Popsugar Must-Have Box // August

August is a month of celebration. It’s my birthday month and POPSUGAR is turning FIVE. Five years of curating favorite items for all of us to enjoy! This month is full of fun surprises and Lisa Sugar’s favorite brands. Let’s celebrate and get the party started.

Here’s what you missed in the Birthday Box:

Pastel // Cheers Lacquered Tray: My new go-to party tray. It’s hard not to smile when you carry drink sprinkled wIth colorful confetti and CHEERS. You can use the tray to serve guests or use it as a fun household accessory.

First Aid Beauty Mask // 5 in 1 Beauty Mask: One of my all time favorite beauty products, First Aid 5 in 1 Beauty Mask is comes to the rescue my tired eyes and dull cheeks. After 10 minutes, skin looks and feels brighter.

Dogeared // Friendship Bracelet: I love what Dogeared stands for but especially love this friendship bracelet. It’s the perfect way to celebrate a special friend. This is a daily reminder that your friendship means the world to me.

Meri Meri // Gold Glitter Candles: Glitter makes everything better. Especially in the form of sparkly candles.

Fringe Studio // Free Spirit Journal: A pretty notebook makes taking notes even more fun. I love the rose gold color, and Free Spirit makes me dream of fun adventures.

Goodie Girl Cookies // Chocolate Chip Cookies: Treat yourself without all the guilt of gluten. Crunchy and sweet, these cookies are the perfect treat.

Shoptiques // $25 Gift Card: Shop your favorite boutique from the comfort of your home. Choose stylish items from across the globe with this gift card.

August was such a fun MUST HAVE MONTH. Use code PARTY and receive $10 off your first Must-Have Box (expires 8/31). In addition to receiving discounts on your first month, when you sign-up you are automatically entered to win prizes throughout the month.

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disclaimer: I was provided a must-have box, in exchange for an honest review. all opinions are my own.

 

Working Together to Overcome the Challenges of Breastfeeding – #WBW2017

Breastfeeding is truly amazing, isn’t it? I mean you’re growing another human with the milk your own body.

But breastfeeding isn’t easy. It’s a learning process for mom and baby full of challenges and obstacles that can hit you hard and make it difficult to continue. In fact, despite the current recommendation by the World Health Organization to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months, less than 20% of U.S. women are able to do so.

There are some cases where some mothers are not able to breastfeed due to naturally low supply, health issues, or certain medications. But these cases are rare, and luckily, there are other options out there for these women, like donor milk and formula.

Moms that want to and are capable of breastfeeding need the support and knowledge necessary to overcome these obstacles and continue to breastfeed their babies well past the first six months of life.

This week is World Breastfeeding Week, and the emphasis is on “working together for change.”  I would like to do my part by sharing my experiences in overcoming the five most common breastfeeding struggles that new moms face,  so that you too, can have the best chance at being successful.

1. Knowledge is Power
You visit your OB/GYN throughout your whole pregnancy, yet they rarely discuss or provide information on breastfeeding (if at all). And your clinician and pediatrician seem to always give conflicting information on breastfeeding.

I am fortunate that I had access to free breastfeeding classes, support groups, and lactation consultants through the local hospital. But if you don’t have this kind of opportunity, it can be difficult to know what to expect on your breastfeeding journey.
If you don’t have access to breastfeeding education in your area, then the internet and social media are your best tools. Facebook groups were so helpful in my experience. Especially, the local La Leche League group. Gaining as much knowledge as you can before your baby is here will boost your confidence and help you be successful at breastfeeding.

2. Don't Fret Low Supply
Having a naturally low supply is rare, but does happen, and could be due to mom having insufficient glandular tissue or hormonal abnormalities. However, most of the time moms think they have a low milk supply when in reality they are doing just fine. There are a number of reasons why moms may believe they aren't making enough milk, such as baby suddenly nursing more frequently (cluster feedings), or when baby isn’t sleeping well, or your baby downs a bottle right after nursing.

These are all inconclusive signs that you’re not making enough milk. Counting wet and dirty diapers and keeping an eye on baby’s weight are the best ways to make sure your baby is getting enough to eat.

Most of the time low supply can be resolved by a few simple changes, such as increasing your water and calorie intake, nursing on demand, or eating lactation promoting foods, such as fennel and oatmeal.

If you are concerned about your supply, be sure to contact an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).  

3. Latching Sometimes Needs Guidance
From preemies to nipple confusion, from lip ties to tongue ties, there are a variety of reasons why your baby may not be latching properly. Your baby’s latch should be comfortable for you.
If you are in extreme pain while nursing or experience any pain beyond the first few weeks, be sure to have your baby’s latch evaluated by an IBCLC as soon as possible, as a poor latch can create poor milk transfer.

4. Get on the Same Page With Your Partner
Your partner can play a significant role in your breastfeeding success. In fact, some women don’t even attempt to breastfeed because their partner is so adamant about bottle feeding because they want to be involved.

If you are dealing with an unsupportive partner, I suggest sitting down and talking to him about the many benefits of breastfeeding and other ways that they can be involved. They can help baby latch, fill up your water bottle, bring you food during those crazy cluster feedings, and prop up your pillows. There are other ways they can bond with your baby like bath time, reading books, singing songs, and if all else fails, there is still the option of having them bottle feed breast milk.

5. Mommas Got to Pay the Bills
Returning to work can be a huge barrier to your breastfeeding success. You may not receive any paid maternity leave and have to go back to work before your breastfeeding relationship, and milk supply is fully established. Or, you may work for a small company, that is not required to provide any pumping breaks, and you have to squeeze as much out as you can during your lunch break while hovering over your sandwich. A hands-free pump will be your best friend in these cases.
But maybe you won’t respond well to the pump, and you’ll struggle to make enough for your baby. In these cases, I would try a manual pump or hand expressing and be sure that you’re staying well hydrated and getting enough calories. Breastfeeding when returning to work won't be easy, but just know that it can be done.

In Summary
Breastfeeding is a bonding experience unlike any other but doesn’t come without challenges. It's up to us to help new moms overcome these obstacles, not only this world breastfeeding week but for the 51 remaining too. Let’s do our best to provide them with the information, support, and tools they need to be successful at breastfeeding. Because only together can we sustain breastfeeding. 

About the Author
Jenny Silverstone is the mother of two, a writer and a breastfeeding advocate. You can find sharing advice and guides for overcoming common breastfeeding struggles on her
blog MomLovesBest.com.

Popsugar Must Have Box // June

It’s summertime and that means I’m dreaming of sunshine, palm trees, and ocean waves. I’m a Florida girl – you can’t blame me for loving everything about the summer. I’m not sure I’ll make it to the beach this year (thanks to my 3 year old, 2 year old, and a new baby) but the June Popsugar Must Have box is a close substitute.


Here’s what you missed in June:

Billabong // ALOHA Trucker Hat: I’m going through a hat-phase right now (hello, mom hair), so I love the Billabong Trucker hat. Its ALOHA has me dreaming about the ocean + keeps harmful rays out of my face.

Captain Blankenship // Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray: I always dreamed about being Ariel, and while I don’t have red hair or a fin, I can still have her perfect mane. This Mermaid Sea Salt Spray is perfect for achieving gorgeous waves. And with organic ingredients like aloe vera and sea kelp, your locks will look naturally gorgeous without all the crunch.

Novel // The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: I don’t have much time to read these days, but this juicy tale is making me rethink my time. I love a juicy beach read.

Aloha Collection // Ocean Coco Palms Pouch: I’ve got three young kiddos that get dirty, wet, and sweaty, that’s why I love anything waterproof. The Coco Palms Pouch is the perfect size for fitting wet clothes – and it fits in my diaper bag. Plus, the print has me dreaming about Florida.

NCLA // So Rich – Mermaid Tears: Keep your nails looking fresh with this cuticle oil that smells like honeysuckle. My nails need all the help they can get.

Belgian Boys // Mini Cookie Stash: Perfect for on-the-go kids snack, these mini cookies are delicious (and cute).

Meri Meri // Party Straws: I love any occasion that allow for fun colored straws. These blue & white stripe straws are a perfect addition to any Fourth of July bash. Cheers!

Starbucks // Frappuccino: Cool & sweet, indulge in the Starbucks Frappuccino on-the-go. Perfect for the mama who needs a pick-me-up but doesn’t want to unbuckle three car seats just to indulge (me!)

If you want all of these fun goodies delivered to your front door each month, sign up for Popsugar Must-Have Box and save $5 off your first month. Use code SHOP5 at checkout.


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disclaimer: I was provided a must-have box, in exchange for an honest review. all opinions are my own.

Instacart + Whole Foods Market (Northern Virginia)

I actually like grocery shopping but with a 3 year old, 22 month old, and a 2 week old, it’s a little tough to get out of the house these days. But, we all keep eating and the food keeps disappearing. That’s why I jumped on the Instacart bandwagon. I can still shop at Whole Foods, but I don’t have to worry about taking my babes to the store (at least for now).

Instacart is now delivering to all Whole Foods in Northern Virginia. It’s easy to shop – just download the app – and add your favorite items to the cart. You can write notes to your shopper (I love firm fruit, so I always note that) and they can send you questions/pictures if there’s something you’re not sure of. All products come from your local Whole Foods Store so you can be confident in what you’re buying (occasionally they come from the warehouse, but that’s uncommon). It’s easy and convenient, and such a blessing when you’re in a bind.

To celebrate the launch of Instacart in all Northern Virginia Whole Foods, take $10 off your first delivery. Use code WFMNOVA4 at checkout.

Disclosure: I have a partnership with Whole Foods Market and was compensated for my work, but all words and opinions are my own.
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Must-Have // Baby

Even though I just had my third baby in three years, there are so many new baby items that I wish I would’ve had with number one. Co-sleepers, swaddles, moccasins, and fashionable baby bibs – to name a few. Here are my picks for must-have baby items.

Dock-A-Tot: I’ve wanted one since I saw a post on Instagram. People swear by the Dock-A-Tot – perfect for co-sleeping safely and keeping baby snug. But there are so many more benefits too. It facilitates tummy time, creates a womb-like feeling, and is portable & easy to travel with. When I was pregnant with #3, I knew I needed to have one.

Now that Baby W is here, I couldn’t love the Dock A Tot more! My little guy is waking up one time/night – and he’s only two weeks old. (insert shock face emoji). He’s so snug and cozy.

Dock A Tot is Breathable, Machine Washable, Hypo Allergenic, and Made with NO Harmful Substances. You can feel confident and safe when using the Dock A Tot with your newborn. If you’re on the fence about the Dock A Tot, think no more. It’s one of the best things to happen to me in three years. Order here.

Luna Blu Mar: I might be a little biased – I’m co-founder of Luna Blu Mar – but our bandanna bibs are the best on the market. They are Made in the USA, adjustable (grow  with your baby), machine washable, and made with premium fabrics. When I couldn’t find a functional but fashionable bib for with Baby J, my sister and I decided to make our own. Even better? For every item you buy, we donate a bib to a baby in need.

Shop our Spring collection here.

Solly Baby Wrap: I LOVE babywearing. It’s necessary, especially with two other babes, but I also love the closeness I feel to my baby. I love my Solly Baby wrap, especially for newborn babywearing. Baby W loves being craddled close to mama, and I can chase after my other littles without worry.

Freshly Picked: Two words: Baby Moccs. (#allthehearteyes) I love little baby moccs – they are so cute and small. I’ve bought a pair of Freshly Picked moccs for each baby, and I love quality and fit.

Honest Diapers: I’ve tried every diaper on the market (seriously), and I have had the best luck with Honest diapers. I love the fun prints and use naturally-derived citrus and chlorophyll odor blockers and no chlorine processing.

These are a few of my favorites.
What’s your BABY MUST-HAVE?

 

 

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Disclaimer: I was offered a Dock A Tot for review. All opinions are my own

 

Whole Foods Arlington // Gingerbread Making Event

How fun does this event sound? Date night, wine, and gingerbread making. If you’re local to the DMV, check out this event and more at your nearest Whole Foods.

Details Below:

Looking for a night out to get in the spirit of the winter holidays? christmas-gingerbread-house-decked-in-diamonds

Come join us at Whole Foods Market Arlington Pub for an evening holiday event decorating a mini Winter Wonderland!

$25 includes gingerbread decorating supplies and 2 drinks and light snacks from the Arlington Pub

BONUS: Keep your event ticket and come back to Whole Foods Market Arlington Pub the following week to receive 50% off a lunch item from the Arlington Pub.

ADULTS ONLY – must be over 21 years old to participate. Register here

Find your nearest Whole Foods & other local events here.

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Popsugar Must-Have Box // November

I said it last month, and I didn’t think it could happen again, but the Popsugar Must-Have box just keeps getting better and better. The November box is specially curated with the perfect must-haves for fall. I decorated the house for Thanksgiving and I can’t stop wearing my Kendra Scott bracelet. It’s such a fun surprise to receive in the mail and I always look forward to tearing it open to see what’s inside.

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Here’s what you missed in November:

Kendra Scott Elaina Rose Gold Bracelet: I’ve always wanted a Kendra Scott bracelet, and Popsugar came to the rescue. This bracelet is dainty and the rose gold color goes with everything in my closet. I can’t stop wearing it (my 18 month old tries to wear it too).

Pehr Chambray Runner Wine: I love Pehr and I love this table runner. It’s the perfect color combination for fall, but the material is lightweight enough for year-round use. I kind of wish I could wear this as a scarf, too.

Stowaway Cosmetics Dusk to Dawn Palette: I don’t wear eye color enough but this palette is the perfect excuse to start. Complete with all shades, this palette will get you from daytime to dusk.

AJ Goods Wire Nest Bowl: Whether you use this as a fruit basket or decorative display, the AJ Goods nest basket goes with just about anything. It’s simple, yet gorgeous, and adds sophistication to any room.

Meri Meri Party Sticks: The star of the party, these decorative sticks add sparkle to any appetizer or dessert.

Oogie’s Snacks Toffee Butter Popcorn: I love toffee, I love popcorn, and apparently I love this popcorn too. Perfect for a mid-afternoon snack or appetizer at your next holiday party. Indulge your salty-sweet tooth with this Toffee Butter popcorn.

If you want all of these fun goodies delivered to your front door each month, sign up for Popsugar Must-Have Box and save $5 off your first month. Use code SHOP5 at checkout.

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disclaimer: I was provided a must-have box, in exchange for an honest review. all opinions are my own.

Ancient Grains & Veggie Bowl

If you haven’t been to True Food Kitchen, it’s quite the experience for your palate. Based on the anti-inflammatory diet, TFK brings you great flavors, healthy selections, and many vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options.

After going with my mom and sister, and trying an array of different dishes, I was inspired by the Ancient Grains Bowl. There are so many wonderful flavors and beautiful colors. You’ll love eating this bowl, just as much as you love making it.

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Ingredients
Grains/Rice blend (I used Farro, Brown Rice, Wild Rice)
2 Sweet Potatoes, cubed
Handful of Brussel Sprouts, thinly sliced
Red Onion, thinly sliced
Handful of Snap Peas
Avocado, diced
Sesame Seeds, to taste
Soy Sauce
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Spices of liking

Directions
Start by cubing sweet potatoes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. When oven reaches 300 degrees, place sweet potatoes in the oven, approximately 45 minutes (or until soft).  Meanwhile, cook rice/grain blend according to the package. Set aside once cooked.

Slice onions and brussel sprouts. Toss in a pan over the stovetop, saute with a drizzle of olive oil and soy sauce (add as much as you like). Caramelize and set aside.

Rinse snap peas, dice the avocado.

Once everything is cooked, prepare the grains bowl. Start with the rice/grain blend, and add veggies. I prefer to add my veggies around the grains, so I can savor every bite. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

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Popsugar Must-Have Box // October

You guys, the Popsugar Must-Have boxes keep getting better and better. The October box is so fun, and I can’t stop drinking hot cider from my Rise & Shine mug.

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Here’s what you missed in October:

Henri Bendel Packable Umbrella: this one came just in time. My favorite umbrella had a run in with a wind storm. This one to the rescue – plus it’s small enough to fit in my diaper bag but big enough to keep us dry.

Lalicious Shower Oil & Bubble Bath: You don’t know how many times/day I wish that I could take a bubble bath with a glass of wine. Nothing says warm and cozy like a brown sugar and vanilla bath.

My Cup of Cocoa Chocolate Mix: Yum, yum, yum. I love hot chocolate. But dark chocolate. Sign me up!

Morning Culture Rise & Shine Mug: My husband is out of town, my toddler isn’t sleeping through the night, and I’m exhausted. Rise & Shine is my mantra!

Makeup Eraser Mini: I need all the help I can get when it comes to taking off my makeup. This little “miracle in a towel” is just that. Gentle on skin, tough on make-up.

Special Extras:
Power Your Happy: Such a fun, inspirational read from POPSUGAR’s founder, Lisa Sugar.

Revlon Colorstay Eye Pen: Just in time for Halloween, I used this eye pen to paint cat eyes.

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You can have all of these must-haves too! Save $5 on your first PopSugar Must Have Box with code SHOP5. I can’t wait to see what’s in next months box.

 

Disclaimer: I was gifted a box for review. No other compensation was received. Opinions are my own.

Popsugar must-have box // September

The September must-have box is a little bit of fall and a whole lotta glam. I love everything about this box but the Jack & Lucy wide brim hat and the Smith & Cult red lip lacquer are the icing on the cake. A wide brim hat for fall & bright red lips? Don’t mind if I do! 


Here’s what you missed:

Jack & Lucy Bicoastal Wide Brim Hat: nothing says super chic like a wide brim hat and oversized sunglasses. 

NCLA Mani-ER Tool Kit: with this handy tool kit, you’re equipped for any nail emergency on-the-go. This tool kit is a must-have for my diaper bag.

Briogeo Deep Conditioning Mask: your hair puts up with a lot, treat it to a spa day with this restorative mask. Works in minutes and your hair will feel like a million bucks. 

Flint Lint Roller: this sleek platinum Roller will never let you down. The perfect size, this lint roller fits fits in your purse and is refillable. 

Smith & Cult Lip Lacquer: pair your red lips with your new hat (and my new favorite lip color for fall). Paraben-and-gluten free, the ingredients help extend the wear.

The Gluten Free Bites: vegan, gluten-free bites that are made without GMO or diary. Indulge your sweet tooth without the guilt. 

You can have all of these must-haves too! Save $5 on your first PopSugar Must Have Box with code SHOP5. I can’t wait to see what’s in next months box. 
Disclaimer: I was gifted a box for review. No other compensation was received. Opinions are my own.