Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What.We.Wore.Wednesday {Maxi Day/Evening Looks}

Even though we are going into August, I feel like it's been a bit cooler than usual in the northeast the last few night; cool enough for me to put on my denim jacket.  <- My inspiration for today's post!

FUN ;)

My Outfit Details:
Tank: Target
Maxi Skirt: Kohl's (similar)
Shoes: Unlisted
J.Crew Inspired Rose Necklace: GroopDealz
Crossbody: Michael Kors

Monday, July 29, 2013


Saturday evening, friends of ours went through an unexpected and tragic event; a house fire erupted which destroyed 70% of their home, leaving them displaced for at least six months.

Thankfully, Mommy-to-be (she's due in November), Dad, and Baby T (handsome eight month-old boy) are safe but completely heartbroken.  The fire destroyed baby-to-be's nursery and baby T's nursery.

If you follow BTWD on Facebook, you would have read about this unfortunate event, as well as notice the generosity that people have shown.  People who don't even know this family are willing to donate and assist in whatever way they can. 

With so many people wanting to help, I've been working with a close friend of the family and we have established a drop off location for items that can be donated to this family.  Items that the family currently need include:

-DIAPERS! size 3
-Wipes (Huggies, unscented)
-Formula (Earth's Best in a red container)
-Baby food, Plum Organic (they come in food pouches)
-2 High Chairs in good condition
-Baby Boy clothes 6-9 months
-Baby P.J's!!!
-Men's clothing size L
-Baby Mattress (preferably new)
-Any organic baby bath products
-Organic baby powder
-Local restaurant gift cards (Poughkeepsie area)
-Gift cards to Target, Babies-R-Us, Visa gift cards

The family has received a TON of toys and other baby items (scooters, car seats, etc.) so please refer to the list above.

Items can be dropped-off on Tuesday, 7/30, from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM and 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm, and Wednesday 7/31, from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center.

If you are unable to donate any items but still would like to contribute, you can visit this website (here) to make a monetary donation.

The family is so overwhelmed by the kindness friends, family, and strangers have shown.  My heart smiles seeing every new message asking what they can do to help this family. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as quickly as possible..

Friday, July 26, 2013

Jamaica Vacation Part 1 {Tips for Flying with a Toddler}

This is part 1 of a 3 part Jamaica Vacation series.

I'm sure like any first time Moms bringing their child out of the country, you worry about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!  

"Even though the carseat says it's FAA approved, will it still fit in the seat?"

"Will Sophia's ears pop on the plane...Will she scream bloody murder?"

"Did I pack enough diapers?" (I had 70 to be exact.)

These were among the many concerns I had preparing for our trip, especially for the two four-hour flights we had in-store.  However,
after surviving these flights with a 15-month old, I have to say it.was.not.bad.  Even though Sophia had her moments, other travelers sitting around us said they were "impressed" with how well she did! <- Proud Mommy moment! 

So I wanted to share with you some tips I learned while flying with a 15-month old toddler with the hopes other travelers can say the same about your child!

Tip 1: If you don't need a stroller at your destination, consider investing in a kid carrier backpack.  According to Andrew, this backpack was a life saver!  It was so much easier to put Sophia in it rather than lugging around a stroller, two suitcases, one duffle bag and a carseat.   Plus she enjoyed people watching and got quite a few smiles from other travelers!  We purchased our Deuter Kid Comfort II at EMS. Thanks to our friends in VT for the recommendation :)

Tip 2:  If your finances allow it, get your child his/her own seat.  Sophia needed to have her own seat since the flight was international, but I could not imagine holding her more than 15 minutes without her arms flailing and wanting to move around.  I figured she'd be reassured/comfortable in her own seat with the hopes of taking a nap- Yay for naps!  I also want to mention it was a tight squeeze with Sophia's seat giving her minimal leg room.  Your child's car seat should be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA.  The actual car seat (side panels) should say if it's FAA approved and/or you can always find it in the car seat manual. 

Tip 3: While on the plane, make sure you have something for your child to eat or drink during take-off and descending/landing.  This will help lessen the pressure on your child's ears.  Luckily, Sophia slept at take-off and I questioned waking her up to give her something to eat.  I decided against it and just had her water and animal crackers ready.  I did give her water while we were descending and she was A-OK!

Courtesy of Grandma!

Tip 4: Pack one favorite toy and a few new ones for the plane ride. Introduce a new toy every so often so they can last you the flight there and back.  

Sophia's carry-on bag!

Tip 5: Think about future feedings!  This is where we had trouble.  I packed enough snacks for five people but I forgot about milk!!  Luckily the airplane had milk, but I wasn't too happy; I totally forgot to pack another cup.  By the way, you can bring milk/formula into the airport and on the plane.  It just can't be in excessive amounts.   I checked with my friend who is a TSA Officer :)

Tip 6: According to Andrew, "having a great wife" but I will change that to "Teamwork." If you're traveling with your husband, baby daddy, family, whomever, make sure you have some sort of system in place when going through the airport; who will be in charge of the tickets, passports, filling out customs forms etc.  Andrew was in charge of all the travel documents and completing the customs forms while I entertained/took care of Sophia.  Thankfully, our system worked and we do make one great team <3

Tip 7: This last tip the entire family can benefit from; make sure your credit cards and passports are in a protective sleeve/case.  Our credit card was hacked at JFK and we were fortunate to notice (we receive emails if a transaction of $75+ takes place) while in Jamaica.  There's technology that allows scammers to walk past you, scan your credit card (somehow) and create a mock card.  According to our CC statement, we went to a Wawa, Food Lion, and Taco Bell in Virginia.  Thankfully, Capital One noticed these transitions (we notified them about our trip prior to leaving and you should do the same when traveling internationally) and shut down our account immediately.  You can purchase credit card and passport protectors off Amazon.

Hopefully you can keep these tips in mind on your next flight whether it's domestic or international.  Do you have any tips to share for flying with a toddler?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our Trip to Jamaica {In Pictures}

Finally!!!  This took a bit longer than expected; so sorry 
for the delay!! 
 Here's a look into our family vacation to Beaches in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.   Details about our trip will becoming soon!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Greetings from Jamaica!!

Helllloo from Jamaica!

Day three has just come to an end of our trip and we are having a great time with Andrew's family!

This resort is perfect for kids- Sophia and our nieces (ages 3 and 7) are loving the water park and Sesame Street performances!  Us adults are loving the "all inclusive" aspect- yah mon!

Here are some pictures of our trip so far. 

View from our room

All smiles

Afternoon siesta

On our way to water park for the first time

First Sesame Street performance 

Andrew, Sophia, and our niece Eva

Family selfie

Walking to another Sesame Show

Waiting for the Sesame Street performance 

Totally loving it!  

Giving Bird Bird a high five 

There are some great activities planned throughout the trip, including breakfast with the Sesame Street characters and family pictures on the beach.

Best memory so far- Sophia taking 15 minutes to pick out which stuff animal she wanted- Bird Bird or Abby Cadabby.  Which one do you think she picked?!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jamaica, Here We Come!!! {Vacation Time}

We are leaving for Jamaica today along with Andrew's parents and his sister's family, for a grand total of nine vacationers!!

 Twenty-two acres of lush tropical gardens, a gorgeous private white-sand beach, 5 gourmet restaurants, 3 fantastic swimming pool, plus a water park, spa, and Elmo!!

Elmo?!  Sesame Street is a sponsor of the resort!  Sophia can eat with the characters! Hopefully she wont be afraid of them (fingers crossed).

Unfortunately, I'm not going to have the opportunity to blog as much as I'd like to on vacation. 

So this will be the last post for a whole week!!  I'll check in on FB when possible.

We'll miss you!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sophia's Famous Friend {The Toddler Room "Arrival"}

Meet Miss Jodi Bulson.

 Miss Jodi just published her first children's book entitled, The Toddler Room "Arrival." She is a mother to five children and owns a group family day care, "Jodi/Carol's Playhouse."

Would you look at that!  Sophia and Miss Jodi are friends!!!! 

 Sophia goes to Miss Jodi's day care (hence the "Miss")!!   

Sophia is cared for by someone famous!!  How exciting is that?!

Even though my relationship with Jodi started when Sophia began attending Jodi/Carol's Playhouse, I was well aware of the Bulson crew, and boy are there many!  I went to school with Richele and David (two of Jodi's five children) and Rici and I still remain friends. 
While picking up Sophia one day in the winter months, Jodi started telling me how she wrote "this children's book" and was trying to find a company to publish it.  I mentioned that I'd love to feature her on my blog once her book is published, so I could share with all my readers this wonderful story, with the hopes I may convince a few to purchase a copy, no pressure ;)

  So this is a true honor to have the opportunity to interview someone who I've known "of" for many years and provides the utmost and unconditional care for our sweet baby girl.

Q) Tell us a little about The Toddler Room "Arrival."
  A) "The Toddler Room "Arrival": a day in the life of your child in day care, is a series of stories that show each aspect of a child's day in day care. The first book is called "Arrival."  I am also publishing a coloring book which is the same story in coloring book form!"

Q) Who would purchase The Toddler Room "Arrival"?
 A) "I hope that many people will want my book! Haha! Parents can purchase it to make their children and themselves more comfortable and aware of the day care process. I would like to see my books used as a teaching tool in day care programs, especially during 'circle time.'  One day care owner told me she wants to give one out every time a new student enrolls in her program! Teaching seminars, libraries, book stores, I would love to see my books everywhere!"

Q) What inspired you to write this book?  
 A) "I've always wanted to write a book. (who hasn't?) For me, since I've spent most of my life around children, I have five, a children's book just made sense. The idea of The Toddler Room came about because I have found that while there are a lot of books about school, and the first day of school,  I have never seen one that depicts each facet of a child's day. Because I have been around children so long, I feel my job is helping children learn and have fun, so when I came up with the coloring book idea I felt like it all went hand-in-hand."

Jodi opening her book for the first time!!
"It was just like I imagined..."
How excited is she?!  I love it!!

Q) Will there be anymore? 
A) "Yes!! I'm planning for at least 12 in this series. Some are already written, some are not. I have a wonderful illustrator that is currently working on the second book that is called Free Play! I'm hoping that book and coloring book will be out by Christmas!"

Q) Are you working on another series? 
A) "Yes, I am and I am just as excited about that!! It is a series based on two brothers, inspired by my precious Grandsons!"

Q) Who is your favorite author? 
A) "I have to say my favorite author has to be my brother, Scott Lobdell.  He is currently writing Superman for DC Comics.  Even though, I've never read his stuff....don't tell him that!"

Q) Where can someone purchase a copy of The Toddler Room? 
A) "I'm glad you asked that! My publishing company told me it is available all across the country, actually the world via the internet. You can imagine how exciting that is to hear!! ABBOTT PRESS is my publishing company and they are available there, Also, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Locally, people can purchase directly from me!"

Page from her book!
Another page
Q) How will people" know" about your book? 
 A)"Well, Abbott Press is currently writing a press release for me and sending it out to media outlets across the country....that's a biggie! As for myself, I have arranged for a few signings locally such as: day cares, a bakery, and a bounce house place in a mall. I am on Facebook as The Toddler Room so check that for dates, tips and pictures! My big event is a Book Launch!"

Q) What is a Book Launch? 
A) "Book Launch is basically a party FOR me given BY me!! It will be Friday, August 16th from 5pm-8pm at DuBois Farms in Highland, N.Y.  People can come to purchase my book or books, get them signed, and we can chat! I will have my family as helpers and there will be food, treats and give-a-ways! I have a lot of fun surprises planned!

The Nikola family is beyond excited for Miss Jodi as she starts this new venture.  We wish her the very best with The Toddler Room and her future publications!
You can be sure to see us at the launch party on August 16th, with pictures to follow, of course!

Click (here) for more information on the launch party!
Be sure to like The Toddler Room on FB (click here)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What.We.Wore.Thursday Edition + Head Over Heels {Polka Dots +Poppy's Girl}

What.We.Wore.Thursday Edition {Polka Dots}
I have been wanting to shoot Sophia in this outfit for weeks now.  Figured today would be the perfect day.  As you can see, not only is she cute, she is Tutu Stinkin' Cute!!

I just can't handle this cuteness!!
Splash of zebra and leopard
Such a girlie-girl here
Look at those curls!
Sophia's Outfit Details:
Shirt: Gift
Skirt: Boutique 803 
Sunglasses: Gift
                              Diaper Bag: Kate Spade (similar)
Head over Heels {Poppy's Girl}
This next section is dedicated to my Dad, who is just head over heels (such an understatement) for Sophia.  I've never seen my father "light-up" the way he does when she's around him.  As you can see, he always has his camera ready, willing to take her hand, and feed her anything ;)

Picture perfect*

Hand & Hand
Looking for blueberries
Got one!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Boxes for Mom, Baby, and our Furry Friends! {Monthly Subscription Boxes}

In one of my first posts, I wrote about my first Birchbox delivery (read it here).  I've received about five boxes since and if the last two weren't "fun" I was going to cancel and subscribe to a new monthly box.  

However, Birchbox has "tickled my fancy" ha!  so I'm staying with it, for now.

I decided to list a bunch of different sites like Birchbox that cater to moms, beauty, DIYers, babies, children, and our furry friends!  These sites offer monthly subscription services where you receive a box of sample products in the mail each month, all under $30.00

And here we go!
*Please be sure to read the terms and conditions before purchasing any box
in the event I have any information incorrect.

Birchbox is a great way to discover new grooming, beauty and lifestyle products.
-$10 a month.
 -Also has a box for men.

Ipsy for a glam bag of beauty products.
-$10 a month 
-Receive 4-5 top beauty products in a collectible bag. Both deluxe samples and full-sized products.
-There are stylist videos available online showing you how to use what’s in your bag.

Julep – a monthly nail polish subscription box.
-$19.99 a month 
-Receive a few nail polishes and other products or accessories.
-You are able to preview what will come in each box so you can skip a month if you don’t like the colors.

Whimsey Box for a monthly DIY project/craft.
-$15 a month.

Boxycharm for name-brand beauty essentials.
-$21 a month.

Sock Panda for awesome socks. (I find this one hilarious)!
-$11 per pair of socks a month.

Eco-Emi for chic eco friendly products.
-$15 a month.
-Receive 5 – 10 samples of natural, organic, green, eco-friendly, cruelty free, vegan, vegetarian or Fair Trade products.

Beauty Army choose up to 6 beauty samples.
-$12 a month 

28 Day Hug to give you a reason to smile when aunt "flow" visits.   (I LOVE THIS ONE..LOL)
-$3.99 a month for samples of tea, chocolates, aromatherapy 
-Add extras like vitamins, feminine products, PMS easing products.

Umba Box for modern and whimsical women’s handmade products.
-$25 a month 
 -Items may include jewelry, stationery, bath products, accessories, or home goods.


Citrus Lane for the best products for kids and parents (newborn to 5 years)
-$21 a month
-Receive 4-5 kid friendly items. They have been reviewed by real moms and tailored to your kids age.
-Items may include books, toys, household products, snacks, and more.

StorkStack for age and gender appropriate baby products.
-$27.99 a month 
-Receive 5 age-appropriate deluxe products for babies each month.

BabbaBox delivers fun, enriching, age appropriate activities for kids 3-7 right to your door once a month.
$6.99 - $29.99 

Bluum sends new moms a beautifully curated box containing sample and full size beauty, wellness and baby care products.
-Staring at $24.95
-Mommy-approved products
-Your baby's developmental stages influence the product selection you receive in the mail each month.

KiwiCrate - crates are designed around fun themes and filled with all of the materials and inspiration.
-For hands-on projects (arts & crafts, science activities, imaginative play, and more) for children ages  3 - 7.

Little Passports- (this one sounds so interesting) Sam and Sofia guide kids, ages 5 to 10 years old, on global adventures in these world-traveling subscription boxes. 
-Kids learn about new countries, cultures, histories, and languages.
-Everything they need for their journey is included in the kit, like maps, stickers, souvenirs, even a travel passport! 
-Prices start at $10.95/month


BarkBox to treat your Pup each month.
-$19-$29 a month depending on the size of your dog.
 -4 to 6 goodies in each box.
-10% of proceeds go towards animals in need.

Pawalla for toys, treats and more for your pup or kitty.
-$20-$30 a month depending on your dogs size.
-Receive 3-5 or 6-10 full-sized products depending on subscription choice.

If I could, I would subscribe to: 
Citrus Lane
28 Day Hug
Little Passports

Which boxes would you subscribe to?