Summertime Baby Must-Haves- Swim Diaper and Wet Bag Essentials

Summertime brings trips to the beach, to the pool, to the lake, and so many wonderful opportunities to take your little one for a swim or a quick dip. (In super supervised situations only, of course.) A few very cool baby summer essentials can make those swimming trips even better yet – like an adorable swim diaper and a wet bag to keep those wet items contained!

Kushies brand makes a lot of truly wonderful baby items, I’ve found. I really enjoy the clever and creative approach to caring for little ones and making sure they have great items for every turn in life. I received the Kushies on-the-go wet bag with bonus pouch, as well as an adorable orange swimsuit diaper, for the purpose of this review.

The baby’s swimsuit diaper is very cute in a bright orange color with a blue and white trim and tie. Every detail, even down to the green Kushies tag with footprints and seashell and starfish designs, is completely too cute for words. The orange swim diaper has a breathable mesh interior and terry crotch liner with expert stitching all the way around. The swim diaper by Kushies has gusseted legs for comfort and security. The swim diaper’s exterior is 100% nylon and the interior is 100% polyester. The diaper flaps fold and attach so easily to the Velcro on the front of the swim diaper, and the blue and white waist ties offer a secure fit and form a nice bow to keep your little one covered up in the water or on the beach.

The Kushies swimsuit diaper is machine washable and dryable, making it a great item to add to your baby’s summer fashions. This clever product is available in sizes small, medium, large, and X-Large, ranging from 6lbs to 50lbs. The Kushies swimsuit diaper retails for $11.99 and you can find it in lots of colors at www.kushiesonline.com.

When you and your little one are done swimming, just tuck your swim diaper safely away inside the Kushies on-the-go wet bag. This product is 10.5” x 13,” making it the perfect size to store baby’s swimsuit, swim diaper, dirty bibs, or soiled and rinsed outfits or cloth diapers until you can launder them at home. This wet bag is a great way to keep items separate from the rest of your diaper bag contents, segregating the mess to one contained spot.

The on-the-go wet bag I received is very cool with a fun and trendy abstract pattern. The colors look lovely together, chocolate brown, sky blue, and a series of greens on a pale background. The pattern features circles, wheels, rounded squares, rectangles, and a distressed look here and there. The bonus mini wet bag pouch is great for smaller items and has a fun ovals and dots pattern on a chocolate brown background.

Both wet bag and bonus pouch have their own drawstring to ensure your wet items stay separate from your dry ones. The large bag has a small bead with button to ensure the bag stays closed even in the bumpiest of rides in the diaper bag. The inner texture of the bags feels a bit waxed, providing extra reinforcement against spills. I really like these bags and the great function they provide.

Kushies products are proudly made in Canada. For more information, check out www.kushiesonline.com.

 

ShrinkxHips Ultra Review- Shrink Your Hips After Pregnancy

ShrinkxHipsWho knew there could be a product that actually helps women get back to their pre-pregnancy size without dieting or exercising? ShrinkxHips Ultra by UpSpring, Ltd. is a compression belt that is designed to help women narrow their hips back to their pre-pregnancy size, if not smaller, by taking advantage of the eight-week window following childbirth. I’ve received my own ShrinkxHips Ultra belt to try for the purpose of this review and I am glad to share my results so far.

I ended up starting my trial of ShrinkxHips Ultra a little later than intended since I had a C-section at the birth of our daughter. I didn’t want to irritate the incision or cause problems with it healing, so I waited until about five weeks post-partum to try it out. The ShrinkxHips belt is very cleverly designed and easy to use, in my opinion. It has different sets of Velcro to allow you to first properly position and fasten the belt across your hips and then adjust the tightness and compression to your desired strength with two separate Velcro straps for tightening.

The idea behind ShrinkxHips is that the hormone Relaxin stays in your system for eight weeks following delivery. This is the hormone that causes your joints to become looser and more flexible, and also your hips to become wider during pregnancy. By taking advantage of the eight-week window of opportunity using this product, women have been able to shrink their hips back to their pre-pregnancy size, and sometimes even smaller, getting back into their normal jeans and non-maternity clothing much sooner than expected.

ShrinkxHipsThe ShrinkxHips belt provides constant and even pressure to the hips so you don’t really feel it all at once. In fact, I think this belt offers a nice level of support for my hips, making them feel snug and comfortable for the most part. I will admit, it is not easy to breastfeed while wearing these, but it can be done. Whenever running to the bathroom, the belt also must come off. It is easy enough to put it back on, though, and I believe it is worth doing since I’ve already seen some positive results.

I’ve measured my hips only last week when I started using this product, so I am not actually sure where they were before that. I don’t know how wide they were after our daughter was born and I’m not sure what my measurements were last year before I got pregnant. I am willing to bet I am between one and three inches from my ideal hip size – and that is one inch less than I would have been without this product! I have indeed lost an inch around my hips in the one week I’ve used this product. This was my first pregnancy so I have nothing to compare it to, so I can’t say how much my hips would have shrank back on their own by normal course of nature. I also don’t know exactly how much father I have to go, but I will be thrilled if I can get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans sometime this summer. My only worry is that I couldn’t take advantage of the full eight weeks.

The recommended wear time is up to 12 hours with the Ultra belt, but I usually try to wear mine 6 to 8 hours. I even wore it overnight once, but couldn’t get super comfortable so I may not try that again – we’ll see. So, I would say even in the short time using ShrinkxHips Ultra, not even the full recommended amount, I have shrunk my hips at least one inch from where they were a week ago!

The ShrinkxHips Ultra kit also contains a Hip-Check measuring tape and Success Chart so you can keep track of your progress. I definitely appreciate this, as I do like to see results and keep myself motivated no matter what my workouts and measurements entail.

I did a little research and a lot of people on Amazon were complaining about the edges of the ShrinkxHips belt rolling up. This actually doesn’t bother me as I prefer that over having it dig into me. I don’t really see it being an issue. One thing I will say is I do sort of have a hard time finding the perfect place to put the belt across my hips. Sometimes I fear I have it too low while others I think it may be too high. At times I do feel it squishes my still-shrinking belly, but if only I had a shrinking belt for that too! All in all, I really have no complaints. In fact, I am thrilled that my hips are an inch smaller in only one week of use, not even using for a full 8 – 12 hours per day. If this post-partum hip shrinking device works as advertised, even with a shortened time span, I will be so thrilled to have my pre-pregnancy frame back!

ShrinkxHips Ultra retails for $54.99 and ShrinkxHips Basic sells for $29.99. You can get your own ShrinkxHips belt at Amazon.com, Babies R Us, Target, a pea in the pod, Destination Maternity, and Diapers.com. For more information about ShrinkxHips, check out http://www.shrinkxhips.com.

 

Great Baby Grooming Items by Japonesque Baby

Japonesque BabyWhen it comes to baby grooming gear, few things are cuter than a set of kangaroo manicure nail scissors and a matching file, at least if you ask me. I instantly fell in love with the little orange kangaroo scissor sheath with matching tethered joey baby nail file. I received this adorable baby grooming item (Safety Nail Scissors & File) along with an almost-as-cute hippopotamus Gentle Grooming Baby Brush and dolphin Safety Nail Clipper & File set. It really is hard to decide which is the cutest, but I think the kangaroo takes the cake for me.

Kangaroo Safety Nail ScissorsJaponesque Baby makes a lot of adorable baby items beyond these grooming goodies. In fact, the baby collection is just a very small subset of this online beauty retailer. Since we’re on the topic of baby grooming, you can find monkey and giraffe safety scissors, a ducky nail clipper, an alligator comb, and even a penguin nail clipper. In case you were wondering, I am still sold on my kangaroo nail scissors, thanks.

The nail scissors and file are specially designed for your baby’s delicate nails. The handles are plastic and easy to use while the stainless steel blades offer great precision and safety thanks to the rounded tips. The little nail file with the baby kangaroo (joey) is great to smooth and shape your little one’s nails, and especially for use on newborns before you should be using scissors anyway. The kangaroo case really makes this set a must-have in my opinion – I just can’t get over how cute it is!

Hippo Grooming BrushWho doesn’t want a hippo hair brush? This pink hippo Gentle Grooming Baby Brush has a clever design that lets you twist the product to hide or reveal the brush’s soft bristles. These bristles are so soft, ensuring your little one’s scalp is safe and sound while you can gently groom your baby without any pain or pulling. This item really has a clever design and for that I highly recommend it for diaper bags or just as an everyday use baby grooming item. As your little one grows, she is sure to love this cute pink hippo hair brush.

Dolphin Safety Nail ClipperLast but certainly not least, the Japonesque Safety Nail Clipper and File in blue dolphin style has a very clever and utilitarian fin – that is how you clip baby’s nails! The file is cleverly tucked on the dolphin’s belly, making this an all-in-one grooming godsend. To use this baby nail clipper, simply pull down on the dolphin’s nose to remove the covering and reveal the nail clipper. This clipper is constructed with safety and precision in mind, leaving your little one’s nails nicely trimmed and tear-free. The nail file on the dolphin’s belly makes it easy to smooth out your baby’s nails from any rough edges.

These grooming items are truly adorable and I would highly recommend them for any baby shower gift basket or wishing well. I received each of these items for the purpose of review and look forward to using them with our little girl.

For more information on Japonesque baby products including those reviewed in this article, please check out http://japonesque.com. You can order these products online at Amazon.com or Drugstore.com.

 

Overland Equipment Sierra Bag- A Diaper Bag That Grows With Your Family

Overland Diaper BagAs a new mom, I am still getting the hang of all this kid and baby stuff – products, tricks of the trade, and the best way to do things, so many things… Packing and organizing a diaper bag is something I thought would come naturally, but truth be told, it hasn’t. I received an Overland Equipment Sierra Bag in a pretty wheat (beige-tan) color for the purpose of review. This bag has a lot of functional spaces and pockets, making it a cinch to pack for your baby, toddler, or older child as you go somewhere out of the house.

First of all, the bag is a great size – you can fit all of your baby essentials as well as a snack for yourself, water bottle, and some other small items you want to take with you. The bag has two adjustable straps in a pretty chocolate brown color and enough pockets to make you smile as you dream up where you’re going to put everything. The interior of the bag is spacious and has one thin, zippered mesh pocket, also in chocolate brown. You will find plenty of room for baby or kid blankets, diapers, wipes, toys, a few changes of clothes, wet bag, and so much more. The main compartment zips securely to prevent anything from falling out and getting lost, a huge win.

Overland Diaper BagOne side of the bag’s exterior has a flap style pocket with Velcro closure, tucking away a wealth of other wonderful pockets. This flap pocket is home to a soft, fleece-lined pocket (great for your phone), another slightly smaller pocket, a rounded pocket, a pen pocket, and a zippered mesh pocket, as well as a larger slot style pocket behind the other pockets. This flap pocket also has a tethered clip that would be great for attaching you’re a pacifier, your keys, a baby toy, a change purse, or a dozen other items. This flap pocket with other hidden pockets is a great place to organize your baby items or your personal items once your little ones outgrow needing a diaper bag.

The other side of the Sierra bag has a wide and deep slot style pocket that will fit lots of different items, such as your baby’s snacks for easy access or bibs, hats, and socks, or other items you need to quickly be able to reach. You can also keep a checkbook, a note tablet, and other personal items here for fast accessibility.

The other ends of the bag each have a bottle pocket that is perfect for your baby’s bottles, sippy cups, or a water bottle for yourself.  These pockets are relatively deep and certainly wide enough to house just about any kind of bottle, thermos, or container.

The fabric of this bag is sturdy and durable, made with 840D junior ballistic nylon and 1680D ballistic nylon for the exterior and 210D ripstop nylon inside. I haven’t had any spills yet, but the bag itself feels as though it would easily withstand rain, snow, and even spilt milk.

The bag has a leather patch that says OverLand Equipment Since 1981, ironically the year I was born. I can see why this company is still in business producing quality products for individuals and families of all ages and sizes. I see this Sierra bag as a multi-purpose diaper bag, allowing you to use it for your baby or young child, but not being tied to that. You can easily pack this bag up for a picnic in the park, a trip to the gym or yoga class, or even as your go-to tote bag for anytime you’re on the go.

The Sierra bag by Overland Equipment is available in wheat, blackberry, or denim and retails for $85. It measures 11.75″ x 19.75″ x 5.5″. You can get your own at OverlandEquipment.com, Amazon.com, and a number of other retailers. For more information about Overland Equipment or the Sierra bag, check out www.overlandequipment.com.

 

Easy Tips and Shortcuts to Improve Your Life in Little Ways

Over time I have found simpler ways to do things in life, especially when it comes to working smarter and not harder. I am thrilled to share some easy tips to improve your life in simple ways, from housework to personal relationships and everything in-between. Check out these cool shortcuts to help improve your life.

No matter what your age or shoe size, at least a few of these tips should change your life in very small ways….

Cleaning Shortcuts

  • Easily remove tea stains from your favorite mugs with just a little bit of baking soda on a wet scrubby sponge.
  • Remove ink on clothing or fabric with hairspray.
  • Soak up grease or melted butter from clothing with baby powder.
  • Remove foundation or concealer makeup from clothing with shaving cream and a toothbrush.
  • Remove red sauce with your favorite dish soap.
  • Remove lily pollen with tape and pure sunlight.

Cooking Shortcuts

  • Substitute olive oil for butter when making healthier dishes like stir-fry.
  • Line your pans with tin foil to reduce cleanup efforts.
  • When possible, make two nights’ meals and freeze one for later. (This works well with meatloaf, meatballs, lasagnas, chicken parmesan, and other favorite dishes.
  • If you don’t have oil, you can use applesauce.
  • Familiarize yourself with other food substitutions so you don’t have to run to the store every time.

Helpful Health and Eating Shortcuts

  • Use shaving cream or regular conditioner when shaving to avoid nicks and cuts.
  • Always keep a small first aid kit in your car, or at the very least, a band-aid in your wallet.
  • When eating corn on the cob, use your lower teeth, going across one row at a time to avoid getting any stuck in your teeth.
  • Try not to eat a big meal or any junk food right before going to bed or taking a nap.
  • Avoid chocolate before a big event if you are worried about acne. (This may not work for everyone but it works for some, despite popular medical opinion!)

Personal Life Shortcuts

  • Always strive to return phone calls, text messages, and emails.
  • Take turns making decisions about what to do, where to go, etc.
  • Choose your battles; remember that life is short and in the long run, some things don’t really matter at all. Those that do are worth fighting for, but a healthy relationship has more than one dimension to it.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff and never worry over something that’s out of your hands.
  • Actually listen to someone when they’re talking, just don’t hear their voice going in the background.
  • Spend as much time with your grandparents as you can while you still have them. Do the same with your parents.

These are just a small collection of points that may help to improve small facets of your life or perspective. Keep these in mind and please feel free to add your own suggestions and favorite tips to our comments below.

CLEAR Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Total Care Nourishing Shampoo and Nourishing Daily Conditioner Review

Total Care shampooAs a beauty website editor, I was asked to be one of the first few people to review a new and exciting hair care product line – CLEAR Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner. CLEAR products were designed with the scalp in mind, as the scalp accounts for 99% of your hair’s natural strength and beauty. I’ve been using the CLEAR Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy products off and on for the past two weeks or so and I’ve enjoyed my experience thus far. I’m glad to share my personal review of these products.

I received one bottle of Total Care shampoo and one bottle of Total Care conditioner for the purpose of this review. From the moment I first used CLEAR hair products, I fell in love with the fragrance. It is a somewhat subtle yet alluring scent that reminds me of a variety of Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner with that unbeatable fragrance that lingers long after you’ve washed your hair. Some of the key ingredients include sunflower, almond, soybean, coconut oils, aloe vera, and Vitamins B5, C, and E.

Another thing I love about this scalp-focused shampoo and conditioner team is how my hair feels after I’ve shampooed and conditioned with these products. I found no matter if I dried my hair with the blow dryer or let it air dry, my locks were still soft, smooth, and very manageable. In fact, I love how soft and smooth my hair is even when I haven’t had time to style it, and I just take a second to toss it back in a hair clip or ponytail. CLEAR shampoo and conditioner leave your hair feeling ultra soft and touchable, making it a great product duo to use before a big date, anytime or all the time.Total Care conditioner

The CLEAR Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Total Care Nourishing Shampoo has a smooth texture and a shiny, shimmery appearance. It lathers beautifully and the fragrance envelops you in the shower or bath. CLEAR Scalp Hair Beauty Therapy Total Care Nourishing Daily Conditioner has a creamy texture and leaves your hair silky and smooth no matter if you blow-dry it, towel dry it, or allow it to air dry.

CLEAR hair care products contain Nutrium 10™ technology, which is a cocktail of 10 vitamins and nutrients that leave your scalp nourished and protected. Studies show these CLEAR products restore and maintain natural moisture balance in the scalp when used regularly. The CLEAR product line includes six shampoos and five conditioners – Total Care for all hair types, Damage & Color Repair, Volumizing Root Boost, Strong Lengths, Moisturizing Dry Scalp, and Complete Care for dandruff prone hair and scalps.

I recently saw travel sized CLEAR hair care products at my local CVS, but you can also buy these products online or at your favorite mass market retailer. These scalp-focused hair care products retail for between $4.99 and $5.99. For more information, check out https://www.facebook.com/clearhaircare.

 

Boppy Pillow and Gia Breastfeeding Pillow Comparative Review

Boppy PillowMy husband and I recently welcomed our baby daughter into the world and we’ve been working hard to get into the swing of things as new parents. Breastfeeding is by no stretch easy, but it is very beneficial to baby and mom so I’ve embraced it wholeheartedly. In my experiences so far, I’ve used the Boppy Pillow, Simplisse Gia Breastfeeding Pillow, and also just sat and cradled the baby in my arms for feeding. Here’s a rundown of my personal opinion on each approach and on both breastfeeding pillows.

I received the Boppy Pillow and a replacement slipcover as a baby shower gift before our daughter was born. We brought the Boppy to the hospital with us, but I didn’t use it a whole lot there. As I was learning the ropes of breastfeeding, I tried out the side-by-side position lying in bed, the football style, and cross cradle. In the hospital, the side-by-side lying position seemed easiest, but I haven’t really done that since I’ve come home.

Upon coming home, I do use the Boppy when I am nursing upstairs in our room. The Boppy is shaped like the letter ‘U’ and gives your arms a break as you are nursing your little one. There are many different colors and styles of slipcovers to enjoy for the Boppy. (I have a purple one and a multicolored one with pink and purple flowers and nature accents.) The Boppy fits snugly but comfortably around my midsection and gives equal support no matter what side you are nursing from, with a rather lightweight stuffing that makes it easy to remove or tote around. I actually keep mine upstairs since I also have the Gia Pillow. You can get the Boppy online at Amazon.com or at any of your favorite baby stores, including Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and even in Target’s baby section. The Boppy Breastfeeding Pillow retails for about $30.

Gia PillowI received the Simplisse Gia Angled Breastfeeding Pillow and a cute green monkey themed slipcover for the purpose of this review. This nursing pillow has its own unique shape, much like a comma or apostrophe – thinner on the one side and thicker on the other. This allows you to find the most comfortable fit for your newborn or growing infant. This breastfeeding pillow is denser than the Boppy, offering more support and cushioning. I like how I can position the Gia pillow directly across my tummy or off to the side if I’m going to do the football hold. The only thing I struggle with is putting the cover back on after I’ve washed it, but my husband thinks it is a piece of cake.

The Simplisse Gia Pillow is made from 100% cotton and it is designed to be comfortable for both mom and baby. The angle of the pillow aids with digestion for baby and takes some of the pressure off of mom as she nurses. The Simplisse Gia Angled Breastfeeding Pillow retails for $40. For more information, check it out on the Simplisse website.

 

Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags Review

Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags ReviewAs a new mom, I am certainly learning a lot about a lot. Breastfeeding didn’t come easy but it’s going much better now and our little one is doing great. I purchased a Medela Pump in Style Backpack to help me ensure our baby always has what she needs, even if someone else has her for a few hours. I have tried storing the pumped breast milk in sterilized BPA-free bottles as well as breast milk storage bags. I received a box of 25 Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags for the purpose of this review.

The Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags impressed me from the first use. I like the sturdy yet flexible BPA-free plastic bags and found them especially easy to fill, seal, and freeze. I did notice if I dropped a bag once frozen, or if one fell out of the freezer, sometimes the milk would leak when thawing or I might notice an “off” odor. This happened once in a while, but I thought it might be worth mentioning.

I found it insanely easy to get the air out of the bags before freezing. These milk storage bags have a double zipper, which allows you to be very sure your milk is safe and secure, separate from everything else you have in your freezer, and protected from leaking everywhere.

The bags hold up to six ounces, making them ideal for a single pumping session, as well as for infants of different ages. These bags are also rated as the #1 storage bag for breastfeeding needs, and are marketed as the strongest bag available. Each bag has an outer tab that allows you to write the date and time you pumped as well as the name and number of ounces in the bag.

Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags are free standing and can be easily stored in your freezer either standing up or placed flat. The bags come in a tissue-pack style dispenser and they are all pre-sterilized. Thorough instructions make it easy for even the newest mom (like me) to get it right on the first try – no fuss!

I am very pleased with my experience so far. We haven’t had to defrost any of the milk stored in the Lansinoh bags just yet – right now we are working on building up our supply until we have to leave the baby with a relative for a few hours. However, the entire experience so far has been flawless, and I expect I will continue to purchase these bags unless we opt for storing in breast milk storage bottles instead. (Our lactation consultant at the hospital urged us to use bottles rather than bags, but that came with a lot of extra work and we are still trying to find out if there is a legitimate need to do so.)

These milk storage bags are recyclable as well.

You can buy Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags at your favorite baby store or baby department of various large retailers, as well as online at Amazon.com. Depending on the number of bags in the package, Lansinoh Bags retail for about $8 to $20 per pack. You might also find coupons available to reduce your cost.

Cute Baby Photo Albums – Baby’s First Photos

Pink Baby Photo Board BookOur family is a bit scattered across the States, and some of us are within driving distance but don’t always see each other even once a month. A baby photo album seems to be a great way to help a little one learn all the immediate family members – grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Of course, you wouldn’t want those precious baby books and matching albums to get destroyed by curious little fingers… thankfully the Take Your Pix® photo album is designed especially with these destructive adorable little hands in mind.

I received a gorgeous My First Photos Take Your Pix Photo Album for the purpose of this review. It is a very lovely shade of pink, perfect for our new baby girl. The book has a slot for a nice sized photo on the cover and it has a pretty, fuzzy font on the front that says “My First Photos.” The entire book is a board-style photo album, making it just perfect for little ones who haven’t quite learned “careful” yet. The board book pages are smooth with a protective clear sleeve to ensure each photo is safely tucked away from little hands. The pages have small curved cutouts that scale down the length of the book so each page is very easy for even a young baby to turn one at a time.

Take Your Pix Photo Albums are a product of Board Book Albums, LLC, created by Laura Miranti, a mom of four (with #5 on the way) who designed these creative albums to help with her daughter’s speech development. Miranti’s daughter Lucia served as the inspiration for the books. Lucia’s speech therapist of four years suggested that her mom make a photo album of important people, toys, body parts, and other items that could easily be named upon recognition. The first album Miranti created didn’t last long in Lucia’s hands, so she created a more durable, kid-friendly product that rivals the board style books that her daughter loved so much.

These board books offer a safe and sturdy photo album option for young children and babies, but they also work great for craft projects the kids can do with mom or grandma.

Take Your Pix Photo Albums have received numerous awards, including: Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Children’s Product Award 2011, Kidlutions Preferred Product Award 2011, and two Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards: the Best Book Gold Award 2009 and the Special Needs Adaptable Product(SNAP) 2009 Award.

Albums from Board Book Albums, LLC are available on Amazon.com, Sears.com, Diapers.com, TheBump.com and Overstock.com. A portion of proceeds goes to a variety of special needs organizations and events. Take Your Pix books retail for between $19.95 and $24.95. For more information or to buy an album, check out BoardBookAlbums.com.

Of course, I did also pick up a few pink baby photos books of my own, by Carter’s (it has an adorable pink bunny on the front cover), and you can bet these won’t be going into our little one’s hands any time soon. While precious for sure, they wouldn’t stand a chance against tiny fingers or tiny hands!

 

Gifts for a New Dad at the Birth of a Son or Daughter

Gift ideas for new dads or first father's dayThere’s a longstanding tradition of husbands picking out “push presents” for their wives as they prepare to give birth to a new son or daughter. But what about those brave new dads? If you are interested in getting your husband a sweet gift to mark this special occasion, the arrival of your first son or daughter, or a new baby in general, consider these sweet and creative gifts for a new dad.

Not all couples exchange gifts and not all moms-to-be select presents for the new dad. If it’s in the budget or even if it’s that important to you that you want to make it work out, do your best to plan a little bit in advance. This can save you from having to pay expedited shipping or other costly charges. You can also shop around for the best price and the most memorable and appropriate gift.

Here are some gift ideas for a new dad at the birth of his son or daughter. (You can also consider these gifts for a dad who is celebrating another birth in the family – a second child, third child, etc., or as a special first Father’s Day gift or a gift for any Father’s Day.)

Gift ideas for new dads or first father's day•    Cigar Gifts
•    Cufflinks
•    New Camera
•    Handheld Video Camera
•    Handwritten Letter or Sentimental Greeting Card
•    Keepsake Box / Men’s Valet Box
•    Personalized Keychain
•    Photo Album
•    Preplanned Date Night for the near future
•    T-Shirt and Onesie Combo
•    Watch or Timepiece

Daddy Scrubs can be a great, sentimental gift for the Dad-to-be. These classy scrubs give a new dad something to wear into the delivery room rather than getting stuck in a pair of hospital scrubs. Daddy Scrubs are available in a wide array of colors and sizes with different fonts available to proudly show off “Daddy” on the pocket and “I’m the Daddy” on the back. The scrub pants also display “daddyscrubs(R)” neatly down the leg. I received a complimentary set for review and for my husband to wear when our first child was born. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for him to change into them when our experience kicked into high gear. Hopefully we will be better prepared with the next child!

If you opt for cufflinks or some type of jewelry, consider getting your child’s birthstone as the focal point or a small accent. You can also find a wide variety of cufflinks at Amazon.com and at Etsy.com, where you can browse through literally hundreds of handmade, unique items designed by independent crafters. I actually opted for a lovely set of cufflinks for my husband – they are designed like word definitions, one says “Husband” and the other says “Dad,” symbolic to me of the merging of our marriage with the start of our family. My husband means the world to me, but now he is a daddy, too, so I wanted to recognize both aspects of our lives together as a family.

I also selected a few cigar gifts for him to enjoy with his cigars we chose for him to share with friends and family as keepsakes for our daughter’s birth. I picked out a gorgeous blue onyx cigar ashtray, a carbon fiber cigar cutter, and a matching carbon fiber cigar lighter.

To finish everything up, I picked out two cards – a thank you card to let my husband know how much it means to me that we’ve started a family together, and a love card to let him know he is still and always will be the love of my life. I hand-wrote a few lines from my heart and also let him know my hope is that our daughter can one day find someone as wonderful as him.

Feel free to pick out a similar gift or card for your husband as your child’s birth approaches – mine went over very well and in fact he told me I had gone a little overboard. I think he really liked the cards, and he wore the cufflinks on his first day back to work after our little one was born. He used the cigar accessories the night after we came home from the hospital, so I am confident he liked everything I chose.

If you have any other ideas for a sweet and memorable gift for the daddy (a reverse push present if you will), please feel free to share your ideas or the gifts you’ve selected (or received) in our comments below!

 

Baby Changing Pad Cover Reviews

Pink baby changing padThe sheer volume of baby products available in stores and online can be truly overwhelming. Countless brands, styles, fabrics, colors, patterns, and options exist to suit every taste and preference. Changing pad covers are no exception. You can find fitted changing pad covers that coordinate with baby bedding sets as well as plain flannel or soft and plush minky fabric, organic cotton, and many other options when it comes to changing pad covers. Here are a few of my favorites….

I purchased a few changing pad covers and also received one for free from Kushies for the purpose of this review. I recently discovered that changing pad covers can be quite versatile, also doubling as fitted bassinet sheets (we have the Co-Sleeper Mini Bassinet). This is amazing because the fitted sheets for the Co-Sleeper bassinet are very expensive compared to simple changing pad covers, and they fit about the same.

I currently own three changing pad slip covers but plan to pick up a few more to ensure something is available when I haven’t gotten to the wash yet. (Sidebar comment: I completely feel like all we do is laundry anymore!!) With the unpredictability of newborns and young infants, it’s common to have accidental spills while changing diapers. Changing pad covers can rapidly make it into the laundry pile, so it’s great to have some spares on hand. It’s also fun to change the design here and there so that you and your little one get to enjoy new colors or new animals, patterns, or designs.

I picked two of the Summer Infant Basic Comfort Ultra Plush Changing Pad Cover, one in pink and one in white. These covers are super soft and fit the changing pad and the bassinet mattress perfectly. The fabric is soft as can be (100% polyester) and is machine washable and dryable. These changing pad covers are advertised as being the softest change pad covers available and I don’t doubt it.White Changing Pad

These covers by Summer Infant fit standard changing pads of about 16” x 32” and have openings to allow most changing pad safety straps to fit their purpose. The super soft fabric is also stain resistant, a parent’s dream! I found the fitted changing pad’s edges to be stretchy and very easy to fit over the changing pad or bassinet mattress. For more information, check out www.summerinfant.com. You can also buy the Summer Infant UltraPlush Changing Pad Covers on Amazon.com in a variety of colors, including pink, blue, ecru, sage, and white.

Natural and organic products for baby offer a major selling point as well. We certainly want whatever is best for our infant’s skin and health. The Organic Change Pad Fitted Sheet by Kushies offers a soft cotton flannel option for your baby’s changing needs. I received a white change pad fitted sheet (17” x 33”) for the purpose of this review. I am impressed with the softness of the flannel and the construction of the elastic fitted edges and the openings for the changing pad safety straps.

The quality of this organic change pad cover is excellent. The fabric is soft and the fitted change pad sheet has finished edges to help it last the test of time and many diaper changes. This change pad cover is machine washable and dryable, making it easy to maintain as well.

Kushies offers just about everything for babies and toddlers, from bibs to swim diapers, toys, layette, and especially washable diapers, among many other products. For more information on this changing pad cover and the many other Kushies products (and where to buy), check out www.kushiesonline.com or visit Kushies on Facebook at facebook.com/kushiesbaby for special promotions, new product announcements, and more.

Life Love Beauty readers can take advantage of this code lifelovebeauty2012 for a 10 percent discount on any order from www.kushiesonline.com. Enjoy!

 

Eco-Friendly Computer Bags and Sleeves – GreenSmart Markhor Mac 16” Laptop Bag Review

Greensmart laptop bagWe can all do our part to help the environment, from turning off lights and electronic devices we aren’t using to carpooling and buying green products. Did you know that even your laptop sleeve or computer bag can be designed in an eco-friendly way? GreenSmart laptop sleeves, computer bags, messenger bags, and water and wine carriers are all comprised of eco-friendly materials and were produced as a result of socially responsible labor. We received a stylish and functional Markhor 16” black laptop bag for the purpose of review – here’s the scoop….

As a company, GreenSmart places great focus and importance on making the planet a little greener. GreenSmart uses a green manufacturing process as well as eco-friendly materials, green packaging and shipping, to name a few. Perhaps the most exciting and most interesting factor, GreenSmart Bottles 2 Bags products give plastic bottles a second life – they are derived 100% from recycled plastic bottles. To achieve this, bottles are recycled and ground into chips, then spun into yarn. The eco-friendly yarn is woven into fabric, which is then sewn into bags.

The Markhor 16” black laptop bag is perfectly sized for a 16” laptop or Macbook. The case is fully padded with additional padding on the corners to be safe. Even the handles are padded! Two zippered pockets on the front give you some storage space for small accessories or your checkbook and bills while a full-width open pocket allows for paperwork and more. This laptop bag also comes with a shoulder strap (not as padded, though) for easy toting.GreenSmart laptop black laptop bag

One observation is that this bag is designed to be slim and portable, great for commuters and those with other things they have to lug around. Depending on your laptop and its accessories, it may be a bit tricky to fit all your items, power cord, and USB mouse, if they are on the large side. It can be done for sure, but what you can fit in the bag is directly related to the size of your computer, charger cord, and accessories. If you are the type who likes to lug everything with you, you may need to cut back on a few things. This stylish and portable case is meant to be lightweight and eco-friendly, not a complete carryall for everything you own.

I love the look and feel of this lightweight, durable laptop case. It is conveniently sized for commuting on the train or subway, through the airport, or on your daily travels to and from home. The green mentality behind its creation is reassuring that some companies are moving in the right direction to help us sustain the health of our planet.

This may be purely a matter of personal preference, but I also love the orange interior fabric and how nicely it pairs with the black exterior. (I am a Flyers fan at heart, after all!) Of course, this laptop bag is also available in ocean blue or gray if you don’t prefer black.

The 16” Markhor laptop bag retails for $59.95. For more information on this bag and other GreenSmart products, check out www.greensmart.biz.