Sometimes I like to experiment with photography. One of my favorite subjects to take pictures of are flowers because of their vibrant colors and the happy mood they put me in. Here’s one I took this past weekend.
Another one of those things you need to buy but with countless options on the market is a diaper bag. Well, some would argue that you don’t really need a diaper bag, that any larger size bag would do. But of course, being a FTM (first time mom), you want to get the “essentials,” be prepared and will most likely (like me) get sucked into the marketing and gimmicks that persuade you, you do need a diaper bag with many pockets, cute prints and places to keep bottles warm for up to x hours.
The Gucci of diaper bags (or other name-brand favorite that costs a lot) is Petunia Pickle Bottom. It’s fancy. It’s expensive. It has very cute prints. The one thing I don’t like about these bags is that the bag itself is very heavy. With all the things you want to add in for baby, you don’t want an empty bag to take up too much weight.
This PPB Boxy Backpack had a print we loved, and the color scheme we wanted for Luca, and it can be worn on the shoulder, cross body, or as a backpack. Very versatile. But the bag was stiff and heavy, and some reviewers said that because it’s not that breathable, you can get mold inside if there’s a spill or moisture build up.
Since I was so caught up with the PPB I didn’t really look at other diaper bags (until yesterday really, which I’ll get to). This is definitely still a contender – it’s soft and has some pockets inside, is very light, but doesn’t have as many wearing options.
Another one I was considering from Bumble was the Chloe Convertible. I liked this because it has a backpack option as well, but seems a bit awkward as a backpack.
While it doesn’t have a backpack option, I do like that you can wear it on your shoulder or cross body – and most importantly, these straps can be buttoned together so one strap isn’t always falling off your shoulder. I also really like the print – could be boy or girl friendly. Also, the number of pockets inside and out is amazing!
There’s also 2 zippered pockets on the outside, and 2 pockets for bottles on either side of the bag. Oh and it was also super light weight, and came with non-slip stroller grips which looked convenient and easy to use.
So far, this JJ Cole is the winner for me. So many to choose from – I’m open to any opinions or suggestions if you guys have any!
You know, when you’re preggos and getting ready for D-day, there are a ton of things you need to buy, and even MORE things to choose from for those very things. The market is so saturated with all different kinds of options with varying reviews, it’s really hard to pick the “right” thing. Not to mention trying to predict what you will need in the future or what you may need or could need or should need… sigh.
For me, one of those things is picking a stroller. We went to Buy Buy Baby today (basically a Bed Bath & Beyond, but instead of sky high aisles of random household things, it was sky high aisles of everything baby), and was able to look at and play with these strollers in person. It was pretty awesome because until now, I’ve only ever seen pictures online, read reviews and watched videos on YouTube on them.
Here is what I’m looking for in a stroller:
- Easy fold so that it’s easy to transport in/out of car and also for traveling
- Large basket underneath
- Reversible seat so baby can face me or face away
- Can grow with the family (add-on seat for kid #2)
- Maneuvers and handles well – including in narrow aisles, different terrains, around corners, etc)
- Aesthetically pleasing – look sleek, not bulky, and also have a color I won’t get sick of for a few years, considering we want to use this for future kids
- Can put a car seat into stroller frame
There are obvious factors like safety, comfort, etc but all of the ones on the market meet the safety standards, so I’m not counting that in my search per se.
Note: I’m not going to do in depth reviews of each of these or anything because my reader audience probably would rather not read that much baby detail, but I will include some links that I’ve found helpful at the bottom of this post.
The 3 that we’re considering:
The Vista basically meets all of my criteria except there isn’t a color I absolutely LOVE and while it’s expandable for up to 3 kids (the main seat, an additional smaller seat, and an attachable board for a standing child), the configuration isn’t ideal.
Here’s a picture of all 3 kid-expansions. See how the second kid doesn’t have a lot of room (nor the best view!) and the board that the third kid is standing on actually makes pushing the stroller a bit inconvenient because it juts out and you may kick it if you have even slightly larger strides. Not complete show stoppers, but not as awesome as I would have hoped.
Here’s a good review on the 2012 Vista in case anyone is interested:
The City Select does an amazing job if you have multiples. I mean, just look at all of these configurations!
Unfortunately, after trying this one out at Buy Buy Baby today, it didn’t feel as sleek as the Vista. The handle bar wasn’t as comfortable to grasp, and it looked clunkier and longer than the Vista. L did say that it had good corner control though. It also folded up more easily than the Vista, although unlike the Vista, it can’t stand up on its own when folded, which seems to be something that might get annoying later on.
Here’s a pretty good review of the City Select:
The Cruz is basically a smaller, lighter, mini version of the Vista. It does not become a double, BUT it has my favorite color choice – this awesome yellow canopy with grey seat (if everything was yellow, it’d get dirty too fast, so this is the perfect pop of color!). It folds really easily and is very light, but has a lot less accessories to add-on to (like a snack bar, which according to other parents is very important). It’s about $250 cheaper than the Vista, but you can’t really expand it for the future, so you’d probably have to consider getting another double stroller in a couple years. Overall, we liked this one, but felt that the Vista might be a better overall package.
Here’s a great comparison video of the Cruz and Vista. I swear I’m not associated with BabyGizmo at all, but they make really good review vids!
Aaaannyway. I think at this point we’re leaning towards the Vista, and we might go with the slate blue color because it’s not as dark as the vortex-like black one, but not too light that it will get dirty like the cream one:
Whew. We’ll see if my mind changes (again) within the next few weeks!
Here are a couple links that I found useful while doing my research of strollers, other than the YouTube videos I linked to above.
- From the Baby Center forums, comparing the Vista and the City Select
- The Uppababy Vista 2011 vs. 2012
- One mom’s review of the Uppababy Cruz from the Baby Center forums
Go to Bloomingdales. Enter code: FRIENDS at checkout!
There’s a Friends and Family sale going on at Bloomingdales, which I just learned of today. Started browsing and found some ADORABLE baby things! Here are just a few that caught my eye.
To round off our series of easy to make recipes – savory and sweet editions, here are some fun and healthy drinks perfect for parties or just snuggling up on the sofa. Feel free to add some alcohol to some of these to add a kick!
Since it’s almost St. Patty’s day, I thought it’d be fun to include a festive drink, perfect for the occasion. The green color is fitting and the shake-like texture make it oh-so-delicious. This one happens to have liquor in it, but I think that just makes it taste better . For parties, adding a fun striped straw to each drink makes everything all the more festive!
Staying in the green family, but sans liquor, this Matcha Milk recipe is perfect for a cozy night in by the fireplace, or a healthy substitute for your morning coffee. Matcha is a green tea powder from Japan and has a richness in taste that is very different from the green tea bags you might otherwise find in stores. You can use your favorite type of milk (soy, almond, cow, rice) to create a lovely and healthy drink.
Sounds weird, but it can serve as a great and fulfilling breakfast! Made with bananas, yogurt, cooked oatmeal and almonds, I bet a smoothie like this will keep you feeling both energized and full well into lunch time. Plus it’s perfect if you have bananas that are ripening faster than you can eat!
I pretty much love all things pumpkin, and come October/November each year, all I really want to eat is pumpkin pie. Or pumpkin breads. Or pumpkin muffins. Healthy right? Right. Not. This pumpkin oatmeal shake uses some quick oats and pumpkin puree to create a healthy drink that can also serve as breakfast or an afternoon snack. I can’t wait to try this one out!
What’s your favorite healthy drink recipe?
Now that we have some easy to make savory recipes down, I thought I’d dive into some easy to make sweet treats!
All images courtesy of the awesome bloggers I’ve linked each recipe to.
The number of calories in this delicious looking muffin is really the icing on the cake (no pun intended!) for this one. Using ingredients like Greek yogurt and applesauce, you can still make a deliciously tasty dessert for minimal calories. Recipes like this are my absolute favorite! That chocolatey goodness is really calling out to me…
Not everyone likes coconut macaroons, but if you do, this recipe is sure to be a hit. Using egg whites and agave nectar as sweetener, it’s not your typical buttery, fatty macaroon. Making these for a party or get together and popping them into your mouth guilt free has got to be a great feeling. Plus the recipe makes 48 macaroons, so you’ll be set!
This is probably my favorite one of the batch. Perfect for an afternoon, summertime treat (or an after-dinner dessert), these strawberries that are dipped in yogurt (vanilla or Greek), then frozen is so easy and so healthy! Yogurt is a power food for pregnant women, and fruit is always a necessity, so you’re really packing the 1-2 punch here. In fact, I just bought a package of strawberries and their just screaming to be dipped in Greek yogurt and frozen!
Now, just because I put breakfast in the title, doesn’t mean you can only eat them during breakfast time! These cookies are made with rolled oats and almond meal, which makes them sugar-less, butter-less and egg-less. Sounds pretty healthy, right? They look really good too…
This gluten-free recipe again uses almond meal instead of flour to create a delicious blueberry muffin. Again, using almond meal, applesauce and sweeteners like raw honey and fresh blueberries are great ways to make your dessert sweet without the unhealthy processed sugars.
Have you tried making any of these? Which one is your favorite?
If you know me, I love to eat, but I’m not a great cook in the kitchen. I usually stick to what I know, and if the ingredients sound complex and if the recipe is elaborate, I will usually shy away from it. These recipes here though, look easy, and best of all, they are healthy too! Easy and healthy recipes are really the perfect blend for me.
All images courtesy of the awesome bloggers I’ve linked each recipe to.
I feel like 2011 was the year of the quinoa. It really picked up in popularity and I even bought bulk packages of quinoa from Amazon (and I still haven’t used them all up). It’s nutritious, grain-like texture is full of nutrients, and its nutty taste make it a good substitue for rice, noodles or even oatmeal. This quinoa mac and cheese recipe takes a fun and nutritious spin on a cult classic – and it looks divine!
We all know that guacamole makes just about everything taste better, and the main ingredient in guac is none other than the nutrient-rich avocado! Making avocado fries seems genius to me: Regular potato fries – unhealthy, oily, greasy. Avocado fries – healthy with the crunch that you crave! What an awesome blend. You can pair it with this spicy garlic dip, or I suspect other dips and dressings would also work great as well.
The vegetarian (or chicken) lettuce wraps from PF Changs is by far my favorite dish to order there. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the restaurant per se, but I’ll go for their lettuce wraps any day. A refreshing, but filling dish where you can get both your protein and your veggies in one bite is a winner in my book!
Over the past few months, I’ve been using soba noodles as my main pasta substitute because it’s made from buckwheat and generally healthier than regular pasta. Being a carb-ivore, I can never give up my noodles, rice and bread, but making healthier substitutions like this one without giving up taste is exactly down my alley. This recipe just looks too delicious and would be paired perfectly with some pan-fried tofu cubes or some bright greens.
All right, so it’s not exactly chicken nuggets, but the fact that these cauliflower are roasted and dipped in BBQ sauce makes it kinda close. I absolutely love eating cauliflower – I’m not quite sure why, but I love it way more than broccoli. This recipe is so easy and so healthy that maybe you can even get the kids to eat it – especially when you pair it with the BBQ dip.
What’s your favorite go-to recipe?
I pretty much spent all evening on Pinterest… and I loved it! I found a new love for Zara Baby clothes. I haven’t even been to the Zara Baby site – and quite frankly, I’m afraid to. Given all the pins I saw on Pinterest from this line, I absolutely adore everything! I’m afraid I will buy it all and go broke.
I mean, just take a look at my ‘baby boy’ board:
Ok wait. And now look at my ‘baby girl’ board:
Ahhh, I die. I want them all!
I’ll admit that when we found out we were having a little boy, I was a tiny bit nervous. I grew up an only child and only close with my female cousins – I didn’t really know what to do with boys or had experience with what they were like! I just remember my elementary school friend’s brother liking worms and spiders, and well, bugs are something like my worst nightmare.
I came across this article and found it to be a good starting point in how to raise boys and nurture them for who they are and how they are wired. And now, with a little less than 3 months to go, I absolutely can’t wait to meet our little guy.
What have you learned the most from raising your kids?
Does anyone else remember reading the Berenstain Bears when they were little? They were by far my favorite books to read, and I remember I’d read them with my mom all the time. The family values and lessons each book sought to provide actually resonated with me, and I enjoyed learning about the Bears’ everyday lives. Sadly, Jan Berenstain, the author of these wonderful children books passed away today.
While I read these books when I was younger, I naturally stopped reading them as I got older and started reading other “cool” teenage novels and magazines. I remember I noticed they even had a Berenstain Bears cartoon showing on TV one day when I was surfing the channels. It was so odd to me since the voices of the characters in the cartoon wasn’t the same as I had imagined it in my head years ago. I never watched any of their cartoons, but learned today that the authors of these books moved with the times and talked about online safety and privacy in their later stories to help kids understand what was going on around them. It’s pretty great that the lessons they taught in their original books, as well as their newer books can still apply to kids now.
I fully anticipate reading these stories to our bun in the oven – it actually makes me want to buy more of them to see how the lessons have evolved and became more relevant with our time. Thanks to the Berenstain family for providing us with generations of great stories and teaching us great family values!