*Moccasins provided by Minimoc. Review 100% my own.
Everyone tells you to enjoy the first few months of your baby’s life. Not just because the newborn stage is so fleeting. Not just because it’s so easy to get frustrated and take that whole time for granted.
It’s also because, well, that is the last time you won’t spend most of your day chasing the little stinker around.
I distinctly remember the first few days after Vivi learned how to crawl. For the first time, I realized I couldn’t simply lay her on the floor on her activity mat for a couple minutes while I went to pee. No, going to the bathroom was officially a group activity. Now the baby who I set in one place would (quickly) relocate herself to somewhere else, grinning to herself all the while about what a hot shot she was.
Things didn’t slow down when she started taking real steps.
Now, it seems like Vivi is everywhere — and fast. She can walk and climb and gets into everything. And while, yes, it is more tiring and it does sometimes make me long for those early days of wriggling around on activity mats, it’s also pretty amazing watching her turn into this person with her own agenda.
But you’re not just here for nostalgia about Vivian. We also need to talk about something important: shoes.
From the very beginning, Vivi has not been a fan of shoes. I could usually get her to keep socks on, but tights were the only way to be certain her toes would stay covered. And the only shoes she would tolerate were the fake ones stitched on to the ends of tights.
But now that she’s actually walking, I want to protect her bare piggies from the ground and give her a bit more grip on our tile floors than socks will allow.
I’ve tried a variety of soft, moccasin-style shoes from major retailers, but I’ve been wildly unimpressed. They are typically stiff, and as difficult as they are to get on Vivi’s feet (and it is so, SO difficult), she was usually able to rip or wriggle them off within minutes. (Cue my extreme phobia of losing a shoe somewhere in NYC. Those things are not cheap, you guys.)
But thank goodness for good friends, right? My friend Haley, of Beluga Baby fame, always seems to know the best baby product makers. She has been telling me about Minimoc moccasins for months, but it wasn’t until recently that I finally started listening. (I don’t know why I resisted so long, Haley! Never again!)
And, you guys? They. Are. The. Best.
From the moment I opened the little shoe box, I actually said out loud “oooh!” The leather is so soft, and Vivi’s rose gold mocs were such a pretty, new penny color I couldn’t stop staring at them.
Then I actually put them on her feet. And I waited. And waited. And she waltzed around like she owned the joint without even attempting to pull them off.
That? That is downright miraculous.
Suffice to say, I’ve already picked out her next pair.
I mean, I know I’m going to spend the next 18 years chasing her around…shouldn’t she at least have comfy, protected feet while I’m doing it?
*Vivi’s Joyful Thread leggings were provided for this review; opinions 100% my own.
A friend of mine and I were recently discussing how everything about air travel is bonkers.
I mean, I recommend not thinking about it too hard, but…you’re flying through the air. In a hunk of metal. Because of air. And gasoline. Because THAT makes sense. I’m a mostly not-nervous flier (okay, maybe a teense bit), but there will always be aspects to the whole charade that I can’t wrap my head around.
You know what else seems like it just shouldn’t work? Taking a baby on that plane with you.
I’m kind of kidding. But, let’s be real: Childless passengers aren’t the only ones who take a deep breath when a baby is carried on board. So when we planned a trip to Florida to visit my parents last month, I was a little apprehensive how it would go.
Vivi has flown before. She has actually flown quite a bit for someone who has fewer than four teeth. She has even done longer flights than this, making it all the way to the Pacific Northwest and back. What she hasn’t done? Flown since she has started crawling and walking.
As we planned our trip and I began my famous packing lists (seriously, these things are intense), I struggled to remain optimistic about our chances of touching down without a meltdown. Fortunately, I thought ahead and asked for plenty of advice from fellow parents. Here are my top five tips for a successful plane ride with a baby, garnered from research and crowdsourcing all my friends. Enjoy!
1. Keep those ears clear.
Most babies will be their fussiest during take-off and landing because of the change in pressure. Ideally, you could nurse or give them a bottle to encourage sucking (and therefore ear-clearing), but most airlines insist that you hold the baby over your shoulder during take-offs and landings.
Side note: Every airline I’ve flown has told me a different way of holding my baby is “the safest way,” but all of them insist the baby be unharnessed (unless she’s in a car seat) in some way. This makes no sense to me, so I would usually clip Vivi into some kind of carrier as soon as the flight attendant was out of sight. Any former flight attendants out there who know why they recommend a loosened baby? I’m genuinely curious.
Regardless of how your baby sits, though, do what you can to encourage swallowing and sucking to keep the pressure from building up. A pacifier, snacks, and even just tapping your baby’s tongue periodically can be a big help. A trip to the pediatrician before a long flight can also be helpful if your baby tends to experience ear aches or sinus issues, just to fend off any problems.
2. Bring snacks.
Listen, I’m not encouraging eating your feelings. But I AM saying that a handful of puffs or a squeezy pack can be just the ticket to curb a total over-tired tantrum at 40,000 feet. You may recall that this was also one of my recommendations for road trips, and that’s just because a full baby is generally a more happy baby. My daughter is also a seagull, so even if we ran out of planned baby snacks, it was usually easy to distract her with a nibble of whatever we happened to be eating.
One thing to keep in mind: Babies tummies can get upset by the pressure changes just like yours can, so avoid anything with too much fiber or something your baby has never eaten before. The last thing you need is a diaper blowout during the beverage service.
3. Burn before you board.
Now that Vivi is much more mobile, nothing drives her crazier than being forced to sit still. But when you’ve got about eight inches of leg room (and you’re sharing it with a stranger), there isn’t a lot of space for an almost-toddler to play. On our flight to Florida, we actually ended up having an empty seat next to us (helpful for letting Vivi get some standing time in and distracting her with the window), but even then, I didn’t like to leave her unstrapped for very long.
To fend off the ants in the pants, we got her moving as much as possible before we left for the airport and then as we waited in the terminal. She loved crawling over the arm rests on an empty bench as she watched the planes come in and out through the big windows, and we were fortunate that she slept the whole first hour of the flight.
4. Create a cozy sleeping space.
Obviously, you’re most-likely not going to have an actual bed on board with you. Unless you’re a millionaire. Or have one of these. (Has anyone ever actually tried that thing? Vivi’s too big for it now, but it seems sort of genius if you have a window seat.) What is much more plausible? Wearing that baby. Y’all know my love for the Beluga Wrap (also, squeee for week-old Vivi in those photos!!!). Vivi is about 20 pounds, so we can still use ours for walking around, but it’s even more helpful when I’m trying to get her to sleep in a new place. She just can’t resist that snuggly bamboo cotton!
I’ll typically wear the wrap from the moment I get through the security screening since it almost looks like a shirt when it’s tied on. From there, I can simply pop Viv in and out as needed, and I’m comfortable either way. Plus, Haley has even more colors since I last wrote about these wraps — including an extremely scrumptious forest green that has me wanting to get pregnant again just so I have an excuse to buy it. (KIDDING, JOEY.) Haley is even sharing another coupon code with you guys: Use “JUSTINE” for $10 off! (And remember, the site’s prices are in Canadian dollars, so the wraps are actually more like $55 for my American readers.)
5. And at all costs, keep that baby comfy!
This is not the time to dress your baby is fussy layers or excessive accessories. A baby will scream over a single scratchy tag, after all. My go-to? The BEYOND soft and comfortable baby leggings from Custom Threads. These suckers are stretchy, breathable, and custom-made from a variety of fabrics according to preference. They even have a Mommy + Me version so you can get in on the coziness. (Because moms hate scratchy tags too, right?)
I dressed Vivi in a onesie, her pants, and a pair of socks (since she would be walking over heavily-tread carpets, after all), and she didn’t fuss or pull at her outfit once. The leggings are also great for sleeping, so I can sub them for a full set of jammies while the weather is still warm. Plus, how cute is that pattern? Owner Emily is really helpful when it comes to finding the pattern you prefer, and she has tons of choices.
So there you have it! What are your tips for flying with a baby?
I want to be upfront about something: When crop tops came back as a thing, I was not pleased.
I was already well into my mid-twenties, meaning I was (in my opinion) about half a decade too old to bare my belly anywhere but at the pool.
I know that sounds ageist. And maybe it is. But, to be real, I was mostly just uncomfortable with the idea of anyone walking around with their belly out. THIS ISN’T A CHRISTINA AGUILERA VIDEO CIRCA 1999.
But then…then I saw a reality show where a woman wore a crop top with a high-waisted full skirt. And DANG if I didn’t think it was the cutest thing I had ever seen — even if I could see her belly button.
What I’m saying is, I’ve come around a bit to the idea. I guess. I’m trying to be open minded. I’m not trying to be all let-me-tell-you-what-you-can-wear-because-I-say-so. But while even I am guilty of wearing a belly-baring crop top in recent memory (only twice, I swear!), the fact remains that a top that’s cropped is not always going to be appropriate for whatever you’ve got going on that day, especially now that the weather is (finally) cooling down.
So what’s a girl to do if she falls for a top that her parents wouldn’t approve of? (Come on; you know crop tops are the bad boys of women’s wear.) Or, more likely, she’s worried about catching a chill? Here are three ways to wear your crop top this fall.
By turning your maxi skirt into a tea-length number
I have this coral-colored maxi skirts that, to be honest, is a bit too long. The bottom tends to drag on the ground when I wear it with flats, which means I don’t wear it that often.
I also have this striped crop top I bought for a party years ago. I think you see where I’m going with this.
Yes, my first tip is: Hike up that skirt! It helps that this skirt has an elastic waistline, so I can wear it on different parts of my torso. If you’re feeling bolder, you could even pull down the skirt to flash an inch or two of skin (the scandal!) — the demure skirt length will keep the whole look in check.
Gratuitous Viv pic!
By layering it over a maxi dress
Maxi dresses are another style staple that tends to get shut away in the closet when temperatures dip. But that’s no reason why you can’t keep wearing them in the fall — you just need the right accoutrements to warm up the look.
Cue the perfect maxi topper: the floaty crop top. This light blue top of mine is almost a regular length shirt, but the loose hem means your tummy could be flashed if the right breeze comes along. By layering a maxi under it, both pieces are instantly seasonally appropriate.
By wearing it with a high-waisted pencil skirt
The same way I love high-low fashion combos, I love the idea of pairing something a bit risque with something super modest (see the aforementioned crop top with the ladylike skirt on the reality show). This is my version of that. I bought both these pieces at Nordstrom Rack, but the skirt actually started out as a regular pencil skirt. The store only had one size left, and it was about two sizes too big for me. Fortunately, they offered super reasonable tailoring, and, in a flash of inspiration, I decided to have them turn it into a high-waisted midi-length pencil skirt that would pair perfectly with this shirt. The best part? No crunches required.
Be honest: Do you love the crop — or love to hate it? If you’re a crop owner, how do you wear yours when it gets colder?
I think one of the easiest ways to make any outfit look a little more pulled together is to add another layer.
Y’all know how much I love my basic white T and jeans, but I could just as easily wear that outfit to a job interview or a nice dinner out if I threw on a blazer or even a killer scarf and hat. The point is: layers mean business. And they’re just the ticket to make an outfit look a little more intentional.
The problem is, it’s still hot out there, you guys. Like, blazing. So even though my favorite style season is upon us, I can’t just throw on a sweater and boots and pretend that I won’t sweat to death.
Enter the vest.
I know, I know; you just hear that word and think of this. I know I do. But irregardless (if you don’t get that joke, we can’t be friends), I actually like vests in real life. And when you’re staring a steamy autumn in the face, they are the perfect solution to layers that won’t give you heat exhaustion.
Here are the three vests I’ll be rocking this fall (no matter what Regina George thinks).
The Puffer Vest
Does the puffer vest ever really go out of style? I hope not. The best thing about these fluffy little suckers is that you can wear them through winter, and they look just as good with a sweater and pencil skirt as they do with a button down, statement necklace, and jeans.
The Denim Vest
I’ll be real: No one was more surprised than me when the denim vest made a comeback. The last time I wore one, I’m pretty sure my biggest concern was where I had left my social studies homework and what time is Even Stevens on? But the only secret to pulling off a denim vest is to wear it in the same context you would a jean jacket. The only difference? Easy-breezy arms. It’s also a great way to transition spaghetti-strapped maxi dresses into cooler temps during those last few weeks of summer.
The Drape-y Olive Vest
Olives are actually one of the only two foods I hate, but when it comes to the color, I dig it. I would literally wear this color every day if I didn’t want to confuse people into thinking I think I’m an actual member of the armed forces. Olive is essentially fall’s answer to the khaki of summer, and I for one am totally into it — especially considering how perfectly it pairs with my 90-percent-black-and-white wardrobe. This drape-y cotton vest adds a bit of coziness to everything from summer dresses leggings and long-sleeved T’s.
So come on now…you don’t think ALL vests are disgusting, right?
Plus, did you catch my other favorite fall accessory?
Lately, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with this wood watch from JORD. Mine is the Fieldcrest Series watch in zebrawood and maple, and it fits into my life the way a hand-hewn farm table fits into every gorgeous dining room you see on Pinterest right now. The color is neutral enough to match everything, but I love the actual woodgrain in the band and face — and how it makes my watch subtly unique from every other one in the series.
Here are a few more close-ups of that little beauty:
I’m having a clothing swap with a few girlfriends this weekend, so I started this week by cleaning out my closet and drawers. When I looked at my newly pared down wardrobe, one thing was hard to deny: I have a LOT of white shirts.
When Vivi was first born, while I wouldn’t say I completely let my sense of style go, I definitely had to make quicker choices. I needed to be comfortable, and I needed to be able to whip out a boob at a moment’s notice. (Ah, the joys of breastfeeding.)
White T’s became my go-to, and the love affair has only grown — even though I now I like to think I put more effort into my look than in those early days.
The problem is, when you’re staring down a drawer full of white shirts, things start to look a little…bland.
But while I’ll never let my white shirts go, I’m not quite ready to resign myself to boring style. So I decided to challenge myself to create three completely different looks that each featured my favorite wardrobe staple.
Look #1: White V-neck with a skirt and heels
One of my favorite things about white T-shirts is how easy they are to dress up despite their otherwise casual nature. A slightly flared skirt with a pair of heeled sandals is the perfect look for lunch with a friend, or I could throw on a statement necklace for an evening out.
Look #2:Boyfriend T-shirt with high-waisted skinny jeans, heels, and a pendant necklace
Honestly, this is what you can likely find me in almost any given day. (Minus the heels — my day-to-day is more of a sneakers or wedges look.) I used to shy away from baggy tops because I felt like I needed to highlight the narrowest part of my body, but I love how versatile boyfriend T’s are, especially when you tuck them into high-waists. And that pendant? Perfect for Vivi to play with as I carry her to and fro.
Look #3: White button-down with belted shorts and sneakers
Rompers were all the rage this year, but I found it hard to find one that was truly flattering on my body but still modest enough to wear in real life. My solution? Pairing a matching top and shorts. I love how summery this outfit feels without feeling like a costume (the belt helps break up all the white), and contrasting sneakers add just enough visual interest to still feel a little dressed up (even though they’re so comfortable).
I often say that, for me, the best part of sleep training (besides, you know, the sleep) is that I get to end every day madly in love with my baby. From the moment we start our routine, Vivi is typically calmer and cuddlier until the moment I lay her down in her crib. We end virtually every day with songs and snuggles and a peaceful parting.
Granted, there are times this doesn’t happen. (I wrote this post last night, and, of course, that was actually one of the evenings we ended with an overtired baby and a lot of frustration.) But those times just serve to make me even more grateful for the fact that that is not our routine — it’s the exception.
Typically, our nights go like this:
5:00/5:30: Family dinner
6:00: Vivi gets a bath (usually Joey does the bath so I can have a few minutes to unwind to myself, but if he’s working late I sub in)
6:20-7:00: Joey and Vivi play and spend time together
7:00: Joey reads to Vivi while I nurse her, then he says her bedtime prayer and I’ll rock her and sing a couple of songs before putting my now very sleepy babe to bed
While I would say the last few moments are my favorite part of the routine, Joey would undoubtedly say the bath and playtime are his favorite moments. I also love sitting in the living room and listening to Vivi belly laugh as she plays with her bath toys and splashes with her Dada. It’s such a great way for us all to relax and for Vivi and Joey to bond before bedtime.
A few months back, my friend Haley introduced me to a new kind of bath cleanser that has helped turn our evening routine into an even more relaxing — and, dare I say, spa-like? — experience for Vivi: Bébé de LuxeCoconut & Oat Milk Bath.
When we started giving Vivi baths after she came home from the hospital, we noticed pretty quickly that she had extremely sensitive skin. She was prone to rashes if we used any non-organic soaps, and we had to make sure all lotions and creams were formulated for delicate skin. So when I visited Haley in Vancouver when Vivi was about six months old, I was fascinated when I watched her sprinkle this delicious-smelling powder into her daughter’s bath.
“You have to try this,” she told me. “It smells like cookies.”
Um…a baby that looks AND smells good enough to eat? Sold.
The Coconut & Oat Bath is made from 100 percent certified organic and food-grade ingredients (thus the whole “smells like cookies” thing). Besides providing rinse-free cleansing, the oatmeal also soothes and moisturizes dry or itchy skin. And the coconut milk has natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Amanda, the owner of the company, recently posted on Instagram a photo of her son’s squirty bath toys — she had been using them in his bath (with the Coconut & Oat Milk) for over six months, and none of them had developed any kind of mold or mildew. That’s kind of amazing.
Using the milk bath is easy — just sprinkle three-ish tablespoons into warm running water, let your babe splash around for a while, and then dry off. No other soap or rinsing is required. And while I typically follow up Vivi’s bath by slicking her head to toe in baby lotion, I’ve noticed it’s less necessary when using the milk bath than it is with regular soap. Even better, mommas can get in on the action by using the powder as an exfoliating face mask — just mix the Coconut & Oat Milk Bath with a bit of water to make a paste and rub in circular motions on your face for instant glow. (Because, let’s be real: Mommas are in need of a spa experience too.)
And while Joey might appreciate an upgrade to his bath time routine, I still think I come out the winner here. After all, I’m the one who gets to snuggle a baby who smells like cookies every night.
Great news! If you want to try Bébé de Luxe Coconut & Oat Milk Bath, Amanda is offering Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One readers a 10 percent off discount code! Just use JUSTINE10 when you check out — and just try not to give your baby a nibble.
My family recently went on a trip to Virginia with some friends. I was excited about the trip, but, I’ll be honest, a little nervous for how Vivi would do in the car.
Joey and I tried to travel as much as we could before we had a baby, and most of our trips were out of the country. We both always felt like we should save the domestic trips for when we had kids. I think we both look forward to showing Vivi the Grand Canyon, national parks, and oceans and lakes throughout the United States — and it’s even better when we can drive there.
Vivi has done a major road trip before; we drove to Cleveland when she was about three months old. But a 10-month-old baby is different from a 3-month-old baby. For one, Vivi is a lot more mobile these days, meaning she expects to burn off some energy crawling and toddling around most of the day. For another, the older she gets, the more she expects out of entertainment. Meaning I can no longer expect her to be thrilled by what she sees out the window.
Fortunately, the trip went well — thanks to a little preparation. Here are the four things I’d recommend to any momma looking to hit the road:
Arguably the most important thing to help a road trip go smoother? A comfy outfit for the baby. These cute baby rompers from Lunaby Baby are the perfect choice for keeping little gals comfy and cool. Plus, they are pretty stinking cute. Vivi loved hers for lounging in her car seat and crawling around when we stopped to stretch our legs, and the breathable fabric is great since this summer has been so hot and muggy. This will definitely be one of our most-worn items this summer. (Psst…scroll to the end of this post for a discount code to get your own!)
2. Vivi isn’t big into TV or movies yet, but she will watch short videos, especially if a song is involved. This extendable tablet holder made it easy to prop up Joey’s tablet and play her favorite music videos and a few Disney favorites. (Not going to lie; the adults in the car may have enjoyed this more than Vivi.)
3. One thing that really gets Vivi steamed in the car is when the sun is in her eyes. To prevent that (and keep the car cool), we use these retractable window shades. Plus, they’ll also tell you if the car is getting too hot!
4. The final thing that I never leave home without? Snacks, snacks, and more snacks. Vivi eats a lot of what I’m eating these days, but squeezy fruit and veggie puree packs are clutch when we’re on the go. Because a hungry baby is definitely not a happy baby.
Now, let’s talk discounts! Whether you’re planning your own RTWAB (road trip with a baby…what? Is that not a thing?) or just love the look of a babe in a romper, I’m so excited to share a coupon code from Lunaby Baby with my readers! Use code JUSTINE10 when you check out for 10 percent off your entire order. The rompers, bibs, and colorful tights are all super reasonably priced, so you can walk away with a pretty great haul of seasonal basics for your baby. Happy shopping!
Romper provided by Lunaby Baby; opinions 100% mine.