🎵 These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…🎵

Hi friends!

We’ve now been in quarantine for over five months and what a time it has been! It’s actually been a bit longer for me because my maternity leave slowly turned into the pandemic / WFH life. Needless to say, it’s been one loooong 4th trimester, y’all! 😉

That being said, I have not been shopping for clothes these last 10 months because #PostBabyWeight [Mamas, can I get an “Amen?”] But don’t let me fool you, my amazon cart has gotten a workout with the other things I’ve purchased instead. 😬 And while “things” are just things and will not make us happy, today’s post is all about the little joys I have discovered or have been using during quarantine that have brought a smile to my face. Cue Julie Andrews’ 🎵 ‘These are a few of my favorite things…’ 🎵 [which my toddler insists we play on repeat!]

JEWELRY

Alright y’all, let’s get down to business. First thing’s first: bracelet stacks and gold necklaces have been QUEEN this summer. I have curated my own little arm stack, gold and silver Apple Watch band included. [Wish I could take credit for the band but I cannot! One of fave bloggers, Courtney Kerr, has been sharing about it all summer long!]

GOLD BRACELET STACK [left to right]
  • Zoe Lev beaded bracelet
  • Waves Chain bracelet: this bracelet is made by adults with autism and is less than $15! It’s beautiful and actually good quality for the price. I love it! Only issue is it’s pretty long for my wrists and I’m going to get a few “waves” taken out once the pandemic is over.
  • Chain to the left of my watch was given to me by my mom ages ago!
  • Gold and Silver Apple Watch band: this watch has held up great so far and I love the silver and gold mix. It goes with all my jewelry!
  • Tortoise Shell Apple Watch band: not pictured above but I love it!
  • These bracelets are not gold but I recently got them from @janeandjunecollection and they are so fun! They are made of vinyl and I love the bright colors. 😍 I am also eyeing these because if you have followed me on this blog or Insta for a while, you know how much I love a camel hue. [Ryan, a blogger I went to college with, shared these and I’m so glad she did!]
GOLD NECKLACES

[Awkward car selfies coming your way… I just wanted y’all to see what they look like close up!]

  • Gorjana Link: my husband gifted me these two Gorjana necklaces for my birthday and I love them! The link necklace is actually longer than what’s pictured above but you can clasp it at whatever length you want, so I made it into a choker.  
  • Gorjana Star: I’ve been wearing this one a lot, both by itself and paired with the Link chain necklace [as seen in pic above.]

  • Etsy Medallion necklace: you’ve seen the medallion necklaces everywhere and I found one that is really nice quality off Easy. This is probably my favorite gold necklace that I’ve gotten this summer.

  • Etsy Chain Necklace: I love how delicate this necklace is even though it’s a chain. I didn’t want something big and clunky and this necklace was not that. Also, great quality.

FITNESS

Now that life is slowly getting back to normal in regards to ‘baby’ life, I’m trying to get into a good workout routine. [It’s so tough with all the competing activities of life – work, kids, husband, friends and family – but that is a whole separate blog post! 😉]

C25K

One of the ways that I’ve been enjoying excercising recently is by using the C25K app. It stands for ‘Couch to 5K’ and is designed to teach you to be able to run a 5K [just as it sounds! 😉] I have really enjoyed it because the program switches off between walking and running and eases you into it. 

STRONGLIFTS 5 X 5

I have also gone back to my tried and true, 5 x 5 app. This is the exercise program I was using before my wedding and it got me more toned than I ever had been previously. I was never a big weightlifter and always felt super self-conscious about trying to do weights at the gym. This app has videos that show you exactly how to do the exercise. You’re technically supposed to go up 5 lbs each week but I pace myself depending on how I’m feeling.

BEAUTY

Naturtint Hair Dye

Naturtint Hair dye: since COVID, I have not gone to the salon, but these pesky grays have not stayed away. I was nursing up until a few weeks ago [and I’m always on the hunt for more natural products as it is], so I decided to use this hair dye from Whole Foods to cover up those roots! This brand of hair dye is vegan-friendly, plant-enriched and has minimal chemicals. That all sounded great to me even before I tried it but the product stood up to the test. My color has lasted for over 3 months and it was gentle on my hair. [Side note: my mom colored my hair and taught me a trick to reduce damage from the dye: apply a layer of coconut oil onto your hair first to protect it as much as possible. My hair was super shiny and soft after she colored it.]

Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner

Rahua classic shampoo and conditioner: after I gave birth to my second last October, the texture of my hair completely changed! [Thanks, hor-mo-nes!] I went from having fairly dry hair that could easy go a week without washing to super greasy hair as soon as I got out of the shower. It was so frustrating because I felt like I couldn’t ever get my hair clean, even immediately after a wash! I decided that I needed to switch up my shampoo and that did the trick. I started using Rahua’s normal shampoo and conditioner and it gave me the clean feeling I was used to. Rahul is also a really neat brand that focuses on sustainability and using as many natural products from the rainforest as possible. You can check out their story here.

Depileve Wax

 

This wax works very well and does not irritate my sensitive/dry skin! I actually tried out another one before I found Depileve and not only did it not remove all the hair, but it also caused breakouts.  

Since March, I have not gone to see my lady who threads my eyebrows and waxes my lip [this may be TMI, but I wanted to share in case any other girls out there are suffering!]. This wax did the trick! I got this warmer along with it.  Also, I always apply Aquaphor to my lip after waxing and that really soothes the redness.

FASHION

Last but not least, I want to share what has probably been my favorite purchase over the last couple of months: the Kurt Geiger leather tote [holding in pic above]. I knew I wanted to have a big tote bag that I could throw all the kids’ stuff into without having to also carry a diaper bag around. Well let me tell you, this bag has been that and much more. First off, it’s a very nice bag with soft, buttery leather and it feels high-end. So while you might be shlepping around diapers, snacks, toys, books and whatever else you had to throw in to your bag of tricks, you still feel put together and presentable. This bag is not cheap but it’s been worth the price.

We just went on a staycation recently and this is the bag I took everywhere. It fit all the kids’ stuff as well as my wallet, water, sunglasses, sanitizer and more. It was so nice to not have to carry multiple bags around. I was worried that it’d be too heavy at times but it really wasn’t. It also has zero form to it. I was worried about that when I purchased it because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a full-on floppy bag. That has actually turned out to be a great feature because when my toddler gets out of the double-stroller, I can drop my bag in his seat and it takes the shape of whatever “vessel” it’s in.

Hopefully some of these items can be a source of inspiration for you as you put together your next bracelet stack or look for new workout tips and tricks. [Frankly speaking, anything that makes a run in this TX heat palatable has my stamp of approval!]

Let me know if there’s anything you’ve been loving lately that’s brought a smile to your face!

Month 2 & 3 Postpartum: Favorite Baby Products

After surviving month one of postpartum baby life, months two and three seem to run together. You’re hopefully out of the initial infant haze and starting to figure things out a bit. Plus there seems to be a developmental shift between weeks 4-5 that starts to ease the process. Month one can be incredibly difficult, especially for new parents, because parenthood can be a shock to the system. It also takes time to adjust to this new human / resident in your home. Hopefully my list of Month one baby products helped to alleviate some of the stress, especially on what you need on day one of coming home from the hospital.

MONTHS TWO & THREE

Once you turn the corner of month one, these are my favorite products for the baby for months two and three:

PRODUCTS FOR BABY
GEAR
  • Stroller: at this time, you’re hopefully getting out of the house more so a stroller is necessary. We went with the UPPABaby Travel management system for both our car seat and stroller. I love the functionality and design. Not only is it a beautifully made stroller, it can grow with your family. It can hold a car seat and a toddler at the same time, which is great if you’re planning on having more than one child.  One less stroller to purchase was good enough reason for me! 
  • Doona: I do not own this but I am also seriously considering biting the bullet and getting a Doona car seat. It looks so light and nimble. It has amazing reviews and I’ve heard other moms are obsessed with it. You can’t beat the convenience and ease of not having to lug a huge stroller with you wherever you go. These days, collapsing and resetting up my stroller every time I leave the house has been such a pain [yes, first world problems as usual over here, but still. 😭 ] Anyway, I do not have the Doona but I’m thinking of getting one for travel and for errands when I just need something easy.
  • Baby carrier: we have this one and both my husband and I love it. I use it on walks with the baby while my toddler goes on dad’s shoulders or walks on his own.
GROOMING
  • Scissors: one nurse at the hospital told me not to trim my baby’s nails until 6 weeks. Their skin is still attached to their nails until this point, so there’s risk of cutting their little skin. I held off until then and just used little mittens because she was scratching herself without them. Then, when I was ready to attempt this terrifying task, I used these scissors. I personally prefer scissors for babies instead of clippers because I think they’re easier to maneuver but it’s whatever you feel most comfortable with.
APPAREL
  • Booties: if you have your baby in the winter, you’ll want to keep their feet warm when you leave the house. These have been all the rage these days and I just bought my infant her second pair! 
  • Burp cloths [plus a favorite baby gift!]: we use these standard burp cloths every day and they work great. We were also gifted these from Designer Dribbles when my son was born and they were one of my favorite gifts!  So practical, personal and beautiful! I still use them to this day with my daughter and they are my favorite gift to give to new mamas.
  • Muslin blankets: technically, Aden + Anais labels these as swaddles, but I use these as blankets and mats.  These are great to put on your registry as you’ll get so much usage out of them.  I use them at the doctor’s office as a mat to lay the baby on, as a blanket, as a mat on the couch for tummy time, and I’ve even used them as a burp cloth when I’ve forgotten to pack one.  I don’t leave the house without one of these in my diaper bag!
FEEDING
  • Pump: I’m terrible about pumping. I just don’t like doing it and it takes me a while to work up the discipline to get going with it.  In fact, my baby is a little over 3 months and I have sworn to myself that I’m starting to my pump this week! It really is such a way to free yourself to be able to go run an errand without worrying about leaving the baby.  I use this pump by Medela.  It’s a great option because the pump itself is inside the backpack, so you can wear it, pump and cook dinner all at the same time. Maximum efficiency is always a win in my book!  Side note: make sure and call your insurance company when you get pregnant because you should be able to get one for free. 
  • Bottles: Once you start pumping, you have to have bottles in place.  My son used these so I plan on using the same ones with my daughter.  Hopefully she will like them too! [I used the 2 oz version when he was younger and then migrated to the larger ones.]
  • Bottle sterilizer: This is by no means a ‘must-buy.’ You can sanitize your bottles by boiling them per their instructions and be just fine.  But, when I was a first time mom, I was a bit more high strung than I am now and I used it on all of my son’s bottles.  I’ll probably run my daughter’s bottles through it as well before I start using them.  It gives me the peace of mind that everything’s as clean as possible.
  • Milk Warmer:  This is also not a necessity but I’ve enjoyed its convenience, so including it on the list.  You can warm up your baby’s bottle in a bowl of hot water if you don’t want to purchase one more baby item.  But it’s convenient to just plunk the bottle in, wait a few minutes and be done.  I still use it to this day for my son’s milk.
PRODUCTS FOR MAMA

Hopefully, you’ll be able to get out of the house a bit more at this point. In addition to what I wrote about for month one, you’ll want to purchase some postpartum clothes. Don’t worry that you might not be back at your pre-baby weight at this point. I didn’t know how long it took to lose the baby weight, especially after my first. I just assumed you popped him out and then one month later you’re back to normal. Ha! Little did I know that it takes 9 months to gain the weight, and it can take that long or longer to lose it. So be patient with yourself. In the meantime, get a few staple pieces that take you out of your pajamas and make you feel a little bit more like yourself. I have loved these:

  • High-waisted jeans: currently on sale for $71.  The price-point is lower than that of designer jeans [if that’s what you usually wear], so it makes buying clothes that are not your pre-baby size a little easier to stomach.
  • Nursing sweater: I have loved this one.  I pair it with yoga pants or jeans and it looks great.  It’s so cozy too!

Do y’all have any ‘fourth trimester’ baby gear that you love? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Photography by: Liz Novi Photography

Thank You Cards with Basic Invite

FOR THE LOVE OF PAPER

My love affair with paper began very young. It started with school supplies and then slowly grew into planners and then to invitations and thank you cards.  Since I can remember, I could get lost picking out journals and scouring the aisles for the most beautiful greeting cards. In fact, I think one of my favorite parts of wedding planning was designing and assembling the invitation. [I wrapped an olive tree leaf around each invite with thin gold thread…it was quite the process and I had to enlist the help of my husband and maid of honor to get it done! But I digress…😌]

THANK YOU CARDS

My daughter’s baby naming is coming up and I was just starting to search for thank you cards when Basic Invite reached out about their baby shower card line. [You can see their beautiful custom, unique and modern baby shower cards.]  I decided to check them out and found these beautiful “Thank You” cards. I liked them because of their subtle elegance and the fact that I could customize the colors [there are over 180 and you can change each element on the card]. I ended up going with these and selected a soft peach hue for the roses and plum for the berries. I’ve been on such a peach kick lately 😌…maybe because I’m ready for Spring. Who knows?!  The website allows you to preview the card immediately, which is very helpful. You can also order a sample of cards before committing to a large order, which I love. [As a “late majority” buyer, as they say in marketing, I need to make sure I love a product before committing!] 

BASIC INVITE FEATURES

Another feature that stood out to me about Basic Invite is that their envelopes are all “Peel and Seal.” Normally I’m drowning in an assembly line of envelopes as I use a sponge moistener to seal them up. These cards caught me by surprise when I went to close them! I averted the messy sealing process and the headache of wondering if I used too much water or if it leaked onto the card. If you’re a card lover like me, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about! [#FirstWorldProblems, but still…]  I added a washi tape to the back of the envelope to give it some more color! My tape was old but you can get tons of different ones on Amazon, like this one here.

I’m so excited to use these for my daughter’s Baby Naming celebration! The cards came out beautifully. Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code 15FF51 [and today’s the last day to use it!].  Next time I think I’m going to try out the foil lettering…oh the things that get me excited!

Are y’all paper lovers too?? Let me know and we can nerd out together – ha!

Shop the post: Basic Invite’s Thank You Card | Washi Tape | Vince Camuto Blouse [old, similar] | Earrings [old, similar]

Photography by: Megan Weaver Photography

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite.  All opinions are my own.  Thank you so much for supporting the posts that keep LOVEKSZ up and running! 

The Athleisure I am Living in: Highs & Lows

If you follow me on my Instagram stories, you know that I have been in my workout clothes [or pajamas] full-time recently.  It’s just the comfiest thing to wear when you’re at home all day and hoping to motivate yourself to sneak in a workout.  Most of my old clothes don’t fit me yet so it’s also nice to be able to put on some high-waisted yoga pants and feel like a million bucks.  

Today I’m sharing these two looks [see pics above] that have given me a boost in confidence post-baby.

ATHLEISURE 

LOOK 1

The first one includes these $25 leggings from Amazon that are a dupe for the Lululemon Align leggings.  Now, I love me some Lulu, as you will see from this post.  But I wasn’t about to drop $100 on leggings that were not my pre-baby size. So these pants have been a wonderful fill-in while I’m still in this “in-between” phase with my baby weight.  These leggings have taken the fashion blogosphere by storm and you can see people rave about them in the Amazon reviews.  And I must say, I agree.  It’s very rare to find workout gear that comes close to Lulu, and while this is no luon, they really do fit nicely.  I love that they’re high-waisted, so it smoothes out any bumps and lumps ;).  The material is also so soft and buttery.  There’s a pocket for a phone on the side which is convenient when you’ve got your hands full with two kiddos.  You can see my review here.  

This workout top is a staple in my wardrobe.  I have a similar one in peach too.  While it’s not the cheapest, my pre-baby size fit me perfectly, so I couldn’t pass it up. 🙂 I love the color and nothing beats Lulu workout gear in my opinion.  

I also love this hat.  It makes me feel more put together on a bad hair day and like JLO on a good day.

I finished off the look with these sneakers from Nordstrom Rack.  They’re the classic soft black Nikes that go with everything. 

LOOK 2

Now this outfit has the same pants and shoes. But I am wearing a plain black tank top and one of my favorite Lulu purchases: the Define jacket. It is so flattering on and makes me feel far fitter than I am. 😉

I also got some fun sneakers recently that are currently on rotation:

Nordstrom Rack is one of my favorite places to get sneakers because they usually come at such a great price.  You can pick up 3 pairs of tennis shoes for the cost of one at full price elsewhere. The Nike Zooms are on sale right now for $69 and the Pumas (from Saks Off 5th) are 50% off for $34.  

Do you have any favorite Athleisure pieces that are a must-have? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Month 1 Postpartum: Favorite Baby Products (and Nursery Update)

Good morning, y’all! I can’t believe it’s already been 11 weeks since I delivered my baby girl. This time around, I have been a bit more aware throughout the whole ‘fourth trimester.’ I’ve been tracking which products I use the most each month. With my first baby, I was in a fog and could barely remember my last name. Ha! This post has all of my favorite baby products for your first month postpartum.

I have written about my favorite baby products here and here, but I wanted to do a monthly breakdown to make it easier for moms to know what they truly need on day one. I remember worrying about that before my son was born because when you’re a first time mom, you just have no idea.

Today’s post is also quite long and I finish it up with an update on our nursery decor! Grab your coffee or shake and enjoy! 😉

Here’s what products I used and loved in month 1 postpartum.

MONTH 1

PRODUCTS FOR BABY
  • NB onesies (that zip): these by Simple Joys by Carter’s are my favorite. They’re 100% cotton, soft and fit easily over the wrists and ankles. They also zip up, which is crucial. You might be tempted to buy a really cute onesie that has snaps or buttons – don’t do it! Although it’s not a huge inconvenience, make your life as easy as possible and buy the zip-ups. You don’t want to be searching for the snap during a 2 a.m. diaper change.
  • Sleep sacks: these are great to wear over the onesies during the day. They keep the baby relatively warm with an extra layer. They give me peace of mind if I don’t want to put a blanket on the baby while I run to the bathroom. My daughter is prone to being really cold so these are great for daily wear.
  • Swaddle sleepsack: these are the gold standard for swaddle sleepers. They keep your baby’s arms at their sides so that they don’t wake themselves up at night and you can (hopefully, praise be to all that is holy) catch some more zzz’s. This fleece one has been my favorite this winter – works great and keeps bebe so warm!
  • Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment: I use this stuff every day.  In the first month, I primarily use it on her tushy during diaper changes.
  • Vitamin D: if you’re breastfeeding, doctors recommend you supplement with vitamin d because there isn’t enough in breastmilk. This one is my preferred one. There are drops that you can place directly on your nipple but that just didn’t work for me and my kids. By the time I put the drops on, they had already dripped down before my kids had a chance to ingest them.
  • Pack ‘n play (with bassinet / changer): I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this one is a must. We keep it in our living room during the day and roll it into our bedroom at night. This is where the baby sleeps during the day and at night. You can use a free-standing bassinet in your bedroom if you prefer, but neither of our children have liked standard bassinets. We have the UPPABaby bassinet and it’s flat, which can be uncomfortable for infants with reflux. We even raised the head portion to provide an incline to no avail. But both babies have loved sleeping in the Pack ‘n Play bassinet. It has an incline that they both found comfortable. In addition, once your babies reach 3 months, you can remove the bassinet and they can sleep on the flat sheet. The bassinet also doubles as a changer, which allows you to not have to set up a separate changing station. Less stuff taking up space in my living room? Yes, please!
  • Humidifier: this is another must in my book. Both of my babies’ skin was on the dry side and it helped with that. Even more importantly, it helped them breathe better by preventing dry boogers from forming. Anything to help with sleep at night is a necessity!!
  • Wipes: We get these from Costco!
  • Puj Tub or Newborn to Toddler Tub: depending on the size of your sinks at home, I recommend one of these. In our old house I liked the newborn to toddler tub because our kitchen sink was big and it fit nicely in it. We used the infant insert during this time. In our new home, our kitchen sink is smaller and the Puj tub works better in it. But it actually works best in a regular sink in our bathroom so that’s where we’ve been bathing baby girl.
  • Changing pad & liners – I wrote about my Keekaroo review here.
  • Wipes / diaper organizer – I wrote about these here.
  • Crib – see review here.
  • Dresser – see review here.
  • Diaper Pail – see review here.
  • Ultra-calming body wash – I love this for everyday use. It’s great for sensitive skin.  We use it on both of my kids.  See review here.
  • Soothing relief creamy wash: Whenever my son had patches of super dry skin, we’d use this in combination with the Aveeno soothing relief cream.  It worked like a dream.  I’d recommend having both on hand in case your babe has dry skin.
  • Car seat: We have this one as part of the UppaBaby Travel System.  It comes with a stroller and bassinet.  I highly recommend this Travel System because it can be reconfigured for a carseat and seat (or bassinet and seat) if you have two kids.  It can even hold a third! 
  • Boppy lounger – this is where my baby girl lays when she’s not in the pack n play bassinet. It’s cozy and both babies have enjoyed laying in it. We keep it on the couch and she lays on it while we watch tv, etc.
PRODUCTS FOR MAMA

I hope these help y’all as you put together your nurseries and registries. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your baby is loved and cared for. And remember the essentials: clothes, diapers and a place to sleep. Everything else is truly extra.

SHOP THE OUTFITS
NURSERY UPDATE

Another update that I’m sharing today is our nursery.  We moved into our new house at the beginning of 2019 and our nursery in this house is a bit different than the last. In our old home, the nursery was quite large and spacious.  The nursery now is an adjoining room to our master.  It was used as an office by the previous owners.  It’s smaller and rectangular-shaped.  We weren’t sure initially how it would work, but it’s been great.  We have the toddler in the nursery and baby in a pack ‘n play in our room. We were also able to fit all of the essentials in it (crib and dresser) and moved the rocker into our master bedroom. We previously had this rug in the old nursery, but it didn’t fit. So I got this one instead and I think it fits great. I also couldn’t find curtains in store that were long enough so I worked with Alli Walker Interiors on those. Alli and I had a lot of fun picking out the fabric. I wish I had a better picture of the curtain rods – we picked out a gold rod with lucite cube finials. Love how they turned out!

SHOP THE NURSERY

Post Details:

Vince Camuto Blouse | White Maternity Jeans | Bow | Floral Muslin Swaddle | Name Initials | Llama Bookends | Tanner Crib | Tanner Dresser | Baskets and Liners | Animal Prints | Changing Pad | Rug | Sheep Mobile | Mounted Ram | Glider and Ottoman | End Table | Floor lamp Humidifier | Sound Machine | Diaper Pail | Diaper / Wipes Organizer | Giraffe Stuffed Animal

Photography by: Liz Novi Photography