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Georgina’s Nursery

December 1, 2019

Categories: Lifestyle

baby girl nursery
baby girl nursery
custom baby furniture
custom floral furniture

Nursery Designed by DeWitt Designs

Photographed by McKenzie Coyle Photography

When I first thought about Georgina’s nursery I knew that, first and foremost, I wanted this to be a room that could grow with her. I also wanted to capture my own style; all things classic, European influenced, and most of all… cozy and comfortable. But I also wanted to incorporate the things that inspired me while I was pregnant with my daughter. During my pregnancy, I felt especially drawn to gardens; I would browse the picturesque English country gardens in magazines (my camera roll is full of them) and walk through our local garden center endlessly, breathing in the floral fragrances and admiring the newest blooms. I even had my baby shower in a Victorian conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens. My love of gardening comes from my father and his father before him… And being out in nature, amongst the flowers, has healed my spirit more times than I can count. My hope for Georgina – my little “Bunny” – is that she appreciates nature as much as her ancestors have and that she allows it to restore her and give her peace when she needs it most. I hope that when she feels lost, she can return to nature and find herself again, as I have.

I hadn’t expected to get pregnant so quickly, so I hadn’t done any preparation whatsoever. When I realized I was pregnant, the “nursery” was still an extra storage room filled with shelves of craft materials and PR boxes and the closet was full of my out-of-season clothing. It took my mom flying out a few times and helping me empty the room, donate the furniture and clothing, and sort so many photographs and mementos to finally get the room ready to decorate. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her – it felt so overwhelming at the beginning, but my mom is a saint and helped me through it. Luckily, this coincided with my nesting and as we went through everything I realized something important… Less clutter means more happiness. It’s true. The more things we hauled away to donate, the happier I became and the more clarity I felt in my mind. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t blog the same way I used to, featuring new clothing and items every day.

Once we emptied the room and closet, I began working on Georgina’s closet organization; you can see a blog post on this here. And then someone came to prepare the walls for wallpaper and fabric trim. I’ve included the “before” photos in black and white below.

The final step was the “install” – window treatments, moving in furniture, and adding the finishing touches with decor. DeWitt Designs (along with my mom!) created the perfect dream garden for my little girl; it’s now my favorite room in the house. I was concerned about the small size of the room, but I was surprised to see that the window treatments and beautiful furniture actually made Georgina’s little nursery feel much larger and more open! I still find myself walking into it in disbelief, unsure if this room is really the same one that was lined with shelves of ribbon, boxes of photos, and piles of new beauty products just a year ago. It’s incredible to see the transformation. We all love to spend time in Georgina’s nursery; it really is such a peaceful, tranquil space for us to enjoy.

Most of the items in Georgie’s nursery are custom from DeWitt Designs. If you’re interested in the draperies, light fixture, crib, bookcase, dresser, chair, side table, or dresser/changing table you will need to contact them to order and discuss color/paint/design options. A few things I like about these pieces are the bookcase, which has dimmable lights to showcase items on the shelves, soft-close doors, and slide-out shelves in the lower section for easy access to toys and books. The chair has a removable Sunbrella fabric slipcover to make it durable and washable in the event of stains and spills. The changing table topper removes to become a dresser Georgina can always use. And the light fixture was custom painted to make the colors a bit softer in line with the rest of the room and includes moveable magnetic crystals. I do know the wallpaper is called “Romey’s Garden” by Zoffany and we used a sweet fabric trim to create a less formal feel than crown molding.

We were given such sweet gifts from friends and I’ve even incorporated items from my own childhood room in Georgina’s nursery, but I’m including the sources for absolutely everything I could find after the second set of photos below.

ceramic bunny lamp
custom nursery drapery
wedgwood mirror

Bed

Restoration Hardware Bedding. Hermès Small Check Knit Blanket. Small Crochet Bunny. Soft White Stuffed Bunny. Owlet Camera and Sock.

Please note the pillows and blankets are taken out of the crib when Georgina naps in it. We hope to remove the front crib panel and turn this into an upholstered reading nook when Georgina is older, so we wanted the pillows to match and I honestly don’t mind taking them out each time she sleeps; I think they look beautiful when the bed is made!

Room Accents

Sherpa Bunny Rocker. Hermès Baby Blanket on Chair. Porcelain Bunny Lamp. Silk Lamp Cord Cover. Gold Bee Frame. 18K Gold Ribbon Frame from Gorsuch – Similar Here. Hermès Baby Shoes.

Bookcase

Leather Bound Books: Charlotte’s Web. Winnie the Pooh. Peter Rabbit. Anne of Green Gables. The Secret Garden. Black Beauty. A Little Princess. Heidi. The Wizard of Oz.

Top Shelf: Vintage Wedgwood Peter Rabbit Coin Bank: from my childhood room – One Available Here. Jemima Puddleduck, Ducklings + Egg, and Peter Rabbit all by R. John Wright.

Second Shelf: Floppy Bunny. Hermès Silver Rocking Horse Teething Ring. Gold Bee Frame. Linen Box from Laura Murray Photography. Pink Rosette Baby Shoes from Gracious May.

Third Shelf: Blankets, Quilt, Silver Spoon: Gifts From Friends. Antique British Plate + Plate Holder: from my childhood room. Bunnies By the Bay Ballerina Bunny. Reed & Barton Turtle Music Box. Reed & Barton Ladybug Music Box.

Fourth Shelf: Pink Bunny: Gift From Friend. Vintage Royal Albert Beatrix Potter Figurine “Hunca Munca”: Gift From Friend – One Available Here. Sonogram Frame.

Bottom Shelf: Vintage Royal Albert Beatrix Potter Figurine “Jemima Puddleduck”: Gift From Friend – One Available Here. Mackenzie Childs Sugar Bowl.

Changing Table

Wedgwood Gold Oval Mirror. Changing Pad. Pink Changing Pad Cover. Vintage Peter Rabbit: from my childhood room – One Available Here. Pipette Baby Oil. Pipette Baby Balm. Bunny Painting: from my childhood room (matted in fabric scrap from the drapes!)

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Favorite Newborn Items

November 1, 2019

Categories: Lifestyle

newborn essentials

Thank you so much for the kind words of congratulations you’ve left me on my Instagram since I’ve had Georgina. I feel like I waited for the “right time” to enter this season of my life and now I’m not sure why; motherhood has been the most beautiful experience and I’ve never loved anything or anyone the way I love my daughter. I am so grateful for each day with her – even the tough ones – and I never want to take one minute for granted because I realize we are beyond blessed to have this happy, healthy little girl in our lives. Sometimes when I’m holding her as she sleeps I could swear my heart is actually melting; she has changed me in the best ways possible.

I’ve had a few people ask if I’ll be sharing my birth story and I’ve decided not to share that part of my experience. When my husband and I went on our hospital tour, the birth concierge suggested we wait until after we were home to share anything about the baby on social media. My husband and I thought it was a great idea in terms of safety but also a way to thoroughly enjoy the birth of our daughter without having to immediately respond to countless text messages, etc. We only told our immediate family members when we went into the hospital. And it was the best thing we’ve ever done. Those two nights in the hospital with our new baby girl were cozy and sweet and we felt cocooned in the love of our little family of three. There are some things that are just too precious to be shared with the world right away and the birth of our first daughter was one of them for us. I had a wonderful birth experience and will forever cherish that time of my life. When we got home, we reached out to more friends and families, posted Georgie’s birth announcement, and let everyone know it was okay to share photos. Everyone is different, but in our share-everything-immediately world those few days of privacy felt so wonderful. I would recommend any pregnant mama consider doing this.

That being said, I began sharing photos + videos of our baby girl when I felt ready and now I probably overshare. I am with her 24/7 and have never felt so proud of or attached to anyone – ever! She’s just wonderful and I’m happy to share the things we love with you. If you haven’t had a baby before, the hundreds of websites and pages of baby products can be overwhelming. Ultimately, “what works” will be up to your little one to decide. But these are the products and brands making us happy right now.

Bathing

This is an area where my husband and I were a bit naive. When we were freshly engaged and house hunting, we found our home and were thrilled that it had a second bathroom upstairs “for the kids”. What we didn’t think about was that children generally need and prefer a bathtub versus a shower, so that second bathroom has become John’s domain and Georgie will share the master bath with me. Not ideal, but it works for us while she’s small and he and I don’t mind having our own bathrooms.

Bath Tubs… Between one and two months, we transitioned from sponge baths to baths in this delightfully soft little flower that fits perfectly in my bathroom sink. Georgina loves bath time now. I have this infant tub ready to go in my bath tub for when she’s a bit bigger and can no longer comfortably fit in the sink.

Bath Products… In the first few weeks after having Georgie I could tell she was having issues with dry skin – common here in Colorado’s arid climate. So I began looking for a non-toxic baby product and found the Pipette brand. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with the Pipette Baby Shampoo + Wash that cleanses without fragrance and without drying my baby’s delicate skin. And after Georgie’s bath, I rub the Pipette Baby Oil onto her hair, forehead, arms, and legs. It’s become our little spa ritual and Georgie loves it. The dry skin she had on her scalp and forehead disappeared after only two applications and her skin feels so much more supple. The oil is my favorite, but the Pipette Baby Balm melts into an oil and is great to keep in the diaper bag for hydrating on the go. I use it on my hands since the constant hand washing really dries them out.

Bath Linens… Baby skin is so delicate, I recommend using organic baby wash cloths to gently wash them in the bath. I use the Burt’s Bees wash cloths; they have one smooth side for the face and one slightly more textured for dry scalp skin or dried spit-up, etc. I wrap Georgie in this little unicorn towel after her bath to keep her warm while we do her spa time! One of my best friends gifted her this unicorn robe for when she’s a bit bigger.

Favorite Bath Products

Diapering

The Basics… I’ve used Water Wipes for years now to help take off my makeup at night and I continue to like them to change Georgie’s diaper for the simple fact they are fairly clean so I feel safe using them on my baby. I also like the Pampers Aqua Pure baby wipes. We are currently using Pampers Swaddlers diapers, although I’ve become increasingly curious about the Coterie brand I’ve been hearing about lately. Let me know if you’ve tried it.

The Gear… It’s been so crucial for us to have a diaper changing station on each floor. Upstairs we have a furniture changing table and use the Ubbi Diaper Pail, which is great because it contains any scent but the opening slides open so I can also toss anything else I need to such as clothing tags or wrapping. Downstairs we have a Pack N Play where I change her and she can take a nap; these aren’t beautiful by any means but they are so functional and can grow with your child to become a playpen. We use the Arm & Hammer Munchkin Step Diaper Pail downstairs solely for diapers and wipes because it twists shut each time you close the lid. I prefer the Seal and Toss Bags as opposed to the really long ones because I think it’s just nasty to keep diapers in the house that long.

When I asked about baby products, people were really split on the idea of a baby wipe warmer. I decided to get this wipe warmer and try it out… And I love it. Every baby is different, but Georgie really hates being cold. She doesn’t like getting out of her bath, being changed, etc. So having the wipes at least room temperature makes her more comfortable. And I love the night light feature on the one I have; it’s been great for nighttime diaper changes and feedings.

On The Go… One of my most reordered items have been these disposable waterproof changing pads. We actually use them to cover our changing areas in the house because sometimes your little one will start to go once you take their diaper off, so it saves constantly washing the changing pad and makes me feel like the changing table is a bit more hygienic. But these are truly a lifesaver on the go! I can toss a couple in my bag and change Georgie on the backseat/trunk of my car or just place it down for extra peace of mind on a public changing table. These disposable baggies are great for tossing in diapers and wipes as you change your baby in the car or anywhere else without a nearby trash bin. I just tie up the bag like a doggie bag and once I see a trash bin, I drop it in.

Favorite Diaper Products

Clothing

Georgina’s Closet Organization Post

When I was pregnant, I went through each and every drawer in our house and donated or sold about half my clothing, shoes, holiday decor, and craft materials to make room for this baby girl and her things. And I am so glad I did. Because babies take up much more room than you think… And buying clothes is more fun when they are mini sized and half the price of mine!

Sizing… When Georgie was brand new, most of the clothes I brought to the hospital didn’t fit her. Carter’s was one of the only brands whose NB size actually fit – and it was great to be able to snap them up at Target or Buy Buy Baby. Looking for a brand that runs big? Try Feltman Brothers.

Brands… My mom and I love discovering new children’s brands and trying them out with G. We’ll hunt online or on Instagram and then send each other our new finds. We both lean toward classic, feminine pieces. Some of our favorite brands and shops are: Zara, Janie & Jack, Kissy Kissy, Beaufort Bonnet Company, Feltman Brothers, Little English, Pukatuka, Bonpoint, Jacadi, Rachel Riley, Pepa & Company, Mi Loves, Belle Enfant, Age of Innocence, and Maisonette.

Mittens… This was something people told me I didn’t need, so I didn’t buy before I had Georgina. I soon realized Georgie needed them when she started scratching her face during her sleep and when she was upset. I began putting the No-Scratch Mittens from Lou Lou & Company on her; I left them on her pretty much nonstop until she was about a month and a half, then I switched to only using them at night. She still wears the Carter’s brand mittens at night because they’re a bit bigger.

Diaper Covers… One of my must-haves if you love putting your little girl in dresses is a ruffled diaper cover so her diaper isn’t out if her dress comes up. Feltman Brothers makes beautiful diaper covers as well.

Convertible Gowns… Gowns are a great way to save some time changing your little one’s diaper at night. These convertible gowns by Kissy Kissy can be slid up for a diaper change, but can also be snapped as a romper so your little one can go in the carseat. The Magnetic Me outfits are great too; they quickly fasten shut with magnets instead of snaps.

Favorite Clothing Items

Playtime

Favorites… When I was pregnant with Georgina I had these visions of her room with just a few neutral, possibly wooden, aesthetically pleasing and beautiful toys. I love the toys from Scandiborn and Pottery Barn Baby. But Georgie likes a lot of entertainment and stimulation during her days (my mom finally told me, “this baby is just bored!”) so I gave in and got some hideous bright plastic toys that she’s absolutely delighted with. Her absolute favorite? This Kick & Play Piano Gym she plays with at least twice a day (the batteries have already worn out once!) She can touch the hanging toys, smile at herself in the mirror, listen to the music, and kick her feet which light up the corresponding piano keys. We’ve also been playing with the Linkimals Moose and Linkimals Llama – both musical, with lights and catchy songs. Her favorite books have been the ones about various baby animals and their lives – she’ll laugh while I read them over and over to her. A Little Owl and A Little Fox have been particular favorites.

Playroom Plans… I keep a fabric box of small toys and books downstairs for Georgie, but my husband and I have quickly realized we need to create a designated space for the clutter she loves. Her nursery is finished (photos coming soon!) and there’s not much room for lots of toys, so we’ll be using one of the other small bedrooms for a very simple playroom and space for my laundry drying racks. My thinking is I’ll be able to do lots of laundry while she plays with her toys. Any suggestions for toy storage or furniture you love? I think we’ll only need a bookshelf and some type of furniture with drawers or bins.

Favorite Toys

On The Go

Diaper Bag Post

Stroller… We spotted my stroller last year in Harrod’s before I even knew I was pregnant. We were walking through the store and I commented on a beautiful Silver Cross Wave stroller, even giving it a push around the floor. It was so beautiful I knew I wanted it as our stroller when I found out I was pregnant and I adore it. It rolls smoothly, comes with both a bassinet and toddler seat, easily accommodates my diaper bag in the basket below, and folds down to fit in my car’s trunk. It also comes with a rain cover, bug net, cup holder, and you can add on a parasol as well. We’ve taken it to the shopping mall and the pumpkin farm and everywhere we go, we get compliments on it; it’s just a stately, elegant pram. I have seen and tried out a lot of strollers on the market and I can confidently say it is the best stroller out there – I will never use anything other than Silver Cross. Two things I would suggest are the stroller hook for hanging your purse or shopping bags on the handle bar of your stroller, and a stroller organizer for tucking in smaller items like your phone, keys, and a burp cloth. If you live in a cold climate like we do, you may want to look into a shearling stroller liner (I have the color “Milk” from Binibamba). It really does keep your little one nice and toasty when it’s a bit chilly out.

Carrying… I didn’t know I would love babywearing so much. Carrying Georgina makes me feel so close to her; it reminds me of when I was pregnant and she was safe inside. She enjoys it too because she almost always calms and falls asleep when I’m wearing her. My favorite carriers are the Ergobaby using the Infant Insert which is easy to put on myself and feels really secure for long walks. It has a pouch for my phone and keys and is made of really strong, thick material that can get a bit warm, but hasn’t deterred me. I prefer the Ergobaby for long walks outside and for wearing for lengthy periods of time when I’m doing things around the house such as laundry, dishes, etc. I also have an Artipoppe carrier which, in my opinion, is the most beautiful carrier on the market. The Artipoppe carrier comes in really fun patterns and is much lighter than the Ergobaby. It’s a bit more difficult to put on myself because the straps need to cross behind my back. Georgina feels quite comfy in it, but it doesn’t hold her quite as securely as the Ergobaby does, so for that reason I prefer it for quick jaunts; grabbing groceries, picking up a few things at Target, and recently, through a museum exhibit.

Car Seat… I chose the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat in Sand. I liked the light weight of this car seat, its great ratings and reviews, and the anti-rebound bar. But honestly, I don’t have much to compare it to because car seats are one of those things you really have to use every day to accurately review. I don’t have anything bad to say about this, I guess I’m just not as obsessed with it as I am with my stroller. It probably doesn’t help that Georgina doesn’t love being in her car seat the way most babies do – she cries when taken in/out of it and sometimes even cries throughout the car ride. (It could be interesting when we try to do our usual lengthy road trips with her!) When it’s time for Georgina to transition into a toddler car seat I may switch to another brand or one of the swiveling car seats to make getting her in and out a bit easier.

Sleep

A major topic requested by you. I am by no means an expert on sleep and I think these decisions are up to every parent to make. Personally, I’m not really into intense scheduling; I don’t think it’s healthy to live with zero flexibility and to be honest, I am not organized enough to run our lives down to the minute. Let’s just say I like a routine but not schedules. That being said, Georgie started sleeping 6+ hour stretches on her own starting at 4 weeks old and now averages 7-9 hours a night. She fights daytime naps like I did as a baby, but at least my husband and I don’t feel like zombies all the time. Here are a few things that have helped us encourage Georgie’s sleep habits.

Sleep Essentials… We do eat-awake time-sleep cycles throughout the day about every 3-4 hours – I follow Georgie’s lead but this is what works for her right now. We keep the lights dim and everything relatively quiet starting about an hour before we’re going to put her down for bed while I bathe her, put her into fresh pjs, and give her a nighttime bottle. And this is key… I keep her warm. I keep our house temp above 70 degrees and either put her in fleece pajamas or top her onesie with a sleep sack. We also use a white noise machine my sister-in-law gave us that Georgie loves for both daytime naps and nighttime sleep. She also usually likes a pacifier as she goes to sleep (I like these glow-in-the-dark pacifiers for nighttime) and if she fusses during the night I just replace it and she usually goes right back to sleep.

Bassinet… This was a highly requested topic! Without a doubt, I would say the most crucial aides in helping Georgie sleep through the night have been the above “essentials”… But I have heard people who swear the bassinet is the make-or-break factor in their baby’s sleep. Georgina sleeps in the Snoo – which is a sleek and streamlined smart bassinet and its footprint is much smaller than other brands, meaning it can fit right by my bed. But I have yet to sleep a night with it turned on. The first night we strapped Georgie into it and she loved the gentle motion and white noise, but when her crying increased the Snoo began shaking her vigorously (which it is supposed to do) and it only made her progressively more upset until she was full-out screaming and I could barely get the Snoo turned off quickly enough! This was hard for both her and I to experience and that’s why I chose not to turn it on after that. I think your experience could be different if your child slowlyyyy ramps up their crying, but Georgie seems to be a 0-60 kind of gal. Now that Georgie is a little older and sleeps through the night with only a few gentle fusses in the early morning, I may try strapping her in and turning it on because she does like white noise and gentle motion when going to sleep and it could get us an extra hour or two of sleep in the morning. I believe in what the doctor who designed the Snoo espouses and because we were gifted the Snoo by my mother-in-law we can keep it and use it again with our (hopefully!) next baby. Snoo also has a rental system if you prefer not to buy one.

Crib… I will talk more about this in my nursery post, but we chose one of the iron cribs from Corsican in an antique ivory color. Our decorator had some of the elements changed to give us the feminine garden look we wanted. This month I’ve begun putting Georgie down for naps in her crib so she begins to get used to it. So far she naps just as well in the crib as she does in her bassinet or the bassinet that comes with the Pack-n-Play downstairs. We hope to travel with Georgie, so I want her to get used to sleeping anywhere… In her carrier, the car seat, the bassinet, the crib. I can’t imagine not hearing her little snores right next to me during the night, so I suppose we’ll fully transition to the crib later on.

Security… Since I hate being away from Georgie for even an hour, security when she’s napping is obviously important to me. My mother-in-law gave us the Owlet camera + sock at my baby shower and I swear by it. We have our own home security, but this gives us extra peace of mind. I can see Georgie, hear her even when out of the app, talk to her, monitor her heart rate and oxygen levels, record sleep patterns, and see when movement or sound is sensed in the room. It’s fantastic. If she happens to fall asleep without me slipping her sock on I can still see, hear, and talk to her.

Miscellaneous

Hand Sanitizing… I keep Purel foam dispensers stocked around the house – for guests to use on the main floor and for me to use at both of Georgie’s changing tables. I also have Purel wipes in my bag. But for surfaces that Georgie is likely to touch or toys she’s playing with, I keep alcohol-free hand sanitizer wipes handy. These are great if your little one drops a toy while going through the store or if you want to wipe down the handles of their carseat or stroller.

Blankets + Burp Cloths… Aside from handmade items (which we have been lucky enough to be given and Georgina lovesss) we have really been enjoying an organic cotton blanket and a double-sided personalized one my friend gave to Georgie from Etsy. I’m not sure which shop she purchased from, but have a look on the website and see what you can find… Georgie’s has her birth details and her name embroidered beautifully on it. Our favorite burp cloths so far are the muslin ‘burpy bibs’ from Aden and Anais; they’re absorbent and withstand wash after wash. I also really love the little muslin bibs and blankets from Atelier Choux. Aside from being beautiful, their products are also functional; their bibs and blankets are absorbent and wash well.

Bouncers + Swings…

Everyone gave me different advice regarding this category. But most people told me not to buy any of these until I “know what she likes”. Although I’m not sure how a first-time mom is supposed to ascertain this other than… Trying out the products. So we now have two bouncers/swings and I’ve learned whether Georgina “likes” them or not really depends on her mood. Georgie likes a lot of entertainment and stimulation, so when she’s in a good mood she enjoys both of her bouncers and is content to be in them. But of course there are times when she’s fussy and will not tolerate just sitting somewhere. I see babies her age all the time on Instagram who are perfectly content to be swaddled and lay quietly but this just isn’t my baby! She’s a girl on the go. We have this bunny bouncer that lights up, vibrates, and plays nature and lullaby sounds; we keep it downstairs in the living room/kitchen area and I specifically use it to let her relax and kick her legs next to me while I have lunch or we have dinner together. Occasionally I can put her in this while I do a bit of blogging as well – it typically gets me about 15-30 minutes. We were also given the Mamaroo (we use it with the Newborn Insert) as a gift and I keep this upstairs in our bedroom/bathroom so that I can be doing laundry or taking a shower while G is rocked in the Mamaroo, looks at the mobile above her, and listens to the nature sounds it plays. It can get me 30-45 minutes to get things done. Georgie doesn’t take her naps in either of these – they are just for her to chill in so I can have some hands-free time. I know it doesn’t sound like much time, but when it means a daily shower or staying on top of laundry I promise you, you’ll be grateful! I’m happy with both of these and as Georgie gets a bit older I’ll be adding a bouncer table to the mix! I think you really just have to try a few products and find out what your baby likes. If they don’t like them, save them for another baby if you’re planning on having one.

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Clean Makeup

October 18, 2019

Categories: Beauty

Eve Hansen Organic Rose Water Spray. Coola SPF 30 Primer. Supergoop CC Cream. Kjaer Weis Foundation in Silken. RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Demure. Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Abundance. Beautycounter Powder Blush in Melon. Kjaer Weis Highlighter in Ravishing. Kjaer Weis Lip Tint in Romance. Kjaer Weis Lip Gloss in Cherish. Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara. Coola SPF 30 Setting Spray.

I first ventured into clean makeup by accident; I stopped into a local beauty shop and saw a convenient all-in-one palette. We were about to travel to France and I recognized this as the perfect opportunity to streamline my makeup bag for the trip. It was icing on the cake that the products were non-toxic.

But when I became pregnant a few months later I actively began seeking safer, healthier options for both skincare and makeup. I wanted to reduce the amount of toxic ingredients I exposed my daughter to while I was pregnant with her. But since she was born, I began noticing how many times a day I snuggle my face against hers or kiss the top of her head. The risk of exposing your child to harmful ingredients doesn’t end when you give birth. I’m not too strict about it – I still use products that aren’t 100% clean. But each product I’ve switched out makes a difference.

I apply the cream products with my fingers, except for the foundation which I apply with a BeautyBlender sponge dampened with organic rose water. The rose water helps reduce redness and irritation while boosting hydration. Have you tried any great clean makeup products?

Clean Skincare: My Pregnancy Skincare Routine

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Second Trimester, Third Trimester, and Hospital Essentials

September 15, 2019

Categories: Lifestyle

It’s hard to believe it’s been four weeks since I gave birth to my daughter. Looking back, there are so many things that helped me toward the end of my pregnancy and I knew I wanted to share them with women going through the same thing. As with anything regarding pregnancy, please check with your own midwife and/or doctor before you begin taking any supplements or using anything topically.

Skincare

Pregnancy-Safe Skincare Routine Here

I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to switch to a completely nontoxic skincare routine during pregnancy, but each product you can switch out during your pregnancy will be a positive change for both you and your baby. I’ve often read that our skin absorbs about 60-65% of whatever is put onto it. You can always switch as your products run out or set aside your old products until after you give birth. I felt more comfortable going nontoxic (with a couple pregnancy-safe options) and I wrote all about my pregnancy skincare routine in this blog post.

Supplements

I used a variety of supplements throughout my pregnancy – some specifically recommended by my doctor and some I found through doing a little research online. I believe this combination of supplements made a difference in my overall health during pregnancy and some even had an effect on preventing any stretch marks. I would also add that a large amount of water was crucial as well; I’ve never drank so much water in my life! During pregnancy, I drank around 90 oz. each day. It’s important to continue using any vitamins and supplements during your postpartum months; your body has gone through so much and needs the nutrients to replenish those lost during the previous nine months.

Stretch Mark Prevention

When I became pregnant I knew I wanted to begin preventing stretch marks as early as possible. Through a little research and experimenting with different products, I came up with a routine that prevented any stretch marks from forming throughout my pregnancy and after. I know I’m predisposed to stretch marks because I noticed tiny silver lines showing up on my hips during middle school when my body began to change; this routine has even faded those lines and I can no longer see them. I just shared my routine with a newly pregnant friend and I wanted to share it with you as well. I can’t guarantee it will prevent any stretch marks (because I do think a large part of that tendency is genetic) but it can only help and hopefully will fade existing stretch marks or prevent new ones from forming during pregnancy.

First Trimester… Begin drinking lots of water and taking fish oil vitamins each day. Then use a creamy, moisturizing body butter like Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter at least once a day. The Shea Butter and Vitamin E begin to hydrate and prep your skin for all the stretching to come. I used this each night as part of my nighttime routine (on chest, belly, and hips) and used it until the container was gone, then I moved on to the below routine.

Second and Third Trimesters… I kept taking my fish oil vitamins, but began using a scoop of this Marine Collagen Powder each day in my morning coffee or smoothie to give me a daily boost of collagen. After my morning shower, I would rub this Mustela Stretch Mark Prevention Cream into my chest, belly, and hips. (I tried to only shower once each day to help preserve the natural oils our skin makes.) And at night I would rub oils into my chest, belly, and hips before I went to bed. Sometimes it would take fifteen or twenty minutes, but I rarely skipped this. I think any oil would work; the important part is massaging more and more into your skin until it doesn’t absorb any more. Some of my favorite oils I used were Biossance 100% Squalane, Osea Anti-Aging Body Balm, Nuxe Dry Oil, and a honey oil by My Sweet Honeybee I picked up at a local market. To keep these oils from staining your clothes or pajamas, try wearing one of these stretchy camisoles or stretchy slips.

I also began adding La Mer The Body Crème on top of the oil at night toward the end of my pregnancy. I’ve sworn by La Mer to heal my skin for years now.

Postpartum… Continue using the rest of your creams and oils on a daily basis until they’re gone – or even after. Your skin is shrinking back and needs to retain its moisture and elasticity. I’m a month postpartum and still use my fish oil pills, collagen powder, and daily oil. I’ve had friends who developed stretch marks after delivery as their skin began to quickly shrink so I think giving your skin some extra TLC postpartum can only help.

Maternity & Non-Maternity Clothing

Non-Maternity Pregnancy Clothing Post

Maternity Clothing Post

Without a doubt, my most worn item during pregnancy was this support belt. I have had a lot of pregnant readers message me on Instagram asking about how to prevent back and pelvic pain and this is it. This wrap helps lift and support the baby and even comes with a removable pack at the back that can be heated or cooled depending on your preference. I wore it all the time during my second and third trimesters.

In the last month or two of pregnancy and postpartum, I really appreciated these soft maternity bra and panties. While not necessary, there was something so comforting about having extra soft undergarments with plenty of stretch.

It’s nice to have soft, cozy pajamas when you’re feeling your least glamorous in the hospital! Depending on your delivery and if you’re planning on breastfeeding, you may prefer a nightgown or pajamas. I treated myself to new pajamas for the hospital and for that first week or two at home when I just wanted to snuggle my new baby. I tried to order pajamas I wouldn’t mind my family seeing me in – the Barefoot Dreams cardigans made them seem a bit more presentable and my baby loved snuggling me when I wore them too.

And for beautiful dresses that feel just as comfortable as loungewear, try Rachel Pally. I have been living in her silky soft pieces!

Hospital & Postpartum Essentials

Nurse Thank You Gifts Post

I read so many “hospital essentials” posts before I gave birth to my daughter. I have to say, I didn’t use half of the things those posts and articles suggested. Every hospital is different, but our hospital provided everything we needed for both myself and the baby. I brought the comfy pjs I talked about earlier, a pair of slippers, and the things I needed to get ready. For Georgie, I simply brought a few newborn outfits and the swaddle and knit blanket I wanted her photographed with since the hospital has a photographer who comes by the day after you give birth.

The only extra things I can recommend bringing are a facial sheet mask to combat dryness post-birth and to make you feel a bit more human. And a soft, warm blanket since the ones the hospital provides aren’t very cozy. I brought this one and my baby still loves snuggling in it with me; I think she remembers feeling that as we snuggled those first two days together.

Without going into too much detail, one of you gave me the tip to purchase disposable underwear for the hospital and postpartum. These are great because they’re more comfortable and functional than the traditional pads the hospital provides.

Lastly, I cannot recommend stomach binding enough. I know everyone is different and you should ask your doctor before using a binder, but it made my stomach shrink faster and helped me feel more secure. I asked my nurse for a binder and to help me put it on in the hospital then as my stomach shrunk I switched to progressively tighter versions. (I wore a similar binder months before our wedding to give me a small waist.) Now there are so many options for postpartum binders and corsets – some even attached to underwear. If you don’t want a full binder or corset, try one of the supportive postpartum tanks or undies to give you a bit of compression.

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Nurse’s Gift Ideas

August 26, 2019

Categories: Lifestyle

I knew I wanted to bring some type of gift for the labor + delivery and postpartum nurses in the hospital when I had my daughter. I had seen other people do this type of thing for their delivery and I thought it was such a nice way to thank the professionals taking care of my baby and I. After you have a baby, these are the people that make you feel human again and even show you the proper way to care for your newborn. After having a baby I can tell you that no one deserves being thanked like these people do! The staff at the hospital did so much for my baby and I.

My mom and I prepared a bin of goodie bags the week before I gave birth. Below I’ve listed what we put in each bag. We tried to think of what nurses who work long hours and are constantly washing their hands might use or like, but you could ask for specific ideas when you do your hospital tour.

  • Coffee Gift Card
  • Hand Lotion
  • Face Mask
  • Lip Balms
  • Pens

We also prepared a bin of snacks. These snacks can be used by you, your visiting family, and nurses that stop in to check on you. I just chose what I was craving at the time – and had the energy to chase down while 38 weeks pregnant. It’s nice to bring something like this for the nurse’s station as well to share with the other nurses on the floor.

Both of these bins were supposed to be kept in my room but my husband didn’t know and in the hustle and bustle of our arrival he ended up bringing everything to the nurse’s station. I would recommend keeping them in your room because otherwise (depending on the size of your hospital) you might not have enough gifts. We had 2-3 nurses for each 12 hour shift and I stayed in the hospital 2 nights. If you have any complications you may end up staying longer, so keep this in mind. Err on the safe side and you can leave the extras at the nurse’s station when you leave.

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English Garden Baby Shower

August 15, 2019

Categories: Events, Lifestyle

Venue: Denver Botanic Gardens. Planning: (My Mom!) and Table 6 Productions. Florals: Newberry Brothers. Catering: Biscuits and Berries. Photography: Laura Murray Photography.

We wanted my baby shower to be a celebration of femininity and the bond between mothers and daughters. I asked my friends with daughters to bring them and two of my best friends even flew in to help organize and celebrate. My mom and I said over and over again that we would not have been able to pull this off without their help in the days leading up to my baby shower. My local bestie even ended up going straight from the doctor for an eye injury to my shower that morning. I have been blessed to have women like this in my life and I am so grateful. From my grandmothers to my mother, aunt, friends and sorority sisters… I have truly been lucky to witness the powerful link between women who love and support one another and I am so looking forward to bringing another little woman into the world. This baby shower was a celebration of that little woman and her induction into our little tribe!

I also have to thank Table 6 Productions for planning the shower of my dreams; they planned my wedding as well and each time they organize an event for me it is exactly what I envisioned – only better. This time, we wanted to create the feel of an English garden. My little Bunny first came to be during a vacation in England and Wales and we thought it was only appropriate to surround her with things inspired by that place as well as my love of gardening. You’ll also see a few nods to Beatrix Potter at this baby shower – because who better to represent an English garden than Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck?

“Bunny”. I have received so many questions about this nickname I’ve given my daughter. It will not be her real name and is no different than people calling their baby bump “Peanut” or “Grape”. My placenta was in front of the baby, making a bit harder for me to feel her movements, and her first kicks felt more like bunny hops to me. Soon I began referring to her as “Bunny” and the name just stuck! We do have a list of favorite names I’ve been working on since before we were even married… But John has been insistent that we wait to see the baby before choosing her name. This does make me a bit nervous, but I am trusting him and hoping that our decision is an easy one once she arrives. Nonetheless, the “Bunny” nickname worked well for the English garden themed baby shower and my sweet friends have embraced it by gifting my little girl bunny-embellished outfits and precious bunny dolls.

As people walked up to the conservatory where the baby shower was held, they were given a Wishes For Baby card and invited to sign the baby’s Peter Rabbit book. If you organize an activity like this at the beginning of an event, you won’t forget later on and it can be a bit of an ice breaker as guests mingle with people they may not have met yet. Looking back through these handwritten cards was so sentimental for me; I’ve saved them and will make a little scrapbook out of them for the baby.

We played a baby shower trivia game at the beginning of the shower as people were filling their plates and a baby bingo game at the end of the shower while I was opening gifts.

Instead of a long or more involved baby shower game, I knew I wanted a floral arranging class at my baby shower. I thought it went well with our theme, but the reason behind it was also a bit selfish… I had been going to events promising “flower arrangement classes” for years and they were usually simply a florist handing out arrangements they had already made. I wanted a real class that would teach my guests and I something in the process. And the guests’ floral arrangements could be brought home as a gift to them from us. Newberry Brothers gave an incredible floral arranging class filled with so many tips and tricks I never knew before. They were patient and gentle with those of us who were beginners and it made for a really pleasant experience. I can’t recommend them highly enough!

My mom is fantastic at events; she loves hosting parties and she somehow thinks of every detail. For the little girls at my shower, she planned a beaded necklace + bracelet making activity while the adults took the floral arranging class. She also put together the sweetest party favors for our guests, including pearl mommy-and-me bracelets she made for the mothers and daughters. It kept the littles busy and was such a nice touch to the baby shower. Although I was exhausted and my feet were so swollen, I didn’t want the day to end!

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Best Maternity Clothing

August 12, 2019

Categories: Fashion

I’d say about 75% of my pregnancy wardrobe consisted of non-maternity pieces. (I’ve shared my favorites in this post: Best Non-Maternity Clothing for Pregnancy.) But there were some times when non-maternity clothing just didn’t work – tops were too short and jeans were too tight around the stomach. I wanted to write a post to share my favorite maternity clothing, so my pregnant readers could combine both posts to help them curate their perfect maternity wardrobe.

A few of my favorite maternity brands: Hatch, Ingrid & Isabel, Isabella Oliver, Rachel Pally, tops by A Pea in the Pod, jeans by 1822 Denim and AG Jeans.

Undergarments

While I was able to find a few non-maternity undergarments that worked well during pregnancy, I think it’s worth the investment to have a few maternity options especially during the last few months and for postpartum. I’ve linked my personal favorites in the slide down below, but if you focus on soft and stretchy options, you can’t go wrong.

I would also recommend getting a maternity slip to prevent stretch mark creams and oils from getting onto your clothes during the day. And for the same reason, I invested in some comfy nightgowns to wear at night. As my pregnancy went on, I began to use more oil to prevent stretch marks and it was difficult to prevent these products from staining my pajamas. It’s worth it to have a couple of maternity nightgowns you can wear throughout your pregnancy and toss after you give birth or stop nursing.

Activewear

Maternity activewear is another must-have during pregnancy. I found most of my workout tops too short during pregnancy and most of my workout pants had too much compression on my bump. I lived in this workout tank and my favorite maternity workout leggings. I often topped both with this long, cozy hooded sweatshirt.

I had a lot of pelvic pain starting about halfway through my pregnancy and it became more difficult to do the things I loved like gardening and going on walks with the dogs. I started taking pool classes and just going for walks back and forth across the pool or kicking with a kick board and it was a lifesaver for me. I recommend investing in a nice maternity swimsuit – it will make you feel comfortable and you won’t be tugging at it while you swim.

Maternity Tanks + Tops

As I mentioned in my Non-Maternity Clothing post, the main problem I had with non-maternity tanks and tops during pregnancy wasn’t the width, it was the length. I recommend investing in a selection of basic maternity tanks and tees for this reason. You can wear them alone or layer them under shorter non-maternity tops if you need.

Maternity Jeans

I started showing early – at about three months. I could wear my more stretchy and looser-fitting jeans in the first few months, but soon they became too tight on my bump to feel comfortable and I needed to invest in some great maternity jeans. If I were to rank the maternity pieces I think everyone should have, jeans would come in at number one. I wore mine all the time. I’ve linked my favorites in the slide below. I recommend ordering true to size, but if you’re in between sizes go with the larger because by the end of the pregnancy you’ll be a bit more swollen and usually end up carrying some weight other places than just your bump. I’m planning on wearing mine after I give birth while my bump is going down.

Body-Con Dresses

It’s strange, but while pregnant I’ve loved wearing more fitted dresses. I thought I would want to hide my larger shape, but I’ve felt really feminine during this pregnancy and I think showcasing the new bump can be so beautiful on women. If you’re pregnant, I urge you to try just one body-con dress and see how you feel. I think you’ll be surprised! I always received the most compliments when I was wearing a fitted dress during my pregnancy. Body-con dresses are not only beautiful during pregnancy, they are really comfortable as well. This is another item I’m planning on wearing post-pregnancy as my bump goes down; maybe with a cardigan on top as the weather cools down.

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Baby Girl’s Nursery Closet

August 9, 2019

Categories: Home

Decor Elements: 12″ White Hat Stand. Pink Bow Holder. Gray Letter Board.

Hanging Racks: Pink Velvet Hangers. Floral Puffy Hangers. Baby Closet Dividers.

Storage Bins: Bunny Print Canvas Storage Caddy. Bunny Print Canvas Hamper. Rutherford Storage Baskets in ‘Whitewashed Natural’ with White Ruffled Cotton Storage Liners.

Once I found out I was going to have a little girl, my mom and I couldn’t resist starting on her little closet. I think, for any lover of fashion, there is just something special about seeing a tiny human in little dresses and miniature shoes. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been hoping to dress a daughter of my own for most of my life. So between my mom and some of the sweetest friends, Bunny’s closet took shape and suddenly I was swimming in tiny smocked dresses and mini mary janes. But as I’ve learned with my own closet, organization is important and often has to be adjusted as you figure out what you actually use and what you don’t. So this is my little Bunny’s closet after a bit of tweaking, but before we actually discover what works best to keep her things in order. Excuse the rough lighting in here – I think was this was the most difficult area of our house I’ve ever photographed.

Top Shelf

Two of the large Rutherford Storage Baskets in ‘Whitewashed Natural’ with White Ruffled Cotton Storage Liners. One empty to slowly add clothing my baby grows out of before boxing it away in our storage room. And one with her 6 months and up shoe collection. (We’ve been out of control, I know. First baby… Give me a pass this time.) One thing I will say about these baskets is they’re not what I would call ‘whitewashed’ at all; my mom’s decorator was in town installing the nursery recently and mentioned that she considers them grey with a soft sage green tint. This happened to work well for us since I’ve incorporated a lot of green in the nursery, but take note if you’re expecting them to arrive white or cream.

I’ve found that the top shelf of a closet works especially well for decor items. I’ve tucked a little embroidered sun hat and a wooden bunny rabbit in a corner. And on the opposite side I’ve placed a photo box from a sweet friend with a teddy bear my husband gave me while we were dating and a pink hat from Rachel Riley on a hat stand.

Hanging Racks

I decided to keep the baby’s more casual onesies, pajamas, and socks we will be using often in her changing table/dresser. But I’ve hung everything else in her closet, organized from Newborn to 6 with these pretty closet dividers. (Nice that they come in a variety of sizing options too.) I used a mix of pink velvet hangers and puffy floral print hangers for knit or delicate items but I did keep in a few rogue Bunnies by the Bay hangers because they are too darling to throw out!

Shelves + Wall + Floor

I used to store my art supplies, gift bags, and wrapping paper in this closet and these shelves were one of my favorite features. They happen to be just as great for storing our little one’s things. I used the Bunny Print Canvas Storage Caddies and small Rutherford Storage Baskets in ‘Whitewashed Natural’ with White Ruffled Cotton Storage Liners to organize extra teethers and pacifiers, bibs, and swaddle blankets. I placed her little sunglasses and hats in an old jewelry tray so I can see them at a glance and lined her mini shoes up on the shelf under her clothing.

We hung this pink wooden rack to hold her headbands and bows.

And I added this Bunny Print Canvas Hamper to hold the stuffed animals I am passing down to her. We’ve decided to make an extra bedroom into a playroom to help contain all the larger toys and plastic things little ones seem to accumulate, so I’m thinking of moving this hamper to that room as she gets a bit older.

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Clean Skincare: My Current Pregnancy Skincare Routine

August 6, 2019

Categories: Beauty

I became interested in clean beauty about a year ago when I invested in my first non-toxic makeup products. Before that, I sort of imagined “clean beauty” as lackluster hippie-embraced products that couldn’t visibly improve skin and probably didn’t work well in makeup application. But after my first foray into all-natural products, I was pleasantly surprised and open to diving deeper into the world of clean beauty.

When I became pregnant, my mom encouraged me to switch up my skincare and begin using non-toxic products. This wasn’t easy for me – if you’ve followed me for long, you know that I’ve struggled with allergies and sensitive skin in the past few years and have only recently sorted out my skin issues. I was concerned my skin would take a step backward, but I was committed to making safe changes for my baby’s health. And I began wondering… If a product isn’t great for her, why would I want to use it? I once read that our skin absorbs about 65% of whatever we apply to it; that’s a lot of product we absorb each and every day. I was excited about making the switch for both my daughter and myself.

When making the switch to clean skincare I suggest doing a little at a time – it’s less wasteful and your skin will be able to slowly adjust. As you run out of products, replace them with non-toxic alternatives. And give each new product at least two months of consistent use to see a difference. My skin was fairly broken out at the beginning of my pregnancy due to hormones, a lack of allergy medicine I was no longer allowed to take, and all my new skincare products. But within a couple of months it had evened out and I began getting compliments on my “glowy” skin. I’ve been using the products below throughout my entire pregnancy and have been pleasantly surprised. Just like with food or anything else – there is a balance to this, but each switch to a healthier alternative you can make is worth it.

AM Routine:

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus

Tata Harper Illuminating Dark Circle Eye Cream

Tata Harper Repairative Anti-Aging Moisturizer

* read description under moisturizer down below if pregnant.

PM Routine:

Tata Harper Purifying Pore Detox Cleanser

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

iS Clinical Active Serum

Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Line Filling Eye Balm

Tata Harper Crème Riche Anti-Aging Peptide Night Cream

Rahua Defining Hair Spray

Available Here – $37.00

Hairsprays often contain toxic polymers and solvents, release volatile organic compounds when heated, and clog pores. My dermatologist suggested I use this clear plastic facial shield when spraying hairspray. I knew that I wanted to use a clean hairspray alternative as much as possible during my pregnancy and I chose this medium-hold non-aerosol spray derived from sugar cane extract.

Review: While it took a bit of time to get used to the spray vs aerosol application (spray this from at least a 6″ distance to avoid making hair damp) I did end up enjoying the light to medium hold this hair spray provided and the overall lack of fumes. For date night or days when I need my hair to last all day I will probably use my old toxic can of hairspray. But I plan on keeping this clean hairspray on hand for everyday use.

Pregnancy-Safe vs Clean Skincare

There is a difference between pregnancy-safe skincare and clean skincare and in this article I will be focusing on the latter because the two don’t always overlap, as I mention when discussing the daytime moisturizer down below. My doctor did okay three skincare products from iS Clinical which are pregnancy-safe and I continued to use these throughout my pregnancy, although about half as often as I was using them prior to my pregnancy. If you are pregnant, be sure to bring these products in for your OB to okay.

Pregnancy-Safe Products: I like to use the iS Clinical Cleansing Complex for my daytime cleanser. It has a silky texture with a lot of slip that makes my skin feel squeaky clean, but never dries it out. I use the iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus for my morning serum and the iS Clinical Active Serum as my nightly serum.

Tata Harper Purifying Pore Detox Cleanser

Available Here – $76.00

This cleanser is 100% natural, comes in recyclable packaging, and smells like a beautiful green blend of healthy botanicals when I apply it. It contains Broccoli Extract to purge impurities and fight free radicals, a Purple Clay Complex to absorb dirt and oil, and Papaya Enzymes to gently exfoliate skin.

I use this cleanser at least once a day, but always at night. I run my hands lightly under the water before applying two pumps of cleanser to my dry skin; it melts off makeup and sunscreen as it transforms from a creamy gel to an oil.

Review: This cleanser makes my skin feel like I’m doing a mini spa treatment at home each night. It removes makeup and cleanses my skin while somehow making my skin feel hydrated. Some nights I wouldn’t even apply anything else after. I will definitely continue to use this product!

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner

Available Here – $10.95

I switched to this gentle, alcohol-free witch hazel facial toner after I became pregnant. I prefer the rose petal formula because rose water helps soothe redness and irritation in sensitive skin, but there are a variety of formulas like lavender and cucumber. I apply this to a cotton pad and gently swipe over my skin after cleansing and before applying any serum or cream.

Review: I was pleasantly surprised by the gentle, soothing feeling this toner gives my skin while still managing to remove leftover traces of dirt or makeup. I am a convert and I’ll happily be continuing to use this as my toner going forward.

Tata Harper Illuminating Dark Circle Eye Cream

Available Here – $115

This is the product I’ve been using as my daytime eye cream. Just a little of this diamond-infused illuminating cream helps conceal my dark circles and keeps my skin moisturized all day. This product is particularly great for creating a dewy, glowing makeup look.

It contains Jave Fruit Extract to minimize puffiness and dark circles and Marsh Samphire to maintain hydration.

Review: Dark circles are always a struggle for me and having a product that helps me disguise these has allowed me to cut down on my makeup application time. I will continue to use this as my daytime eye cream.

Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Line-Filling Eye Balm

Available Here – $62.00

Alpyn Beauty was created to combat the harsh alpine climate and its products incorporate the strong botanicals that thrive there, making it a great option for those who live here in Colorado. I chose this as my nighttime eye cream because it contains Hyaluronic Acid for moisture and Vitamin C and Licorice Root to brighten. It has a little illuminating shimmer, but not as much as the daytime eye cream I’ve been using.

Review: When I use this at night, I wake up with really hydrated and brightened undereyes. I find that it really helps with moisture and hydration specifically, so I will be continuing to use this even after my pregnancy is over and baby girl is testing my tired eyes!

Tata Harper Repairative Anti-Aging Moisturizer

Available Here – $116

This was one of the first products recommended to us when my mother and I went into the Aillea clean beauty shop here in Denver specifically for pregnancy-safe skincare. The product is 100% natural and is a fantastic daytime moisturizer. But while researching it for this article, I discovered that one of the ingredients may be controversial for use during pregnancy.

I noticed one website refers to an ingredient in this moisturizer, Willow Bark Extract, as a natural BHA (salicylate) which breaks down into salicylic acid if digested by the body. Salicylic acid is generally a no-no during pregnancy, but some doctors are okay with applying Willow Bark topically during pregnancy and some are even okay with daily applications of salicylic acid at strengths of 2% or less. Since we aren’t digesting Willow Bark and are simply applying it to the skin, this article explains that it won’t be broken down into salicylic acid. I think this is one of those pregnancy issues only you and your doctor can decide; weigh your pros and cons and go from there.

If I had realized this connection sooner I would not have used this product during pregnancy just to be on the safe side. That being said, this moisturizer is non-toxic, vegan, and 100% natural. It contains Saw Palmetto to gently mattify skin and control oil, the aforementioned BHA Botanical Blend to gently exfoliate skin and minimize pores, and Tazman Pepper Berry to calm redness and irritation.

Review: When I’m not pregnant, I will definitely continue using this product. It’s a light, silky moisturizer that keeps skin hydrated and balanced (no shiny t-zone with this one) all day and provides a dewy base under makeup.

Tata Harper Crème Riche Anti-Aging Peptide Night Cream

Available Here – $195

I’ve been a dedicated fan of the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream at night, but when I became pregnant I left this product in my drawer just to be safe. I switched to the beautifully hydrating Tata Harper Crème Riche and found it to be the perfect night cream. It’s creamy, luxe, and each time I use it I wake up with dewy, plump, hydrated skin.

Crème Riche contains Hyaluronic Acid and Red Maple Bark to hydrate and plump skin and a Sugar Complex to encourage skin’s natural moisture production.

Review: I found the luxe, creamy texture and incredible hydration power to be on par with that of my favorite La Mer cream. However, I found that the La Mer cream softened and improved my skin texture with continued use, which I didn’t notice as much with this product. For a difference of almost $140 between the 1.7 oz Tata Harper cream and the 2.0 oz La Mer cream, I think it could be worth it to switch back and forth between the two each time one runs out.

OSEA Anti-Aging Body Balm

Available Here – $48

The most hydrating, nourishing body balm I’ve ever tried. I would liken it more to a balm that melts into a deliciously thick oil on your skin. Acai, Babassu, Passion Fruit, and Raw Virgin Coconut Oils deeply hydrate skin while mineral-rich Patagonian Seaweed promotes skin elasticity.

My skin drinks this up! I apply it every night before I go to bed. Be sure to let product sink in or wear older pajamas when you use this; the oils can leave grease marks if you apply as much as I do.

Review: This product has been a godsend. I’ve loved using this during my pregnancy all over my belly and hips to prevent stretch marks. So many people I know have complained about an itchy belly during pregnancy but even at 38 weeks pregnant, I haven’t experienced that at all (even with an 8.5 lb baby in my belly!) and I think it’s due to this hydrating gem of a body oil. I will most definitely continue using this through my pregnancy and beyond.

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Best Tote and Diaper Bag Organization Tools (And All The Things You Need In It)

July 26, 2019

Categories: Fashion, Lifestyle

baby girl diaper bag

I’ve always been an over-packer and my tote bag is no exception. I generally have one large tote bag for everyday use to carry on errands or while traveling, then I move a few essentials to various smaller bags if I want a different look throughout the week or during my trip. My family loves to tease me about my “luggage” I pack around with me, but the truth is there have been so many times someone needs something I carry with me and I can imagine this will continue once our little one joins our family. I’m just one of those people that doesn’t like to be walking around with a stain on my top after lunch or messy hands after a coffee spill or I touch a dirty door handle. It drives me crazy and I can’t think about anything else until I take care of it.

In this post I’m sharing the diaper bag I chose, the diaper bag essentials I’ve packed inside, the tote organization tools I’ve discovered and used over the years, and all the extra essentials I carry in my bag (and I have packed in my car!) and find myself reaching for all the time. What’s wrong with a little excess when it makes life a bit more comfortable?!

My Diaper Bag

I fell in love with the Louis Vuitton brand in high school when Newlyweds was on TV and Jessica Simpson was carrying around her Murakami white Speedy bag. I usually treated these bags very delicately and brought them out only on special occasions, but it wasn’t until law school I realized what workhorses LV bags actually are. I had about 50 lbs of books I needed for all my law classes which I packed into a large utilitarian backpack along with my laptop, but I found myself needing easy access to pens/highlighters, a bottle of water, a few snacks for the day, and a sweater for cool classrooms. The Louis Vuitton Odeon GM (you can see me wearing it in an IG photo here) became my new everyday bag and trust me when I say I put it through its paces! Exploding ink pens, spilled Crystal Light water bottles, and even an extra 2-3 books tucked into it throughout the day… It held it all in a convenient crossbody style without looking worse for wear.

My mom offered to treat me to a new diaper bag as a birthday gift this year. John and I had already purchased a personalized Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM in Classic Monogram the previous year and I had been carrying it nearly every day and stuffed to the top on all our trips, so it was an easy choice for me. I would have the Neverfull GM in Damier Azur for spring and summer (Rose Ballerine interior – I am having a girl, after all) and the Neverfull GM in Classic Monogram for fall and winter. This is a tote that I can use as both my purse and diaper bag. I feel confident in the durability because of my experiences with Louis Vuitton over the years and I feel sure of its ability to function as both a diaper bag and purse because I’ve been using my older Neverfull to function as both a carryon and purse on our international trips, packed full with souvenirs, my laptop, DSLR camera, and plenty of travel books. I’m nearly 5’8″ and I think the GM size looks appropriate on me (wearing it in IG photos here, here, here, and here) but I do occasionally pull in the sides when I have less in it for a smaller look.

Note: If you don’t like the way the untreated pale leather straps patina on the Monogram and Damier Azur color options, I would suggest the Damier Ebene version which has pre-treated leather trim that won’t show water spots or oil from your hands over time. I think the red interior of this version is a super cute touch as well.

The downside I hear about the Neverfull is that “everyone has one”, which is completely true. I see at least three of these bags every time I head to the grocery store or shopping mall. But… People do not buy these bags as fashion statements or to be unique anyway. They are gorgeous bags, but I would never tell someone to buy a Neverfull if they want to be extra edgy or push the fashion envelope. That’s not the point. Women buy them because they can accommodate anything they need to carry and consistently stand the tests of time and use as I’ve mentioned above. The straps and Neverfull bags themselves are actually tested by LV, filled with heavy weight, and slammed to the ground over and over again; you can rest assured this is a bag that will hold up to the strains of every day use.

One of the best parts about a Neverfull tote is how easily it can be dressed up. I added a Louis Vuitton Key Pouch to mine to keep dirty coins from staining or weighing down my wallet. (It also makes paying parking meters fast and easy if you live in a city.) And I tied on the Louis Silk Monogram Confidential Bandeau in Pink to the front for an extra girly touch.

Pre-Loved Louis Vuitton Odeon GM (Retired Style)

Pre-Loved Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM

Best Tote Organization Tools

So we know totes are great at being workhorses and holding everything we need, but they have a tendency to become black holes for all our things if there’s no system of organization involved. Yes, an organizer will add to the weight of your bag. But if you’re like me and carry a lot of things you’ll appreciate having everything in its place. I have several of these options and keep them on a shelf in my closet. I switch them out depending on my needs, the bag, and where I’m going.

If you’re looking for an organizer specifically designed to make your tote into a diaper bag, check out the ToteSavvy insert. I have the ToteSavvy Original Organizer in Blush for my Neverfull GMs; the organizer has eleven total pockets including an insulated pocket, key clasp, and washable changing mat. I like the handles that allow me to easily move the insert from bag to bag and the fact that my baby’s diaper essentials will only take up about half of the pockets, leaving room for my own things as well. I would personally use this whether I was using it in a diaper bag or not and would simply take out the changing mat.

If you want to go another route you can try a felt organizer that will help keep the shape of your bag and organize your things, but doesn’t include extras you don’t need like an insulated pocket or changing mat. I like the lightweight material of these organizers and the variety of sizes in case you need to free up a bit of room in your bag for larger items like a cosmetic bag or a camera or laptop. I have this felt organizer as well as this version with a zippered middle compartment but I can’t say that one is better than the other; I think you should pick based on the pockets and compartments you like. I’ve also heard so much about the Samorga bag organizers and just ordered one for my Birkin 35, but haven’t received it yet to compare. If you want the best of all bag organizers? Take a peek at the handmade-in-France, Alcantara beauties by 7 Rue Paradis; they take the cake for the ultimate in luxury bag inserts!

Already organized with lots of little pouches for your things? You might only need a flat bag shaper insert to keep the bottom of your tote bag firm and flat so things don’t tumble to the bottom and middle of the bag. I find I use this often with my Speedy 30.

Diaper Bag Essentials

Since I haven’t started using my diaper bag for baby purposes yet, I don’t feel I can share too many opinions about what one needs and what one doesn’t in a diaper bag. Instead, I’m going to include what’s already packed in my diaper bag ready to go and I can give a more in-depth review later. One thing I did focus on was having plenty of these little disposable diaper sacks, doggy-bag-like “baby bags”, and sealed wet-dry bags. I may not be changing my girl’s diapers yet, but I have seen enough to know that if I want my bag’s interior to stay ‘Rose Ballerine’, I need to protect it from disasters that will happen along the way!

I did include a shot of my portable changing pad we are planning on keeping in the trunk of my car. A friend suggested doing this in case my husband doesn’t want to carry the diaper bag with him constantly; he can either dash out to the car or toss this portable changing pad (stocked with diapers and wipes) into the bottom of the stroller. I thought it sounded like a great idea – we’ll see how it works.

diaper bag essentials

Excessive Things You Probably “Need”

My husband is always amazed by the things I pull out of my “Mary Poppins Bag”. Need a wet cloth for your hands? Lens wipe for smudgy glasses or a smeared camera lens? Headache medicine? A hook to hang your purse? I have you covered! He’s learned to depend on my bag of tricks so much, he turns to me when he needs something and looks so disappointed if I’m carrying a small bag without all my usual essentials in it. Whether I’m just out for a day of errands or we’re traveling in another country, I rely on these items being at arm’s length.

The key to these items not weighing down your bag too much is to buy them in individually wrapped packages and stash them together in a small pouch or pocket until you need them. I’ve included all my must-have bag essentials in the slide below. Is it excessive? Sure, but you know what feels really great? Being able to pull out whatever you need whenever you need it. It’s the little comforts like this that make a difference… And make carrying a big tote bag 100% worth it.

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