Baby + Toddler – Five Things You Should Not Live Without

Nothing, literally nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of *insert your choice of expletive here* stuff that comes with a baby.  Now, instead of a semblance of order, I look around and see pairs of shoes my toddler has cast off after I carefully showed him (innumerable times) how to put them on and take them off (independence isn’t that important, why did I teach him to do that so soon? *crying emoji*), numerous bibs and burp cloths scattered around the house (now which ones are clean?), Paw Patrol pups, in various sizes, complete with the Paw Patroller, train tracks, cars and of course the dreaded Legos (primed and ready for stepping on in the middle of the night). As crazy as it is, with the exhaustion, panic and fury – these are the days!

So, how do I deal with it all?? Coffee, a glass of wine, copious amounts of chocolate? Yes, yes and yes. Here are a few other things that I’ve gathered, that I have found helpful:

The baskets:

I picked these up at Marshalls. They are a great catch-all for the toys scattered around your living room. Throw everything in the baskets, slide them under the coffee table and voila, you have a tidy room. The ones we have are awesome, but should I find myself in the market for more, I will make sure they have more ridged sides for easier sliding. We keep these in the living room and kids’ rooms. They also double as basketball hoops and make clean-up more fun.

Basket Options: 

Navy Lattice Basket / StorageWorks Bamboo Basket / Jute Basket / Sea Team Large Basket

The Sit-Me-Up:

These are relatively new on the market; my three year old didn’t have the pleasure. My friend turned me on to these after complaints that my arm was numb from holding the baby for so long. This product is so smartly designed.  It folds down and fits under the couch/coffee table/bed, so it takes up little to no space when stored.  I started using it when baby girl was two months old and she still enjoys it now at eight months old.  The attached toys are chewable, which is a huge plus.  While the Bumbo is helpful for babies with good head control, the Sit-Me-Up seems more comfortable and the baby will sit in it longer. Also, my babies have/had extremely chunky thighs, so they basically outgrew the Bumbo at four to five months old.

Sit-Me-Up

The Sound Machine:

Both of my kids fall asleep to the sound of the ocean each night.  This has been helpful for sleep training, traveling (sleeping in different beds) and drowning out sounds going on outside of their room (e.g. Mom and Dad’s Netflix marathons: “The IT Crowd”, “Gilmore Girls – A Year in the Life”, “House of Cards”, “Goliath”, or “Stranger Things”). We also have a portable one, so when we travel, they hear the familiar ocean sounds and pass out. Our toddler has recently become “a little scared” about 100 times a night.  We’ve started cranking up the sound which lessens the number of creaks and sounds he hears inside and outside his room.

Green Sound Machine / ShusherPortable Sound Machine

 

The Amazon Kindle:

For the love.  If you don’t have one of these, drop what you are doing and buy one immediately. (I suppose if you have an iPad dedicated to the kid(s), that will suffice and you may resume your activities.) This has been an absolute lifesaver for us in the car, restaurants, church (shhh), airports, the mall and basically anytime we need some peace.  I cannot recommend this product more.

Kindle 7″ / Kindle 8″

Add ons:

Toddler-proof case: Green / Pink / Red / Blue

Headphones that won’t blow your kid’s ears out: Blue / Pink / Gray / Green

Apps: Two words – “Sago Mini”.  Any apps made by these people are amazing.

 

The Bath Whale:

I don’t know why I had to learn about these the hard way (bumps and bruises at bath time) but hopefully I can spare some of you the tears.  Not only is this thing cute, but it is so easy to slip on the bath spout (and difficult for your toddler/baby to get off) and has left the kids with bruise free foreheads and chins. Get one. It’s worth it.

I will be updating this list as items become “necessary” in our house. I’d love to hear what works for you and what you can’t live without.

XOXO

Lauren

(Affiliate links included)

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Sneak Peak Into Our Wild Easter Weekend

Here’s a sneak peak into our lives this Easter weekend.  We enjoyed delicious food, amazing family time, soccer games, tons of outdoor play and countless Easter egg hunts.  I mean, how many times can a person hide eggs??  And whose bright idea was it to give toddlers easy access to several open containers of food coloring?!  Hello!  Hot mess express!  (Lifehack – Do this outside! Thank you moms with older kids for the tip.) There were lots of laughs, a busted lip, and some tears, but we loved spending every minute with the ones dearest to us.  Besides Easter baskets and cute clothes, let’s not forget the reason for the season, am I right?!  We would love to hear how you spent your Easter weekend and what your favorite memory is.  Comment below!

 

XOXO,

Jill & Lauren

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Surviving Dinner With Kids; Total Chaos

Remember when you were younger and spent weeks, or even MONTHS, planning for and anticipating your birthday? You obsessed over all the details – your outfit, your shoes, your hair and makeup. Who would be there to share it with you? Most importantly, what you would get?!? It’s funny how that all changes as you get older. Now that we are 30-somethings, birthdays seem a little less spectacular. This is probably due to the fact that we aren’t really focusing on ourselves that day. Birthdays are still fun and we get excited to have a little celebration, but now we have responsibilities and obligations. The carefree days of our 20’s are a thing of the past.

This weekend, we gathered with family and friends to celebrate John’s birthday (Lauren’s husband.) We had a great group of family and friends to dine with and many laughs were shared. John seemed to have a wonderful time; but, let’s face it, it was total chaos. Just imagine this scene: a restaurant with a cool, eclectic atmosphere (old school arcade upstairs) and gorgeous decor, add in a group of 20, throw four kids under 10 in the mix and a waitress who has never taken care of a group that big. Not to mention, the entire restaurant was severely understaffed, orders were misplaced, food was forgotten, drinks were spilled, and all of this was happening on a school night. This became an all-hands-on-deck situation. The kids were exhausted and Jill spent a significant amount of time in the restroom with her newly potty trained toddler!

Let’s be real, the madness actually started before we even left the house. There was a toddler who hated her outfit, another munchkin who didn’t want to get her hair fixed, and a frustrated husband who couldn’t find a parking spot. Just packing the diaper bag and making sure we had all of the “entertainment” for the kids was exhausting. Isn’t it funny how it always seems like the hardest part of going out is simply getting out the door? The night was a blur; a forever-long, baby feeding, toddler chasing, hunger induced, sunshiney blur. Did we even sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him? (Yes, we did; but both of the toddlers thought it was about them and didn’t like the idea of celebrating someone else’s birthday – until one realized that it was his dad’s birthday.) Yes, things are crazy right now. No, we don’t get to have meaningful conversations very often or even FINISH a conversation. However, as we’re living this crazy thing called mom-life, the reality is, we are simply trying to cherish every moment before this precious time is gone.

XOXO

Jill & Lauren

P.S. – During our 3 hour “dining experience”, we had PLENTY of time to take selfies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Side Hustle – Video Marketing Edition

The side hustle for women has been prevalent for decades. It started out as Tupperware, makeup, and cleaning product parties; which were in addition to a full/part time job or staying at home watching the kids  (major respect). Now, it has exploded to literally everything!!  When we run out of a product or need an outfit, we don’t have to make a special trip to the Mall or beauty store. We can just tell our girlfriend, and she will bring over exactly what we need. Everywhere we look on social media, we see our entrepreneurial sisters, moms, aunts and friends selling products that they believe in; but most importantly, they are putting a little cash in their pockets! I’m sure we all have friends selling buttery soft leggings, lipsticks that last forever, skin products that de-age in a matter of days, healing oils, jewelry, brightly colored kids’ clothes, unique books, hair-bows, etc. Part of this product explosion is due to Facebook video marketing. While we are so proud of our family and friends for their initiative (girl WERK), I think we can all admit that some are marketing better than others. Trust me, I know it takes guts to get up there in front of the camera and show off your goods.  However, we can always strive to do better.

After extensive viewing of Facebook marketing videos, I recently noticed one of my friends that uses Facebook videos to market her product really well. I asked her about the tips and tricks she uses in hopes to keep pass on this knowledge to some of you.  To those of you that aren’t making Facebook videos, you get a little behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a really excellent amateur marketing video.

Here is a look into my chat with one of my besties, Melissa Moss:

1.What’s your product?

2. How many videos have you done so far? What kind of response have you found when you market with Facebook videos?

3. What makes you qualified to tell us about Facebook video marketing?

4. Why did you decide to use Facebook videos as a marketing tool?

5. What tips can you give us about shooting a Facebook video?

6. What products do you use?

Products used/recommended:

Smartphone Holder

iPhone Camera Tripod

Umbrella Lights

Peel and Stick Wallpaper

7. What are you wearing?

8. Facebook recorded video vs. Live Feed?

Melissa: “Live is good for great interaction.  I go live on Facebook so the customers can interact and ask questions as I go.  The downside to live is that your customers actually have to be online when you are.  Otherwise, it is just another video for them to view at their convenience. I’ve found that evenings or lunch time is ideal to catch your customers online; 2:00 p.m. is not ideal when people are working.  Live is also great to help build excitement over an announcement or if you want to just hop on to give a quick message that is better conveyed via live video rather than text or an image.  I believe that if you provide great and strong content via live video, folks will watch them.  If you are stumbling and mumbling about and only providing content that could be provided in a more efficient manner then you will lose his/her attention for that video and future videos.  Some tips: Rehearse quickly in a mirror before going live.  Attempt to minimize distractions (think ninja Momma on BBC…ha ha) and be confident in what you are saying.  Don’t apologize, just move forward with your message or demo.”

I hope this was helpful to you all.  I know it was for me!

If you are interested in taking a look at Melissa’s Facebook marketing videos, you can find them at her Facebook group: Melissa Moss ∼ Jewelry Lady. Anyone who joins her Facebook group will receive a $5.00 coupon for any item of jewelry.  Just mention the code: Glitter Jungle. You can also find her products at melissamoss.mypremierdesigns.com.

Let us know of any tips/trick or products that have made your lives easier when using Facebook video marketing! Keep up the hustle ladies!

xoxo,

Lauren

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Momma Got Her Groove Back

Parenting is mandatory, uncompensated employment that can bring you extreme highs and severely frustrating lows.  Every day we wake up hoping for the best while preparing ourselves for the worst.  As we mentally check off the laundry list of chores, errands and obligations that each day brings, we constantly find ourselves making sacrifices to simply get.things.done.  In true “momager” fashion, guess what goes on the chopping block first?!  ANYTHING that pertains to Mom.  We constantly red-shirt our own needs to make sure everyone else is cared for.  This instinct is as basic and primal as the urge to feed and protect our baby cubs.

By always putting our own needs on the back burner, we eventually end up feeling neglected, unappreciated and run down.  We let our hair color appointments go weeks past due until we’re literally hiding our roots with eyeliner and dry shampoo.  (You all do that too, RIGHT?!  Or is that just me?)  Months go by and we can’t even remember the last time we painted our nails.  Sometimes we’re still wearing a hint of last summer’s color on our toes in January.  Ponytails become the norm and makeup becomes a luxury we rarely indulge in.

After the birth of my second daughter, I went into survival mode.  Two children is no joke.  I can still remember the total panic I felt when my husband’s paternity leave came to an end and I knew I was going to be left alone with these two tiny, demanding, loud, needy but insanely sweet humans.  I can remember the postpartum  emotions and how everything made me cry.  I can remember the fear of knowing that I was responsible for keeping them alive!  Who trusted me with this kind of responsibility anyways?!

Those first few weeks were a real struggle.  A struggle trying to help baby adjust to the world and a struggle trying to help big sister adjust to the new screaming, pooping machine that we so kindly referred to as “the baby.” (For the love of everything holy, don’t make this mistake.  Call the baby by his/her proper name.)  It took us a while to realize just.how.much this upset our oldest daughter.   Everyone who had always treated her like a princess and put her on a pedestal was now suddenly stopping by our house to see “the baby.”  Big sister was getting very little attention while “the baby” was constantly oohh’d and aahh’d over.   To be honest, this took a toll on our oldest.  The good news is, we soon found our groove and things started to settle down; but those first few weeks were rough.

The further we got into this parenting multiple children thing, and the more sleep I missed out on, I slowly started to take less care of myself.  I was doing the bare minimum to get by.  For a while I chalked it up to “it is what it is.”  But then I realized that my happiness was just as important as anyone else’s and that I need to make myself a priority.  I also realized that I’m a much better wife and mother when I’m fulfilled on the inside.

I’m normally not a New Year’s Resolutions kind of person.  I usually laugh at resolutions because, let’s face it, those things never last.  But this year, I decided to get on board and make one of my own.  I vowed to spend more time on myself!  More workouts, more healthy living, more girl’s nights, more fun and only positive energy.  I’m happy to report that it’s April and my resolution is still going strong!  Most importantly,  I’m much happier than I was before.  I’ve learned that it is crucial to take care of myself.  It wasn’t my husband or my kid’s fault that I was neglecting myself, it was my fault.  It was that mom guilt that rages inside of us.  But I’ve learned that I’m a much more productive and patient mother when I’m feeling accomplished on the inside.  Take time for yourself.  It’s not selfish, its imperative.  Find time to pamper yourself.  Get a mani/pedi.  Go to the salon.  Join a gym.  Spend time with your girlfriends.  Get a spray tan.  Plan a kid-free vacation.  Splurge and buy something you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself.  Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it; because you deserve it.

XOXO
Jill

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Spring Forward

What I’m Looking Forward to This Spring

 

Spring is here! Hallelujah – one step closer to summer! There is a lot to love about spring. In addition to getting more time outside in the evenings, which is crucial for all parents, we get to clean out our closets, houses, and lives.  Out with the old, in with the new!  Here are some things that I am excited to make room for in my life this spring:

 

1. Victoria Beckham for Target

 

 

I have been a huge fan of Target collaborations since the one with Missoni in 2011. (I am still wearing clothes and using items from that collection.)  Way to go, Target, for making these fashion houses accessible to the everyday woman!

On April 9th, the newest collaboration with Victoria Beckham is hitting Target stores and Target.com.  The Victoria Beckham collection price point is crazy affordable, generally pieces are under $40. There are items for Women, Girls, Toddlers and Babies.  The sizes range from Newborn to 3X.  There is literally something for all the girls in the family.  For those of you who have not had the pleasure of the Target collabs, these items sell out FAST.  So, if you have your heart set on some of these pieces, be at your local Target when the doors open or online when it is released. This collection is so well put together that I could go on and on, but here are my favorites:

 

Work to Dinner:
Women’s Fuchsia Twill Tank Top / Women’s Fuchsia Twill Flared Trouser

I see that there is some stretch to this fabric, but my advice would be to order a size up if you are between sizes and get it tailored! Unless you are a perfect sample size, getting your clothes tailored will change your life.  It is relatively inexpensive and will make you look like a hundred bucks! *steps off soap box*

 

Easter/Baby Shower/Lunch with Girlfriends Dress:
Women’s Blue Stripe Poplin Gathered Waist Dress

This dress is so easy but won’t make you look boxy.  It might feel a little out of your comfort zone, but I guarantee that it will step up your wardrobe! This would also make a gorg tunic.  (I’m hearing a collective sigh from half of my friends who I push to get out of their jeans, t-shirts, and leggings. Athleisure for life, but real clothes are good sometimes too.)

 

Mommy and Me Dress:
Women’s Black Collared Dress / Girls’ Black Collared Dress

I will be wearing this black dress like a uniform.  The rabbit detail at the collar inserts a little whimsy into a serious power dress. The girl’s version of this dress would be just too cute with red Mary Janes.

 

Mix and Match Outfit:
Women’s Blue and White Gingham Twill Peplum Blouse / Women’s Blue and White Gingham Twill Pants

This looks black in the picture but is actually a very dark navy.  These items are perfect for mixing and matching, as well as a fresh outfit for spring.  This top with a pair of capri length jeans with a deconstructed hem, would look adorable.  The pants would look cute with a bright top. I’m seeing it with a sleeveless crepe top with a long hem.

 

Girl’s Raincoat:
Girls’ Clear Flower Appliqué Raincoat

Super cute and still shows your adorable outfit underneath.

 

Girl’s Gingham Dress:
Girls’ Light Blue Gingham Twill Drop Waist Dress

This is so gorgeous! A pink or green cardi over this would make this a cute Easter outfit.

 

Toddler Ruffle Top and Shorts:
Toddler Girls’ Blush Ruffle Trim Tank Top and Short Set

This is 100% cotton which I can appreciate having a toddler.

 

Toddler Lilac Dress:
Toddler Girls’ Lilac Cap Sleeve Peasant Dress

This cute dress has a subtle dot print that makes it special.

 

Toddler and Baby Navy Top and Pants:
Toddler Baby

KILL me.  This is so cute.  This outfit is perfect for play dates, shopping or dinner at the Grandparents.  It is so easy and comfy but makes your little one look so pulled together.

 

Baby Rompers:
Baby Sage Green Swiss Dot Romper / Baby Lilac Pleated Romper / Baby Bee Print Pleated Romper

I’m a sucker for a romper. If nothing else, I want my baby to be comfy.  I love all of the colors here.

 

The booties to match:
Baby Bee Print Booties

 

Baby Printed Onesie:
Baby Blush Long Sleeve Tea Party Printed Bodysuit

This has such a fun tea party print.

 

Honorable mentions:

 

Erika Girardi in Hong Kong amirite?:
Calla Lily Top / Calla Lilly Pants

 

Black and White Midi Skirt:
Women’s Black and White Stripe Scallop Midi Skirt

I could never pull off this shape, but such an interesting take on the popular midi length skirt.

Photos courtesy of Target.

 

This has been fun, but let’s move to number 2…

 

2. Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cali’flower Foods

I can’t even begin to tell you the rave reviews I’ve heard about these cauliflower crusts.  They are a low carb, gluten free pizza crust made primarily from cauliflower. This brand has three different flavors: Original Italian, Sweet Red Pepper, and Plant-Based Italian. From what I hear, they taste just like a thin crust pizza. I am excited to receive my shipment and try them.

Photo courtesy of Jenna.

 

3. Marco Polo App

Marco Polo

I was introduced to this app by a college friend who lives in Maryland.  It has been a really fun way to keep in touch with friends out-of-town or in-town for that matter.  It is marketed as a ‘video walkie talkie’. You are able to watch a video and respond at that time or later when you are free. There is also a setting for group chats.  This has been helpful for my group of friends as we plan our next girls’ weekend (Montreal here we come!). Also, there are filters, drawing and voice changing technology included. Go download it!

Photo courtesy of Marco Polo Video Walkie Talkie.

 

4. Beauty and the Beast

Disney

The remake of this movie was awesome!  The new songs were great and didn’t take away from the original story line (like anything from Celine Dion would). I really liked the cast – Disney once again hit it out of the park.  Who else was missing Matthew Crawley? This is one to see (again)!

Photo courtesy of Disney.

 

5. Return of Veep

Veep

Veep returns April 16th on HBO.  If doctors say that Scrubs is a more accurate portrayal of hospital life than ER, Veep is the political satire equivalent. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had or overheard in Washington, that were perfectly replicated in this political comedy.  While my husband doesn’t get it; I am generally dying of laughter throughout this show. The last season of Veep got me through the last few weeks of my third trimester, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Photos courtesy of HBO.

 

Honorable mention:

Tax Reform – Come ON! Get this done. (Shout out to my old W&M colleagues!)

 

Comment and let us know what you are making room for in your life this spring!

xoxo,

Lauren

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Find Your Tribe, Love Them Fiercely

 

Welcome to the Jungle! We hope that this blog provides you with a place to escape reality. A place to laugh and cry. And, most importantly, a place to relate. A place where you can say, “these are my people.”

Several friends have asked me why I’m doing this. Why put yourself out there? Aren’t you nervous? Well, the answer is, I’m doing this because I want to be your safe haven. I want to be a beacon of love, laughter and positive energy. My sole purpose is to be an encourager and a validator. I want to be the person that says “Good Job, Momma! You’re doing awesome. That’s, right. YOU!”

Every day we face new obstacles. Some days are easier than others. Some days I feel like I’ve got all my ducks in a row and some days I feel like I have squirrels at a rave. There are times that I’m crazy enough to think *this is easy.* Then life slaps me right in the face and I realize that nothing about being a 30-something wife and mother is easy. Every day presents new challenges. But I’m here to remind you that you’re doing awesome. It’s ok if your kids ate cereal for dinner three days in a row. It’s ok that you grabbed that shirt out of the dirty laundry and febreezed it. It’s ok if you only half-listened to the ramblings of your delirious toddler at bedtime. And it’s ok if you selfishly chose a little gym time over family time today. No matter what, you’re doing ok.

Over the years, more times than I’d like to admit, I’ve found myself looking at other women and constantly measuring myself up to them. The desire to do this becomes even stronger when you become a wife and mother. Constantly wondering how ‘she’ does it all, yet you’re so tired by 8 p.m. that you literally collapse in the bed, once again, and decide that the pile of laundry can wait just one.more.day.

How does ‘she’ find time to work a full time job, exercise daily, be the PTO President, volunteer for non-profits, and be an adorable trophy wife all at the same time? In your mind, it just doesn’t seem fair. The grass always seems greener. Then you beat yourself up, repeatedly. But I’m here to share a little secret with you. ‘She’ looks at you with the same admiration. ‘She’ sees your strengths and focuses on her own weaknesses. ‘She’ isn’t perfect and neither are you. And that’s OK! Perfection is only in magazines and movies. Be real. Just keep doing you. Because that’s exactly what this world needs.

My biggest piece of advice for you (not that you ASKED for it) is to surround yourself with women who build you up and never tear you down. Real queens fix each other’s crowns. Be the energy that you want to attract. Your vibe attracts your tribe. And I have to tell you, I have the best ‘tribe’ this side of the Mississippi. I don’t know how I would survive without my girlfriends and our constant rant sessions. Every day I’m thankful for them and the role they play in my life. Find your tribe and support them fiercely. If you don’t have a tribe, we hope you will join ours here at Glitter Jungle. We hope that you hang around and enjoy this ride with us. Because, trust me, it’s a Glitter Jungle ‘round here, y’all.

XOXO
Jill

P.S. – For all of our male followers, I realize this post was literally dripping with estrogen but, stay tuned. We promise to keep you entertained, too! And, who knows, we might just teach you a thing or two about the ladies in your life.

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