Working mama hack #1: Subscribe to it

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As a working mama, I find myself pressed for time constantly. I’m always looking for new ways to make my life easier, more efficient, and to create more time for baby-cuddling and time with my spouse. Today, I’m sharing my favorite companies and services that help me do just that.

Groceries and home supplies:

I’ve talked endlessly about my love for Grove Collaborative, which I use regularly for my home cleaning products. They make it simple and easy to make sure my house is stocked with paper towels, laundry detergent, and dish soap. Another company I love that ensures that I am stocked in the toilet paper department, is Who Gives a Crap. They offer a subscription service for $20 a box for 24 rolls of recycled, thick (and soft!), toilet paper. The packaging is gorgeous, each roll being wrapped individually. They even wrap the last couple of rolls in red paper, labeled emergency roll to remind you to order a new box if you don’t use the subscription. Now, what I really love about this service; somehow, the paper seems to last like 10 times longer than regular toilet paper. I haven’t ordered or bought toilet paper in about a month and a half. AND WE STILL HAVE LIKE 10 rolls in our cabinet right now. It’s like magic.

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Next up for household goods, groceries. I hate grocery shopping. And with a 4 month old, going to an actual store for a cart full of stuff, while having to faff around with a stroller or car seat, is not my idea of a good morning (although E and I do love our Target strolls). I’d rather spend my time cuddling him, or reading, or cooking. Enter, Instacart. Instacart is a grocery delivery service that sends a shopper to the store for you, and then delivers the haul to your house for a small fee. You can schedule your delivery time, and oftentimes, they run specials on discounted delivery fees. In our area, Instacart delivers from ALDI and Sprouts, which is great because Sprouts is our favorite store. The Instacart site is so easy to use, and they have an app as well that lets you keep lists and a record of your favorite or frequently ordered items. Wal-Mart has also started their own delivery service for groceries, too!

Now, as I mentioned above, I still love going to Target, but sometimes, I don’t have tons of time to actually go in the store. Introducing, Target Drive-Up. Like Walmart’s Grocery Pick Up, bit for Target. I ordered E’s diapers and wipes (or even a quick stop for socks, candles, or some groceries)  from Target and it’s usually ready to pick up in an hour or so. Why I love it: I still get my 5% off for using my REDcard and Target regularly offers gift cards, coupons, and discounts for using Drive-Up. Just recently I earned $30 in gift cards by using the service. If you use the app, you can see the Cartwheel offers and what’s on sale. I regularly use the app for all my Target shopping, and select Drive-Up for my order. So quick, so easy, and convenient.

Health and Beauty Services:

There are SO many subscription services for things like razors, skincare, etc. I use multiple services for my health and wellness needs.  I order my vitamins from Care/Of (I get the $20/month pre-natal, one month supply), my contacts from Hubble (about $33 per order), and razors from Billie ($9/month). All of these services let you customize your shipping schedule (for instance, I don’t order contacts every month- I usually do every couple of months), and are so simple to set up. I also really like Dollar Shave Club for razors.

I’ve been asked if I really like the Hubble contacts, and I really do! The contacts are light, hydrating, and comfortable to wear. I’ve been wearing contacts since middle school, and have switched between multiple different kinds and brands and I’ve not had any issues with these. Plus they are way cheaper than daily contacts through my eye doctor.

For my feminine products, I love conscious period. Now, they are on a little bit of a hiatus, but I cannot wait for their shop to reopen!

I also regularly use Prime Pantry, Amazon Prime, and Postmates for household goods, gifts and dinner on nights when cooking is just off the table. These services all help to make sure my time, which is already so limited, to be able to be used towards making memories with my family.

I’m interested to know about any subscription services or delivery services you use for your home. Let me know in the comments!

xx Steffanie

 

 

 

 

 

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it’s just a season.

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Can I be honest with you?

Being a mom is so hard. It’s amazing, and beautiful and so sweet. But it’s not easy. And I wasn’t expecting it to be easy, by any means. But I don’t know if I was prepared for the weight of it.

Most days, I feel like I’m running 90 miles an hour, rushing from one thing to the next, with little time to even breathe. I’m constantly counting bottles, switching over the laundry, ticking through a mile long to do list, checking my calendar. My mind is always on, always processing, always anticipating what’s next.

And it’s exhausting.

I fall into bed most nights feeling like I’ve done nothing and everything, simultaneously. I fall into bed feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. I fall into bed feeling like maybe I’m not cut out for this, like maybe God got it wrong when He picked me for all of these beautiful, hard things.

And then I remember, this is just a season.

I don’t know who told me this or where I read it, but when Emmett was just days old, I repeated this to myself so often. This is just a season. He will only be this little for such a short time. He won’t always cry because he needs you. He won’t always want to cuddle you this much. You will only be home with him for such a short time. You will never get these memories back if you waste them. You won’t get this time with your spouse back: when it’s almost midnight, the candle is almost burnt out, and you’re both exhausted but you haven’t spent more than five minutes just being with each other.

It’s just a season. It’s hard and stressful, and takes so much work, but it’s just a season.

I think this can be true for everyone and every stage of life. New baby, new marriage, new job; season of loss, grief, joy, passion, these all come in waves. Some seasons are so sweet and fulfilling and inspiring, you feel like you are living your best life constantly; and some seasons can make you feel like you may never be joyful again. It’s just a season. Both are fleeting, and while they may not feel like it, they can be over in an instant.

You have the option to thrive, in every season. Listen to me when I say that: you can do this season well, if you want. You can survive this and you will. Coming from a mama who is so, so tired, I don’t always choose to thrive where I am; some days I choose to switch off and just survive. I feel bad for myself, I perform rather than rest, I distract myself. But on the days that I choose thriving over surviving, when I choose to be present where I am, no matter how hard or sweet the season is, I find myself a better wife, mom and friend.

Dig deep. When you’re in a hard season, cry, call a friend, pray, and give yourself (and others) lots of grace. When you’re in a season of sweetness, say thank you often, kiss your spouse, cuddle your baby, and breathe. In both seasons, get out of the house, read a book, pray intentionally, and gather around your people.

And remember, it’s just a season.

xx

Steffanie

fall loves series: pumpkin banana bread

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There isn’t much that can’t be solved by a couple hours of baking. That’s true for me, anyway. As a working mama, with a husband who works a non-traditional shift, it’s hard to find time to do the things I love during the week. I squeeze in time to read when I can, I write when I can, but most of my day is spent working and taking care of a sweet baby. So I live for the weekends. On the weekends, I blog. I bake. I nap. I read books and I watch Netflix.

With fall officially having begun last week, I decided banana bread had to happen. I was researching recipes when I came across Jessica Turner’s instastory (fellow working mama and creator of The Mom Creative) where she was talking about pumpkin banana bread. Knowing I had a can of pumpkin puree and semi-sweet chocolate chips in my pantry, along with a few ripe bananas on my counter, I gleefully planned to bake the morning away.

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Jessica’s recipe makes two loaves, but I only had enough chocolate chips for one loaf. So I grabbed a handful of walnuts and threw them in the other loaf. If we had to choose, we definitely preferred the chocolate chip bread (although the walnut one was delicious too) because let’s be honest: chocolate makes everything better.

This recipe yields a pumpkin bread that isn’t overly sweet, but still moist and quintessentially fall. I highly recommend making a cup of coffee in your favorite mug, and mixing up a couple of these loaves. Stick one in the freezer for later in the week when you need a pick me up, and devour the other one. You will not be disappointed.

For the recipe, click here.

Happy baking!

Steffanie xx

 

what’s in my bag: baby and me.

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Having a baby means I have a lot of stuff with me, all the time. Recently, I became overwhelmed by the amount of gear it seemed to require to leave the house with E. I felt like I was packing up the whole house every time we would leave, even if it was just to be gone for an hour.

So I pared it down. I dumped out E’s bag and my own, and repacked just the essentials: the things I knew I would need and he would need, to get through the day.

In my bag, which is my favorite bag,  (Madewell, you my fave!) you will find:

+ a journal: I literally have to write everything down now or I will 100% forget. Rifle Paper Co. has been my favorite stationery store for a few years, and this journal lays flat to make writing easier.

+ water bottle: S’well keeps coffee hot, and water cold. I love the matte black look of this one.

+ a hairbrush: this is technically E’s (one of this set from natemia) but I keep it on me in case my hair needs a quick brush through.

+ sunglasses: DIFF eyewear makes some high quality sunglasses. I love the lenses on this pair. I bought these last year on a sale for $45 and they still look just about brand new.

+ clutch wallet: I hate carrying a bunch of cards, and with bigger wallets, I sometimes feel the need to fill it with every loyalty card and business card I have in my possession. This wallet from ABLE is minimalist in its design, and functional for keeping cards and cash in.

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+ perfume: rollerballs are the best way to freshen up if you are in a hurry and forget perfume (which is me 90% of every day). I like this one from Good Chemistry because it’s made from essential oils, so I don’t have to worry about it bothering E. The scent is ‘wild child’ and it’s a citrus-y, slightly musky scent.

+ hand sanitizer and lip balm: Two things I cannot ever be without. Both are from Grove Collaborative and both I am obsessed with. The hand sanitizer is moisturizing and keeps my hands clean for when I’m out and about with a baby and the lip balm is like a way more moisturizing version of the Burt’s Bees lipbalm.

+ setting powder: glossier is one of my favorite makeup/skincare companies. I especially love this powder, which keeps me looking matte and oil free all day long.

+ deodorant: I’m going to be really transparent here. I don’t always remember to put on deodorant before I leave the house…. I know, I KNOW. But never fear, I always have some with me in my bag. I use the coconut and vanilla one from native and I love it. It’s the best natural deodorant I’ve tried so far (they now carry native at Target, btw!) and I can’t wait to try the other scents they have

+ book: I have a book with me, at all times. I simply can’t leave the house without one. I never know when I will have a free minute to read, and right now, every minute that I get to read uninterrupted, is precious. I’m currently reading We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

I also keep a tinted lip balm, one lipstick (usually NARS ‘Rita’ or MAC’s ‘Velvet Teddy’), mascara (currently using Soap & Glory’s Thick and Fast) my keys, gum or mints, a few bags of tea, and extra hair ties in my bag, as well as a supply of pens, and breast pads (#nursingmomlife).

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E’s Bag:

I’m still using my Jem + Bea bag, and I really adore it. It’s sleek, stylish, and when I’m not using it for him (i,e. When he is with his Mimi or daddy- he has another diaper bag for days when he’s with them), it acts as my work bag/breast pump bag during the week.

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+ a lovey: this raccoon one is from Jellycat, and it was given to him the day after he was born. I love it and he does too. He’s recently started trying to hold things in his arms, and this is perfect for him to do so. It goes everywhere with us now. Jellycat makes the best teddies and lovey’s.

+ white bodysuits: I keep white bodysuits stocked up. they go with everything, you can bleach them if they stain, and they’re easy to replace. I really like the organic ones from gerber baby. They’re soft and thick and only have two buttons instead of three (weird detail but I really like that about them).

+ jogger jeans: because what is better than a tiny pair of baby jeans? I mean honestly. E has a dark wash pair and a light wash and he wears them all the time. These are from Cat + Jack at Target.

+ lotion: E gets really dry skin around his chin (no idea why) and while I don’t always have this in his bag, I do try to make sure he gets lotion on him everyday to keep his baby skin soft. sunbum makes the best bodycare, hair care, and sun care products and they all smell like heaven in a bottle. I use the sunbum soap on E as well, and he always smells slightly like he just came from the beach. 🙂

+ hair brush and comb: natemia on Amazon makes some of the best bath time products for babies. The materials they use are great quality (E has a panda towel that is the softest towel I have ever felt in my life). I love this little brush and comb set and use the brush every night after his bath.

+ pacifier: it’s a bad day when we leave the house without a pacifier. I have a few different ones for E. He has a wubbanub (a fox, of course), a couple avent ones (his favorite) and this one from natursutten.

+ a toy or a contrast book: as he’s gotten older, E has started to respond to toys and animals and rattles, so I take this little fox rattle with us when we are out. I honestly don’t know where it came from, but he loves it. I also take a black and white contrast book with us, in case he needs something to occupy him.

+ a bib: copper pearl is my favorite shop to get bibs and burp cloths from. He has quite a few bibs and burp cloths (because babies spit up so.much.) and these are super absorbent and thick.

I usually have a few diapers, a backup outfit, water wipes (the best wipes EVER), Desitin, socks, a swaddle blanket, and a changing mat on hand as well. Sometimes, I take a bottle of expressed milk too, if I know that nursing him will be difficult wherever we are going (or if mama wants a glass of wine or a g + t :))

So there you have it. What’s in my baby’s bag, and what’s in my bag. I hope you enjoyed this post!

xx Steffanie

Fall Favorites Series: The Books

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Reading is just so much better in an environment you love. A cozy bookstore, a nook in your home, or  on a warm beach. I firmly believe books are made that much more powerful when reading somewhere you love to be. For me, it’s at my favorite local bookstore in the city, Commonplace Books, or in my reading chair in my house. My reading chair is next to this little display of succulents (the selection of plants we grow rotates out pretty frequently because I cannot seem to keep any alive!) which sit on a wooden end table that my husband made when we first moved into our house. The chair itself is a comfy love-seat that’s probably 15 years old. In my big comfy chair, with a cup Yorkshire tea with cream, and a blanket, I’m the most content.

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I think the same principle, reading in environments we love, is true for seasons and the books you read in them. In the summer, I tend toward fiction; mostly beach reads and some YA books. In the fall, I head for true crime, mysteries, and memoirs. In the winter, I long for thick historical fiction novels. These categories aren’t exclusive to these seasons, but just like one craves thick soups, pumpkin spice, and warm sweaters in the fall, my book cravings are apparent every season.

Since autumn has officially begun (with the weather to match!), I thought I would share my favorite books that are perfect for an autumn reading session.

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  1. In the Woods by Tana French (Mystery): This is the first of the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French, and while it isn’t my favorite of the series (The Likeness, second in the series, is my favorite), it’s definitely a fantastic read. Set in a Dublin neighborhood, this story introduces Detective Rob Ryan, who is set on a case of a murder of a twelve year old. Ryan, while investigating the case, is reminded of his own childhood, when he and his friends were found in the woods, unable to recall what happened to them, only a blood filled shoe and a missing child as a clue. Tana French is one of the only mystery writers that actually keeps me guessing while I read and I love her for it.
  2. 11-22-63 by Stephen King (Fiction): Let me start by saying this book is HUGE (842 pages). I read 11-22-63 about two years ago, and plan to pick it up again this fall (it’s so so good.) in about 10 days, so don’t let the number of pages daunt you. It’s doable. This novel follows Jake Epping, a high school English teacher, who is enlisted to prevent Kennedy’s assassination. But, he doesn’t live in 1963. He is introduced to a portal that transports him back in time, and finds himself in 1958 in Texas, with one mission: blend in and stop Lee Harvey Oswald. When I first read the premise of this book, I was very skeptical, but after finishing I can say two things: 1. Stephen King is a literary genius. 2. This book is one of the best stories I’ve ever read.
  3. Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce Novels (Mystery): Start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Flavia de Luce is a 11 year old sleuth, obsessed with chemistry and obsessed with solving crimes. Hailing from Bishop’s Lacey, England, and set in the 1950’s, these make for a perfect autumn afternoon read.
  4. The Dry by Jane Harper (Mystery): Jane Harper has been labeled as the Australian Tana French, which I agree with 100%. Her writing is very similar, but a bit simpler, if that’s the right word. I read The Dry in one day, while on vacation in Mexico last year. It covers a brutal family murder in a small Australian town. For a debut novel, this one reads like Harper has been writing books for years.
  5. Columbine by Dave Cullen and Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (True Crime): Both true crime and both fantastic reads. I plan to do a true crime post soon, so I won’t go into a whole lot of details, but these are both great reads. Columbine covers the events at Columbine High School and Helter Skelter covers the Marilyn Manson murders.
  6. Little Fires Everywhere by Celest Ng (Young Adult): This book is FANTASTIC. Well-written, the pace is perfect, characters flushed out well. I really enjoyed this one. I chose this as a Book of the Month Club pick, and I am so glad I did. It makes me want to read Everything I Never Told You. Also, this book is soon to be a Hulu series starring Reese Witherspoon (she’s turning ALL the books into TV shows, isn’t she?!
  7. Harry Potter: Because obvs. Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban  is my favorite.
  8. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (Memoir): David Sedaris is just fantastic. His writing is brutally honest, hilarious, and nostalgic. I love that he talks about his family often. This book tells of ‘his childhood with all his siblings and the characters that are his parents. This book is PERFECT for a fall afternoon.
  9. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (YA): I can’t not include a YA novel. With school back in session, it feels appropriate. TATWD is a true depiction of what it’s like to live with anxiety, specifically OCD. John Green is the authority on YA novels, and this novel, while not my favorite of his, stuck with me long after I read it. I won’t give too much away, but the part of this book that compares worries of the mind to a “brain spiral”, made so much sense.

So there you have it. My recommendations for the perfect autumn reading session. Grab a cardigan, a cup of coffee, and one of these reads listed above, and you’re set for the afternoon. Also, if you don’t have one, get yourself a reading chair. And maybe also a succulent.

Happy reading! xx

Steffanie

My Grove Collaborative Favorites

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I started back to work last week after a 6 week maternity leave. It was a hard/sweet/busy/full/stressful week. I felt all the things, emotionally, as one would expect. Sad because my days as a stay at home mama were coming to an end. Anxious because I had to pump enough milk to feed E and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Excited to return to a job that I love and a team that gives me life. Worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everything.

So YEAH. I was all over the place. The week went so well, though. My team was super supportive and kind; (they even bought me the most beautiful flowers for my return!) My husband came home on his dinner break so I could sleep an hour before having to be up with the baby again. My mother in law cuddled and fed and loved on my tiny baby all week long.

On top of returning to work, I knew I wouldn’t want to have to worry about things like groceries, paper towels, and dinner. I wanted as easy of a transition as I could manage with going back to work. One of of the ways I stayed on top of household supplies was by using Grove Collaborative. I’ve talked about Grove  few times on my Facebook but it’s my new favorite thing. Think Prime Pantry or Target Subscription, but with the best selection of natural, green, eco-friendly products. My favorite brands are Method and Mrs. Meyers and they have every product they make on their site.

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What I love about Grove is the customer service. Shipping is fast; each customer is assigned a personalized Grove guide, who assists you with any orders, questions, or issues you might have. My Grove guide emailed and texted me the day I signed up, just to say hi. They send a free gift with every order I’ve placed, and also give you credits to use at the shop if you refer friends. My very favorite thing about Grove? I don’t have to worry about anything. My products automatically ship on the date that I choose (although there is an option to “ship now” if you need a box sooner than the date you choose) and all the products are healthy and baby safe/kid friendly.

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Here are some of my favorite products from Grove:

The Mrs. Meyers Fall Seasonal Kit. My previous favorite Mrs. Meyers scent for fall was Apple Cider (which smells so great) but the pumpkin scent IS ALL THE THINGS. It smells spicy and warm and sweet and just like fall. Go add to this your cart immediately. I promise, you will not regret it.

The Replaceable Head Dish Brush. I HATE dish brushes because of how dirty and gross they get. And let’s be honest, most brushes are NOT cute. This brush has a replaceable head, which is GENIUS, and it has a gorgeous bamboo handle.

Method’s Steel for Real Stainless Steel Cleaner. This cleaner smells like apples and keeps our stainless steel appliances sparkling.

The Seedling by Grove Paper Towels. These paper towels are tree-free and they work incredibly well at mopping up spills (like spilled breastmilk-bahhh) and cleaning counter tops.

What’s in my next order:

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Aunt Fannies All-Purpose Pest Remedy. I really like the Aunt Fannie’s brand. I use the vinegar floor cleaner and it works so well to keep the floor clean. I love the idea of an all natural pest control spray (SPIDERS, I’m comin for ya!) and cannot wait to try this out. I also added the Glass and Window cleaner to my cart.

The Grove Collaborative Spray Bottle, The Cleaning Caddy and The Walnut Scouring Pads to aid in my never-ending cleaning endeavours.

 

So there you have it. Grove is the best and I highly encourage every to try it out. For a free Mrs. Meyers gift set, use this link!

Be back soon with my fall favorites series, and a few working mama hacks I am learning.

xx

Steffanie

 

 

 

Nursery tour

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Hello there! As you all may know, we recently just had a sweet baby boy! Today, I thought I’d share some of his nursery with you all (plus a mini review of the car seat we use for him.)

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First, I will mention that E does not currently sleep in his nursery. He sleeps in our room, in his Snuzpod (blog to come later all the products we use for his sleep), next to our bed. That being said, his room is mostly used for changing/playing on the play mat, and storage for ALL THE DIAPERS, for now.

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We kind of fell into a sort of woodland theme for E’s room. Most of the stuff he has is centered around foxes, bears, trees, etc, which I love. He has an old antique dresser that was redone and that we bought as the first piece of furniture for his room. It’s probably my favorite furniture piece in our house. With the dresser being white, I decided to keep the walls white, and chose a white crib to go in there as well. White is just so easy to decorate with, and the thought of painting his room was not something I (or my husband!) wanted to tackle.

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Because the nursery is mostly white, I did want to break it up when it came to the changing table and any other furniture we bought for his room. This changing table was built by my father in law, some 20+ years ago. It’s gorgeous and sturdy and I love the history it has with it. When we first got it, it was a distressed white with some discoloration due to sunlight. My husband sanded it down, spray painted it matte black, and distressed it with a piece of sandpaper. I LOVE how it turned out. It’s nice and roomy and has plenty of storage space.

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Moving on to his bookshelf, which again we needed for the extra storage (our house has limited space for storing stuff) and for his small book collection he already has. This shelf is from Target, just a basic open back shelf in black. On it, we keep all of his swaddle blankets, books, bath stuff, and of course, more diapers. 🙂

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His crib is from Amazon, and I just went with a basic, white, functional crib. It converts into a toddler bed, which we can use when he gets older. Again, I went for functionality over style for the crib. But I do still love the look of this one. In the crib, you will see all of his teddies (most from Target) and the cutest blankets, one personalized with his name. Also pictured, you see his car seat.

Let’s talk car seats for a minute. We have the Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seat, which comes with a car seat base. I didn’t realize that alot of newborns seem to hate their car seats. E does not fall into that category of baby. He LOVES his car seat. Here’s a pic to prove it:

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Now this could just be because he is an angel baby 🙂 but his car seat is pretty dang comfortable. It keeps him cozy and snug and the padding in it is almost like memory foam. I love the color as well (berry). It was super easy to install, and can be used with or without the car seat base (also super easy to install). The car seat is currently attached to his Nuna PEPP Stroller, which converts into a stroller you can use for older babies and toddlers, too. I ordered both from Nordstrom and so far, am extremely happy with them.

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The very first thing I bought for E was this play mat from Skiphop. I had seen it on Youtube, and fell in love with the design of it. And E loves to look at the lights too. I got it at Target, along with the shag grey rug pictured here.

And that’s it for his nursery! His room is one of my favorite places in the house now, aside from my bed (sleeeeeep, amiright?).

Hope you enjoyed this little tour!

Steffanie xx

Thankful. ❤️

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Three things I’m thankful for: 

1. A healthy, sweet little boy, who loves to cuddle (and eat! 🙌) and be held. Born just last Thursday, our lives are forever changed for the better.

I wrote a letter to E from us in his baby book today. In it, I wrote “You will never have to earn our love. You can do anything, be anything you want. You will always have a home with us.  You, just as you are, will always more than enough, and you will always be our little boy. (Cue: a repeat of the thousand tears I shed while writing)

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2. The necklace I am wearing in this picture. It is from my mother in love. She gave it to me the day we came home with E and I’ve worn it everyday since she gave it to me. I think of it as my “new motherhood” necklace. It’s special to her, which makes it incredibly special to me, and I was blown away by how sweet she was to give it to me. I’m so thankful for the family I married into, and thankful that E has such wonderful people in his life, who already love and pray for, and care for him. And that includes this hunk:

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3. Lastly, I’m thankful for the goodness and graciousness of God, who gave up His baby boy so we could be free. I cannot imagine. Thankful for Jesus, for saving us so we could have life to share with our boy; for His grace and love and compassion and tenderness.

Writing this as a reminder to always be thankful. Through each sleepless night, through each mistake, through each worry, and through each season, I want to remain continually thankful for this little life we have been given. Always aware of the good things, of the sweet moments, and of the grace we have been blessed by.

happy Tuesday!

Steffanie xx

What I’m Into: Spring/Summer Edition

 

Hello friends!

It has been quite some time since I have blogged/written anything. Plenty of new, exciting things are happening at the Ballinger house and blogging/writing/journaling had taken a back seat for a while. But I am trying to be better about taking the time to do it, because I do love this little space.

As far as updates go, my husband and I are expecting our first child (!!!!!!) who will be joining us in July. I will do a blog post over all the feelings, nursery, etc at some point, but for now, just know we are very excited to be welcoming a sweet baby boy into our lives.

This post will be  mashup of everything I am using/loving/recommending at the moment. Some are pregnancy related, as I am now 7 1/2 months pregnant, and there are some things that are ESSENTIAL to my everyday comfort level. Let’s chat!

TO WEAR:

+ This box set from Envie de Fraise. This set is maternity wear, and it’s so comfortable. It’s a bit more stylish than your average sweatpants and a t-shirt. I got the small size and it still fits really well. I have lived in it, and it’s definitely going to be a staple after our boy is born.

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+ This dress from Dwell + Slumber. GUYS. This dress is my favorite thing in my closet right now. It’s cozy (again, essential), lightweight, and easy to thrown on. I’ve worn it around the house, to run errands, to sleep in, and it works on every level. I’ve kept my eye out for when the black one comes back in stock, because these dresses are the greatest thing. I also love that it’s not strictly maternity, so I’ll be getting a lot of use out of it after the baby comes.

+ This nursing bra from Kindred Bravely. Kindred Bravely makes some fantastic maternity wear options, but this bra is my favorite item I own from them.  Super soft, stretchy, and comfortable, I have lived in this bra since I found out I was pregnant. (I also ordered these reusable organic nursing pads for when baby comes -can’t wait to try them out!)

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+ This perfume from Jo Malone London: Jo Malone makes the best perfumes. Peony and Blush Suede is my favorite. Light, but pretty, floral but not too floral, with a hint of citrus. Perfect for spring and summer.

+ This lipbalm from Fresh Cosmetics: this lip balm is pigmented and super moisturizing. Easy to wear and goes well with any everyday makeup look. My favorite shade is Petal but I also have the Rose one, and it’s great for a very minimal color option.

+ These sandals: my new go to sandal for summer. I also have these heels and both are super comfortable. TOMS makes the best shoes.

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+ This bag: Technically my diaper bag for baby, I’ve been test-driving this as my everyday bag. It’s so roomy, great quality, and has an insulated pouch for bottles (or a protein shake!) Also, it comes with a changing pad. Definitely a splurge bag, but I’m super happy with it.

TO DRINK:

+ Sparkling Water: I am a huge sparkling water, mineral water fan. La Croix, Topo Chico, San Pellegrino, Perrier… love them all. Lately, my favorite has been a Topo Chico with lots of lime in it. I usually put it in a fancy glass and pretend it’s a gin and tonic. I also have been obsessed with lemon water, especially with a few frozen berries thrown in. Perfect for hot, summer weather!

*Sidenote: I recently bought this cup to make sure I’m getting all the water I need throughout the day. Really like the size of it and the lid that slides closed.

TO SLEEP:

+ This pillow: My sleep has not been the best lately, but it has been miles better thanks to this pillow.

+ This humidifier: Both my husband and I love this thing, especially now during this allergy season. Easy to use, cheap, and works constantly all night.

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TO READ/LISTEN TO/WATCH:

+ Everybody Always by Bob Goff: Such a good reminder on how to love difficult people well. One of my favorite reads so far this year.

+ Being Mortal by Atul Gawande: revisited this book recently, and it is so good. A great read if you have elderly family members or work in healthcare.

On my to-read list: Jane Harper’s new book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, The Baby Sleeps Tonight, and Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

+ This blog: Laura Tremaine has long been a favorite follow of mine, and I am so excited that she started another blog. Definitely check it out if you like blogs that recommend all the things.

+ This podcast: I cannot say enough good things about this podcast. Jamie Golden and Knox McCoy are hysterical and this podcast, while giving some great, fascinating insight on the Bible, will make you laugh. Alot.

+ Evil Genius on Netflix: a true-crime documentary that blew my mind. It’s about a case from 2003 in Erie, PA. I won’t give any details, but believe me, it is GOOD.

 

And that’s it, folks! I hope you are doing well, and I look forward to posting more soon!

Happy Sunday! xx

Steffanie

 

 

all the things, pt 1: IT

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If you know me in real life, you have probably heard my talking about the movie “It” and all of it’s fantasticalness. I am a FAN. Saw the movie three times (yes, I realize that is ridiculous, and no, I do not need an intervention, or an exorcism); I even bought a Loser’s Club pin from this cute little Etsy shop, and have already researched when the Losers Club Funko characters will be released (TBD- however, they have released Pennywise) and have been reading all the information of when the next installment will be released. I’m hooked.

Originally, I had the goal of finishing the Stephen King’s 12,000 1,100 page book before the movie released last month, but being that I had had about 6,000 500 pages left in the novel, that obviously did not happen. So, without having finished the book, my husband and I, along with our good friend, packed into my car, loaded my bag up with snacks, and prepared ourselves for Pennywise.

Now, I was prepared for a scary movie (if you don’t know,  ‘IT’ is about a killer clown named Pennywise, who kills children. He feeds on fear, and torments a town called Derry, every 27 years.) And while it is definitely scary, I was pleasantly surprised to find that  ‘IT’ was actually a great movie:  fantastic acting, lots of humor, and characters you actually want  to root for. I laughed, cried, said many choice words, and left feeling oddly hopeful about the world, which is a weird thing to say after a horror movie.

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‘IT’ focuses on fear, and how fear can and does transform a person. Each character has their own relationship with fear, and Pennywise feeds off that fear. Each character sees Pennywise, but they also see IT, the thing Pennywise represents: a leper for the one who fears any and all illnesses, convinced death is right around every corner; the fear of the worst nightmare coming to life for the one who struggles to believe; a lost little kid for the one who fears the worst has happened to his brother, etc. Each character battles internally and externally with their fears.

The only thing they have in common? Each other. 

The thing I love most about ‘IT’ is the fact that these kids stick through everything together: they battle a killer clown together; clean a blood soaked bathroom that no one else could see, comfort each other as they face their fears. No judgments, no doubt., no criticism. They argue, sure, but they don’t give up on each other. Each kid, while dealing with their own mess, chooses friendship over fear. Connection over going it alone. Faith over scepticism. They choose to rely on each other, to stick together. 

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I loved everything about this movie. The soundtrack, the actors, the message, the setting, everything. If you haven’t seen IT, you should. Don’t be fooled though: It’s scary. Definitely not for everyone (especially if kind of gruesome things happening to children bothers you. The opening scene is pretty terrible) so please be warned.

Happy floating!

xx Steffanie