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Couples Gift Guide

We've reached the age where when someone asks what I want for the holidays, I am always at a complete loss because anything I truly want, I usually buy for myself. What Gary and I have ended up doing the last few years is joining forces and asking for joint gifts. Things that we will both get great use out of and are things for the house that we have really wanted to upgrade! Some of these gifts are also great for new parents or newlyweds! 
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  • At the top of our list this year is a new crock pot! We use ours weekly - at least 2-3 times a week and it's time we got an upgrade. As new parents, the gift of not having to cook dinner when we get home from work is the best! 
  • Along the same lines for new parents and any coffee lover is a coffee maker! I absolutely love our Nespresso machine and feel like it's another gift that just keeps on giving! Especially since you could always gift a machine and the limited edition pods as a great gift. The frother is also a great add on gift! I prefer the mini sizes of the machines because they don't take up too much space and are really sleek! 
  • If you have friends or family that love to entertain, one of my favorite gifts to give and to get is anything personalized. We have a few personalized and monogrammed cheese boards and I love taking them out for parties! 
  • I love when people come over with flowers, but undoubtedly never have a great vase to put the flowers in! I thought it would be a great gift idea to not only come to someones home with the flowers, but to take it a step further and gift them a new vase as well. Another item that can be personalized as well! 
  • One of my favorite gifts to bring over is a bottle of wine - of course it's an easy gift to give, but I think gifting a nice wine rack or bottle opener to go along with it is a nice touch! You could always do a wine of the month club as well! 
  • Couple friends who are celebrating their first married holiday together or any milestone would love something to commemorate that, like a personalized ornament. I actually had one made for us that says "First Christmas as a family of 3" and then I also got one to celebrate Sophia's First Christmas! 
  • Something a bit pricier but on our wish list this year are Nest Protect Fire Alarms. While we certainly don't expect to have our entire home outfitted in one go, having one changed at a time is nice! Don't tell, but a certain someone is getting this for Christmas! 
  • I know that a nice throw isn't the most unique gift, but it's certainly one that can be combined with an apple gift card, popcorn & candy! A movie night at home all cozy is a great and fun twist on a seemingly simple gift!

What would you gift to a couple?
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Cold Weather Must Haves

Well wouldn't you know, we had the first snow of the season last Thursday and as exciting as it is, there's always a bit of panic that sets in when that happens! It's about to get cold and for a long time! This is going to be my ninth winter here in Boston, while certain aspects of living in the North I'm quite comfortable with, the bitter cold is something I don't think I'll ever get accustomed to! I wanted to share a few cold weather must haves and added in a few items that I picked up for Sophia as we endure our first winter with a baby in tow! 
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I'm so thankful that I registered for the insulated cover for our stroller! It's really not easy bundling up a baby with so many layers to go outside, but having this extra cover on the stroller will keep Sophia warm without needing to bring out an extra blanket! I also have the gloves that attach to the stroller, which to be honest I thought were completely unnecessary, but after hearing all my friends that have them rave about the gloves, I ordered them immediately! 

The one coat missing from my collection the last nine years has been the long puffer coat. It's not the sexiest of coats, but my aim in the winter is to be really nice and warm. I'm hoping that there's going to be a great Black Friday sale on North Face coats. With all the puffy coats that I have, the one that I really want to add is the cozy teddy coat

Regardless of if we have the heat turned on, I still want to be cozied up like a burrito in a blanket and the heated one we have is my favorite! I didn't use it at all last winter because I was worried to put heat on myself while pregnant (strange things I googled) but I've already been using it this year!

I stumbled upon the Revlon Kiss balms at CVS and have since purchased every color, but my favorite is "juicy peach." It gives you just a hint of color, but most importantly keeps your lips hydrated and safe from getting chapped. 

I definitely gravitate towards pom pom hats in the winter & even though I'd love to be bold and have a colorful one, I stick to more neutral colors so that I could wear it with pretty much anything! 

So I don't technically have these yet, but I let Santa know that I was really hoping to get a pair of airpods. I really don't want to have to fumble with cords this winter (and in general) so I've decided that I'm okay with looking like I have q-tips hanging from my ears for the ease of listening, talking and using my phone during the winter! 

Of course I couldn't survive winter without my sorel boots and great gloves, but these are some of my newer essentials! 

Also, thank you to everyone for entering the giveaway for my 5 year blog anniversary! I sent the winner, Tanya and she's been notified! 

What are some of your must have winter items?!
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A Gift Guide for Everyone on your List

When I was trying to figure out a name for this gift guide, nothing really flowed off the tongue. The best way to describe these items are things I've purchased that I think are great gifts for people! There's definitely something for everyone - from a beauty lover, to your mom to a friend! 
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I purchased this Lashstash from Sephora during the VIB sale and the value for what you get is incredible. Not only do you get two full size mascaras, you get one lash primer and 7 mini mascaras! Each one does something different for your lashes and I've loved experimenting with all of them. 
These Jade Rollers would make a great stocking stuffer not only because of their price, but their a little fun gift to get for the beauty lover in your life. I use mine every day because life with a baby is no joke. I pop it in the fridge every day so that when I use it in the mornings it also has the same effect as an ice roller! 
Slippers are one of the best gifts for the holidays because nothing says cozy like fuzzy slippers! I have a similar pair and there are few things as great as slipping them on as soon as I get home! 
When Sophia was born, a friend of mine sent us the "my very own name book" and it is so special to know that there is no one else out there with this same book! It's perfect for anyone that has recently had a baby or for a child that's learning to read!
These live in leggings were probably my favorite purchase from the Nordstrom Sale this year. I wore them practically every day of my maternity leave and haven't stopped! I ordered them in a couple of colors and they're a great gift for literally any woman on your list!

Both of my nieces love pens as much as I do and I recently discovered the BIC ultra fine point pens permanent markers - that I just had to have in every single color! I think anyone that loves to draw, color or write would love these pens! 
I went to a cashmere pop up a few weeks ago and picked up a lot of gifts for people, including myself! I've always wanted a pair of cashmere gloves and I've already worn them a few times because the weather dipped here - they seriously kept my hands so warm! I also think of them as a very luxe gift! 
If you have a bag lover on your list then this Top Shop hobo bag is a must! I wear mine every day to work and it's so roomy! It's a beautiful cognac color and has a great side zipper pocket that I keep my phone in so I'm never fishing for it! 
One of the best tech purchases I made this year was a wireless charging pad. I have mine at work, but Gary keeps his on the nightstand. It's so nice to not have to worry about having to mess with any cords and it charges my phone crazy fast! 

Are there any purchases you made this year that would make great gifts for someone on your list?
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2-3 Month Favorites and a 5 Year Giveaway!

Happy Monday friends! Sophia turned 3 months old this past Friday and I can't even tell you how quickly it feels like this time has gone by! She's been doing so many fun new things, figuring out her hands, giggling and cooing more! She's so full of wonder with the world around her which is just the coolest thing to experience and see! It actually makes me see things in a completely different light and I can only imagine that as she gets older, teaching her things will be bring the same joy to me! 
A few months ago I shared our one month favorites and I wanted to keep that going every few months! If this isn't your thing, no worries because there is a giveaway for my 5 year anniversary of starting the blog at the bottom of the post! 
  • As a parent I think you'll buy just about anything marketed as giving your little one a great night's sleep. Whoever does the targeted ads for Nested Bean wins because after reading the reviews I couldn't buy this fast enough! It's lightly weighted to mimic the weight of your hand on your baby so that they can potentially rouse less during the night since they feel like you're still touching / holding them. While this hasn't completely given us wonderful nights, it has helped reduce wakings unrelated to needing to eat in the middle of the night and for that it's a winner in my book!
  • Sophia had a bit of cradle cap and after trying a variety of things, the Musetla Cradle Cap helped clear up the flakes! Along the same lines, we've been battling some dry skin and slather Aquaphor all over a few times a day which has helped so much! 
  • As she's started to see colors more vividly, this Baby Einstein's primary colors book has been a big hit! There are crunch pages which make it fun for her to hold and play with and the bright colors really engage Sophia. Her favorite is the yellow page, she get's this wide eyed look and you can just tell she's taking it all in! 
  • We would not have been able to live without our yoga ball! We usually park it in the kitchen so we can run the fan to calm her during some fussier moments and also if she's having trouble falling asleep, we bounce with her on the ball while she's swaddled and the movement helps her fall asleep. The bonus is that you're also getting a bit of a workout in!!
  • I absolutely love the Carter's fleece footie PJ's! Not only are they warm, I use them as another layer as it's gotten a bit colder here. I'll put a onesie on underneath and then layer with the fleece jammies followed by her bigger coat. The bonus is that there are no buttons and it zips right up!
  • One of the best things I registered for what this SkipHop activity playmat. The colors are a bit more muted, but still catch her eye enough. The different shapes make noises, play sounds and is great for tummy time because it's very plush and soft. I also love that she's started to grab at things so the rattles that it has are perfect for that. 
  • After registering for what I thought was a great "tub" I quickly realized the PUJ was only good for a few weeks at most. It wasn't comfortable in our kitchen or bathroom sinks so I ordered the first years tub for $20 on Amazon and with almost 3,500 reviews and almost 5 stars it's probably one of the best purchases for Sophia I've made! It goes from a newborn tub with sling, to an infant tub where you remove the sling to a perfect tub for toddlers. We use it every single night for her bath time and have had zero issues with it! Highly recommend this tub! 
  • Finally our biggest favorite this last month was the Lansinoh bottles! After trying what felt like every single bottle out there to have Sophia take one, this finally worked. We had a bottle consultant come by - yes this is a thing and something I would gladly pay for again because she gave me and Gary the tools necessary to get Sophia comfortable with a bottle. We had tried introducing bottles starting at 4 weeks, but she just wasn't having any of it. At around the 8 week mark I started to get nervous and finally at 10 weeks I hit the panic button and was praying that when I went back to work she'd figure it out. We practiced with the tips that our consultant gave us and it felt like the first thing we were teaching her which was pretty cool. I'll never be able to convey my relief when Gary called me on my first day back to work and told me how well she ate from the bottle. We haven't tried any others and probably wont for another month or so, but these were a life saver! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Now onto the giveaway!! This coming Saturday marks my 5 year anniversary in this little space of mine! I honestly can't believe that I've kept up with this blog consistently since 2013! To look back when I first started, I was a newlywed looking for a creative outlet and today I'm so incredibly fulfilled in both my personal and professional life! I am grateful that I have this blog to go back to trips we've taken, weekends we've spent in the city and every holiday in between. Having this blog has afforded me some really fun and interesting opportunities, introduced me to some incredible women who are some of my very best friends & pushed me out of my comfort zone - so much so that I started my own business! All of those words to simply say - I'm so thankful that I have kept up with my blog, I'm thankful that I've created so many meaningful relationships and I really look forward to the new content that I will be creating. Whether you've been a friend and reader since the beginning or are a newer follower, as a thank you for following along on this journey of mine, I'm going to be giving away a $50 gift card to Amazon. A few simple entries below and I'll generate the winner over the weekend - announcing on Monday, November 19th. 

Thank you again for coming back regularly!! Hope you have a wonderful start to the week!
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Currently Crushing | Animal Print

Back when I first started blogging, there was a linkup called "currently crushing" and it was always fun to roundup some of my favorite items in one category. I've been eyeing a lot of animal print pieces recently and decided it was time to revive that idea!
This long cardigan looks like it would be so cozy for being around the house or running errands! Could even pair it with leggings since it's longer and would cover the bum!
I really like that this sweater still has the animal print motif, but is in a pretty lavender color!
I could see this blouse paired with pixie pants for work or something fun like the bright skirt it's paired with in the photo!


Shoes, scarves & belts are the easiest way for me to add animal print into my wardrobe! I recently picked up a fun belt that will definitely punch up my work wardrobe! I can definitely see an all black outfit with pops of red and these pumps! I've mentioned this scarf a couple of times now and that's because it's under $20 and perfect with a trench coat this time of year!

You guys know I love a good pom pom hat and this one can be worn as a beret or more slouchy! I also have the Harper satchel on my wish list and don't have any bag like this in my closet!
Should we revive the Currently Crushing on link up again?! What's your favorite way to add animal print into your wardrobe?
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5 Things I loved in October

Happy Monday friends! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I wanted to thank you for all the kind words and well wishes on my first day back to work! I was thankfully a lot less emotional than I expected to be and coming home to her smiles and cuddles was just the best, not to mention starting back at work on a Thursday made for a much easier transition! Similar to my post last month with 5 things I loved in September, I wanted to share a few of the things that I just couldn't get enough of in October!
Whiskey in a Teacup || My sister surprised me with this book early on in the month and I couldn't get enough of every single chapter. What I loved is that you could actually here Reese talking as you're reading the book. It was great to have her ins and outs to style, entertaining & the recipes!
Summer Friday's Jet Lag Mask || I have used this every single day since I purchased it at the beginning of the month and it's one of the best products that has left my skin feeling so hydrated. I use it right after the shower and then in the mornings as a moisturizer. It's so lightweight and free of pretty much every single toxin so you can feel confident putting it on your skin. I already know I'll be repurchasing it this Friday during the VIB sale! 
Sophia's first Halloween || We celebrated Sophia's first official holiday with Halloween! She was a little too tired to go out and enjoy the festivities, but we did manage to have a little pre-party fun at our neighbors house with all the kids. I felt a little bad that we didn't dress up like the other parents, but next year we'll be better! 

Wedge Booties || My wedge booties that I first mentioned in this post, finally came in at the tail end of October and I have been wearing them non-stop! They are so comfortable and the exact type of shoe I was looking for to give the jeans and sweater look a little more pop! As far as sizing goes, they run true to size.
Maybelline Lipgloss || I've become somewhat obsessed with these lipglosses. I currently mix "charmer" and "too cute" & really want to get a few more. I will say a little goes a long way and you do have to be careful since it can transfer to your teeth! 

I looked at the calendar and realized that I'm coming up on my 5 year blogging anniversary which is just nuts!! I'll be doing a really fun giveaway in the next couple of weeks to celebrate! Hope you have a wonderful week ahead!
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Thoughts as I head back to work

Today I head back to work after three months with my baby girl. This will without a doubt be one of the most personal posts I have ever written here, but I have read countless other blogger's share their thoughts on what their life is like post baby & I wanted to share my own thoughts and feelings - especially since a lot of the time I am just wondering if what I'm feeling is normal. 
Maternity leave is both the most enjoyable 3 months and simultaneously one of the most lonely times in your life, with emotions that leave you questioning everything you're doing, at least that was the case for it me. For the first three weeks after Sophia was born I was in a bit of a bubble because I had help in the form of my mom & Gary. Truth be told, I'm not sure how I would have survived those first two weeks without my mom because not only was she basically our night nurse, but she cooked and cleaned for us,  so I really only had to focus on Sophia and making sure I was healing properly from giving birth. I was well rested, as was Gary and I felt like I was getting to enjoy the newborn stage without the hazy feeling I was anticipating. After she left and Gary was home with me for another week, we began to establish a little routine, as much as you can with a 3 week old and I felt like we were getting into a groove of sorts. Currently Sophia is still in our room so I take care of all the feedings and if she has trouble going back down to sleep, Gary takes over to walk with her and get her down. We've talked about transitioning her into her own room, but I'll probably wait to see how I do when I go back to work. I truly feel like she senses that I'm in the room and wakes up even if she's not hungry just to feel that I'm there. 
When Gary went back to work, the realness kicked in and I was home alone with Sophia! Just the two of us trying to figure one another out and me being seriously terrified of this little bitty thing and trying to keep her from crying! For as much as newborns sleep, half the time is trying to get them to go to sleep and then you're basically frantically trying to get everything done in about 20 minutes because they wake up. I tried to see if this was normal and surprisingly it is! Naps are established at around 5 months and before that their sleep cycles for naps are anywhere from 20-120 minutes, just a fun (or not so fun) fact. At least that's the case with Sophia because unless we're outside walking she doesn't really like to nap on her own. When I tell you that the only three things on my to do list every day are to do her laundry, pump & shower - I'm not lying and it feels incredible when all three have been completed!I can't tell you how many hours I spent bouncing on my exercise ball in the kitchen with the exhaust going for white noise. The downside, my back kills. The bright side, I held her so much and got my fill of cuddles. Another bright side, I read a lot on my phone via the Kindle app!

What I didn't realize I needed || People!

I don't think I realized just how lonely I would be during the day. I mean that in the sense that I really am a social person and like to be around others conversing, probably why I ventured outside so much. Shout out to my mom, best friend Rachel and cousin who I would call ALL the time just to talk! Whenever a friend would reach out and ask to come over, I couldn't say yes fast enough! I have some wonderful friends that came over just to say hi, hold Sophia so I could eat lunch or make dinner or even switch out the laundry. 
I'm grateful that my maternity leave was during the end of the summer and through early fall because it gave me the opportunity to walk multiple times a day outside with Sophia. I'm really lucky that I live in the city and was able to get outside pretty much daily, unless it was raining and that helped me feel "normal" and have some sort of human interaction during the day! I walked miles upon miles every single day and it was comforting knowing that Sophia was having some of her best sleep in the fresh air. My neighbor also happened to be on maternity leave during the same time so it was fun to meet up and walk around together, talk about our girls & what we were doing that was working and not working. 
I had some really rough days where I cried basically every time Sophia cried, I honestly wasn't sure what was going on with me, but as soon as Gary would get home from work, he'd give me the little boost I needed to tell me that I was doing a great job. I would call my mom at least 6 times a day, not even including FaceTime just to hear her voice. One of the greatest things that happened during those rough days was how my own relationship with my mom grew. We were best friends before, but I understand her on another level now and I'm thankful for every single piece of advice she gives me. 

The comparison game or instagram vs. reality life ||

I thought maternity leave would be full of lunches, trips to the mall & other outings. While I had a few of those days, it wasn't quite as active as I thought it would be or what I saw other new moms doing on Instagram. The days revolved around feedings and sometimes it felt like that was all I was doing. I felt like I couldn't really go to a restaurant for lunch because Sophia really liked to sleep on me not in her stroller. She has since gotten much better! My fears of her having a meltdown and not being able to calm her down also precluded me from doing more with her. The first 4 weeks you're told to not really venture to any public places so I took that very seriously, which also gives you this sort of isolated feeling. For the first little bit I wasn't comfortable nursing in public, I've since gotten over it and just go in with the attitude that she's gotta eat too and I try to find a store or hotel to duck into to feed her if needed. 
Around weeks 8-9 I finally felt like I was getting the hang of everything. We had a little routine - eat, play & sleep which was working nicely for us. My parents were back in town and it was nice to be social again. Everything felt like it was coming together and then she'd hit a new developmental milestone. To be honest, I didn't read many "what to expect" books, but after Sophia was born I downloaded all the apps and made sure I knew what was coming every week. The WonderWeeks App has been wonderful since they change daily! One day you're dealing with an angel baby and the next day she's crying, not sleeping & it seems like everything you did to soothe her the day before just isn't working. Once I downloaded the app, I was better prepared for those off days and as she got older I got ahead of them! Going through a leap - I got you girl! 

Moving Forward || 

Sophia is a little love and makes the days just fly by! Just as I'm getting the hang of everything - at least thinking that I am, I'm headed back to work and on the one hand it's so sad and frustrating that I don't get more of the fun times at home alone with her, but on the other hand I'm ready to go back. I felt really terrible saying that I was excited to go back to work - not because I didn't want to be with Sophia or watch as she learned new things, but it's just not in my nature to sit still and the busyness of work was what I was missing. I think I'm also ready to go back to work because I'm not dropping Sophia off at daycare at 3 months, I am leaving her at home with Gary - the person I trust most in this world. He's going to be home with her for the next 10 weeks on his paternity leave (pretty amazing!) and I'm excited that he has the chance to bond with her in a very different way, plus facetime me ALL the time! While leaving her isn't easy, I just know that the moments we spend together will be that much sweeter. 

Thank you for reading - this was probably all over the place, but that's sort of what maternity leave  and the postpartum journey was like for me - some days I felt like I had it all together and other days I thought I was failing in every single part of my life. The truth is, I tried to do the best that I could and when I needed encouragement I always turned to Gary, my mom, sister, cousin and my best friends who told me that the moment of self doubt would pass and it always did! I am absolutely privileged to have spent the time with Sophia and I'm grateful for everything she has taught me these last 12 weeks! That unconditional love I feel from her is the best feeling ever. She has given me the greatest gift of my life - that is to be her mom and for that I will forever be thankful!

All photos by: Lovya Photography
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A Day in the Life | Maternity Leave

Hello there friends! I've gotten a couple of requests to share what a typical day was like for me while I have been on maternity leave and I decided to document it! I thought I would start the day pretty much when it really starts - with the first feeding in the middle of the night! 
Sophia went down after her dream feed around 10:30 PM the night before, so her first middle of the night feed was at 2:30ish. This is my view when I feed her. She's still in our room, but I take her into the nursery to change her and feed. 
We'll count this next feed as the first in the morning. We went back to sleep for a little while longer and were ready to get our day started!
 Notice how everything is pretty much a mess these days! I try to clean up, but things keep piling up!
I try to have her first nap of the day be at home - we'll start in the DockATot, then she'll wake up and I rock her back and put her in the swing. This little song and dance get's us to her next feeding!
Then it's time for our first of many walks outside. She's been much more alert at the start of our walks and it's fun to see her looking around and taking in all the sights and sounds. 
This was actually a bit out of the norm for us because we had some pictures in the park taken. I had a photographer reach out to me via Instagram and I thought it would be fun to get some photos of Sophia and I at this stage! I'l be sharing the rest of them in an upcoming blog post!
After walking around for about an hour we head back home and I eat lunch while she discovers her hand! It's actually really cute because she'll put her hand in her mouth and then make this face like she doesn't like how it tastes!
My friend was working from home so she met up with us for our afternoon stroll. It's seriously the best when I can meet up with a friend during the day and makes the day go by even faster!
Usually Gary gets home from work around 6:00 PM and we try to eat dinner while Sophia either takes her last nap or is in the swing chatting away with us! We try to give her a bath around 7:00 every night so that we have some sort of routine and she just loves her baths!

Finally around 9:00 after a shower & dinner I sit down on the couch, but unfortunately it's short lived since Sophia is up and ready for her last feed of the day. I call it a night and jump into bed and get ready for what I hope is her long stretch of sleep!

I wish I could say that I get a ton done during the day, but she doesn't take very long naps when we're at home - usually no more than 30 minutes. In that time I try to change out the laundry, get some blog work done or do something in the kitchen. The flip side to this is that I really don't have much that needs to be done which is why I try to be outside as much as possible! 

The days fly by much faster than I ever anticipated, but they are all just different enough to keep things really interesting - you know, will she have a meltdown, will she have a good napping day, will the weather cooperate and allow us to go outside more than once! Regardless, I wouldn't trade any of these days for anything! 
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