Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Baby Food 101

Food everywhere and upside down spoon

I'm sure some of you roll your eyes when you hear someone say "I make my own baby food."  Well before I give you a quick tutorial on how to prepare baby food let me give you my reasons.

1. It actually taste like real food. Have you tried baby food? Some of them taste just like they should but most DO NOT.  Would you want to eat a chicken that didn't taste like chicken? Didn't think so.

2. No preservatives and totally fresh.  The shelf life on some of that food makes me wonder if my baby is eating a 4 month old banana.

3. Super quick and easy. When I tell you it takes me less than 30 minutes to make 2 weeks worth of food- I'm not kidding.

4. When my pediatrician asked me if I was making my own food she was very pleased!  She mentioned that she preferred home made vs store bought when it came to introducing meats.

Step 1: Wash and Peel your fruit or veggie! In some cases, as in apples, you will also have to core or remove seeds.

Step 2: Boil or Steam. I try to steam most however sweet potatoes or anything really dense definitely get boiled!

Step 3: Add in your fruit/veggie to food processor/blender. Slowly add in water. I usually add in 1/3 of the amount of water at a time I'd like to add just so I don't accidentally make it too runny.

Step 4: Freeze or Store.  If you plan on freezing I suggest using ice cube trays.  I currently have the baby blender system and it comes with a 6 slot freezing tray with a cover. I love the cover part. I have seen other retailers selling similar trays so don't worry you aren't forced to get the baby bullet one.  After your food is frozen, move cubes to labeled freezer bag and keep for a max of 3 months. If you decide to refrigerate remember that most food is only good for 2-3 days so don't refrigerate too much.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

On Electing Leaders

When you think of a leader, what do you think of? I can not express to you how important it is to be "in charge". Whether you are in charge of a baking club, PTA, sports team, business, city, state, nation- the job should NEVER be taken lightly.  A leader should know how to wear many hats. They should know that their behavior reflects many other people. They should know that what they choose to tolerate sets up a culture. They should also know that the people they surround themselves with will also set a tone and these people should be trustworthy. When you choose someone to lead you- you must have the utmost faith, trust, and confidence that this person is willing to perform, represent you, and make SMART decisions.

I constantly say "it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks of you, as long as you are happy and you know you are doing the RIGHT thing"- in the world of leadership that saying isn't 100% true. In order to be an effective leader, you have to make sure that you are always leading by example. If someone doesn't agree with a policy you have in place you must look within and see if you have ineffectively communicated and express the importance of said policy. You may find that you have made a mistake. As far as mistakes go, it is okay to make them- SOMETIMES.  As a leader, you have to be on top of it. Remember, you are on a stage and failing in front of your peers is ungraceful and hard to shake.  This is why it is extremely important to have a solid support group surrounding you. These people should be strong where the leader is weak, not afraid to take action and advise you against ill footing.  I'm not saying it isn't okay to take risks because taking risks are part of the job but don't take a risk without being prepared for repercussions.

At this point, I am sure you are wondering where this is all coming from. Well, the presidential election has me on my soap box.  We are America. We hold a very high place on this planet. We deserve a leader who is professional, smart, has a great team, and is capable of representing America in a good light.  Unfortunately, I can not say with confidence that we have a good leader among any of our presidential candidates.

America, we need a miracle.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Last Week's Delights

I'm sure most of you have noticed that all it takes is a sweet baby and food to make me consider something a treasure! 

Charbroiled Oysters. My best friend's birthday was Monday and we celebrated with an outdoor concert, shrimp quesadillas, oysters, Louisiana fare, and brownies. It was a great evening and a lovely reminder that we are getting older!

Every now and then I sneak away to have a treat on my lunch breaks.  I usually treat myself when I'm having a hectic day or am just feeling a bit down. Godiva is never disappointing.  Have you tried their soft serve? I almost died.

There is a Latin restaurant named Mizado Cocina in New Orleans and I've heard so much about it for a long, long time. It's very reasonably priced, great atmosphere, yummy margaritas and food! I wish I would've tried this place sooner. I was obsessed with their yummy table side guac and chorizo mac and cheese!

Sometimes you have to stop and look out your window. My neighborhood is surrounding with residential buildings so there isn't much nature. As I sit in my computer chair, I always like to look out the window to the tree. It's such a beautiful sight to me and a reminder that I need to enjoy the outdoors more.

What is not to love about this picture? Camila loves her pups. She always smiles and giggles at them. She reaches out for them when they pass her by and the dogs love her back. They try to steal licks if she is on the couch, they want to be on the couch too. So... I took the liberty of putting Camila on Luna's back and boy did Camila love it. Luna, not so much.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Awesome Drugstore Beauty Finds

Yes, the drugstore has some great beauty products! I will admit that at times it is like finding a needle in a haystack for that great, stand out product but, trust me these products are great to always have around.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Skin Therapy Oil While I was pregnant I knew that stretch marks were inevitable. So I read up on some products that should help reduce their appearance and help my skin out and this product kept popping up. I was going to go the Bio-Oil route but I figured for $10 I had nothing to lose. Well, I never did make it to trying out Bio-Oil. I love the way this product smells and it leaves my skin feeling so soft yet firm. I prefer to use it after my shower and I have even started using all over and not just on my belly.  As far as results go, I noticed that with time and daily use that my stretch marks seemed lighter and my skin seemed more firm than I anticipated after giving birth.

Freeman's Bare Foot Lotion in Plum Peppermint. Okay, so I'm obsessed with moisturized skin but who likes to walk around looking like they have dust on them? Not I. This is something I can not live with out. I work in the shoe business so people are constantly looking at my feet. I don't have the prettiest feet so making sure they are moisturized is key.  

Suave Almond Hand Lotion. I have an odd obsession with hands.  Your hands say a lot about you so I always aim to have clean, pretty hands. I actually have this in my purse. I love the scent and it keeps my hands lovely.

Essie Nail Polish in Find me an Oasis This. Love the light shade of robin's blue. It is fun with sophistication which is something I aim to always be yet always fail. lol Most of you already know how obsessed I am with Essie nail polish but this color is a must have for the Spring!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Last Week's Delights

This past week was rather dull. I was terribly sick on Wednesday and really didn't do much besides work. Meh. That is a semi normal life I suppose- either way there were things that delighted me none the less and here are some!

The day with my niece (not pictured) and nephew!  I love hanging out with these two. While my niece was in gymnastics I took my little fella to the Veteran's Memorial Park in Kenner.  He really enjoyed seeing the planes and it was such a beautiful day out.  We spent the rest of the day pigging out and watching movies.

Are you not obsessed with this little number? Seersucker. check. Big bow. check. Camila is ready for the Louisiana summer.

Back to the kitchen I went!! I have something awful to admit. I have not been cooking at all. Its been terrible. I'll cook breakfast and maybe fix a sandwich here or there. That's been it. I just haven't felt like planning meals nor fixing them.  So I encouraged myself the other night and made some pan fried tilapia- next time I will ease up on the paprika. It was good with some lemon! I will definitely fix it again.

I made 10 years with my job and what do you know I got a gift card to Tiffany's! I already purchased something and I'm so thrilled to get it in the mail.  Anyway, the thought of being at the same company for 10 years has my wheels turning. I'm so grateful!!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Last Week's Delights

Camila in full on Spring wear!  Nothing has excited me more for baby clothes than the warm weather! I went out a purchased 3 cute rompers that I'm sure I'll be sharing via Instagram.

The reason why we can't have nice things= Luna.  She tore up one of Camila's toys. I wasn't too amused until I noticed that the stuffing was stuck on her chin and Luna looked hilarious.

It's always nice to walk in to work to a funny note.  It's a silly note but it definitely made me smile. It also reminded me of how crazy I am.  BTW, I call everyone a hamster so of course I get called on back.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Last Week's Delights

The title is a bit misleading- let's just say these are the past month's delights. I always leave this blog and realize that I miss it and decide that THIS time will be the last time I go on hiatus... let's see how long my stint on her lasts.

A messy feast that I will never forget. My sisters, mother and I had a girl's night. It was a blast. We ate at Fogo de Chao and had the honor of seeing Il Volo in concert. The restaurant is a Brazilian steakhouse so I ate so much delicious meat. What is most exciting was that I have never tried caipirihna and I jumped at the opportunity to give it a whirl. I loved this place and will definitely give it another go with my husband.

Camila's Easter dress details.  Camila was gifted a beautiful dress by my aunt Gloria. The dress itself wasn't completely made by hand but the details were and I thought they were so beautiful.

China Lights at City Park. I thought this was spectacular. It was much prettier and detailed than I thought it would be. It was nice to take a stroll through the botanical gardens at night and see City Park like never before.

She's getting soooo big! I have started her on solids and let's just say she takes after me and eats messily. Her favorites so far are sweet potatoes and bananas.

Details at the Saenger Theatre. It had been years since I've visited the Saenger and I forgot how beautiful the inside is.  This picture does it no justice but its the only one I could take while the lights were still on.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Influenter's Jingle VoxBox

Hello there! I wanted to share with you guys my Influenster Jingle Voxbox. If you aren't familiar with Influenster- get familiar! I love participating in these voxbox campaigns and best of all, it is free. All you have to do is give your opinion! If you'd like to join click here or click here to learn more about Influenster and what it's all about.

Excuse the blurriness and enjoy the view

So this time I got some awesome beauty goodies
  • Pure Ice Nail Polish in Shore Bet
  • Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer
  • NYC Color 24hr City Proof Eyeliner
  • Kiss Strip Lash Adhesive
  • Kiss True Volume Lashes in Chic

Other goodies that I loved just as much were:
  • Hallmark Ittybittys Olaf
  • Biscoff Cookies
  • Not picture: Ore Ida Tator Tot Coupon for a free bag
Product Highlights

Some of you already know that I love Cetaphil so there was no testing this out. I already knew I loved it. It is the only moisturizer I use so this will serve as a good travel companion.

This was the first product I tested out. I was already familiar with Biscoff because my mother is a fan but it reintroduced me and my coffee loving husband is obsessed now. It looks like this will now be a staple in our pantry.

NYC Color 24hr City Proof Liner... I am impressed!! I really truly didn't think it would last very long. Especially because I'm a die hard liquid and gel liner kind of girl. My eyeliner didn't move all day long and I was having a busy day at work so you can only imagine how relieved I felt when I saw that my eye make up was still intact.

Camila was very pleased with her IttyBitty Olaf. These are cute for kiddies to collect. You guys should see the Star Wars IttyBittys- so cute!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Joie De Vivre

First piece of King Cake. It was absolutely delicious. There is a certain bakery  that is on the top of my list for King Cake but Antoine's in Metairie really proved themselves with this cream cheese filled cake! I loved it.

Camila's eye lashes. I simply love looking at her and I've grown quite fond of her long, wispy lashes. 

Baby hands. I love everything about Camila but I love when she is napping her little hands always find mine. Its the cutest thing ever. She has been loving holding hands since birth.

Our New Years Eve drink of choice was delicious. We mixed champagne, Simply Mixed Berry juice, and dropped in a few blueberries. It was a a nice, refreshing drink! Whip it up at your next mixer.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Product Review: Jamberry

I'm sure most of you have already heard about Jamberry. It's been all over my Facebook feed and quite frankly I wasn't on the top of my list of beauty products to try but it is great how opinions change.  My friend Stephanie is an Independent Consultant for Jamberry and she offered to send me some samples to try it out and I'm so happy she did.

Stephanie recommended that I do the 7 day challenge and of course I was up for it because I wanted to see if it  would be like the Sally Hansen Salon Effects which ended up being a bit disappointing. Well, wrong I was. Jamberry lasted 7 days and they didn't even start to chip off! The trick to Jamberry is the heat application which ensures that those wraps aren't going anywhere!

What I really love is how easy it is to apply and take off. You don't have to worry about waiting around for your polish to dry or pray that you don't get something caught on your freshly painted nails.  I also love how they offer a variety of wraps in prints, solids, and basic design so everyone will find something they like.

Basic Info:
  • A sheet comes with 18 wraps and cost $15.
  • Product is advertised to last up to 2 weeks on fingers and 4 weeks on toes.
  • Does not require top coat
  • Available to order online

Application & Removal

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Birthing Story

Our super blurry 1st family photo

Before you scoff and say "Why would I ever want to read about what happened when you delivered your baby?", let me explain.  When I was pregnant I was super nervous about the actual labor. Typical thought process of mine was: What is it going to feel like? Was I going to bleed to death? Death... is my child going to be okay??? OMG... my water breaking!!! Everyone told me about those awful contractions... TEARING!!!!

Yeah, so you can imagine how relieving it was for me to read other people's birthing stories. I got a sense of "I can do it" and "Everything will be fine" and for me that was priceless. So I'm sharing my birthing experience for those nervous mothers-to-be and for my sweet Camila to read one day.

WARNING: Super Long

September 23, 2015: I had an exam 2 days prior and I was 2cm dilated and baby is at -1 station. I was warned of minor bleeding after exam but it should go away. Nothing major... except that two days later the bleeding got heavier. I called my OB's office and they suggested I go to labor and delivery to get checked out.  I went... another exam was done. I was put on monitors and apparently I was contracting a good bit and was told that the process has begun and I should have a baby any day now. Went home. I felt like Superwoman because I literally was not feeling any of these contractions people were scaring me about. The only thing that I began feeling was tailbone pain!

September 25, 2015: Still not feeling contractions and aside from the major discomfort I felt in my tailbone I was doing okay. I went to work and worked a short shift. I left early on account of the tail bone and swelling. I felt super, super drained. I laid in bed all evening through Sunday. The contractions started to be felt with noticeable pain but again nothing I thought was terrible.

September 28, 2015: This was my first scheduled day of maternity leave and I was so ready to have her.  I wanted to meet her so badly and my tailbone needed relief.  Alas, starting feeling more consistent contractions but not enough for me to think labor was beginning. We literally went to Chuck E Cheese that night with my sister's family and enjoyed the evening. As we went to bed that night, I thought to myself "I think I'm having this baby soon." I just felt different.

September 29th
3am: I wake up because contractions are starting to get consistent and sleep is impossible. I stayed up on my phone timing contractions. At about 4:30am a definite pattern begins to occur. I get up out of bed and use the restroom. I had a terrible bowel movement. It begins to hit me that I'm in labor. Again contractions are hitting me but the pain isn't crazy. I can walk, I'm not out of breath, no yelling and they are comparable to long menstrual cramps.

5am: Shane wakes up and I let him know that we will be meeting our baby girl today and he won't be going to work. He gets up and gets his things ready. I lay in bed continuing to time contractions with my phone because I'm crazy.

6am: At this point, the contractions are 5 minutes apart and it had been at least an hour.  I called labor and delivery, get transferred and no answer. :(  I wasn't in excruciating pain and I had some things to do like shower and make sure I was really all set for the hospital so I did that.

7am: I got through with all of my chores and tried the hospital again. I got through and they advised I go in. We pack the car up and do a once over to make sure we are all set. My contractions feel like menstrual cramps still. I'm in great spirits and so anxious. We ran into some traffic so we made it there in about 40 minutes.

8:15: I'm once again in an examination room and being monitored for 20 minutes. I'm 3cm dilated and baby is at -2 station. I am officially in labor. Still not in any major pain. I get wheeled off and begin the waiting game.

9a-1pm: I literally just waited around. Walked around for about 5 minutes and contracted away. My OB decided to manually break my water. It just feels like a gush of warm pee. lol At this point, my doctor alerted me that meconium was in my water so NICU staff would be on hand for delivery just in case she swallowed anything. I was dilated to about 6 cm at this point. Mind you I was also told that she could see baby's hairy head. I was super excited about this. Yet nervous because I was also constantly being told that the baby was going to be very big.

4pm: Well I dilated to about a 7.5 at this point but I wasn't progressing much. I was told that Pitocin would probably be administered if I wasn't dilating much more. The contractions were happening but it wasn't anything I couldn't bear. As soon as I was told that Pitocin would be administered I got nervous and decided to go for an epidural. It was super easy and NOT painful to get this done. My reaction wasn't too bad... just got the chills a good bit. My teeth were chattering at one point. Also, you have to watch positioning cause I did feel contractions with Pitocin on the right side of my body and they were coming hard and fast... but oddly enough not enough to make me yell in pain. In fact, I am kind of disappointed I took the epidural. I think I could've handled it.

5-730pm: Well guess who isn't dilating still? ME! I was at a hard 8 for 3 hours. The kept upping the Pitocin. I thought for sure that by the way my labor started I would've had the baby by 6pm but I was wrong.

about 8pm: Its close to show time. My doctor feels that even though I'm not at a 10 that we were close enough at 9cm to do this. She felt there was enough space and with baby possibly swallowing meconium we didn't want to wait much longer. So... of course pushing regularly didn't work for me. I had to push while playing tug of war with poor Richard, the med student. Finally, that wasn't enough. I pushed for about 35 minutes before they got the bar out. I played tug of war with that awesome bar and pushed her out!

8:31: Camila Ann was born. It was the happiest and most frightening moment of my life. I see her immediately being passed to the NICU nurse and I don't hear a cry. I don't hear a cry for MINUTES! A team of 4 nurses are all around her trying to get her lungs cleared because she had in fact swallowed meconium. Shane goes over to see what's going on... he is asked to move back. I am crying my eyes out cause the worry wart in me is already thinking the worst and she looked a tinge blue from what I could see. Finally all is well and they roll her over to see me for about 1 minute and take her down to the NICU. Takes me a moment to settle down. My heart was broken cause I wasn't able to carry her or really get a good look at her. Meanwhile that is all happening, I was being sewn up cause I had a 2 degree tear and I also managed to remember to ask to see the placenta. I'm a weirdo. My doctor was very kind and reassured me that Camila was okay and that it was all procedural for her to go to NICU and that she was fine. It was really what I needed to hear. I was a mess. Oh and let me mention another nurse walked by while she was being worked on and called her a big potato. Lol She was a nice sized girl at 20 inches and 8.2lbs.

11pm: The nurses are hoping that the epidural has worn off. I go to the restroom and take a few steps. Not feeling 100% ready to roll. I'm feeling tired and I'm anxious to go down to the NICU. They get me out of delivery and into my new room. I go in to mommy and baby room. I'm being examined and they set me up with a breast pump. I ask to get in touch with NICU. They were supposed to call my room but the genius who was in my room before turned the ringer off. So we waited like 45 minutes before we all realized what was happening. My nurse told me to rest for a while to see the baby but I'm a stubborn Latina and request to go down to see Camila as soon as I was done pumping and eating my snack.

1am: I finally see Camila. It was hard to see her hooked up to monitors and an IV but I fell so in love so hard. I couldn't hold her fast enough.
She was in the NICU for about 3 days getting antibiotics and just observation. She was fine. The hospital was being very thorough and I was so grateful with how wonderful everything was handled with her. Looking back I wish I would've told family and friends to back off a little bit so that I could spend more time with her. I wasted precious breast feeding time with her which led to us now using mostly formula.

Angry Gnome