August 28, 2017

My New Born Must Haves | Kai's First Month



Medela Nipple Shield | I struggled with breastfeeding Kai from the beginning. Just in the first few days of nursing, my nipples became cracked and incredibly sore. Every time Kai would latch on I would wince in pain and I was completely miserable. Not only is it physically painful but quite emotional too. I felt guilty and incapable as a new mum because I felt like I was failing at the most important thing, being able to feed my baby! I focused on providing for my baby and suffer through the pain. During one of my Midwife house visits, she suggested I get a silicone nipple shield which protects your nipple, allowing it time to heal, while still being able to nurse your baby. Immediately when using it I felt relief. I'm still using the shield as I am slowly practising how to have Kai properly latch without one. They're about $14 for one shield which is reusable. I rinse it with hot soapy water in between feeds and boil it in hot water once a day to make sure it stays sanitized.

Medela Breast Pump (Rented) | While struggling to breastfeed in the first week I also suffered from breast engorgement. I was lucky that my milk came in quickly after birth and that I had a strong supply. But my breasts got so hard and painfully sore because I wasn't draining the milk out of them as quickly as needed. My Midwife saw this and thankfully was able to recognise that I was on the verge of Mastitis! She recommended I rent a breast pump to quickly drain the milk before I got infected. The Melela Breast Pumps are so amazing! They work wonderfully, but of course, to purchase an electric one, they cost from $200 - $500! So I recommend renting one, it cost us $80 for a one-month rental. But if you think you're only going to need it temporarily or you want to try out the brand before investing, then it's well worth the price!

Aden + Anais Swaddles | We live in a small apartment without central A/C and it's been a hot summer so far for Vancouver. We've been melting, thankfully we got an A/C unit for our bedroom which has been a life saver. Since it's so hot we really loved the light breathable fabric of the Aden + Anais swaddles. They're really large too so you have lots of fabric to work with to achieve the perfect swaddle. We left Kai in just a diaper for the first month with a swaddle because it was too hot for clothes and he seemed to really feel comfortable in them.

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow | Learning to breastfeed can be overwhelming! So having the perfect platform to rest baby on while nursing allows you to focus on learning to latch properly. My Brest Friend (such a cute name!) is a firm but soft pillow that holds the baby at the perfect height. It curves around your body and has an adjustable belt that you can tighten around your back so that the pillow stays in place. Nursing throughout the night can be really tiring. I've accidentally dozed off while nursing in bed, and each time Kai would be safely resting on the nursing pillow attached to me, either happily still feeding, or napping as well! I was so happy to know that he was safe! It was about $80 but so worth the money in my opinion! Anything that makes learning to breastfeed a little bit easier is a necessity to me.

Prince Lionheart Wipe Warmer | When I was pregnant and setting up the nursery with all the necessities, I thought a wipe warmer was an unnecessary luxury. I thought it was a silly gimmick until the first week we realised the cold wipes made our baby cry despite the summer heat! So it quickly became a must have for us, because anything that helps keep your new born happy and content is a winner! It might be worth waiting to purchase a wipe warmer until you know if a cold wipe bothers your baby because if not it could save you spending $50 on one!

UppaBaby Vista Stroller | Specifically the bassinet feature of this stroller proved to be really handy. The air quality in Vancouver during the first month of Kai's life was really smoky from all the forest fires in BC. So we didn't go out for walks right away and actually use it as a stroller. The bassinet is certified sleep-safe so we used it in our bedroom for naps and night time. This was great because we didn't need to buy an additional bassinet (which they out grow so quickly anyway).

 

 

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August 02, 2017

Welcome to the World Baby Kai!

We're proud to announce Baby Kai's arrival on July 14th, 2017! I had such an incredible birthing experience that brought us this beautiful and healthy baby boy. I'm so grateful for the fantastic support team I had around me in the delivery room. My Husband, Mum and Midwife showered me with love and positivity. They empowered me when I felt like I couldn't do it. They helped me lock into strength I didn't even know I had in me. My wish was to deliver without an epidural but at one point I struggled with whether I could do it. Thankfully my team around me encouraged me to be able to push through (literally!) and Baby Kai was welcomed into this world with so much love and positivity. 










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June 17, 2017

Dressing the Bump | My Maternity Style

We're in the homestretch! Today I'm 37 weeks pregnant and in this post I'll be looking back at my maternity style and sharing what I found were my clothing essentials through the different stages of my pregnancy.









I worked up until I was 30 weeks pregnant. In my job, it was important to look polished and fashion conscience. Luckily my closet was already equipped with loose fitting dresses appropriate for work but that also accommodated my growing bump. I found that I didn't have to go out and buy maternity specific clothes until my last trimester. Once my bump started to get pretty big, I was no longer able to wear my regular dresses because my bump made the hemline come too short! At this point, I focused on wearing midi and maxi dresses.


Now that I'm on maternity leave and I can dress more casual and comfortable, I bought a pair of olive green capri pants and cotton blue shorts from Motherhood Canada. Both of these have been lifesavers! They have the built in belly panel that comes all the way up and over your bump. Since I'm due in July, the hot summer weather has been a nuisance, so it's been really nice to just wear a maternity t-shirt and shorts! After Kai is born, I know I'll probably continue to live in the maternity capris and shorts as it will be months until I can fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. 

What I've learned during this first pregnancy is that you don't need to go crazy and invest in an entirely new maternity wardrobe. I would invest money in regular loose dresses that you know you'll continue to wear post pregnancy. When it is time to get a pair of stretchy pants, buy 2-3 pairs that are super versatile and just wear them on high rotation. Like my olive green capris and blue shorts. I honestly couldn't care less about wearing practically the same outfit every day. Maternity clothes are pretty short lived, so why spend so much money on them? I bought all my maternity specific clothes from Motherhood Canada and The Gap. Motherhood has a wide range of clothing to carry you throughout your pregnancy and into nursing. Their prices are really great too, and I managed to catch them during a 30% off promotion both times I ordered. So I would keep an eye out for those, which they do fairly frequently. Originally I didn't think I needed maternity specific t-shirts but they really do make a difference. My regular t-shirts quickly became too short and unflattering. I bought 3 maternity T-shirts from The Gap and I love how stretchy they are. They're much longer and have ruching along the side seams so that it hugs the largest part of your bump nicely. I can see myself wearing these postpartum as well.



I would recommend investing in maternity/nursing bras as soon as you feel like your pre-pregnancy bras are fitting a little tight. They aren't kidding when they say you'll go up a couple cup sizes when you become pregnant! I should have bought new bras way earlier in my pregnancy than I did. When I finally did switch over to a larger cup size without underwire, it was like heaven! I can't believe I let myself suffer for so long in a bra that was too small with underwire!! So definitely don't skimp on a couple new bras, this will make your life drastically more comfortable. I bought my nursing bras off of Motherhood Canada as well. I really love how soft, yet supportive they are and that they have the clip down feature that allows for nursing. I can't comment on how effective it is yet, but maybe I'll do a breastfeeding update once Kai arrives. 

For my dress collection, I shopped at Anthropologie (they have a great sale section!), The Gap, Urban Outfitters and Plenty Clothing. I know I'll continue to wear these dresses postpartum, so I don't feel like I wasted money on clothing just for the 9 months I'm pregnant! Click the photos for links to where you can purchase them. All the dresses are unfortunately not available anymore because I either bought them before I was pregnant (over a year ago) or recently but they were on sale so therefore sold out now. But all of these retailers continue to sell similar styles so I'm sure you can find current options. 

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June 13, 2017

Felted Bear Mobile | DIY Nursery Decor

My feet are so swollen from this summer heat but mostly just from the fact that I'm 36 weeks pregnant :( So I find myself staying indoors more where I can camp out next to the fan with a glass of ice water and a place to prop my feet up. It's almost comical how puffy my feet have become and I can no longer wear my wedding rings either! But despite this, I'm still in full nesting mode. I've washed all Kai's clothes in preparation for his arrival. I organize and then reorganize his dresser, trying to find the ultimate configuration of the diapers, wipes and onesies. And I'm continuously watching YouTube for "Newborn Essentials" videos and scrolling through Pinterest for all things baby. Somewhere in there is when I discovered handmade felt mobiles.


These soft and plushy mobiles are full of whimsy and charm. There are many artisans that create them on Etsy featuring all sorts of themes. With so many baby items these days full of garish colours and patterns, it's nice to see something that's classic and quality made. But of course, these handmade mobiles had a price to match their craftsmanship with many of them in the $100 to $200 range. So I took it on to myself to create one of my own and it proved to be fairly simple.




Supplies:
  • Embroidery Hoop
  • Thick Yarn
  • Embroidery Floss/Thread
  • Wool Felt Balls
  • Wool Felt Animal(s)
  • Large Needle (with large eye)
Now I didn't make this mobile completely from scratch as I repurposed the wool felt balls and the wool felt polar bear that I already had. The balls were from a garland I bought off of Etsy a few years ago which was around $20. The polar bear I bought from Indigo Books when all of their Christmas ornaments go on sale (the best time to stock up!). Since I already had these items it made the project pretty economical as the rest of the supplies I bought for less than $10. 

First I took the embroidery hoop and started wrapping it with the yarn. I wrapped the hoop about 3 times to give it a really plush effect and to make sure all the wood was covered. The yarn I bought was ombre blue so I played around with it as I wrapped to give it a multicoloured look. 

Next, I tied four strands of the yarn evenly spaced around the hoop and then gathered them together into a knot to allow it to be hung from the ceiling. Then I took the large needle threaded with the embroidery floss and strung together the felt balls into an ombre of blue. I didn't need to knot each one in place because the thickness of the embroidery thread gave it enough resistance so that they stayed wherever I arranged them. I made 5 of these strands and knotted them around the hoop. Lastly, I made a small stitch on the polar bear's back with the embroidery floss and hung him from the centre. 

So overall it was a really simple project that only took me an hour but it has such a big impact. I love its cosy handmade feel and that it fits perfectly into Kai's nursery theme. I hope Kai will enjoy gazing up at it when he's dozing off!
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June 07, 2017

Herbivore Botanicals | Skin Care

I'm always striving to use cosmetics that prioritise natural and simple ingredients. Herbivore Botanicals is a brand that takes that concept to another level by only using organic, high-quality, food grade ingredients. 






Herbivore was recently launched at my local Sephora with a refined selection of their top products in the collection. I would classify Herbivore as a luxury skin care line with prices in the $75 range (Lapis Oil). Because of this I personally would have shied away from the brand but I have had a Sephora Gift card burning a hole in my wallet, it was easy to splurge and boy, am I glad I did! 

I've been using these 3 products for the last month and I've thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I tend to have combination and acne prone skin, that can easily become dry and irritated from typical acne treatments. Personally, that's why I love the Lapis Oil. It reduces redness and leaves my skin feeling hydrated but surprisingly not greasy. In the morning I like to cleanse my face then spritz on the Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Facial Mist, followed by a couple drops of the Lapis Oil that I massage in. I let this sink in for at least 10 minutes before I apply my regular makeup. I find that my foundation blends in so much better creating a softer finish. The Face Mist has an uplifting scent, while the Lapis oil is really unique in its fragrance. It is definitely very distinct and maybe not to everyone's taste, but I found I grew to like the scent. I think it's worth continuing to use for the great benefits of the product regardless of whether you enjoy the scent or not. 

Lastly, I bought the Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask which I use a couple times a week. I'll cleanse my face at night, apply the mask and leave it on for 20 minutes. Then I'll remove it with a damp face cloth in circular motions. I rinse my face with water and then apply the Face Mist and Lapis Oil as normal. The combination of these 3 products has really helped with the texture and overall appearance of my skin. My favourite would have to be the Lapis Oil so I would recommend getting that first if you're just starting out with the brand. It's a steep price to pay at $75 a bottle but a little goes a long way - literally just a few drops! So I think it's an investment that will last for 6 months at least. On the other hand, I enjoyed the Face Mist but I don't know if I would repurchase it. I don't feel like it has as much of an impact as do the other products and it's too pricey at $30 per bottle since it already seems to be disappearing quickly. 

And if all that didn't sell you on it, then the packaging sure will! It's absolutely stunning! They use glass vessels that look beautiful on your bathroom counter and really add to the luxurious feel of using the products. I really enjoy the minimalist design and how the product is the main focus. 

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April 27, 2017

Baby Name Blocks | DIY Nursery Decor

Recently, I've come across so many adorable baby toys and nursery decor ideas while perusing Pinterest and Instagram. One of my favourites being the traditional wooden baby blocks. I love how classic and timeless they are and how you can spell out your baby's name to display in the nursery. There are so many companies and Etsy shops that sell gorgeous custom sets of these blocks but they can be upwards of $50! So instead I thought I'd DIY my own, which allowed me to really personalise them and save a lot of money too.




Supplies Needed:

  • Wooden Blocks
  • Acrylic Paint & Brush
  • Masking Tape
  • ModPodge (Optional)


I went to the Michaels Craft Store and picked up 3 of these 2.5-inch wooden blocks for $1.60 each. Talk about cost effective! I already had white acrylic paint, a brush and masking tape at home, so this whole project cost me less than $6 total to create. Of course, if you want to do the whole alphabet or are spelling out a longer name, it will cost more.



First I planned out the design and picked bold, graphic patterns that could represent water or the sea since that's the meaning behind his name. I also chose to have his name in English and Japanese. You can draw the designs on by hand or I've seen people use letter stencils or letter stickers that they paint over and then peel away to reveal the image. I used tracing paper for the letters and kanji to make sure they were consistent in size and style. I then transferred it to the block with graphite paper. For the waves and other patterns, I cut them out of washi tape (masking tape) so that I could repeat the patterns and just paint over the tape to create a clean design. I would tape all three blocks together when I was doing a pattern that I wanted to extend across all the blocks in order to keep them straight and aligned. I took inspiration from the simple colour palate of white and the natural wood found in these two block sets here and here (pictured below) and tried to recreate it myself.


Overall, I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. It was time-consuming but a fun project and it will make for a lovely keepsake. I'm thinking of sealing in the paint and wood with ModPodge to give it a nice final finish. Keep in mind that these blocks should be strictly for decor only while your baby is in the "putting everything in their mouth phase". Since I used acrylic paint, I don't want my baby to chew on these and possibly consume anything toxic! I'll wait until Kai is older before he can play around with them.










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April 05, 2017

Layered + Long | Baby Name Necklace

Working in a jewellery store I help many mums with buying personalised jewellery to represent their children. Whether that be a necklace with the child's initial, a zodiac sign, an engraved name necklace or birthstone pendant. I always loved this idea and thought it to be so sweet and sentimental!

Now that we know that our baby is a boy, and his name will be Kai, I wanted to treat myself to a dainty necklace to represent him. I love the idea of zodiac signs or birthstones but because he's due early July, I can't be certain exactly what sign or birthstone he will have. I had been searching online for a simple and minimalistic silver necklace that could be engraved and I couldn't find anything that was just right. Either it was too bold, too expensive or only in gold (seriously there a lot of companies out there that work solely in yellow gold!). I took to Etsy and found this perfect jeweller called Layered + Long. They have a huge variety of beautiful everyday jewellery that can be customised in all sorts of ways. You can choose the length, colour of metal (gold, silver or rose gold), the size and number of pendants, and even the font! I gravitated to the delicate bar style and chose to have it made with two pendants, one engraved with Kai and the other Shinji. I really like the look of them together and it's nice to represent my two boys! Although I do feel a little guilty not including Sam our cat - he's one of my boys too! But I think that's my crazy cat lady self coming out. 

I was so pleased that just as much care and attention was put into the packaging as was the necklace. It came with beautiful instructional cards, a polishing cloth and a hand written - thank you! It made for a beautiful presentation. I enjoy layering the necklace with my another favourite piece by Leah Alexandra. It's called the Sunny Necklace in silver and labradorite, and I think they pair really nicely together. Whether you're on the hunt for personalised jewellery or not, I really recommend Layered + Long. Their collection includes a wonderful array of pieces that (as the name suggests) all layer easily together for an effortless look. And the best part is, is that they're all made with high-quality materials made to last. Goldfill and sterling silver are used and they're at a really affordable price point for the quality of the items. My two engraved bar necklace was around $50 CAD. 






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