Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Alexa's Nursery


I'm excited to finally share Alexa's nursery! You may remember the sneak peak a few months back...

Where did I begin? A friend told me that when she worked with an interior designer she was advised to always start with the rug. My mom happened to have the perfect pink oriental rug tucked away in storage. From there I pulled out the pink, blue-gray and natural colors for the other elements. Since we live in a leased apartment and are stuck with the carpet, the rug was essential!

You can read more about my Bratt Decor crib and rocking chair in my nursery inspiration post. For the other furniture, I shopped around but didn't find anything comparable to Pottery Barn Kid's Blythe collection. The details reminded me of my furniture growing up and coordinated well with the dream crib. (Ted and I laugh about the fact that our Ikea master bedroom furniture is falling apart while Alexa has brand new PB!) The tufted storage bench holds her toys and I wish that it was still available from Home Decorators Collection. Hopefully it will come back at some point.

Before Alexa's shower, the bookshelf only had the baskets, picture frames and blue and white jar. Along with the nightstand, it was easy to style with all of the thoughtful gifts from our friends and family. Ted's mom gave Alexa her first sterling silver pieces and some mementos from Ted's childhood. I know she will cherish these!

We are lucky to have a corner where I store her travel crib, seats and bouncers that aren't in use. There are also things tucked under the crib. On a side note, I keep all of the manuals and receipts for baby items in the nightstand. It's helped make returns and exchanges much easier.

There are a few other things I would like to add to the room like a bulletin board and also have some gingham pink curtains in the works. For now, the sheers work fine alone. The blankets on the bottom shelf will soon be replaced with more books.

I can't wait to share the nursery photos with her someday and tell her how I would rock in that chair, hold my belly and beg for her to arrive a little early (and that she did).





Wooden Name Train (Similar)






Monday, June 27, 2016

Wedding Weekend

Skirt & Top: BCBG. Alexa's Dress: Gap. Bow: Etsy.




Over the weekend Ted and I attended a wedding in Waltham, Massachusetts at Gore Place. As always I wish I had taken more pictures but I was having such a good time catching up with friends and celebrating the bride and groom. Ted's mom watched Alexa during the ceremony and we brought her for the last hour of the reception to meet everyone. It amazes me how she can nap just about anywhere.

My top and skirt were bought recently on sale in the BCBG department at Lord & Taylor. BCBG is my go-to for wedding guest attire. I frequent the sale rack at Lord & Taylor and also check for promotions on their site (right now it's 40% off sale prices) as well as Rue La La. I wish I lived closer to one of the outlets.

Wedding season has wrapped up for me this year but I'm always on the lookout. I've been lucky in the past and found dresses on sale at the end of the season to save for future event. Here are a few that caught my eye while I was shopping recently.





Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Baby Registry

Babies need so many things. I love to shop, so at first registering was a welcomed challenge. But even I got overwhelmed with all of the options out there. I could dedicate a post on each section or product for weeks, but instead decided to consolidate and write this book of a post. I hope that moms-to-be find it helpful or if you are shopping for a friend get some ideas. What kind of mommy blogger would I be without adding my unsolicited registry advice?

Where to start? I copied a friend's registry and then began swapping, adding and removing products after researching and determining what was the best fit with my lifestyle. Some items came from lengthy mommy blog investigating, while others were added to my list simply because I saw them on top registry pick lists and I called it a day. While it's only been 10 weeks, I will say that I have put most of my registry to good use and am happy with my choices. 

For background, I live in a two bedroom apartment with limited storage space. That said, it's hard to believe this was my attempt to keep things simple.

I feature the gender neutral version of most products - you can be sure that if it was available in pink or gray that is what I have. Also, if you happen to be into an animal theme you're in luck... I gravitate toward those giraffes and elephants!

Travel

Once we started to plan for a family I began to notice strollers and check out the brands. UPPAbaby everywhere! I opted for the UPPAbaby Cruz because of the compact frame. Many people go with the Vista model because it includes a bassinet and can be converted to a double stroller down the line. I decided I'll get a double stroller when I need it. I also considered the Baby Jogger City Mini ZIP, which is a great more affordable option. It folds up easily and is also compact.

As for the car seat, I went with the UPPAbaby Mesa to make things easily compatible with the stroller. Ted was able to install the base in our car without any issues. I feel inclined to share my research findings for those in the market... the Chicco KeyFit 30 ranks high in safety and is very popular. The nuna PIPA is another favorite and a couple pounds lighter than most. You can add both to the UPPAbaby frames with an adapter.

Even though Alexa hates to be swaddled, I use the muslin blankets to keep her warm, shade her from the sun and as a nursing cover. I always have one with me.

I originally registered for a different type of carrier, but when I saw it in the store it looked big and bulky. I opted for the basic BABYBJÖRN carrier and it has worked out well so far for both me and Ted. I also have a Solly Baby wrap.

For a diaper bag, I use a standard tote bag with the Skip Hop Chevron bags inside. Read more about that here.
  • Stroller
  • Stroller Console
  • Car Seat
  • Mirror
  • Blanket
  • Stroller toys
  • Diaper Bag/Portable Changing Pad
  • Baby Carrier

Sleep
I had originally planned for Alexa to sleep in the Rock 'N Play next to our bed, but when we brought her home from the hospital she was so tiny it didn't feel right to keep her in there at night. We then bought the Graco Travel Lite Crib as a bassinet. I chose this because it was compact for our bedroom and also suitable for road trips. After a few weeks we used the Rock 'N Play. If we weren't planning to travel in the first few months I would have probably gotten the HALO Bassinet. When she is older we will transition to a BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib for getaways.

When you are up in the middle of the night to change diapers, a zip-up onesie is so much easier than cute little snaps to change. Your husband will especially appreciate the zip when he is helping out. I bought several from Carter's and the Carter's Just One You line for Target.

Bath
For the first couple of weeks I used the Angelcare Tub on the kitchen counter next to the sink and now we have placed it in the big tub. I learned about this $7 bath sponge from A. Liz Adventures to place on top of the tub and also use it directly in the sink when we travel (I purchased a spare so it was dry when packing).

The critter towels from Pottery Barn Kids are adorable. You can also get them personalized with name or initials. I love Alexa wrapped up in her bunny towel!

Babies can easily absorb chemicals through their skin, which is why I use Beautycounter's line free of unsafe ingredients. If I had to pick one of my favorite things for Alexa, it would be the Baby Soothing Oil. We use it after baths to keep her skin extra soft and she loves when I apply it. The set makes a great shower gift.
  • Tub
  • Sponges
  • Shampoo/Body Wash
  • Hooded Towels
  • Hair Brush/Comb

I went with the Keekaroo Peanut changing pad over the more popular fabric style because you can just wipe off a mess. I am not crazy about the way it looks, but it gets the job done. I have been placing a towel or liner over it, although it doesn't need it.

For diapers I had a couple packs of newborn and size 1 to start. I didn't stock up since I didn't know what size she would be. As it turns out, she wore the newborn size until 8 weeks.  At this point, I don't have a strong preference on diapers or wipes. I continue to try different brands and I'm sure when the messes get bigger will have stronger opinions.

It's not an option, but a necessity to have this diaper pail. You can use standard trash bags and your nursery won't stink.

I'm partial to Beautycounter's Baby Balm, but my close second choice is the Honest Organic Healing Balm.

Diapering & Care
  • Changing Pad
  • Changing Pad Covers
  • Rash Cream/Ointments
  • Diaper Pail
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Wipes Dispenser
  • Nail Clippers/File
  • Aspirator
  • Thermometer
Feeding

At first I thought a separate drying rack was unnecessary, but now I can't imagine being without a dedicated space for bottles, pacifiers and breast pump parts. There is a reason why the Boon drying racks are so popular.

My bottle research pointed to the glass Dr. Brown's despite all of the separate parts they include. I use those as well as Philips Avent (I got it in a sample pack and love how cute and little it is). These burp clothes are absolutely nothing special to look at, but are very absorbent. I have a happy spitter on my hands, so keep one in every room and bag.

Since I am nursing, I can't weigh in on how many bottles you would need if you are formula feeding or how much formula to buy. We started giving Alexa a bottle of pumped milk once a day when she was 2 weeks old. Having a few 4 oz. bottles has been enough and eventually I will buy the 8 oz. size when needed. I figure before stocking up I should determine if she or I have a preference.
  • Formula
  • 4 oz. Bottles
  • Bottle Brush
  • Drying Rack
  • Bottle Sterilizer (Microwavable Bags for traveling)
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Bibs
  • Burp Clothes
  • Boppy Pillow/Cover (I bought this pink cover and had it monogrammed)
  • Pacifiers
  • Teethers
Nursing

My insurance company covered my pump. I ordered through yummy mummy and it was very easy. I selected the Medela Pump In Style, which is an electric double pump. I then purchased some accessories separately - cooler set with bottles and battery adapter. (From my quick research, some insurance companies offer the Medela Freestyle with an upgrade fee. Had I known what I do now, I would have gotten this option since it's more compact and easier to transport.)

I added these nursing items on my registry after my shower and purchased myself. I kid you not, as I was working on this post an expecting friend texted me to confirm the gel pads I told her to get and ask about creams. Put them in the fridge for extra relief that first week. As for creams, you will likely be given lanolin at the hospital. Both that and the Lansinoh cream I purchased ahead of time were thick and waxy, I had a hard time getting it off my fingers. My lactation consultant prescribed Mupriocin 2% ointment, which I use the most. Ask for a prescription!
  • Breast Pump
  • Storage Bags
  • Disposable Nursing Pads
  • Nipple Cream
  • Gel Pads
  • Travel Accessories
  • Nursing Bras (I wear this one out and about and this one and this one around the house)
  • Hands free pumping bra (Don't waste your money on the Medela bustier. This is cheap and gets the job done!)
  • Vitamin D drops for baby (pediatrician will recommend) 
Lounge and Play



Alright... this is where you can start to go crazy. I have yet to use everything here since we are only at 10 weeks. Some of these toys were given to me by mom friends because their kids love them. (I had to get the toy smart phone in hot pink... so funny!)

The Boppy Lounger has been by far one of my most used items. I bring it all over the apartment and Alexa loves to snooze in it. When I visit my parents I take it along and wish I had saved the zip-up plastic bag it came in. I also love the nuna LEAF Baby Seat that I received as a gift and included on this earlier post.

One of the notable things that I did not to get was an electric swing or bouncer for newborns like the mamaRoo. Instead, I have sat and bounced her myself on an exercise ball.
  • Seats
  • Activity Mat
  • Toys
  • Bouncer or Swing
Clothing
This is going to be hard to believe, but I actually didn't buy much clothing for Alexa before she was born. I received most clothing as gifts and have purchased since she was born. More on that in another post. 

Nursery
Wow, you've made it this far. I'm running out of steam but of course you need to furnish and decorate your nursery! Alexa's nursery is basically her changing room because she has yet to sleep there. However, that did not stop me from having it complete before her arrival. Here is a list of the essentials.
  • Crib
  • Bedding
  • Mattress Pads
  • Furniture
  • Glider or Rocking Chair
  • Crib Mobile
  • Books
  • Decor
  • Baby Monitor
Other
Finally, here are items I did not register or purchase yet but you may want to include.
  • High Chair
  • Umbrella Stroller
  • Jogging Stroller
  • Additional Car Seats
  • Humidifier
  • Sippy cups/utensils
  • Bath toys and accessories
  • Safety gates
Where to register?
I can be indecisive so I registered where I could easily bring things back to return or exchange. I am a little crazy and save the receipts for everything and most of the packaging until I know it's something that works and I will keep. For example, Alexa was not into wearable swaddles and she impressively broke out of them within five minutes. Thankfully I had kept the gift receipts and packaging for several I received so was able to exchange them for something else. 

Consider where it is easy for family and friends to purchase items and save on shipping. Target offers free shipping over $25 and many people have Amazon Prime. Also, what retailer offers the best price or discount on your "big ticket" items like stroller and furniture?

I used The Bump to sync my three registries to one link for my shower invite.

Buy Buy Baby
Buy Buy Baby offers a 10% registry completion discount that has very few exclusions, unlike their other coupons. They have a wide selection, great exclusives and always have coupons.

Target
Do I even need to explain? Since I am there all the time it made sense to register here. They offer several 15% off completion discounts. After Alexa arrived, I added items to the registry like diapers, wipes and nursing accessories to buy myself and take advantage of the savings. (FYI - They provide a baby registry gift bag that includes a lot of great coupons and samples. I may have stopped by the service desk more than once to claim.)

Pottery Barn Kids
I registered for a few items including towels and decor.

Other popular options:

Moms, I would love for you to add your advice in the comments section to help readers! Where did you register? What am I missing? What are your favorites?


Friday, June 3, 2016

Five on Friday


Yes, I packed Alexa's age blocks for our trip. I couldn't miss the 2 month photo op. Ted was lying down next to her bringing on that little smile. One day she'll love looking at all of the outtakes.


This "warm sand" scented candle from Newport based shore soap co. smells amazing. One of the reasons I need another round of shopping in Chatham this weekend. 

Chambray Shirt: Old Navy.
Alexa's Dress: Target. Bow: Etsy.

This chambray shirt that I wore out to dinner at Pisces has been on repeat. The food was great.


I am obsessed with these Dark Chocolate Nutty Bits from Trader Joe's. I was advised to go dairy free while nursing and these are great for my chocolate fix.  We did try after a couple weeks to reintroduce milk to my diet and it was bad news for Alexa... I might write about some of my other favorite dairy free favorites and alternatives in an upcoming post. Happy there is a Trader Joe's on the Cape!


Mark your calendars for June 21... new emojis! I can't believe it took this long to get a fingers crossed. 


Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Towel Talk


I first used these plush towels while staying at a friends place. Months later I saw them at Target while picking things up for our new apartment. They reminded me of these from Pottery Barn, which I was thinking of ordering with a monogram. Instead, I bought these and had them embroidered myself.

If you're due for a refresh the towels are now 15% when you spend $100 plus another 10% off with code JUNEHOME. (The blue is available in stores.) I've had them for a few months now and they have held up well.

image via @lindsaycunni

I saw that one of my Instagram friends had the same idea. Once I saw hers it motivated me to get mine done. I love the monogram style she used but unfortunately my "monogram lady" didn't have it.


Shout out to my favorite hand duo. The simple sleek packaging goes with any decor.


I saw this tea towel at a shop on the Cape. So true!