Product Pick: Loopy Case

First things first, I am not a pop socket kind of girl. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I just have never liked them. But then, my friend and co-worker came to work one day with a Loopy case. She raved about how cute the patterns were and how convenient it was for her when she was chasing after two little kids, and I was intrigued.

Then, I kept seeing them pop up more and more on blogs I followed or I would notice random strangers having them.

I kept debating if I should make the plunge and purchase the $35 phone case. It seemed a bit excessive, and with my 9-month old who loves to toss my phone, I was insistent on keeping my Otter Box.

But then my sweet friend bought me the case as a going away present, and y’all…this phone case is a game changer! I have had it all of three days, and I’m obsessed! You can still hang onto it even with full hands, it’s super comfortable to hold, and you won’t drop it on your pour child’s face when taking a selfie (I hate to admit it, but yes I did that with my old phone case…worst Mom EVER!)

Check out all the fun case options they have here, and thanks to blogger Lauren McBride, you can get a 10% discount with coupon code LAUREN10.

Advertisements

A Breath of Fresh Air

I popped out of bed this morning, fed the baby and loaded her up for a morning walk. It was a beautiful 70 degrees, the birds were chirping, I had a coffee with me, and I was going to carpe the heck out of that diem. “So this is it,” I thought. That moment, regardless of how small it was, completely solidified my decision I had made the day before.

After four years at my current job, I had finally made the leap to take a new opportunity. It was something I had been rolling around in my head since the days of my maternity leave were dwindling. I knew going back to work full time was going to be difficult. It is for every mom, regardless of her profession. I knew it would be extra hard for me as an event coordinator since I often worked nights and weekends. It was so much easier when I wasn’t a mom. The six-day-a-week work weeks weren’t as bad because my husband was working Saturdays too. And staying late or popping in early required very little prep or planning. Now, that simply wasn’t the case.

But I LOVED what I did, and I still do. I love the event industry. I love celebrating milestones with clients, and I love the event community here in Columbia. It truly isn’t about competition but a community of wonderful individuals, entrepreneurs and celebrators.

This simple “aha moment” I had on my morning walk was the result of an event that had to rescheduled due to unfortunate circumstances. But I almost feel like that free morning that I didn’t have originally was also God’s way of telling me I made the right decision. There were so many reasons why I almost didn’t take the job. I thought about what everyone else would think. I thought about my clients I was supposed to still work with this year. I thought about all my co-workers and amazing vendors and people who I wouldn’t see on a day-t0-day basis anymore.

But it wasn’t until after all of those thoughts entered my mind did I think about myself–my needs and wants. It was continually getting harder and harder to leave my daughter with Gigi and Papa or a baby-sitter after I had already dropped her off at daycare five days that week. I felt like I wasn’t giving my marriage its full attention when my husband and I were like passing ships on Saturdays. And that was only when we could make our schedules work so that he worked the morning and I worked the evening. It made me so sad to miss out on family events or leave early from personal celebrations to coordinate celebrations of others.

As much as I adored what I did and loved the work I was doing, it wasn’t as fulfilling as it used to be. My heart was constantly telling me to do something about it when my mouth was telling people I was fine. It was this decision I made when I finally allowed myself to admit that I had needed a change now for a while.

I finally admitted that I was in a new season of life and a new job is exactly what I needed to balance my changing world. Will I miss events? Absolutely. Will I come back to doing them full-time? Who knows. All I know is that on that beautiful Saturday morning, I had a pep in my step I had been missing for a while. I felt I had finally found the balance of motherhood and work, times of busy successes and enjoyable stillness. I had found something else that was fueling my professional fire. For the first time in a long time, I felt completely happy.

Five Podcasts To Listen To Right Now

I do love music, but usually the radio suffices for me when I’m on a road trip or need some background music. And audiobooks never really were my jam because I’m old school, and I really appreciate holding an actual book. Plus, I love the smell of Barnes & Noble (anyone else….or am I just weird?) So podcasts have quickly become a favorite of mine. In fact, a little giddy excitement rushes over me when I see that one of my favorite podcasts have added a new episode.

So, I thought I would share with you five of my favorite podcasts that I highly recommend listening to now!

For the Girl Boss: The Goal Digger Podcast

I started listening to this podcast far before Jenna Kutcher and “Mr. Six Pack” went viral. In fact, I feel like I have gotten a fair share of my friends listening to her show. Maybe it’s because Jenna is a wedding photographer lived (until recently) in the same town that my mom grew up in and some of my family still lives in. Talk about a girl after my own heart. And on top of it, she has grown her business from a small wedding photographer into a million-dollar business coaching empire. If you need your weekly dose of girl boss inspiration, Jenna and her guests are definitely worth the listen!

For Anyone: How I Built This
This is a podcast I have talked about with a countless number of people. It really appeals to all types, both young and old, male or female, podcast lover or not. I think it’s because this show unfolds the details behind some of our most beloved brands and businesses. Plus, everyone enjoys a good behind-the-scenes look at some of America’s most successful businesses.

For the Mama: Nursing & Cursing
Five mamas get on the mic each week to entertain me to the point where I am crying laughing. I even listen to this podcast while I’m working out because it has me so entertained that I can crush a 30-minute workout without even realizing it. Regardless of the type of parent you are or how many children you have, any mom can relate with these women. And I’m not going to lie that it makes me feel slightly better about the decisions I make because some of their confessions are pretty outrageous. “Put down your coffee, and grab a glass of wine” as they say and get ready for some side-splitting laughter.

For the CoMo Resident: ProFresh Podcast
Anyone could listen to this podcast, regardless of his or her location, but this one has a little “hometown” pride connected to it. I say “hometown” because although I an not originally from Columbia, it has become my home away from home, and I am beginning to rival the amount of years I spent in Wisconsin with the number of years I’ve lived here. Kristen, owner of Hoot Design Co., and Sydney,  a copywriter at Hoot Design Co. tackle topics in the workplace, chat with female professionals and give a fresh look at societal norms when it comes to a professional setting.

For the Event Planner: #EventIcons
You know you love the industry you’re working in when you continue to get jazzed about the topic event in non-work settings. I’m going to be totally honest that I struggle with good event planning podcasts. This is the best one I’ve discovered thus far. The podcast has great information, but I wouldn’t say it’s the most entertaining podcast. So if you have any suggestions, I would love them!

Lessons Learned as a New Mama

Almost six months ago to the day, I was headed to the hospital anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little girl and about to enter into a new chapter of life. I was excited, scared and quite frankly, had no idea what to expect.

Since then, I have learned an awful lot about myself, life, our marriage and one beautiful little girl. So in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve learned thus far in my six short months as a mama-some serious, some comical and overall, a compilation of the last six months.

  1. The days are long, but the months and years are short. That statement could not be more true.
  2. It is possible for more than your heart to hurt for someone. In fact, your boobs can too.
  3. As much as you want to fill up others’ cups before your own, you have to remember to put yourself first from time to time.
  4. Motherly instinct kicks in even for the soundest of sleepers.
  5. Blow drying your hair is a luxury.
  6. Plans must be made in three-hour increments.
  7. Learn to laugh at yourself, even in the most ridiculous situations.
  8. There is no amount of spit up, drool, poop or pee that will ever phase you anymore.
  9. You will never forget the nurse who takes you to the bathroom for the first time after being in labor.
  10. Continue to live your life, and you will figure out how to do it with a baby, even if that means long car rides, airplanes, concerts, hikes, etc.
  11. Sucking snot out of your child’s nose with a tube is not weird but a frequent occurrence.
  12. You will learn to appreciate your own mother in so many more ways.
  13. There is an unspoken Mom understanding that all mothers secretly communicate during unfortunate situations.
  14. The “no shopping carts allowed in the bathroom” rule doesn’t apply to those pushing around a sleeping baby and shopping alone.
  15. Breastfeeding is hard. For something so natural, it’s not, but if you stick with it, it’s worth it. Your baby appreciates you.
  16. And on that topic, breastfeeding will completely deflate your boobs, but on the bright side it is the fat whisperer. Weigh the options.
  17. It is 100% OK to cry on your first day back to work after you drop your baby off at daycare. Almost everyone does.
  18. Make time for you and your husband because it’s easy to get put on the back burner.
  19. An SUV is absolutely necessary because when you travel anywhere, you basically pack up your entire house.
  20. You will learn the definition of “enjoy the small things” because even the smallest of changes and accomplishments will bring joy to your day.
  21. There is no better feeling in the world than a baby falling asleep on your chest.
  22. Their life has just begun but so has yours.

Product Pick: The Perfect Summer Shoe

I’ve found it! This one staple shoe (OK, maybe not only shoe since “one” and “shoe” never belong in the same sentence anyways…) is exactly what you need for the transition from spring to summer.

Introducing my new obsession, the Women’s Matti Heeled Buckle Ankle Strap Sandal from Universal Thread. First of all, can we take a minute just to applaud Target for its Universal Thread line? Seriously, if you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to. I own pretty much everything in it.

I own these shoes in olive, and they are perfect for every occasion and every situation. Since becoming a mom, I have really struggled with heels. I have always been a heel girl, but trekking down the stairs to daycare or getting up and down from the ground with a little one wearing sky-high stilettos isn’t quite as practical as it used to be. That’s why I love these sandals. They have that chunky heel that is very in with just enough height to make it feel like I am actually wearing heels (because I despise kitten heels), but they are comfortable enough to Mom so hard in.

And in addition to that, I’ve always had to rely on flats while working events because I average 15,000+ steps during large events, and heels just don’t work with that kind of mileage. But these! These are so comfortable and still offer the heel option.

They’re available in black and olive, but I love the olive because it serves two purposes. It’s just enough color to add a little pop to a monochromatic outfit but still neutral enough to wear with lots of outfits.

So, moral of the story is if you don’t own these, you need to go buy them!

Traveling With Baby

I’ve been a little quiet on here lately because….well, I’ll be honest, life. We traveled to Wisconsin for Easter, I’ve worked every weekend of April so far with wedding season hitting the ground running, we were in Orlando for a conference last week, you get the idea.

But after traveling with a little babe for the first time, I was inspired to share some ideas I had about traveling with a little one. Before we left, I scoured the Internet for any advice I could find from other moms and I’ve had lots of new mamas say they were headed on trips soon, so I’m hoping you can learn a thing or two from our travels.

How We Navigated the Airport:

1. First and foremost, make sure you pack your baby’s birth certificate! Even if they are traveling with you on your lap, you still need their birth certificate as verification. Had I not read this online, I would have never known this and we would have been screwed. You can also go ahead and add your little one to your reservation online prior to getting to the airport to speed up the process. But if you forget, don’t worry. You can also do that at the airport when you get the birth certificate verified.

2. We were headed to Orlando where we were going to be hitting up some of the parks, walking a convention center and being out and about a lot, so I wanted to make sure we were prepared. That meant a lot of carry ons and a lot of bags. We felt a bit like a three-ring circus but after arriving, we were so glad we lugged everything there, and we definitely weren’t the only ones.

We flew Southwest, which was great because each adult was allowed two checked bags and two carry-ons.

  • We packed P her own suitcase, one for me and one for Ryan, and we checked all three of these bags.
  • We gate checked her stroller and car seat (check out these great products to make this process much easier!)
  • Then, we carried on her diaper bag; another bag with some reading materials for ourselves (if we got a few minutes on the flight while P was sleeping), additional toys for her, my clutch  and necessities, such as gum, hand sanitizer, etc.; and lastly, my pump bag, which also had a mini cooler full of breast milk.

3. Security was actually a lot less stressful than I anticipated it to be. First of all, give yourself plenty of time when you arrive. We arrived 2.5 hours early, which allowed us to check in, get through a busy security line, feed her and change her diaper all before we had to board. While in line, I transferred P into our Ergobaby 360 carrier since we had to collapse the stroller. We sent the stroller and car seat on the conveyor belt, and I carried P through the metal detector. I made sure to mention to the staff that my bag contained a pump and breast milk, so they knew ahead of time that they would have to look through the bag and test the milk.

4. When you have a little one, you get to board relatively early, which allows you to have first dibs on seats and overhead storage and to get on the plane without people breathing down your neck. That was helpful to also feel very settled in prior to take off.

5. And finally, the take off. Obviously, the air pressure is something completely new to a baby, so make sure there is something for them to suck on while taking off. Whether it’s a pacifier, a bottle of milk or even your nipple, make sure they are swallowing to help with the change in pressure.

My Must-Have Products for Traveling With A Baby:

Keep in mind these might be specific to a warm location and not applicable to all destinations, but for a trip that included a pool, lots of walking and sightseeing, these were definitely my must-haves.

  1. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Travel Bottle & Food Warmer, Target, $12.59
    I’m not going to lie, this is pretty much a glorified thermos, but it has come in handy for both car tips and plane rides.
  2. Baby Trend Snap-N-Go Stroller, Target, $69.99
    This was a last-minute purchase I actually made through the Facebook Marketplace, and boy was I glad I did! My original plan was to bring our regular stroller, but I thought this would be super easy to use to navigate the airport and it ended up being great on all aspects of the trip. First, because P loves her car seat, so being able to pop the car seat on wheels kept her super comfortable. Secondly, it allowed us to transfer her from car to stroller even if she was napping without interrupting her. Lastly, it’s lightweight, adapts to a variety of car seats and was easy to fold up to throw the in the car and store in the hotel room.
  3. Bumbo Floor Seat, Amazon, $49.99
    Yes, pretty much everyone owns one of these, but it was not on my original packing list. Having this on the trip was great because it gave us a spot to set her down that still allowed her to play on her own and didn’t take up too much space in a suit case. It was also great out at the pool, which I never originally thought about. I was able to sit her on a lawn chair next to me in the shade while I got some sun. Plus, it’s waterproof and I was able to wipe it off after she had sat in it wearing sunscreen.
  4. Battery-Powered Clip On Fan, Target, $9.79
    I snagged this idea from another blogger, and I am so glad I ended up bringing one. It allowed us to be able to enjoy the pool or a midday walk, and P could nap or keep at a comfortable temperature.  With the battery operation, it was portable and we could use it anywhere. With the clip, I was able to clip it on her stroller, car seat, etc.

I read it on countless blogs, but I really didn’t believe it until I had experienced it myself. When traveling with a baby, you just have to roll with the punches. Take your time (by giving yourself a little extra time) and keep in mind that most people at the airport have been in your place at one point. We had tons of people who offered to help or gave me words or encouragement from their own experiences. We lucked out and Parker was great, so hopefully you have the same outcome with your little one!

Thank Goodness for Eazy-E

Photo source: Genius

Alright, I’m sharing a mom fail here. Or maybe it’s not a mom fail because it works? Regardless, it’s not a proud mama moment. Our sweet little Parker does have the occasional freak out. It’s usually related to gas or tiredness, but sometimes we just can’t shake whatever is bothering her.

We aren’t quite sure how we discovered this magical trick. I think it’s because Ryan raps when he’s walking around the house and makes up new words for rap songs about Parker. But what we can’t figure out is why she is so particular about one song choice: Real Muthaph***in’ G’s. Yes, I wish I was kidding. No, I am not.

So, I admit. I occasionally let my 4th month old daughter listen to the unedited version of Eazy-E’s song (Don’t worry, we tried to find the karaoke version, and it still has swearing in the background, so not much better…). She can be absolutely freaking out and by the time the song gets to the first beat transition, she’s silent. It’s quite hilarious actually. At first, I thought it was just a coinsidence, but we’ve tried it with other music and rap songs, and she likes straight up ’90s gangster rap. Who knew my daughter would appreciate that!

Stay tuned to my Instagram to see the the magic happen for yourself: @kristi_uncorked.