My Favorite Baby Products (6-8 Months)

8 months! With summer ending and back to school, 8 months snook up reaaaaal quick! The last two months were full of so many firsts, it’s hard to keep track some days.

Luckily, we’ve done a decent job at rotating her toys to always keep things a little fresh. Although I did just order her a few new things that I have a feeling will be making my next guide of favorite things, so stay tuned! As always, most of these items are things we use daily and have made all the difference for us!

Our Favorites

  • Honeybear Cups– Recommended by pretty much any SLP or OT you may come across, these Honey Bear Cups aid in transition from bottle and straw drinking. We transitioned from the sippy cup to this at around 7 months and what a difference! Technically, the straw helps in developing tongue, cheek and lip muscles that will continue to help in future drinking and eating skills! This pack was great because it came with 3 cups and multiple straws!
  • High Chair-You probably already know how obsessed I am with this high chair alternative. We already have enough clunky baby stuff all over the house. The last thing I wanted was a bulky high chair. We also often eat at our kitchen counter or are usually standing around it, so for us this was a no brainer! It’s so easy to put together and clean up. We even took it with us to our house in North Carolina!
  • Play Mat– As soon as Sprinkle became mobile, it was time to get her a softer surface for our tiled floors. I can’t tell you how many times she’s bumped her head, oops. I love that you can pick and choose how many tiles you use and it comes with a great plastic carrying case. We also took this mat with us to North Carolina, which is where Sprinkle started crawling!
  • Play Pen– I think it was a matter of 2 days after we got home that we ordered a play pen for this baby on the loose. It’s probably the one item I hate the absolute most because it now dominates our living room, but such is this season of life, huh?!
  • Suction Toy Holder– This was a Kinactive Kid recommendation and I can’t say enough great things about it. This toy holder suctions to *some* surfaces. Unfortunately, not our wood dining room table, but that’s ok because she loves playing with the toy holder strings too!
  • Herobility Bottles– When I was pregnant, I ordered the Babylist bottle kit that provides 4 different bottles for baby to try! I used to be a die hard fan of the nano bottles. They even made a prior list, but with all the issues we’ve had with starting to do bottle feeds, the nano wasn’t cutting it. I brought out this bottle and what a difference! They’re not super easy to find in person, but I was able to order a few from their website. I also think they’re so cute!
  • Lev Baby PJ’s-I’ve been obsessed with Lev Baby for quite some time now! I love her original prints, but the fabric is just BEYOND! Because they use bamboo for the fabric, it makes everything so soft and so breathable, which is amazing for Miami weather. They actually just released some new Halloween prints and I already ordered Sprinkle a little PJ! Added bonus, use my code LIVELOVEFINDS15 for a discount!
  • Zoe Travel Stroller While I love my Nuna stroller and still use daily, it takes up SO much room in our trunk. Since we were driving to North Carolina, we needed something much smaller and compact. The Zoe Travel stroller came highly recommended by some mama friends I super trust! They were right! It is SO light, you can open and close it up with one hand and folds up teeny tiny! For the price point, you can’t beat!
  • Babytrend Jogger– To be fair, I haven’t spent too much time with this stroller, BUT if you’re a casual “runner” like me, for $98, this is a great jogger stroller! Very basic, but again, I’m a casual “runner” and this won’t be our all the time stroller! Thats my Nuna!

Sprinkle Update

Before updating this, I took a look at my last update. I loved reading that we were starting to give her actual pieces of food. Now we can’t get Sprinkle away from the food! We recently took her out of state on her first road trip and after 14 hours in a car, we got to North Carolina and she started crawling! Little babe is ALL over the place and has her hands in everything! Seeing her little personality coming through more and more everyday is such a treat!

Screen Time Behavior Chart

Such a hot topic right?! Screen time can be a source of frustration, relief, entertainment, anxiety, and the list goes on. I know for us, the impacts of Covid really changed the way we managed screen time in our home.

Up until before Covid, Thomas didn’t have a tablet, computer, laptop, etc. His source of screen time at our house was watching TV. Thomas is also never allowed access to a phone or screen while having dinner at home or out, thankfully this one hasn’t changed!

Once Covid hit, the amount of time we spent at home drastically changed and so did our sources of entertainment. Thomas got his first laptop, now has a desk with a computer, and the biggest change, he could now play Minecraft on Joel’s X-Box. YAY…not LOL. Over the last year and a half we’ve tried different ways of handling screen time such as allowing free access, timed access, taking away screen time for problem behaviors, giving extra time for the behaviors we want to see more of, etc. But lately it felt like we were taking away more time than giving. For those interested, Thomas was losing screen time for talking back.

We needed to revamp things, lucky (or maybe unlucky haha) Thomas’s stepmom (ME) is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. This definitely is not his first rodeo with a behavior chart. So off to work I went. I knew what we needed was to create a system in which Thomas was completing things independently, without us nagging (which led to the talking back) and earning the things he wanted through a little hard work. In turn, he gets lots of behavior specific verbal praise, and everyone is a little happier!

This past weekend we introduced the new chart to Thomas and I can’t begin to say what a success it was, there were a few kinks, but let’s go over below!

In short, the chart shows a “menu of tasks” that once Thomas completes a task he earns a designated amount of screen time for that task. Thomas has two choices, save up the screen time to use all at one time, or break up his time throughout the day.

I love that this addresses a few different things. First and foremost, motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic in that he’s working for these video games. I always point out to parents of clients, we ALL work for things that motivate us. You wouldn’t go to work if you were only getting paid $2 a week, but say you’re getting paid $5k a week, you may be a bit more motivated to go, right?! This leads to intrinsic because Thomas has always had a deep desire to please, the look on his face when he had completed his tasks around, especially some new ones, he was so excited to tell us and help! He was also excited because he saw how happy we were! The goal of ALL behavior charts should be that the child is completing desired tasks and therefore creating POSITIVE experiences while getting access to the desired outcome therefore increasing the likelihood that this behavior will happen again in the future and later on with no chart needed! Second, this chart helps with math and time management. All weekend I could see Thomas calculating what tasks he could do to earn the time and “budgeting” that time.

I shared this chart on my Instagram stories over the weekend and to say it was HOT is an understatement! I had so many requests for it so today, I’m sharing it with you!

How to use this chart:

  1. Edit list to your needs, you can choose to include child in this process by allowing them to suggest tasks they can do around the house. In the downloadable file, everything you should edit is in red!
  2. Review with the chart with your child, numerous times, daily, so everyone is on the same page!
  3. I like to laminate so you can write on daily with a dry erase marker!
  4. Keep track of the time! Laminating the chart and using a dry erase marker to cross of tasks and write down times is SUPER helpful! This was the kink we experienced day 1. Thank goodness Thomas never lies (almost to a fault) and keeps EXCELLENT track of time!
  5. Hang list in an eye level, easy place to see for everyone!

Behavior Chart Download

Be sure to download ASAP as it won’t be a freebie for too long!

Time is a Thief

Time is a thief. This line. This line is one I’ve thought of maybe every single day of this infant phase we’re in. Next week, we’ll have a 6 month old and it’s been a thought that’s been hard to stomach!

What’s hard is how quickly everything changes! Sure, watching Thomas grow up gave me a bit of insight to my his thief we call time, but as they grow older, the changes aren’t so quick. There are days I literally tell myself, don’t rush her to the next milestone, these days won’t be here forever. But are there days that feel extra long and extra hard that we want nothing more than to skip over a leap or two. Absolutely. I’ll say it loud and maybe not so proud, FU time.

It still feels like yesterday we were bringing our little Sprinkle home in her sushi onesie. What I also think about lately is that my original plan was to go back to work after just under 6 months. Almost a month after giving birth I had a talk with Joel and knew there was no way I could go back to work and give up being with Annabelle everyday. I miss working, I miss the day to day interaction with adults, and working with my kiddos, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I am to have this time and opportunity to be with her and get to see every moment. It’s also why I photograph and post almost everything. I don’t want to miss a thing! But pretty sure that transition won’t be any easier six months from now either.

I’ve thought about this concept of time in relation to childhood because this isn’t to say I haven’t felt the same way about Thomas growing up. But I missed Thomas as an infant. Infancy feels like its on hyperdrive compared to toddler years! There’s so many milestones in the first year, so many stepping stones to the bigger things later one. I always say, no stage is harder than another, they’re all so different with so many pros and cons to each. Although I am super partial to ages 3-4!

But here we are, almost 6 months later, out of the newborn phase and with a full on delicious baby. Almost 6 months and Annabelle sits by herself, is starting to eat food (already a foodie), sleeps through the night, looks for Cogs when you ask her, is not afraid to use her voice when needed and puts on the biggest smile when she sees her Papa and big brother!

To think that in this same amount of time I’ll have a one year old is daunting, also makes my eyes water every damn time. Stay tuned, soon next week I’ll be sharing my favorite products 4-6 months and before you know it we’ll be planning Sprinkle’s first birthday!

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2021

Does anyone else feel like father’s day is just kind of sneaking up on us this year?! Well that’s where I am! And as simple as Joel is, tech stuff right? Wrong. Do you know how hard it is to buy “tech stuff” for the guy that knows it ALL about tech. Yea, NOPE. Most of the time he picks out his gifts, sends me the link and I pick up the tab! Sometimes I get a few surprises in there! I’ve made this list based on a lot of things Joel already has and loves!

  • Sweatpants/Joggers-If you’ve seen my stories, you know that 1 Joel LOVES his sweatpants and 2 we debate on whether they’re sweatpants or joggers. Apparently they’re sweatpants, but I still call them joggers. Joel lives in these and perfect for working from home or lounging on the weekends!
  • Wine Tasting– Recently I was gifted by my great friend Chrissye, this at home wine tasting kit! It is packaged beautifully, the bottles are so gorgeous and you can choose from different types of flights! I love that it came with descriptions and pairing suggestions for each wine! Great gift for any wine lover!
  • JBL Speaker– I’m a sucker for anything personalized and I loved the idea of a quality speaker customized with a favorite picture! Super thoughtful idea!
  • Yeti Cooler– We have gotten so much use out of this yeti cooler. It keeps things ice cold for days, no lie, we left ice in there once and 2 days later, we still had ice! It’s light weight and perfect for a day out!
  • Flaviar-Joel has loved using Flaviar and I’ve enjoyed it too! We’ve gotten to try some great things and this makes a great gift for any whiskey lover!
  • Sony Noise Cancelling Ear Buds-I’ve posted about these before because this was one tech gift I was able to surprise Joel with that he surprisingly really liked!
  • Cocktail Smoker– I’m planning to surprise Joel with this, hopefully he doesn’t read this! We LOVE smoked cocktails, but truthfully we dont make cocktails at home. I’m hoping this will give us the kick star we need and you can even personalize it!
  • Truff Hot Sauce– You already know I’m obsessed with Truff and their sauces! I love that they make this gift set!
  • Beer Chiller– Casa Viera always has some great gift ideas and this one is so cute! Perfect for the dad who loves his beers and also comes with a can opener!

I hope this list helps you find something for the father’s in your life!

My Favorite Baby Products (2-4 Months)

Dutifully reporting that the endless research on baby products doesn’t stop after baby is born. BUT I am hoping to make the process a little easier for you by sharing our favorite products every few months! Birth-2 months was all about basics and necessities. But Sprinkle is changing, growing and doing something new everyday, Mama has to keep her entertained! The last two months have been all about tummy time and play and our favorite products reflect that!

Our Favorites

  • Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags– I can’t tell you what a lifesaver these have been. Are they great for the environment, no. Am I thrilled about that, no. But at 3 AM when I’m done pumping, unfortunatley, that is the last thing on my mind. I’ve already gone through 3 boxes of these!
  • Ergo Baby Omni 360 Carrier-When Annabelle was smaller, I loved the solly carrier, especially to be at home, but out and about the ergo carrier is AMAZING! Her weight is distributed perfectly and she never feels like too heavy of a load, at least not yet!
  • Tubby Todd All Over Ointment– We’re huge fans of Tubby Todd products! I was a little skeptical of this all over ointment, but I tried it on myself first after I got a small burn. The burn was completely healed in almost 2 days! I was SHOCKED! I’ve used this for little scratches Annabelle has given herself and it has even worked on the baby acne she occasionally gets! With this link, you’ll get 10% off your order!
  • Sloth Soft Rattle– I bought this toy as part of Annabelle’s Easter basket, but she has absolutely loved it! She’s a big fan on chewing on soft things so she’ll hold onto the teething side while mouthing the sloth, hah! But this toy comes with us everywhere we go becaues it’s definitely one of her favorites and one she’ll spend a little more time with!
  • Tummy Time Water Mat-It is no surprise that Annabelle is not the biggest fan of tummy time. We’ve tried so many different things and this water mat has definitely helped! She loves looking at all the different under sea images! If you don’t follow Kinactive_Kids on IG, you need to immediately! This is also a toy she recommends for tummy time!
  • Boppy Pillow-I never used this as a breastfeeding pillow, but instead it is what helped Annabelle the most with tummy time. Little by little we’ve been able to fade it out, but on days that she’s having a little more trouble we still use it! Kinactive_Kids also had a great tip to use this for early sitting by placing it in front of baby as baby sits against you! Annabelle loves this!
  • Nano Bottles– In my first favorite product post, I raved about the nano bottles, Nano actually reached out to gift us this bottle and she immediately took to it! It’s been our favorite bottle to use! I’ve also found that it’s the most accurate at measuring milk. I often use this to measure milk when I’m filling my storage bags at 3 am!
  • Large Exercise Ball– Another tummy time hack brought to you by Kinactive_Kids! She gives a great tutorial on how to safely and effectively use an exercise ball for a super engaging and productive tummy time! This was a game changer for us!
  • Baby Einstein Musical Toy– I swear this toy is crack for babies. One of my awesome mama friends, here’s looking at you Meredith, recommended this and could never thank her enough! This has been helpful during tummy time, while out and about, or during Annabelle’s fussier moments!
  • Otteroo– If you’ve seen my stories, Annabelle LOVES this thing. I will admit, the first few uses are pretty scary and it doesn’t look very comfy, but she loves floating around in the tub! She also lets off so much energy using this! They offer two different sizes, so just make sure you’re buying the correct one for your babe!

Sprinkle Update

Last week we had our four month check up with the pediatrician and she is continuing to do great! We got the OK to start solids and we immediately went home to give that a shot! So far we’ve introduced rice cereal, old fashioned oats, whole grain oatmeal cereal, and pears. Tomorrow we’ll be introducing squash! Sprinkle is sleeping through the night, but if you checked out yesterday’s stories, our naps have been MEH. But Mama is doing better at letting that go and making the best of up time!

Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2021

Last week I put up some fun polls on my Instagram story about some shopping preferences and habits you guys have. Based on your results I was able to put together this year’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide. I’ve come up with two lists for you, splurge items ($50 and up) and steal items ($50 and under) and I tried to feature as many small shops as I could, as per your requests!

I’m so excited for Mother’s Day this year since this is my first official Mother’s Day. Last year, we were in the thick of the pandemic, but it was so special because it’s the day we told our families I was pregnant! So much has changed and so looking forward to spending the day with Annabelle and our family!

Splurge Items

Ginette Photo Pendant

If you found this Gift Guide through my IG post, then you’ll see the necklace featured! While this was part of my push present, it would still make a beautiful Mother’s Day present! I actually started my mom’s collection a few years ago and added Annabelle to it for her this year! Ginette does not sell these on their website, but you can call the store in NYC and ask for Sam! Although this order probably won’t arrive before Mother’s Day, it is well worth the wait! On a side note, I have this ring and it is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry!

The Standard Spa Day

If your a Miami local, I can’t recommend a day at the Standard Spa enough! Book your Mama a beautiful massage and then she can take advantage of all the amenities at the hotel! Stay for lunch at the Lido and take in the beautiful view

Amazing Graze

If you’ll be enjoying brunch at home with loved ones, a beautiful grazing board is a gift everyone will enjoy! Natalie from Amazing Graze put together a beautiful grazing board in the shape of the letter A for Annabelle’s baby shower and it was beautiful AND delicious!

Dr. Schell

I can’t recommend Dr. Schell’s services enough! Her one of a kind, post-partum concierge services should be mandatory for every new mom! Really ANY mom! She does offer gifting options for her services, this makes a PERFECT mother’s day present for a mama to be!

Sam’s Blooms

If you are local to Miami, I highly suggest checking out Sam’s Blooms! I have two dried arrangements from Sam at Sam’s Blooms and they’re beautiful! I love that they are literally NO maintenance. Sam also makes fresh arrangements that are just as stunning. Bonus, her mom makes the most delicious macarons!

Vana Chupp Studio

Formerly known as Le Papier Studio, if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I gifted my mom a custom silhouette print a few years ago. While this is another gift that won’t make it in time for Mother’s Day, it is definitely another one worth the wait! Vana offers much more than prints, but also silhouette pendants, jewelry, and gift cards!

E & E Project

If you pay close attention to some of my stories, you may be able to spot my E & E Project bracelet my mom gifted me for Christmas this year! I have an A for Annabelle and T for Thomas. I love how dainty and personal the pieces from E & E are!

Canvas and Confetti

Recently at my best friends wedding, she had Talia from Canvas and Confetti doing water color portraits of all the guests as a party favor! It was such a beautiful treat to go home with! While Talia does a lot of wedding work, her website does show other portrait work and does offer gift certificates for her work!

Sydney Evan Mama Necklace

Part two of my push present was my custom made “mama” necklace, but the inspiration came from this Sydney Evan piece! This makes a great mother’s day present with the perfect amount of sparkle!

Mackenzie Child’s Potted Orchid

You should know by now that I’m always going to include something from Mackenzie Child’s on my gift guides because it’s just my favorite! While it is an artificial flower, I love that there is hints of their famous pattern on the orchid! They also offer a variety of vases that can be gifted with beautiful fresh flowers!

Steal Items

Taudrey Mom Necklace

If you’re from Miami, chances are you’re familiar with Taudrey! I love the dantiness of items, but also the fact that they have so many personalization options. When in doubt, I always find something to gift! While this necklace is a little above $50 ($54), it’s a beautiful option and if not they have plenty of other items to choose from for all budgets!

CasaViera Dried Floral Arrangement

Another local Miami small shop! I am obsessed with all their home decor items lately. They recently released these wooden vases with a small dried floral arrangement and the cutest little wooden sign! They also have a few other mother’s day specific items! Also, the customer service is amazing!

Hotel Collection Candles

I am obsessed with the Hotel Collection candles, especially the My Way Scent inspired by the 1 Hotel in Miami! They have different options such as candles, reed diffusers, room sprays, even diffuses. With my code LLF20 you’ll get 20% your order!

Seasons and Seeds Art

I can’t remember how I stumbled upon Catie’s IG page, but I’m so happy I did. Her work and pieces are delicate, minimalist, yet personal and meaningful! I love that she offers digital files of her art as well!

Little Wooden Box “You’re Not Alone” Box

You already know how I feel about Dr. Schell’s services, but she has teamed up with Little Wooden Box to offer a beautiful postpartum box, perfect for any new mama! I love that these boxes can be used for so many different things afterwards and they’re beautiful!

Bow on a Box “Mother’s Day” Box

I’m a big fan of gift boxes! It’s such a great way to give meaningful gifts with more than just one item! Bows on a Box is a new small shop located in Miami, specializing in carefully curated gift boxes! They’ve put together a beautiful mother’s day box! While I’m not sure the exact price on this box, they do offer fully customizable boxes to fit your needs!

GT Stitchery “Mama” Travel Bag

I would take just about anything from GT Stitchery lately! But really loving these travel bags monogramed with “mama”. I love that these can be personalized however! I don’t think these would be ready in time for mother’s day, but still make a great gift!

Shop Letters & Loops Jewelry Case

Letters & Loops is another amazing embroidery small business that I am loving! She has so many options of different customizable pieces! I love the idea of a personalized jewelry case, perfect for travelling!

Uncommon Goods Cocktail Soaps

This is such a fun idea to gift to a mama who loves herself a cocktail. Guess what, IT ME! This would also be a great addition to a gift basket!

Revlon All-in-one Brush

You’ve heard me rave about this brush before and almost a year later, I’m still raving about it! I don’t use it for an all over blow dry, I use my regular blow dryer for that, but I love to finish and add volume with this dryer! It’s also perfect for next day touch ups and cuts down any mama’s routine!

What are you shopping for this mother’s day? What is on your wish list?! Leave me a comment and let me know!

Live Love Finds

So, I joined the millennial bandwagon. Hi!

For those who don’t know me, I’m Alana. BCBA by day and juggler of all life things by night and doing it all from sunny (and hot) Miami, Florida.

Why start this blog? I’ve gotten tons of questions on my Instagram about what people see in my daily ins and outs. Things like food recipes, fashion, beauty products, home decor, etc. I figured, I’m always sharing my finds, why not put all that content in one place and dig a little deeper?

This space will be for you to share in my finds and coming up with ways to make those finds your own! Want me to find something in particular? Just let me know!

For those that know me, know that I live with intention and wholeheartedly believe in the power of thought. What you believe you become, or the mantra I got tattooed on myself, sorry Mom! Anyways, it has fared quite well for me so far, so I’m going to kick off this blog in the same way. My intention for this blog is that I want this to be a space where you can find ways to grow, learn and become inspired with me and hopefully I can give you some laughs along the way too!

Happy finding! -Alana