Surprising New Mama Products

Alright, alright. I know my world is revolving around babies lately, but since I have this platform and have been trying out tons of new products, why not share right? I hope all my soon-to-be mamas out there appreciate this.

I have compiled a list of products and supplies that I wouldn’t have thought of right away or even knew existed that have been integral in the first few weeks of motherhood:

1. Kimono Onesies
I did have to laugh when I figured out what the name of these onesies were, but these have been a lifesaver when dressing our little one these first few weeks. First of all, it makes it super easy to check on the umbilicle cord stump (sorry, there’s really not a better word than that to describe that…) before it has fallen off. Plus, having a newborn in November in Missouri has been a bit crazy because the weather changes from 60 degrees down to 30 degrees overnight or throughout the course of the day. These onesies are super easy for layering and plus, they have the mittens for those crazy sharp newborn nails.

2. “Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year”
I had a baby shower that requested all guests bring a book instead of a card and, of course, my dermatologist friend gifted a medical book. At first, I found it fitting that she brought it, but I’ve also discovered it was one of my favorites I received. As much as I appreciated “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and “Goodnight Moon,” I have almost read this guide from cover to cover. I would actually recommend reading the majority of the book prior to your baby’s arrival, but there’s also a great month-by-month section that reviews changes in your little one each month. I’ve soaked up an abundance of knowledge from it as well as learned a few things I was doing incorrectly as a new mama. Thanks for the advice, Emily!

3.  Booby Boons Lactation Cookies
Not going to lie, but I would never have eaten a lactation cookie had they not arrived on my doorstep in my bump box. I thought I would give them a whirl. First of all, they are the perfect sweet treat when you’re trying to slim down. The serving size is three cookies, and they’re only 170 calories. They are made with no artificial preservatives or flavors and use yeast, oats and flax. The flavor I tried was cocoa quinoa, and I would highly recommend it! As far as enhancing milk production, I can’t confirm or deny if they’ve actually helped, but this mama’s milk is flowing, so there’s a possibility they might have!

4. The Touch Lamp
This one I actually purchased on accident…well, kind of. I purchased it because we needed a lamp for the nursery. The overhead light on the fan was too bright for middle of the night feedings. So, I went to Target in search of a cute and inexpensive lamp option. I chose this one because it was simple and matched the nursery decor. I brought it home, plugged it in and realized it was a touch lamp meaning you could touch the lamp anywhere on the base, and it would turn on. Before baby, I thought it was a nice feature. Now, I’m in love with it. If your hands are full with the little one, a pacifier, a burp cloth, etc., it makes turning on the light super convenient, especially because our light switch doesn’t connect to the outlet that we plugged it into. It was a surprisingly awesome product!

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Bey Bey Shower

Hello, everyone! I have been a bit MIA the past few weeks on the blog because we welcomed our little one into the world on Thursday, November 16th! It has been the biggest blessing as well as most challenging aspect of our lives, but we have enjoyed every minute of it. Hopefully you can understand why there hasn’t been a post in a while.

But on Sunday, I attended a baby shower that is so worth blogging about! My friend Nancy is due in February and as a Queen B lover, her sisters threw her a Beyonce themed baby shower. Yes, you read that right. Nancy was the Queen B for the day, and this “Bey Bey Shower” was nothing short of insanely creative. Take a look!

First of all, here is the invitation I received in the mail. Needless to say, I was dying when
I opened it up because I loved the theme so much. Not only have I never seen it before, but Nancy loves Beyonce, so it was the perfect fit. Hats off to the lovely hostesses for the creativity!

Upon arriving, we were greeted with customized glasses to drink out of at the shower all labeled with different song lyrics. I choose a line from “Run the World.”

Most of the decor was centered around B’s “Lemonade” album including vases filled with lemons that adorned the table and lemon-infused water.

Nancy also rocked a crown made out of lemons, and only she could look adorable wearing it. Plus, she conveniently matched the color scheme without even knowing.

We played a game where guests had to guess the song based on a short snippet that included the word “baby.” You would be surprised how much Beyonce uses it in her lyrics! From there, we celebrated and showered the mama-to-be and her little one with gifts, laughs and well wishes!

The Bump Must Haves

I’m going to preface this post and say it has nothing to do with event planning. But since I have such a great platform to share info on, I thought I would share some of my must-haves during pregnancy as I near the end of my nine months of prenatal bliss.

I know lots and lots of pregnant women right now and like myself, a lot of them are going through this for the first time. Between my own trial and error as well as having a subscription to the Bump Box (thanks, Mom!), I have been able to try a variety of products for soon-to-be moms. Here are a few of my personal favorites that are completely worth the investment!

1. Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
I’m not going to lie to you. At first, I thought this was an overpriced body pillow. I mean, really? A pillow “specifically made for pregnant women” that is priced $60-$80 depending on the brand you select? Seemed like a little bit of overkill. I debated and debated and ended up deciding not to purchase one. But after receiving one as a gift, my world from 11:00 PM until 7:00 AM completely changed. I was about 20 weeks pregnant when I first started using my Snoogle, and it was comfortable at the time but the more I grew, so did my appreciation for the shape and design of this product. It has made a huge difference in my ability to sleep at night, and with a washable cover, it has made it easy to keep clean and even transport with me on a few trips (yes, I am that girl). I wouldn’t say it’s a necessary purchase right away, but definitely as you grow, your love of this product will too!

2. Under Belly French Terry Jogger Pant from Motherhood Maternity
This is one I am kicking myself about! I wish I would have purchased these pants months ago….and in every color they offered. I am mainly a fan of over-the-belly pants while pregnant because I am carrying so low that everything is more comfortable that way. And even though these pants are not designed that way, I could live in them. They are made of the softest material and can transition into postpartum life as well.

3. Glow 9 Organics Belly Butter
I tend to be very weird about body butters. I don’t like the consistency of them because they’re so greasy and thick. But when you’re stomach is growing as quickly as it does during pregnancy, I wanted to ensure I was doing what I could to eliminate the possibility of stretch marks. This product wasn’t quite as thick as other body butters I tried, and although I’m not necessarily an all-natural or organic girl, I appreciate that all the ingredients were good for baby and good for my skin.

4. Bella B’s Tummy to Toes Cooling Leg and Foot Cream
My job requires me to be on my feet for long periods of time, and even though your body adapts to its changing shape, this product was a must for long wedding days! The product is more of a gel than it is a lotion, but it offers the cooling effect of Icy Hot while still being completely safe for baby. I’m sure my husband hated the site of the bottle because when I brought it out, it was almost always guaranteeing I would be requesting a foot and leg rub. But ladies, let me tell you. This product works wonders for tired and achy legs and feet!

So there you have it! If you are an expecting mama, these would be my recommendations for making it through the nine months making sure baby is nice and safe and still pampering yourself a little. Happy shopping!

 

A Few Of My Favorite Things: 2017 Wedding Edition

At the end of each year, I pull together a post that dives into my favorite event ideas from the year. And although I know 2017 isn’t over yet, I just wrapped up my wedding season at work and wanted to do a special wedding edition of My Favorite Things.

These are ideas, tricks and overall good-for-the-soul tidbits from weddings I’ve coordinated, attended or I know people who have attended, so take a look if you plan on throwing a wedding bash next year because you might want to incorporate a few of these!

If The Shoe Fits
This gorgeous wedding shot by the talented ladies at Love Tree Studios was completely centered around none other than a pair of shoes. And if you know me, I am totally a shoe girl, so I love that Jaime and Todd used these shoes (which they also found a matching tie for) as their color and design inspiration for their big day. And a special shout out to Kent’s Floral Gallery for making the floral pattern come to life!

The Veteran Flower Girls
Yes, little girls in fluffy, tutu-like dresses are adorable. But how much cuter is it to incorporate your grandma’s as flower girls instead of putting them in the traditional prelude? Those smiles on their faces just tell it all!

Frost Yourself (Or Your Invitation)
“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” anybody? I was drooling over these gorgeous vellum envelopes when my invitation to a friend’s wedding came in the mail. You spend lots of time and money on gorgeous invitations that people hang up in their house as the countdown to your big day approaches, so why not package them in a pretty frosted envelope?

Bring Your Wedding Day to Life
I think Cindy is on my list every year, but I just love having a live painter at events! Not only does it create an amazing keepsake for your special day, but it’s also a great way to incorporate an interactive element for your guests. Plus, it’s fun to compare the real photography to TooRooster Artistry’s painted version.

Dripping with Deliciousness
I’m all about a naked cake because A) I think they’re gorgeous, and B) I am not a frosting fan, so a naked cake is the perfect solution to a dessert that I enjoy without the top layer. However, this naked cake produced by All About Cakes definitely takes the cake–yes, pun intended. It was my favorite cake of the year! Thanks to Scott Patrick Myers for the photo!

Setting the Scene
I watch tons of wedding videos, but the opener to this video produced by Byler Media was one of my favorites. It not only kept religion in the wedding day, but it also incorporated the bride and groom’s wedding party. Clearly, there was a little forethought in this one 😉

Coordinated Chaos
As someone who had her bridesmaids wear mismatched dresses in her own wedding, I continue to be a fan of non-matching dresses. But what I really love and hope continues into 2018 wedding trends is not only mismatched colors but a mixture of colors, textures and patterns. I love the depth that various patterns and textures can bring in whether it’s through bridal bouquets or in this instance, through bridesmaid dresses.

Photo compliments of Erin Evangeline Photography. 

Extending the Wedding Day
We all know about the traditional act of giving roses to the mothers during the ceremony. Well, Sally and David decided to switch it up a little bit. Their mothers were part of a special moment during the ceremony where they each brought a rose to the alter where David and Sally were standing. Sally and David then exchanged roses as their first gift as husband and wife. They put them in a vase that stayed at the front for the remainder of the ceremony. While that was cute, the message that the officiant continued to explain is what really struck a cord with me. The vase they selected for these flowers was going to be displayed empty in their home. Whenever Sally and David have a fight, are at a loss for words, etc. one of them will place a single rose in that vase to let the other know exactly what they are thinking. No words are needed, no special cards, just a single rose that will transport the two of them back to their wedding day and to those promises each of them made. How sweet is that?

Little Pumpkin Is On Her Way

In honor of Halloween, I wanted to sneak in another blog post this week. Our final baby shower was very much seasonally themed, and I absolutely love it! I am such a fall girl — crisp weather, boots, pumpkin spice flavored things, coffee…I know very basic.

So when I received the baby shower invitation that said “A Little Pumpkin is on Her Way,” I couldn’t help but be even more excited than usual! This shower was hosted by my sister-in-law and mother-in-law, who are both extremely talented when it comes to hosting. Here are a few insights on some of their fun pumpkin and baby-themed ideas:

These flower arrangements are some of my absolute favorites! I’ve coordinated a few October events at work that used pumpkins as the vases, so I loved the cute spin on these ones that used white and gold-painted pumpkins with soft pink and white flowers because they incorporated both the fall and baby themes.

It had been awfully warm prior to the shower, but the weather cooperated perfectly and dropped to the high 50s for the shower day. The timing was convenient since a lot of the menu for lunch consisted of different soups and sandwiches. There was also delicious “she’s ready to pop” kettle corn and small, bite-sized desserts.

And because all baby showers have to have a beautiful diaper cake, my mother-in-law put her creative touch on one and made it all fall themed as well. She used diapers to construct the base of the cake and then adorned it with burlap, small pumpkins, orange ribbons and bows.

I know I’ve said this with EVERY one of my baby blogs, but I can’t tell you how blessed we feel to have such amazing people in our lives as we start this new season with our newest addition!  Let the countdown begin…

Don’t Put Grandma Solely in Charge of the Kiddos

This is something I’ve witnessed multiple times just over the past six weeks or so as I’ve been coordinating weddings at work. The Mother of the Bride only gets to partially enjoy the wedding day because she spends much of her time distracted by grandkids.

Now don’t misunderstand me. Every other day, it’s perfectly acceptable for Grandma time, but I feel terrible when Mothers of the Bride or Mothers of the Groom don’t get to fully enjoy their role because they are also on babysitting duty. Usually this issue stems from one or both parents of her grandkids taking part of the bridal party. Therefore, when Mom and Dad are up at the head table, who is in charge of their little ones? Here are a few suggestions I have.

  1. If the in-laws are invited to the wedding, put them in charge of the grandkids. This worked out great at our wedding because our nephews were able to be part of our wedding as ring bearers and tear up the dance floor at the reception, but my mother-in-law was able to enjoy the day as Mother of the Groom. Instead, my sister-in-law’s mother-in-law was on Grandma duty.
  2. Hire a baby-sitter to watch after the kids. This might sound strange, but if the in-laws aren’t invited to the wedding and there isn’t quite the perfect person to watch after the kids, hire a baby-sitter to come to the reception to watch after them and be in charge of taking them home. This can also be a great option for family members who have small children but also want to stay a little later at the reception. The sitter can be in charge of a handful of kids.
  3. Don’t bring the kids to the reception. I know this option isn’t quite as easy to do, but depending on the kids’ age, it might just be easier to take them home between ceremony and reception to be with a sitter, so Mom and Dad can enjoy the evening and Grandma isn’t on duty. This might be a necessity if the reception isn’t kid friendly.

Far too much, I’ve seen the Mother of the Bride or Mother of the Groom not being able to sit and enjoy dinner because she’s running after little ones down the hall. Or, she almost misses the first dance because she’s in the lobby consoling a screaming baby.

It’s not fair to these moms because they’ve spent a lot of time and energy planning the big day with their son or daughter. Not to mention, they are probably helping to pay for the event too. In addition to the bride and groom, she is a hostess as well, and she should have the opportunity to soak up the special moments of the day, mingle with guests and not have to leave early to take kiddos back home.

Cute and Classy Baby Shower

I’ve mentioned this before, but in addition to being able to share tips and insight of the event industry, I also love this blog because it gives me a chance to brag on friends and family for their party-throwing skills.

A few weeks ago, my friend Alex threw me the most adorable baby shower that my girlfriends were all invited to at Country Club of Missouri. It was the perfect balance between cutesy and girly and a classy tea party. See some of the great ideas and photos below!

One of my absolute favorite ideas that I hadn’t seen before was an adorable create-your-own headband station where each guest was able to use their creative juices to make a headband for our little girl. She purchased a variety of various ribbons, stretchy headbands and appliques, so guests could mix and match for their own creation. She had a number of hot glue guns plugged in, and the guests really had fun with it! Plus, now our little girl has tons of bows and headbands for all of her new outfits.

Although pink was an obvious choice as a color since we’re expecting a girl, Alex included ivory, light green and golds for a girly yet sophisticated color palette. She also paired a few textures and patterns to create depth to the table settings thanks to a few rentals from A-1 Party and Event Rentals.

Since it was a 1 PM shower, guests enjoyed finger sandwiches, veggies and hummus, homemade chips and other light snacks. Plus, adorable cookies from Fluffybutt Cookies were served as dessert/take-home gifts.

And it wouldn’t be a true Alex party without a few monograms! She purchased a monogram for our little one that was used as decor for the shower as well as included her monogram on the personalized cookies.

No, You Are Not the Exception To The Rule

Hey, is this you in this photo? Yes, I’m talking about the lady with the big ol’ tablet taking a photo or the guy across the aisle holding up his cell phone.

Photo by Tom Pumford. 

I say that in a joking matter, and no I am not going to spend this blog post bit…er…complaining about people who don’t follow rules. The purpose of this post is to check yourself. Are you being one of THOSE people? You might be and not even realize it!

The idea for this post came to me after I was coordinating a wedding this past weekend. The officiant opened the ceremony by welcoming guests and politely made a request in honor of the couple to leave the documenting to the hired professionals and to truly be present in the moment with them. Not event 30 seconds later, a guest sitting the very middle of the audience stood and started taking photos on his iPhone. “Ummmm hello….?” was what I really wanted to say outlout, but instead I just shook my head and glanced around as the other vendors and guests looked at the gentleman in horror.

Here’s another one of my favorites. The ceremony has just wrapped up, the couple is officially Mr. and Mrs., and the bridal party and family begin to congregate off to the side to take photos. Then all of a sudden, there’s a hoard of people heading in the direction of the newlyweds saying to the people they are with, “I just want to say hello to them really quick.” Can I be blunt with you? All 250 guests want to do the exact same thing. If they choose not to do a receiving line, there’s probably a reason for that (time, weather, etc.), and the couple will absolutely make their way around to socialize with you later.

Photo by Tim Mossholder.

Or for example, let’s say you’re attending an event that is taking place at a public location and only part of the venue is dedicated to the private event. It’s OK for you to ignore the signage about where the private event is located and help yourself to other amenities that are not intended for you, right? Probably not. That would be like someone from the general population coming into the private party and helping themselves to the complimentary appetizers. That wouldn’t be OK, now would it?

I’m not trying to sound like a Negative Nancy. It just baffles me how many people think they’re the exception to the rule. News flash: if you are asking for a special request, special accommodations or to be the exception, you aren’t the only one. Lots of people are doing it. You don’t want to be one of THOSE people that is being talked about after the event. Just tryin’ to help you out!

Baby Shower for Baby Rup

I just had to write a post to brag on my sisters and mom for a few minutes because last weekend, they threw me and our little one the cutest baby shower! My husband, myself and our newest addition to the family feel so loved by all the overwhelming support we’ve experienced thus far, and she hasn’t even made her debut yet!

The shower took place at my mom’s house in Wisconsin, and they did such a good job incorporating some of the details and colors of the baby’s nursery. Check out a few of the fun details below.

First and foremost, I have to give a shout out to the florist my sister found. She’s a teacher by trade and just does this on the side, and wow is this lady talented! Her company is called Local Flora if you live in the Milwaukee area and want to check her hour. I loved all the texture that was used in the bouquets.

The shower took place at 11 AM, so guests noshed on brunch food before gifts and games (one of my personal favorite fares), and they also incorporated not one but two of my favorite desserts: cake pops and ice cream. Because a pregnant girl has to have dessert options, right? I didn’t get a picture of the surprise ice cream bar that concluded the shower because I was too busy indulging, but I did get a picture of the beautiful cake pops. They were made by the same woman who created them for my bridal shower. They seriously are almost too pretty to eat….almost!

In true McCann girl fashion, there was a mimosa bar, or a Mom-osa bar for this particular party. And since I couldn’t partake in the real deal, my mom and sisters made sure to get me a sparkling cider to be able to use for my drinks…so sweet!

The girls also purchased decorations that coincides with the nursery decor, and I got to take some of those home to be able to hang in the nursery (when we get that finished…), It was nice to be able to dual purpose those decoration items.

Our little girl is so lucky to be able to join into our family, and it’s very fitting that we are having a girl. As you can see from this picture, my family is full of girls, including my two sisters and I, cousins, daughters of cousins, etc. It just made sense that we are blessed to have a little princess! We are so grateful for the love and support that we have already experienced, and we can’t wait for her arrival! Stay tuned for November 14th!

Inform, Inform, Inform

People are not mind readers. As much as we would love for people to know what we are thinking at certain times, it’s inevitably not going to happen. And especially when you are inviting people to an event or trying to coordinate a large amount of people, it’s important to communicate exactly when and where you need people to be.

Before the Event
Verbiage on your invite is key. This is your opportunity to prepare guests for your event. If the timeframe of your event is over a normal eating time, but you are not planning on serving a full meal, make sure guests know just appetizers and drinks are being served. Is there pertinent clothing information they need to know? Is it a costume party, a formal event, or is there a need for specific type of footwear (think outdoor venue where heels would not be an appropriate choice) needed? Are there specific directions guests need to know? Sometimes an address and specific instructions once they arrive on property are important. Is there parking on site, or do they need to find parking close by? Are there detours or road closures due to constructions or citywide events? A successful event starts with communication prior to its start.

Photo compliments of Catherine Rhodes Photography.
Photo compliments of Scott Patrick Myers Photography.

During the Event
Posting a timeline somewhere at the event helps guests to know where they need to be when and exactly how long each portion of the event is. If there’s a silent auction that closes at a particular time, you might want to note that in a program. Or if you have a long cocktail hour, letting guests know what time dinner is served allows them to know they have time to mingle and walk around before finding their seats. And if there is a particular group of people who need to be aware of an activity, it’s always helpful to make an announcement about it. For example, if you need family to stick around after a ceremony for family photos, have the officiant make a reminder announcement following the ceremony.

Photo compliments of D Squared Designs.

After the Event
Showing your appreciation for guests’ attendance and if they brought you a gift is proper etiquette. Follow-up can also be a great way to remind guests where they can go online to find party or photo booth pics. Or if there’s still opportunities to make a donation to the cause of the evening, make sure to mention that in your follow-up email or thank you.

By taking the time to do each of these, your guests will remain well informed, and the overall flow of the event will be much smoother!

Photo compliments of KatFour Photography