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I ditched my diaper bag for MZ Wallace and haven’t looked back

Diaper bags are always a dilemma. I’m never happy with my diaper bag. With my daughter, I obsessively searched for a chic bag and purchased a bag from 2 Red Hens. I loved the colors and the design. But the bowling bag shape ended up being annoying. I found the bag too bulky.

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About a year later, while shopping at Marshalls, I found I purse from Olivia and Joy that I thought would make the best diaper bag ever. And I got it in both of the colors they had- gray for the colder seasons and creme for summer.

The side zipper pockets fit diapers and wipes and the front pockets fit bottles. Sold! Turns out that these are actually diaper bags: Olivia and Joy Portia Diaper Bag.

Go me for getting them half price.

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So these bags are great for when you have an older baby, like over a year old. Moms can use them as a purse and not have to lug around another diaper bag.  My only complaint is that the material on the strap started to peel off.

When I found out I was having a boy, I decided to get a new diaper bag that had more space for a change of clothes, etc. At the time, I was really into Baggallini and used the brand’s Black Friday sale as an excuse to purchase their new, bright blue diaper bag. I love the Baggallini On the Go Diaper Bag tote in Cobalt Blue. There are so many compartments that everything can be ultra organized.

 

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So what’s the problem with this one? It’s not big enough for me to ditch my purse and carry just one bag. And there’s not enough room for me to add everything I need for an infant and a toddler.  Carrying around two bags isn’t easy when you’re also managing two kids.

Then, I came across the bag of my dreams from MZ Wallace.  It’s the Large Sutton Tote in Estate Blue available at Saks. I saw this bag on someone in person and couldn’t stop thinking about it for months. This is a statement bag. The color is so unique.

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And it’s huge! But not too big that I can’t carry it around. It comes with inside pockets, a three insert bags for organization and can be held as a tote or crossbody bag. So basically, the only thing missing is a pocket big enough to hold bottles, but that’s OK.

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After months of dreaming about it, I decided to treat myself. Ok, the “Low stock” notice I saw online for it also played a role in my decision. I panicked I would not get it if I waited ’til my birthday as I planned. Clever marketing success, perhaps?

I am obsessed with this bag! It meets all my needs: light weight, unique color for all seasons, crossbody option and plenty of organization. I am happy to ditch my diaper bag and combine everything I need here. Enough room for my stuff, and everything I need while on the go with a toddler and an infant.  Definitely worth the price since I won’t need to get a new bag for summer.

If you order another color, I suggest going directly through MZ Wallace so you can get the 10 percent off.

I was also considering a Marc Jacobs diaper bag, but felt they were too small for my needs.  And then on instagram, I discovered Happ brand and was thisclose to purchasing their backpack. Kudos to them for making a sponsored ad that said, “If you can’t stop thinking about it, buy it.”  Unfortunately for them, it backfired because I listened to them and got the MZ Wallace on my mind!

Happ has a nice blush pink bag too. But ultimately, I think the tote is too small for me and the backpack would be nice sometimes but I prefer side totes since I am always going in and out of my bag.

 

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So there you have it! My super long journey to finding the perfect diaper bag and it’s not even a diaper bag!

Experts Argue Against Cry It Out

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I personally don’t believe in the “cry it out” technique to get babies to sleep at night. If a baby is crying it’s because they want comforting. And as a mom, it’s my job to do that, even if it means I won’t sleep for a few years. I made it through with my daughter and she eventually started sleeping through the night when she turned three (I KNOW, I KNOW). I’m pulling all-nighters with our 9 month-old son and doctors are telling us it’s time to sleep train. My husband agrees because he, of course, wants to get a full night’s sleep. But I disagree. And so do these doctors.  Read this article published on BellyBelly.com, “Cry It Out – 6 Educated Professionals Who Advise Against It.”

 

 

Society6 Nursery Decor

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I recently discovered, and thus became obsessed, with Society6. The site has unique and affordable home decor from super cool artists. We’re finally setting up a nursery for our son, but the room we’re using has beautiful knotty pine paneling that I don’t want to paint over. So I’ve been on the hunt for fun wall decor to cover up the paneling and brighten up the room. I don’t want to have an exact theme, or make it too babyish.

The Society6 wall tapestries are the perfect solution to my decor dilemma! I chose Pizzasaurus, which is bright yellow tapestry featuring a dinosaur with spikes made out of pizza. This is epic. First, dinosaurs are perfect for a little boy. Second, who doesn’t love pizza? And since my husband works as a food broker for Italian pizza products, I thought this is a cute way to pay homage to him in his son’s room! I can’t wait to hang it up!

Definitely check out Society6.com for your home decor needs. They have blankets, throw pillows and more.

 

Save the Mombies

New Mombies are initiated into society on a daily basis. This exhausted segment of the female population can usually be identified by dark circles under her eyes, a staggering walk, and a cup of coffee in her hand. Women turn into Mombies after giving birth and only one thing can stop them: sleep. Yet, scary statistics reveal that mothers of children under 18-months-old are barely clocking in five hours a night.

My son is nine months old and I’m getting about four hours of sleep a night. He just wants to be held to sleep and then cries when I lay him down. So, I’m a Mombie.

I could try sleep training, but as working mom who only sees her baby at night, I feel awful watching him cry. If he wants mommy love, he will get it!

We were doing much better than the every two hour wake up,  but I suspect teething might be a cause for his wake-ups.

For now, I’ll just take it one day at a time and enjoy my 12 a.m., 2 a.m., 4 a.m. etc. cuddles!

Here’s to all the Mombies out there. I raise my coffee cup to you!

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Expert Advice: Fool-Proof Sleep Tips for Traveling with Kids this Holiday Season

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I’m happy to share the expert guest post below from Denise Stern, Founder of Let Mommy Sleep , just in time for the holiday season!

Just last Thanksgiving, 48.7 million Americans traveled over 50 miles or more and we can expect much more of the same this year. For those traveling with a newborn, infant or toddler, we know how stressful travel can be, especially when it comes to nap schedules.

However, for your peace of mind, Denise Stern, founder of Let Mommy Sleep, the country’s leading Baby Nurse and Postpartum Care service, is revealing a few fool-proof tips as you prepare your baby for travel during the holidays.

Fool Proof Sleep Tips for Traveling this Holiday Season with a Newborn, Infant or Toddler, which includes:

  1. Practice at home! Many times babies are not used to sleeping in a travel bed or pack-n-play.Put baby in travel bed or pack-n-play for naptime at home in weeks leading up to the trip.
  2. Keep sleep routine as close to home as possible to help baby feel safe and secure.  If weather permits, dress baby in pajamas/sleepsack/swaddle blanket that he/she is accustomed to.  If renting a full-sized travel crib from a hotel, bring bedsheets and breathable bumper from baby’s crib at home to recreate familiar sleep environment. Sing the same bedtime songs you sing at home and read favorite books.
  3. Try to stay on baby’s time. If possible, try to keep naptimes and bedtimes as close to the same schedule as at home.  When traveling across time zones, gradually adjust baby’s bedtime. Some parents like to travel at night so baby can sleep and wake up in destination refreshed. This can lead to an exhausting first day of the trip. If you can “tag-team” with your partner by alternating napping and caring for baby during the first day, then traveling at night could be a possibility.
  4. While it is tempting to let a sleeping baby spend the night in a Once at the destination, do not rely on carseats for safe sleep. carseat or stroller, carseats can sometimes cause breathing problems in babies. Follow the recommendations of the American Association of Pediatrics and the “Back to Sleep” campaign by creating a safe sleep environment and putting baby on back for sleeping.
  5. Slow it down – You’re on Baby’s Time! Don’t expect to have a jam-packed site seeing schedule. All the new sights, sounds, and experiences are very stimulating and exciting for baby. Baby could get fussy if overstimulated and too exhausted.  Remember that sleep begets sleep. Keeping baby awake longer than his/her bodies need may work for one night or one nap, but fighting against baby’s natural rhythms leads to meltdown. While it is nice to have alone time with your partner, caring for a baby can be even more exhausting than usual when traveling. We like to remind parents to not stay up too late too!

About Let Mommy Sleep

Let Mommy Sleep is the country’s leading Baby Nurse and Postpartum Care service based in Washington DC.   Because of the company’s unparalleled dedication to customer service and the overwhelming need for qualified postpartum care, LMS continues to grow with franchise locations now in Philadelphia, Northern New Jersey, South Florida and Las Vegas with more on the way. Let Mommy Sleep is a simple service; licensed nurses and caregivers are paired with brand new parents to provide nurturing overnight care to newborns, and evidence based education to families.  This postpartum care is crucial to parents’ health and well-being especially in these days where families are spread out and there is little to no social support. For more information, visit their website, letmommysleep.com.

Expert Advice: 15 Doctor Recommended “To Do’s” to Fight the Flu

I’m happy to share this guest post from Dr. Christopher Calapai

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As we head into flu season there are many things we can do to “flu proof” ourselves. Regardless of whether you choose to get a flu vaccine or not, there are things we can do to heighten our chances of not getting sick this winter. Dr. Christopher Calapai, a New York based Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine provided us with a comprehensive list of 15 to do’s to fight the flu.

  1. Keep your surroundings clean, wipe surfaces at work, keep your cell phone clean. According to the CDC viruses can survive on a surface for up to 8 hours
  2. Wash your hands frequently and use a hand sanitizer. Remember the workplace and public spaces are a hotbed for germs. This is where the hand washing comes into play.
  3. Increase intake of vitamin D, C, E and A. Include foods such as red bell peppers (add to salads), sweet potatoes, chicken soup, salmon and garlic. Research shows that keeping vitamin D levels at 80 ng/ml or so decreases the risk of catching the flu and swine flu.
  4. Bring your own lunch to work where you can control food prep and ensure surfaces are clean.
  5. Get a full night’s sleep. When you feel run down you’re more susceptible to illness.
  6. Work from home when feeling sick. These days it’s easier for people to work from home at the slightest signs of cold or flu.
  7. Eat kimchi! It’s delicious and a great probiotic which boost immunity.
  8. Add mushrooms to your meal. Packed with selenium they’re an immunity booster.
  9. Sip green or black tea rich in polyphenols and flavonoids which ward off illness as well as L-theanine, an immunity boosting amino acid. Green and black tea are also packed with polyphenols and flavonoids.
  10. Munch on sweet potato fries which are high in vitamin which helps us fight off bacteria and viruses.
  11. Don’t touch your face especially the eyes. The average person touches their face around 15 times per hour! It’s something we do unconsciously so if we can be more aware of face touching the more we can stop.
  12. Soup it up! Chicken veggie noodle or ginger garlic soup fights flu and sinus infection.
  13. Exercise regularly! Doing 30 minutes of moderate cardio per day is optimal to enhance the performance of infection fighting white blood cells.
  14. Go hands free on the smartphone.When we put our phones down and then pick them up or touch them this is where viruses can spread. Using earbuds and cleaning the phone with a devise friendly cleaner will help.
  15. Lose the booze. You really want to cut back on alcohol consumption during flu season. It dehydrates us and lowers our immunity so our ability to fight off virus is impaired.

About the Doctor:

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s. He has worked with Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham’s, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at www.drcal.net

Playroom Decor You’ll Adore

I was searching on Amazon for a new playmat and came across the INCX playmat rug that can pull together and double as a storage organizer. It met all my requirements:

1. Big enough for both kids (It’s 58×58).

2. Adorable and photo opp worthy.

3. Affordable. It’s just $24.99, which is a steal. Other mats this size are going for at least $75 on Amazon.

I purchased it and my kids and I love it. My husband actually complemented it too instead of yelling at me for shopping online again. My daughter even likes to use it as a blanket.

I didn’t add the string for the storage function because we don’t plan on folding up.

I love that it gives my kids a fun and clean space to play, especially one that is free of dog fur and dirty paws, which any pet owner can relate to!

I’ll buy this for all friends as they have babies. There are so many cute styles! I basically want another! Great holiday gift, too!

Care Bear Family Halloween Costumes

Our family dressed as Care Bears for Halloween. It was adorable and warm, which is important for NJ in October.

It started with Grumpy Bear. I saw the onesie for my husband and had to get it cause he actually likes to dress up and our daughter loves Grumpy Bear. Like a good dad, he did it for her. Except the costume was too small so he had to squeeze into it! Opps! Hahah

Then I got Genevieve Wonderheart and I wanted the baby and G to have a theme, so this became a family affair! Luca was Bedtime Bear and I was Cheer Bear.

I had to hunt for the costumes and buy them months ahead online for the kids. The adult costumes came from Wal-Mart and Target and were much cheaper. But it was well worth it!

How cute are we?!