Sunday, March 29, 2015

Birthday Post Series: Favorite Perfumes For Spring

As many of you may know, I recently celebrated a milestone birthday.  I wasn't sure how to celebrate this through the blog while still keeping your interests in mind.  (I very much doubt you want to hear about my personal birthday celebrations. Yes, plural.)  So... since Spring and my birthday seem to coincide, I thought I'd do a blog post series on my favorite Spring items. And one of my favorite beauty items to try and collect is perfume.  So with all of that in mind, below are my favorites for Spring time.


Dot by Marc Jacobs
This one is a year-round favorite and the one I receive the most compliments on by far.  Its floral, fruity, and sweet without seeming like any of those things - if that makes sense. I guess what I mean is its not obvious.  Subtle yet noticeable enough to get positive attention.


Secret Wish by Anna Sui
This is one I've loved for awhile now - 10 years or so.  When I first discovered this perfume, it was sold in Victoria's Secret (not sure if it still is.) Its a clean, citrus scent with a very slight musk.  The bottle is also one of the prettiest I've seen.

Chloé Eau de Parfum

Now this one may not be popular with a younger generation but I consider it a classic.  Extremely floral with rose, peony, and magnolia, this feminine perfume gives me a vision of a sunny days spent in a garden.  Its definitely not an "everyday scent."  I find its more suited for special occasions and date nights.

Honey by Marc Jacobs
I'll be honest...I pretty much love all of the Marc Jacobs fragrances.  Daisy (along with its many varieties) is a very popular choice for Spring, but I tend to prefer Honey.  A bit sweeter than Dot, Honey combines Honey (of course), Orange Blossom (my favorite scent ever), and Pear.  Its very fruity with a side of floral and great for every day.  (Check out the Macy's Exclusive Pink Honey.  Same scent. Different look)

Hello Kitty Big Pink Bow
Wait wait wait!  Before you write this one off, just hear me out.  I am not a Hello Kitty fanatic.  I actually purchased this perfume's roller ball because it was on clearance at Sephora.  The description listed for the fragrance sounded like something I would like and it was only $10. So with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I went for it.  I'm glad I did.  This is a daily scent I wear when I want something subtle. Its more of a vanilla scent than something super sweet or floral.  Its a bright, light scent that is perfect for anyone looking to stay away from those fruity/floral perfumes but not wanting a heavy musk.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sleep Solutions for Babies and Toddlers

Welp.  It is currently after 6am.  And, unlike many moms, I am not just getting up. Nope.  I haven't gone to sleep yet. (Although, I probably won't post this until much later.  I don't trust my sleepy self to adequately proof right now.)  Unfortunately for me, this isn't an uncommon occurrence.

My son has always been a terrible sleeper.  Well... almost always.  His sleepless nights began around the age of 2 weeks.  So, close enough.  When he was an infant he slept 4-6 hours PER DAY.  He's gotten much better though.  When he's in a good cycle, he'll sleep about 8 - 9 hours a night.  And usually take about an hour nap during the day.  Still a little less than the average amount of sleep for a child his age, but hey, I'll take it.

Every now and again, though, he gets into random, wacked out, [non] sleep patterns.  It used to be that he would wake up between 3-4am and stay up for a good 3 hours before going back to sleep.  This new pattern - that's happening now- is worse.  He'll go to sleep for a couple of hours, wake up, and then not go back to sleep until 6 - 6:30am. So I'm literally up all night.

I've talked to his pediatrician about this. I haven't really gotten a solid answer as to why this happens. There's seemingly no trigger.  No change in his routine.  No extra "stress" or anxiety. It just randomly happens.  And I end up just going with it.  Because when I fight it....both my son and I end up frustrated, hanging on by a thread, and still awake despite my best efforts.

BUT there is something beneficial that has come out of this.  Because my son has never been a great sleeper, my husband and I have tried many, many sleep solutions. Some have worked for a little bit. Others have been complete busts for us but may work for others. Honestly, if they make it and we've found it, we've tried it.

WARNING: Some of the solutions listed below are also controversial. The U.S. seems to outlaw items or discourage some methods because if used/done incorrectly, they can be dangerous.  So, because some people did not follow instructions on how to safely practice a method (such as co-sleeping) or use a product, our market discourages its use completely.  This is where you are to use your parenting discretion and speak to your child's doctor before implementing. We did our research and sought the advice of our son's pediatrician and/or specialists for each of these methods.


Now onto the different products and methods that we've run across.

Swaddles

This is BY FAR the most common solution.  Every time we asked any pediatrician, nurse, fellow parent, or relative for advice on getting an infant to sleep, "Swaddle him," was the first thing that was recommended. So if you're reading this post... you've probably tried it.   And if you've had the same experience we had with swaddling, you know the confused reaction that comes when you tell the adviser "my child doesn't like to be swaddled."  My son sure didn't.  He would Houdini his way out of it or scream until we unwrapped him.  He still will not sleep under a blanket or sheet to this day.

Fill 'Em Up

Another popular solution. Give your child a full tummy before bedtime and it will make them sleepy. Again, doesn't really work for us.  It gives our child energy. So... there goes that. But this does work for a lot of people. Make sure to burp burp burp!

Co-Sleeping

Uh oh.  Here is one of those controversial solutions I was talking about.  We actually practice this method. Not really by choice.  Before I had my son I planned on having him sleep in his crib. And I definitely planned on him sleeping in his own bed in his own room alone at this age.  But... life happens. And flexibility is a must in the world of parenthood. Our co-sleeping started once my son was too big to sleep in his swing (also controversial...but hey, 4 hours a day, OK?!) and was still experiencing pain and discomfort when laying down (even at an angle - due to GI problems.)  He was unable to easily move himself in order to change his position during the night, so I ended up taking him into bed with me.  Whenever he would start to stir due to discomfort I would reposition him and soothe him back to sleep.  And here we are almost 2 years later, I still sleep in the same bed as my son.  We've always practiced safe co-sleeping and at this point, as long as he's sleeping through the night... I don't really mind it.  I think I'm just so grateful to get 8 hours of sleep within a normal sleep schedule at this point that it doesn't really matter that I'm in my son's room instead of my own. We are planning on transitioning him soon, but not until we can actually get his sleep schedule normalized again.

Movement

This is an oldie but goodie.  Movement to soothe your child to sleep includes using a swing and the ever popular classic - the car ride.  If you read any of the warnings on the baby swings today, you will see a warning that tells you not to leave your child unattended in the swing and not to leave them in there for hours on end.  So, again, use your discretion, get the advice of your child's pediatrician before deciding to use a swing to get your child to fall asleep.  Many parents will watch their child fall asleep in the swing and then move them from the swing to the crib or bassinet.

Car rides have been the used as a means to lull a baby to sleep for generations.  This method certainly worked for us.  For a long time, it was the ONLY way to get my son to fall asleep at night. It is recommended to move your child from the car seat to their crib once the ride is over and they are fast asleep.
Fisher Price made a product that is supposed to simulate a car ride for babies. It was discontinued by the manufacturer (I'm not sure why) but can still be found on Amazon here. We never tried this product.  Our son was too big for it once I ran across it.

During the day, we walked our son in a stroller.  This gave me a chance to get outdoors and get some exercise while soothing my little one to sleep. 


Baby Rocker Robopax DreamMover



This is a product that could go under the movement section but is so awesome that I wanted to give it its own. Is it late at night and you don't feel comfortable going for a walk with the stroller? Are you beyond exhausted and simply can't rock your little one anymore? Then you'll want this. We used it with our stroller but it can also be used with a bouncer, car seat, or infant seat. Best part is - No batteries. It plugs right into the wall and has actually come down in price over the years. Check out a video of how it works here.


Baby Sleep Positioner

This is another product that is controversial. They are no longer for sale in U.S. stores but can be found on Amazon. We all know the "back to bed" method is the recommended method for putting an infant to sleep to prevent SIDS. But, apparently, many babies are not fans of sleeping on their backs. Sleeping on the stomach tends to be more comfortable for them but is a BIG no no. Sleeping on the side is somewhere in between - both comfort and safety wise. This product is supposed to be placed at the hips to allow the baby to sleep on his side without rolling onto his stomach. We tried it. It didn't work for us. But as you can tell by the reviews on Amazon.com, many people love it.  

Electronic Crib Rocker Sleeper for Crying Baby

 This one was a total bust and waste of money for us.  The product attaches to the crib and more or less makes the crib vibrate (not really rock.)  It wasn't enough of a vibration to soothe my son and ended up being a "lesson learned" type product.  Reviews are mixed.  It seems to be a hit or miss.

Baby Pillows

Though it is recommended that very young infants sleep without pillows or blankets, once you're a child is older and headed into toddlerhood, a high quality pillow may add additional comfort ( and also make for an easier night for Mom and Dad). This is not something we tried ourselves, but you can find a list of some of the most popular pillows at the moment reviewed by MyKidNeedsThat.com here.


Sound Machine

This is a sleep solution we still use.  It doesn't help my son fall asleep... but it does help him stay asleep.  Before we used the sound machine (we like the "rain" setting btw) he would wake up at every little noise. The sound machine plays a constant white noise that keeps him from noticing other sounds.  We use this one here.  It also has a projector that may help soothe some children.

Children's Melatonin

Once my son turned two, I started looking into melatonin (for kids ages 2 and up) to help break his stay up all night cycles.  A natural supplement, melatonin is widely used by both adults and children. The children's dose is, of course, much lower than the adult dose.  It seems to work at getting my son to fall asleep quickly... however, tonight proved that it does not keep him from waking up after a couple of hours.

RockABye Baby Lullaby Series

Music is one of the oldest and most effective ways to get a little one to drift off. Again, this is one that didn't work for us (not consistently anyway) but does work for many.  The RockABye albums are popular songs turned into  soothing lullaby versions that won't have parents feeling like they are losing their minds while they listen to a child's favorite track on repeat.


This is a sponsored post. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Marilyn Monroe Spa at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Grand Opening

Did someone say spa day? A day of beauty treatments, relaxation, and pampering is always welcome in my book.  So, as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to check out one of Central Florida's newest and most luxurious additions to the beauty scene. 

Smokey eye in progress
The Marilyn Monroe Spa at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress has definitely captured that old Hollywood glam we all admire from the golden age of Hollywood.  Its inspiration?  None other than one of the biggest icons of all time, Marilyn Monroe.  Always controversial, Miss Monroe continues to spark a difference in opinion over the bombshell's contributions, talent, and footprint on American culture even today.  But there is one thing everyone can agree - The girl was a beauty.  And it is widely known that she did what she could to keep herself looking and feeling beautiful.

Smokey eye and bold lip
Upon entering, I was taken by the gorgeous pictures of Marilyn in each room.  I loved that the spa had a simple, calming elegance.  Posh without distracting from the main goal of relaxation, the Marilyn Monroe Spa is the perfect place to go for a girls day or for some much needed "me" time.

One of my favorite parts of the night was getting our makeup done.  My friend decided to get a bold lip, while I opted for the dramatic smokey eye.  Not only was the makeup artist friendly, she also showed us how to replicate the looks at home. 

My favorite room.
Picture by Metanoia Living
Marilyn Monroe Spas also use their own brand of product.  I'm always a little nervous when trying a new beauty line for the first time, however, I had nothing to worry about.  I tried the eyeliner, shadow, and nail polish.  My friend applied the lip liner and gloss. All of the products were on par and in some ways better than the high quality brands often used in salons. Overall, the spa, its products, and its staff made for an amazing night out for this mom. I certainly enjoyed the much needed girl time and focus on beauty and fun.

Interested in trying out this beauty retreat for yourself?  Use the promo code "Welcome Marilyn" at the time of booking and   Valid through April 30,2015.  Not in the Central Florida area? No problem! This offer is valid at all Marilyn Monroe Spa locations. Go to http://marilynmonroespas.com/ to find a location near you.
receive 20% off of your services.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Favorite Fashion Trends: Ear Jackets

Obsessed!  That's how I would describe my feelings towards this [somewhat] new fashion accessory.  I never really got into the "ear cuff" because I feel it is a look not everyone is able to pull off.  But the ear jacket is the perfect mix between glam earring and edgy ear cuff.  Plus they come in all different styles - From sweet to classic to fierce.  Check out some of the finds below!










Tuesday, March 3, 2015

West Egg [Sponsored]


Michael Kors Wallet

Fashion post ahead!  If you are like me and fawn over designer duds but don't often feel comfortable spending major cash to get them, I have found a website for you.  Now, I know what you're thinking.  There are a ton of designer discount websites out there.  There are even several apps - All promising the lowest prices and the chicest products available. But West Egg is different than all of them.

First off, West Egg seems to have much more to offer in terms of variety.  With a catalog of brands from Ray Ban to Michael Kors,  West Egg is able to offer products that will complete any look and any style for any occasion.  And all of these products are up to 80% off.  This means pretty purchases and zero guilt.  

So what has peaked my interest on the website?  Sunglasses. Tons of brands. Tons of styles.  And just in time for Spring.  Of course, I’m loving the classic Ray Ban Wayfarers.  But I also have my eye on the original aviators by Ray Ban.  

Kate Spade Earrings
My absolute favorite part of West Egg, however, is their #becomethemodel campaign through Instagram.  By simply posting a picture of you in your freshly purchased sunnies, skirt, top, or shoes from West Egg with the hashtag  #becomethemodel , customers are able to model their favorite products through one of the hottest social networking sites used worldwide.  Not only does this please those who crave some “instafame,”  it pleases those of us who prefer to see products on real people before purchasing.  Very few of us look or have they body type of professional models hired and used by the brands, so seeing how a product looks on someone who looks a little bit more like myself helps me visualize the complete fashion picture.  It’s also a great way to get a little fashion inspiration for future outfits.   Check out West Egg for yourself.  Find great products, save money, and even become the model. 

Psssst - Use code "wearwestegg" for 10% off

*The above is a sponsored post