Jewelry & Jeans: December 2018

Making Lasting Memories with Shutterfly

Friday, December 21, 2018

Since I was a little I can remember how fun it was each December to get Christmas cards.  To see how much family had changed in a year.  To listen to my mom read the yearly updates on friends and to see the house covered in pretty family pictures.  Now with my own family I really treasure the opportunity and excuse to get dolled up, put on some Christmas music and capture a moment in time with my favorite people.  I love to give Christmas cards just as much as I love to run to the mailbox and receive them.

It's a little luxury that I hold dear and hope my children will one day hold dear as well.  There is something so special about creating a card and sharing an update with those that you may not have otherwise heard from all year.  A way to connect and to reconnect.  A way to just show that you are thinking of those near and far even if it's been a year since you last touched base.

Year after year I have such a fun time picking out a great card to compliment our family pictures.  And year after year, I am so impressed with Shutterfly. They offer a great selection and make the design process really easy.  My favorite part is being able to upload my address book and have all of my envelopes not only preprinted but designed so that both my card and my envelope make a lasting impression on our recipients.  This year we waited until Keira was born to take our family pictures and let me tell you, trying to get 5 people dressed, smiling and all happy in one frame is quite a task.  Luckily, Shutterfly has so many options and customizable cards that you can find something that perfectly suits your needs and your family.  Hence, the crying baby and "This Is Us" card because the little bit of chaos is perfectly us and this card felt like it was meant to be. 

Use code HOLIDAY for 50% off

You can see all the wonderful options available for you HERE.  I have used Shutterfly year after year and the quality of the cards do not disappoint.  They always come exactly as ordered and they are fast.  Plus, they not only offer printed return addresses but allow you to upload contacts and have all of your cards readdressed as well! Hallelujah!! This has saved me SO much time.

They are currently offering 50% off almost everything RIGHT NOW, with no code needed!! It's their best deal of the year and a great time to buy not only your Holiday cards but personalized gifts as well.  I stocked up on prints, calendars and some fun picture magnets this year. Pictures are just too special to leave unseen.  What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?


In exchange for this post I did receive products however, all products were personally selected by me and all opinions expressed are my own and 100% honest.  Thank you for supporting the brands that help support this blog. 

Hospital Bag Must Haves

Monday, December 3, 2018

Being as this wasn't my first rodeo, I knew/had an idea of what to bring and what not to bring with me to the hospital when baby girl arrived.  I definitely fine tuned this list and narrowed down the essentials that worked for me in my experiences as well as this one.  It's also good to note that with both boys I was in and out of the hospital in less than 30 hours and completely expected the same with baby girl. While that did change a bit it didn't actually change my packing list.

Obviously, if you are going in for a C-section or end up staying longer you may want to pack an extra set of pajamas and clothing for you and baby.

Since you'll be in bed for the vast majority of time be sure to bring a few pairs of pajamas.  Sleep shirts are a nice option since after baby comes some often messy residuals. Robes and nursing tops work great too.  Don't forget to bring a few nursing bras. I swear by the sports bra type, comfortable but supportive. I recommend sizing up one from your 9 month bra size since once your milk comes in you'll need a larger option.

I'm not a fan of hospital showers thus, I leave all the shampoo etc at home. I bring essential toiletries for brushing teeth and washing my face and I also bring my makeup.  This is clearly optional and a personal choice however, I feel better and since so many pictures are being taken I like the end result a whole lot more. Another essential is your going home outfit.  Make sure to bring something that is similar to what you were wearing size wise when you came into the hospital.  While you will have just had a baby your body will not just bounce back to pre-pregnancy weight within 24 hours.  Comfortable is really key in this regard.  I swear by Lululemon Align pants.  They are the softest pants ever and have a nice wide waistband, great for holding you in.  I also brought a loose top that was comfortable but also nursing friendly.

One thing I did when my second son was born and made sure to do again this time for both boys was to bring a present "from the baby." It definitely makes the boys feel special and makes the introduction a little sweeter. Plus, who doesn't need a little activity or toy to help entertain the older kiddos when there is a new baby to look after.  Unfortunately, the hospital implemented their flu season restrictions the day Keira was born so, although I had the gifts wrapped and ready we had to bring them home to give to the boys since they were never allowed to visit while in the hospital.

There are several other luxuries that are totally optional but do feel nice to have on hand.  I brought my slippers since there were lots of trips to the bathroom and no one likes dirty socks in bed.  A sleep mask if you're sensitive to light, noise machine or noise app if all the beeping of the machines is likely to keep you up.

For baby, leave all the diapers and wipes at home. The hospital provides them and you'll be going thru enough as it is so, save the ones you've got.  I am a big fan of gowns since there are so many diaper changes, especially for at night. It's the easiest clothing when changing diapers with the least amount of disruption to baby.  I recommend bringing 2-3 outfits, matching bows if you're into that sort of thing, and a swaddle. I use the hospital swaddle as a burp cloth and used the hospital hat since  it was cold.  If you want a special name announcement don't forget to bring that as well.

One thing I'm big on is bringing a couple of snacks.  While the hospital will cater to you after baby arrives, when you are in labor food is near possible to obtain.  They hold you off on anything solid thus, be sure to eat right before you go in and bring a protein bar or something easy to nibble on just in case.  If you're in labor for an hour or 26 hours, they don't care and food will be scarce. For a girl who likes to eat that just doesn't sit well.

Don't forget technology items as well.  A camera is a must but an iphone can totally suffice in this arena.  Don't forget your charger.  I bring my phone as well as my Nikon just for the ability to play with settings since the light in a hospital and the time of day can play a significant difference in the end pictures. I also like to bring a computer or ipad just to keep busy since there are often hours of waiting before baby arrives.  Maybe plan to download a movie or plan to start a new Netflix show so, get that app updated.

The biggest mistake I made my first time around was bring way too much stuff.  It's a pain to lug around, it takes up way too much room in an already cramped space and it's a pain to unpack when you get home.  This time I wanted to streamline it and make sure my bag was appropriate as well. No sense packing light but using a huge suitcase.  I love my Lo & Sons Catalina bag and not just because it's rose!  It's the perfect weekender type of bag.  Plenty of pockets inside and out, as well as my favorite part, the zippered compartment on the bottom.  Perfect to separate shoes or dirty clothes. This style bag comes in 7 different colors and is currently 30% off! The green, grey or ash color would make great gifts for men.

What is one thing you wish you had left behind or a must have you can't live without? My must have would definitely be a couple of favorite snacks!


The Magic of Christmas with Santa

Saturday, December 1, 2018

There is something so magically about this time of year. The lights, the sparkle, the smells and good cheer. The giggles, the excitement, the music and giving abound. I just love everything about Christmas and of course, the boys do too. We always kick off the season by a visit to see Santa. They were so excited to go and our annual trip to the Santa HQ event did not disappoint. 

Santa HQ at Fashion Fair offers so much more than the standard Santa visit.  Don't sit out in the cold waiting for hours just for 3 minutes sitting on Santa's lap when you can have a full North Pole experience.  The boys first got to stop by and enter their name into the naughty or nice meter and boy, let me tell you, it was a close call! Lucky for both boys, they made the nice list.  It was fun for them to get to see their name up on the screen under the nice list.  

Next they got to become elves themselves with their own elf ID card and even unlock elf-ray vision so they can spy in on what the elves are hard at work building.  The whole experience is very interactive and keeps the kids entertained the entire time as they make their way to see Santa.  My favorite part is the fact you can make a reservation so you spend less time waiting in line.

The Santa never disappoints either.  He is always so authentic, patient and kind to the boys. Plus, at the end he has a little gift for them.  You get two seperate photo opportunities; one with Santa and one at a winter wonderland backdrop and the photos are ready for you to view and order the minute you're done.

This is our 4th year coming to the Santa HQ event and we love it.  Available mid November through December and out of the elements. Such a great family tradition and I just love watching the boys light up with joy and excitement over the tradition.  What is you're favorite Christmas tradition with your family?


This post was sponsored by Santa HQ however, all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Compensation was paid in consideration for my review.  Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

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