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!

Weaning

With summer coming to an end, we decided to finish it off at my family’s cabin in North Carolina. We typically go every year with Thomas and Joel’s family. Last year we didn’t get to visit with Covid, but this year we did…and we had a special visitor along for the ride!

To say I was nervous about Annabelle’s first big trip would be the understatement of the century. I was most nervous about the 14 hour drive we would have to the house and back of course. I shouldn’t have stressed that though, because she rocked it! What I wasn’t prepared for was her complete refusal to breastfeed.

Leading up to the trip I had noticed that breastfeeding Annabelle wasn’t coming as easy as it once had. Just to be clear, breastfeeding in general is NOT easy. Annabelle was becoming more and more aware of her surroundings everyday and therefore becoming more and more distracted. Her nursing times were shorter, but I could also tell my supply wasn’t what it once was. Leading up to our trip, I occasionally found myself supplementing a nursing session with milk I had previously pumped.

On our way up, I could tell Annabelle was distracted while nursing, but who could blame her, everything was SO new. I figured in a day or two once she got into a groove, things would get back to “normal”. Heads up, I only brought about 15 oz of frozen milk with me in case things went south on our drive up! While I was hoping she’d get into a groove, she didn’t. Each session became more difficult, to the point that she was refusing my breast. This had never happened before. While I tried my best not to panic, my heart broke. Was she ready to wean? Was I not making enough for her? Was she missing our element and routines as much as I was? Not sure, but off to Walmart I went to buy formula and a manual hand pump because mama was starting to fill up.

My plan- pump as much as possible so that I could give her bottles of breast milk AND formula. Before heading to North Carolina we had tried a formula, solo, at home and Annabelle absolutely hated it. I’m talking she spit it out every single time I tried offering. This time around I picked a different formula and mixed it with some breast milk.

This was better, but Annabelle wasn’t thrilled. The only way she would down that bottle was when she was completely starved and didn’t really have a choice. This totally threw off our feeding schedules and had me all worried about her night sleep. Luckily, she would sleep through the night, but was waking up around 5:30 daily. This wasn’t good for my brain capacity in the slightest.

You guys know how much I love my routine and things to be planned. I decided not to plan much for this trip and let Joel take the lead. That will never happen again, hah! So between the lack of routine, lack of planning, and lack of nursing, mama struggled and struggled hard.

Don’t let the faces above fool you. This was our last full day in North Carolina and I was absolutely miserable. I was physically and mentally drained. To the point that while we were at lunch, I became extremely light headed and needed to head back to the cabin, rest and let out a good cry.

After some research and chatting with a few mama friends, I realized weaning was taking its physical and emotional toll on me. I didn’t have the luxury of gradually weaning last week and my body felt it.

I wanted to bring light to this because when I started breastfeeding I immersed myself in reading almost everything I could and also worked with a lactation consultant. I wanted to be as prepared as possible, but what no one prepares you for is weaning.

Weaning looks different for everyone, there’s no one way to do it and sometimes you’re in situations like I was where you don’t have a choice. But the more I looked for information, especially on the plethora of breastfeeding social media accounts, the more disappointed I became when I just wasn’t finding information.

Quite frankly, the emotional toll it took on me in just a few short days was scary. Talking about it helped, it helped being reassured that this was normal, but still challenging.

I’m lucky that once I got home, Annabelle was less distracted and more into nursing. But I also did have to come to terms with the fact that my supply wasn’t what it used to be and if I wanted Sprinkle Baby to sleep through the night, she was going to need a bottle.

So, I’ve started the weaning process. We’re tapping into the frozen milk and my emotions are running high. I wanted to breastfeed until she was one and then start tapping into my frozen milk, but we’re on a different ride now! Side note, I can’t tell you how many ounces of milk I’ve wasted thinking she wants more and then she refuses. Why do I bring it up, because wasting any drop of pumped milk stabs me right in the heart. Countless hours and late nights pumping to build up a freezer stash while baby girl was fast asleep. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, whoever said “don’t cry over spilt milk” has clearly never pumped before.

While I’m sad this part of the ride is coming to an end, I’m grateful that we’re back home and this isn’t something we need to stop cold turkey. I was lucky in that I wasn’t getting engorged, but I think at this point I would have preferred that over the mental load this all brought on. Being home and nursing again, within two days I noticed such a shift in my mood and overall how I felt physically.

Just gotta keep thinking, I’ve been lucky to have all this time with you my Sprinkle Baby!

Facial Glow

* Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. 

I recently partnered with Love by Jade and was gifted their Glow Face Serum. I typically don’t review beauty products because I am pretty committed to the ones I use and have used for years now. But lately, with the way my body and skin have changed postpartum, I was willing to try something different.  

I have always had combination skin, sometimes oily, sometimes dry, never predictable and have dealt with breakouts since my early teenage years. I was intrigued that this glow serum was geared at addressing some of those issues exactly. I also liked that the product was organic and free of any toxins. This is something important to me as I am still breastfeeding.  

To be able to write a full and honest review, I needed some time to test out the oil. I received it right before we left on our trip to North Carolina and perfect timing because my hormones were out of control! The breakouts I do get, tend to be around my chin and always linked back to, you guessed it, hormones.  

I started using the oil as instructed, 2-3 drops in the morning and again at night, after cleansing. The first time I put it on I immediately fell in love with the scent and how luxurious it felt! My hopes were high that this would be a great serum since I have been in a committed relationship with my moisturizer the last few years.  

I have been using the serum daily and what I have noticed is while my breakouts have not gone away, they are much tamer. Since I am also a picker, what I also noticed was that this healed my skin so quickly!  

It’s important to highlight some of the ingredients to the Glow Face Serum. The main ones being Plum & Prickly Pear. Prickly pear has the highest form of vitamin E of any plant oil (3 times higher than argon oil). Plum oils are very high in vitamin C with helps repair cells. Other ingredients found are Sea buckthorn c02 extract is high in Beta-Cartons that help heal the skin and reverse sun damage. Living in Miami and the constant sun exposure, this is great to have! 

Some of the benefits of the glow serum include, restoring elasticity, calming inflamed skin as well as softer, nourished, and moisturized skin. Overall, I am so thrilled with the results I’m seeing and the way my skin is feeling!  

You can purchase your own Face Glow Serum through this link and by using the code LLF15 you’ll receive 15% off your purchase!  

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!

Family Weekend Getaway

This past weekend we had our first getaway as a family of four and since the pandemic began! Our last trip, pre-covid was our honeymoon. Needless to say, things look a little different these days!

We’re still not comfortable with air travel, so we decided to do a little road trip to Naples. Naples is about two hours away from Miami. This would let us see how Annabelle would do with a longer car ride since we’ll be driving to North Carolina in August. Spoiler, she did GREAT! Luckily, she enjoys being in the car!

We decided to stay at the Naples Grande Beach Resort. Overall, while we enjoyed our stay and the property, the service left quite a bit to be desired. Would we be back? Perhaps if the surge in hotel prices (happening all around Florida) stops and the prices go back to normal. But at the current rate, I don’t think we’d be back. Though the service was not the best, we had a great room and really did enjoy our time at the pool!

Here’s a run down of how our weekend went!

Friday:

Thomas had school on Friday, so we picked him up from school, snack and Nintendo Switch in tow, and went from pick up line to Naples. Conveniently, his pick up time coordinated with Annabelle’s nap time and a car ride always puts her to sleep! We were originally going to stop at Seed to Table (came highly recommended by a great friend) to get some food for the hotel, but the complete disregard for wearing masks and not to mention the sign outside the store on 10 reasons not to get vaccinated, we opted against it! But I can’t wait to check it out when things normalize a bit! We then checked into the hotel and headed right to the pool while Annabelle and Mama sat poolside enjoying the hotel’s champagne happy hour! Later that night, instead of doing room service we ordered delivery from Don Tequila and we could not get over how great it was! If you ever find yourself in Naples, we highly recommend!

Saturday:

Saturday was our only full day in Naples, so we decided to take advantage and make this our beach day. While the hotel itself is not on the beach, they offer a shuttle service back and forth to the beach. Whenever I know our day is going to deviate from our typical routine, I try to make sure Annabelle has a good first nap of the day. I have found this to be HUGELY helpful! Once she was up, we headed off for our beach day. We weren’t the only ones with this idea. Unfortunately, the beach is also open to the public, so it was packed! While on the beach we at no point felt unsafe or too close to others, but when ordering food from the hotel’s restaurant at the beach, there was no social distancing nor people wearing masks. This was pretty common in Naples. This was Annabelle’s first beach day, but baby girl was NOT a fan of the cold water! Her and I spent most of day on lounge chairs napping and I am not upset about it one bit!

That night we headed to dinner at Lamoraga. It was actually our first indoor dining experience since the pandemic and we were really happy overall! The food was delicious, yummy cocktails and Thomas tried so many new things! We have a rule that he has to try anything we give him, if he doesn’t like it he doesn’t have to eat it, but more often than not he ends up loving what we give him! His latest try, tuna tartare!

Sunday:

We started our day making sure Annabelle got a great nap in and then made our way to the pool. We were so excited because the pool was so nice and warm and perfect for Annabelle’s first dip! She LOVED it! I think this girl will definitely be a water baby! Before heading home we had lunch at the hotel. We timed our trip back home around Annabelle’s nap time and this worked great!

We couldn’t have picked or planned a better intro trip to traveling as a family of four. I was definitely anxious about Annabelle’s schedule, how she would do deviating from her routine, being away from home, and how all of that would impact Thomas and all the hopes I had for our weekend. Check out some of my tips if you’re going to be traveling with a baby:

  • If you’ll be using a pack and play for sleep, make sure to practice naps here so it’s not a completely new sleep environment!
  • If you have a bedtime routine, try to replicate it while traveling! Our routine is bath, pj’s, nurse, sleep sack, story, top off with a bottle and time for bed. Friday night we did the whole routine, Saturday, bath time was earlier in the day, but we kept everything else the same!
  • As mentioned earlier, we did the first nap of the day in the hotel room before starting our day. This may not always be feasible, but worked well for us!
  • Don’t stress if things don’t go according to plan, now this is coming from a type A, so it’s hard for me to just roll with it. But nothing a cocktail can’t help!
  • To make things a little easier, check out the packing list I’ve created, below! You can download and print to use for your next weekend getaway!

Do you have any upcoming travel plans? Leave me a comment and let me know where!

Intermittent Fasting

This body brought to you by Intermittent Fasting

A few weeks ago we talked about my “lifestyle changes” and I touched upon the things that have helped me to lose weight and keep it off this year. Today I want to share with you a week in the life intermittent-fasting-Alana! For 7 days I tracked how long I fasted, what workouts I did (if any), my water intake, and what I ate.

Where I often struggle the most is snacking or when there are starchy carbs present. Give me a loaf of bread, a bowl of rice, a plate of pasta, and I’m a happy girl! There’s a famous expression in Spanish that goes, “barriga llena, corazon contento”, which translates to, “belly full, happy heart”, this is my motto when enjoying a plate of carbs.

Back to fasting. At the start of the week I weighed myself and I was weighing 139. At the end of the week I weighed myself and I was 138. You might say, well that’s just a pound, but by this point in my journey, a pound is a lot for me on a week to week basis. You’ll see my eating wasn’t necessarily the healthiest, so I’ll gladly give that one pound to wherever those pounds go!

Some notes to consider about this “lifestyle log”:

  1. Everyday my breakfast consisted of one scoop of collagen powder in my tea. Technically, the collagen powder is not “allowed” during fasting, but tea is.
  2. Overall, it was a pretty standard week for me, although there were some more outings and snacking than usual, thanks PMS.
  3. I try to mimic HIIT workouts when I do at home workouts. Pinterest is a great resource for this, you can check out some of the workouts I use, here!
  4. To help me keep track of my fasting daily, I use this app, definitely helps while I’m on vacation!

Day 1

  • 16.5 hour fast (8:45 PM night prior-1:15 PM on day 1)
  • 25 minute at home workout
  • 94.5 ounce of water

Lunch

Salad from Diced

Dinner

Left over Oxtail with cauliflower rice

Snacks

Shortbread cookie, 1 cup of goldfish

Day 2

  • 16.75 hour fast (9:15 night prior-2:00 PM on day 2)
  • 30 minutes on elliptical, 20 minutes on stair master
  • 73.5 ounces of water

Lunch

Burrito Bowl from Green Gables Cafe

Dinner

Turkey Picadillo and white rice

Snacks

olives, nuts, snack size bag of chips ahoy, cookies and cream pocky

Day 3

  • 14.25 hour fast (8:00 pm night prior-10:15 AM on day 3)
  • No workout
  • 42 ounces of water

Lunch

Turkey Picadillo and white rice

Dinner

Turkey Picadillo & Rice and two more bowls of rice and a mini personal coconut cake

Snacks

Plantain chips, 2 slices of sourdough bread, bag of chips, chocolate wafer cookies

Day 4

  • 17 hour fast (8:45 PM night prior-1:45 PM on day 4)
  • 20 minutes on stair master, 20 minutes on elliptical
  • 63 ounces of water

Lunch

Burrito Bowl from Green Gables Cafe

Dinner

Crunchy pollito and rice

Snacks

none

Day 5

  • 16.5 hour fast (7:45 PM night prior-12:30 PM on day 5)
  • 30 minutes on elliptical, 20 minutes on stair master
  • 63 ounces of water

Lunch

No lunch

Dinner

2 tacos and shared guacamole appetizer

Snacks

1.5 pieces of sourdough bread, cafecito, crunchy pollito, rice

Day 6

  • 13 hour fast (12:00 AM night prior-1 PM on day 6)
  • No workout
  • 42 ounces of water

Lunch

Unlimited food and drink brunch at Prime Fish

Dinner

Oxtail and rice

Snacks

none

Day 7

  • 16 hour fast (7:45 PM night prior-11:45 AM on day 7)
  • 40 minutes on elliptical, 20 on minutes stair master
  • 63 ounces of water

Lunch

Turkey picadillo and cauliflower rice

Dinner

2 slices of Domino’s pizza, slice of cake, Sangria

Snacks

cheese, salami, olives, 2 slices of sourdough bread, trail mix (nuts)

As I tried to emphasize in my Lifestyle Changes post, this is what has worked for me. I take things day by day, listen to my body and try not to ALWAYS give into my cravings. But obviously, day 3 & 7 were a little hard for me!

I have gotten asked, how I maintain this while on vacation. Simply put, not easily, but I try my hardest. By now you’ve probably realized I’m a bit food obsessed and our vacations are usually centered around where we’re eating and drinking. For example, in August we spent a week at my family’s house in North Carolina, there’s a few restaurants there that I literally wait all year for! On this trip, I made it a point to do at least a 30 minute workout every morning and we did do a lot of hiking. I also tried to do 15-16 hour fasts as much as possible, using my app helped me with this! But I definitely splurged on a few great dinners and didn’t beat myself up over it either! Work hard, play harder, am I right? On my most recent trip to Puerto Rico, I only got one work out in because #drinking, but I was much more selective about what I ate as a result. It’s all about balance guys! Eat 3 bowls of rice for dinner, spend an extra 20 minutes (or more) at the gym the next day!

I believe that intermittent fasting has worked the best for me because at no point do I feel like I’m depriving myself. While there may be some hours I’m technically depriving myself of the foods I love to enjoy! On this journey I’ve also learned to not beat myself up for one bad day (hey, maybe ever two), but to keep trying and push myself a little more the next day!

Still have questions about intermittent fasting, let me know!