- Pampered Chef - Now, don't be a rookie and get her a blender or a "necessity" that shouldn't count as a "gift"... how about a Wine Tumblers & Bag, Premium Cocktail Set, or Cold Brew Pitcher!
- Rodan + Fields - Help mom age backwards. Give the gift of youth this Mother's Day with R+F's Redefine or Reverse regimens and show mom the love she deserves!
- Burst Toothbrush - again, maybe not a great gift for others but who says you can't treat yourself to healthier (and prettier) teeth and gums? This sonic toothbrush has been rocking the dental world and is recommended by thousands of dentists and hygienists!
- Kigurumi Oneise Costumes - have an anime / kawaii / Japan loving mom friend? Or want to buy a cute cuddly costume / pajamas to match your kids!? Go get you some Kigurumi hooded onesies!!
- YoRo Naturals - struggle with your eczema prone skin, or know another mother who does? Check out this amazing Organic Manuka Honey Soothing Skin Cream (affiliate link) or their skin healing zinc & tencl infused fabric RemedyWear (affiliate link)!
- Apparel by Brooklyn BoyMom - With logos like "comin' in hot" and "it's all grace" - these are fun, cute, and inspiring!
- Get style help online, over the phone, or in person (at the shop in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn) at mama run Ogo New York - only a $30 commitment which will go toward purchases made!
- Kannaway - Give mom the gift of all natural hemp-infused skin care products, in addition to a full line of natural hemp products including CBD supplements.
Disclaimer: This blog post is sponsored by oNecklace, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links - you don't pay more but we will earn a small commission for purchases made.
Mother's Day is coming up and we all have different feelings about this day. For many, it's a day to reflect on all that the mother does for the family. To spoil her, or at least to take a moment to say "Thank you and I love you!" But we have to remember for some, it's not all rainbows and butterflies. Some women are struggling to become mothers, some are grieving the loss of our own mothers, some have a tense relationship with their mother / mother-in law / baby mama or even their own children! No matter the case, we can all agree that without mothers, none of us would be here. So, commemorate the day how you best you choose, and if that means gifting yourself or a mother with something lovely, unique, and treasurable, then this is the post for you! I bring you my unique Mother's Day Gift Guide!
I have been wanting this myself for ages, and just hadn't made the splurge or hinted at it to my partner in crime, oops! But I got a beautiful personalized piece of mothers' jewelry thanks to oNecklace who provided me with this gorgeous Three Tone Ring Engraved Mother Necklace, currently 40% off, selling for just $47.95!! Beyond having your children's names engraved (smallest ring is 24K gold plated, next is rose gold, and largest ring is 925 sterling silver), you can also customize the clasp (lobster or spring-ring clasps) and chain length (with 14 - 22" available). oNecklace has TONS of other designs available - mother jewelry, and non-mother necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, for kids and adults. oNecklace has been around since 2012 and has been featured in British Vogue and on Pretty Little Liars and The Talk, they offer free shipping and have a 90-day return policy, so what do you have to lose!? Check 'em out!
Mugs, Tumblers, & Glasses
Whether she's a wine lover, coffee addict, tea enthusiast, fitness freak, or just your average Jane struggling to stay hydrated, you can't go wrong with a fun or stylish beverage container. Pick out one with a silly catch phrase, an inspirational quote, or even some photos of your kids - the sky's the limit! I'm loving the motherhood line of glasses by Pearhead, featuring wine glasses (affiliate link) and ceramic coffee mugs (affiliate link).
Nothing says love like a box of goodies delivered right to their doorstep! Thankfully there are a bazillion subscription boxes out there to choose from!! Got a fitness or yoga lover? Check out my review (and $10 off coupon) for Yoga Club!! For regular clothing (men, women, and kids) try Stitch Fix (affiliate link).
Sometimes the most thoughtful gifts don't come in packages with pretty bows on top. What about booking her a day at the spa, or that cut and color she's had on the back burner for months (or years) because she just hasn't had the child-free time to "pamper" herself on such a "luxury"!? Heck, you can even book a sitter for her to have some free time - check out Chime by Sitter City, you'll even get $25 off your first booking with my affiliate link!
When's the last time your family had a professional photoshoot? Book one to commemorate Mother's Day this year, or every year! Or, just for the mama, how about a Boudoir Shoot? It's certainly not for everyone, but would be an experience she'll never forget (and probably some photos she and her partner will appreciate having decades down the road!). If you don't know of a great local photographer, hey, there's an app for that, with plenty of "on-demand" photography booking options these days. With Shoott in NYC, for example, you book on demand (or ahead) and get a free on location 30 minute photo shoot and only pay for the photos you keep (each is $15 or less)!! Some others include PhotoSesh, Snappr, and Snapped.
Support your mama friends by shopping through them!! Here are a few great Mother's Day gift ideas from my mom friends:
If all else fails and you're still at a complete loss for the perfect Mother's Day Gift, check out Amazon's exhaustive list of Mother's Day Gifts (affiliate list), with tons of categories and options!!
Watch a Video!
~ sponsored post ~
It may be freezing outside, but the time is NOW to plan your children's summer! Most summer camps' early bird discounts expire in March, and others are fully booked up around that time! Our 2019 Summer Camp Guide will go live in a week or so, in the mean time, we're thrilled to introduce you to Kids in the Game (KING) Summer Day Camp!!
KING offers an action-packed classic day camp experience at their 5 NYC locations, including Park Slope, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Inwood, and Riverdale. Emphasizing enrichment through movement and play, campers will have a blast in activities such as sports, Zumba, art, STEM, theater, yoga, twice-weekly pool days, and weekly field trips!!
Children entering Pre-K through 8th grade are welcome to register at Kids in the Game, where activities are designed to instill teamwork, introduce friendly competition, build sportsmanship, develop confidence, and create an unforgettable summer experience!
KING Summer Day Camp runs Monday to Friday, 9AM - 4 PM, with complimentary early drop-off as early as 8am and extended day til 6PM for just $15 per day.
There is an Early Bird Discount of $50 off registration before March 1, and 10% sibling discount for each child.
PARK SLOPE LOCATION:
Saint Saviour High School (701 8th Ave; with gymnasium, cafeteria, classrooms, and library will be used for indoor activities each day), and much time spent at Prospect Park (1 block away)
DATES: 7 weeks (July 1 - August 16)
Kids in the Game also offers camps for shorter school breaks, sports and school programs, and birthday parties!! Get more info here and be sure to sign up for their e-mail list serve to be kept in the loop!
This post was sponsored by Liberty Science Center through a Momtrends blogger campaign, however all thoughts and opinions are my own (cuz... I'm no sell out!!)!
Little by little we're making our way through my list of the best day trips & weekend getaways from NYC, as well as the best kid-friendly spots within the 5 boroughs, and this past Saturday brought us to a new one which is now one of my all-time favorites: Liberty Science Center!! In a nutshell, the entire facility and all of the exhibitions were immaculate, there were endless hands-on activities for everyone from toddlers through adults, and it's relatively easily accessible for NYC dwellers despite it being "all the way over" in New Jersey LOL!! Watch my video highlights here and keep reading below for more details about the center in general as well as some brand new exhibits!
DOC MCSTUFFINS EXHIBIT:
Open from October 6, 2018 - January 27, 2019, this exhibit is based on Disney Jr.'s award winning children's TV series, Doc McStuffins. Children can feed newborns in the nursery, complete check-ups in the ER, care for animals in the Pet Vet, tune-up toys, and more! My kids loved every nook and cranny of this exhibit, and my girls were specially fascinated with the pretend hand washing stations, haha!!
SHERLOCK HOLMES EXHIBIT:
Walking through this interactive adventure, you could really find yourself carried away to another time and place. Each center is meticulously decorated with forensic clues to read and examine - see first hand how blood splatter analysis works, how foot prints differ going forward and backward, and much more!! Do note that this is a premium exhibit, meaning it's not included in general admission. You can pay an extra $6 or so to go the planetarium OR a premium exhibit, or about $10 extra to do both. Don't expect to follow along and actually solve the crime if you have little ankle biters in tow like we did (though it's still enjoyable to walk through and take it all in), but if you have older kids or adults only, spend an hour in here and have an exciting crime-solving adventure!
I could not believe my eyes when walking into this room, and seeing on their website that it's the "Biggest Planetarium in the Western Hemisphere", yep, I believe it!! It's massive!!!!! When sitting down, it's overwhelming and absolutely breathtaking!! When seated you pretty much had a 180 degree view from left to right, and the screen and images even wrap up and behind you a bit. We saw the "One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure" Sesame Street Show and it was really adorable - we learned some of the basic constellations and even traveled to China and the Moon!! Currently playing, they also have "Black Holes" and "Wonders of the Night Sky". It's not included in the standard admission fee, it's an add-on just like the "premium" Sherlock Holmes exhibit mentioned above.
OTHER NOTABLE ACTIVITIES & EXHIBITS:
Liberty Science Center is just a 40 minute drive from Bay Ridge Brooklyn (about 1 hour 15 minutes by bus / Path / NJ Light Rail), so totally doable if you plan to spend half a day there or so - great for a cold or rainy Saturday or Sunday!! They're open 9am - 4pm on Tuesdays - Fridays and 9am - 5:30pm on weekends (closed Mondays). Parking is $7. Admission is $23.75 per adult ($19.75 for ages 2 - 12), plus $6 for a combo pass (1 planetarium show OR 1 premium exhibit) or plus $10 for a Premium Pass (1 planetarium show AND 1 premium exhibit).
But here's where you can get a great deal... the FAMILY MEMBERSHIP!!! At just $175, basically the same price as 2 visits with a family of 4! It includes unlimited admission for 2 adults and 4 kids, 6 single-use passes (which can be exchanged for theater show tickets), member-only events (including member mornings and nights), and discounted theater/planetarium shows, premium exhibits, science camp, gift shop & cafe! Membership also grants you free admission to over 340 science & technology centers around the world as part of the ASTC Travel Passport Program (they must be at least 90 miles from your residence or science center where you are a member).
Thanks again to Momtrends and Liberty Science Center for hosting all of us bloggers and our families - we had a blast (above pix from our private party that included breakfast, learning about Bernoulli's Principle of Flight via 9 rolls of toilet paper, and making ice cream with liquid nitrogen - SO FUN!!)
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Culturelle but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not a medical professional - please do consult one before you or your children take any supplements or medicines.
I was waiting in our pediatrician's office the other day (toddler twins with nasty colds, fun!) and overheard a new mom with an infant speaking to the receptionist. Apparently, the doctor had recommended probiotics for her newborn, and she was to purchase them up front. She asked the receptionist how long her little one should take them, probably thinking it was a quick fix, just a week or two. The receptionist looked at her kind of stunned, and replied "Well, um, forever?" I chuckled to myself because not too long ago, I hadn't really heard of probiotics myself. It wasn't until my first child was faced with his first round of antibiotics that our doctor encouraged us to start them, to help discourage some of the nasty side effects antibiotics can have on the tummy, and to help rebuild his healthy gut bacteria afterwards (these "good bacteria" are essential for a strong immune system and overall wellness). Once you look into the research and talk to doctors, you start to understand their possible benefits on specific ailments, immune system, gut health and overall wellness, and it becomes quite clear that everyone, from infants through adults, can benefit from taking them daily, for life!
Now, there are a TON of brands and types of probiotics out there - some have a single strain, others have a handful. Potencies vary, as well as price points. So, I urge you to do your research and talk to your care provider about what will be the best probiotic for you, and your children. But I'm here today to talk to you about the #1 pediatrician recommended brand†, Culturelle, who I learned first about through my child's pediatrician about 5 years ago, and learned even more about last week at Momtrends' Moms' Night Out influencer event (see my recap of the event here - at their booth, we were encouraged to pick out a diaper bag and pack it full of essentials for our kiddos, including Culturelle Probiotics, of course)!!
Culturelle has several lines and products, including 4 types for digestive health, 4 for overall wellness, 3 for kids (1 with fiber), and 3 for baby, which I'll discuss in detail below.
Culturelle® Baby Calm + Comfort Probiotic + Chamomile Drops, for ages 0-12 months, includes Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG®) and helps reduce crying and fussiness due to occasional digestive upset.
Culturelle® Baby Grow + Thrive Probiotics + Vitamin D Drops for ages 0-12 months or 12-24 months, includes Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG®) and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (BB-12™), and promotes the development of a healthy digestive and immune system and helps build strong bones.
Culturelle probiotics use safe and gentle ingredients that work naturally with your baby’s body*, and help build a strong foundation for your baby’s healthy growth and development.
You can shop for Culturelle products on culturelle.com, Amazon (affiliate link), and your local drug stores.
What do you think? Do you or your children take probiotics or other supplements? Leave a comment below!!
† Based on a 2016 survey among pediatricians recommending a kids probiotic brand
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease
One of the greatest things about being a "mom blogger" is learning about the latest and greatest products, trends, and innovations, and getting to share them with all of you! Momtrends has been such an amazing resource for me, both as a mom and as a blogger. Their influencer events are always a blast, helping us connect with brands and learn about them in fun and creative ways. This year's 3rd Annual Moms' Night Out was no different, and I couldn't be more excited to tell you guys all about it!! Read on for a glimpse of the event and the wonderful brands and products that were represented there!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased. Amazon links below are "affiliate links" - you don't pay more, but I may get a small commission to help fund the blog, it's a win win!
The event was hosted by Parents Magazine at the Meredith Publications HQ in downtown Manhattan. There couldn't be a better match than Momtrends and Meredith, they totally run the parenting market in print with Parents and Parents Latina magazine (even if you're not receiving them at home, you're certainly reading them at your pediatrician's waiting room like I did yesterday), and digital on momtrends.com and parents.com (the latter did a piece on my twin pregnancy stop motion video that went viral 3 years ago!).
The night included fashion, food, massage, drinks, toys, giveaways, friends, and... being "moms' night out and all... no kids! YASSSSSS!
Now let me get down to the sponsoring brands, the great products they have, and the fun ways we got to learn about them!
The Culturelle booth was my first of the night, they had a selection of great diaper bags to chose from and asked us to fill one as we would for a family trip! Lucky for me I don't have to bother with diapers anymore, but with kids in tow you still have plenty to think about - snacks, entertainment, illness, etc! They had amazing must-haves to throw in there! I ended up going with some KIND bars and Happy Family Happy Tot Fiber & Protein bars, Aquaphor Baby lotion, Babyganics sunblock, Johnson & Johnson mini first aid kit, sippy cups, and of course, Culturelle Baby Calm + Comfort Probiotics and Culturelle Baby Grow + Thrive Probiotics!
Culturelle has probiotics for the whole family - for digestive health, wellness, and even an entire line focusing on building a strong foundation for your baby's healthy growth and development. It's actually the #1 Pediatrician recommended brand (based on a 2016 survey among pediatricians recommending a kids probiotic brand). Culturelle® Baby Calm + Comfort Probiotic + Chamomile Drops help reduce crying and fussiness due to occasional digestive upset. Culturelle® Baby Grow + Thrive Probiotics + Vitamin D Drops promote the development of a healthy digestive and immune system, and help them build strong bones. You can shop for Culturelle products on culturelle.com, Amazon (affiliate link), and your local drug store. Read more about Culturelle in my blog post here!
The next booth was deeeeeee-licious! Boiron USA wanted to provided a healthy and Instagrammable booth for us to enjoy, and they sure did, with a full smoothie bar!
Boiron USA is a world leader in homeopathic medicines, providing family-friendly products that work without causing drowsiness or drug interaction, and is best known for their top-selling flu medicine Oscillococcinum. Their baby & children's line features Children's Coldcalm Liquid Doses (multi-symptom cold relief for children 6 months and up) and Children's Chestal Honey Syrup (relieves all types of coughs). Boiron's homeopathic medicines have no risk overdose, won't interact with other medications, herbs, or supplements, and don't contain any of the ingredients questioned by the FDA for use in children under age 4. Amazing right!? You can purchase Boiron USA homeopathic medicines on boironusa.com and Amazon (affiliate link).
JCPenney's Peyton & Parker Collection
Now, I wouldn't call myself fashion forward or at all fashionably inclined. I struggle with this big time, so I was a wee bit intimidated upon hearing JCPenny's booth involved styling a mannequin family with items from their new exclusive Peyton & Parker Collection. They had a couple of racks lined up, and once I started flipping through, it was actually fun!! They have super cute stuff that coordinate quite easily! Check out me and my little mock-family below!
JCPenney's new lifestyle brand, Peyton & Parker, launched TODAY (October 19) and will be sold exclusively in select JCPenny stores and online. Designed entirely by their in-house Design Team, Peyton & Parker is a collection of classic womens, mens, kids and home looks that mix & match to create effortless, yet put-together style for the family. The pieces are classic and versatile - fresh, approachable trends that work for every family’s lifestyle, no matter the occasion.
Am I saving the best for last? Perhaps... VTech wanted to demonstrate that their toys will keep your children entertained and engaged enough to provide you with some much needed "me time". So what did they offer at their booth? Well, tons of great toys for us to play around with. But also, MASSAGES!!!
VTech is a world leader in developing high-quality, innovative educational products that enrich children's development and make learning fun! From Kidizoom smart watch (that I'm playing with above) to digital cameras, musical instruments, activity walkers, and more! Be sure to check out their Holiday Guide (sorted by age group) to make your shopping this year easy peasy! You can purchase at vtechkids.com, on Amazon (affiliate link), and at local stores.
Great stuff, am I right!? Are you already a using and loving any products mentioned above? Have you just added some to your shopping carts? Lemme know in a comment below!!
I spent hours last weekend meandering through the 2018 New York Baby Show, the biggest baby expo in the country!! It was my 6th year in attendance, and as always, I was simply blown away with some of the innovative and amazing new products out there for baby, toddler, and parent! Keep reading for my top picks, and don't miss my highlights video at the bottom featuring exciting demos of some of my favorites! I'd also like to give a big shout out to Momtrends for their ongoing support of us NYC mom & dad bloggers, and their sponsorship and organization of the #NYBSBloggerLounge!
Please note, there are some affiliate links below - if you shop through these links, you won't pay anything extra but we will receive a small commission to help fund this blog - win win!!
Best for Bath: Summer Infant My Bath Seat
Bath time can be fun for baby and parents, but it can also be terrifying and exhausting, not to mention downright dangerous - especially when bathing twins or multiple children!! The Summer Infant My Bath Seat provides a baby or young toddler a safe place to sit and play - the seat secures to both sides of the tub and the back!! Please take care, even if using a safety seat such as this one, please PLEASE never never ever leave your child unattended in the bath (or even in the bathroom when water is running)!!!
Best for Twins: Romp & Roost
Snap in the mesh divider for a play pen built for two, or remove it for an oversized play yard or roomy toddler bed! It also folds up for easy transport (about 32 pounds, same as a double stroller). Where was this when my twins were itty bitties?!?
Best for Sterilizing: Coral UV
From baby bottles to pacifiers, and tooth brushes to make up brushes, the Coral UV will sterilize (without use of heat or water) any non-waterproof products that can fit inside, in just 10 minutes!! It also has a 30-60 minute dry feature which could come in handy to dry freshly washed items, as well as a storage option that sterilizes every 2 hours to keep items super clean and ready to go.
Best for Toddlers: STAYnEAT, The Helping Plate
This plate pretty much addresses every issue I've had with my toddlers' self-feeding messes and mishaps! It is non-slip but you can also press in the center to activate the toddler-proof suction stay power (simply lift the corner to unseal). It has an outer lip to prevent spillage, and the inner plate has an incline to keep juices from mixing in and messing up flavors and textures of other food on the plate. It's double sided with one side being divided and the other side being a simple plate. And oh yeah, It's also dishwasher safe.
Best Infant Bed: Mumbelli
With a removable inclined wedge (great for babies with reflux) and an adjustable foot support for a comfortable womb-like fit, Mumbelli makes a wonderful co-sleeper, crib-insert, or travel bed for baby's first few months of life (until they're ready to start rolling over).
Best for Car Travel: Travel Tray
So simple yet so brilliant - this little tray fits into any cup holder, making it the perfect accessory for a car seat (or stroller, movie theater seat, you name it)! It'll still hold your child's cup or bottle, but also snacks and small toys.
Best Stroller: Evenflo Pivot Xpand
There are a few strollers out there boasting the ability to transition from 1 to 2 kids, but the Evenflo Pivot Xpand is the only one I've seen that does so without the need for any tools or extra parts (you just need to buy the 2nd seat and/or stroller board, but no add-on converters - they're already built in!!). It can hold up to 150 pounds of cargo and kids (up to 3 kids: 2 in seats and 1 on ride on board), has an expandable basket up to 2 feet long, and it's also gorgeous! Be sure to check out the demo in my video at the bottom of this post to see it go from infant seat to toddler seat to 2 toddler seats (both are infant compatible making it a great option for twins) and adding the ride-on board (which just snaps on!!). Up to 22 configurations!!
Best for Dribble: Bibby
Babies drool and spit-up, some more than others, and even the best bibs often allow that dribble to hide deep in those adorable neck folds. Until now. Say hello to Bibby, featuring a thick tall turtleneck type top and a velcro closure! BRILLIANT!
Best for Monitoring: Nanit Smart Baby Monitor
Baby monitors are getting smarter and smarter, and parents have to decide exactly how much they really want to keep track of. The Nanit is a cool new monitor that not only offers a birds eye view of your sleeping angel (on multiple users' phones) and keeps track of room temperature and humidity, but also helps track, monitor, and improve your baby's sleep! It'll send key notifications to you such as when baby wakes and falls asleep, and track on an app sleep cycles, when and how often a parent tends to baby, and give suggestions about how to help baby sleep longer and better based on current trends. Do note, the higher level tracking and tips require a $10/month subscription.
Best for Boobies: Ta-Ta Towel
Now, I haven't tried this personally, so I can't attest to how good the support is, or how well it lays under a shirt, but you can't argue that this isn't a truly unique nursing bra!! If I could rewind 2.5 years I would totally lounge around the house in this day and night! To top it off, the Ta-Ta Towel bras are handmade by women for women, in an eco-friendly factory in Los Angeles!
Best for Screen Free Digital Stories: Lunii
If it's for sale at MoMa, you know it's gotta be cool! This screen-free interactive digital device allows children to select their main characters, setting, and central object, which provides them one of 48 pre-loaded stories!! What's more? It's available in 8 languages! I see this as a great road trip item - since it's screen free, it shouldn't contribute to motion sickness (once all the characters are selected they just sit back and listen to the story)!
VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BABY SHOW:
In the midst of winter, I know it may seem crazy but the time is NOW to start planning your child's summer!! You can find tons of options in our 2017 Summer Camps in and around Bay Ridge (not yet updated from last year, but it's a great place to start), and keep reading because we're thrilled to introduce you to one very unique option for kids in NYC interested in art and design!
Textile Arts Center Summer Camp's weeklong programs for children ages 5-13 in Brooklyn and Manhattan include topics such as printing, felting, sewing, weaving, and dyeing, with daily free play, playground visits, and field trips to museums, shows and exhibitions. Students learn, play, and proudly bring home a finished project each week.
What's more? Through teaching about and having children create various types of textile products, these classes foster an appreciation of makers and an understanding of our ecological impact, and empower students to become the makers and innovators of tomorrow.
TEXTILE ARTS CENTER 2018 SUMMER CAMP DATES:
"Early Bird" weekly rates range from $382.50 - $450, and hours vary by age and week but are generally 9AM-5PM, with a choice between their Brooklyn Studio (505 Carroll St) and Manhattan (camp tentatively scheduled for Corlears School, 324 West 15th St). There are some great discounts as well (though you cannot combine them):
So, what are you waiting for? Register now to get that early bird discount!! Click here to register for Brooklyn Center camp, and click here to register for Manhattan Center camp.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Textile Arts Center.
I hate to admit it, but I have just about zero skill at interior design. What shape sofa to buy and which way to place it in the room, against which wall to put the entertainment center, how to add some pop of color and beauty with cushions and wall art, what type of storage units will work best for all of our 3 kids' *ahem* "stuff"... It's all lost on me!! Add to that my extreme penny pinching ways and my lack of free time, and there's no question why I'm sitting in a room that looks the way it does. Cluttered and lacking theme and unity. In all honesty, it stresses me out. And I have enough stress. I need simplicity. Beauty. Inspiration!!
When a sponsored ad by Laurel & Wolf popped up on my Facebook feed recently, I liked what I saw! I reached out right away and am delighted to be partnering up with them to review their virtual service of personalized interior design plan for one room! YESSSS!!! Keep reading for my experience and to get a coupon code so you can try them out yourself!!
You may be asking, how exactly does this work? A personalized interior designer will make over my room... without ever stepping foot in my room?? Basically, yes, and it's super easy! Here's how it works:
STEP 1: Register
Start an account and tell them all about your space, your needs, your budget, and your design preferences. They had a style quiz which I found very helpful, asking you to click your favorite from different groups of photos, so they could get an idea of your style even if you don't know it yourself! Apparently my style is transitional, industrial, and Hollywood regency.
You'll have to take measurements, upload photos and a floor plan, and mention any items you would like to keep incorporated in the room. This is pretty quick and painless, maybe 20 minutes including measuring, drawing your floor plan if you don't happen to have one on hand (who does!??), and snapping photos.
Here's a quick slide show with some screen shots I took during the registration process:
STEP 2: Design
Your personal interior designer will contact you (it's all on the website with message notifications via email), you'll go back and forth discussing various options, and they'll provide concept boards and a mock room layout ("style board") that you can revise together. You'll have 10 days to get through the design process, with more days being added for additional rooms. I felt a bit stressed out by the time limit at first, but it's actually a great idea, otherwise I would probably just drag my feet and never actually make any decisions! My only advice is to not start your design during a time when you have a lot going on or will be traveling.
My designer was really quick, usually replying back within a day with the revisions or next step in the plan. My specific requests were that we need a sleeper sofa, ideally an L shape with more seating than we currently have, more hidden away smart storage for toys and other stuff, and more art and such on the walls. I was blown away with her layout plan - a 180 from how we currently have the room set up, and it made so much more sense! I just don't have the eye for this stuff, I'm telling you!! I love the entertainment stand she picked out (it's a very budget-friendly one from Ikea, we actually had it in black in our last apartment but it was more trouble than it was worth to bring it with us to our new home), and the large storage unit she placed next to the sofa. The cute and comfy ottoman is another creative storage unit. And she added a little craft table for the kids, and a much nicer desk and chair for my "home office" (i.e. my desk in the corner of the room haha).
STEP 3: Bring it to life
When your room design is finalized, you will receive the curated shopping list for you to purchase and complete your new (ah-may-zing) room. You can order from hundreds of vendors with one easy checkout process and price match guarantee! They make it super easy, with all the furniture and accessories listed for you with the price, click for details or hit "add to cart" (collage of some screen shots below) and enjoy free shipping on it all! My designer included a note at the bottom with separate links to the Ikea items she picked out, I guess they're not partnered up with Laurel & Wolf so you can't purchase directly through them.
My designer did go quite over my ideal budget, with everything totaling closer to $5K than $3K, but as I mentioned you can pick and choose what you purchase through them - for example look at all of the pillows she has lined up on my sofa, at $26 - $76 a pop, they really add up and I should be able to find similar ones much cheaper online or at a local TJMaxx or Target... Or, since she has me going to Ikea to get the TV stand and desk anyway, I could decide to just do the entire room at Ikea and do my best to find items similar to all of her recommendations and stick to the great room layout she created. That's the beauty of this, it's so flexible, and easy!! It looks like they even work with Home Depot to set you up with someone to assemble furniture, hang pictures, and more!
As far as the services and design fees go, they have a few levels:
For someone like me who doesn't have the time or talent to design a room, it is TOTALLY worth it and I honestly couldn't recommend them highly enough!! I'm loving the design my girl came up with and wish we could go ahead and implement it now. Unfortunately, my two year old twins are still on a mission of mass destruction and I think we have another year or two to go before we can start buying "nice things" again. Pretty much we are just letting them go to town with our stuff for now. Go ahead and jump on that sofa you little monkeys, mama's going to replace it soon enough, with the awesome Wayfair L-shaped sleeper sofa Laurel & Wolf found for me! HA!
But you, my friends, don't have to wait!!! The holidays are coming and what better gift to yourself, your partner, or kids than a room makeover!! Head on over to Laurel & Wolf now and drop in the code "usjapanfam" for your discount (good through December 31, 2017):
Don't forget to tag @usjapanfam on social with your before and after shots - I can't wait to see how your rooms turn out!!
DISCLAIMER: I was compensated to do this review, but hey, I'm no sell out - all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely honest and unbiased!
**Enter to win this in the $600 value Toddler Fall Faves Giveaway at bottom of post**
As a mom with 3 children under the age of 5, I've dealt with my fair share of snotty noses. I've tried a variety of baby nasal aspirators on the market, and while they all have their own set of pros and cons, there is one that I recommend hands down to all parents: the Baby-Vac! When we're talking baby nose suckers, this one sucks big time, in the best way.
The Baby-Vac is made up of a simple 3-part BPA & phthalate-free plastic design:
Now, you may be freaking out by the fact that it is powered by your vacuum, but don't worry, it regulates the suction so that it's strong but not dangerous or painful (hubby and I have even tested it out on ourselves). Because it's powered by your (800-1800 watts) vacuum, it doesn't require a plug, adapter, or batteries! It's better with vacuums that can be switched and left on (as opposed to some cordless vacuums that require you to hold the trigger).
Baby-Vac is easy to clean, small and lightweight for storage or even to travel with (assuming you have a vacuum to use at your destination), and its suction power is the best I've ever seen, outside of the doctor's office anyway! From newborn congestion to full blown toddler colds, there's no job too big or small. The collection chamber does a great job at keeping the snot contained, however I've had it escape a few times over the years so just keep an eye on it when suctioning or you might have an accident that will leave you with a messy vacuum hose to clean up later.
While their YouTube demo is not in English, it's still helpful to get an idea of how exactly it works, check it out here:
Nose cleaning tips, tricks, and safety warnings:
You can buy your own Baby-Vac on their website or Amazon (affiliate link) for $19.99, as well as Walmart, Ebay, and some pediatric offices.
You can also win a Baby-Vac in my $600 value Toddler Fall Faves Giveaway ending November 8 at 11:59 PM EST!!!
ENTER TO WIN HERE!!!
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Baby-Vac. I was compensated for writing this article, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased. Cuz hey, I'm no sell out!
**Enter to win the $600 value Toddler Fall Faves Giveaway at bottom of post**
If you love dressing your little ones in the most adorable boutique clothing and accessories, but don't have time to run to the store, you're in luck! I'd like to introduce you to a really great new online shop for baby and toddler wear, Bella Rae Baby Boutique, and BONUS, at the end of this post you can enter to win an outfit from them in my $600 value jackpot Toddler Fall Faves Giveaway!!
Created and curated by a former student of fashion schools in NYC and LA, Bella Rae was named after founder Maegan Rae's daughter and fashionista-in-training. Maegan fills her shop with the best for babies and toddlers, and you can be sure they are high quality and truly fabulous.
Whether searching for an adorable outfit for bringing baby home from the hospital, a Pinterest-perfect first birthday photo session ensemble, holiday / Christmas dress clothes, or simply items that will have your kiddo named trend setter of his or her play group, Bella Rae Baby Boutique has gotcha covered!
Special occasion coming up? Party, photo shoot, or birthday? Get fancy with Bella Rae!! Here are some fun options, ranging in price from $14 - $40:
You certainly don't need a special occasion to dress your little one in the cutest clothes. Here are some adorable daily wear from Bella Rae, ranging in price from $15 - $30:
Accessories can make or break an outfit, they can also keep baby warm and protect little knees when crawling!! Check out some of Bella Rae's cute options here, ranging in price from $10 - $15:
You can find even a fabulous Christmas outfit for your baby or toddler, check out some of the great options below, ranging in price from $18 - $30:
And of course, don't forget you can an outfit from Bella Rae Baby Boutique in the $600 value jackpot of the Toddler Fall Faves Giveaway I have running through November 8, 2017!!!
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Bella Rae Baby Boutique. I was compensated for writing this article, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased. Cuz hey, I'm no sell out!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC mom blogger, Influencer, YouTuber, & Entrepreneur living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1)! My blog is chock full of humor, honesty, family travel, product reviews & giveaways, galore!