blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: 2019

October 31, 2019

Kids Bathroom

Got a few questions about the girls' bathroom (in our new home the kids have their own bathroom, WITH a tub - this is a big deal since we've been living for years without a tub)! Here are all the product sources for their bathroom and what I love about them! 



Bathtub spout cover - this slides right over the spout and protects them for bumping or scratching themselves on it (especially helpful when I have all three of them in there)!

Step stool - this no grip step stool is probably the most used piece. Love the simple white and grey star design, love even more the utility and independence it gives them in getting on the toilet, washing their hands, and brushing their teeth. We bought another one for the kitchen!

Toilet seat cover - Ro had a little potty training setback after an accident at school, and was scared of sitting on the toilet (but had no interest in a little potty either). This was the perfect addition to get her back on. The other two don't seem to mind it.

Nonscented wipes - maybe TMI, but they're still learning to wipe their own behinds correctly, and I love these nonscented ones by Parent's Choice (Walmart's baby brand)! They get tossed in the trash next to the toilet.

Not bathroom related but always ends up in there anyway - this cozy blanket. Maybe it's a morning comfort thing, but they all go into the bathroom with their blankets in hand and it's the funniest thing. They love this one.

All of our bathroom goodies came from Walmart! Love that we can find such good prices there (and next day shipping, particularly useful when we realize we're out of pull ups or wipes)! Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post!





September 24, 2019

Fun gifts for a 6 year old!

Last week we celebrated Olivia's 6th birthday!! It’s so important for us that she learns *experiences* are so much better than *things* (which is why we got my parents to come to town and we all went on a snorkeling trip in the Keys)! But at the end of the day it’s always fun to open a few gifts for your birthday too - and of course I decided this relatively last minute (in my typical fashion)! So I hopped on Walmart.com and bought a few gifts that didn't break the bank and that she loved. And thanks to their next-day shipping I even had enough time to wrap them for her birthday!


She got an adorable little Hatchimals set, a nail stamping kit with non-toxic polishes (that her and Elli did together the night of her birthday!), a LEGO princess jasmine set, a new artist outfit for her Barbie, and a fresh new sketchbook (she loves drawing and kept getting sad whenever she’d tear her art trying to rip it out of the notebook) - hurray for perforated pages! I try to get things that she can truly play with or create with, and all of these fit the bill! And I found it all at Walmart.com!



                                      Thanks to Walmart for sponsoring this post and having such an amazing toy shop!

September 12, 2019

Car Seats That Fit 3 Across

Happy (almost) Friday! I get asked all the time either a) which car we have that fit 3 across, and/or b) which carseats we have that fit across. Now while a) is sort of important (don't expect a tiny little 2 door car to fit 3 across in the backseat haha), the more important question is b)! I currently drive a Hyundai Santa Fe (love it) but before that drove a Ford Escape (both relatively smaller SUVs - the Santa Fe is bigger but really only in length - 178″ L x 75″ W x 66″ H for the Escape vs 188″ L x 74″ W x 66-67″ H for the Santa Fe)!



With the car talk out of the way, let's get to the good stuff - the car seats! For the girls the past nearly 3 years we've had 3 of this convertible car seat (at under $70 it doesn't get better). They fit 3 across perfectly, and Ro has used it from pretty much the age of 1 month. We just upgraded Olivia to a booster seat (we bought this one, and everyone still fits 3 across) just a couple of weeks ago (a combination of reasons - 1 being a milkshake accident and the other that she seemed big for the smaller carseat - even though per the specs it can be used up to 65 pounds). And we were sort of last-minute preparing for a road trip to Disney - thanks to Walmart's next day shipping, we got it the next day and were ready to go!

For those who might not know, this month is Walmart.com's best of baby month with crazy savings on all things baby! I wanted to highlight a few things (not just our car seats) that I've mentioned before or picked up online during this event!

For starters, I picked up this gorgeous, sleek (you guys know my home decor style) pack and play ($50 off during the event)! As some of you might know, both of my best friends now have babies, and I want a place for them to sleep when they come visit (no worrying about having to pack that to come to Tia's house)!

We talked about breastfeeding and pumping in my last post - if your insurance doesn't cover this pump, grab it now - it's marked down from 219.99 to 159.99!

There is so much more that is priced with crazy savings - linking up some more of my carseat selections below, and make sure to check out the event page online for whatever you might be looking for! The savings are comparable to Black Friday savings which is crazy! Plus you can't beat free next day or 2 day shipping (great for last minute shoppers like me haha)!



A special thanks to Walmart for sponsoring this post and throwing the baby event! All thoughts and opinions are my own!



August 30, 2019

National Breastfeeding Awareness Month

I can't believe we're already heading into September! And with that, it's been nearly 6 years of our breastfeeding and pumping journey (with 3 babies who aren't babies anymore)!!!


In honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month (and Black Breastfeeding Week), I'm teaming up with Walmart to share some of my tips and favorite products that make life a little easier while  pumping! I love that I can find pretty much anything I need there and at the best prices (and their next day and 2 day shipping really make life easier). Their baby shop has so much (I got all of the girls carseats from there too)!


A bit of background on my journey - I breastfed Olivia for 18 months, went back to work at 4 months, and pumped while away and nursed when I was home with her. With Elli, I breastfed only for 1-2 weeks - she had a horrible latch that caused terrible nipple bleeding to the point of her spitting up blood, and I went back to work at 1 month (I was in my intern year in residency). I exclusively pumped for 12 months and then we switched over to formula and soon after dairy milk. With Rowen, I breastfed for 9 months, went back to work at 2 months and pumped/breastfed throughout that time. As my supply died down during a particularly hard rotation I switched over to formula for the last few months  until we started dairy milk. So with that - here are some of my tips!

  • If you plan on pumping, start early, and introduce a bottle (preferably given by someone else) early as well. We've used lots of different bottles, and the Como Tomo, Dr. Brown's, and Philips Avent were our favorite. Loved each for different reasons!
  • Start by pumping for a few minutes after nursing, even if you only get a half an ounce! Start storing this in storage bags and add to it until you have 4-6 ounces in a bag and then pop it in the freezer. Breastmilk is all about supply and demand so the more you pump the more milk you will have, and our bodies are most responsive to those cues when our milk is just coming in. 
  • Use a handheld pump and pump from the opposite side while the baby nurses on the other. With my first, I loved the ease of my manual pump - and with a nursing pillow it really does make it easier to do this. I usually didn't completely empty that breast in case baby wanted to nurse on the other side too, but many women find this helpful!
  • Don't feel like you have to pump extra everyday. Start early and just build slowly, once your milk really comes in you will have milk! The worst thing we can do for our supply is stress!
  • Once you're back at work, having a small, no-fuss pump makes a huge difference. At home I usually used my Medela Pump In Style (check if your health insurance will provide this pump for free), but for work I LOVED having my Freestyle - it was wireless and super portable and still got the job done. 
  • Pump handsfree so you can catch up on emails (or just decompress) while pumping. Having a hands-free pumping bra (that also functions as a nursing bra) is super helpful and will make pumping time seem like less of a punishment. 
  • Bring a cooler bag if you don't have a refrigerator at work (I didn't during my last time pumping). I loved how small this one was (and it fit my bottles perfectly)! I would usually pack only 2 bottles and a few milk storage bags - this way I could store more milk if needed.
  • Make sure to drink water throughout the day (lots of people swear by the pink drink too, but this isn't really a budget-friendly habit)! And toss in milk-boosting snacks (these were delicious)! It's so easy especially at a stressful job to forget to drink and eat enough, but that's the only way your body can produce the liquid gold for your baby! So take care of yourself. 
  • Know your rights, and advocate for yourself. You have the right to breastfeed your baby whenever and wherever, and you have the right to pump at work. Check out this link for more information. 




I hope some of these tips could help, and as always leave a comment on this post or Instagram with any questions! And thanks so much to Walmart for sponsoring this pumping post and helping recognize National Breastfeeding Awareness month! All thoughts and opinions are always my own!

August 20, 2019

Back To School Time

Crazy that summer has already come and gone, and now it's time for the girls to head back to school! Sharing some of our favorite back to school basics below! 


I love that I was able to do all of our back to school shopping online at Walmart! So many items were even available with free next day shipping (great for the last-minute shoppers like myself), and most others had 2 day shipping! Olivia has to wear a big girl uniform to school this year, so I was really excited to find many four pack of shirts for under $20. The uniform bottoms were a great price point too. I also picked up some fun bento boxes for lunch - make sure to check out my lunches highlight on Instagram for kids llunch ideas! And of course all of their back to school supplies like notebooks, pencils, crayons, markers, and more (even sanitizing supplies the teachers request - everything is at Walmart)!

 One thing I've started doing each year with the girls is ordering extra supplies so we can donate to kids who don't have them - and at Walmart's prices I can pick up quite a bit and help even more families in need ($12 backpacks are insane and I can easily fill them with goodies and donate)! Love showing these girls how we can (and should) help others any chance we get! 


Thanks so much to Walmart for sponsoring this back-to-school post and helping a mama like me get my littles ready for school! All thoughts and opinions are always my own!



May 26, 2019

Outfits Lately

Happy weekend y'all! Today I just wanted to quickly link up some of my recent outfits since the links I add on instagram stories only last for 24 hours! Hope you all have a beautiful weekend!

(SO many colors to choose from, and only $12)
(unfortunately most sizes sold out after I linked on IG the first time, but hopefully they'll restock!)
(I went with the bright gold, but I think I'm going to buy the blush gold as well - 
at $15 it's easy to buy a few)!

(on sale this weekend for $22.50!)

(on sale this weekend for $20! I'm obsessed with the fit and comfort of this dress)
(under $50!)
(another sweet Amazon find, and a steal at under $15!)

May 23, 2019

Working mom's morning routine (and products)

Hi all! Earlier this week I shared a pretty in depth look at our morning routine getting myself and the 3 girls out of the door to school (and myself to work for 8am clinic)! If you missed it, I made it a highlight on my Instagram stories that you can find here!
 
 
 
I promised I'd link up many of the things we use, so here goes (pretty much in order of appearance from our morning video). If there's anything you were looking for or any questions you have feel free to leave them in the comments or leave a comment on IG!
 
Coffee maker (super versatile, brews normal K cups, espresso shots, and has a milk frother)
Coffee mug (the sweetest set)!
Coffee and creamer (at home this is my favorite, at Starbucks my go-to is a blonde roast with cream, sugar, and a dash of cinnamon - the most caffeine for your buck)!
Girls lunch containers (truly leak proof which I love; their old ones were good but sometimes leaked, so I repurposed them to organize my beauty products in my drawer)!
Our dining table (obsessed)
Rollerball eye depuffing serum (one of my favorite steps in my AM routine; eye bags are one of the most difficult things though, since there can be SO many different causes for bags + dark circles, many of which need in-office treatments not just creams or serums!)
Vitamin C facial oil (finally found my holy-grail vitamin C. Used the entire bottle and repurchasing)
Daily facial sunscreen (my favorite - never leave the house without)
Eyebrows (this drugstore one replaced all of my more expensive ones!)
*will do a full post on their hair care, but in short, despite them having very different curl patterns, these 2 products work great for all of them - the difference is how much I use in each girls hair - Liv's hair needs to be soaked each day and is super porous so she definitely goes through the most product, Elli and Ro don't need very much at all
Car seats (fit 3 in a row in small SUV)
 
Hope you guys find everything you need! xx

May 11, 2019

Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts!


Happy Saturday! Today I'm coming through for all my last-minute shoppers (cough cough, me) who may not have picked something special up for mother's day if you celebrate. Thanks to services like Amazon Prime you would be set if you ordered something late last week, but if by this point you still haven't gotten something services like Target's order online and pick up in store really are a game changer (if you're also like me and can't fathom having to take all 3 of your own kids to the store to do shopping since your husband's out of town). 

All of these picks were available to pick up in store within 2 hours! So hopping into some of my picks! //  An Instant Pot. If the mother figure you're shopping for does any cooking and doesn't have one of these, hook her up. I now make my pasta, rice, almost all of my meat, and always my boiled eggs in this baby. It's a real game changer. //  An adorable mom mug like this one. Whether she's a coffee or tea fan (or just lemon water), this one speaks to all moms of littles on the hard days! //  The softest plush pom pom throw (I own it in pink and it's my favorite blanket - it comes in cream and teal too)! The kids always steal this one from me and I know if it's gone missing I'm sure to find it in their bedroom - definitely considering picking up another one since it's on sale for under $10! //  A pair of bluetooth headphones -bonus that these are semi-noise cancelling - I have these exact ones and play white noise in them or relaxing music and it really helps with the stressful solo evenings with the kids! It may sound horrible but those with kids know it gets loud, and I get easily overstimulated haha. This helps mellow everything out on the crazy days and are great for workouts too! //  A back massager; anyone can use a massage, but especially moms. Pro tip for my pumping mamas - set up your pumping spot at home (or work if you have a designated space) and pump with this back massager! //  A sweet necklace like this moon and stars necklace //  If your mama is anything like me and can keep the kids alive but not the plants, an artificial plant is the way to go (bonus no dirt for the kids to play with)! This artificial agave is so pretty for indoors or out! 

Most of all I hope you just show the mother figure in your life you see her, love her ,and appreciate her. That's most of what we want - the rest is just sprinkles on top!


May 8, 2019

Matching Mommy + Mini outfits!

Almost Mother’s Day! I don’t know about you, but for Mother’s Day I’d love a relaxing spa morning (maybe even sleep in) and someone cleaning the house! Followed by a fun outing with the family (most mamas know that as much as we say we want alone time, once we get it we usually miss the kids instantly)! 



Aaand I would love for the kids to be silly with mommy and dress alike! I got a ton of questions about our looks after this fun afternoon grabbing ice cream together and most mamas were super happy to hear I picked up everything from Old Navy! They have a ton of options with similar patterns for the whole family (even men's pieces!), so I picked up some of their banana print pieces for Sunday! We can only do matchy-matchy for so long, can’t wait to show the girls these when they’re older! 

February 1, 2019

20 Children's Books for Black History Month!

Happy Black History Month!! If any of you have followed my blog or insta for some time now, you know I believe in celebrating our blackness every day, and making sure the girls get plenty of positive reinforcement and normalization of their skin color, their curls, and those that differ from them. While it's true that no child is born thinking differently about another race, they are inundated with messages from society and the media daily - so parents, try to be active as possible in highlighting our differences and the beauty in those differences! As I like to say, raise them to be colorkind, not colorblind. And for some of my followers who still have trouble accepting all of this black pride, or feel like it's not fair - I've had comments on "wouldn't it be racist if I said white pride" - please understand, those of us who identify as Black in America are from a lineage of ancestors who were stolen from their countries and forced into slavery. The idea of race and black vs white is A social construct, created to instill a social ranking order, where whites were superior. So I absolutely think it's ok (and wonderful actually) to have English pride, or Irish pride, or Italian pride, or Polish pride, etc.,  please realize that blacks in this country don't know what country we even came from (we can make guesses of course), but we don't have that history or that culture. All we have is our blackness, something that for much of our history was something that was seen as inferior, so instead we celebrate it. For anyone who wants to read more, I highly recommend Princeton professor Nell Irvin Painter's The History of White People, and Ibram Kendi's national book award winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.

Alright, with all of that said, let's jump right into some of my favorite children's books celebrating black history, black culture, black hair, and inclusivity! I really hope you'll enjoy them as much as we do, and feel comfortable inserting these positive messages regularly into your homes and schools!


  1. A Child's Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country (A Child's Introduction Series), Jabari Asim
  2. Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
  3. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, Derrick Barnes
  4. Dad, Who Will I Be? G.Todd Taylor
  5. Dancing in the Wings,  Debbie Allen
  6. Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library, Julie Gassman
  7. Emi's Curly Coily, Cotton Candy Hair, Tina Olajide 
  8. Hair Like Mine, LaTashia M. Perry
  9. Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? Patrice McLaurin
  10. Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, Ellen Levine
  11. I Am Enough,  Grace Byers
  12. I Have a Dream (Book & CD), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
  13. I Love My Hair! Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
  14. Jabari Jumps, Gaia Cornwall
  15. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, Vashti Harrison
  16. Look What Brown Can Do! T. Marie Harris
  17. Mae Among the Stars, Roda Ahmed
  18. The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath, Julia Finley Mosca
  19. The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, Cynthia Levinson
  20. Yesterday I Had the Blues, Jeron Ashford Frame

All of the books listed above are arranged alphabetically and linked up, just click any one! Please feel free to pin this post or share to anyone who may find it useful! 


January 28, 2019

Our Stay at Four Seasons Orlando

As I relish in a week of a much needed vacation (currently sitting in a coffee shop down the street from my house) I've been thinking about (very) last minute getaways, and of course at the top of my list was a quick trip to Walt Disney World (WDW). Still haven't booked anything yet and I don't know if I will (the feeling of sitting here getting things done feels really good), but it DID get me thinking about where I would stay if I planned a little bit farther in advance. And hands down it'd be the Four Seasons Orlando.

And then I realized I never actually posted about my FS Orlando trip, and you guys had SO many questions from what I posted on my Instagram feed and stories! So, today I'm finally getting around to sharing details from our stay at the Four Seasons Orlando! And reliving it all (it was so incredible).

First, in total disclosure, FS Orlando treated us to this stay. But also in full disclosure, our first trip to WDW where we stayed at Disney's Boardwalk Inn was paid for by Disney (so I'm not loyal to any one hotel, just love Disney in general and whatever allows me to spend quality time with my family there)! And we've also stayed at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (that we paid for ourselves). It's so funny to think that 2018 was our first trip to Disney and we've since been 3 times. And I *think* this year I'll be biting the bullet and buying Florida resident annual passes. We love it. Ok with all of that said, this post will be a summary of our stay at FS Orlando and will 1000% be my own opinion!

I almost canceled our trip, as literally the morning of our stay I got the call I had been dreading for weeks - my aunt, my dad's only sister, and the woman who helped raise me and continued on as one of my greatest cheerleaders, had died. After an unexpected colon cancer diagnosis last summer and a courageous battle, she left us that morning. And I didn't think I had it in me to travel and visit the "happiest place on earth." But I cried at the thought of telling the girls we wouldn't be going (well, I had been doing a lot of crying that morning), and I knew we just had to go. And this trip really did help so much.

So - on to the happy stuff!! If I had a choice (and a bigger bank account) I'd stay at the Four Seasons Orlando every single trip to Disney. I'd say truly the only "con" is the price tag - but hey, you get what you pay for.



To make the most of a very regular 2-day weekend trip from Miami to Orlando, we drove in Friday night after we both got out of work (which was late)! We got into the hotel around midnight, and were welcomed to an incredible room set up for bed, and the sweetest kids robes, a few sweets, and dress-up props for the girls! Also included was a great crib with nice linens and even some baby goodies (leave it to the FS to have a luxurious line of baby products)!


Our suite also had an incredible bathroom that had a touchscreen mirror (whoah now, was suprised to see "Good evening, Dr. Scott" on the screen when I walked in!) and a deep tub - a luxury we don't have at home! I definitely made it a point to soak in the tub, even if the kids still couldn't be bothered by the idea of mommy time lol! The balcony was another huge highlight - it overlooked the Magic Kingdom nightly fireworks! It was so sweet watching them from the comfort of our room one night! I'll share more on the great location of the resort later! 




The rest of the property was just beautiful - from the fireworks chandeliers in the lobby to the magical gift shop, the open terraces, and all of the restaurants!



Speaking of restaurants, one of the most fun experiences at the hotel was the Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and his pals (his pals being a very famous mouse couple and a duck couple, I'm sure for some weird licensing thing they can't list them, but the whole gang is there)! Let me tell you - for those spending longer in Disney, this character breakfast gives just enough of Disney characters to feel super magical, but offers a chance to get a break from travel and going to the parks! This was my first character breakfast so I can't compare it to any in the parks or the other resorts, but per a few of the mamas I met while waiting for the bus, this was the best character breakfast in Walt Disney World! Per them, more time with the characters spent, tons of photo ops, and most importantly delicious breakfast. As I said, I can't compare, but the breakfast was delicious and the girls were beyond star struck every time one of the characters came by! We loved it!



From the breakfast we headed out to Epcot (one of my favorites in WDW, especially during Food & Wine Festival!). This was another huge bonus of the FS (especially after having stayed at other WDW resorts) - it's smack in the middle of Magic Kingdom and the rest of the parks, so the bus rides to any of the parks really don't feel long at all! And yes,  the Four Seasons is located inside the WDW area (a question I got a lot) and the buses work just like the other resort busses! Except for a few MAJOR upgrades - first and most importantly - the bus doesn't require that you fold up your stroller to bring it on - in fact, the driver will just place your open stroller in the bottom luggage compartment. For anyone who has used the buses to get around WDW, you know this is one of the hardest things (especially if you have multiples) - having to take your kid(s) out of the stroller, empty stuff out, and then fold it in record time! Such a hassle and I was so thankful to not have to do this each time we got on! As a bonus, the seats are fabric and cushioned and there are TVs inside playing Disney movies (think Greyhound bus vs public bus).



We spent all day at Epcot and made it home in time for baths, nighttime chocolate cookies, and the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our balcony. This reminds me - at Four Seasons you can still enjoy WDW Resort perks like extra magic hours (when the park either opens an hour early or stays open later only for select guests - definitely a nice way to experience the parks)! On top of it you can book package deals with WDW and basically just get all of the same perks as staying at any of the WDW resorts!

The next day was already our check out day (like I said, we tried making the most of a very normal 2-day weekend), but we woke up early and made our way to the pool! Seriously jaw-dropping. I loved the kids pool and its fountains (did I mention there's also an adults-only pool?? The only one in WDW and much needed if you're spending more time there - it looked heavenly)! Floating down the lazy river with my clan was definitely a highlight of the trip! We worked up quite an appetite and enjoyed a delicious meal poolside (the PB&J and pizza were huge hits with the kids and I devoured my fish tacos)!!!



All in all the trip was incredible, and I loved chatting with the other parents who really felt this was the best resort in all of WDW. I definitely have to agree with them, and can't wait for our next trip!!



PS - for more of my Disney park tips, check out this article I wrote for Disney Family!


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