The other day I went over to my local Ulta store on a quest for some new makeup. The reason? I am breaking out like a 12 year old going through puberty. Umm helloooo….I’m almost 37 freakin years old! What the frig? I’m waaay too old for this crap!
Anyway, until my appointment with the dermatologist next month (earliest one I could get), I need to find a makeup that covers my acne without breaking it out more. So I’m wondering what makeup gives the best coverage? I did a bunch of research and everything I read said that the best full coverage makeup for acne prone skin is mineral. So I figured why not? I can always return it if I don’t like it.
I will say that I was extremely skeptical about how well mineral makeup would cover my skin. It is really bad right now. Really bad. I need major coverage to mask these gompers (my word for massive mountain-like zits). But I took a chance.
So I’m at the Ulta store looking at the Bare Minerals makeup that I had heard and read so much about. People really rave about it. I wasn’t sure yet. Picture it. A group of teenage girls came in (probably between 14 and 16 years old) and they were looking at the make up too while discussing which color to buy. I overheard them saying how much they “love” Bare Minerals. I have no idea why I even bothered but I did. I asked them what they thought of the Bare Minerals makeup. Here is how the conversation went:
Me: So you all use Bare Minerals? How do you like it?
Teenage Girl: Oh yeah. I love it!
Me: Does it give you good coverage? Because obviously I need that right now (pointing to my zits)…(still not sure why I was asking a young girl with porcelin-like skin who probably never had more than one pimple a month in her life if she gets “good coverage”!)
Teenage Girl: Yes it does. Hold on let me get my friend. Her mom uses it. Sara, come here. Doesn’t your mom use Bare Minerals?
Sara: Oh yeah. She loves it! She’s always saying how much she thinks it makes her look younger.
Well THAT sold me on it. A TEENAGER telling me that her MOM uses it because it makes her look “younger”. Okay, I know I’m old enough to have a teenager but did she have to remind me of it by comparing me to her mom? Hearing that did NOT make me feel better! On the bright side, at least she didn’t call me “ma’am”!
That being said, I went ahead and bought it anyway. My goal was to buy a full coverage makeup that was oil-free, not pore-clogging and would give me good coverage. And if an added bonus is that it would make me look younger, I’ll take that too. Why not right? But just to be clear, the coverage I am seeking is for zits…NOT age. I’m not quite there yet since I still look pretty decent for my age although, I’m sure the days are numbered <coughs>!
So here is my take on Bare Minerals.
I bought the TAN starter kit for $60 from Ulta. A good value since the three brushes that come with it are worth that if you purchased them alone. The kit includes:
- TWO shades of bareMinerals SPF 15 Foundation: Medium Tan & Tan (.06 oz/2g)
- Bare Minerals Tinted Mineral Veil (.1 oz/3)
- Bare Minerals Warmth All-Over Face Color (.06oz/2g)
- Flawless Application Face Brush
- Handy Buki Brush
- Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush
- How-to DVD
- Bonus Gift - 1oz. mini bareVitamins Skin Rev-er Upper(1oz/30mL)
I also bought a primer by Smashbox as suggested by the makeup “expert” at Ulta since the Bare Minerals one called Prime Time apparently frequently gets returned because people complain that they don’t like the feel of it.
I watched the DVD that came with the kit and I’ll be honest, it’s kind of a snore. Don’t get me wrong, it helps you see how to apply the makeup but the “swirl, tap, shake off the excess” directions from Leslie Blodgett, the CEO of Bare Minerals and star of the DVD got rather old real quick.
After suffering through watching the DVD, I was now ready to try Bare Minerals for myself. I did everything the DVD instructed me to do but I gotta be honest, I didn’t get that “natural” look that it promised and it certainly did NOT cover my acne. So was mineral makeup the best for full coverage? No. Not even close. I tried building the coverage as suggested but still…no. Acne was as evident as it was before I put the makeup on. However, I decided I’d give it the benefit of the doubt and try it again thinking maybe I just needed to “practice” applying it.
The next day I came out out of the bathroom all Bare Mineraled up and showed my husband my “natural” face. His response? “Don’t take this the wrong way but…you don’t look any better but you don’t look worse either. Just um…different.”
Is that supposed to make me feel better? Yeah…not so much. Sooo, after examining my face in every mirror and under every light, I decided that either I bought the wrong color for my skin tone, or Bare Minerals is just the wrong makeup for me.
I went back to Ulta that night and spoke to someone different at the makeup counter. She happened to have the same skin color as me so that worked out good. She tried mixing the tan and mediums together to get a perfect match for me but even she agreed that nothing looked natural about it. I have tan, olive skin with yellow undertones. I initially bought the tan starter kit but I thought maybe it was too dark. That’s why she mixed the medium and tan together. However, no matter what colors were mixed, there was absolutely no perfect color match for me therefore, I ended up returning the entire kit for a full refund.
Is Bare Minerals a good makeup? Believe it or not, I think it really is….for certain people. I think it’s a great choice for young girls just starting to wear makeup since it really does look “natural”…on people who have clear complexions (or just a couple of pimples here and there) and smooth, even skin tones. If I had a young daughter, I would not hesitate to try Bare Minerals on her first. I like the fact that it has a light feeling and has non pore-clogging ingredients which are both important on “virgin” skin. It also looks great on people (young and old) who have no major skin issues and who have nice clear, smooth skin. It may be a good choice for acne-prone skin in that it will not contribute to your breakouts, however, I most certainly WOULD NOT recommend Bare Minerals for coverage. If you are trying to cover acne, melasma, or sun damage, in my opinion, the coverage is not sufficient enough for problems such as those. That being said, I would definitely consider trying Bare Minerals again after my skin clears up AND if I could figure out the correct color for my skin of course.
In the meantime, per a friend’s recommendation who has had similar skin problems as the ones I am currently dealing with, I am now using Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra foundation to cover up my acne from hell. DING DING DING! We have a winner! So far I am loving it. It is oil-free, has great coverage yet feels very light which I love, and the color is perfect! Hallelujah!
Recently, I got my hair highlighted for the first time ever. I’ve always wanted to do it but I thought it would be too damaging to my hair and I wasn’t prepared to keep up with the cost of getting it done every few months. Then the grey hairs started coming in fast and furious. I needed something to help keep them covered a little longer so I decided to go ahead and try highlights. I am now hooked!
I’m a brunette so I had to make sure whomever I chose to highlight my hair was good with color. Thankfully, the girl I went to was referred to me by a friend and she did an awesome job! But this post isn’t about highlights. It’s about the flat iron she used.
I have been using a flat iron on my hair for at least six years. Before flat irons became all the rage I would use a fat curling iron to try and straighten my wavy hair. It worked okay I guess, but my discovery of the flat iron made doing my hair much easier and quicker to do.
I bought a $30 1 inch Ceramic Tools flat iron from Sally Beauty Supply. I had heard a ceramic kind was the way to go because it was less damaging to your hair. And at thirty bucks, not a huge investment - so I bought it.
What I didn’t know was that you are supposed to put a heat protecting type product in your hair BEFORE you blow dry it but more importantly, BEFORE you flat iron it. I had no idea that for six years I had been damaging my hair so badly that it would just break right in half. It was so bad that when I tried to get my hair highlighted last year, the hair stylist advised me NOT to do it because she was afraid there would be nothing left of my hair after that. So I waited and starting using the right products in my hair. But I still had my same cheap flat iron.
Fast forward to April this year when I was finally able to get my highlights. After all of the color was done and my hair was washed, my hair dresser styled my hair. Let me just say that every time I get a haircut I tell whomever cuts my hair not to bother blowing it out because nine out of ten times I never like the way it is styled. Ever. But, I went ahead and let this girl blow dry and style my hair anyway. I figured I may as well give her the benefit of the doubt since she did come highly recommended.
Wow! When she was done I was amazed at how awesome my hair looked! I NEVER like the way someone else styles my hair so this was a true first. I asked her to please write down all of the products she used in my hair and asked her what kind of flat iron she uses. She told me it was a CHI Flat Iron.
I had heard about CHI Flat Irons before and that they are supposedly really good but also very expensive. After I found out how much they were I decided that I didn’t really need to buy it since I already had a flat iron anyway. I did however, buy all of the products my hair dresser used on me that day.
I was all excited to use my new hair products and was fairly confident I could get my hair to look the same way it did after I got it done. Between the blow drying and the flat ironing, I spent a good 45 minutes trying to achieve that same sleek, shiny look. Ummm no. Not even close. My husband looked at me and said ”You must not be styling it right because it looks nothing like it did when you had it done.” I used every product the hairdresser did so what was the deal? Oh. I bet I know. I bet it was the CHI Flat Iron she used. That was the only thing I did different -I used my cheapie iron.
When I explained this to my husband he didn’t believe me. Or at least he chose not to believe me since I know he didn’t want me to go out and buy a $100+ flat iron. But, Mother’s Day was right around the corner so I figured I would drop a few not so subtle hints as to where to buy the CHI.
WoooHooo…Hubby came through!
I finally had the missing piece to my hair puzzle. At least I hoped that was what was missing.
Once again I used all of the products my hair stylist used the day she did my hair and now the true test - the flat iron. I made sure to put the heat protector in my hair before the 360 degree CHI flat iron touched it. What happened next was truly amazing. My hair was becoming super straight AND shiny. It was starting to look the way it did when I left the salon that day. IT WAS THE FLAT IRON!!! Even my husband admitted he noticed a huge difference in the way my hair looked when I used my old iron vs. the way it looked after I used my new CHI. Night and day!
So is the CHI flat iron really worth the money? Definitely! After asking around in several different hair supply stores and researching the CHI online, I have learned that what makes this iron so different from their cheap inexpensive counterparts is the heating element itself. The CHI ceramic plates are heated evenly whereas the one I was using are not causing more damage to my hair. THAT is why my hair kept breaking (plus the fact that I never used any product in my hair then).
Now keep in mind there are several different models of the CHI flat iron. I bought the most inexpensive one called the Original CHI. My husband got it on sale at Target but if you do your homework, you can find them even cheaper online.
The only thing I don’t like about the model I have is that there is no temperature adjustment. It is always on the same setting and and there is no way to turn it up or down. The temperature for this model is 36o degrees and it is HOT so be very careful not to burn yourself. Even when I touch my hair after running a section of it through the iron my hair is super hot and it actually burns my hands. Not so bad that I can’t touch it but it IS really hot.
There are other CHI flat iron models that do have a temperature adjustment but be prepared to pay at least $30-$40 extra for one. The advantage to having a temperature control is so you can customize the iron to your hair type. The courser your hair is, the higher the temperature you’ll need and vice versa. The original model I have does a great job straightening my hair which is considered normal and somewhat fine. I don’t need anything hotter nor would I want it any hotter.
Bottom line is if you prefer to flat iron your hair regularly and want the least amount of damage, go for the CHI. After using a crappy more inferior one for so long I have seen the difference first hand and I can honsetly say without a doubt the CHI flat iron IS definitely worth the investment!
You may have wondered if front load washers are really that much better that top load washers. Well I believe they most definitely are, and in this review, I’ll explain why and let you draw your own conclusion.
If you have read how I loathe doing laundry, then you understand why it is so important that I have a washer and dryer that will make doing laundry as painless as possible. When we moved, we left our old washer and drier behind so we needed to buy a new set. Thanks to my hubby (and with some of my own gentle nudging and not so subtle hints) I now have what I believe to be the best washer and dryer I have ever owned. It’s the Whirlpool Duet front loading washer and Whirlpool Duet Steam drier. Instead of buying a top loader, I was able to convince him to get a front load washer.
Everyone realizes that front load washers are at least a few hundred dollars more expensive than their top loading counterparts. Unless you have money to burn, it is a good idea to take a look at why the extra money is going to be worth it, and if you can make up some or all of that money in the long run. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that need to determine if the extra money is worth it.
First of all, any new washer or drier is going to be more energy efficient than those that are several years old. Front load washers are very efficient. How are they more efficient? Well certainly they use a lot less water. Front load washers can use between 10-15 gallons of water per load. Some top loaders can use up to as much as 40 gallons per load. Front loaders work by spinning the clothes through the water so not as much is needed. Top loaders need enough water to submerge the clothes as it spins them against the agitator (and how often do you get right the selection of what size load you have? More than likely you probably end up wasting more water).
So imagine the potential of saving 25+ gallons of water per load of laundry. Not to mention the fact that you are going to save on the energy (gas or electricity) needed to heat the water, unless you wash everything in cold water.
With my old drier, I would often have to run the clothes through two cycles to get them dry. Often this is a function of how wet the clothes are when you put them into the drier and how large a load you are drying. I never realized how wet the clothes were coming out of my old washing machine until I started using my new front loader. One of the advantages of a front loader is that they can spin at much higher speeds than top loaders. The higher speed spins out more water, leaving the clothes drier when the cycle is completed. However, since they spin at much higher speeds, you’ll want to be sure it’s properly balanced otherwise the shaking may make you think your house has been relocated to the launch pad when the Space Shuttle takes off.
With the high spin rate, it is amazing how dry the clothes are when the spin cycle is complete - I could almost skip the drier altogether and just put them away. This helps to save even more money because as your clothes are not as wet when they go into the drier, your drier doesn’t have to work as hard and use as much energy to dry the clothes. Since your clothes don’t need to be in the drier as long, you can get your laundry done quicker.
At this point you’re probably thinking OK, so maybe there are some savings I’ll get, but is it really going to be enough to make it worth while just for the savings alone?
Yes, it is! Don’t believe me? That’s cool. If you’re a numbers kind of gal, this article breaks down the savings for you in all the categories I mentioned above and shows how the average break even point is about 4 years. I’m sure most people keep their washers and driers at least that long. Lets face it, energy is not getting cheaper so the more you can save with your washer and drier the better (and the shorter the break even period will be).
The advantages of the front load washers from an efficiency standpoint are pretty clear. What else makes them attractive? Well, have you ever tried to jam a king sized comforter in a top load washing machine? Think Rosie O’Donnell in stretch pants…it just ain’t pretty. With a front load washer you can stick a lot more clothes in there, including those large items you probably end up toting off to the dry cleaner. The Whirlpool Duet holds 16 pairs of jeans. Try that in a top loader!
Then of course there is the agitator…doing what it is supposed to do. It agitates and will cause more damage to your clothes than just spinning them through the water in the same way your drier works. It is just not as gentle on your clothes.
Front load washing machines use high efficiency (HE) laundry detergent which is low sudsing. You cannot use the regular detergent you would use with a regular top loader. The method of tumbling the clothes through the water instead of using an agitator would create more suds so you want to be sure to use detergents that are specially formulated for front loaders. You’ll want to look for detergent with the HE logo on it or some mention that it is specifically for front load washing machines.
Years ago it may have been a problem finding HE laundry detergent, but now it’s not much of an issue. You’ll also save money because you will use less detergent. The first bottle of detergent I bought, and it was a big one, lasted me almost 4 months!
And finally, unless you stack them, it’s nice to have another flat surface to use for folding, keeping the laundry basket on, etc. that the front loader provides. The top of a top loader always seems like a convenient shelf until you need to do a load of laundry.
So are there any disadvantages to front load washers besides the up front cost? Well, there are a few things that are different. The main one is that you are going to need to bend down to put the clothes into the washer and take them out. For a lot of people, the bending down to put clothes in and take clothes out of a front load washer with an opening much closer to the floor may present a problem. Of course the manufacturers thought of this and sell pedestals that will raise the washers and driers up. For my particular model there is a 10″ pedestal and a 15.5″ pedestal which would raise up each machine and give me a drawer to store my laundry supplies. On the surface, it seems like a no brainer to get a pair of these. Now remember these machines are very heavy so the pedestals must be strong, but they usually cost on the order of a couple hundred dollars a piece! That’s right, when we bought our new set, Sears wanted $250 per pedestal!
Now fortunately, I am young enough that my back is still in pretty good shape and I knew my husband wasn’t going to go for that. Can you image what kind of day at the spa I could have for $500 bucks? Seriously, I don’t know what the pedestals are made of, but it seems like a lot of money for what you get. So if you want to raise up your washer and dryer and make it easier to load and unload the clothes, just be prepared to pay for it.
There is another disadvantage, which is trivial, but a disadvantage nonetheless. We’ve all had this happen. You put all the laundry in your machine and start it up. It’s chugging away and you find some wayward sock or stray pair of underwear that you forgot your husband didn’t get in the hamper or shoved under the bed. After cursing him, you decide to open the lid, flip it in, and go on your merry way. That works great for a top loader, but not so much for a front loader. Once the water starts filling the tub, the door is locked and mister stinky sock is going to have to wait for the next go around. Well, sort of. There is an unlock/pause button and once pressed, the machine will unlock itself when it is safe (when the water gets to a point where it can stop filling the machine) to open the door so you can add something. However, you still risk a little water dripping out off of the door when you open it so unless you really need to add something, it is not worth the aggravation.
I have had my front loader washer and drier almost a year and I must say, I do highly recommend them. I like mine in particular, but even if you choose not to go with a Whirlpool, I suggest that if you are in the market for a new washer, seriously consider a front loading one. I absolutely love mine. Don’t get me wrong, I STILL loathe doing laundry. But I’ll admit, having these new machines does make my laundry experience a little less painful.
Since the economy has hit bottom, I’ve been trying to find ways to save money. I’m sure you all could use a few extra dollars in your pocket each week since we all know…taking care of the kiddies can get pretty expensive! Thank God the gas prices are better at least! Well I think I’ve found a pretty significant way to save money and I wanted to share it with you all.
Ok so here’s the deal. One word…couponing. Yes it is actually a word. At least it is to a lot of moms. It’s actually a verb. Some of you may already clip and use coupons. I have been doing it since I got married but I just discovered there is a true “art” to clipping coupons. What I’ve been doing for the past 8 years is getting the Sunday paper, clipping the coupons and using them each time I shop on items I was buying that week. Well I just discovered that is the wrong way to “coupon”.
Here’s the “right” way ladies. Every Sunday, you get the paper and start clipping all the coupons for items you use or think you might want to TRY if you could get it cheap enough. Then you file them away. Here’s the difference: instead of using your coupons on stuff you buy weekly (like I was doing), you SAVE them and use them ONLY when those items are ON SALE. You also STOCKPILE stuff. What does this mean? It means each time you go to the grocery store, you won’t necessarily be buying stuff you NEED right now. You buy the stuff that is one SALE with a COUPON and you put it in the pantry for later. Obviously you can only do this with stuff that lasts for awhile. Works great for pastas, cereals, soups, cleaning supplies, and toiletries. Another thing I just learned is that when a store advertises “buy one get one free” you DON’T have to buy two. So if you only buy one and use a coupon for it, you get that item for half price and get it even cheaper when you use a coupon! A bonus here where I live is that the stores double coupons up to .99 cents every day and sometimes they advertise that they will TRIPLE coupons during a specific time period. Unfortunately, some stores do not double coupons at all, but still…they usually run good sales so you can still get some great deals with your coupons.
Here is my story and why I’m soooo excited about this.
Last month I joined a “trial” website for all of the stores in my area. They list everything that is advertised in the sale flyer, what it costs regularly, how much it is on sale, what week the coupon came out and the percentage you will save if you buy it with a coupon. This site will italicize all of the items that are a good idea to buy NOW with a coupon because they are considered to be at “rock bottom” prices so you should buy and stockpile them. Well it takes a good three weeks to accumulate enough coupons before you really start saving money. The trial is for 4 weeks. At first I was like “ok…I’m not sure this is worth it.” But then one of my stores did the triple coupon special for 3 days and I went there with my stack of coupons and the list of everything that was on sale, and I bought everything that was listed at a “rock bottom” price. Most of it was stuff I would normally buy, but some items I had never tried before. Well because those items were on sale, and I happened to have a coupon for them, I figured why not try it? And since I love me a good deal, in my cart they went.
Here’s the best part….I SPENT a total of $110.00 and SAVED $97.00 in coupons!!!! Isn’t that freakin’ unbelievable???? I was stoked! I got $200 worth of groceries for half price. I bought a box of Lipton tea bags for .19 cents! I bought cereal for $1.00! I bought soup for .25 and .50 cents! These are things that are $3.00 and up! Believe it or not, there are even some things you can actually get for FREE! No lie…FREE! (The list will tell you what you can get for “free” with what coupons) CRAZY!!! So now I’m hooked! Now granted, it WAS a TRIPLE coupon day but still….you can do pretty great even with one or doubles. I discovered that day in the grocery store that “couponing” is somewhat of an addiction and it’s actually a borderline “cult” where I live. I met a lady in the store and talked to her for 20 minutes on how she does it. She trades them with her friends and neighbors too! Some people are even nice enough to leave their unused coupons right there on the shelf next to the item for another person to take advantage of aka: “coupon fairies”.
Yes, there ARE websites out there that you can get similar lists for FREE. However, I have looked at several of them and I still think that the one I am using is much more thorough and takes the guess work out of everything. With this site, all you have to do is spend 20 minutes clipping your coupons each week. The site gives you an itemized list of the store or stores you choose and there is NO guesswork or MATH involved! Because God knows…math is not my forte! I found this site to be very easy and straightforward. There is a ton of info on it too. There are message boards where people post all of their tips…even pictures of their stockpiles…its insane. Some people have so much stuff it looks like a mini store in their pantry!
So….now that I’ve explained the beauty of “couponing” to you I want to share the website. It’s The Grocery Game. If you think you’re interested in doing this, sign up for a $1.00 trial for 4 weeks. All you do is enter your zip code and all of the stores in your area will come up. All of the deals from Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS are on there too. Those are good for makeup and medicines. We all know how expensive those can be! When you do the trial, you will be able to get the lists of ALL of the stores in your area. I had 8 for my trial. Then, if you think you want to join, you just select the store or stores you think you’ll shop at the most and they will bill you every 2 months on your credit card. It’s $10.00 for 2 months for ONE store and then $5.00 for any additional store. I’m doing 2 stores so I pay $15.00 every two months. I think it’s WELL worth it because I am obviously saving at least $15 in coupons every time I go shopping so it pretty much pays for itself. Again, yes there are FREE sites out there but I’ve looked at a bunch and I think this one is the most thorough and easiest by far. When you pull up the site, there is a video on the home page. Watch it. It will explain the concept for you a little more. And in case you are wondering…NO…I don’t work for the grocery game! LOL!
I hope you all will look into The Grocery Game and check out their website. It is aptly named too because I really do make it a “game” for myself every time I grocery shop - I challenge myself to see how much money I can save. It’s such a great feeling to save the family so much money…especially when I’m not working…well I AM working…just not bringing MONEY in! .
So take my advice and GET CLIPPING!
Becoming a new mom is like starting a new job with no prior experience. But, you’ve accepted the position so now you have to go in and give it your all, “winging” it if necessary. Although you have no prior experience, lucky for you, there are plenty of more seasoned moms that do. Who better to seek out for advice, tips, ideas, and suggestions to make your transition into motherhood as smooth as possible, than other mothers who have already walked in your shoes and been where you are now-clueless. Talking to other moms can be the most valuable resource you have to help make the first year of your new “job” the most satisfying and rewarding position you have ever had. Here is the list of must-haves that I gathered for myself when I was “hired”. If you’ve ever wondered “What are the best items for new babies?”, here is my list to help get you started.
Snuggle Nest: The Snuggle Nest is like a little bassinet for your bed. In the early months, most new moms want their baby right next to them or at least in the same room. Having the Snuggle Nest will let you have that option and is also a great way to co-sleep with your baby without the fear of rolling over on him. It also helps keep your baby properly positioned. It is a bit pricey and does not last very long since your baby will outgrow it quickly, but again, a good investment for your piece of mind. A bonus is that it has a removable LED nightlight, which isn’t bright enough to wake the baby, but is bright enough to turn on if you need to check your baby in the middle of the night which you’ll probably do often. It folds up for easy storage and provides an incline if your baby does not like to lie flat or has acid reflux.
Swaddle Blanket: After you give birth, typically you have help from the wonderful nurses assigned to you during your hospital stay. They will help you with feeding your baby whether you choose to nurse or bottle feed, show you how to properly bathe him, clean his (or her) “private” parts, care for and clean the umbilical cord, change diapers, and swaddle him. If you are new to the whole swaddling thing like I was, this can prove to be an extremely difficult feat when you are recovering from birthing your baby and realizing what the true meaning of sleep deprivation is. I’m here to tell you…unless you know what you’re doing, swaddling can really stress you out when your new bundle of joy is screaming his head off after surviving your first attempt at diaper change (which can seem like a 10 minute process in itself). His screaming then gets louder and longer while you are wrestling with the blanket trying to swaddle him again after one of your nurses did it previously and made it look so darn easy. NOT!
Trust me on this-I know what I’m talking about…go get yourself a couple of the SwaddleMe blankets BEFORE your baby is born and bring them to the hospital with you. They take all of the guesswork and unnecessary stress out of what could be a swaddling nightmare disaster for you. All you have to do is put your baby’s feet right there in the pre-made pocket where they go, and fold over the other two side to meet the Velcro. Voila! You have a nicely swaddled baby with no crying…yours or his! Get one! They come in sizes large, small, and preemie and are available in a variety of colors.
Video Baby Monitor: Summer Infant Deluxe Day & Night Handheld Color Video Monitor was a lifesaver for me. I only wish I had it when when my first son was born. The first monitor I had was just a regular one where if you could hear past the constant static it put out, you might have been able to actually hear your baby if he needed you. Plus I couldn’t see my baby so I wasn’t completely satisfied unless I went into his room to see him and not just hear him. When I had my second son, I got this video monitor and I LOVED it! What a huge difference for my piece of mind. It is in color, has a 2.5 inch screen, has great reception and best of all, you can buy another camera for it and use it with the same monitor! I put a camera in my new baby’s room and another camera in my older son’s room and by sliding the switch on the monitor, I was able to see both babies sleeping…or not, and I didn’t even have to leave my own bed! It has night vision and works incredibly well in the dark as any little available light will help make a difference in the picture clarity. The closer you can place it to your baby the better, but it works well even from across the room. I HIGHLY recommend this monitor. We got years of use out of it and the ability to add another camera really makes it worthwhile if you have more than one little one. It is on the top of my list of MUST HAVES!
Baby Sling: What would I have ever done without my Over the Shoulder Baby Holder? Definitely a MUST HAVE! This sling saved me time and again. I had an extremely colicky baby who always wanted to be held and my Over the Shoulder Baby Holder made it easy on the baby and my back! It was great to often be able to do things and have both hands available while I was still carrying my baby. An added bonus is that you can nurse discreetly while wearing your baby which I loved. Wearing this sling enabled me to keep my baby calm, cozy and close to me in the natural position that he was used to being in for the 9 months he was growing inside me. To this day I still don’t “get” those other baby carriers where the baby’s legs just hang out. To me, it just looks very uncomfortable. With this sling, there are a number of different ways you can use it to carry your baby and it comes with a video to show you how to use it. There are now several different types of slings on the market, but this one has a lot of padding which makes it more comfortable on both you and your baby so keep that in mind if you look at other slings.
It comes in a ton of different colors and patterns to choose from too so you aren’t limited to just one. Various online retailers carry different patterns so you should look to find one you like. We had a good experience with SlingBaby.com and I’m sure there are many others out there. Just make sure it is an actual Over the Shoulder Baby Holder sling. Love, love, love this sling! In fact, I was sad when my kids outgrew it.
Buggy Bagg: If you’re a shopper then this is a MUST HAVE for you! It keeps your baby cozy and clean from germ infested shopping carts. Since I got my first Buggy Bagg Shopping Cart Cover 6 years ago there have been a number of other shopping cart liners that have become available but in my opinion, none of them can compare. I will say that it is a little pricey but this is an instance where you really do get what you pay for. It is extremely well made, is very padded, and comes with a detachable pillow that most other shopping cart liners do not have. It fits great on any shopping cart as well as the larger carts from Costco, BJ’s or Sams Club. The pillow is a good addition too because at 4 months (the recommended age for use of the BB) you can actually lay your baby horizontally inside the Buggy Bagg while in the front seat of the cart and have his head rest on the pillow while his body fits perfectly across the seat. My babies have often fallen asleep in there too which was very nice because I could get my shopping done and not have to worry about how I was going to fit all of my items in the bottom of my stroller! Another added bonus of the BB is that you can also use it to line the inside of restaurant high chairs which we all know can be extremely dirty and disgusting! Like the sling, the Buggy Bagg also comes in a variety of patterns and colors to choose from. I know that Babies ‘R Us carries at least one pattern but there are others out there you can find online.
Snap and Go Stroller: Oh how I loved this stroller! Although it won’t be your only stroller once your baby outgrows his infant car seat, it is well worth the $60! IF you are using an infant car seat that doubles as a carrier, than the Baby Trend Single Snap N’ Go Stroller is a MUST HAVE! It makes life so much easier because there is no need to transfer your baby from his car seat to a stroller-especially if he’s sleeping! In the early months, being able to do this is a huge plus for you and for baby! Oh and let me not forget to mention how incredibly light the Snap N’ Go Stroller is! Once you place the car seat back in its base, the only thing to pick up and put in the trunk is the frame which IS the Snap N’ Go Stroller. So so light and easy to transport and even better…SMALL! It takes up very little room in the trunk so you have plenty of space left. Did I mention how much I loved this stroller? Another item I was sad to see go when my babies outgrew their infant car seat.
Cloth Diapers: I know what you’re thinking…I’m not going to spend all my time washing cloth diapers, not to mention dealing with the hassle of trying to put them on my baby and keep them on. Well, I agree! I’m sure the tree huggers out there say they are better for the environment and will prevent cluttering our landfills, but they just weren’t going to be an option for us. So why am I recommending them? We bought a couple of packs of these cloth diapers because they have a million uses around the house for when you have a baby, and well after your babies have grown. We’re still using them 6+ years later. They are very soft, padded (make sure you get padded ones) and absorbent so you can use them as burp cloths, changing pads, wiping dirty faces and noses, cleaning spit up, wiping diaper rashed bottoms, etc. It’s also a good idea to keep one or two in the car for the same reasons. You can’t have enough of these things lying around. Once you start using them, you’ll be amazed how many different things you can use them for and you’ll be washing them constantly to make sure you have clean ones available.
Boppy Nursing Pillow: The Boppyis a great item for nursing/feeding your baby and also for sitting or lounging around the house. It helps support your baby while you are feeding him which makes it easier for both of you. It also helps to support him while he is learning to sit up. It makes it easy to put your baby on the floor in the middle of the room so you can keep an eye on him. The Boppy comes in a variety of patterns and the covers are washable. You can buy a Bare Naked Boppy (just the pillow itself) and then purchase the slipcover(s) separately if you desire to have different patterns or more than one so you can wash one and still have one available to use. Their website Boppy.com has a lot of information on the different ways to use it and pictures of the many different patterns available.
These were some of the best baby items I used with my kids and I hope you’ll find some of them as useful as I did!