Monday, August 13, 2018

Why I'm Loc'ing My 3 Year Old's Hair

little girl with locs

Both my husband and I have locs. I've been thinking about loc'ing BabyCake's hair for a few months now. My reservations were:

Starting them myself - my husband and I both got our locs started by an actual loctician even though I maintain both of our hair so I was worried about starting locs for the first time.

Getting bored with all our hair - I love having my locs, but I liked still being able to style and experiment with my daughter's loose natural hair.

Worrying about what other people would think - everyone loves BabyCakes big curly hair, so I hesitated with not wanting to disappoint other people.

So why did I ultimately decide to loc her hair?

little girl with locs

BabyCakes has been saying she wants locs like us - the combination of her vocalizing that she wants locs and imaging us a fully loc'd family was definitely a big factor.

Washing and styling her loose natural hair is very laborious - it's generally not a fun time for either of us. She mostly hates having her hair parted, which is no longer necessary with her locs.

It's only been two weeks since I put in the two-strand twists to start her locs but it's already a relief to know I don't have to fight to comb her hair. She also has a lot more freedom with her hair now. I don't have to be concerned about it tangling so she's gotten to wear it out much more often than when she had loose natural hair, and enjoys whipping it back and forth.

I'm looking forward to her experiencing her loc journey, and to seeing the fruits of my labor being the person who started her locs and will maintain them.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Taking a day to 'just' be a mom

Today was a rare occasion when I got to “just” be a mom. My only priority was momming. I wasn’t checking emails, I wasn’t thinking about obligations, I wasn’t even cleaning the house. I wanted the day to just be about having a good time with BabyCakes.

Parenting is the hardest when you’re pulled in 5 directions while also trying to parent. I’m so thankful for the times I get to/allow myself to enjoy her and push everything else to the back burner.

Today we had an awesome time at our first visit to Sister Cities Park in Philadelphia. This place is truly a hidden gem.

They have a splash pad and a really awesome Children’s Discovery Garden that has a pond, rocks the kids can climb, and a stream. You can send a boat down from the top of the stream and watch it go throughout the park to the pond. There is also a Library in the Park Book Cart that has books from the library out that you can read while you're there. We read two books while we waited for the garden to open.

Next time we visit I'm definitely going to bring some water toys and pack us a blanket and picnic lunch so we can eat there in the grassy area. If you have never been, definitely take the kids. I recommend getting there around 9:30am-ish so the kids can play in the splash pad for a while before the garden opens up at 10am. By noon it gets pretty packed so we headed out around then.

When is the last time you slowed down and just focused on ONE aspect of your life for a day?


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Summer Savings on Fresh Cut Fruit

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreshCutSavings #CollectiveBias

Summer is right around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited for warmer weather and all the flavors that accompany the season, especially all the fresh fruit!

Summer doesn’t exactly mean things are winding down, which is why Odwalla and ZICO products are the perfect staple to fit into your busy lifestyle.

Whether they are part of a breakfast, or a pre/post workout snack, these products are a perfect on-the-go solution to those that are trying to make a “better-for-you” choice.

For a limited time at Albertsons and Safeway you can Save $1 when you buy any (2) Odwalla 15.2 fl. oz. or ZICO 13.5 fl. oz. and (1) Fresh Cut Fruit. Offer valid with digital coupon.

Click here to load your card to offer

Enjoy all the flavors of Fresh Cut Fruit without the hassle - ready for snacking or to add to your own fruit smoothie or smoothie bowl!

Don’t pass up these #FreshCutSavings - available for a limited time!

*Participating products:

  • Odwalla 15.2 oz bottles
  • ZICO 400mL

Offer valid 5/16 - 6/12 and while supplies last. Purchase must be made in a single transaction. Digital coupons are not valid unless downloaded to your Loyalty Account. Retailers include: Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Shaws, Star Market, ACME, Pavillions, Carrs, and Jewel-Osco retailers.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Bed Upgrade for Less than $600

This post contains affiliate links. For more information read my full disclosure policy

Ya'll. I have a confession. Up until recently I was sleeping on a bed frame that my grandparents gave me for my first COLLEGE APARTMENT. I'll save you doing the math, that was 13 years ago!

Hubs and I haven't been sleeping well because of a number of inefficiencies in our bed situation. Besides the 13 year old bed frame we were also dealing with a box spring that was actually two box springs put together, and they slipped apart every time we sat down. On top of those two precarious box springs was a spring mattress over seven years old that you could visibly see the indentations of our bodies in. Needless to say, we desperately needed an upgrade. After a bunch of research, review reading, and price comparisons we have completely upgraded our bed and I am so happy with it.


For our mattress we opted for one of the foam mattresses that come in a box. Yes, the same type you probably hear advertised on your favorite podcast. But we didn't want to spend thousands of dollars so we chose the Zinus Memory Foam 12 Inch Green Tea Mattress. It came rolled up on a box and it was pretty cool to see it expand. It was like magic. I really love having a memory foam mattress. It's such a different sensation from having a spring mattress. It doesn't have much give, it just absorbs your weight to support your body in just the right way. It also absorbs movement so we don't feel each other moving around in the bed nearly as much. 

I will note, BabyCakes was not happy with the new mattress. She thought it was "broken" because it doesn't offer the same bed jumping ability as the spring mattress did lol. 

King sized mattress all rolled up.


I knew going into our search that I wanted anything but dual box springs. I wanted one solid piece to support the mattress. We ended up ditching box springs all together and opted for the Zinus Upholstered Diamond Stitched Platform Bed. It's been so nice to have a headboard again. It's nice to be able to sit up in the bed when watching TV or using my laptop and not have my pillows slip down between the mattress and the wall. 


I was sent Overfilled Down Alternative Pillows complimentary from Wikibuy. We really like how firm they are and will probably buy a couple more. They have the feel I always like in hotel pillows. 

We are really happy with our new bed setup. The rest of the changes to the bedroom we'd like in the future are more cosmetic. I'd love to get a triptych to hang above the bed, and I'd really like to re-paint the room in the future. 

How are you sleeping?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

One Product, Many Uses - Thaumaturgic Bio Mist

 I was given the opportunity by Theralight, Inc. to review this product. All opinions are my own. 

I love a multipurpose product. I'm trying to actively declutter our home, and products that can be used for multiple things, and on the whole family, are super convenient. My most recent product find is Thaumaturgic Bio Mist.

BabyCakes and Hubs both have sensitive skin and eczema so I have to be very careful about what I purchase for them. Thaumaturgic Bio Mist is a cosmeceutical-grade, pure and stable product designed to support the skin's natural defenses against many skin conditions and is formulated for all skin types. It doesn't have any of the bad ingredients: sodium sulfates, parabens, fragrances, or artificial colors.

For myself I've used it on my face when it is particularly inflamed because of acne. I've also used it on shaving bumps to reduce irritation and on chub rub! For BabyCakes I've used it on her itchy skin from eczema, on her scratches that comes from eczema irritation and on the scrapes she gets while playing.

The mist is also recommended for:

  • sunburns
  • scar reduction
  • bug bites
  • redness
  • scrapes
  • and more

It's really great to have products around that I can use on all of us, for multiple purposes, and I don't have to worry about the ingredients. HOCl is the magic ingredient that makes Thaumaturgic Bio Mist special. It mimics the natural molecules that work as part of our body’s defense mechanism. Check out Thaumaturgic Bio Mist for your family today!


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Connecting with my Preschooler with Dough Dots!

I was sent these products complimentary from the creators of Dough Dots!™ All opinions are my own. 

I just came home from being away for five days for work. I could not wait to get home and play with my daughter! I missed her. I missed interacting with her. It probably didn't help that I was away at a Children's Museums conference, seeing all kinds of fun exhibits and activities for kids. When I got home I laid out some new play items for us.

I was recently sent products from Dough Dots!™to try out with BabyCakes. She loves creating with clay so I knew they would be a hit. We love creative toys that allow her to use her imagination. What makes Dough Dots!™special is the ball packaging. The balls make it super easy for her to open the dough herself, and the package itself is creative, featuring various animals. The balls hold the dough and are toys within themselves.

Designed for ages 2 to 6 Dough Dots!™come in four different vibrant colors, and you can get various cutters and molds to kick start play. Even though the balls are easy to open, they close air tight to preserve the quality of the dough.

I am so excited to be back home with my BabyCakes and to have a new activity to play with together.  We're currently working on letters and sounds, so we incorporated the Dough Dots!™in helping her learn the letters in her name. Some of her other favorite Dough Dots!™activities:

  • Making "pizza"
  • Rolling the balls off the table intentionally (so I have to go chase them lol)
  • Recalling what primary colors can be put together to make other colors, and mixing pieces of dough
  • Making snake families

 Check out Dough Dots!™today for your child.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

What Moms REALLY Want for Mother's Day

*This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here. 

If you're trying to figure out what to do for the mothers in your life for Mother's Day I'm here to share some real world recommendations. You will not find flowers or Edible Arrangements in this list.

what mom's really want for mother's day

She wants to feel like she doesn't exist. 

What I mean is, she would like some time where everything around her functions the way she keeps it functioning, but without her having to do anything. Handle the kids, clean the house, do all the things she usually does at home. Bonus points if you can send her away from home while you do all this. If you can't send her somewhere allow her to have her own space and time away from the family on Mother's Day.

Self-care is great, but she'd love someone to care for her for a change. 

She'd like you to care for her like she'd care for herself. Anticipate her needs. Don’t do the things you know drive her crazy. Give her the care and attention that she gives her kids, just for one day. Cook her favorite meals. Clean the bathtub and draw her a bath. Bring her whatever she would like throughout the day.

She still wants gifts. 

Even if she says she doesn't want you to buy her anything, she'd love it if you did. She's not over gifts, she's just over un-thoughtful gifts. Here are some gift ideas that I'll admit come completely from my own desires.

Get her some underwear. No, not lingerie. Get her every day underwear sets that are more expensive than she'd allow herself to purchase. Pieces that she can wear regularly. These briefs are cute and comfortable. This bra offers support and style.

Get her a subscription box. She works hard all year round. Buy her a year subscription to a subscription box so she can receive a gift every month. There's something so awesome about receiving a surprise delivery. Here are some subscription boxes I recommend:

Get her jewelry that means something. Sparkly things are great, but they mean even more when they have a message behind them. I'm eyeing this necklace. Since she was born I've felt so connected to BabyCakes when I hold her little hands, so when I saw this necklace I thought it was perfect. Other good jewelry choices are items with her or your children's birthstones, or engraved items. Make her feels special with something custom. 

The most important part of selecting a gift for the moms in your life is to really think about them. Think about their true wants. Think about what they often talk about. Think about what they often wish for. 

Happy Mother's Day Gift Hunting!

Moms, what do YOU really want for Mother's Day?


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bubble Guppies Live Review

One night about a month and a half ago I was doing some work for my theater company, posting information about our upcoming production to various listings websites. While I was working I came across a listing for Bubble Guppies Live in our city and I got SO excited. I'm definitely that mom. The mom that gets really excited about kid activities. BabyCakes was watching Bubble Guppies occasionally at this time. I bought us three tickets and started to incorporate more Bubble Guppies into her TV time so she'd be ready for the show!

If you're not familiar with the Bubble Guppies it's a really cute cartoon about a group of fish-tailed preschoolers. It's fun, interactive, and educational. They teach science, math, literacy, and problem solving through the stories. Each episode also has a series of songs and movements which BabyCakes loves to do along with the show.

After a month and a half of build-up the day was finally here, we were headed to Bubble Guppies Live! We had a really great time.

The production quality of the show was really great. The sets and costumes did a great job of creating the underwater world on stage. The actors and puppeteers also did a great job of creating the characters from the cartoon. Even though the costumes didn't have moving mouths the actors did an excellent job with their bodies and gestures to ensure the audience knew who was talking when. The story-line was very cute and they incorporated lessons, songs, and dances from the animated show.

If you have a little Bubble Guppies fan and you're considering seeing the tour in your city I highly recommend it. It was a great choice for BabyCakes first live show. Kids were dancing and singing in the aisles. The show runs about an hour and 15 minutes with the intermission, which was a great length for our toddler/pre-schooler.

Bubble Guppies Live

Bubble Guppies Live

Bubble Guppies Live




Sunday, March 11, 2018

Signs You're Close to Burnout and What to Do About It

Burnout is real. While I talk about self-care mostly from the perspective of parents ANYONE can experience burnout. We live in a culture that glorifies overworking ourselves. We glorify "the grind" but there's nothing glamorous about working yourself to death. I've gotten much better at realizing that I'm close to burnout before I actually get there.

Signs you're close to burnout:

  • physical and/or emotional exhaustion
  • frustration
  • short temperedness 
  • feeling resentment for helping others
  • being unable to focus
  • experiencing anxiety at the onset of any new responsibilities 
Burnout can sneak up on the best of us. We juggle so many things and can find ourselves overwhelmed without noticing it coming on. If you realize you're close to burnout here are some good things to do.

How to deal with burnout: 

Offload Responsibilities (ask for help)

Offload responsibilities in the long term or the short term. For the short term -  ask your spouse for extra assistance with the children, ask your boss to adjust deadlines if possible, ask your co-workers for assistance with your tasks. In the long term - consider stepping down from a volunteer position or moving down from leadership to just a member in one of your groups or clubs. 

Make Plans for Disconnection

Set a plan. Actually schedule your rest and relaxation. This gives you something to look forward to, which can help with getting through feelings of burnout, even if you can't rest right away. Scheduling your downtime also ensures that you get the time you need to recharge to stave off burnout in the future. 

Don't Forget Your Basic Needs

Feeling like you have the world on your shoulders can make you neglect your basic needs, which just brings about burnout faster. Make sure you're eating. Make sure you're sleeping. Make sure you're getting some sort of small respite from responsibilities, even something as simple as a walk around the block.

How do you know when you're burned out? What do you do when you're feeling burned out?




Sunday, February 18, 2018

5 Tips for Working from Home with Kids

This guide is for the occasions when you have to work from home with your children, for instances like weather related school closures when you still have deadlines. I cannot say this is a guide for working from home full-time with a child, because that is extremely difficult and would take more tips than these. I tip my hat at parents who work from home with kids full-time. 

The reality is you cannot give 100% to parenting and 100% to working at the same time. It's impossible. And there is guilt that comes with working from home with your children - you feel like both your children and your job deserve more attention but you can't spread yourself any thinner. It's exhausting. But there are times when you have to work from home with your child, in those cases these suggestions will help. 

working from home with kids

Make a Schedule

If you know ahead of time what you plan to do with your day that makes it easier for you to let your job know how much you will accomplish in the day, and helps you plan activities to keep your kids occupied and entertained. 

Set Realistic Work Goals

Be realistic when it comes to how much work you can get done. You cannot complete eight hours worth of work in the day when you have to tend to your child, make meals, put them down for naps, etc. 

Utilize Naps (or quiet time)

Save the tasks that need the most brainpower for nap time, or if your child no longer naps, for their quiet period of the day. This will be the best time to get work done because you have no guilt from not tending to your child and the least distraction. 

Utilize Screen Time

When I have to get work done, I have no problem allowing BabyCakes to watch TV or play with the iPad or my phone. An instance when you have to get work done from home is a great time to pull out devices to entertain your child. 

Don't Beat Yourself Up

Working from home with a child is EXHAUSTING. Don't beat yourself up about not being able to get everything done for everybody, and definitely reward yourself with a glass of wine or dessert after bedtime, because you deserve it!



Saturday, February 17, 2018

My Favorite No-Prep Meal

This post was sponsored by Tai Pei, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I love eating. And most times I love cooking. Before having a family, I had imagined myself making Pinterest quality meals for my family from scratch laid out next to beautiful table scapes for every meal. The reality of being a working mom is that sometimes I'm exhausted by the time it's time to make dinner. Some days due to traffic or extracurricular activities there's not a lot of time left to make dinner before it's BabyCakes' bedtime. I'm also juggling two picky eaters so by the time I've made separate/altered meals for everyone I'm drained.

Meal responsibilities don't stop with dinner time. Now that we're a team of three with a pre-schooler on our hands there's usually only enough leftovers for one person's lunch the next day. So I also have lunch preparing to contend with. I'm not too proud to use quick meal solutions to make life easier. My favorite on-the-go meals are easy to prepare, easy to travel with, and warm. I just don't feel satiated with cold meals.

I recently tried out Tai Pei entrees and they are great for easy no-prep lunch or dinner. They have quick and tasty Asian food. I tried out the General Tso's Spicy Chicken and Orange Chicken flavors but they have a wide range of flavors each made with flavor-infused fried rice. All their entrees are made with real, pure ingredients, and no preservatives or artificial ingredients. The product packaging makes Tai Pei quick and simple to prepare in just minutes in the microwave. It's a no-fuss lunch solution, especially if I don't have much time to stop for lunch during work.

Tai Pei provides a great meal on a budget. I feel satisfied after eating them, like I had take-out, but without the takeout prices! Use the store locator to find where Tai Pei single serve frozen fried rice is available near you (in the frozen food section).

Enter in the raffle widget below for a chance to win one of 10 prizes ($100 Walmart gift cards) & 3 Grand Prizes  ($500 Walmart gift cards). Giveaway runs Monday, January 29th - Monday, March 5th 2018. I-C will randomly select 13 winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Tai Pei Sweepstakes (Phase 3)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

How to Host an Easy and Successful Game Night

This post is intended for an audience of adults age 21 and older. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Bacardi. All opinions are mine alone. #SignatureSips #CollectiveBias

How to Host an Easy & Successful Game Night

One of the things I want to do more of this year is host gatherings at my home. I’m always looking for ways to make hosting easier. For a recent game night I went to an unlikely spot to pick up the bulk of my food and beverage needs - Wendy’s

How to host an easy and successful game night

Have food and drink

The key to any good gathering is food and drink! Make things easy on yourself by grabbing food and drinks from Wendy’s! You can display the food on a cupcake stand to make it look festive. 

Burger and Fries Tower

I picked up Dave’s Singles® and Spicy Chicken Sandwiches, both of which pair great with Signature Strawberry Lemonade, only available at Wendy’s. I used the Strawberry Lemonades and paired them with Grey Goose Le Citron to make a quick delicious cocktail. The Strawberry Lemonade is made with real lemons and strawberries and Grey Goose is known as the World’s best tasting vodka - they are a match made in hostess heaven!

Wendy's strawberry lemonade

For each person/serving add 2oz of Grey Goose Le Citron and 4oz of Strawberry Lemonade to your shaker. You can shake it with just the ice that comes in the Signature drinks or add some more. Strain into your glasses and add a lemon twist for a cute garnish. 

Plan Ahead

Prior to your party you should make solid plans that include: 
  • Getting an accurate number of attendees
  • Making sure you have enough seating and table space for the number of attendees
  • Get familiar with any new games you plan to play so you can give instructions clearly

Choose Your Games Wisely

Picking the right games for a game night is a delicate balance. You want to consider: 
  • Picking games that accomodate the number of people you’ve invited
  • Having a selection of games that range from novice to more advanced games

Read the Room

Keep your host/hostess intuition in mind. If it seems like your guests aren’t enjoying a particular game ask if people would like to complete it or move on. Choose a game based on the mood of the room. Don’t suggest a really intricate thinking game while people are eating, or a game based on intimate humour if guests haven’t gotten comfortable yet. 

Grab your food and drink from Wendy’s and follow these tips to make your next game night a breeze!

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