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Off the registry.

23 Jul

I’m that guest. I rarely purchase shower or wedding gifts off of the couples’/parents’ registry. I always like to find something more unique and personal. This is especially true when I know the person/couple well.

Baby and wedding season are in full swing. I have several friends that have recently had babies or are expecting. Not to mention a few upcoming weddings and showers. So not only am I on the hunt for unique gifts but I’m also trying to find some cost-effective options as well.

Since I go off the registry, I feel added pressure to make the gifts really special (to justify my defiance). When it comes to babies, you just can’t go wrong the personalized/keepsake items. When I had Myles I had all sorts of grandiose plans about how I would memorialize and commemorate his birth and subsequent milestones. Not surprisingly, none of it got done. So now I like to give something to new parents that has the key birth stats.

Recently, I’ve come across some great finds on Etsy. The customization options are endless and I think this is the type of gift “that keeps on giving.” These prints can be used for years. In fact, I ordered some for Myles as well!

I love just about everything at Etsy Shop, Mateo & Tobias.

But I settled on these two adorable prints.

Personalized Alphabet ABC Wall Art via Mateo & Tobias

Each print is $16 (frame not included). I will explore custom framing options but worse case I should be able to find something at Michael’s or even Ikea.

Opaque Name Modern Birth Announcement via Mateo & Tobias

Another cute birth announcement type gift is this pillow. These run about $50 each. Not terribly expensive but I have no less than 5 shower/baby gifts to buy and I just don’t have $250+ to spend.

The colors are so vibrant and the backside can be made with a fun print like, Chevron!

Birth Announcement Pillow from ThreelilStitches

I’m also loving these customizable onsies. I think all moms are obsessed with clothing that has their baby’s name on it (or is that just me). These simple white onsies have a great pop of color and would be perfect for pictures! And how cute would it be framed?

Personalized Onesie via SundayRookery

For bridal showers I really like to get something personal for the bride. This is my new favorite and as I bride-to-be I certainly wouldn’t mind getting one of these for myself!

available at Nordstrom and for $78

Not only do I stray from the registry but I’m notoriously bad at getting wedding presents prior to the wedding, although etiquette says you have up to 6 months after the wedding to send the gift. But after the wedding the registry is usually  slim pickings so I’m forced to go rogue. I have a few tried and true items from Crate & Barrel but new to my arsenal are these Mr. & Mrs. pillows.

$49 from Pillows4Fun on Etsy

There is nothing like having your first child or getting married to bring out your most sentimental side. My hope is that these gifts add something to those sentiments.

Let Sleeping Babies Lie

12 Jul

Nap time is one of the most welcome times of the day! Myles is SUPER busy, on the go every second that he’s awake. His naps are a welcome opportunity to eat, shower, or even just sit still for a few minutes. I used to run around and try to be “productive” during his naps but now I take it as “mommy time.” I like flipping through a magazine, perusing wedding sites and now blogging.

But for all the parents out there – have you ever been paralyzed with the fear that your kid will wake up “any second” and therefore you get nothing done? I’ve seen many hours of precious time slip away because I was fearful of starting something when it seemed like Myles was on the verge of waking up but then ended up sleeping for 2 hours as I stood there in anticipation almost the entire time. Sometimes I do enjoy just watching him. I think God made babies exceptionally cute when they sleep so that you forget just how much they test your patience when they’re awake!

But I’ve learned to enjoy all time to myself, be it 5 minutes or 3 hours. I’ve also taken the pressure of myself to be “productive.” No big deal if I don’t work, clean, cook, do laundry etc. I’m embracing and enjoying this down time. Now, when will it no longer be frowned upon to enjoy a glass of wine at 1pm? =)

Red Tricycle Goodness

19 Jun

I’m a BIG fan of Red Tricycle Los Angles. This site is full of family fun including local activities and events, helpful articles and sometimes some great contests! I love the variety of activities they detail and that many of them are free or at least low-cost. We probably wouldn’t have discovered Underwood Family Farm and the awesomeness that is picking your own fruit if it wasn’t for Red Tri! Even if your city isn’t featured, there is still plenty of good stuff.

Right now they’re running a contest where you could win the ultimate family vacation. With Disneyland ticket prices now skyrocketing to $87 each this is actually a pretty valuable prize package. I know what you’re thinking, “I never win anything.” I used to think the exact same thing until we won an Orbitz Stroller System at an event at a local baby store. So now I enter everything because it really is true that you have to be in it to win it.

So yes, I was hesitant to share this contest with anybody – I don’t want to decrease our chances of winning =) – but it’s so easy to enter and the prizes are great so what the hell. Check it out and enter by clicking here.

Good luck!

Anybody else a Red Tricycle fan?

Save v. Splurge: toddler (water-friendly) shoes

18 Jun

We could build a castle with all the sand Myles tracks home everyday. I’m amazed that there is any left at the playground. Moreover, even on the warmest, driest days, he manages to find some water and create a sticky/muddy/sandy paste. This mess is always caked on his shoes. So for the summer, I set out on finding something that was more protective and easier to run in than flip-flops but that I could still rinse off daily. And they absolutely could not be Crocs (despite my aversion to Crocs, the entire family actually has a pair but I still hate them).

I obsessively get Myles’ feet measured because I once went about 10 weeks in between and his foot grew 2 sizes. I he never once complained about his two-sizes-too-small shoes and I still feel guilty about it. Anyway, during our May trip to Brooks Shoes for Kids I saw these Native Jefferson shoes but was very hesitant to spend $35.99 on plastic shoes. However, they do come in some fun and bright colors!

A couple of weeks later I was in the Gap and saw these perforated slip-ons on sale for $12! I got them in red (see Happy Birthday Myles photo). He is obsessed with his “wawer (water) shoes” and wears them all the time. They usually retail for $19.95 so you’re still saving over the Jefferson shoes (and Crocs) and getting the same functionality. Plus, in my opinion, these are stylish, fun and look adorable with shorts!


It’s worth mentioning that the Native Jefferson shoes can be found cheaper, depending on the retailer. They’re currently on sale at for $26.99.

Once again, the budget buy wins out!

Happy Birthday Myles!

16 Jun

Thank you for an amazing and challenging 23 months! You are a joy (most of the time). To be so young, you think so intensely and have an incredible curiosity about everything. But you also laugh hard and play hard. You don’t walk and talk, you run and yell. I love you more than words can say.

It also means I only have one month left to figure out what we’re doing for your 2nd birthday. You’re 1st birthday was quite the affair (which you slept through) and I’d rather do something much more low-key this year. Does it also mean that we officially stop counting your age in months?

We recently took a trip to Underwood Family Farms to pick some fruit and vegetables. You took the tractor ride very seriously, contemplating the best methods for strawberry picking. But you quickly returned your true form of running and yelling as soon as you saw the animals.

The “babymoon” is over…

14 Jun

Several friends, co-workers and acquaintances have had babies within the past year. Being the first of my core group of friends to have a baby naturally means I am the “expert.”  My vast 22 (almost 23!) months of experience as a mom clearly qualifies me to answer any and all questions related to babies. HaHa! But I did experience so much of what most of them are going through now and I’m always happy to listen and offer advice when asked. But this is something I always share:

When the babymoon is over. I think it happens anywhere between the age 6-9 months. It includes some or all of the following:

  • All the adrenaline (if you ever had any) has completely worn off and true exhaustion is setting in.
  • The rest of the world isn’t as sympathetic as they once were to you being a new parent.
  • No one at work really cares that you’re not sleeping.
  • Everything is sort of returning to normal and while you’re baby remains the center of your world; you realize that everything cannot revolve around your baby. However, the baby is now starting to become mobile, no longer complacent just being held or sitting in bouncer or the car seat in a restaurant. So everything does still sort of have to revolve around the baby.
  • The offers to babysit start drying up (this may happen a little later). For us, what’s worse is when so many friends we’re offering we were still in the obsessive stage of just staring at Myles and never wanted to leave. Now that we would occasionally like to see a movie or grab sushi, the pool of friends begging to babysit is just about empty.

Things just really start to change. Remember the beginning of romantic relationships? Up all night talking, dropping everything and everybody to spend time together, etc. – all that fun stuff can’t last forever. It doesn’t mean you love each other any less it just means you have to return to the real world. The honeymoon period has ended. I think the same thing happens with your first baby. I was just as obsessed with Myles at 6 months as I was the day he was born – probably more. But I also had to work and run our home and have some couple time and have some alone time, etc., etc. This new reality can be a little depressing and overwhelming but it’s totally normal. At least that’s what I’ve told myself and all my new-parent friends. Because remember, I’m an “expert.”

To any parent – did you experience this phenomenon? If so, when did your babymoon end?

Win Ella’s Kitchen Baby Food!

8 Jun

Check out this fun contest from According to Nina! Finding healthy, tasty, easy, on-the-go snack options for babies and toddlers can be a challenge. But these treats from Ella’s Kitchen make it so easy! My 22 month old really has enjoyed eating from Ella’s Kitchen pouches for over a year. I always kept a few pouches in my diaper bag and they’re super handy when traveling! And I’m not gonna lie, I’ve enjoyed more than a few of the Smoothie Fruits myself!

If you haven’t already, give them a try! Be sure to enter for your chance to win 10 FREE pouches!