Sunday, July 9, 2017

Living Proof Hair Care

Being a mom, I know it can be hard to take time for yourself. But it is something pretty important to do to feel "normal" 
For me I make sure I get up before Ellie does to get myself ready for the day. And I usually have a few minutes to myself (which this is usually on the weekends since I work during the week) but even if I stayed at home I would still do the same thing.
I get a lot of questions regarding my hair and what I use in it. So here I'll answer the top ones. 

Is your hair color natural? YES. YES. YES. Seriously people ask me this...there is no added color to my hair. It actually can get quite annoying that people think it's dyed... 

Is your hair naturally straight or curly? It is naturally straight/wavy. 

Is it thick or thin? It's pretty thin, and the texture is fine. So I'm limited in what I can do with my hair. 

How long does it take to curl? About 10 minutes.

Those are the main ones I can think of. If you have any others feel free to message me! I'll add them in.

I'm always on the search for new products and products to help my routine of getting ready faster. 
Lately I've been loving the Living Proof hair care line. I wish I found this sooner because my hair hasn't felt this healthy in between trims. 

I go between loving the Timeless and Frizz collection.

One product in particular I'm obsessed with is the In Shower Styler. This is a brand new product from Living Proof. I was so scetipcal that this would do anything. Like how could something work in the shower and you just let your hair air dry? Please...if I let my hair air dry I'll look like a poof ball. 
With a bunch of skepticism I tried it anyway. 

OH MY GOODNESS. My hair dried, and there was no frizz it was soft and had a slight wave to it that actually gave my hair body which is something else my hair lacks. How amazing! And even more amazing that all I have to do after my shower is brush my hair and that's it. 
I'm completely sold.

 I did receive this as a free product to review and this post is sponsored by Living Proof. I do buy Living Proof products but the In Shower Styler and Perfect Hair Day Shampoo and Conditioner I received free to review. But I completely love these products and will continue to buy! 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Making Mealtime Fun

How many of you have a toddler or child who is a picky eater?
Is mealtime stressful because of quickly trying to get food on a plate and worrying the whole time if they'll eat what you just spent an hour making? Or as soon as you sit down, take a bite, your child decides they don't like the food and spit it out and throw everything on the floor?

My once amazing eater has turned into a picky toddler. Don't get me wrong, she loves food but she decides what she likes and when. One day she loves chicken, the next day she hates it.

I think I have found a solution to overcoming those picky days, And making mealtime more fun and less stress.

My solution: Dylbug
Dylbug is a company created by a stay at home mom who wanted to help her children, and others, eat healthy in a playful way.
Seriously...I cannot handle the cuteness of Dylbug mealtime plates, bowls, cutters and placemats. Mealtime has been SO fun lately. I don't know who has more fun, Ellie eating the creations or me putting the creations together!

Here's a glimpse of our most recent meals.

Breakfast: Pancake Princess- Gluten free pancake dress, egg crown, and strawberries.

Lunch: Garden Kitty- Gluten free chicken nuggets, cheese, Harvest snaps sticks, peas, fruit

Dinner: Floral Bunny- Chicken, veggies flowers, fruit bow

If you follow my blog, you would have read that Ellie HATES spaghetti. I've never met a child who didn't like it. But mine does. Well did. I tried ONE more time using her "Ellexia" plate and making a tutu out of the noodles and just letting her dip the noodles into the sauce. At first she was hesitant. But then she tried it and ended up eating all of that and asking for more! I didn't put to much on her plate to start (so no, I'm not depriving my child) but I wanted to just see if she would eat it.

You want to know the best part since we switched all of Ellie's plates and bowls over to Dylbug? She eats EVERYTHING and she has such a fun time eating too. Mealtime has been less stressful for me (unless she starts yelling at me because I'm taking too long making her plate) but I will let her pick out her plate of choice and that usually helps the process.

Dylbug has so many plate and bowl options that you will find a few that your little one will love. One of our favorites is the girl and you can customize the person to resemble your little one! And add their name on the plate as well.

The placemats have come in handy so many times. I never thought about using one until I bought Dylbug’s placemat and it has saved so much from going onto the floor or table. My little girl likes to pull the placemat as close to her as possible so she can see it.
The back of each placemat has the alphabet and even though Ellie isn’t two yet, we go over the alphabet and we point to each letter. So from catching food, to helping your little one with learning their letters, a placemat is a must!

There is also food cutters, to help make a dress or shirt and pant set for your little plate character!

Head over to Dylbug now and get your little one a new mealtime set!
Use code: friendsandfamily15 for a discount off your order

I can promise you, mealtime will be so much more fun for the whole family! I can't wait until Ellie is old enough to make her own creations!

Friday, June 16, 2017

18-20 Month Update


18-20 months


In just 4 months I'm going to have a TWO year old. 

But each month brings something new. I am really enjoying her age right now. She is so fun, and funny. And her imagination seems to be developing even more because she is starting to play by herself and make her animals & people "talk" and walk.

But this age seems to be challenging as well. It seems like she is just trying to figure out how life works and she pushes her boundaries. Often. Although she has her share of meltdowns and whines, she does understand that no means no. And that’s the end of the story. Of course this will make her upset and cry but after she gets over it she won’t come back to it or if she does she will “no no” haha ohh..toddlers…

Weight: 27 lbs

Height: For some reason her doctor didn’t measure her height the last time we were there. 

Hair Color: Blonde, very blonde. And it is growing! I am able to do the tiniest little ponytail now!

Diaper Size: Size 5. Even though they are big, I rather her wear bigger diapers.

Clothes Size: 18-24 months. 24 months is a little big on her. But for the summer months I am buying 24 months in case she has a growth spurt!

Eats: Picky, picky, picky. I have learned that if I just put her plate in front of her and basically ignore her. She will eat everything. But the second I try and help, she's done and wants nothing to do with food....
Current favorites: Pancakes, fruit, peas, chicken, quinoa, green beans(I call them green French every time), hummus, yogurt, cheese and crackers. She still eats almost everything. But has her days where she won't eat much.
Least favorite foods: Spaghetti...what child doesn't like spaghetti?! Mine. I've tried multiple times and she just plays with it and spits it out. She actually doesn't care for noodles in general. Rice is also another thing she doesn't like. And she won't eat meat unless it has ketchup or bbq sauce on it.

Stay tuned for an extra special post on how we like to make meal time more fun!

Personality: I hope one day this girl is an actress because she is so dramatic and can go from one mood to the next in a second. But most of the time she is a big sweetheart, and is pretty silly as well. She's constantly doing things to make us laugh. Like the other day she kept “falling” off of her little ride on car because we kept saying “oh no! Ellie you poor girl!” She loves to do things that really get our attention and she makes sure we are watching her. She is also momma’s little helper and shadow. She wants to see everything I’m doing and help in her own way. When I’m folding clothes, I’ll look over and see that she is trying to fold too. (oh my heart!) Or if I say I need to clean and vacuum, she runs over pulls all of her toys out because that’s what I do and grabs her vacuum.

Words: She is now to the point of trying to say small sentences and putting words together. It's pretty surprising when she will say "I want drink" or "Thank you Mama" We have please and Thank you down pretty well. She is so polite and always asks please and says thank you when needed. She will even make sure she tells ME to say Thank you to her...
The more words she learns, the more demanding she has gotten. It's nice knowing that she can now tell me what she wants. But at the same time she will get frustrated if she can't have what she is asking for. I guess she just doesn't quite understand that she doesn't get everything she says. 
Her most favorite is “why”
She will want us to explain EVERYTHING to her. Sometimes I get a little annoyed, but I know she is just a curious little thing and wants to learn.
But seriously….why “why” already?!

Favorite Activities& Toys: Anything that involves being outside. This girl will grab her sunglasses, hat, and tell me to put on her shoes because she has had enough of being inside. So outside she loves to push her baby in the stroller, play with chalk, bubbles, run freely, play at the park, and I could go on and on. 

Since it is finally warm we let her play in a baby pool at my parents’ house and she loved it. We certainly have a water baby! I think she played in it for an hour. Completely content.
Inside she still loves her kitchen and will cook for me. And make me coffee....this girl knows the way to her mama's heart. She takes care of all of her babies and kitty cats by feeding them. She really loves any toy that captures her interest in that moment. She is also obsessed with her Little People Barn. She loves all of the animals and will sing E-I-E-I-O pretty much all day.

In just a few short months we will be celebrating her second birthday. I’m already in the process of planning and I CANT WAIT! Since I’m doing it a theme of one of her favorite things, I know she’s going to love it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hope Anchors The Soul

Did you know May is Postpartum Depression & Anxiety month?

It's taking me a lot to publish this post. This is something I have had written up and saved until I felt like it was the right time. But with May being Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Awareness month, I felt like it was a good time. I feel like no one really talks about it because when you are a new mom you are flooded with so many emotions. Which is completely normal. What isn't normal is that you can't seem to pull yourself out of those emotions or are having really bad thoughts.
Fortunately I didn't deal with severe Postpartum depression, but the postpartum anxiety part is what got to me. And unfortunately it STILL gets to me. Most people will say it's not classified "Postpartum" after your baby turns a year. But I have to disagree. As your baby grows and enters new stages, you will always have so many emotions and it might bring out fears. Which can turn into anxiety and sometimes depression. For me, I keep all of my emotions bottled up so no one can tell how I'm feeling. Not that I want to hide them, I am just the type of person who rather not talk about things. Which is a no-no. If you are a new mom, please don't avoid talking about your feelings. You just went through SO much and it's okay to feel down. And it's okay to seek out help. Most moms are put up on a pedestal and we are supposed to be so strong and the glue that holds everything together.....ummm that's way to much for one person to take on. Especially a first time mom. No wonder so many moms deal with some kind of depression or anxiety because we are wired to think we have to live up to certain standards. 

I can remember the first few weeks I could not hold in tears. I would just look at my daughter and start crying. No reason, just happened. Being a new mom you really are just thrown in motherhood and there isn't an exact guideline as to what will happen and how you will feel. 
Of course this is such an exciting time and you shouldn't be worried about developing depression or anxiety (because that will ruin your excitement) I honestly didn't even think about any of that happening, especially I didn't think it would happen to me. When I was pregnant I barely dealt with crazy hormones and I was pretty calm. But then I went through labor, delivery, and recovery. Which at the time I didn't think anything of it, even though it was really hard on me physically and mentally. But through that I developed postpartum anxiety. I was constantly anxious and fearful. I always felt tense in every situation. It effected a lot, and I was always in a constant state of worry.  I have so many supportive and caring people, but it took a long time to talk about how I felt, or ask for help. Because I felt like I should be able to handle it on my own. 
I can't quite explain how or when I started to come out of it, but the more open I was with my husband and close friends, the better I started to feel. 
For every new mom out there. I want you to know that there is always hope. Seek it out. Ask for help. Don't bottle your emotions. And you aren't in this alone. You may feel alone, but I can promise you, you are not. Don't feel embarrassed or ashamed because you feel like you can't handle being a mom. Because you can handle it. You just have to believe in yourself. 

Mom life is tough, but I have found who I want to be, being her mom. She is my hope that anchors my soul. 

Matching shirts: Little Blessing Co 

Ellie's ruffle bow: Glow623

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Why I'm A Terrible Friend

Because I have child...
I'm a first time mom...

Those are valid excuses right? 

If you agree then you are probably a mom/dad/understanding person. If you disagree than you might not be one of those. Before I became a mom, I'll be honest I probably wouldn't have understood. 
 Before you become a parent your mind is pretty free. Not saying people who don't have children have nothing to think about but when you become a parent your mind is filled with so many things, all at once. Which is something I did not expect at all. All of your thoughts are meeting your child's needs. Before anything and anyone else. 

So to all of my friends/family, I apologize. I know I can be a crappy friend/daughter/sister/aunt...etc. But my child and husband come first, even before me. So my thoughts aren't always about others. Which I know sounds completely terrible. But I'm still learning how to juggle mom life. 

Should I even make an excuse for being a crappy friend? No. I really don't need to explain why or how I've changed since I've become a mom. But I wanted to because I know there are some soon to be moms/new moms out there that will go through this. And I'm here to tell you, it's okay to feel like you are a crappy friend.  Your friends and family WILL understand and even if they don't, they will do their best to. And I wish someone told me how this part of my life would change. 

For example, if I haven't reached out to you in months, it's not that I don't think about you. Because I can promise you I do think about all of my close friends but the moment I go to send a text, my daughter needs me and I completely forget who I was about to reach out to. Sounds silly but I really don't like being on my phone (except to take cute pictures and videos of her) when I'm with her just because I always want her to have my full attention. And she usually will yell and act up if she sees me on my phone. So if I haven't gotten back to you, she's why. 

Sometimes I make plans with friends. But sometimes I have to cancel. If I ever cancel plans, it's not because I want to or just don't feel like it, it's because she's having an off day and it's more important to meet her needs than to stress her out by taking her somewhere. 

And sometimes, I just want to spend time with just her. Selfish? Maybe. But these days fly by and she is growing right before my eyes so I just always want to be with her. 

They say having a baby changes everything, but don't let it change you.
Well yes, having a baby changes everything.
And becoming a mom DOES change who you are. And there isn't anything wrong with that. Don't let people stress you out by saying "Oh well you've changed since you had your daughter/son" and just tell them, yes I have changed. Because I am a mom now.
Don't worry, these changes are all positive, hard at times. But worth everything.  
It's something that has taking me a lot of time to come to terms with. 
I have a lot of good friends in my life that are always there for me and I can't say enough how much I appreciate them.


"Find your tribe, love them hard"

Friday, May 5, 2017

What To Expect When You Have A Toddler

Through researching every single thing when I was pregnant, to checking each week my daughter's growth and milestones...toddlerhood has it's own category and I really don't think there can even be enough information on toddlers since they are growing into their own little person, it's hard to quite figure out how to adjust life with a toddler. Here are some things to expect when your baby reaches toddlerhood. 

1. Your food, your husband's food, grandparent's food, stranger's at a restaurant food, and etc... will now mean free game to your curious little one. Once they get the taste of the good stuff. There's no stopping them. (unless for some reason you have a picky eater, which is ok!) They will want to try EVERYTHING. and you also can't hide their foods they love. Seriously they will find it and just know it's in the pantry, in the snack basket, behind all the boxes. Oh and good luck trying to eat anything different because your little one will want what you have and will refuse what is on their plate. 

2. They will test your limits as far as they can, and just when they have you to a breaking point, they test you one step further. This is because they are learning all about their boundaries. They are figuring out what they can and cannot do. Which can be pretty frustrating for them (and you) but this is why at such an early age it's best to be consistent with rules. Because the moment you give in, it is going to be 10x harder to reinforce that rule. Setting rules and boundaries are really hard at first because it will be upsetting knowing you are the reason your little one is angry. But give it time and soon they will learn that some things are off limits. Before my daughter was one, we started explaining to her "why" things are no-no, to be gentle (because I hate when I see children hit so this was a very important one), and don't touch just look.

3. Emotions. You thought you had some crazy emotions while you were pregnant? Well when you step into toddlerhood with your baby. Be prepared to go through every emotion, within seconds. This kind of goes hand in hand with the boundaries because they are learning how to control their emotions when they aren't allowed to do something. I have found that when my daughter gets angry and frustrated I get down to her level and let her explain to me what is wrong. Usually this helps her calm down enough and I think she realizes it's not worth getting angry over. But I also want her to know that it is okay to show emotions. I show my emotions all the time. Why shouldn't she?! She just needs guidance on what is acceptable and what isn't.

Toddlers are very unpredictable little people, but you shouldn't fear a toddler. With good parenting and a lot of love you will be amazed how much your little one with grow. If you ask me I will always say I miss my daughter being a newborn, but I am really loving her age right now because she learns something new every single day. And her personality just keeps shining through. Here are few surprising things to expect when raising a toddler.

1. Each day is a new adventure. Think about are still so unfamiliar with life and how everything works. So the moment you wake up you are in learning mode and ready to see what the day brings. Your toddler will look at life with such wonder and amazement. Take advantage of that to show them everything that you are doing. And incorporate some of their favorite things, as well as new things each day. Toddlers are like sponges and they take every thing in.

2. You will have a little shadow. Everything you do, they want to do and/or help with. I always ask my daughter if she wants to help momma, and she always responds with yes. From putting away laundry, cleaning her toys, vacuuming, and etc. She is always right there helping me. But remember when your little helper helps, they will most likely do things in their own way and the best they can. Don't scold them because they put away laundry in the wrong drawer (or unfolded everything you just folded), or tell them they did something wrong. Because most likely they won't want to help anymore because they don't feel valued. My dresser drawers are full of unfolded clothes and a few random items because my little helper was so proud she helped momma. And that means more to me than wrinkled clothes.

Be prepared for so much love. Once your toddler understands what it means to hug and give kisses. You are will have sneak attacks when they just run up to you and want to hug and kiss you. My daughter always does this at such random times but I cherish every single time. No matter if I'm busy doing something I make sure I stop, and let her show her love. It is heart melting every single time. It is also another way to let them know it's okay to show how they are feeling at any moment.

4. Be prepared for so many laughs. Toddlers are little comedians. Seriously where do they come up with their ideas?? Every day I find myself laughing so hard at some of things she does or says. And what is even more funny is that she will laugh at herself. The classic giggle loop and it is quite possibly one of my favorite things. Seeing her happy makes me so happy.

These are just a few things to expect when you have a toddler. There is SO much more and I could probably list about 10 more things. But I think I covered the main ones. Do you have any tips or even a story about your toddler? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Dream Come True

I have probably said this a million times, but I have always wanted a daughter. Of course I would always be happy with a boy but I just felt like in my heart I would have girls...might be because I grew up with all brothers and just can't stand the thought of being in a house full of boys...KIDDING! (kind of) but I can't quite explain how I feel except that having a daughter(s) just makes sense to me. 
Well I couldn't explain it, until now. 

The moment I found out I was pregnant I was so ecstatic and just wanted a healthy baby...deep down I really wanted a girl. But it was more than that, I just knew I was having a girl. 
Before we found out what we were having, anytime someone would say "I think it's a boy" I would just smile on the outside but on the inside I just wanted to say "you're wrong" but I couldn't because I didn't want to be wrong! All I could think of was girl names, and I was always drawn to the girl's clothes.

When the day finally came that we would find out for sure if we were having a boy or a girl, I was back to my I don't really care, I just want my baby healthy. As soon as my husband and I opened the envelope and I saw the word "Girl" I just squealed and cried. My dreams were finally coming true. I couldn't wait to meet MY daughter. 
The day we met our baby girl, face to face, was one of the best days of my life. And also I finally figured out why I wanted a girl so badly. 

You see it's so much more than all the pink, bows, and glitter. It's getting to relive my childhood all over again, through her. I get to show her how to play dress up, have tea parties, play momma and take care of her babies, teach her ballet, let her help me cook and bake, and go on adventures. All the things I did when I was little with my mom, I want to do with her. 
I may have a daughter, but I also have a best friend for life. And I want her to know that I'll always be there for her. 
Even when she thinks she is "too grown up" to need her mom. 

Love our matching dresses? Check out: Little White Arrow
  and use our special code for a discount: thenaturalways