September 29, 2017

How To Survive a Long Car Ride With a Baby

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Last month we took our baby, 8 months at the time, on a long car ride down south to visit my family. This was our first long road trip with our daughter and things went way better than we expected. I think we got lucky when it comes to babies and got one that is totally chill (for the most part). She did get fussy at times, usually when her diaper was dirty or she was hungry, but she never wailed in the car.

According to Google maps, the trip down would take 6.5 hours with no stops and the trip back home would take 9.5 hours with no stops. We stayed with my cousin for a night on the way down before driving another 3 hours to visit my grandpa, but we didn't stop anywhere on the way back home, so the trip down would have been the same as the trip home had we not stopped for a day. 

Let's just say that with a baby and a dog, we had to stop a few times for diaper changes and feeding, which added about 2 hours to the trip, so the way down ended up taking close to 8 hours (going to my grandpas the next day only took the suggested 3 hours as we did that drive with no stops) and getting home took close to 11 hours.

I had originally planned on flying down to avoid these long drives, but the hassle of getting to the airport and on a plane, plus the cost of flying, just made driving make more sense and we will most likely drive down again next year. 

Here are some of my tips for surviving a long car ride with a baby:

1) Rest Areas Rock!


Rest Areas are way more baby friendly than gas stations and fast food places. The bathrooms are always cleaner and the changing tables way nicer, at least in our experience. There is almost always a family restroom, which will allow dad to change baby's diaper if you need a break. However, if your baby is like our baby and hated the public bathrooms, Rest Areas are great because there is plenty of seating, so you can always change your baby outside on a table instead, weather permitting of course. The availability of seating also makes feeding your baby easier than being cramped in the car.

2) Ready Mixed Formula Makes Feeding Easier & Faster


If you are not breastfeeding, I highly recommend getting the ready-made formula for the car rides so you do not have to deal with mixing bottles in bathrooms, making feeding time faster.

3) Cereal Puffs Help Keep Baby Calm


If your baby is old enough for solids, then you will want to bring puffs! Our daughter loves puffs, so I made sure to bring two containers, one in the diaper bag and one in her suitcase as a backup. Whenever she began to get cranky and we were not near a rest area, I would dig these out and hand her a puff at a time. It was the perfect distraction and helped keep her calm till we could give her a proper meal at a rest area. Plus she gets to practice feeding herself!

4) Bring Disinfecting Wipes & Paper Towels


Maybe it's because I am an over packer or just a great planner, but my husband was thankful that I had thought to bring these items! Babies are messy and thus, will make messes so you will want these in your car to clean up those messes. We also used the disinfecting wipes and paper towels to clean the pack n' play and her toys while we were staying with family. 

5) Soft Toys For Baby In The Car


We only let our baby play with soft toys in her car seat as if we happened to get in an accident, it would be less likely to hurt her. I would make sure to choose toys that your baby loves or even give them a new toy at this time so they are distracted. We had a stuffed animal that she loves to snuggle and a rubber teether so she had something to chew on. 


6) Have Someone Sit Next To Baby


My husband and I took turns driving, but instead of sitting the passenger seat, the one not driving would sit in the back with the baby. This provided a distraction for her and gave her someone to play with. It also allowed us to see her so we knew when she was getting cranky. This made it easier to know when to look for a rest area.

This is the one thing I think that prevented her from wailing in the car. The only time she actually cried during the trip was in the bathrooms when getting changed due to the loud noises of flushing and hand dryers. 

7) Make Meals Ahead Of Time


This was one mistake we made on the way down. We had to stop at fast food places to eat, which takes a lot longer, especially since we had a dog with us, so we had to order food, then stop at a Rest Area to eat. 

For the way home, we decided to make sandwiches in advance, which was the best idea ever. This allowed us to avoid stopping as we could eat in the car or we only had to stop at a Rest Area, no extra stops at restaurants. Plus it's also healthier, so wish we had thought to do the same for the way down.

8) Do Not Commit To Anything


With a baby, you have to be flexible which is why when my cousin asked if we would like to do dinner with them, we chose to not commit and replied with we will join you if we can make it, but do not wait for us.

The stress of traveling with a baby is enough, do not add to it by making plans to arrive at a certain time. I guarantee you will not arrive and your family and friends may be upset because they are waiting on you.

We, of course, as predicted did not make it to dinner and everyone was okay with that as we had let them know in advance that we would most likely not arrive in time to join them. We had our own quick meal and then met everyone at the house instead. There was no stress or pressure on our end to arrive at a certain time, making the trip worry free!

September 22, 2017

5 Reasons Why I Don't Wear Make-Up

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I would like to start off this post by saying that I am not against make-up, nor do I judge anyone who chooses to wear make-up. Make-up is an art and it can be fun.

My main issue with make-up is when people depend on it in order to feel good about themselves. A good example of what I am talking about is episode 9 of Last Man Standing (Attractive Architect). For those who have not seen this episode or do not watch the show. Here is a little recap:

Eve takes all the make-up in the house and hides it to make a point to her make-up obsessed sister, Mandy. Mandy is then forced to go to school with no make-up and she basically tried to hide her face from everyone. She is so dependent on make-up that she feels ugly and can't function without it.

She learned that without make-up, people think she is smart and a lot of "nerds" try to talk to her, which she considered a bad thing. In the end, she comes to this conclusion:
"I learned something really important today. Life is beautiful. But it’s more beautiful when you’re beautiful." Mandy (The Last Man Standing). 
This episode left a bad taste in my mouth for many reasons. One, you shouldn't judge someone based on how they look. Two, women should want to be seen for more than a pretty face. Unlike Mandy, I would rather be seen as smart and successful rather than attractive and dumb. My final reason is my number one reason why I don't wear make-up, which you can read below.

1. Make-Up Does Not Make You Beautiful


We should not need make-up to look and feel beautiful. In fact, I actually find those who do not wear make-up to be more attractive than the ones with painted on masks. The best kind of make-up, in my opinion, is the kind where you can't tell the person is even wearing make-up, but at that point, it's kind of like why bother putting on make-up?

If you are so dependent on make-up in order to feel good, it's an addiction. Make-up may not be as damaging to the body as drugs or alcohol, but it definitely can affect your mental health and affect your self-esteem, especially if you depend on it to cover whatever flaws you feel you may have, which I can assure you, you don't have any. We are all beautiful in our own, unique way.

If you are so focused on one "flaw," then you may have Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BBD) and should seek help.

If you use make-up to attract the opposite sex, then you have a problem. Honestly, do you want some guy who only wants you because of how you look with a painted on mask?

When I first started getting interested in make-up (yes I have worn it in the past), I was in high school and it was my younger sister who actually was interested in first, which got me interested. My mom did not wear make-up, or if she did I could not tell and I never saw her put it on. I do know she owned some tubes of lipstick, but again, I do not remember ever seeing her use it!

If my mom had been more into make-up, I am sure it would have impacted me sooner, which is why I am more hesitant now to even consider wearing make-up as I do not want my daughter to feel she needs it to be pretty. I want her to love the way she looks, so by seeing how confident I am in my own skin, I am hoping she will learn as I did from my mother, that make-up is not needed to be beautiful.

The last time I actually remember wearing make-up was on my wedding day back in 2012. I do still keep a cosmetic bag lying around. However, all the beauty products in there are probably expired and should be tossed, so even if there was ever an event I felt the need to hide a zit for, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to use it. I am actually considering digging it up and throwing it out as I am typing this post.

2. Time Consuming


As soon as I started putting on make-up, I began to realize it was not worth the time for me. For one I had no idea what I was doing and no one to really teach me, so applying make-up took me a good 30-45 mins in the morning just to make sure it looked okay or at least what I thought was okay, which often ended up with me looking well, just like me. I did play around more with eyeshadow as I loved the colors.

Like I said in the intro, make-up is fun as an art, but I just didn't think the art was worth my time. I am still amazed at what some people can do with it though. A good friend of mine actually has a beauty blog and her make-up is amazing, so I highly recommend checking her out at The Minnesota MUA!

For those interested in what the average time spent on make-up for a woman is, well here is what a survey found:
"Women spend an average of 55 minutes every day working on their appearance... That amounts to 335 hours every year — or an entire two-week vacation — lost to their looks, according to the TODAY/AOL Ideal to Real Body Image Survey released Monday." (Source)
To me that is time wasted. I have better things to do than paint my face every morning, only to wash it off before going to bed and starting again the next day. Personally, I would rather take that two-week vacation than wear make-up.

3. Expensive


Make-up is just not cheap.
"A new survey from SkinStore.com reports that the average woman wears about $8 worth of makeup and skincare products every day. That adds up to almost $250 a month and well over $200,000 in a lifetime." (Source)
I don't know about you, but I can find a ton of other things I would rather spend $250 on or better yet, save that up for a dream vacation!

Source

4. It's Uncomfortable & Inconvenient


I have attempted to wear mascara and it sucked when I couldn't rub my eyes in fear of smearing it everywhere, or even a tearful yawn could be a disaster. I did eventually get waterproof mascara, but even that would rub off. In the end, I ditched it.

Eyeshadow was also a pain for this reason, but not as bad as Mascara.

I could never do lipstick or lip gloss. I wiped it off immediately. Having something sticky on your lips is just unpleasant. Plus then you have to worry about leaving lipstick stains on your glass or smearing it while eating. I think our wedding day was the only day I managed to wear lipstick, but I had it done at a Salon, so the quality was probably a lot better than what I had on hand.

I have tried face creams to hide blemishes and various other products, but the sticky textures annoyed me and so I never did them again. I couldn't do powders as they rub off if you touch your face.

Make-up was just a hassle I was not going to put up with on a daily basis and so it became more of a special event type of thing, and now I never put it on. Like I said, I think the last time I worke make-up was on my wedding day.

5. Animal Cruelty


Many make-up products are still tested on animals to this day. Sure you can go out of your way to find cruelty-free products, but a lot of the time those can't be trusted either as cruelty-free can just mean the actual product hasn't been tested on animals, but the ingredients in them may have. You can read more about cruelty-free labels on MSPCA's website.

I guess if you aren't concerned about testing on animals, this may not matter to you as much, but it is an added bonus for me for not wearing make-up.

***

Some important things to note is that I do wear nail polish and shave my legs. Nail polish is something I throw on maybe twice a year? If you can't tell, I don't like wasting time on things that I don't think are important. 

The last time I remember painting my nails was a week before the baby was born. There is not much you can do when pregnant, so this cured my boredom. I can't say I never have gotten my nails professionally done, but it's only been three times in my life so far. Once with a group of friends for prom, once for my cousin's wedding as I was a bridesmaid, and once for my wedding. I have never gotten my nails done on my own, but if a group of friends ever asks then I would totally go for the social aspect of it.

As for shaving. I have debated stopping altogether, and I admit this is one of my insecurities and I blame society for that. Body hair is totally natural and in Europe women are allowed to have it! I do hate doing it so I do only shave once a week and just wear leggings or jeans on the days the hair starts showing up. I wear shirts with sleeves when the armpit hair starts showing up as well, no tanks on those days!

The only area of my body that I shave and think is worth shaving is the bikini area. I have irregular cycles, so when I get my period, it is heavy, having no hair down there really makes keeping it clean a lot easier. I do not do it for looks because no one should be looking there without my permission! And no man should ever demand that you shave for him nor should you feel obliged to shave for any man! 

I do wish I could be more confident in this area, but I don't think I could handle being that woman pointed out on a beach full of freshly shaved women for her hairy legs and armpits. I admire those women who are confident enough to do so though and applaud them! I hope to be able to one day join them.

Shaving actually costs a lot less than wearing make-up. My husband and I did the math and it came to about $14 a month, so a lot less than make-up. Now if you're doing more than just razors and shaving cream, like going to get waxed or laser hair removal, then that might raise that number quite a bit.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Pexels.


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September 8, 2017

Surprizamals: A Review

Disclosure: I received this product for free in exchange for an unbiased, honest review. In no way did the discount affect my review of the product. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links are used in this post. Any purchase you make using these links supports this site.

What are Surprizamals?


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Surprizamals are cute little plush toys that are 2.5 inches tall. They come in a wide range of creatures from seas animals, woodland critters, to the cool and mystical characters like the Yeti or unicorn! However, you never know which one you are going to get as they are hidden in a ball, so it's always a surprise! 

Surprizamals are for ages 3 and up, so our currently 8-month-old daughter is too young for these. However, we allowed her to help us in the opening process (you can see photos below). Don't worry, she was fully supervised by my husband and me. She enjoyed pulling out the new creature and feeling how soft it is.

The Surprizamals are super soft! I was really surprised by just how soft they were as I figured this was just another one of those cheap toys, but they are actually very well made!

The critters are very cute and I can see these making great stocking stuffers for young kids or as party favors! These would be a fun toy to collect. I know younger me would have been all over these, even now I keep one of the narwhals we got on my desk as it is too darn cute!

Each Surprizamal plush has a cute tag with their name, birthday, and favorite colors, very similar to beanie babies. 

Surprizamals have different tiers of rareness as well, one which is unknown! We got lucky and got a rare Yeti! The rest of our critters were commons. There are also ultra rare ones. My husband was bummed we didn't get the mystery one as he wanted to know what it was!

They also come in different series, the ones we got were all part of series 4. The different series have different characters! So collecting them all would be a fun challenge!


If I had to find a downside to these cute plush animals, it would be that the Yeti can't stand up on its own! The rest of the ones we got sit nicely, but the Yeti is too top heavy so he just falls over. He would be super cute on my desk as well. I might have to find a way to prop him up!

I guess another downside is you can't pick which one you get, but I guess that is part of the fun! It can also be a bit costly though if you are trying to collect them all as you are bound to get repeats. We got 2 narwhals out of the 5 Surprizamals we received, so only a total of 4 different critters. This is why I think they would be more of a fun gift every now and then, something to stuff in an Easter basket or Christmas stocking.

Now if you have multiple kids or they have friends that get hooked on these, then they could always trade, which could add to the fun!

Also these might make great rewards or prizes for kids!

Though these are geared towards kids, I personally think they are adorable and plan on decorating my desk with these little guys, so if you know someone who is a kid at heart or just likes cute plush animals, then this would make a great fun gift for them as well! 


Where can I find Surprizamals?


They retail for only $4.99! You can find them in select stores, such as Walmart, on the Surprizamals' website, or even on Amazon!

Our Surprizamals