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Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

For my husband’s academy graduation I rented the beautiful Canon 135L lens to capture the special occasion. I took tons of photos, maybe around a hundred. I can’t tell you the exact amount because I lost all of them after my daughter knocked over my laptop of seven years, and it was not worth the price of repair. Then what do you know, the external hard drive I used as a backup crashed the same week.

The only photos from that event I have are web-sized versions I happened to send to my mother-in-law. Thankfully she hounded me for pictures or I wouldn’t even have those. Pictures from that event and a period of my daughter’s life are all gone, forever.

I’m generally not an obsessive-compulsive person, but that terrible experience triggered this fixation with backing up photos. I spent so much time researching multiple ways, to back up my photos. ALL of my photos. Including images from my iPhone, our iPads and most of all, my camera.

Last year I shared with you a way to backup and print all of your iPhone (and Android) photos for next to nothing. This time I’m going to share the ways I archive and my opinion of the best ways to backup photos and videos (you know how I love my videos!) so that you nor I will ever lose another cherished captured moment again.

Never lose your precious photos again! Here are three ways you need to be backing up your photos and videos. The easiest and best ways to save your memories.First let me explain why it’s SO important to organize your photos. It’s one thing to have a million photos backed up, but it’s an entirely different issue when there’s no rhyme or reason to how you have them saved. I could dedicate an entire post to this but let me just briefly explain how I organize mine.

Any time I import new photos I make a new folder with the event. That folder is saved inside a folder for events for that month, which a subfolder of the current year folder. For example I’d import Lil’ J’s ballet recital pictures which would be in Pictures à 2014 Pictures à August 2014 à Lil’ J’s Ballet Recital.

Then each picture in that folder is titled “Lil’ J’s Ballet Recital01, …02, ..03 etc. It makes it much easier when looking for specific images. Especially when you can’t remember the name of the event but have a general idea for when you took the photos. As I back my images up, I keep them organized the same way as often as possible.

Now here are some of the best ways to back up your photos.

The Cloud

I am a huge fan of web backups, especially if they can be automated. Like I explained here, I have all of my iPhone photos automatically backup to Google Plus in a private album (you don’t even need the app to be open for them to upload), then I print out the month’s worth of photos using Groovebook for $2.99 (free shipping). You can also upload images from your computer to Google Plus but I haven’t been doing this unless it’s a super important event I want to save because of the amount of images I take. Storing images and whatnot on Google Plus is free up to 15GB then you have to pay for more space.

Never lose another precious memory: 3 Best ways to backup photos and videos. This post will give you all the tips you need. Another option for backing up large photos from your computer is using Flickr. Flicker is awesome for storing your photos and videos because you get a full TB of storage for free. Even I can’t imagine filling that up. However videos have a time limit of 3 minutes, so keep that in mind with your uploads. I haven’t been using their mobile app to backup my photos because my app had to be open in order for it to update, and I aint got time for that. But I love using it to back up my large photos from my computer. I try to log in once a month and upload my photo event folders for the month. Most of those albums I keep private, or select which photos I want to show publicly.

External Hard Drive

This is an obvious necessary backup. You never know when the Internet may fail you, so back up your stuff to another hard copy you can keep your hands on. I have a few Western Digital drives that I use to backup my entire Macbook Pro and iMac. I even connect it to my wireless router so it can backup both of my computers wirelessly and have less of an issue with plugging and unplugging it in, or it getting knocked off my lap when using my laptop (which I think is one of the reasons my previous one failed). I have two 500GB drives and a TB drive. Believe it or not my TB drive is full already because I was backing both of my computers up to it. I’ll probably do them each on separate drives from now on to conserve space, or upgrade to a 2TB drive. My plan is to keep one in my fireproof safe and update it every month in case of a fire (is my OCD showing again?).

LyveHomeNever lose another precious memory: 3 Best ways to backup photos and videos. This post will give you all the tips you need.

This device is my latest backup endeavor and it’s the perfect addition to the methods I already have in place. In fact, if I had this first, I’d be tempted to skip my other two means all together.

The LyveHome is a wireless photo and video manager. It works in conjunction with the Lyve App that I have downloaded on my iPad mini, my iPhone and my iMac. So every time I take a photo on my phone, or upload a photo to my computer, it automatically pulls it over to the LyveHome and stores it as a backup. It has 2TB of storage so until I reach about a million photos, or an insane amount of videos, I won’t run out of space. (So far I’ve imported 14,038 photos and 617 videos and I’ve only used 4% of my storage). I love my external hard drives to backup EVERYTHING(all of my programs, documents, files, etc) but it’s nice to have a device specifically for our memories.

Never lose another precious memory: 3 Best ways to backup photos and videos. This post will give you all the tips you need. My favorite aspect is seeing photos I take on my iPhone now automatically sent to my computer. My iCloud account has long since been full, so I had to manually sync my phone (which I rarely did) or search my Google Plus backup to find a pic I wanted to edit. Or just email it to myself. ANNOYING.

I can also view all of the images from my computer on my iPad or iPhone. When you reach storage capacity on your phone and get that dreaded warning, you can delete your photos and videos from your iphone library without worrying because you’ll have an extra copy already on your LyveHome and stored in your LyveApp. This also comes in handy when I want to show off a photo I took on my DSLR that I haven’t uploaded online yet. I can access the photos from my computer while I’m out.

Another little bonus is the cute clock it adds to my desk, and the fact that it scrolls through all of my old photos so I can feel a bit of nostalgia while I work.

Never lose another precious memory: 3 Best ways to backup photos and videos. This post will give you all the tips you need.

Here are a few things worth noting:

-Although it has a touchscreen, you can’t watch videos or delete photos/videos by toughing the LyveHome device, but you can through the app on any of your other devices. I was a little confused by this at first. You control it from the app, not the cube itself.

– It doesn’t import photos shot in RAW format. So if you are like me and don’t shoot in JPEG or RAW+JPEG, you’ll have to convert your images before they’ll be added to LyveHome. This will probably motivate me to hurry and edit all of the images I love so they’ll immediately be backed up in an additional spot, instead of just saving them to edit later.

-It scrolls through all the images, and right now the only way to “hide” them from being displayed on the LyveHome cube is by deleting the photo from your LyveApp. So those boudoir photos I wanted to save for myself but maybe not have my friends from church see when they come over… Umm, I’ll probably just stick to my alternate backup methods.

Never lose another precious memory: 3 Best ways to backup photos and videos. This post will give you all the tips you need.

Overall, I love it for automatically syncing photos as I take them, and for peace of mind. I wish I had this back when my computer and hard drive crashed. It could have saved me a lot of heartache.

One of these will run you about $299. You can learn more by visiting their website.



Never lose another precious memory: 3 Best ways to backup photos and videos. This post will give you all the tips you need.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading about the best ways to backup your photos. Now here’s the fun part. I LOVE sharing ways to document and preserve your family legacy and you know I love feeling like Oprah. Lyve sent me an extra device to give away to one of my readers. To enter the giveaway just check out the video about LyveHome and let me know what you thought, and what memories you’re most excited to backup and why by leaving a comment. You have until August 28th EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 2ND to enter. I’ll randomly draw the winner using random.org. Entrants must be at least 18 years old and live in the United States. Good luck my friends!

*I’d like to give a huge thanks to Lyve for allowing me to review their product and give one away to one of my fabulous readers. I was sent the device to try for free, and compensated to include an honest review in my post. All opinions expressed are mine, ALL MINE!

Never lose another precious memory: 3 Best ways to backup photos and videos. This post will give you all the tips you need. Never lose another precious memory: 3 Best ways to backup photos and videos. This post will give you all the tips you need. Winner Alert: Lucky #13: Trenton Robertson. If the winner fails to claim their prize an alternate will be chosen at random.

Never lose another precious memory: 3 Best ways to backup photos and videos. This post will give you all the tips you need.

I blame my hatred for cleaning on my parents. I’m pretty sure from the moment I was old enough to hold a washcloth they put me to work. Laundry, sweeping, mopping, bathroom duty you name it. I felt like Cinderella. But instead of having evil stepsisters laughing at me, my sisters were alongside me doing a crappy job, which left more work for me and–Well, you get the idea. Anyway…

My parents probably thought it was some kind of character-building technique, but I just thought it was torture.

“They only had us so we can be their slaves and clean the house!”

“Yea!”

My sister and I were pretty dramatic.

So basically I feel like I paid my dues from the age of 6-17, and for the next 10 years I’ve thought of ways to make cleaning less miserable. From marrying a recovering neat-freak, to hiring help, and researching cleaning robots.

The robot fascination started one day when I was working on a story about a robot that may eventually be able to detect early signs of autism in children. I had just finished interviewing the inventor about this really cool device when my photographer told me how he has a robot.

“It vacuums my floors,” he told me.

“Do you have a Roomba?!” I was excited to talk to someone who actually had one. I’ve been salivating over these things forever, and the reviews were great, but are they really all they’re chalked up to be?

“It’s awesome, we come home every day to freshly vacuumed floors.” SOLD! He had me at ‘It’s awesome.’ I proceeded to ask him a gazillion questions about it, and tell my husband I wanted one, but he said to wait until we moved, and we’d see. Our vacuum was on the fritz anyway, and we’re in the market for something new. I’ve heard great things about Dysons… Rolling around on a ball and all. People tell me you barely have to push them. But here’s the thing… When it comes to vacuuming all I want to push is a button.

I got something very similar to try out. It’s a Braava 380t, Roomba’s little cousin. It’s a robotic mop… Think of a Swiffer on wheels running around by itself. Ya, it’s pretty cool.

I named him Bob. And he’s basically my Prince Charming. I told you when I got him I’d give you my honest opinion and here it is… (Beware, the following photos are pretty nasty, yet exciting).

Braava-380t robotic floor mopA good kind of gross.

We still have quite a few boxes everywhere but I tried it out anyway to see what it could do. Once Bob was done charging I set up the GPS cube in my kitchen and let him do his thing. My kids and dog were quite amused, as was I.

I didn’t think he would pick up much dirt cause we just moved in to brand new clean tile floors, but boy was I wrong. Bob picked up dog hair and dust like nobody’s business. We’d only been in a day!

I don’t dust, but now I can totally be one of those people who does. Braava-380t

So Bob isn’t so good at picking up big things like pretzel chunks or rocks (hey, it happens). But anything a Swiffer can do, he can do better—Reaching under my couch and spots I’d never sweep myself. Perfect for routine cleaning and dusting that I’m usually too lazy to do. We made a mess moving into our laundry room, leaving a ton of debris. Bob sucked a lot of it up, but the solid concrete-like stuff didn’t stick to his cleaning cloth. Luckily I don’t see a lot of concret debris in my kitchen floor’s future.

A bonus is it’s also great kid entertainment just push the button, walk away, and my kids are entertained without me for the next 30 minutes or so. Poor Snoop was scared though. He’s no where to be seen in this video.

Here’s a very non-fancy blurry iphone video of him in action alongside my thoroughly amused children.


Just like you’d want to do a quick rinse before putting your dishes in the dishwasher, you’ll want to pick up big things off your floor before getting this thing going. You can use it in wet mop mode, or dry sweep mode, using either the reusable clothes it comes with, or disposable Swiffer cloths.

My absolute favorite part about Bob is the fact that once a day, he quietly takes care of Snoop’s dog hair on my tile. He has no problem running from room to room, aside from occasionally getting confused under one of my couches. But I just give him a little nudge after I hear his call for help and he gets going again. Snoop is getting a lot more love from me these days now that his hair isn’t a constant annoyance.

Braava-380tYucky yay!

I’m ok staying on top of messy dry concrete and cereal spills and Bob can take care of the rest. Now my only question is do I still get the Roomba to vacuum my carpet and everything else? I’m thinking probably yes.

Moral of this story? Don’t get a dog. Or if you already have one, get a Bob, er, a Prince Charming… I mean a Braava.

Questions about my new BFF? Shoot!

And for more information about this little robot and others, check out iRobot. Technically, they sponsored the review, but my love for Bob is pure and priceless.

I had all these plans for maternity leave. Plans to go to my first Austin farmers market. Plans to take my daughter to swimming lessons. Plans to take a mini vacation to a nearby town. None of these things happened. I only have a week and a day left, and I have no idea where the time went. Most days were spent hanging out at home, a neighborhood park, or meeting up with friends. Most evenings were spent cuddling with my babies as they drifted off to sleep. Then of course my nights were spent watching TV show marathons on Netflix.

I had plans to reorganize my daughter’s closet, revamp my websites, and complete a multi-backup system for all of my digital photos. I’m only beginning to make a dent in all of these goals. Instead, I’ve spent much of my time making up stories with my daughter, and getting acquainted with my sweet baby boy.

I’d hoped I’d be some kind of master chef by now. Instead I’ve discovered I love to bake, and I’m still not very fond of cooking.

I thought I’d be able to keep a cleaner house since I’d be home more to clean it. But I’ve learned being home more just means there’s more of a mess to clean up. Cleaning then leaving the house is the trick.

I thought I’d still enjoy quality time more than quantity, and now I’m not so sure.

I hoped I’d be able to knock out at least a hundred Pinterest projects but I think I’ve done two.

Maternity leave is about recovery, and getting to know my new baby, but I’ve spent just as much time growing even closer to my daughter.

One thing I’ve learned during this experience is sometimes simple is better. After work I’d try to make up for lost time by planning fun activities and projects for us to do. Now, coloring a picture together, practicing writing our ABCs, or making up stories can be as fun as anything.

Lately my daughter asks me to make up stories about herself as a princess. The first one I told was a rendition of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Since then, she’s enjoyed telling the story herself to family and friends.

Last week we were sent an HP ENVY X2 and an HP ENVY 120 e-all-in-one printer to try out and review, courtesy of HP. We were encouraged to make a craft or project together, so I thought it would be fun to draw out her story and print it for her to have.

I could tell you all about it, but instead I made a video of the experience, complete with silly outtakes at the end.


The video was probably just as fun to make with her as the story book (in case you’re wondering… Little boy was attached to me during most of the shoot, but quiet and asleep for most of the filming).

I’ve been thinking a lot about quality vs quantity time. I don’t feel like I see my daughter any more than I do when I’m working, but reality is I’m with her nine more hour a day five days a week. That’s insane. And you’d think she’d be tiring of me by now, but she’s attached more than ever, and always reluctant to go anywhere with her daddy when I’m not going too. She’s my little buddy, my tiny friend.

My maternity leave hasn’t been all it was cracked up to be. It’s been better.

Twelve weeks just isn’t enough. I’m just now getting the hang of things–into a routine, and now I’m going to change it all up again. Great.

Like our video? I’ll be giving you more details about the HP products in an upcoming post. I’ll also be doing a giveaway for the laptop/tablet, printer and a $50 Snapfish gift card.

I did this video review while participating in a program on behalf of HP and received an HP ENVY x2, and HP ENVY 120 All-in-One Printer, and a Snapfish Giftcard as a part of my participation.

We took a much-needed break about a month ago. Shortly after finding out we’ll soon be adding another little addition to our family, and took a little road trip out to Barton Creek Resort for a night.

I don’t think this will end up being our last-hurrah as a family of three, but it was a fun way to celebrate our family growing.

I worked a half day (that week I was working sometime like 10 days in a row) and picked Lil’ J up from school early. We headed out to the resort, got a tour, and chilled while we waited for her daddy. On the tour I realized it was the same place American Idol filmed in Austin last year. Neat random fact.

We were hungry when we got there, and I was in a hurry so we didn’t stop for lunch. We ordered room service up to our spot. Lil’ J wanted “noodles”… her current favorite food. And I got a juicy cheeseburger. I think she was surprised to see food come to our room and even more excited to eat on the bed.

We headed down to the pool, where on our way we ran into a giant chess board. I’d never seen anything like it before… Well, except on an episode of Sesame Street. She was fascinated, so was I.

My husband showed up and joined us at the pool. That night was her first night sleeping in a “toddler bed” of sorts. The love seat folded out to a little bed, that we made for her (she’s too rowdy to sleep with us, plus we wanted our own space). She kept sitting up and asking if “We go night night?” YES! We told her 10-million times. I decided I’d “pretend” to sleep to get her to fall asleep and ended up passing out before she did. Since then, the hubs is convinced she’s still not ready for a toddler bed (I disagree).

The next day was the day I desperately needed and was waiting for. We got up early, went to breakfast, then Lil’ J went to the Kids Club to play, her daddy went to golf at Fazio Foothills, and I went to the spa.

My husband never gets to golf anymore, we’re so busy, and it gets expensive with all the clubs, rounds, etc etc. So I was really happy that he could go play at a really nice course and enjoy himself. He deserves it!

Massage, sauna, hot tub. Peace and quiet time to myself. It was even more than I had dreamed it would be. They have some kind of girls getaway spa package where you can go to the spa, pool, and have lunch. I think it’s something I’ll have to hint to the hubs for my birthday or something.

I felt bad cause Lil’ J cried when she realized she was going to a kids area and that I’d be leaving her, but when I came back after leaving the spa she was giving hugs, dancing around, and having a good time.

The resort reached out to me and invited us to check it out. To be honest, at first I worried it wasn’t going to be a good fit for us. Resorts usually give me an upscale vibe and make me worry about bringing the whole family there, but this place is about as family friendly as they get. They have fun family seasonal packages too.

Lil’ J was so excited to pack her own suitcase and bring it to and from the room. It’s definitely a little adventure we’ll have to treat ourselves to more often. Especially a time or two before she becomes a big sister. Next I’m sorta debating Disney World pre-baby while pregnant, or post-baby, years later? Decisions decisions!

There’s a commercial that airs on my news station all the time that goes “we were green before green was cool.” It’s a slogan by a pest and lawn care company that uses environmentally friendly products for their services.

I must have heard that a thousand times before I stopped to think about it. “Before green was cool.”

Aint that the truth. I thought as I mouthed the phrase I knew was coming.

If anything is trendy right now like no other it’s green products.

I’m bombarded with mom emails every morning issuing me a new warning about some product I use that’s harmful to my baby and has links to cancer.–Air fresheners, glass cleaners, bleach, cell phones. I might as well move to a bubble and eat dirt.

These emails almost always offer up a green alternative which makes me scratch my head and wonder if that green alternative is the one sponsoring this mass email to scare me.

Well I’ll show them. Instead of buying the toxic-free air freshener, I’ll just let my house stink. And instead of washing my counters with that natural cleaner…Well, I just won’t wash my counters.

Yes, ladies and gentle men, my plan is to just live in filth instead of fear.

Organic Cotton Girls Top from My Natural Baby Boutique

When I told my husband of my plan to stop cleaning, of course he had a smart aleck response.

“So, what’s new? I do all of the cleaning.”

So my plan to rebel against the toxic clean companies, and their expensive alleged “green” counterparts was short lived. But I haven’t given up. I do want to be greener. To live greener, and feel like I’m making a difference. But I also don’t want to feel ripped off.

Something that comes from the earth should be cheaper than something that’s processed–At least in my mind. I know things that are processed are more often mass-produced, and more likely to cost less to make (at least that’s what I hear) but there’s gotta be other ways to be thrifty AND green right?

For one, I’m thinking of using vinegar to clean with. I dunno, I hear it gets the job done. I’m not sure what I think of my whole house smelling like vinegar but I imagine it’ll be better than the smell of not cleaning. It’s worth a try. Until we find out vinegar also has a link to cancer.

I’m also of thinking of joining a community garden. My town has dozens of community gardens and there’s a couple right around my house. Organic food can be pricey, but if I grow my own it can be way cheap. I’m talking tomato seeds for like 10 cents. Renting a plot is only like $30 a year or less depending which you plant at. And this way I don’t have to dig up my own yard… The plots are already there!

Organic Cotton Pants with Skirt from My Natural Baby Boutique

The only downside is well… The work, and the fact that I’ve never been able to keep my potted plants alive so umm… This could wind up being a disaster, but it could also be a good learning experience. I’ll definitely take a free class before trying. And I’ll bring the whole family out. It’ll be a good lesson for all of us. Plus Lil’ J already likes to eat dirt. She’s green.

I doubt I’ll ever decide to grow cotton (it just don’t seem right in my mind). But apparently non-organic cotton uses lots of cancer-linked pesticides (surprise, surprise!). I’d think it’s not the end of the world since you wash your clothes, and you’re wearing them, not eating them, but don’t quote me on that. If you’re still worried, stores like My Natural Baby Boutique make clothes with 100% organic cotton. That’s where these cute Earthy-looking clothes are from.
And finally, I’m all about recycling. ALL a-bout-it!! I’m not the best about recycling my own trash (YET)–I’m working on that. But I am saving all of Lil’ J’s clothes. I don’t plan to throw any away. It’ll all be donated, used for my next child, or sold. I am also good about buying recycled products. Like clothes for Lil ‘J. A good portion of them are second hand. Betcha didn’t know that! Yea! I get a lot of her stuff off eBay, and a few things from thrift stores. I even have found some cool etsy shops that up-cycle their clothes. Meaning, taking fabric from an old-something, and turning it into a new-something. Like this skirt from Wendy Miracle and this adorable hair bow from Little Smash:

Upcycled Skirt from Wendy Miracle; Upcycled Bow from Little Smash; Bubble top from HEB

Recycled toilet paper is another way to go. No… It’s not what you think. We use cloth wipes for Lil’ J but not for us. Recycled toilet paper as in White Cloud Green Earth brand. Like up-cycled clothes, this stuff is made of 100% recycled material, which saves millions of trees. Kruger, the company behind White Cloud Green Earth is also using green energy to run it’s factories.


So maybe I am jumping on the “green is cool” bandwagon, but really, is it that bad of a club to be in? Even if we do find out that it’s all a hoax next year, or that it’s already too late, we’re gonna die–At least we gave it a try, and it’s a well-meaning club to be in.

Thanks for making it to the bottom of my ramblings in this post. If you’ve survived, congratulations, now it’s time for some freebies…
You can buy Green Earth TP or paper towels and get 50% more right now. You can also use this coupon to get another $1.50 off. If you like free money, join their twitter party tomorrow where they’ll be giving away Walmart gift cards from 1-2pm CST. Use hashtag #earthday and #green to party.


If you comment and let me know what you like from My Natural Baby Boutique, you’ll be entered to win $20 to their cute clothing store. The first 5 people to say the code phrase “yo wassup” in the comments, gets $15 off their order of $50 or more. 

And finally, everyone who comments on this post letting me know an item they like from Planet Gear.com which sells clothes and other goodies for 70% off retail prices, will be entered to win this mother/daughter set of water bottles. You can also find them here on twitter or facebook. I believe you’ll also get a free $10 credit by using that link *crossing my fingers that’s how that works*.

All comments for prizes should be submitted by the 3rd please!

*I’m a White Cloud blogger and am compensated for my time preparing this post. All of my silly opinions are my own.

I have a confession… A big one. See, before I was pregnant I made fun of pregnant people… Well, not really, but I made fun of some of the things they do… Like bringing their own gowns to the hospital.

Yep, I saw it on a blog once and had to laugh and write a post about it. I thought it was the funniest/ lamest thing I had ever seen. Now here I am… Not even two years later bringing not one, but TWO gowns to the hospital. Yea, I’m feeling a little sheepish (and hypocritical) seeing what I wrote before.

My oh my, how time can change things, I’m a testament of that! I also said I’d have a Beemer before a Baby or a Lexus before a Little one and Lawd knows that didn’t happen either! I’m sure this eating my words thing will become a regular commodity as I journey through motherhood.

To my defense, the gowns I got are WAY cuter than the others (also more than $50… But hey, I’m making more money than I was then), and they also double as great nursing gowns and totally beat the regular old gowns they give you at the hospital. And I, my friends, am ANYTHING but regular.

Some people care about having an unmedicated birth… I care about feeling good. And looking good, will help me feel good. I’m just being me and doin’ me (as said in my birthing theme song “Over”, by Drake) and doin’ me is looking fly… Or at least trying to.

This will be the biggest, most exciting day of my life, next to my wedding day, and I was sure to look good for that day, so I want to look and feel nice for this day too.
So, what better way to look fly than to wear a Hot Mama Gown? I first heard about them when they donated one of their beautiful gowns during my March of Dimes fundraiser raffle! I knew once I got pregnant I’d be getting one. Luckily, they love me and my blog so they offered to send me one to review. My problem… I’m too indecisive and couldn’t choose just one, PLUS they came out with new swaddle blankets that made my decision even more difficult. So what I do? I bought a second gown and a matching blanket. It was a pregnancy present to myself, and the only “maternity” wear I’ve bought my ENTIRE pregnancy (I never went and bought those maternity jeans… Or anything else for that matter).

The nice thing though is wearing my gowns won’t have to stop once I give birth to Lil’ J. It’s perfect for nursing, and a nice nightgown to wear around the house.
I know some are probably saying “Umm girrrrl… You don’t even KNOW how messy and gross it gets during labor” You’re right… I don’t. But I DO know that these gowns are made with a fancy organic cotton that can be easily ridden of stains.

So, what I think of them? Well, I think they’re great, they’re comfortable, they button down the back, so they’re easily accessible for hospital staff, but your booty isn’t showing when you’re walking around (I’m oober shy when it comes to nakedness). They’re not cheaply made to be worn one time, which I love, because I’d love to just wear them around the house when Lil’ J and I are at home during my leave. There’s so much thought and detail in every snap and closure, it’s not just thrown together. It’s made to last. They also have amazing access for breastfeeding which will come in handy especially at the hospital, but at home too!

They look nice enough to where I can answer the door in them, and not look like a crazy old lady in my PJs but not so fancy to where I won’t want Spawnie’s poop on them. Well, not that anyone wants poop on them… I mean it’s not super delicate, and washes well.

FYI, the pictures of me in these gowns were initially taken by my husband, but just as much as he hates being in pictures, he hates taking them too, and the ones we took together didn’t look as good with the flash, so I did my own self-portrait shoot in the nursery.
So, want to know my plan for wearing them? I bought the pink Grace gown to wear during labor. I wanted to buy pink to remind me of Cora’s Story (a must read, beautiful baby who reminds me to get Lil’ J her first Congenital Heart Disease test). I bought Lil’ J a matching swaddle blanket that hopefully we can put her in shortly after she’s born for pictures.THEN, after I’m all cleaned up, I’ll change into my Antoinette gown, which I think looks GREAT for pictures. My hair and makeup will be touched up, and we’ll be ready to go.
On a side note… Other fly-making things in my (pre)hospital bag are: Fake eyelashes, hair rollers, and makeup (just the natural-looking kind). Hate all you want… I’m doin’ me!

Be sure to check out HotMamaGowns.com or follow @HotMamaGowns on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest deals and styles!

Baby carriers anyone? If you missed my MomTV show last week shame on you. I showed off this awesome carrier which I cannot wait to tote Ladybug around in.

We have a sling, a couple of wraps a mei tai, and an Organic Lillebaby EveryWear Baby Carrier. Out of all of them I must say this one feel the most secure, sturdy, and hard core. Granted, I don’t have MY baby to try in all of them, I have tested them out on some other little ones, and I’ve been practicing getting them all on and off.

Note: My penguin has no legs, it’s not the same proportion as a baby, and I’m 8 months preggo so you’re not getting the FULL effect here, but you can see it none the less.
One thing I love about this carrier is that there’s four different ways you can wear it, so you don’t need a different carrier for each position, it’s all in one!

Here’s the four positions:
1) Front inward facing: This position can be used with a baby 7 to 25 lbs but you must use the infant cradle and harness that is sold separately for babies 7-15 lbs.

2) Front outward facing: Once your baby is able to support their head to about 25 lbs, you can have your child face outward.

3) Hip Carrier: As your baby grows (15-43 lbs), you can give your child a ride on your hip with this carrier position. Note: Although we love the high weight limit, our 40 lb child is walking – not riding on our hip!

4) Back Carrier: When your child is able to sit independently (6+ months) to 43 lbs, you can give him a ride and support him on your back with this position.

Red Haute Mama – red with cream lining
Essential Black – black with black lining
Cocoa Couture – chocolate with cream lining
Whole Latte Love – latte with cream lining

I’m personally glad they don’t have pink cause I’d be sure to have gotten that one and my husband would refuse to wear it. They were smart in deciding these gender-neutral colors!
Other Lillebaby EveryWear™ Features:

Ergonomic Design:

• Allows the child’s legs to be at a 90% angle to support an optimal sitting position for hip, pelvis and spine growth.
• Disperses the child’s weight between their hips and thighs to minimize spine compression.
• Gentle Motion Suspension System™ absorbs child’s weight and movement
• Balances the baby’s weight to parent’s hips and shoulders
• Alleviates physical stress for the parent

Comfortable for Both Parent and Child:
• Dual-density foam-padded waist belt is pre-curved to hug the hips and provide greater comfort and load-carrying control.
• Padding continues under buckle to shield hips from the impact of the buckle.
• Shoulder pads inspired by High Performance back packs for maximum comfort and air flow.
• Removable and adjustable shoulder pads to fit a wide range of body types.
• High back supports baby’s head.

Convenient
• Adjustable Chest strap with Double Response Suspension System makes the EveryWear easy to get on and off.
• Two front pockets for keys or cell phone.
• Zippered pocket fits most diapers and wipe holders.
• 100% Jersey cotton hood to cover baby’s head.
• Soft lining and 100% lightweight microfiber exterior is wind and water repellent.
• Enforced edges for strength and durability.
• Available accessories: Infant Cradle & Harness, Sling Converter, Waist Extension Strap and Storage Bag.

I’ve stuffed the little pocket and it can fit a diaper too! My husband also likes the carrier and I can totally picture him carrying Spawnie around like “mini me” as he says. Ours, the organic kind is made with bamboo and organic cotton and it also has some nice extra padding on the shoulder straps. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making Spawnie walk her own little butt around when she weighs 40lbs but it’s nice to know that if we’re going on a hike or something together and she gets tired we’ll be able to pop her in here for a long time.

Be sure to check out Scandinavian Child’s Facebook Page for more information about their other cool products as well as this carrier! You can also follow @Scanchild and @lillebabyusa on Twitter!

There’s also a really fun contest going on this summer where you show off you and your little ones in the carrier to win some more prizes in their “Scandinavian Child I Am Everwear Challenge

{Get One}

You can buy an Organic Lillebaby EveryWear Carrier for $120. Or for $109 right now on Amazon.

{Win One! To Enter:}

Check out Scandinavian Child and let me know in the comments another product you like!

{For Extra Entries: Leave an additional comment if you:}

-Check out this lillebaby carrier product demo and tell me something you learned (2 entries)
Leave a piece of New Mama advice (I’m gonna print them on cards later!)
-If you
RSVPd to the shower
-Follow @lillebabyusa and/or @Scanchild on Twitter AND tweet about this giveaway with a link!
-“Like” Scandinavian Child on Facebook and write a wall comment telling her you saw her on my blog!
-“Like” Baby Makin(g) Machine on Facebook
-Email subscribe to my blog and confirm your email subscription
-Subscribe to my blog using this feedburner
-Vote for my bog on Top Baby Blogs (it’s way easy) 1X pr day
-Vote for my blog on Babble
-Add my blog or giveaway button to your blog (1 each)
-Comment on one of my posts on my Project Pregnancy Blog
-Post about this giveaway on your blog
Contest closes June 9th at 11:59pm. Random.org will choose the winner!
Good Luck!
*Thanks Scandinavian child for sending me a product to review and for sponsoring the giveaway. No monetary compensation was accepted. Opinions expressed are mine alone.*

Just 38 days until Ladybug’s due date! Time to pack my hospital bag! So continuing my Virtual Baby Shower, meet Babytime Bags!

Without a doubt, packing for the hospital has been one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy for me. It’s up there with decorating the nursery. To me it’s like packing for a big vacation. We will leave our home as parents-to-be and return with a new little munchkin. SO EXCITING!
It took everything in me to keep from packing my bags at the start of my second trimester. When I’m planning a vacation I love to shop and get my bags organized weeks in advance. Of course the daily hygienic things I keep out until the day before, but sometimes I go as far as to buy new travel-sized things just for the trip. I keep adding to the bag as I go and it’s just a fun thing I like to do to build up the excitement of my impending trip!

It’s the same way with getting ready for my trip to bringing Ladybug home, but trying to remember everything for this trip can be a little stressful, especially since there are so many things to remember: Birth wishes letter, my adorable hospital gowns, Ladybug’s special hats… Plus all of the regular stuff people bring like shampoo and toothpaste.
Problem solved with one of the most glorious things I’ve seen in all of my pregnancy, the pre-packed labor hospital bags from BabyTime Bags.
The woman behind them is Nia. When she was pregnant with her first son she was under an enormous amount of pressure trying to find a house to buy and she ended up on bedrest for the month prior to his birth due to her high blood pressure.
She wanted to pack her hospital bag herself and just couldn’t leave it to her hubby to do (which can’t we totally understand?) Being the web-addicted person she is, I tried searching for pre-packed hospital bags. Figuring out what to put in the bag was a bit overwhelming too, so she was hoping this would help.
“I searched high and low with all manner of search terms and only came up with one company {which is still in business and shall remain nameless},” she said. “I wasn’t that enthused with the bag and was even less so when I received it. But it served it’s purpose and I added a ton of stuff to it.”
“I’m a crazy multi-tasker and had been trying to come up with a business to start, but was still looking for that business idea that filled a void. Voila! I realized, ‘Hey, there have to be other mommies-to-be out there like me, and there’s only this one company and they aren’t that great. And I know I can do it MUCH better.’ And from there Babytime Bags was created!”
She wanted to start her own business(es) because she knows how hard it is to juggle a family and a career where someone else calls the shots. “As so many other mompreneurs have discovered, while you may work harder when you work for yourself, it’s more rewarding and can be done easier when your time and location is flexible,” she added!
So check out her marvelous invention! They sent me a bbLux bag, stuffed with all sorts of goodies! In fact, so much awesomeness I decided to vlog about it! So watch to see the goodies!

I love love love it so much! There’s also a letter inside that has a reminder of other things to pack that aren’t included. Knowing that I’d need to fit my birthing ball and my hospital gowns in too, (plus bows, blankets and hats for Ladybug… Oh, and my husband’s stuff) I did get an additional bag to go with it to pack the extra things they suggest (and more). I got this adorable coordinating duffle from The Groovy Mommy Etsy shop! She was so sweet too, and the bag and monogram was only $25! So… if you need more space, check her out. They could match any Babytime Bag you get (my little discovery!)
Nia has been married for 4 years to her law school sweetheart and they have one son and another on the way (our due dates are close!!).

She loves to travel, especially to Barbados, and doesn’t have pets cause she says her 3 boys are enough, but she has some great new mama advice for me!


{New Mama Advice}
“I think the best piece of advice is not to be afraid to let stuff go. Don’t try to do everything you did before AND get adjusted to a little one all at the same time. That is hard to do when you are a multi-faceted, hard-working, multi-tasking person and you’re used to doing everything {and doing it well}! But until you get the hang of it {and that could take a year or 2} it’s okay to focus on baby/family and get to the other stuff when you can. Delegate {especially to hubby}. Make sure you get rest. And enjoy every second of your little one.”
Great advice from a great mama! So, would you like one of these awesome bags?

{Get One}

The cost of a Babytime Bag is nearly HALF of what you would pay if you purchased everything individually that is included in this must-have carryall (not to say how much time you will save!). Also, as you will soon find out, this bag will come in handy with your new little one because you can never have enough bags.

They are fun and stylish for one, two, or even three trips to the hospital. Later, your Babytime Bag can be used as a stylish diaper bag or an additional bag for overnight trips. Learn more about Babytime Bags by following @BabyTimeBags on twitter or “liking” Babytime Bags on Facebook.

You can buy one of these on sale from Babytime Bags. She’s giving my readers a 10% discount UNTIL the end of the YEAR! Woohoo! Use the code: “FUTUREMAMA10” at checkout!

{WIN One} GIVEAWAY CLOSED!
Or take your chances here first at winning a bbBasic Bag for free! What’s in it?

A gorgeous and versatile quilted luggage piece by Quilted Keepers® in one of three vibrant patterns, embroidered with thebbPram logo and personalized for the mother-to-be.

Te bbBasic comes with many practical and indulgent items, such as*:

Evian® face spritz

Preggie Pops®

Altoids® mints

fluffy socks

headband and scrunchie

organic lip balm

hand mirror

clock

“who to call” list template

a Milkband®

Lansinoh® cream

Lansinoh® breast pads

pen and journal

all-natural toothbrush & toothpaste

all-natural mouthwash

little twig organic body wash

little twig organic body lotion

plush slippers

flip-flops

luxurious sleep mask and ear plugs

laundry bag

bbReference Guide For New Mothers


And that’s just SOME of what’s in it, not to mention the adorable diaper bag you get to keep! So…. Want to win one of these bags valued at $125!?

{To Enter to Win}

Check out Babytime Bags and let me know your favorite bag and color in the comments section.
{For Extra Entries: Leave an additional comment if you:}

Leave a piece of New Mama advice (I’m gonna print them on cards later!)
-If you
RSVPd to the shower
-Leave a comment on my Youtube video or subscribe to my Youtube page
-Follow @babytimebags on Twitter AND tweet about this giveaway with a link!
-“Like” Babytime Bags on Facebook and write a wall comment telling her you saw her on my blog!
-Email subscribe to my blog and confirm your email subscription
-Subscribe to my blog using this feedburner
-Vote for my bog on Top Baby Blogs (it’s way easy) 1X pr day
-Add my blog or giveaway button to your blog (1 each)
-Comment on one of my posts on my Project Pregnancy Blog
-Post about this giveaway on your blog
-Unlimited comments for commenting on any non-giveaway post during the giveaway duration

Contest closes June 8th at 11:59pm. Random.org will choose the winner!
Good Luck!
*Thanks Babytime Bags for sending me a product to review and for sponsoring the giveaway. No monetary compensation was accepted. Opinions expressed are mine alone.*

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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