ourselves in the operating room about to meet our baby. She arrived at 37 weeks 5 days and in a tiny 5lb 11oz package of pure perfection!

she's here

While a happy, healthy baby was my main wish, a baby girl has made me too happy to even describe. To be able to say “she’s here” is surreal to me. Heck it’s surreal to even accept that I have a baby. I am a girly girl and having a daughter is the only (and pretty unrealistic) way I ever pictured a baby in my arms. I am on cloud nine.

Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever found myself doing (I know, I was warned!) but her sweet little face is too much! In all the hurdles I’m facing day to day, I could never be frustrated when I look at her. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by her mere existence and her face makes me swell up with pride.

I’m still learning to ‘mom’ every day. In fact, every day brings another challenge. I’m sure I’ll get into the swing of things eventually but for now I am still often overwhelmed and always exhausted so the blog is on the back burner. For over a year I’ve said at least once per fortnight that I’m going to quit blogging and my pride kept me from walking away. I have to admit, I miss it so much! I’ll check in every once in a while and still be active on social media.

If anyone wants to give me some great new mom survival tips in the comments then please, go ahead 🙂

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Folly Beach Maternity Photo Shoot – Charleston, South Carolina

*UPDATE*

Baby arrived unexpectedly three days prior to posting but more on that later!*

It is almost baby time, people! I can’t believe it, we are just days (hopefully not weeks!) away from meeting baby! On that note, I’ll be taking a month off from blogging to learn ‘how to mom’ but will be active on social media and hopefully reappear here some time in May. As I reflect on my pregnancy I wanted to share with you some of my maternity photos. Over President’s Day weekend we took a trip to Charleston where I had a surprise babymoon/maternity photo shoot thanks to my husband! From the start, I had always wanted to do maternity photos but it was one of those things I kept putting off for a multitude of reasons.

Folly Beach south carolina Maternity Shoot

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

We drove the short two hour drive to Charleston that Friday. I immediately kicked myself for spending two years living in Savannah and not visiting sooner! Downtown Charleston oozes charm and sophistication. It is the gastronomic capital of the South and has all the fun of the seaside just a stones throw away. It really is the perfect city for everyone whether you want a family vacation, romantic getaway or girls weekend!

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

Our first stop before the city was Folly Beach, a popular vacation spot just outside Charleston. We met the lovely Melissa of Oakley Photography and had a 2 hour session with her. My maternity shoot was my first ever photo shoot besides my wedding photos. I was so hesitant to have maternity photos taken because I feel a constant state of awkwardness! Well none of that mattered. Melissa is down to earth, funny and manages to make you feel so at ease. She knows exactly what she’s doing and has a great eye for flattering shots. I couldn’t be happier with my photos, it’s been a while since I felt that pretty and she made it happen effortlessly.

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

There’s something pretty powerful about growing a little person inside you and her photos exude exactly how I feel about that!

Oakley Photography Maternity Shoot

You can see more of Melissa’s work and book a shoot on her website melissaoakleyphotography.com

Or follow her Facebook page for regular updates and sneak peeks!

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

6 Things To Do Before Baby’s Arrival

Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, newborns come with overwhelmingly long to-do lists! When you are entirely preoccupied with everything you must do to prepare for baby’s arrival, it’s easy to forget the monotonous things that still need tending to in our day to day lives. Who wants to have a newborn baby, be overwhelmed by motherhood and realize you have to go to the store for toilet paper? Not this gal! With just a couple of weeks left before baby’s arrival, I’m sharing with you a list of things to get done that you will either have no time nor desire to do once baby arrives.

6 Things To Do Before Baby's Arrival

Your Hair!

This one isn’t the most important, I admit, but you deserve some pampering mama! It’s not easy waddling around feeling super uncomfortable 24/7. Get your hair done and relish your glamorous locks before they’re full of spit up on the regular. Not to mention, finding 2-3 hours for a hair appointment won’t be an option very soon!

Another good and important one would be to visit the dentist. Did you know that women are far more susceptible to dental problems during pregnancy? Now is the time for a check-up or even just a clean. Who knows when you might get time to go again.

Make Lists

This is the crazy organized part of me shining through. I have compiled a list of family and friends numbers who we want to share the news of baby’s arrival with immediately. This helps to avoid forgetting someone when you’re running on endorphins and won’t exactly be thinking of Uncle so and so who then gets super offended that he saw it on facebook. So make a list or y’know, tell everyone online and offend them all equally. Whatever your view is, it’s your baby!

A perhaps more achievable list to compile is a list of recipients for your Thank You cards as you receive registry gifts. I didn’t have a baby shower but we were still flooded with gifts from family and friends. For the love of God don’t fail to thank those who have sent you something. Rude! Even if you don’t do it as they arrive, be sure to send a birth announcement card with a thank you from baby attached.

Deep Clean

And by deep clean, I mean have your ever-so-gracious and helpful partner do it or hire someone. Don’t attempt all that bending and scrubbing alone. Have rooms/closets organized, carpets shampooed, windows cleaned and basically any big ‘Spring cleaning’ kind of task that more than likely will not get done with a newborn around.

Since January we have been taking a room or area of the house each week in which to deep clean blinds, window screen ledges, windows and baseboards. My husband has shampooed the carpets and we maintain a twice weekly quick and general cleaning of the whole house to keep it up.

Stockpile Household Necessities

2 days postpartum is not the time to find out you have run out of bin liners, toilet paper, disinfectant etc. Have everything stocked up that you use week to week. It’s not like bathroom cleaning spray is going to be at the forefront of your mom brain.

I went to my local Sam’s Club and stocked up on TP, paper towels, trash bags, body wash, razor blades, toothpaste, pantry staples such as cereals, pasta, grains, sauces & seasonings and also, a large freezer meat supply! I’m subscribed to diapers and other baby essentials on Amazon Prime so I can rest assured that will be taken care of. Basically all I will need weekly is fresh produce and dairy which my husband can help out with by quickly picking up on the way home from work.

Prepare The Car (+ Install Car Seat)

Keep your vehicle pet hair free when baby’s due date is getting close! We have an SUV that will be perfect for carting around baby’s gear but up until now it’s been the personal Uber car for our Labradoodle. Let’s just say he got WAY more lab than poodle and he sheds like a maniac every February or if he’s just been bathed. We’ve vacuumed out the car and installed the car seat to ensure no floating Doodle hairs end up on the baby. Ew. Poor Darby is now limited to riding in less style in my husband’s commute-to-work car. But he doesn’t mind once he ends up at the park, the beach or his friend Olaf’s house!

Prepare Freezer or Crockpot-Ready Meals

This one takes effort but oh goodness will it be worth it when you’re so tired you could crumple in a heap and cry! I’m a big supporter of the crockpot. That glorious device that I dump stuff into and can magically eat 8 hours later. Set aside an evening to plan your meals. Then spend a morning shopping for ingredients and the rest of the day assembling. Again, request help with this one. This is definitely a task where many hands make light work. Stock up on freezer bags and get to it. It’ll be so satisfying to see your meals for a solid month or more all taken of! You will be less tempted to order fast food. This is not only costly but not the healthiest for new mothers, especially if nursing your baby.

Bonus + Often Overlooked Task!

Make Arrangements for Pet Care

This gives me the most anxiety. Babies aren’t exactly known for their perfect, convenient arrival times on their exact due date. We’re lucky to have the world’s best puppy sitter! She’s flexible and ever so good to the Dood. Ensure you have someone lined up to take care of your pet. Decide whether they will take them to their place or stay at yours. These plans will be loose until the big day. Most people are understanding about the unknowns in this situation.

What’s important to you, to complete before baby’s arrival?

 

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Third Trimester Self Care Essentials

Here I am at 36 weeks pregnant. Yes six weeks have passed since my last update, it feels like I just blinked and February was suddenly over. I’m officially in the 9th month of my pregnancy and it could very well even be baby month! It’s a little bittersweet. Although I have been through the general worries that come with pregnancy, I have enjoyed this time and made a conscious effort to soak up the entire experience. I have had it pretty easy, medically, and honestly haven’t yet thought ‘I am so sick of being pregnant!’. I think I’m going to be of those annoying women who whines about missing their bump!

 

THIRD TRIMESTER SELF CARE ESSENTIALS
This post may contain affiliate links

Something I did struggle with and still do in my pregnancy is some emotional issues that go beyond raging hormones. Needless to say, depression and stress are not good for baby. Today, as well as a quick pregnancy update I want to share with you some of my absolute self care lifesavers in these final weeks. Now, more than ever, is the time to get all the sleep you can to help that baby pack on the pounds! It’s also your final time just being you. Alone. Kind of scary, huh? A little guilt free indulgence is just what the doctor ordered!

Boppy Pregnancy Wedge

I bought this rather late, probably around week 28 but it has been so good for supporting the bump and my back both in bed and while sitting on the couch.

Essential Oil Diffuser

Give me all of the calming lavender oil! I love my diffuser and it’s really fun to create new blends. I’m not an essential oil expert by any means but it’s an interesting new world to me! Just make sure the oils you are using aren’t harmful to your pregnancy.

Back Support

I admit I don’t use this daily but if I have some chores to do or anything that involves standing for a little longer than I’m used to this is a life saver! It takes the pressure off my abdomen and also my lower back. There are far more expensive (and probably much higher quality) ones than this but for my needs it’s perfect.

Glam Glow Super-Mud Clearing Treatment

This one’s for sure an indulgence! I have problematic skin since I was 13 years old and pregnancy has wreaked even more havoc. This is the only ‘glow’ in my third trimester. I’m pretty certain while the mask is on I can almost feel the gunk being sucked out of my pores. Gross but satisfying. I’m not usually one for cult beauty products but for me, this really works.

Compression Socks

As well as long road trips, I did some international travel during my second trimester so compression socks were a must for my circulation during my flights. If you’re on your feet all day, I highly suggest donning a pair of these. They are also recommended during c-section recovery if that happens to be on the cards for you.

Measured Water Bottle

After becoming dehydrated a few times I got very serious about my water intake. It is so important for baby. I drink three of these per day and the reason I can do that is thanks to the marked measurements. I drink a certain amount by a certain time of day and by 8pm I’m confident I have satisfied my water intake!

Body Pillow

From the start a body pillow seemed like a pointless expense. Enter the third trimester! YOU. NEED. THIS. Sleep is fleeting or non existent. Do everything you possibly can to get some.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

I used this from day one. I’m sure it’s more down to my body type and the fact that I’m very slight but so far I have no stretch marks. I apply this to my belly and chest after a shower and again before bed. It doesn’t react in any negative way and leaves my skin feeling so soft!

Be sure to check out a previous post on the importance of self care during pregnancy and pin this list of simple self care activity ideas for later!

Self Care Activities For A Happy Healthy Pregnancy

36 Weeks Pregnancy Update

36 week update

Baby’s Size

According to the app, at 36 weeks baby is the size of a honeydew melon! Baby weighs close to 6 lbs and is around 18.5 inches long.

Total weight gain

24 lbs

Maternity clothes

Living in leggings and flowy tees! Maternity jeans are my BFF on weekends as well as soft jersey midi dresses!

Stretch marks

None and happy to get to 36 weeks without any but I won’t mind too much if I still do.

Sleep

I’m really struggling to fall asleep these past few weeks. Sticking to sleeping on my left side makes my face numb and kills my neck! I still do ok once I actually fall asleep but getting there is so difficult. It’s often well past 2am before I get to sleep. I feel exhausted all the time but trying not to nap as it makes falling asleep even more difficult.

Longing for

All the sweets, soft drinks and caffeine in the world. I guess cravings only hit me in the third trimester! I’m doing well with not giving in to every craving. Sodas are not consumed, coffee is only allowed once a week and sweets are kept to a minimum!

Movement

Baby is pretty cramped in there now so feeling jabby little stretches and pokes rather than the previous full body flips I had been feeling. It seems the baby has the hiccups often though which is a rather strange sensation. Sometimes it continues for ages.

Cravings

Baked goods. Especially donuts. Sigh!

Symptoms

Difficulty sleeping, fatigue, skin tightness, sudden strange bursts of energy in the midst of long stretches of lethargy. But no nausea! So that’s always good.

Belly button in or out?

Out as much as it will be. Still doing its weird half and half thing and still freaking me out.

Wedding rings on or off?

On and still wrestling to take to them off, especially in our warm Georgia Spring weather.

Happy or moody?

Anxious, which more often than not leads to moodiness over happiness!

Looking forward to

Installing the car seat, placing my bags by the door and setting up some baby gear around the house. It’s suddenly very real. It will feel even more real when my family visits later in the month. I can’t wait to hear an Irish accent 🙂

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

What’s In My First-Time Mom Hospital Bag? + What’s NOT!

Not another hospital bag post, you cry! Yes. I’m not even sorry because reading so many helped me immensely! Way back in December, I had a slight baby scare which thankfully turned out fine! Being so unprepared for the hospital frightened me into seriously thinking about packing my hospital bag at just week 24. Since then, it was not fully packed but I made it my priority to buy and organize what I needed. This week (at 34 weeks) I finally packed it along with the changing bag for baby.

First Time Mom Hospital Bag

After reading quite literally EVERY ‘what to pack’ article in existence, I have packed some of the highly recommended hospital bag essentials along with the things I deem applicable to me.

Conscious that a c-section might be a possibility, I have packed enough for a more extended stay than most women will have. I have still kept those extra items practical and to a minimum.

The Highly Recommended Must-Haves

  • Baby Keepsake Book to get hand/foot prints and save the mess later!
  • Camera/Tablet/Phone + chargers
  • Boppy nursing pillow to practice good nursing posture
  • Healthy snacks for after the birth in case the hospital food is truly awful

The Basics

  • Packing Cubes! All hail packing cubes. Seriously, these are packing game changers. Buy a set and never deal with chaotic luggage again!
  • Basic toiletries
  • Travel hair dryer. I don’t feel like standing for an hour trying to dry my hair with one of those pathetic hospital/hotel dryers that feels like a small child is blowing on your head.
  • Cozy Socks with gripper soles
  • Slippers with a solid sole
  • Flip Flops
  • Night Gowns x2
  • Loose Jersey PJs for the last day (may not use)
  • Light Jersey Robe
  • Nursing Tanks x3
  • Nursing Bras x2
  • Dark colored, huge undies (so glam!)
  • A basic overnight bag for Dad

Baby’s Bag

  • 1 Going home Outfit
  • 4 Sleepsuits
  • 4 Bodysuits
  • 2 Hats
  • 2 Pair Socks
  • 2 Pair Scratch Mittens
  • 3 Burp Cloths
  • 2 Swaddle Blankets
  • 1 Heavy Blanket
  • 4 Diapers (a small supply for going home)
  • Wipes
  • Nursing cover

The Non-Essentials That Satisfy My Crazy

  • My make-up bag (not full of my usual routine items but basic coverage favorites)
  • The fact that all my packed night gowns/clothing match in some way
  • Carefully planned baby blankets/outfits because again, matchy-match!
  • A flattering, soft jersey midi dress for going home in comfort, ease…and style.

The ‘Will I Need This?’ Stuff  (To Be Left In The Car!)

Do you get the sense that I’m an organization over-achiever?! Every hospital is different. Some will give you everything you need and others will let you fend for yourself for the most part. At least through extensive research on this, that’s the general consensus. So while many moms tell you point blank what not to bring, others have said they weren’t provided with it at all.

This is the stuff I am unsure about and have packed in a tote bag that will stay in the car. If I do need it, my husband can grab it rather than visiting the nearest shops with the world’s most embarrassing shopping list.

  • Extra snacks/drinks in case the hospital food is unbearable
  • Pain relief medication
  • Post-delivery feminine products (this could be a post of it’s own and I won’t go into the gory details)
  • Extra onesies in different sizes. Despite buying newborn and 0-3 months in various brands, they all differ. Some look tiny and others look far too big. I don’t want to take a thousand outfits with me but I would like them to fit baby, whatever size he or she turns out to be. This way I’ll have at least 2/3 outfits that will fit.

The Items I’m NOT Packing

  • My own labor/delivery gown. I 100% plan to deliver baby in the hospital issued gown. I’m vain but not spend $50+ on a designer labor gown vain. An item of clothing that will most likely end up covered in bodily fluids and newborn gunk.
  • A pillow from home. For the same reasons as above and also because there are about 100 of them on the bed I will be in.
  • Athletic Pants. A lot of women suggest yoga pants or some form of comfy pants for after the birth. While I totally agree with the comfort factor, I understand there will be a LOT of checking down there after baby arrives. I will be in no mood to keep wriggling my way out of leggings for my nurse. Nightgowns it is!
  • Hair tools. Straighteners, curling irons etc. Some people recommend them for photos but I don’t see it happening even considering as fussy as I can be with my hair! I’ll be blast drying and curling my hair around a headband to get loose waves for going home day!

WHATS IN MY HOSPITAL BAG

Shop The Hospital Bag Essentials

 

What ‘ridiculous’ item did you pack and never use?

Even better, what ridiculous item did you pack and actually USE?!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Stepping Into Spring With Pink Blush Maternity

Spring has sprung and so has my baby bump! At 34 weeks pregnant, I am feeling lethargic, anxious and less than attractive. One sure fire way to improve my mood when I’m feeling down is to dress myself up. Dressing up while eight months pregnant however, is no easy task. You are more than likely bored stiff of wearing whatever still fits you. Cue Pink Blush and their vast selection of gorgeous maternity dresses.

This post was in partnership with Pink Blush. As always, all opinions are my own.

Pink Blush Maternity Clothes

Pink Blush Maternity

I wanted something feminine and comfortable to serve me throughout the rest of my pregnancy in a warm Georgia Spring. I was also keen to find something that could be worn postpartum for easy nursing. None of us are the perfect size and shape but I find it especially hard to shop for dresses to suit my frame as I am 6 feet tall. Short dresses on me could be deemed a criminal offense and typically, maxi dresses sit somewhere in the middle of my shins – hot stuff! So for me, finding the perfect midi dress is like hitting the jackpot.

Pink Blush Maternity

To flatter the bump and to suit baby’s nursing needs, I chose this hi-lo style midi number. Nothing says ‘Goodbye, Winter!’ like a pretty floral print and a little big of leg! I instantly fell in love with the dress that ticked all the boxes. This dress not only showcases the bump adorably but also hides a multitude of sins and is SO comfortable. That equates to the trifecta of cute maternity clothes in case you didn’t know!

I noticed the company’s tagline is ‘Effortless styles for the modern mother’ and they’ve certainly got it right. Pregnancy clothes are typically NOT cute, let’s be honest! If you’re searching for gorgeous, on-trend maternity wear, then I suggest taking a look at Pink Blush. You’ll find not only maternity wear but regular sizes, plus sizes, shoes and accessories too.

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Bargain Baby Gear – Where To Find Must-Have Newborn Products For A Steal!

I was always aware that babies are expensive little beings but I quickly realized just how expensive. It was an eye-opening experience setting up for baby! I am so grateful to our families for gifting us the big ticket items like the stroller, car seat, crib etc. Between those gifts, re-purposing furniture, building our own (thanks husband) and my own frugality – we have managed to set up for baby at a fraction of the ‘real’ cost. Hopefully this post will give you an eye for a great baby bargain just like I found in many stores.

Bargain Baby Gear

I am not in any way stingy. In fact, I have champagne taste but live with a sparkling water budget. I would definitely call myself frugal. I shop around A LOT and a nose around Goodwill is not beneath me, especially when they carry department store overstock (OMG!). My favorite stores for great deals are Home Goods, TJ Maxx and  sometimes, one particular Ross near my home. The gems to be found in these stores are hard to beat but it’s often luck of the draw with what bargain they may have in stock on the day you’re visiting. This is the perfect excuse to go often!

Where To Find The Best Baby Bargain

Goodwill

A year ago I walked into my local Goodwill (my first Goodwill trip ever) and quickly turned my nose up. I actually said ‘EW’. Fast forward to 2016 and while doing a donation drop-off at a brand new store, I gave it another chance and wandered into the baby clothes section. I am hooked ever since!

It hit me pretty quickly that bang in the middle of 4 different Goodwill stores in my locale are two Army installations. Army posts mean families moving in and out of the area constantly. This in turn means families purging their unwanted items often. The presence of military families also means there’s lots of babies around. While many, many adult garments at Goodwill may be ratty and suspect, the baby clothes are in a league of their own. Over the course of about 8 weeks I have purchased a hoard of completely unworn or worn-once onesies and full outfits. My total is usually under $6 and I come away with 6-8 outfits.

Honestly, I often feel guilty buying at Goodwill. I feel like I am stealing the eyes out of someone’s head. They have a ‘color-of-the-week’ offer which means that if you have a bunch of items on your arm bearing that color plastic barb, then that item is half price. In the infant section, this means your outfit could cost you just 49¢! On Sundays, ALL items with the color-of-the-week tag are 50¢.

Some of my Goodwill gold includes

  • Enough adorable infant clothing to dress every baby in North America. I will re-donate any items I don’t end up using. Brands including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, GAP, Janie & Jack, OshKosh, Little Me, Carters and more (49-99¢ per item)
  • V-Tech ‘Light & Move Learning Ball’  that has been thoroughly disinfected and is like brand new ($1.99 -versus- $14.99)
  • Two soft fold-out books including a Winnie the Pooh clip on stroller book with a tag on. Both washed like a dream (39¢ each -versus $7-10)
  • Brand new, unmarked board books and a complete Nursery Rhyme collectors book for baby’s library (39¢ each -versus- $10+)
  • Playtex Diaper Genie still in plastic and boxed! ($5 -versus- $30)
  • Four ‘What To Expect’ books including ‘When You’re Expecting’, ‘Baby’s First Year’, ‘Baby’s Second Year’ & ‘The Toddler Years’, all very recent editions! (39¢ each -versus- $11+ each)
  • GAP Maternity/Nursing blouse with tags on ($4 -versus- $34)

TJ Maxx

Ok, while TJ is one of my favorite stores, it can be as hit and miss as Goodwill. Their inventory changes constantly so if you spot something you have to snap it up there and then. I promise you it won’t be there next week, or even later that day. I have found so many baby items at a fraction of the cost and though most of their stock is passed season or slightly flawed, some of what I got is still this current season’s styles and prints. Have a good look at something you like in case it is damaged (it probably isn’t) and put it in your cart pronto! Sometimes the flaw and reason an item is there is a tiny as a seam sewn off center. If you aren’t fussy, you will never even notice.

Expect to find great deals here on baby clothing & accessories, nursery storage solutions, toys/books, baby carriers, stroller accessories, changing bags and occasionally bigger items like swings, rockers and bassinets.

I’ve scored:

  • aden & anais 2-Pack Original Muslin Swaddle Blankets, the big 47×47 ones! ($12.99 -versus- $32)
  • Blankets ($6 -versus- $20+)
  • Stroller bag hooks ($2 -versus- $10+)
  • Stroller organizer ($6 -versus- $20+)
  • 25 Pack Velvet Baby Hangers ($9 -versus- $15+)

Marshalls

At Marshalls you will find similar things to TJ or even the same. If you can’t find what you need at one, be sure to check the other.

Ross

I don’t shop here very often. In fact I have purchased something from a Ross store only twice. This past weekend I was looking for something specific so I perused my local and nicest Ross! I didn’t buy one because I have one already but they had Boppy Nursing pillows for $24! Granted, it wasn’t the cutest slipcover they make but those bad boys retail for $39.99!

I did buy a large faux sheepskin area rug for baby’s room for $30 versus the $60+ I’ve seen elsewhere!

Home Goods

I LOVE Home Goods. This place is the dream for kitting out baby’s room for a bargain. With goods much like Marshalls and TJ Maxx but with a focus on the decor side of things, obviously. Some of my finds include;

  • More hangers!
  • Storage boxes/Laundry Hamper ($4-25 -versus- $15-50+)
  • Diaper caddies ($6-12 -versus- $20+)
  • Clip on musical crib nightlight/soother ($6 -versus $20+)
  • A-Z Bookends ($7 -versus- $20+)

Amazon

Amazon may not be a discount store per se but as I am a Prime member it has been worth every cent. As a Prime member I qualify for free two-day shipping, unlimited free TV/movie streaming, unlimited photo storage, access to Prime Pantry (groceries on your door step? Yes please!) and more.

As a Prime member you are also eligible to become a member of Amazon Family. You can make an Amazon Baby Registry and qualify for a FREE welcome box choc full of baby items and free samples/coupons. As well as this you will receive 15% off an item of your choice on your registry and a number of other offers including a free Kindle e-book and discounted clothing.

For me, the best part about Amazon Prime are the subscription options. When you subscribe to diapers (you choose the frequency of their delivery) you get 20% off and a $2 off coupon on your first delivery. If you subscribe to a total of 5 items at once then the 5% savings on each one becomes 15%! The bargain price of sub $25 for 200+ diapers and peace of mind that they will arrive on my doorstep in 48 hours is especially worth it to me. I subscribe to dog food, baby wipes and other personal items which means I never have to remember them on my weekly grocery shop.

I am so happy with my baby bargain stockpile as I get such a kick out of having exactly what I wanted and still having a little extra cash in my purse! Off the top of my head, there is over $500 of savings just from the items I have listed (I haven’t listed every single item I have purchased on this journey!) including the retail value of the baby clothing from Goodwill.

How did you cut costs for your first baby set-up?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading