blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: 2018

August 2, 2018

Empowered Voices

I’ve written before on how much I value mentoring and how much it’s contributed to my success. Now as a doctor, wife, mom of 3, and blogger, most days I don’t have time to sleep as much as I should, and meeting one on one with mentees has become nearly impossible! 

But through this small blog and social media I have been able to reach SO many of you and the messages I get from you are more motivation to keep posting and sharing snippets of my life - the good and the not-so-good! Sharing not just the rewards of the work but the HUSTLE it takes to get there! As a kid growing up that was what we never saw - we saw lots of immediate satisfaction and flashy diamonds and new sneakers glorified all the time, but I never saw any doctors who looked like me. I searched for mentors and just had to accept that they were out there, they had to be, and continued on my path convinced that I’d find them eventually (which thankfully I did)! 

Not everyone has the faith or the ability to search for those mentors, though, or to believe they’re there if they’re not easily visible. That’s why I love companies like Uber who are making it a very clear goal to highlight and promote diversity in their company. It’s there, it’s visible, and it’s attainable for our youth. With groups like Women of Uber, UberHUE, Los Ubers, UberPride, and more, they are highlighting the power of diversity in their company. Keep it up Uber and let’s keep positive and empowering messages going and continue working to increase diversity in all fields!

July 17, 2018

New Shoes Dance

Nothing makes me smile more than watching these girls play together. Of course, 75% of the time they’re fighting with each other or telling on one another or at least one of the three is throwing a tantrum. But the sunshine wouldn’t be as beautiful if it weren’t for the rain! 

These girls were celebrating having just gotten happy mail ­ new clothes for the new school year! I ordered it a tiny bit big in hopes that it will still fit them by the time September comes around ­ they are truly growing like weeds and I’m constantly donating their clothes (eh, that’s not true, I let their grown­-out clothes pile up taking up precious drawer and closet space going unworn until I can’t take it any longer and then donate bags and bags)! But I digress. Gymboree has totally reimagined their brand and we are loving their adorable line! 

Liv immediately put on her glitter skirt and started twirling around, Elli put on her “princess dress” and headband (she refuses to let me put it on and this is how she insists on wearing her headbands lol) and Ro just couldn’t stop running around in her new sneakers! Adorable and them teaching each other dance moves and showing their favorite flowers just had me smiling ear to ear #madeyousmile. I’ll take Elli’s dress in my size asap please ­ it’s so soft and stretchy and even has pockets! All of the clothes seems so well­ made and is just too darn cute ­ love! Check out their new line here!

June 29, 2018

The 3 Skincare Ingredients You Need Now

Today  I  wanted  to  do  another  post  on  skincare  –  I  think  one  of  my  most-requested  posts  is  my  skincare  regimen!  Today  I  wanted  to  do  something  a little more  than  that,  though,  and  really  get  down  to  the  most  important  skincare  ingredients  you  need.  

The  backbone  to  any  skincare  regimen  consists  of  the  following:  
  2. Vitamin  C  
  3. Retinoid  
Ask  any  dermatologist  and  they  will  say  the  same.  I’ve  been  slowly  perfecting  my  skin  care  regimen  and  think  I  finally  have  my  holy  grail  routine!  If  you  guys  have  been  following  my  skincare  posts  (see  the  last  one  here),  you  know  that  the  one  key  I  was  still  on  the  hunt  for  was  a  good  Vitamin  C  serum.  I  tried  some  of  the  best  ones  and  they  still  broke  my  sensitive  skin  out!    

Well  I’m  proud  to  say  that  I  finally  found  one  that  I  love  –  Clinique’s  Fresh  Pressed  Vitamin  C  Booster!  Stay  tuned  for  more  on  that!!  

But  first,  a  bit  on  each  of  these  key  parts  to  your  skincare  regimen:  
  • Sunscreen  –  Whether  or  not  you  realize  it,  the  sun  wreaks  havoc  on  our  skin,  and  you  can  spend  all  the  money  you  want  on  fancy  creams  and  supplements  and  laser  treatments,  but  if  you  are  not  regularly  wearing  sunscreen  you  are  throwing  your  money  down  the  drain.  I  mean  it.  Same  thing  goes  for  smoking  –  if  you  ask  for  skin  care  advice  and  you  smoke  my  number  1  one  tip  will  be  quit  smoking.  Not  just  for  your  skin! Wearing sunscreen will not make you vitamin D deficient (most of us are deficient anyway), and I recommend everyone get enough vitamin D through their diet and they can add a supplement if they're concerned. Read more about sunscreens and which would be best for you here
  • Vitamin  C  –  Vitamin  C  is  an  antioxidant  that  works  fighting  free  radical  damage  caused  by  stressors  on  our  skin  like  the  sun  and  environmental  pollutants,  protecting  our  skin  from  these  insults.  It’s  anti-inflammatory  (meaning  will  reduce  redness  and  irritation),  decreases  melanin  synthesis  (meaning  it  can  help  fade  dark  spots  from  old  acne  and  even  help  melasma),  and  can  help  in  keeping  our  skin  firm  (vitamin  C  is  an  essential  part  of  collagen  synthesis).  In  non-scientific  speak  –it’s  the  bomb.  If  you  want  a  little  more  science  you  can  read  this  article  via  PubMed.  A  special  note  that  since  vitamin  C  is  such  a  potent  antioxidant,  it  actually  degrades  very  quickly  once  exposed  to  oxygen!  This  is  why  packaging  is  key  for  products  like  these  (and  of  the  things  I  love  about  the  Clinique  product)!
  • Retinoid  –  Retinoids  are  another  key  to  keeping  skin  clear  and  youthful–  derived  from  Vitamin  A,  they  directly  increase  collagen  synthesis,  increase  hyaluronic  acid,  decrease  creation  of  enzymes  that  break  down  the  skin  (things  that  normally  increase  with  aging),  they  speed  up  epidermal  cell  turnover  (one  of  the  key  ways  they  smooth  out  the  skin  and  treat  mild  acne,  as  well  as  dark  spots),  and  more.  Retinoids  should  be  a  part  of  everyone’s  skincare  regimen  UNLESS  you  are  pregnant  or  trying  to  become  pregnant  (high  Vitamin  A  is  a  teratogen)!  In  which  case  I’d  temporarily  swap  for  a  mild  acid  like  glycolyic  acid  or  mandelic  acid (this was my favorite during pregnancy and I continued using it while nursing, even though retinoids should technically be safe when nursing)!    

When  is  it  best  to  start  a  regimen  like  this?  If  you’re  a  teen  or  older  and  have  mild  acne  then  starting  now  and  continuing  pretty  much  forever  will  be  of  most  benefit!  If  you’re  young  and  don’t  have  acne,  you  may  not  need  it  yet,  but  most  women  with  no  skin  problems  start  a  regimen  like  this  in  their  20s.  By  30  you  should  DEFINITELY  be  using  a  regimen  like  the  above.    

With  all  of  that  said,  here  is  my  current  skin  care  routine!  

  1. Gently  wash  with  Clinique’s  Fresh  Pressed  Renewing  Powder  Cleanser.  I  just  wet  my  hands  and  pour  a  packet  onto  my  wet  hands,  rub  to  get  a  lather,  and  gently  apply  on  my  face  and  leave  it  on  while  I  brush  my  teeth,  then  rinse! 
  2. Apply  base  moisturizer  (I  use  La  Roche-Posay’s  Toleriane  Double  Repair  Moisturizer)  with  2  drops  of  Clinique’s  Fresh  Pressed  Daily  Booster.  This  booster  is  INCREDIBLE,  and  I  love  that  I  can  add  it  to  a  moisturizer  I  know  already  works  for  my  sensitive  skin.  Literally  within  days  you  can  already  notice  that  your  skin  is  brighter  (and  dermatologists  typically  don’t  like  promising  things  within  days,  most  products  need  at  least  6-8  weeks  to  start  seeing  any  differences).  But  this  is  days  y’all.   
  3. Apply  my  sunscreen  –  for  me  I’m  not  a  huge  fan  of  layering  too  many  products  (simplicity  is  key)  so  you  if  you’ve  read  these  posts  before  you  know  I’m  obsessed  with  Avene’s  High  Protection  Complexion  Correcting  Shield.  It’s  actually  a  full  coverage  makeup  and  SPF  50+  (mineral  based)  and  I  love  it.  Have  gone  through  tubes  of  this  stuff.      

  1. Wash  with  a  gentle  cleanser  –  I  love  Cetaphil and Cerave,  but  there  are  many  brands  that  make  mild  cleansers.  This  is  key  especially  when  you’re  using  a  retinoid.  Stay  away  from  exfoliating  cleansers  and  anything  with  beads  or  scrubs  –  your  skin  gets  aggravated  and  inflamed  and  this  can  lead  to  irritation,  breakouts,  and  more  dark  marks. I've used them in the past but only when I WASN'T using a retinoid (ie while I was still breastfeeding) and linked up some of my favorites, but again, would not use if you're using a retinoid. 
  2. Apply  pea  size  of  my  prescription  Tretinoin  cream  (if  you  can’t  get  a  prescription  for  this,  Differin  is  a  prescription-strength  retinoid  that  is  now  available  over-the-counter).  You  should  always  start  light  with  this  –  every  other  night  (or even less) to  begin  until  your  skin  gets  used  to  it  –  if  not  it  could  cause  redness, peeling  and  irritation.   
  3. Finish  with  my  La  Roche-Posay  moisturizer  and  my  Epionce  eye  cream.  Then  get  some  sleep!    

That’s  it!  I  hope  you  guys  found  this  post  helpful  and  now  understand  some  keys  to  a  good  skin  care  regimen!  These  are  just  the  products  I  use  but  I  wanted  to  make  sure  to  give  the  important  ingredients  themselves  so  you  can  find  what  works  for  you!  A  special  thanks  to  Clinique  for  sending  me  their  Fresh  Pressed  Vitamin  C  treatments  to  try  and  finally  ending  my  search  for  a  this  key  ingredient!  They  also  sponsored  this  post,  but  as  always  opinions  are  completely  my  own. Take their 7-day challenge and thank me later ;)  

May 31, 2018

Liv's Preschool Graduation

Time  is  flying  y’all,  and  I  feel  like  not  long  on  this  blog  I  was  announcing  my  pregnancy  with  Liv  – and  just  last  week,  she  had  her  preschool  graduation!!!  Can  you  believe  it?? 

It  was  the  most  adorable  thing  ever,  but  one  of  my  favorite  parts  (besides  their  precious  graduation  song)  was  a  video  segment  her  teachers  filmed  asking  all  of  the  kids  what  they  wanted  to  be  when  they  grow  up.  There  were  plenty  of  the regulars - firefighters,  teachers,  doctors,  police.  But  then  there  were  the  unexpecteds  –  the  zoologist,  the  civil  engineer,  and  the  dermatologist  (can  you  guess  who  said  she  wanted  to  be  a  dermatologist  hahaha)?  All  of  those  came  out  of  the  mouths  of  little  girls!  And  I  was  just  so  proud!  

I  know  she’ll  change  her  mind  a  million  more  times,  and  if  she’s  anything  like  me,  she’ll  get  to  be  my  age  and  still  not  be  completely  sure  of  what  she  wants  to  do  with  her  life.  But  the  point  is  that  she  never  limits  herself.  The  point  is  that  she  believes  she  can  be  anything  she  wants  to  be,  as  creative  as  she  wants  to  be.  Heck  it  may  be  a  job  that  doesn’t  exist  yet.  I  know  when  I  was  her  age,  blogging  wasn’t  a  thing  (heck  internet  was  barely  a  thing)!  Her  and  her  sister  have  proclaimed  they  want  to  be  singers  (especially  after  watching  the  incredible  women  on  stage  at  the  Billboard  Music  Awards),  face  painters,  drivers  (thanks  to  our  female  Uber  drivers),  ballerinas,  moms,  horse  doctors,  pilots,  and  I’m  sure  they’ll  come  up  with  more!  The  thing  is  that  they’ve  seen  a  female  in  every  one  of  those  roles  (whether  in  person  or  in  a  book  or  on  TV)  and  that  is  just  so  dang  powerful!!  

So  here’s  to  all  YOU  women  in  those  incredible  roles!  Let’s  keep  YOU  in  the  spotlight  and  keep  your  presence  visible  for  all  of  the  young  girls  to  see!  Here’s  to  women’s  empowerment  and  companies  that  are  making  an  effort  to  actively  promote  it.  Uber  is  one  of  those  companies,  and  I’m  so  grateful  to  be  collaborating  with  them  on  this  post.  Maybe  I’m  corny  but  I  feel  sisterly  pride  when  I  get  into  an  Uber  and  a  woman  rushes  out  to  help  me  get  my  bag  in  the  trunk  –  she  pushes  aside  her  baby’s  car  seat  that  was  in  the  trunk  and  gets  me  to  where  I  need  to  be.  I  see  the  hustle.  Or  to  my  Uber  Eats  driver  (I’m  a  multiple  times  weekly  user  when  times  get  hectic)  who’s  making  deliveries  with  her  kids.  I  see  the  hustle.  Here’s  to  more  companies  like  Uber  to  help  empower  those  women  with  work  that  fits  their  life.  Thanks  to  Uber  for  sponsoring  this  post.  As  always  thoughts  and  opinions  are  my  own.    

April 15, 2018

Current Skincare + Everyday Makeup

Hi all! Today I wanted to share some of my current skincare and makeup products! I've done these posts before, but my routine is always changing so here are the updated products I use! As I always say - skincare is king in my routine, and the makeup is optional!

Morning Routine:
  1. Wash with a gentle cleanser - I love Cerave's foaming facial cleanser - perfect for normal to oily skin like mine! I always use a super gentle cleanser in the morning.
  2. Apply this eye serum under my eyes - love the cool rollerball effect. 
  3. Critical step that is missing from my routine - Vitamin C/antioxidant serum. I have yet to find one that doesn't break me out! I loved this one (most dermatologists swear by this one or its more moisturizing and more famous partner) but even though it's supposed to be better for acne-prone skin, my annoying skin still broke out :(
  4. Moisturize/protect/coverup with my favorite all-in-one product - Avene Complexion Correcting Shield. It comes in only 3 shades which can be problematic for some, but I love it so much I bought the dark shade too and add the tiniest drop to my medium for the perfect color match. Seriously - for women who are worried about dark marks and sun spots and fine lines, etc. THE most important part of your daily routine should be SUNSCREEN! And the SPF 8 that some makeups tout is just not going to cut it. I have a full post on sunscreen here.
  5. Fix up my eyebrows a bit with this pomade.
  6. Apply a bit of this lip tint that has SPF 15. Perfect hint of color and awesome that it's got some SPF. 
  7. If I want to put in a little extra effort I love this blush/bronzer that I lightly brush on my cheeks and nose, and follow with my most favorite mascara ever!
Evening Routine:
  1. Remove all makeup with this micellar water on a round cotton pad. Love how easily everything comes off. I finish with a final gentle wipe with the dry side of the pad. 
  2. In love with this exfoliating cleanser - it's got glycolic acid, salicylic acid, arbutin, green tea, and more. For sensitive skin I'd recommend this only 2-3 times a week. I use this nightly though, applying a small amount to dry skin and gently massaging (no need to scrub - scrubbing causes more irritation)! I leave on for maybe a minute and then rinse off.
  3. Apply this nighttime serum that feels so soothing and really keeps my skin glowing.
  4. Apply a tiny bit of this eye cream to my upper and lower lids. Feels so m oisturizing and really plumps up my undereyes.
Here's to happy, healthy, and glowing skin!

March 31, 2018

Real Life Meal Planning

The title of this blog post isn't meant to make any other meal planning sound not-so-real, but in our hectic lives, the reality is, when I tried the typical meal planning, I failed horribly within a few days or spent my entire weekend (one I'd rather spend with hubby and the girls) getting ready for a week of meals. So this post is all about what works for us and a few of our favorite easy meals. 

One of the questions I get asked all the time is what my typical “diet” looks like, and I guess I’ll start by saying I absolutely do not diet. Actually, the only time in my life I actually counted calories was when I was trying to gain weight and make sure I ate over 3000 calories a day while lifting heavy weights in the gym (basically what body builders do). It was torture and difficult to maintain, but I was insecure in my natural tooth-pick frame and wanted more curves! Many days (especially when I see pictures of myself and think I look way too skinny) I consider getting back to it, but most days I’m happy just how I am. Naturally skinny. My dad used to joke and call me Olive Oil or string bean growing up. Anyhow, all that to say – you can’t just look at how someone looks and assume their diet and exercise regimen is a certain thing – that goes for all body shapes and sizes.

So while I don’t really care about how many calories are coming in, one thing I do really care about is trying to make healthy choices with the food we eat, getting enough good stuff in our bodies, and being efficient with my time by planning and preparing. I try to cook at least 4 dinners a week, and with our schedule, it’s a little bit crazy, but that’s where meal planning saves the day. I’d be lying if I said I made my 4 meals a week goal every week though – there are some weeks we just get by on take out or chicken nuggets and that’s totally fine by me. So here's a bit of our routine.

On Saturday mornings before the kids are up I look through the kitchen and see what we have and what essentials we need to stock up on. Then I sit down and just write down 4 or 5 breakfast, snack and dinner options (lunch is included at the girls’ school and usually free at work for us so I tend to skip that). I like being flexible with my meal planning and just list meals instead of assigning a certain meal to a certain day (after all, by the time Tuesday comes along I rarely actually want the turkey pasta I had planned on making)! And making a whole bunch of pre-portioned meals in advance just doesn't work for us either - it may work for an individual or a couple, but it doesn't work well (for us) with three kids (and a husband who could eat all 5 prepared meals in one sitting). So, once I have this list I do all of my grocery shopping using Instacart.

This service has been a LIFESAVER. I don’t actually go to the grocery store anymore and I couldn’t be happier. It saves your previously ordered items so it makes picking up the same staples super easy. If you’re a bargain shopper like me then you can just search for what’s on sale or sort items based on price. Even for fresh produce, which I was worried about, you can actually write in notes – so for my bananas for example (the girls eat so many bananas) I always order a dozen and request that they get 6 that are already yellow and 6 that are green. Through the app you can chat with the person doing your shopping – so when the grocery store didn’t have the exact cake I ordered last minute for Ro’s first birthday, the shopper messaged me, then took a picture of all of the cakes they did have so I could pick the one I wanted. The only thing I sucked at in the beginning was paying attention to item size – I still remember buying some Pillsbury croissants at a huge steal, only to get like a doll-size can of croissants lmao! That was my fault, but definitely something to be aware of! Technically the prices are a tiny bit higher than in-store, but for me it’s totally worth it! By the way this is totally not a sponsored post for instacart (though I’d happily do one lol)! Just sharing a service that I truly do use weekly and that has given me back a lot of my time (shopping with the 3 girls or trying to wait for a time I can go when Nathan has the girls was just not working). If you want to try it out you can use this link (again, not sponsored, just the same "referral link" every user gets)!

So basically my Saturday morning I sit on my balcony sipping coffee, grocery shopping on my phone in like 5 minutes, and then getting the rest of the day started.

As far as the actual meals – I’d say breakfast is our easiest and likely healthiest meal of the day. The mornings are the most hectic time for me so having something that I can grab and go is critical to the mission’s success haha! My go-to is an overnight oat-chia pudding (eh more like a smoothie) that I make in advance on Saturday or Sunday! I combine 8oz organic whole milk (which can easily be swapped with almond milk or your other non-dairy milk of choice) with 2tbsp of chia seeds, ¼ cup of oats, 1tsp cinnamon, and a bit of sugar (eh probably the unhealthy addition but hey, most days I add ½ tbsp). I mix them in mason jars and cover and keep in the fridge to grab and go every morning! Love this power mix of chia seeds (fiber, omega-3 fats, and vitamins and minerals) and oats (fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals).

Other breakfast examples are below:

  •         Egg cups (I make these in advance in a muffin tray - mix about 4-5 eggs w/yolks and then egg whites, pour in muffin trays. Add some shredded cheese, peppers, or spinach (whatever veggies you like) and bake at 350 for 15 min! Super easy, and delicious. They pretty much never last past Sunday because we just eat them all lol. 
  •         Breakfast crackers (I’m addicted to the Belvita ones) and a string cheese
  •         Hot oatmeal with some fruit
  •         Quick toaster waffles and a banana

For dinners I try to keep it simple and make something I know that all of us will eat. An example of some of my dinners are below:

  •         Protein angel hair pasta with turkey spaghetti sauce and broccoli
  •         Rice and beans with chicken breast
  •         Cheese ravioli with creamy tomato sauce (I buy frozen cheese ravioli so all I have to do is boil it, then I heat up tomato sauce with cream cheese and toss in some capers – yum!)
  •         Slow cooker “Mexican” chicken (I just toss in chicken breast with a can of salsa and cook on low while I’m at work, usually about 7:30-5:30/6pm) – we make tacos with this or burrito bowls – super easy!

For the girls at school I still toss snacks in their bag (it’s a habit, I just want to make sure they eat lol) and some easy go-to’s are cheese strings, yogurt, and baked oatmeal bars. When we’re home for the weekends one of their favorite snacks is SMOOTHIES! I can put almost anything in a smoothie and they will devour it (especially if they think it’s mine, they always want what I have). I usually toss in frozen berries, banana, oats, chia seed, and juice.

Back to the work week though - I always plan a takeout day and keep that flexible for the days I get home and can’t find the energy to cook. But I truly find that a tiny bit of planning and prep makes this so much less likely – knowing what I’m going to cook and having all of the ingredients in the kitchen make a HUGE difference in actually doing it. If I have to think of what I’m going to cook for dinner by the time I get home it likely just isn’t happening.

Some other tips for meal planning? I’m a huge fan of frozen veggies. I find that when I try to cook super healthy and only buy fresh produce most of it goes to waste. So in my freezer I always have frozen chopped onions, frozen chopped peppers (one of my favorites to add to scrambled eggs), frozen spinach (I heat this up with garlic, crushed red pepper and cream cheese and make a creamy spinach sauce to add to angel hair pasta), and frozen broccoli and other veggies (for these I prefer the steam bags so I can just microwave them and have them ready in a few minutes)! The slow-cooker is another huge timesaver – I mentioned it before for our chicken, I also make turkey chili and other types of chicken in it)!

That’s pretty much all I can think of for now lol! It’s certainly not perfect, or always the healthiest, or whatever, but it works for us, and at the end of the day that’s what matters for you and your family! Whatever works! Would love to hear any of your tips! 

January 25, 2018

Mom Hacks for the First Year

Hi all! Today I wanted to do a fun post and share some mom hacks for life with a little one (think the first year). It’s crazy to think Ro will be one next month, but now that she’s my third I feel like I sort of have a handle on this whole mom thing. At least the first 4 years ;) The rest of it we take a day at a time! That’s probably the first mom tip – learn to go with the flow. Especially with your first – you will likely read all of the books and posts and mom blogs you can, but you will soon learn you just have to take it one day at a time and try your best! You'll get by with a whole lotta grace!

I think I’ll do another post in the future with some hacks that are more specific for the toddler years (when things get even more fun) – but for now we’ll focus on year 1! 


1. Get baby used to a bottle sooner rather than later
Even if you’re not a mom who’s going to be headed back to work or planning to be away from baby for long enough to need a bottle, you can still use a break now or then. Getting baby able to take a bottle is key to freeing you up from always being around to nurse. It’s also 100% ok to supplement, and this is probably one of the most “freeing” things of all (I just had a full post dedicated to this)! We’ve tried many bottles with all three babies, based on either what was on sale or what was gifted to us, and it usually comes down to which you like best. With Ro we are using these Philips Avent natural baby bottles. Their shape and nipple promotes a natural latch so baby doesn’t get too confused if you’re going between bottle and breast, and they even have a little anti-colic valve that still helps reduce the amount of air baby takes in while she’s drinking. And I love that they come in pretty colors (always a plus)! Being able to have dad or another provider give a bottle while you do something else (eh sleep in the middle of the night, use the toilet, maybe even get a manicure??) is HUGE. I would also say don't place all of the pressure for what baby will take on the bottle itself - it's good to try the same bottle and have the milk heated at different temperatures, someone different feeding them, distraction techniques, etc. If none of those work, then you can try a different bottle!

2. Have a safe place to put them down
With Liv (my first baby) I think I spent too much money on trying to create a safe place. We had a crib. And then we bought a playpen. And then another playpen. And then a gate-thing. And then we sold or donated all the playpens and gates lol. Really I think the crib is all you need. If you are home alone (which many of us are) there’s nothing wrong with having a safe place for baby to put them down while you shower. Make sure there are no hazards within reach (and they somehow can reach farther than you think). Once baby is a little older even having them buckled in the highchair with something to keep them busy while you cook is a lifesaver. I know I’ve tried cooking dinner with a baby or two crawling up my legs and wanting to be picked up and it’s impossible! For the days they really need to be held (trust me, they’ll have those days) a baby carrier is a life saver (I’ve used them all - read a comparison guide here). But if they’re having a regular day, one fun thing to keep them busy is to have them in the highchair and give them a cheerio necklace (with supervision of course)! It’s great for a tiny snack, their fine motor skills, and keeping them busy so you can get something done! These are also great to use on shopping trips ;)

3. Have eyes (and ears) on them even when you’re not there
Now this is one thing I didn’t have with my first, and looking back I really wish I did! Being able to see them without you physically being there is a huge relief. Now I’m not advocating just putting your baby in the crib and letting them fend for themselves while you go off and live your life hahaha, but when they’re asleep (especially during nap times) it’s so helpful to have a set of eyes and ears that you can actually trust. How many of us have gotten baby down for nap and then spent most that time checking on them because you thought you heard coughing? Or just started shampooing your hair and run out because you thought you heard them crying (of course when you check, they’re still sound asleep). We’ve all been there. A monitor changes that. If you think you hear a peep, you can just look at the monitor and see what’s going on. I bring mine into the bathroom, out on our balcony, into my bedroom, into the kitchen – wherever I am that baby is not, and can continue what I’m doing while keeping an eye on her. We are absolutely loving our Philips Avent baby monitor (it’s the one I’ve shared on my IG story numerous times now)! We love it’s sleek design, range, and the sound and video quality. Philips Avent even has a smart baby monitor that connects with your phone through an app – just another way to simplify and streamline everything!

4. At this age, the more effort you put in, the less they’re usually interested
This might sound pessimistic of me, and I promise it’s not – just more like realistic! When it comes to toys (and even meals), the more elaborate I make things and the more money I spend seems to be inversely related to how much interest baby will actually take in the activity or meal. Spent $40 on a new toy? Baby prefers the wrapping paper and the box it came in. Spent an hour making ice cube baby snacks or some other elaborate Pinterest meal? Baby has more fun throwing it on the floor. Now obviously this isn’t always true, but I’ve found it easiest to try the simple option first. Get creative with (safe) household items. One of Ro’s favorite “toys” in the house (and we’ve got an entire playroom of real toys) is our laundry basket. She loves trying to get things out of or throwing things into it (when they’re smaller and not standing it makes a great place to put baby lol), and when I flip it over she loves using it as a walker and pushes it all over the house! We also love clear organizing bags (I love using them in my purse) but I’ll put a few little things in it and give it to her to play with (another great fine motor activity) under supervision!

5. Simplify bath time 
Some people love elaborate bath times, and if that’s you, don’t change. But if bath time is more of a drag, one thing I always did when pinched for time is take baby in the shower with me. Once they’re sitting on their own you can even sit them in the shower while you wash up and sing with them (one of my favorite things). Before they’re sitting it’s easiest to have someone else home who can take baby once you’re done washing them up so you can finish showering, but this isn’t always feasible. Another great thing (when they're smaller) is sink baths - these for me saved my back and were what we did all the time until Ro started getting a bit too big for our sink (one more reason to get one of those gorgeous farmhouse sinks)! Also - it's ok to not do bath or shower every day! We honestly do closer to 2 or 3 times a week, if that. So don't kill yourself trying to baths every night (I talked about this in my bedtime routine post)!

Thanks to Philips Avent for sponsoring this post and providing some of their products to try out! As always, thoughts and opinions are 100% mio (that’s mine in Spanish)!

January 14, 2018

Supplementing with Formula

Happy Sunday! Today I wanted to touch back on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and that is feeding baby. If you all follow my stories on IG, you know I'm always sharing shots of pumping at work - it's a hard job! I get asked a ton of questions after these posts and I always refer people to this huge pumping post I did a while back. It's got every tip I could think in there about pumping, and even a bit on supplementing with formula.

But I still get so many questions on whether it's ok the supplement that I wanted to dedicate a post on it. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SUPPLEMENTING WITH FORMULA. I always like to joke that I was exclusively formula-fed (I was) and I'm healthy and happy and most days relatively smart, Nathan too! Of course we now know that breast feeding has a ton of benefits for both mama and baby, so I think all of us now aim to be able to breastfeed. But sometimes it's not always possible to exclusively breast feed, and I am 100% against ever shaming a mama for this! I'm in the camp that believes at the end of the day FED IS BEST. So if you have to supplement here or there, or consistently, you do what you gotta do! Love your baby and provide them the best that you can (including the best you, which means not killing yourself over one aspect of providing for them)!  

Ro is 10-months now and since about the 8-month point I've had to start supplementing a bottle or two daily. I can only realistically pump once daily at lunch time so my supply has taken a huge hit. And she's eating nearly everything as far as solids now so she really isn't nursing/drinking breastmilk as much as she was prior to eating as much "real food." Initially I was spending a lot on name brand formula, but I later learned that the FDA has very specific nutrient requirements for infant formula and most are overall the same. So I started saving a bit of money and buying store brand formulas. Most recently we used Comforts Infant Formulas that have all of the vitamins and minerals baby needs (and come pediatrician recommended). They just came out with non-GMO Infant Formulas that are produced using ingredients that haven't been genetically engineered; we love this one (it's equivalent in nutrition to the Enfamil Infant formula we were using previously)!

I also love the storage container of this formula - it has a tab that keeps the scoop up and out of the formula (I always hated having to stick my fingers into the formula, even with clean hands) and a nifty little corner for leveling the scoop. Little things but they make a difference! Hope you guys appreciated this quick post. I really just wanted to normalize supplementing a bit more and share a brand that has been helping me save some money (and sanity, pumping is no joke). Breath easy mamas, you got this! Thanks so much to Comforts Brand for sponsoring this discussion! Comforts Infant Formula can be found exclusively at any Kroger family of stores.

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