5 Tips for Flying with a Baby

*Vivi’s Joyful Thread leggings were provided for this review; opinions 100% my own.

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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.

Clearly enjoying the in-flight entertainment.
Clearly enjoying the in-flight entertainment.

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.

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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.

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So there you have it! What are your tips for flying with a baby?

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Cream of the Crop: 3 Ways to Wear a Crop Top this Fall

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

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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.

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Gratuitous Viv pic!

By layering it over a maxi dress

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Maxi dresses are another style staple that tend 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 you 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

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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 to 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?

You guys.

I don’t write posts for the comments. Really. I’m incredibly self-centered that way.

This blog is and, in a large way, always will be for me. My personal record that I was and I did.

But every now and then, I write a post that gets a lot of feedback. A post that gets me texts and emails and comments and even phone calls from people I haven’t talked to in years or, sometimes, haven’t talked to ever. And even though I don’t do this for that, there’s something magical about when it happens. Because, as I’ve said, I love those moments of bonding. Of “I thought it was only me.”

Yesterday’s posts was one of those posts. And I can’t tell you how much it makes my heart sing when I read every single comment, text, or email I got from so many of you. Because you don’t have to do that. And you did. And it just…I don’t know. I can’t put it into words except to say it’s why I write. And hopefully you know me well enough to know how much weight those words carry.

The point is, I appreciate the kindness. I appreciate the love. I appreciate you relating to me, and I can’t tell you what a compliment it is to hear that I wrote what so many of you feel.

Next week, the blog will go back to its same fun, (mostly) frivolous fodder, but I couldn’t just go on without acknowledging the niceness. You guys are pretty swell, and I’m happy to have you as readers.

 

The trouble is…

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It’s a funny thing, this “living your life online.” This blogging about lifestyle (also know as life). This building an “Instagram brand.” This being a brand.

My mother never had to worry about this. I think about that whenever I have a chance to look through my baby book. These 50-odd photos of baby me. Sadly and blissfully all I have to know about what I looked like, what we did. It makes me both grateful for and disgusted by the literal thousands of photos and videos I have of the first year of Vivi’s life. At least 300 are perpetually available with a swipe of my phone.

I don’t talk a lot about how much what I do tires me. How much the internet and technology and the gratuitous, frivolity of it. One because I’m exhausted by over-earnest blogging. Funny, right? Because I also love it.

I love the catharsis of pouring out your heart, the lift in sadness and despair that comes from finding a tribe of people who do so much more than just “like” your honesty; they hold up mirror images of your pain and say, “I thought I was the only one.”

I also have a hard time whining because I recognize the privilege of complaining about the superficiality of what I do. Poor me, working from home on a flexible schedule so I am also able spend hours cuddling my sweet baby girl and dedicating so much time a week to my volunteer work. The internet, in all its obnoxious glory, lets me do that.

I struggle with the self-promotion. I think it’s a difficult thing for Christian, Midwestern, female people to do. It goes against the traits those types are usually bred to project.

So I try to soften the blow with self-deprecation, humor, and, often, bluster. But I’m still uncomfortable sometimes. Because I’m still acutely aware of every person in my life who hates me for being a blogger. Who hates me for every smiling Instagram photo, every snapshot of something pretty or Pinterest-worthy (which means…what, exactly? Didn’t we just call it “pretty” a handful of years ago?). Of every person who openly refuses to follow me or, even worse, follows but never likes, or, even worse, does none of the above but still looks at my public posts or watches every single Instagram story I post. Those people make me really sad, honestly. And my awareness of the people I do know about continually pokes a finger in another gaping insecurity: How many more are there out there that I don’t even know?

The internet is a big place, and hate is usually only a keystroke away.

This post has been buzzing around in my brain for a while, but it took me a while to find words that sounded right without sounding like I was complaining. I don’t know why I feel like I need to tell you that I’m in on it — I know the promoted posts, the self-promotion is annoying sometimes. I need you to know that I try to make them not that way.

And then I roll my eyes at myself because why do I care so much? I truly believe that, in life, you either attract or repel people. And I would rather repel someone by being who I really am than attract them by pretending to be something I’m not.

Often, I fantasize about stopping it all. You know that. I can’t really, though, because it is my job. It is my golden ticket to stay-at-home/work-at-home mom life, to full-time volunteer service. But I do sometimes imagine a life where I could do those things without doing these things. Because as much as I actually love blogging and DIY and style and cooking, the hate wears me down.

You, person who looks at my stuff and never likes, who mocks and says nasty things and seethes even though I’m not hurting you (or even thinking about you, often times). You wear me down.

But if I pretend to be the person you would be happy to see me be — self-loathing, bitter, failure — I would be attracting the wrong person with the wrong things.

Because there’s so. Much. Pressure. Guys. Pressure to be perfect. Pressure to be imperfect. Pressure to be perfectly imperfect. To be raw, to be polished. To be funny, to be sincere. And to be all those things all the time. It helps to remind myself that probably all business owners feel this way. And, in so many ways, this is my business. Entrepreneurism is not for the thin-skinned, the faint of heart.

I started this blog because I wanted to be a writer, and I still cringe a bit at the word blogger. (I mean, could we have picked a word that didn’t sound like loose mix of swampland and mucous?) Today, I am a professional writer, so maybe I’m not doing everything wrong.

But I’m also a blogger, for better or worse.

And bloggers will always bother someone. Honestly, I spend a lot of my life trying not to bother anyone. I speak quieter to Vivi when we’re being silly in public, trying not to be THAT mom that needs everyone to see how great she’s doing. I’m hyper-aware of people on the sidewalk, dodging and hugging the wall to keep from jostling anyone, trying not to be THAT person who is so self-centered. My emails read like a textbook of “woman in meeting” speak, trying not to be THAT in-your-face jerk. Maybe it’s more honest to say that I spend a lot of my life trying not to be a cliché.

The thing is, I really don’t want to bother anyone. So, if this blog bothers you, if my internet presence bothers you, I implore you: Ignore me. Stop following, stop looking.

But if you like looking at my stuff, I welcome you with open arms, fist bumps, and a round of celebratory drinks.

Do other people feel like hate is this visceral, tactile thing? Sometimes I look at a person and feel it radiating off of them like steam. It oozes from nasty comments, sparks out of sharp-tongues. I’m immediately put off when I feel it; I retreat like a spooked animal, a knot in my gut and a rush of adrenaline coursing through my veins. Danger, these people seem to whisper.

Do you know what I think about every time I post anything? Those three people who I know don’t like me. I’m not exaggerating when I say “every time.” They are my last thought before hitting “publish” or “share.” The anxiety those three people give me is embarrassing for me to admit. It would be so nice to not have to deal with that anxiety.

I know what you’re thinking (especially if you’re one of those three people): So, why don’t you just quit then?

I totally get why you think that. Because I want to quit.  Often. But I can’t because of Vivi. I can’t teach her that we go as far in life as the people who hate us the most want us to go.

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Instead, I want her to be brave. I want her to be kind. I want her to be the antidote to all that nastiness. And the only way I’m going to get her there is by trying to be those things myself.

So I’m going to try to focus on the people I actually like anyway. The people who love and support and get it and get me. Who like what I do, who like reading about the things I like talking about. And, you know what? I think that can be enough.

Whew! That was a lot of feelings. And, honestly, I don’t know if I’m making anything better by calling them out. I don’t even know if this all makes total sense — I wrote it over a series of emails to myself in the car. But I think I feel a little better. The aforementioned catharsis and all of that. The point is, if you feel this way too, you are not alone. And I think we can both be a little bit more of that kindness we want to see. To those of you who do and always have supported me and shown me so much love, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart. You are the greatest.

“You say okay!”

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Vivi learned a dirty word recently. Of course, I’m talking about the word “no.”

Honestly, I’m not really certain she knows what it means when she says it. What she does know? That I don’t want her to say it.

Which, naturally, means she has taken to saying it All. The. Time.

The other day, we were out for a run with the jogging stroller and I heard her practicing it over and over again. To herself. Like a sociopath.

The problem is, it’s also kind of hilarious when she does it. Because she doesn’t just say “no.” She pauses for drama…and then she slowly leans into the word.

“Nnnnnnnnnnnn-ah!”

It’s really, really hard not to laugh. Like, really.

In an effort to, you know, parent, I’ve started responding to her no’s by saying, “You say, ‘okay, Momma‘!”

At which point, she’ll pause, look off to the other side of the room, and go, “…nnnnnnnnn-ah!

And on and on and on. Such is parenting.

I have found one antidote, and that is getting her to repeat a different word that is equally as fun to say. Lately, I’ve been replying, “You say, ‘yeahyeahyeah!'” And she’s usually only too happy to repeat that one.

For now.

I know the day will come when she is deliberately obstinate and intentionally asserts her own opinions. Heck, that could be exactly what she’s doing right now. I just really thought the Terrible Twos would come, you know, when she was two.

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For now, though, I think we can chalk this one up to a bit of baby silliness. Right? Okay, Momma. Okay.

The Vest of Us: The 3 Vests You Need for Fall + My New Favorite Fall Accessory

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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:

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Interested in getting your own? Shop their entire women’s line here.*

Plus, for a limited time JORD is giving away a $75 credit for their products! Enter here — you get a $20 credit just for entering. Giveaway ends September 25th.

*Affiliate links used


Luxury Wood Watch
//www.woodwatches.com/widget-article/stopmeifyouveheardthisone

How to: Mounds Bar Martini Recipe

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I don’t know what it is, but I have been on some kind of sugar kick over the last week. I’m going to blame it on the fact that my period finally came back after a year-and-a-half of pregnancy/breastfeeding hiatus. (Too much info? Then you’re reading the wrong blog.)

The point is, for the last five days, I’ve been craving a Double Stuf Oreo (yes, that’s really how it’s spelled) something fierce. So last Thursday, I finally bought a pack.

Which was a mistake. They should sell the Double Stuf in smaller portions. Because now I come home to a FULL PACK of Double Stuf Oreos every day. Send help.

But while the cookies were good for sating that particular craving, they also sparked a new issue: Now I wanted something else sweet. I wanted a dessert martini.

You guys? This is SO out of character for me. I do not like sweet drinks. The only sweet things I like are desserts, and even then, I prefer when there’s something salty or slightly bitter mixed in.

But here I was, craving the saccharine syrupy-ness of a dessert martini.

I didn’t even know where to begin, but I figured the least I could do was whip something up at home.

And thus, the Mounds Bar Martini was born.
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Here’s what you do:

Mounds Bar Martini Recipe

Ingredients:
1 oz whipped cream flavored rum
1 oz coconut vodka
1 oz half and half
drizzle of chocolate syrup
Oreo cookie dust for garnish (optional)

Combine the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker with 3-4 ice cubes and shake vigorously until frothy. Draw a line of chocolate syrup around the inside of a martini glass, then pour in the cocktail mixture. Top with a pinch or two of Oreo cookie dust. (BECAUSE YOU HAVE A WHOLE PACK, AFTER ALL.)

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The result is decadent, rich, and exactly what I was craving. I think I’ll probably be good on dessert martinis for another five years, so it was definitely worth going all out on this one. Because sometimes you feel like a nut…and sometimes you just want to drink your dessert.

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