Easy Glow with EverSkincare

If you caught my recent instagram post about my skincare regiment (or lack therof, really), you know I have no time for excessive skin maintenance. “Screw it, I’ll save up for Botox,” is my philosophy.

Well, folks, I’ve found the one-stop-shop for glowing skin without all the fuss.

See this beauty of a bottle? It’s called the “Overnight Facial.”  It’s a facial in a bottle, which is good, because the chances of me actually going to get a facial are slim to none. I have incredibly sensitive skin and almost no time for make-up, so this is how I get glowing skin sans effort. Also, it smells like roses. It’s DIVINE.

My girlfriend Jessica is a consultant for this booming skincare brand and she helped me select a product that would be perfect for my moody mom skin. (Find her on Instagram, here!)

Now is the perfect time to invest in your skin, since they’re running a promotion. Buy $150 worth of skincare products (which, let’s face it mamas, you could definitely use) and you’ll get this bottle of beauty for free – an $88 value. You’re welcome. Click here to get your own!

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A #BeenThereDoneThat Mom’s Guide to Gifts

Baby shower season is upon us! I am so excited for my many friends expecting their very own children, and I’m always hopeful to give them a special gift – one they’ll remember. I usually pick one practical gift off the registry. But I also like to give something special and memorable, and I always shop small when doing so. In doing this I give two people a gift:

  • The expectant mother gets a handmade, heartfelt gift.
  • A small shop owner (usually a mother herself) is introduced to a new mom, who hopefully will love the item and buy from the shop again. As someone who works in publicity, word-of-mouth is still the most prized form of PR. Best of all, it’s free.

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Holly’s Easter outfit: Target dress, Blushing Bows floral crown, Mary Jane style moccs in Distressed Honey

I most frequently gift baby shoes, and there is no better or kinder “mocc mama” than the mompreneur at the helm of TinyBabySoles. I own way too many pairs for my own kiddos, and I’m always stopped to ask where I got them. They are a hit at showers, and the moms I’ve given the shoes to always return to the shop to buy more.

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The shoes are super soft leather, perfect for newly formed feet and come in sizes small enough to slip on to a newborn baby. Finn and Holly both left the hospital in their very first pairs of TinyBabySoles and I’ll keep them forever.

If you’re shopping for your own children or an expectant mama, you simply cannot find a more special gift!

Thank you to my friend, Emily, at TinyBabySoles who sent Holly these moccasins as a gift. We will treasure them, always, as we have all of our moccs from your shop!

A Year With Two Under Two

To the mom expecting two under two,

Are you panicking? Good. That means you have a pulse and some sense. I’m sure you’re getting questions, like:

Aren’t you afraid about your first feeling abandoned?

How will you manage?

Did you plan that?

Mmm. Aren’t people the best?

I’m here to tell you that not only will it not be unmanageable, but you’re about to have the most fun of your life. Packed in with that fun will be sleepless nights and thousands (THOUSANDS) of diaper changes, but do not let the a*holes of this world harden you into thinking this is impossible. It is possible. It is amazing.

 

To prove it to you, here we are, a year later and still standing – and smiling.

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This is Finn. I know age two gets a bad rep, but he is my favorite little person to hang out with. Last night, as I put him to sleep, he stroked my face and whispered “mama!” When I opened my eyes, he giggled, and then fell asleep. I melted.

He LOVES to dance. He’s learning new words, slowly, with the help of a speech therapist. That’s been our biggest hurdle. But if I’m honest? I’m not worried. (That’s a lie. I’m a mom, so I’m always worried. I should say I try not to worry.) He is exactly the little boy he’s meant to be. I’m doing my best, he’s doing his best.

His favorite person is his grandpa, who he calls “Bubba.” He came up with that entirely on his own. In fact, we were calling Bubba, “Coach,” but Finn had other plans. So, Bubba he is.

He LOVES blueberries and hates peas. I sneak kale into smoothies, because the internet told me if you don’t give your kid kale, you don’t love them enough. Also, it’s healthy and it makes me feel better about when he refuses his nutritious dinner in favor of goldfish.

I know dressing girls is fun (believe me, my bill at Target today serves as evidence), but I am obsessed with dressing him. He wears mostly Zara and Old Navy, but I also do my best to shop small when I can. (I’ll do a post soon about my favorite boy shops, there are so many!)

He is so much like his Daddy, sometimes I swear I’m caring for a mini-Mike. He carries his lacrosse stick with him everywhere (“iyyy Dada,” which in Finn speak means “like Dad”). Here they are, hugging. Aren’t dads the best?

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And then there’s Holly Kate, our little ball of fire. If you’re wondering how she got her name, it’s actually a sweet story. I’ve always loved the name – it’s classic, iconic, delicate. I’ve always thought I’d have a Holly one day. We wanted to give Mike’s mama a nod in her name, so we knew instantly that Kate would be her middle name. If you know Mrs. G, you’ve probably experienced her affinity for Christmas. Santa stays atop her armoire for the whole year, and decorating the tree might as well be a national holiday. To say it is her favorite holiday would be putting it mildly, and she puts on a Christmas that her grandkids will remember for their whole lives. So, when going through our list of names (Collete? Scarlet? Harper? There was a lot of brainstorming), I brought up Holly to Mike and it just sort of worked. Not only would her middle name be an homage to Kate, but her first name would too, as a nod to Christmas. Our little Christmas in springtime.

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Holly’s favorite foods are… everything. As long as their is a lot of it. (How do you think she got those munchable cheeks?)

She talks non-stop, and is saying more words at 12 months than Finn is at two. Girls, I’m told, are the chatty type. If I’m any example, I think they’re right. She is bold and opinionated. Please pray for me during her teenage years, I will need it.

I am her favorite person. This should be flattering, and it is (kind of), but for the first six months of her life I could hardly put her down. I have, on more than a few occasions, peed with her on my lap. I’m not proud of it, but sometimes a mama’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. I hope we’re still thick as thieves in 20 years.

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So, to the precious mother expecting her second I say this:

Go ahead, panic a little bit. But know one thing: Not only are you not taking away anything from your first (that notion is my least favorite, for obvious reasons) but you’re giving both of your children the greatest gift they’ll ever receive, their very best friend for life.

Brew some coffee and buckle up.

-BG

Banishing Dry Skin: How to Care for Baby’s Eczema

I’ve hoped my kids would inherit many things from me: My ability to find a good bargain, to laugh at almost anything, and my obsession with clean counters (I’m singlehandedly keeping Pledge in business). What I had hoped they’d avoid, however, is my skin. I have suffered with eczema for my entire life. I can remember as a little girl, my mother pleading with me to stay still so she could smear the “sticky stuff” on my body and keep the cracking / bleeding at bay. She used to have me pretend I was a dalmatian while she’d cover me in dots of white, thick cream. I can remember her frown as she discovered new patches of dry, rough, red spots. I know the feeling, now, as I care for my own children’s skin.

When I noticed red patches on Finn and Holly’s little bodies, I knew that while they might have not gotten as severe as a case as mine – I have it on almost my entire body – but that I, too, would be playing the “Dalmatian game.” I’ve tried every product on the market to keep them from itching, scratching and bleeding; from the expensive kind you can buy at Nordstrom (I’ve essentially forked over my retirement thanks to Noodle & Boo) to age-old tricks like covering the patches in Vaseline. Some have worked better than others, but eventually, the patches persist. Until now, that is.

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While plenty of skincare companies reach out to me about partnering with them, I often decline, because I can’t afford to experiment with their delicate, sensitive skin. But, when Theraplex reached out to me about their line of eczema therapy, I happily accepted and was glad to have them send me their line of products. (Sidebar: Isn’t blogging neat? I’ve been introduced to a world of baby / mom items I never might have known about if this weren’t part of my job.)

I bathe the kids in Mustela’s Gentle Cleansing Gel. It’s the only scented bath product I’ve found that doesn’t irritate their dry skin, and since we often get sweaty / muddy / dirty outside in the Texas heat, I like that it leaves them smelling like they did as newborns. Then, I follow up their baths with Theraplex’s Moisturizing Cream, which I massage into their skin for a few minutes, to ensure that their little bodies soak up every bit of moisture. (Also important: I often leave them naked for a while, to let their skin air out. I find, personally, that when I try and put clothes on too quickly it irritates my skin, so I’m sure the same goes for the wee ones.)

When their patches are feeling especially rough (when the seasons change, or we visit a different climate), I use Theraplex’s Emollient Cream, which is thicker in consistency and more powerful.

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If this sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. I won’t sugar coat it; chasing them around to coat their bodies in tons of lotion is no easy feat. But there’s nothing as precious to me as their health and comfort, so I’m happy to have found Theraplex. I’m so grateful to have been sent a product that works, and if your little ones suffer from dry or sensitive skin, I really can’t recommend it enough!

Back to kissing their soft, sweet little arms and legs,

BG

Full disclosure: As I mentioned in this post, I was sent Theraplex’s line of Eczema Therapy products to try. I was not paid to write this post, and all opinions are my own. The trust of my readers and fellow moms is paramount to me – know that I’ll never recommend a product I don’t fully love. I’ve sent back many a product or declined many partnerships to maintain the integrity of this blog. Thank you, as always, for reading! 

 

 

 

A Mama’s Guide to Sickness + Teething

Siri, what is wrong with my infant?

Siri, can you give a baby an exorcism?

Siri, where is the closest liquor store?

In our house, when it rains, it pours. If the kids get sick, it’s pneumonia. If they’re teething, it’s a full mouth of teeth ALL AT ONCE. That’s where we are right now. The Great Texas Plague (“It’s just a cold, Blakely, stop being so dramatic.” – Mike) has worked its way through our home TWICE and I am ready to bid it goodbye. To add to this lovely shit-storm of Tylenol and sucking the boogers out of their nose (Please go and buy yourself a Nose Frieda. It’s disgusting and amazing), Holly is currently getting FOUR TEETH simultaneously. I cringe when I look at her upper gums thinking about the pain she must be in.

Never has a blog collaboration been so appropriate. Oilogic’s line of essential oils and bath vapor soap has been working miracles for our house. While it can’t cure you of illness, it can help soothe the ache and congestion for the wee ones which is worth its weight in absolute gold. (Please note that these items are for babies 6 months and up.)

Let’s start with their Stuffy Nose + Cough Vapor Bath: I have always steamed up the bathroom to loosen up their mucus and help them breathe easier, but I’ve kicked it up a notch using the Oilogic Stuffy Nose + Cough Vapor Bath, which I pour into the tub and rub on a washcloth. I usually have Finn breathe into the washcloth for a few seconds, to help the vapors work their way into his nasal passages. When the kids get out of the bath, I help relieve the stuffy nose by using the Nose Frida (Yes, you use a tube to physically suck the snot out of their nose. It is every bit as disgusting and effective as it sounds, but if I’m honest, sucking out their boogers is one of the LESS gross things I’ve had to do as a mom).

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Now, let’s move on to the demon that is teething. Bless.

Holly has been a real joy to put to bed, so we’re currently using the Sleep Vapor Bath in her tubs at night to calm the pain and help get her in the mood to sleep. I also give her a little foot massage with the Sleep + Slumber Oil Roll-On when she gets out of the bath.

These seasons of sickness and teething are to be expected with a team of little ones, and I’m just grateful to be a comfort to them when they aren’t feeling well. Here’s to building their immune systems and snuggling our way back to health!

 

Holly Update: 10 Months

This post was written in collaboration with TwistShake, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I’m a little late to this update, since she’ll be 11 months in just a couple weeks. (Oops! #SecondChildProblems)

I feel like the second she turned nine months, there’s a new development every day, and I can barely keep up! Many other moms on Instagram ask me about her eating habits, schedule, and development, so I thought it appropriate to do a Q&A about little miss at 10 months.

Did she and Finn do things at the same stages?

Yes and no. Holly is a little quicker to try new things (I’ve said before Finn is our cautious baby) and she’s sort of a daredevil, so the second she discovers a new skill, she’s all over the place. She said her first words (if Mama and Dada count) at 7 months, and at ten months she’s a chatterbox. Our new favorite thing is when we ask her if she wants a bottle or to be picked up and she yells “YEAH!” with lots of enthusiasm.

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She learned to stand using the laundry basket… Who needs baby gear, anyway? 

What is her schedule like?

Schedule? What schedule? She’s all over the place. With two, its so much harder to maintain a nap schedule. She’s finally started to nap, which is a huge development, but they are still irregular and short. She does sleep through the night, though, so I guess I should count my blessings.

What does she eat?

Everything. She’s a baby foodie. Typically, her day looks like this:

Morning: Bottle.

Mid-morning: An egg, blueberries, and cheerios

Afternoon: Bottle, nap(ish).

Mid-afternoon: Snack (typically, whatever her brother is having). Greek yogurt smoothie with kale, avocado, strawberries, and banana is a crowd favorite. On days where I’m very busy, it’s grapes and a slice of cheese. #MomOfTheYear

Late afternoon: Bottle, attempt at another nap. Usually a fail.

Dinner: Whatever we’re eating, paired with avocado. I give her so much avocado, it’s a wonder she’s not green.

Evening: Bottle, sleep.

How is she taking to the bottle?

The transition was seamless. This is really the only thing Holly has made easy on me. 😉

We have started using the TwistShake bottle (pictured below, isn’t it cute?!) and I love the happy, bright colors. They also have compartments to store formula and snacks, which makes my life so much easier on-the-go.

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I love her nursery. Where did you find her stuff?

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Her nursery is my favorite room in the house, and it’s not even finished yet! (Note the gallery wall on the shelves with empty frames…I’ll get to it.) Her macrame swing is my favorite part – I’m all about baby style with function. I wanted the space to feel fun for me (I spend a LOT of time in it) but also playful and babyish, because it’s her room after all.

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I took her dress and made it into a wall hanging by attaching it to string in a frame with clothespins. Easy, cute…and it cost me next to nothing!

Her blanket is from Soul Studio Prints (a great baby gift for an expectant mama), the rug is Rugs USA (similar), and her knick knacks and shelves are mostly Target with a few antiques (mostly books) from shops in downtown Buda mixed in. (If you ever get to Buda, TX, you simply must swing through the cute little antique and thrift shops.) I’m all about mixing the old with the new!

What’s your favorite part about this stage / age?

Holly is such a little personality – seriously, she is my mini with her sass. It’s so fun to see how much she learns every day. Plus, even though she just stopped breastfeeding, our bond is pretty special.

What’s the most difficult part about this stage?

We nicknamed her “High Maintenance Holly,” if that tells you anything. Ha! She’s always been our “tougher” baby, but that’s probably because Finn was so easy that anything by comparison will seem tricky.

I guess the hardest part is that now she’s mobile, and having two babes running around makes getting anything else done impossible. I have to get creative, which is probably why she’s playing with the laundry basket in that picture.

I cannot wait to see who this vibrant little lady becomes. She is so fun… and dressing her is a blast!

xoxo,

BG + Holly (Finn, too.)

The Ecocentric Mom

I am not what one would call a “crunchy” mom. Sure, I do my best to buy organic and keep us GMO free (except for the odd Chik-Fil-A night here and there – I am only human), but I’m a gluten fanatic and I wouldn’t last being vegan a day. So, I was a little skeptical how excited I could get over a box full of all natural, healthy mom products. Color me surprised, when I got the Ecocentric Mom’s subscription box in the mail, there was not a single product I didn’t love. (You can watch my review of it here.)

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The “Happy Joy” Essential Oil smells like heaven and sunflowers – it was my favorite product!

If you, too, could use a monthly gift (to yourself), I highly advise you check out The Ecocentric Mom.

I’ve linked my first video (EEK) below, to give you a run-down of all the goodies included in the box!

Watch Video

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