Turbans for Tots Giveaway!

July 22, 2015

Ainsley Turban

Sorry for the radio silence around these parts, friends! This week is a quiet one for Espresso and Cream while I get some new content ready to go and take a little breather, but I wanted to pop in and share a little about a company that Ainsley and I have been loving lately.

I discovered Turbans for Tots while scouring Etsy for cute baby turbans for Ainsley to wear. Girlfriend has some strange hair going on these days with lots of new growth and bald patches, so we’re all about headbands and turbans lately. I placed my first order with the company a month ago, and have since placed another order for even more turbans. The company is in no way paying me to mention them, but I love their products so much I thought I should do a giveaway so you can enjoy them, too!

I’m giving away $75 to the Turbans for Tots Etsy shop (which includes free shipping) below! There are a few ways to enter, so don’t miss out.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


New Mama Style |::| The Maxi

July 15, 2015

Pinkblush Dress 1

Pinkblush Maternity Dress 2
IMG_0114My mornings these days before work are non-stop. I get up early so I can let the dogs out and have breakfast (usually a smoothie) and a cup of coffee because I need to have a few moments to myself before the day really gets going. Then I jump into the shower and get cleaned up and ready for work, pack a lunch for myself and sometimes one for Joe, too, before I start to wash and prep bottles for Ainsley’s day and pick up anything around the house that was left from the nigth before. On an ideal day, Ainsley wakes up around 6:45/7, giving me a little quiet time with her to give her a bottle, cuddle and play before I head out the door at 7:40.

Since becoming a mom, I’ve developed a bit of a “style uniform” of sorts that helps me look put-together most days without requiring a lot of thought. Because, let’s be honest, I just don’t have much time to think about what I’m going to wear. I want a little more routine and a little less thinking involved in my morning routine.

I’ve been relying heavily on the maxi dress (including this maternity maxi dress from Pink Blush maternity) styled in two ways:

Casual: Maxi dress + sandals + long chunky necklace + cross-body bag (to keep my hands free!)
More polished: Maxi dress + blazer or jean jacket + delicate necklace + flats + structured bag or tote

It’s a no-brainer way to get dressed in the morning or for a casual night out with my hubby that is comfortable and cute, which is a major win in my book.

Dress c/o Pink Blush maternity 
Sandals from Target (similar style)
Necklace from The Golden Rule 
Bag from TJ Maxx (two years ago)

PS: While I was pregnant, I fell in love with the idea of maternity clothes (specifically maternity dresses) that could be worn post-pregnancy as well. The idea just seemed SO smart, since spending a lot of $$ on a maternity wardrobe just doesn’t make sense for most women. When PinkBlush contacted me asking if I would be interested in trying some of their cute maternity clothing I jumped at the chance and was SO impressed with the quality and fit. I can happily wear this dress without feeling like I’m wearing a maternity dress, and I love the idea that if baby #2 ever comes along, I will get even more use out of it!


Family, Pregnancy

Stay Healthy, Mama

July 13, 2015

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and healthy mama® , but, as always, all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #gethealthymama

healthy mama 1


Having experienced a couple miscarriages before getting pregnant with Ainsley, I was more than a little paranoid about what I put in my body. I was constantly worried about doing something that would compromise the health of my baby and desperate for a little peace of mind when I wanted relief from morning sickness or a headache or some other pregnancy-related aliment.

I’m a researcher by nature so I did a lot of scouring on the internet for healthy, safe ways to navigate the less-than-glamorous sides of being pregnant. My doctor was a good resource, as well as a few reputable baby- and pregnancy-related websites and books, but most of the products I found still came with a disclaimer for pregnant or nursing women.

Toward the end of my pregnancy I discovered that Target has a section devoted to pre- and postnatal care filled with healthy mama® products that are safe for nursing moms and moms-to-be. I wish I would have found the section sooner rather than at the end of my pregnancy!

During pregnancy and the postpartum period, my two greatest complaints were nausea (specifically the first trimester but also a bit toward the end of pregnancy) and headaches. I’ve always had headaches, but the postpartum headaches I experienced? They were horrible! I found a few little changes during the course of my pregnancy and after Ainsley arrived really helped…

healthy mama 2

healthy mama 3

healthy mama 4


*I found that making sure I was getting plenty of iron in my diet was key! Since meat and veggies didn’t sound all that great to me during the first trimester, I was seriously lacking in iron. And some of the research I did also said that you start to experience the unpleasant effects of low iron around 18/19 weeks, which was exactly when I started getting really bad headaches!
*Hydration was also key to keeping the headaches (especially during the postpartum period) at bay. I kept a giant water bottle with me at all times and couldn’t get enough ice water with extra ice!
*When water and vitamins weren’t cutting it, I found that the cure-all was usually a cup of coffee (coffee in moderation is totally safe!) and a little bit of acetominophin, like that found in the healthy mama® Shake that Ache! pain reliever, was enough to keep the headaches at bay most of the time.


*I only experienced a mild case of nausea starting around 12 weeks and lasting until around week 19, but it was enough to keep me snacking on carbs 90% of the time. My go-to remedies were salty kettle-style potato chips, lemonade and sparkling water.
*A lot of research talks about the benefits of consuming B vitamins to calm the nausea. I’m guessing that’s why healthy mama® included B vitamins and electrolytes in their Boost it Up! Protein Energy Drink. Although I wasn’t experiencing nausea when I tried this drink, I loved it anyway! And it’s a great caffeine-free energy alternative that’s safe for pregnant and nursing moms.

I am so bummed that I didn’t discover these products sooner. But I have a feeling that if we’re blessed to have another kiddo down the road, I’ll be using that section at Target as my go-to resource while pregnant and nursing.



My Must-Have Baby Products (Birth-4 Months)

July 10, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 9.51.13 AM

I think I should preface this entire post by saying that baby products are a really personal thing, and by really personal I mean that it’s really personal for your baby. What works for Ainsley might not work for another little one. Heck, I’ve wasted enough money in the last four months by buying the wrong baby products that were a total flop with my baby boss.

That said, I was super interested during pregnancy in what baby products were worth it and what products could be passed on. We have a small-ish house with limited storage space and no extra room for baby products that we don’t need. That said, here are the products we can’t live without!

1. Gummygoods Night Light in RED $27
I’m so thankful someone told me about this product! The first month of Ainsley’s life I would turn on her overhead light on the lowest setting (we have a dimmer) but even on that low setting, it would wake both of us up, making it difficult to get back to sleep.

The red light in this Gummygoods Night Light is less disruptive to sleep patterns and melatonin production than regular blue/white light. It’s been a total lifesaver when it comes to middle of the night feedings and diaper changes and travels well, too. I’m going to start buying these for my new momma friends as baby gifts!

2. Keekaroo Peanut Changer $99
This changing pad is more expensive than the traditional cloth-covered changing pads, but worth every single penny. I’m not sure how people use any other type! It’s made of a soft and squishy material that’s comfortable for baby, easy to wipe down (no changing pad covers needed!) and helps prevent bacterial growth. I LOVE it so much and so do Joe and Ainsley. I can’t tell you how many times Ainsley’s peed on the changer or I’ve gotten poop on it, and it’s such a timesaver to be able to use a baby wipe to clean messes up and move on with our day.

3. Solly Baby Wrap in Natural & Grey Stripe $65
As far as baby carriers go, this is a must-have for those first few months. It’s soft, stretchy and unbelievably comfortable for mom and baby; it’s great to have some additional hands-free time while your newborn naps in the wrap or wants to be close while you need to get things done around the house. Plus, it’s smaller than other carriers like the Ergo, so I never go anywhere without it tucked in my purse in case I need to soothe a fussy baby by putting her in the carrier. It also doubles as a car-seat cover, a burp rag, etc.

Now that Ainsley is getting a little bigger, she actually likes the Ergo 360 a little more. But those first few months it was all about the Solly Baby Wrap.

4. Coach Baby Bag $398
Okay, this is NOT a necessity, but hear me out: Years ago while I was in college I asked for the Coach Diaper Bag for Christmas because it happened to make a great school bag with all the pockets and straps. Now, six years later, I still have the same bag and have started to use it for it’s intended purpose – as a diaper bag! I guess my argument here is this: Buying quality is almost always worth it. I’ve gotten a ton of use out of a single bag, and now I’m using it for it’s intended purpose. It still looks great, holds up well and has tons of pockets. Plus, I feel a little more put-together with a diaper bag that looks more like a purse than a diaper bag. This isn’t the exact model I have, but it’s the newest version.

5. Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser and Refill Bags $8
I’m so glad I was turned on to these bags! I have the dispenser and bags in my purse at all times for diaper changes on the go and have found them invaluable for holding in the stink. Plus, it’s much more polite to throw away a dirty diaper wrapped in a stink-sealing bag that won’t make the room smell after you leave.

6. Leachco Podster Infant Lounger $47
Ainsley used this little baby lounger pillow all the time during the first few months of life. She would nap in it during the day while sitting in the sunshine (my attempt and helping her get her days and nights figured out) and it was a great, comfortable way to set her down when I needed to get something done. I can’t recommend it enough! Now that she is a bit bigger she doesn’t use it quite as much, but it expands as your baby grows to get more use out of the pillow.

7. Rock and Play Sleeper $58
All the moms I talked to before having Ainsley mentioned this product, and I know why! During the first couple months Ainsley slept in her Rock and Play a LOT at night while we were working on making the transition to the crib. We put her Rock and Play in her nursery so she got used to sleeping there while also feeling snug and secure and she napped it the Rock and Play a lot as well. Around 8 weeks we made the full-time transition to the crib, but I’m not sure I would have survived those newborn days without this!

8. Aden and Anais Burpy Bibs $22 for two
These are the best burp rags out there and they double as bibs with the snaps that they’re equipped with. The material is soft and absorbent and they’re large enough to clean up big messes. They’re a bit of a splurge, so I would suggest adding them to your registry!

9. Simethicone Infant Gas Drops $7
Our pediatrician recommended using simethicone for infant gas when I was worried about Ainsley’s tummy and all the gas that she was having. When your baby is crying in the middle of the night because of tummy distress, you’ll be glad you have something to give them. I started giving Ainsley a little before bed every night during a particularly fussy period of time and it seemed to help a lot! Now that her stomach and digestive system has matured, I rarely use the drops.

And, equally important, the things we purchased that I think you could do without:
1. Pack and Play: Everyone told me this was a necessity, but we disagree! We purchased a Pack and Play with the bassinet attachment and it lasted about a month in our bedroom before we packed it up and put it away. My mom owns a Pack and Play and my mother-in-law does, too, as does my family in Idaho, so we haven’t had a reason to take it with us yet! Maybe in the future we will need it, but I would hold off on buying one until you know you’ll need it!
2. Sleep contraptions: I’m going to do a whole post on this in the next couple weeks because in the last four months we’ve purchased ALL THE SWADDLES AND SLEEP PRODUCTS you can imagine. I recently loaned them out to a friend who is about to have a baby because I couldn’t imagine another person having to spend all that money just to figure out what products you baby likes and dislikes. We ended up loving two products: The Halo Sleep Swaddle (which we were given at the hospital) and Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit, but it varies so much from baby to baby that I would advise borrowing from friends if at all possible!
3. Bottles: You need these, sure, but don’t go out and buy a bunch of bottles before your baby arrives. Like sleep contraptions, bottles vary greatly and what your baby likes and doesn’t like will surprise you. We lucked out and happened to buy bottles that Ainsley loved, but we tried others after the fact and realized that she had definite preferences. Once again, borrow a few from friends to figure out what your baby likes or buy one of a few different brands before you commit to a whole set!


Family, Pregnancy

When It’s Not “Love at First Sight”

July 8, 2015

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Photo by Gina Zeidler 

As we were preparing for Ainsley’s arrival I heard a lot of people talk about the amazing “love at first sight” that you feel when your little one is born. People went on and on about how the minute you become a mom you are instantly changed and overwhelmed with all the feelings. Me? I was a little skeptical and more than a little worried about the whole thing. You see, when someone tells me that I’m going to feel a certain way there is a degree of stress and pressure to feel those same feelings. And if you don’t what does that mean?

Here’s the thing that people don’t tell you: You might not experience overwhelming love at first sight. I know I certainly didn’t. I loved Ainsley from the moment I saw her: she was our long-awaited and much-anticipated miracle baby, for goodness sake! But I was also exhausted, clueless, overwhelmed and navigating a whole new world with a baby I hardly knew. I didn’t know anything about her personality or her likes and dislikes and I wasn’t confident in my skills as a mother in the least, because no amount of babysitting can ever prepare you for being a mom.

I was deeply committed to being her momma, in awe of her presence and her cute little features, thankful beyond words for her presence in our life and grateful for her safe and healthy delivery. But I felt so guilty about not having the emotional love response that others had told me I would have. I carried that guilt around with me like a dirty little secret that wasn’t appropriate to disclose.

The other night while on vacation, Joe and I were laying in bed after Ainsley went to sleep just chatting on and on about how much we loved her and how much FUN she has started becoming in the last month or so. Now that she is 4 months old, she is smiling, babbling to herself, giggling and responding to us in new ways everyday. She grabs the puppy’s tail and makes funny faces to things, her eyes light up when we sing to her and she tries her best to sing along. She’s becoming a real person with real likes, dislikes and personality traits. And over the past couple months I’ve started to fall deeply in love with who she is as a unique individual, beyond the fact that she is our baby.

I told Joe, “I think I’ve always loved her, but now I really understand what that all-consuming love for her is about!” Sounds horrible, right? I mean, you’re “supposed” to love your baby that way from day 1. But with all the sleepless nights, hazy days, raging hormones, baby (and mommy!) tears, and so many unknowns, I found it sort of difficult to really make that connection. And now that things have settled into a routine and we’re getting to know our little person? Gosh, it just keeps getting better and better!

So if you’re a new mom or soon-to-be mom or even thinking about having kids in the future, I want to encourage you. You don’t have to feel any certain way at any certain time. Maybe you’ll experience that great “love at first sight” moment like some people do, or maybe, like me, it will take you a little longer. Whatever your journey, there really is no “right” way to do things or a set of benchmarks that you need to reach and different moments in your development as a mom. Just like your baby reaches developmental milestones at different times, moms reach those moments at different times, too!


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