Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 New Year's Resolutions

I like to make realistic New Year's Resolutions that are simple, but have a big impact. To this day, the best New Year's Resolution I've made and kept is to lotion my whole body every day. I've been ash-free for years now lol. Here are some small goals for 2016:

Face mask every Sunday. Right now my face mask of choice is Charcoal Purifying Mask from Shea Shea Bakery. I plan to rejuvenate my skin with a face mask once a week. Other face care goals that aren't necessarily resolutions are drinking more water, washing my face twice a day, and washing my pillow cases more often. 

Watch more TV. Most people are probably going into the New Year with the opposite resolution. I want to actually watch more TV this year. Really watch it. Not scroll social media while it plays in the background, or glance up at it while I'm working. I want to 100% watch TV while I'm watching TV this year. Looking forward to: black-ish, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Modern Family, Downton Abbey, Shameless, Portlandia, and for some reason - American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Limit phone usage when I'm not alone. If I'm in the presence of other people I'm going to try my best to engage with them rather than browsing on my phone. Unless I have a specific task I want to do, I'll keep my phone to the side. 

What are your 2016 New Year's Resolutions? 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Not-So-Perfect Christmases

My Christmas went SO WONDERFUL. It was our first time hosting Christmas and I really couldn't have asked for things to go better. The day was chill and relaxed, my Christmas dinner turned out great, and I got to watch BabyCakes walk around and play with her presents all day. 

I attribute the greatness of the day to me relaxing and letting go of expectations. I have a high propensity to have a lot of anxiety when it comes to hosting at all. Add to that the pressure that comes with making Christmas day perfect and magical and I had a higher than likely chance of being stressed out and disappointed that I didn't do things perfectly. 

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves during this season. It can be heartbreaking when things don't go as we plan. I've read two blog posts recently from people who didn't have the perfect Christmases they hoped for:

Kate at the Greatest Escapist writes about How She Accidentally Ruined Christmas

Marquette at Pinstrosity writes about How Christmas Really Went

Both of these posts touched me because I could see myself in them. I could remember times when I felt similarly. I appreciated how REAL and open they were. Neither post ended on a happy note and that is REAL. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be crushed by unfulfilled expectations. Sometimes we make a small mistake and allow that to consume us to where we feel like we do nothing right. Those are real feelings. I appreciate both of these women for sharing their experiences. 

I wish us all the ability to stop being our worst enemy is 2016!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Newborn Items We Still Use at 15 Months

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

There is so much STUFF out there for babies. It can be a bit overwhelming when you're pregnant to know what to buy and what not to buy. What do you need? What is a luxury? Here is what we purchased in the beginning that we still use at almost 15 months.

Summer Infant 4-sided Changing pad. This changing pad has been great. I never mounted it to anywhere so that I could move it around the house as needed. I also didn't purchase a cover for it. Since we cloth diaper I have plenty of prefolds and flat diapers around that I lay on the pad. It's easier for me to swap those out when they get dirty.

Bottle drying apparatuses. I have both the Munchkin Deluxe Drying Rack and a Boon Lawn Counter-top Drying Rack. I use both. The Boon Lawn drying rack is always on the counter, while I pull out the Munchkin for back-up if it's been a long time since I've washed her dishes and I have a lot to dry. These have taken us through drying breast pump parts and bottles, to just bottles, and now to her various cups, bowls and spoons. 

Pack 'n Play. I actually just purchased a second Pack n' Play to keep in Connecticut for when I visit my family there. She slept in the Pack n' Play before we transitioned her to her crib. She sleeps in a Pack n' Play whenever we travel and she also plays in one when I take her to work with me.

Wipes dispenser. Buying wipes in bulk is the way to go. When you buy individual containers you're paying extra for plastic and creating more waste. I purchase wipes in bulk from Amazon and I have this OXO wipes dispenser.

Let me also share things that are nice to have, but I don't think are worth purchasing.

Bottle warmer. I'm not saying this isn't worth having, but I used mine so few times that I'm glad I received one second hand from a friend for free. I'd say I only used it for about a month, then I realized BabyCakes was totally fine with cold or room temperature milk.
Shopping cart cover. This came in handy during my new mom germaphobe can't let my baby touch anything phase, but I'm glad I received it as a gift because I think we used it all of three times. 
Which baby products could you not live without?


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Event Recap: TresseNoire Noire Soiree

photo credit: Terrell Halsey

Last month I had the pleasure of attending the TresseNoire Noire Soiree. It took place in the cutest restaurant, Point of Destination Cafe (which is right next to the Upsal Regional Rail station if you're in Philly). I was running behind so I wasn't able to get any of the food but the atmosphere of the restaurant was really cute and cozy. I checked them out on Facebook and their menu looks delicious.  

photo credit: Terrell Halsey

One of the vendors was cinagrOrganic. I don't need any more products so I tried to ignore her stand lol. But I heard her explaining her all natural handmade products and I wanted to support so I got my friend Tanya a set for her birthday. 

photo credit: Terrell Halsey

The lovely hosts for the program were the duo from Curlswithlove, who had their hair styled for the event by the TresseNoire team. 

First in the program was Tonya Ladipo from The Ladipo Group, an all African American group of therapists and counselors. For Tonya's presentation she did a very important exercise using a jar, sand, rocks, and pebbles, to illustrate that in order to maximize our capacity each day we have to be sure to take time for ourselves and our families and not let small tasks overwhelm us or make us lose sight of the bigger things in life. 

photo credit: Terrell Halsey

D&P Financial Services gave tips on saving more and spending less during the holiday season, including cashing in rewards points that you develop throughout the year on various cards and bringing cash only shopping so that you stick to your budget.

LeeAnn Willis, the Weight Loss D.I.V.A., gave an intro to her book and journey with weight-loss. 

One of the TresseNoire stylists did a quick and easy hair demo right in front of the audience. 

photo credit: Terrell Halsey

While the program went on attendees were able to get services from the Glam Bar: manicure, curl consultation and/or massage. It was a lovely time with a very diverse group of women.

Although TresseNoire is a mobile hairstyling company, the event was so much more than hair. It offered enrichment for hair, mind, body and budget. I really admire the founders,Octavia and Regina, for seeing a need (the need for in home professional hair care services for women who don't have the time for the salon) and taking a leap to fill that void.

They are currently running a 12 Curls of Christmas giveaway on their Instagram, now through Christmas. Follow them for details on entering!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

3 Ways to Entertain a Toddler with Plastic Balls

This post contains affiliate links. 

toddler activities with plastic balls

Entertaining a toddler takes a lot of strategy. We've had two packs of these plastic balls (phthalate free, BPA free, crush proof) for a while now and BabyCakes loves them. Here are 3 ways to entertain a toddler with plastic balls.

Put them in (and out) of a muffin tin. BabyCakes is really into organization, and fitting things into place. I'll give her a muffin tin with a ball in each hole and she'll independently play taking the balls in and out of the tin. Right now I'm working on getting her to put them in organized by color. 

Play catch. We roll balls back and forth. She also plays catch with herself, throwing the ball, chasing after it, then throwing it again. 

DIY baby ball pit

Make a DIY baby ball pit. I shared before our method of creating an easy DIY baby ball pit (if you missed it read here). Four months later she still enjoys playing in the ball pit. Because the container has a lid, it's also very easy to close it up and tuck it away when she isn't playing. 

The only "downside" of ball play is that BabyCakes can't quite clean them up by herself yet, so that's my job after bedtime lol. But I'll happily trade ball collection for some free moments during the day while she entertains herself. 

What are you doing to entertain your toddler?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Motherhood is Cray

The baby is just hanging around in a cloth diaper and socks because she had just peed through her diaper and her clothes and I could only get her into a fresh diaper because I was changing her while on a conference call for work. It was supposed to her nap time, but she refused to nap and talked through the call.

I have the utmost respect for work-at-home moms. I could not do this long term. I'd lose my mind.  

I'm exhausted because she woke up at 4:45am and wouldn't go back to sleep until 6am. 

Hubs and I joke that she runs the house and we're just her servants. Which, although a joke, is basically true. I've taken to calling us "male servant" and "female servant."

Male servant, throw me up and down until I giggle uncontrollably. 

Female servant, pick up my toys so I can throw them around all over again. 

Toddlers are cray. Parenthood is cray. As Hubs says, it's my favorite inconvenience. It's all worth it for this smile: 

Note: cray = crazy, but without the Z ;-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Easy Head-wrap Tutorial

I love a good head-wrap on a:

1. bad hair day
2. hit snooze too many times day
3. too lazy to do my hair day
4. really want to stand out day

This is my go-to wrap style. It is quick, easy, and cute!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Empty Your Trash

It is so satisfying to throw trash in an empty trash can. You take the dirty, the grimy, and the smelly and toss it away never to be seen again. It's so easy to get rid of unwanted things when the can is empty. On the other hand, when the trash is full and you're procrastinating on taking it out you have to get your hands dirty and push the trash down making room for more. Every time you open the lid you catch the stench of old garbage. And God forbid you fill the bag too much, and it rips when you finally decide to take it out, leaving trash all over your home.

This is how life works. You have to take the trash out of your life: out of your habits, out of your emotions, out of your relationships... You can only hold so much garbage. Let it go early on so you don't risk it bubbling up when your metaphorical bag breaks. Don't keep it around so long that you're continually smelling it and pushing it down, getting yourself into even more of a mess.

Empty your trashcan. Move on to easier, cleaner, better smelling living.

Monday, November 16, 2015

UBERA - Take Heart. Stay Smart.

This post brought to you by ProPharma USA. The content and opinions expressed below are that of http://www.nesheaholic.com/.

When it comes to optimum body function you can't have it without working intentionally. I'm always on the hunt for tips, tricks, and nutrition to help me function at my highest ability, so when I was contacted by UBERA about their supplement for heart and brain health I was intrigued.

We all know the heart and brain are our greatest assets. They allow us to engage in life and give us the energy and focus we need to keep up with the everyday, and my everyday requires a lot of focus: work, toddler chasing, keeping home, and numerous side projects. 

The heart and the brain work together to keep us running. That’s the whole idea behind UBERA. It’s an innovative, herbal formulation that supports BOTH heart health and brain function from the ground up.

UBERA (pronounced “oo-BEAR-ah”) is a unique blend of 3 of the oldest known herbs - Hawthorn, Ginkgo, and Kudzu all in one capsule. These herbs are used to support blood flow and sharpen the mind/improve memory. UBERA is all natural and made in the USA.

I started UBERA last Friday and got to test it out over a very busy period of meetings, deadlines to be met,and events. Despite having one of these days include a board meeting, a film project meeting, and a natural hair event, I was able to give good attention to all the tasks and all the people who needed my concentration.

I also saw an improvement in my focus while doing writing for my blog and some side projects. I was able to think a little deeper to get some good ideas and outlines for future work.

I don't get to nap often but usually I WANT to nap often. I've found myself with less tiredness and more drive to get tasks done without dreams of tucking myself in for an afternoon nap.

If you're looking for something to give you a mental boost, give UBERA a try.

Visit Sponsors Site

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Only Red Cup I Care About

It was 2007. I was working a long shift at the box office of Painted Bride Art Center. It was the evening and I had been there all day. The lobby was really cold because artists and patrons had been coming in and out. I was a bit down for some reason, and being cold didn't really help that. I happened to be complaining to the technical director at the time about how I just wished I had a hot chocolate. Hot for my body and chocolate for my emotions. Around 30 minutes later a random man walked up to the box office with a red Starbucks cup. It said "Pass the Cheer" and it was filled with hot chocolate. I could have cried.

He was a patron coming to the show that night, had overheard my complaints and went and got me a hot chocolate. A simple act of kindness that meant a lot to me. That gesture brightened my whole day.

THAT is all that matters. Kindness. This is the season of giving, love and kindness. Red cup, black cup, plain cup, designed cup, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, none of that matters if we aren't treating each other with kindness.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Philly Naturals: Treat Yo' Self - Noire Soiree (Giveaway)

Many women with natural hair enjoy the freedom from salons that being natural offers. I never liked or frequented salons, even in my relaxer days. I enjoy doing my own hair. With that said, having a toddler, a full-time job, and numerous side projects, I don't always have time to do my own hair the way I would like to. Although I wish someone else would do my hair, I can't gamble with time the way you must with a salon appointment. You never know if the stylist will be behind with the clients before you, or if there will be some other back up. Tressenoire is the answer to that problem.

Tressenoire is a MOBILE hair salon. That means you get professional quality hairstyling but at your home. It's the best of both worlds. You get someone else to do your hair, at a guaranteed time, in the comfort of your own space. They do it all - loc maintenance, crotchet installs, braids, twists, rod sets, updos, cornrows, and children's styles.

You can check out their work: Website  // Twitter  //  Facebook  //  Instagram

In honor of their first anniversary Tressenoire is teaming up with The Ladipo Group to bring Philly naturals an event to pamper themselves, mind and body: The Noire Soiree

Sunday, November 15 | 3pm - 6pm
Point of Destination - 6460 Greene St. Philadelphia, PA 19144
For tickets: CLICK HERE or enter to win tickets below! 

They'll be pampering you with health & wellness tips to make the busy holiday season enjoyable. The Ladipo Group will offer self-care tips for busy women that teach you how to place yourself on your own to-do list! D&P Financials will provide financial wellness tips with ways to make and stick to a realistic budget during the holidays. And there will be nail services by Canvas Skin.

I have a pair of tickets to give away to the event. I hope to see you there! Giveaway closes Friday at midnight. There are a variety of ways to enter below. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Best and Hardest Moments of Parenting: Year One

best and hardest parenting moments year one
5 Days Old

BabyCakes is almost 13 months old. You always hear that time flies when you have a child and that they grow up so fast. That is absolutely true. Now that we're past the first year I thought I'd share some of the best and hardest moments from our first year as parents.

() Hardest

Her first diaper rash. We've been fortunate to not have many diaper rash situations but that first one put me into a full emotional breakdown. It wasn't even the worst one she's had. That first one I was a fledgling new parent of only about 3 weeks and I felt like I had failed my daughter and let her get a diaper rash. Did I not change her often enough? Did I eat something that made her urine too acidic? Did I not wash the diapers well enough? At the end of the day it wasn't a big deal at all, but everything seems high stakes when you first have your child and every decision feels like it has to be the perfect one or the world will fall apart. That isn't true. As a new parent you are completely capable of making good decisions for your family, and adjusting if your first decision doesn't work out the way you hoped. 

The family stomach bug of Spring 2015. You know whats hard? Stressing over a baby with a stomach bug, caring for a baby with a stomach bug, caring for a husband with that stomach bug, and feeling queasy yourself, all at the same time. Thank God we made it through that and I wasn't badly effected by the bug so I could hold down the fort. When you really need it, don't be afraid to tap your network for help. Thanks again to Ciara for bringing over diapers and Lisa for bringing over ginger-ale, Gatorade, crackers, soup and Lysol! 

Two Months Old

() Best

Nursing. I really loved nursing. I loved looking at her little face looking up at me while she ate. There is something so empowering and nurturing in providing your child sustenance from your body. I felt like a super woman with the power to make her happy and put her to sleep all within me. 

Mommy/Daughter Naps. Early on the only time I could really "sleep while baby sleeps" during the day was if she was sleeping on my chest or in my arms. I couldn't move, so I'd take that opportunity to catch some shut eye myself. I miss being able to hold her while she slept on my chest.

Don't rush the time when they entirely depend on you. Don't wish you could put them down so you could clean. Don't get annoyed by their clinginess, because it really will be gone before you know it. 

Milestones. Every one of them. Sitting up, smiling, standing, eating, clapping, playing peek-a-boo, waving, high fives. I don't know at what point we stop being amazed by this little bundle of sunlight. I love to see her explore the world and learn new things. 

Parenting is awesome, and confusing, and stressful, and fun, and amazing.

What's been one of your best (or hardest) parenting moments thus far?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Guide to Buying Used Cloth Diapers

It probably sounds strange or even gross to purchase used cloth diapers but it is the most cost effective way to go about cloth diapering. Buying used diapers and selling your diapers when you're done makes cloth diapering extremely wallet friendly. Here is my guide to purchasing used cloth diapers.

() Finding

My two resources for used Cloth Diapers are the Baby Center Cloth Diaper Swap and the Facebook Cloth Diaper Swap

() Buying Language

PPD means postage is included in the price listed. If you don't see ppd plan on paying additional for shipping. 

NIP means new in package. 

EUC means excellent used condition. 

GU means gently used condition. 

VGUC means very good used condition.

() Payment

To purchase and sell cloth diapers you should make a Paypal account to send funds and receive invoices easily. 

() Pricing

When comparing the price of a used diaper with that of a retail diaper take into consideration the ENTIRE price. Compare the price of the diaper and the price of the shipping for new vs. used. Also, if you're purchasing natural fiber diapers (cotton, hemp, etc) take into account that to prep those diapers when purchased new they must be washed and dried multiple times. For natural fiber diapers I was willing to purchase used diapers at equal price to new diapers because I didn't have to go through the prepping process. 

People do sell used cloth diapers at higher prices than retail at times, usually based on the print. If a print has been discontinued, or has a limited run some are willing to pay more than retail for the used diaper. I have never done that, but to some people having specific prints are worth the extra money. 

My general rule of thumb is if the diaper + shipping cost was at least $1 less than what it would cost to purchase retail with shipping it is a good deal. I like bartering with other mommas and helping them out monetarily while saving our family some money.

() Washing 

You absolutely want to do a bleach soak on all used cloth diapers you obtain. Bleach kills everything you want to kill on a used diaper. To bleach soak your diapers grab a bucket and put in cold water and 1 tablespoon of bleach for each gallon of water you use. Let the diapers soak for just 30 minutes. 30 minutes will sanitize the diapers but not make your prints fade. After you bleach soak your diapers wash them in hot water with detergent, and give them a cold rinse and you're good to go.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Baby Hair and Body Care (w/ eczema)


BabyCakes has eczema. Because of this I have to be particular about her body care. I have to use products with good ingredients and little fragrance. I wash her clothes in fragrance free Tide or All detergent. She gets a bath once - twice a week with Shea Moisture Fragrance Free Baby Extra-Mild Wash & Shampoo. I moisturize her morning and night with either Shea Moisture Baby Eczema Therapy or Char's Creations Whipped Shea Body Butter from Etsy. 

Because she has eczema I use cream based moisturizers. Water based lotions (those whose first ingredient is water) are pretty useless. It's imperative to seal moisture into her skin so right after her bath or in between baths when I wipe her down with a wash cloth, I apply the creams. She also has a low dose prescription steroid cream for when she has a really bad flare up. I do my best to go about treating her skin all naturally, but her eczema is hereditary, and there are some seasons that make her really dry so we use the steroid cream sparingly when her skin gets to the point that I can tell the itching is making her uncomfortable. 


I wash her hair once a week while she's in the bathtub. I shampoo with the Shea Moisture shampoo and wash I mentioned above. I use Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Extra-Moisture Detangler on wet hair to detangle her hair and as her leave in conditioner. She doesn't need any moisturizer between washes at this point. Her regimen is super simple. For styling I usually just let her rock a curly fro. Occasionally she'll wear a headband or bow. I've also experimented with some ponytails, and a baby faux-hawk.  


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Best Halloween Costumes 2015

This post contains affiliate links. 

I hadn't realized until Friday how excited I was for Halloween. This was BabyCakes's first Halloween being mobile, and my first Halloween in a few years where I dressed up and went out. Both online and while I was out I came across some really nice costumes. 
The Cutest Bumble Bee you know.

If you're looking for baby/toddler/kid bumble bee outfits Amazon has some great choice HERE

This is what I wore to work on Friday. My Pink Ladies skirt is my go-to back-up costume. Mine is pretty old but there is a newer version here

This is what I wore out. I was Viola Davis as Annalise Keating from How to Get Away with Murder.

My friend Janice and her mom put together this lovely Nefertiti costume. Look at the detail in the head piece! 

We had a second Queen in the crew, the Queen of Hearts, put together completely DIY by my friend Tiffany. She won the Most Original costume contest while we were out. 

Cat Can Craft NAILED IT with this Pom Bottle costume. 

My friend Jackie from The Cubicle Collections put together a cute work appropriate Mary Poppins. 

Natural Belle did a great Wednesday Addams. 

What are the best costumes you've seen this Halloween? 
In person or online. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cloth Diapering: What Works Best (for us)

Note: I will be writing a separate post on buying used diapers, where to find them, how to clean them, etc. Most of the diapers I mention below I purchased used or new from other moms. Very few diapers in our stash came brand new. Cloth diapering is much more cost effective if you purchase used and re-sell diapers when they no longer work for you. 

While I was pregnant I did a LOT of research on cloth diapers. I watched videos, read blog posts, and primarily asked questions and read through the Babycenter Cloth Diaper BoardBy the time BabyCakes arrived I had already purchased our starting stash and we began cloth diapering as soon as we got home from the hospital. What diapers we use have evolved as she's gotten bigger and more mobile. 

From birth - three months our preferred diapers were the Blueberry Newborn Simplex, prefolds with Thirsties covers or Workhorse fitteds with Thirsties covers. I never had leaks with any of these. The Simplex were easy because they were all in one to take off and put on. I liked these especially for night time because I could change them in the dark. They were also my preference when it came to diapers when we were out. But Simplex are the most expensive option so Workhorses and prefolds with covers were a larger part of our stash that we used more regularly. I don't do any fancy folds, I just pad fold my prefolds, so it's pretty easy:

At around four months I sold my newborn size Simplex for some one size Simplex. Those I still use now and should grow with her all the way to potty training in size. I also started incorporating BumGenius 4.0 pocket diapers into our stash (not because I actually needed to, but because I had a bit of a diaper obsession at that point lol). I realized early on that the microfiber inserts that came with the BumGenius diapers made BabyCakes have a rash. But the fit of BumGenius was really good, so I tossed the microfiber inserts and started stuffing the pockets with the prefolds I had been previously using with covers. I also added some Blueberry covers into our stash and purchased larger Thirsties covers, as she had outgrown the small ones we started with.

Four months also brought a challenge for nighttime. She was sleeping longer and wetting through diapers at night. Through further research I found that nighttime fitted diapers were the way to go. I started with two Soothebaby fitteds, which I love and also added two Pooters to the stash, which I also love. We have only four nighttime diapers in our stash still, and that works fine for our washing schedule (every two-three days). I also tried Mother Ease Sandy's fitteds for nighttime but they didn't fit her well so I sold them off.

This diaper cover from Sunshine Cloth Diapers.

Our diapering needs didn't change again until very recently where we started to have more and more leaks, especially overnight. Every diaper we use at this point has an additional insert. I think I'm going to sell off my Blueberry Simplex in favor of more BumGenius pockets because they are easier to stuff. Right now the additional inserts I use are Thirsties Hemp Inserts or Charcoal Bamboo. This means we add an insert inside of the prefolds with covers, stuffed into the pockets, or laid on top of the all in ones. We also add an insert into her four night diapers.The only system we have that hasn't needed changing are the Workhorses with covers. Those are still sufficiently absorbent on their own. I reach for these when I am diapering her, but I keep pockets and all in ones around for ease at daycare.

Cloth diapering really is a game of trial and error to find what's best, but if you research enough you'll have a good idea on what works for most people, and what may work best for you depending on your preferences. 

As far as number of diapers, if you are starting at birth, you'll want to have at least 36 changes to wash every 2 - 3 days. You can have less if you think you can wash more often. If you are transitioning from disposables I would add one diaper to the number of disposables you use each day, and make that your starting point. 

Any questions?


Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Story: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. These are my stories.

Prior to getting pregnant the first time I thought the process was fairly simple: you thought you were pregnant, you took a pregnancy test, it read positive, and you were pregnant. A few weeks into my first pregnancy someone from my OBGYN's office called to tell me my blood work numbers didn't look like they should have. I asked "Am I pregnant?" and she said "You are not, not pregnant." What kind of answer is that? I thought. Since when was there ambiguity in pregnancy? To make matters worse, this was on a Friday before the New Year holiday so there was nothing I could do, or a doctor I could see until the following week.

About a week later I began bleeding. Bleeding is the last thing on earth you want to see when you are pregnant. Between the blood work numbers and the bleeding I knew what was happening. I was having a miscarriage. It was devastating. It felt so unfair. I felt so alone. My doctor told me that miscarriage was common, and it is, but that didn't make me feel any less of a loss.

My second pregnancy I was justifiably apprehensive about everything. I no longer had the privilege of thinking that when you get pregnant, having a baby is a guarantee. I went through the blood work process again and all seemed well. Then came the day women look forward to, the first ultrasound. I was going to get to see my baby and hear his or her heartbeat. I was very excited. The ultrasound technician didn't show me any photos, or let me hear the heartbeat, she just said that a doctor would be in with me shortly. Deep inside I felt something was wrong, but this was my first ultrasound so I tried to convince myself that this was routine. A nurse came in and said that my OBGYN's office was on the phone for me. My doctor told me that there was no heartbeat, and that I would come into her office the next day to talk about my options.

I ended up needing a D&C. I had to be put to sleep for my first time ever for the procedure. I woke up no longer pregnant. When I was wheeled outside the aid set my wheelchair next to a women sitting in a wheelchair holding her new baby. We were both waiting for our husbands to pick us up. She was leaving with a baby, and I was leaving heartbroken and sore.

Tests were run to see if there was any reason they could find why the baby hadn't survived, but nothing came back. Both pregnancies no reason was ever given for why I didn't carry to full term. That was probably the hardest part - not knowing WHY. During this same period of time I also lost my dog Sunny. It was one of the saddest time periods of my whole life.

This was hard to write, but I want women out there who have lost a pregnancy to know that they are not alone. That they have done nothing wrong. That they are allowed to hurt and to grieve.

I don't think much about those previous pregnancies now, except when I think of how very blessed we are to have BabyCakes. I don't know WHY I had those miscarriages, but I have to accept that it was my destiny, and that BabyCakes is the baby we've waited for all along.


Friday, October 9, 2015

One Year in the Life of Sage

This year has flew by, and brought with it so many wonderful times. All I can say is that I am blessed to have this wonderful little person in my life. 


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Four Ways Life is Like Giving Birth

One of the most important things I learned in my birth class was to take labor one contraction at a time. Labor is hard, contractions are tough. When you focus on just getting through your current contraction it's a manageable process. If all you can think of is "When will this be over?" you will be miserable. Tackling each micro goal is the most pleasant way to make it through the process. The same applies to life. You have to focus and handle each hurdle that comes. Being weighed down by all the steps ahead of you at once is not helpful, and can stall your progress.

Four Ways Giving Birth is Like Life

It feels like you're getting nowhere. During the journey it can feel like you are making no progress, but you are. Each contraction, each tough step, is a step forward.

It's going to happen whether you like it or not. Once you are full term and in labor you are going to birth a baby and there is nothing you can do about it. Life will have its trials and tribulations. You can't stop that. Embrace them, work through them, conquer them, don't let them defeat you, because they are going to come no matter what. 

It's the hardest right before the reward. The contractions get harder and closer together the closer you are to bringing your baby earth side. The closer you are to reaching your goals the harder life is likely to be, but the reward is coming!

The end goal is the greatest motivation. Nothing keeps you moving forward in labor like the fact that you are about to meet the child you've been growing inside of you for more than half a year. When you are close to reaching your goals, you have to use that as fuel to push through until you birth your destiny.

Take life one contraction at a time. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Impromptu Breakfast Date with Myself

Sometimes you have to do something just for you. Not something for your job, or your family, or your friends, or for your future. Something just for you, to make you feel good. 

This morning I went on a solo breakfast date to Luna Cafe (if you're in Philly its on Market between 3rd and 4th). It's a place I pass daily on my commute. Occasionally I grab a breakfast sandwich to-go on my walk past it. Today I decided I would stop, sit down, and have breakfast. The food was good (I had scrambled eggs, wheat toast, bacon and an orange/ginger/carrot juice), the service was good, but even better was the time spent with myself. The thirty or so minutes where I just chilled. 

I had a late work event last night so I pretty much went straight to bed when I got home. This morning I had a diaper situation that required me to put BabyCakes in the bathtub, and start her laundry, so that ate into any morning free time I would have had. 

Sitting and eating breakfast was a great way to re-calibrate my day. Now I'm ready to handle the world!

What have you done for yourself lately?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Friday Favorites 10.2.15

NATIONAL COFFEE DAY: My coworkers and I have been brewing coffee in the office instead of buying coffee in coffee shops and that has been great for my wallet as I'm saving money on take-out coffee. The picture above is one we took in the office for National Coffee Day on Tuesday. 

SUSHI AND WHITE CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA NUT COOKIES: These are the two greatest things I've eaten this week. If you are in Philly, Tiffany's bakery in the gallery has the best white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. They also have a great strawberry shortcake.  I would tell you where I got my sushi, but they were rude to me when I requested that they label each person's order (I was ordering for 5) so now they don't get my lovely free word of mouth advertising lol. 

#MorningMotivation: On My Twitter I've started posting a motivational picture each day. It helps me set the tone for my day, and hopefully it inspires others. 

PLAY YARD: We got this play yard and it has made life a lot easier. I can put BabyCakes in it with all her toys and know that she can play safely without getting into anything while I cook, clean, run upstairs, let the dog out, etc. Prior to this we were blocking the stairs and doorways with footstools. This is a much better solution. Here is a vlog from the day we picked up the play yard during our Popecation last weekend: 

I'm trying to begin a practice of being more thankful and mindful of all that is good in my life, even the little things. I am so very blessed, both big and small. My Friday Favorites series is dedicated to the small things that make my life happy.

What was your favorite thing about this week?


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why I Love October

This morning in the train station I noticed everyone was getting their new monthly passes. I thought "Wow, they are so proactive." Then I realized, with only one minute to spare before my train arrived, that it was October 1st and that I myself needed a new pass! I was able to grab one and make my train, thankfully. 

I love October. It feels like the official beginning to fall. October brings in the beginning of the holiday season. BabyCake's birthday is October 9th. My wedding anniversary is October 18th, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and my (30th) birthday. Oh my!

October brings in comfy sweaters, warm beverages, soups, hats, scarves, and an energy of possibilities.  

What are you looking forward to in October?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Favorites 9.25.15

I'm trying to begin a practice of being more thankful and mindful of all that is good in my life, even the little things. I am so very blessed, both big and small. My new Friday Favorites series will be dedicated to the small things that make my life happy.

HAIR: Having my crotchet braids have made mornings this week SO. MUCH. EASIER.

TV: This week kicked off Fall TV premiers. I enjoyed the return of Black-ish, Empire, How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal, and The Mindy Project. I have a lot of TV to catch up on also. I still haven't finished the last seasons of Fresh Off the Boat, Scorpion, or Gotham.

BABY: Hubs got Sage a walker toy and she's just starting to actually stand up and walk with it. It's so cute.  I posted a video of her picking up speed on my Instagram.

LIFE: My mind has been racing lately, so I picked up a journal to write down thoughts, questions, hopes, dreams, goals, etc. Journaling has really been helping me sort through my thoughts. And my journal is so cute and was only $3 at Ross!

What were your favorite things about this week?


Friday, September 18, 2015

Crotchet Braids and the joy of not having to do my hair

I enjoy doing my hair. I enjoyed it even more pre-motherhood when I had a little more free time on my hands. With that being said, I also adore the relief of having my hair in a long-term protective style. Not having to worry about styling my hair in the morning for a few weeks is definitely a luxury I greatly enjoy. 

My friend Keisha recently installed Senegalese twists via the crotchet method for me. It only took 2 hours and 15 minutes in comparison to the 6-8 hours installing individual twists takes. If you aren't familiar with the process, crotchet braids are installed by using a latch hook tool to crotchet hair into your corn-braided hair. 

Below you can see the braid pattern of my hair underneath my twists. 

For maintenance I plan to moisturize my hair and scalp underneath the twists every other day or so with Shea Moisture Hold & Shine Moisture Mist

What styles do you employ to give yourself a break from doing your hair?


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New Toy: Step2 Sportastic Activity Center

BabyCakes is really into climbing nowadays. She'll climb all the way up the stairs if I let her, and sometimes I do, following closely behind her of course. I wanted to get her some sort of climbing toy to keep her climbing interest away from the stairs and more in her play area. I landed on the Step2 Sportstastic Activity Center.

Here's a vlog from when we first got it, put it together, and started playing:

Of course because I bought this for climbing, she doesn't climb on it lol. Every once in a while she'll climb up the slide, but what she really likes to do is dunk the basketball, and not just the basketball, but any of the balls from her baby ball pit, and pretty much any other toy that can fit through the hoop, spherical or otherwise. Could we have the next Sheryl Swoopes on our hands?! Hubs sure hopes so, he's been saying she was going to be a basketball player since she was in the womb lol

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

To First Birthday Party or Not to First Birthday Party?

That is the question. 

Pinterest would have you believe that your child's first birthday party must be extravagant, complete with a candy bar, tutu clad highchair, and an extravagant theme.

I've gone back and forth about what to do for Sage's birthday, which is in A MONTH, which is CRAZY because I feel like I just had her. While I know people want to celebrate her birthday with her, she doesn't like loud noises or a lot of attention on her, and it takes her a couple hours to warm up to people she doesn't see often. A birthday party would stress her out and by association stress me out as well. 

Instead of a traditional party we're going to take cake smash pictures and go on a family trip to Linvilla Orchards - hayride, harvest story, pumpkin picking and her first apple cider and roasted marshmallow. 

Perhaps for her second birthday she'll be more amenable to a Pinterest worthy affair.
What did you/will you do for your child's first birthday?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Postpartum Hair Shedding Update

I shared before that around 14 weeks postpartum my hair starting shedding, particularly in my edges/hairline. I styled around the shedding and eventually the shedding stopped. Now I'm in this awkward phase where my edges are growing back, so those spots are no longer bald, but they are much shorter than the rest of my hair. 

To help with growing my hairline back I've been using Jamaican Black Castor Oil and the Shea Moisture Strengthen, Grow & Restore Edge Treatment. As of right now it still requires strategic styling (mainly headbands/scarves) to hide the shorter pieces in the front if I have my hair back, but I am happy that the postpartum shedding stopped and I'm on my way to a full hairline again! 

Strategic headbands and scarves: 

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