Monday, July 27, 2015

Margaux & May :: Stylish Organic Cotton Muslin Blankets {Giveaway - Ends 8/9}

Although it seems there are hundreds of cotton muslin blankets on the market today, narrowing down my favorites is pretty easy. For one, I look for high quality, reputable brands with great reviews. Secondly, I LOVE beautiful, striking prints, especially for my little girl. Today I'm sharing one of my new favorites!

Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

 Recently I was asked by Margaux & May to check out their organic cotton muslin blankets in a new print, Dandelion Meadow. These very large muslin blankets are a versatile new-parent essential with many uses.

Can we just stop for a sec?? I can hardly believe that my sweet baby girl is FOUR months old already! Time just seems to be flying by at lightning speed...

Made out of 100% organic cotton muslin, these blankets are breathable, light, and soft. I've washed them at least ten times each so far and they continue to get softer with each wash. Practical for everyday use, these are wonderful for every season to snuggle your little one.

These blankets measure 47” x 47”. Muslin blankets are traditionally the perfect swaddle blanket, but veteran moms know they are great for so much more too. Some of my favorite ways to use these are as a simple blanket, nursing cover, car seat cover, changing mat, and a play mat. They've already had there turn as an urgent burp cloth when little girl barfed all over another mom at a babywearing meet-up recently!

These two blankets come in a 2-pack and are available exclusively on retail for $49.99, but are on sale at the moment for $29.99! If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can also enjoy free 2-day shipping.

The reviews are in on Amazon and these blankets are clearly well loved! They certainly get a pass from me on quality and most definitely for these gorgeous, bright prints. Make a statement with these bold colors! Lastly, I especially love that they're organic, and 100% GOTS certified to boot.

Enter To Win:
TWO of my readers will receive a 2-pack of Margaux & May cotton muslin blankets!

Boating Safety Tips

Disclosure: This is a guest post.

Boating is a fun, outdoor activity that the entire family can enjoy. Whether you prefer an afternoon in an exciting speed boat, a quiet river run in a canoe, or a relaxing day in a fishing boat, boating safety is essential. When you're out on the water, important boating safety tips may save your life.

Boating statistics indicate that boaters who wear life jackets while on the water and adhere to boating safety laws are most likely to be less involved in a boating accident. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, statistics show that the four leading causes of watercraft accidents and crashes are lack of attention, recklessness, speeding and operator inexperience. Statistics also show that the leading cause of death from boating accidents is drowning which could be prevented by having proper safety equipment like custom cushion flotation devices on board. For safe boating, follow these important safety tips:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Your Personalized Grocery Luggage

Disclosure: This is a guest post.

When you are getting ready to go on vacation, you pack your luggage with everything you will need. Your clothes and personal items all have to fit inside your bags. You do the same thing when you go to the grocery store. Your food and supplies are packed into a bag for you to carry with you when you leave. The difference is the quality of the bags you use.

Can you imagine trying to take a vacation with all of your things stored in disposable plastic bags? They probably wouldn’t survive the rigors of air travel without ripping. Your clothes and toothpaste would end up all over the inside of the plane. A plastic grocery bag is no less problematic. Nearly everyone has had to pick up their food after it has fallen out of a ripped bag.

Many are starting to make the switch from the disposable plastic grocery bags offered by the stores to their own personal reusable bags. There are a number of advantages. They are durable and less costly in the long run. They also present fewer ecological problems for wildlife. The best part is that reusable grocery bags are like a set of personal luggage. They are customizable for your specific needs. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Merino Wool Baby Gifts from Simply Merino {Giveaway - Ends 7/31}

Simply Merino is a Canadian company that sells 100% Merino Wool sleepwear in sizes from newborn to age 12. Simply Merino proudly manufactures their products in New Zealand using environmentally safe practices, and dyes that are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) approved for organic fabrics. Garments are not chemically treated in any way.

Merino Wool has many benefits and is a preferred choice to synthetic materials for parents. Merino Wool is naturally flame and odor resistant, soft and temperature regulating for every season. It's especially great as an insulating layer in cold climates.

Buddy has now owned three pairs of Simply Merino pajamas in the last three years. Did you know they also have several options for babies too? Yes, they do! All made out of 100% Merino Wool, there's an infant gown, baby sleeper, baby booties, a wool hat and baby blanket.

A Simply Merino Baby Gift Set is the perfect baby gift for a brand new little one. There are three gift sets to choose from, depending on which items you want, and they come in a beautiful selection of solid colors. You can also buy any of the items individually as well. Baby Gift Sets come in two sizes: newborn and 0-3 months.
Soft and cozy, the infant gown is offers an easy dressing solution. This lightweight gown features a drawstring bottom and cuffs to cover baby's hands if you choose. Pair the gown with the sweet little infant booties, a hat for extra warmth, and a beautiful merino wool blanket. Beyond infant size, there is the baby sleeper too.
Aren't these colors simply gorgeous? Soft tones for delicate little bambinos. Choose the color you want to give when picking out a Baby Gift Set! Such a classic gift choice, and certainly one that parents-to-be will love.
This post is brought to you by Simply Merino - thanks for allowing me to host this giveaway! 

Enter To Win:
One of my readers will receive the Baby Gift Set #2 (infant gown, hat and booties) in the Rose color, size newborn (RV $84.99).

(This is already in my hands so I apologize for the lack of prize color choice!)

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Solstice Sandal from Soft Star Shoes

In the summertime I usually live in flip flops. But unfortunately flip flops are really horrible for your feet though, and can even leave you vulnerable to injury. With sandals, you give your feet full support on the heel, so you avoid clenching your toes and causing unnecessary stress on your feet, ankles, and ultimately your whole body. I'm definitely trying to wear sandals more often now that I know better.

Disclosure: I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

My latest pair of sandals is the Solstice Sandal from Soft Star Shoes. As I've shared before, Soft Star Shoes is a handmade operation in Corvalis, Oregon and has been running for 30 years. Using traditional techniques in shoe-making, everything is done by hand, and they take great pride in being as environmentally friendly as possible through reusing and recycling. Their focus is on beautiful, unique, handmade leather shoes for the whole family.

The Solstice Sandal was well received when released as a new design last year. This year, Soft Star Shoes re-released the Solstice Sandal with the option of a Flora Motif of flower petals. I went for a black sandal with a turquoise Flora Motif.

Although these can be ordered in pre-selected colors, there is always the Design-Your-Own (DYO) option which is what I did. When you choose to DYO, you have ultimate control in creating your own color combination and opt to omit the Flora Motif if you wish (although it's way too cute to do that!).

This open-toe style helps keep you cool and beat the summer heat, despite the authentic premium leather material. They're also very lightweight, and won't bog down your summer adventures. Did you know that Soft Star even hand cuts the leather too? 

This may be a very different style than my Soft Star Ballerines, but the quality materials and high level of comfort are the same. They're very flexible and mold nicely to your feet as a result. There hasn't been a break-in period at all, and have been incredibly comfortable from day one. And that's really saying something because my feet are apparently very picky! 
I love the little details of the Solstice Sandal. The heel cut out gives this style a bit more personality, and of course the fun Flora Motif gives a pretty feminine touch. Combined with all the exposed stitching and buckle closure, this is a stylish sandal that you'll want to wear with everything. Don't worry, the Merry Jane is the perfect Soft Star shoe to transition into cooler whether when it's time to put these away!

The Vibram rubber sole is thin, yet all you need in a good shoe. Shoes are about protecting your feet from the elements, and these do just that. They almost feel like you're walking barefoot, which is what any minimalist wants. 

Just how flexible are the Vibram soles? Here you go! Yes, they're very squishable.

When figuring your shoe size, consider that the Solstice Sandal runs larger that other Soft Star styles. I was able to get away with a 7, despite my size 8 Ballerines, and my typical size 9 feet.

The Solstice Sandal is a refreshing change to my summer flip flops. My feet are well supported yet feel practically barefoot. I can wear them all day without them hurting my feet too. The black goes with everything, and the turquoise coordinates well with a lot of my wardrobe because it's close to my favorite color. I can't recommend these enough!

The Solstice Sandal is available starting at $90. For DYO inspiration and several basic solid colors, shop now at Buy American-made today!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How A Sports Camp Could Benefit Your Child

Disclosure: This is a guest post.

Many health clubs understand that it’s not just adults that want to get moving, but that kids also need a fun and positive outlet to work out. More and more are beginning to offer sports camps for the younger crowd, fostering positive life lessons while helping kids to get extra energy out of their systems. Here are a few benefits of enrolling your kids in a sports camp.

Set Goals

When children enter a camp, they often learn that setting goals is imperative to getting to the next level. Then, even if they are beginning at the first step, hard work can allow them to meet their goals over time, reaching certain personal bests or better placement on their preferred teams.


With goals comes self-discipline. Kids can experience first-hand the benefits of focus and discipline in acquiring something they are striving for. They receive the opportunities to learn what needs to be done and how to execute without losing sight of their endgame. When a child earns an achievement they take with them a character trait that will help them long after the camp has finished.


Sometimes it can be easier to do something alone than to figure out how to succeed as a group. Sports camps allow kids the opportunity to achieve success as a team and learn how to play and work in a constructive manner with others. They get the chance to interact with a variety of personalities and learn how to work through problems using teamwork. Working closely with others to form a united force can also result in tight social bonds and lasting friendships based on respect and shared interests.


A camp can offer more than physical activity; it can give kids a chance at finding mentors who can help further them in their endeavors. The coaches can teach participants cutting edge techniques and develop particular skills while offering guidance both on and off the field. This can work towards increasing your child’s self-confidence and helping them improve their performance.

Get Active, Have Fun

In an era where many kids have access to a multitude of electronics and engage in numerous sedentary activities on a regular basis, sports camp gives them a way to integrate an active lifestyle while having fun. It gets them outdoors or on the court with other kids their age, exercising and having fun at the same time.

Sports camps are becoming a common option across the nation, offering youth a productive way to spend time throughout the summer and even throughout the year. If you are looking for a sports club for your child, check with local health clubs to see if a sports camp is available in your area.


Monday, July 13, 2015

aden + anais :: Muslin Swaddles + More

As a second time mom, I've definitely learned to keep the baby clutter to a minimum, and buy only what I know I'll actually use. As a leader in the baby product industry, aden + anais is a brand that is definitely a must-have for new parents.
I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own. 

aden + anais is well known for their large muslin swaddle blankets. But did you know they also offer bibs, crib sheets, security blankets, car seat canopies, toys, skincare and a whole lot more? Since Buddy was little, I've watched as their product line has expanded and grown to include more and more more baby essentials. And with plenty of beautiful fashion forward prints, there's something useful and practical for every family at aden + anais.

As I prepared for the arrival of baby girl, aden + anais graciously sent us several coordinating items from the For The Birds collection. The nursery is color-themed in aqua, pink and grey, so this set blends right in. Having had some experience with their swaddles already, I was really excited to check out other options from aden + anais as well.

Classic Swaddles
You simply can't go wrong with aden + anais swaddles. This Classic Swaddles 4-pack in the For The Birds print is so feminine and pretty for my little girl. They are a must-have in my book, as they are used every single day in our house, so are well worth investing in at least a 4-pack. 

These are huge swaddles, measuring 47" x 47" and made out of pre-washed 100% cotton muslin. Three of these swaddles have definitely become softer over the last three months of use and washing. For some reason the Medallion print swaddle is a little rough though, despite having been washed well over a dozen times by now. I keep that one in my car as an extra since I have plenty of blankets in my regular blankie rotation. For extra soft swaddles from aden + anais, check out their bamboo swaddles which are incredibly soft and even lighter. The two I have are soooo yummy.

Wondering how to use these? I love love love how versatile these swaddles are. I've used them to swaddle, to snuggle baby girl with, as a nursing cover, a car seat cover, a diaper changing mat, a play mat, and most certainly as a quick burp cloth. They're super light and breathable, so they're prefect for any season, and they make a great baby gift.

Classic Crib Sheets
How fun would it be to coordinate an entire nursery based off your favorite aden + anais print?! Find your favorite Classic Crib Sheet and build from there. These sheets are fitted and tailored to snugly fit a standard crib mattress. The breathable open weave of the classic 100% cotton muslin encourages a safe sleeping environment for your baby all year long. I wish I could say we've used this crib sheet, but alas, we have not! Baby girl is sleeping in her co-sleeper until further notice, but I'm excited to have this crib sheet in the For The Birds print when we eventually transition her out.

Classic Snap Bibs
Baby girl is drooling, and soon enough she'll be eating solids. Bring on the bibs! Classic Snap Bibs come in a 3-pack and are multiple layers of thick and absorbent 100% cotton muslin. With three easily accessible front snaps and a nice length, these will grow with baby beyond just the first year.

Classic Easy Swaddle
The Classic Easy Swaddle is a great option for swaddling when the classic swaddles just seem overwhelming or you have a little houdini like I do. It keeps baby's arms snug and her legs loose but covered to allow for natural hip positioning. 

With this double-layer swaddle solution, you get a quick, perfect swaddle every time with just a wrap and a couple snaps to finish. Baby girl was a few weeks old here, in the small/medium size. She quickly outgrew this one and would now be in a large since she's already 15 pounds and about 26 inches long at 3 1/2 months old.

aden + anais is a classic baby brand that my family loves and we highly recommend to you as well. Their commitment to high quality cotton muslin baby must-haves is visible in their beautiful product designs that are made to last. Find an aden + anais retailer near you.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sacramento's Wellspring Women's Center Receives Reading Stations & Children's Books from UnitedHealthcare #UHCCFSummerReading

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by UnitedHealthcare.

Reading to children 20 minutes a day is so important to help build a strong reader, and create a healthy view of reading for children. This summer UnitedHealthcare is encouraging young children to read through their summer reading initiative.

In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating 20 UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) reading stations, almost 800 Oliver & Hope™ children’s books, and 2,000 worksheets to Sacramento-area hospital and health clinics, crisis nurseries and community-based organizations. The reading stations provide children with a wonderful learning resource and a colorful place to read or draw.

This Sacramento summer reading initiative was recently kicked off by Kevin Kandalaft from UnitedHealthcare at the Wellspring Women’s Center reading event in Sacramento on June 24, 2015. Wellspring serves as a drop-in center to women and their children providing breakfast, followed by social work services in a safe and enriching environment. The center received one reading station and 165 books for their Children's Corner as part of the event.
Along with the announcement of this initiative, UnitedHealthcare employees, community leaders and UnitedHealthcare mascot Dr. Health E. Hound joined together for a reading circle with more than 50 women and children at Wellspring Women’s Center. Above, Assembly Member Kevin McCarty reads an Oliver & Hope™ series book to the children in attendance.

Organizations receiving the reading stations and books include the Sacramento Children’s Home Crisis Nurseries, Next Move, the Hope Clinic, YMCA of Sacramento, and Clara’s House. UnitedHealthcare will donate 200 books to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento as part of the clubs’ summer reading program.

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is a charitable organization that provides medical grants to help with children’s medical expenses not covered, or not fully covered, by their parents’ commercial health insurance plan. Since 2007, UHCCF has awarded more than 9,000 medical grants valued at over $27 million to children across the United States. To apply for a grant, donate or learn more, please visit

All three books from the Oliver & Hope™ series are available for $16.95 each. Proceeds from the books and plush toys from the series help fund the UHCCF child medical grant program. Visit to shop today.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bellefit Postpartum Recovery Girdles & Corsets {Giveaway - Ends 7/12}

When Buddy was born six years ago, I learned a lot about postpartum recovery that no one really talks about. Something I didn't expect was just how out-of-whack my body would be after my cesarean. I had zero core strength so I was constantly hurting my back the first couple months. My recovery was long, painful and difficult as a result. I tried a simple wrap support at one point, but it wasn't too helpful and lacked actual support. This time I knew I wanted to help support my body correctly so I could function better, and sooner, than my previous post-birth experience. 

I received complimentary product for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

Preparing for the birth of my daughter, I researched various styles and brands of postpartum support girdles and corsets to use after birth. Not knowing whether I would actually achieve a VBAC (I did!), I needed a product that would work effectively for a vaginal or cesarean delivery. I saw many complaints about some types of girdles riding up and becoming a nuisance more than anything. In light of this, I was thrilled to come across Bellefit and their postpartum girdles and corsets that fit like a high-waisted undergarment.

Bellefit is the leading brand of medical-grade postpartum recovery girdles and corsets. They offer four styles to choose from depending on your body shape, measurements and type of delivery. There is an easy to use sizing calculator so you can be sure you're ordering the size you need.

The Corset style was suggested based on my measurements, my prior cesarean and hope for a VBAC this time. The Corset style features two rows of front closure hooks vertically down the abdomen and also at the crotch for a totally adjustable fit. All Bellefit postpartum girdles and corsets are full-seated, so they don't ride up. They also don't roll down from the top either.

The medical-grade, high quality compression material is reinforced at the abdomen and back for real support of your core, back and spine after delivery. This Corset is seriously a heavy duty garment and is very well designed. 

You can begin wearing your Bellefit girdle or corset the day you're discharged from the hospital. Due to some recovery complications, I wasn't able to wear my Bellefit Corset immediately after birth. The first time I put on my Bellefit corset was at three weeks postpartum. My stomach had naturally shrunk some prior to using my Corset, but my weak core and flabby midsection was quickly relieved upon wearing it.

Considering just how far out my pregnant belly was just before I delivered, woah mama, I needed as much support after as I could get! I carried waaaaay out there, and all the leftover belly in the front was really hurting my posture and pulling me forward. My Bellefit Corset held everything firmly in and encouraged better posture without too much effort on my part. Wearing the Corset allowed me to feel very supported during recovery. Also, goodbye muffin top! All the Bellefit girdles and corsets will completely smooth out your new curves, much like shapewear does. This is such a confidence booster at a time when many moms may feel negatively towards there body.
The Bellefit sizing calculator was definitely accurate for me, and ensured my Corset would be very snug fitting. Since I had a vaginal birth, I was up and moving pretty well from the beginning, but I still needed that core support, especially when I ventured out for doctor visits and little outings. I was really surprised with just how comfortable the Corset was, to the point that I'd forget I was wearing it!

I'm nearly back to my pre-pregnancy size and weight, with just a few pounds left to go at three months postpartum. I have the typical extra tummy skin that's still shrinking but otherwise I'm surprised at how well my stomach looks already. Being my second birth, I'm a bit shocked that my stomach is returning to normal (mommy-tummy normal, that is!) so soon. I definitely attribute some of that to my Bellefit Corset, which has undeniably been helpful in my recovery. 

The postpartum stage after birth is a process. It's not a competition about who can "bounce back first" or gain back their flat stomach fastest. It's important to slow down and let your body heal properly as you care for your newborn in those early days. But there's not doubt that many women want and need physical support around their midsection after birth, regardless of how their baby was delivered. For me, wearing my Bellefit Corset wasn't about getting my body back. Sure, that's an added bonus, but really, I love the gentle yet firm support my Bellefit Corset provided when I needed it most.

Enter To Win:
One of my readers will receive a Bellefit postpartum recovery girdle or corset!