LIFE WITH TWO

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Onesies from Hugo Loves Tiki

Life with two. It’s everything I dreamed of and more. It’s the kind of stuff Hallmark commercials are made of. You know the ones. They leave you a heaping, sobbing mess and you feel like your heart might explode because that mom in the commercial is you and those babies in the commercial are your babies and they are god damn unicorns. It’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never been so tired in my life and some days I stop and think to myself “what if I never, ever feel rested again? how will I survive? can people live off of no sleep? I mean, they have to..right? right?”

Lillie has zero nap schedule whereas Lucas went down every day at 1pm like clockwork. We leave at 2pm to pick up Lucas from school and usually she is just starting to doze off when I have to wake her up to make the walk to pick up. No naps make for a very cranky mama. She is starting to climb on furniture and puts just about anything she can get her hands on into her mouth. When we get home from picking up Lucas she wants to be held and I am have to make snacks, get homework done, nurse her, and try and get some play time in with Lucas. Some weeks I don’t leave a 3 block radius with the kids and it’s enough to drive anyone insane.

OKAY. Now the good stuff. Every sleepless night is worth it. I swear. Lucas tells me every day he loves me and that I am his favorite girl in the world (after Lillie Sol of course). Lillie loves the crap out of me and I am relishing in this baby stage when all she wants in the world is ME. I am her comfort and her safe spot. She can instantly stop crying in my arms and my arms alone. The way she looks at me when she nurses is enough to make my heart melt into a giant puddle and I stare back at her and can’t believe this beautiful little creature is my daughter. My best friend sent from God. On the days I am beyond exhausted and don’t think I can take another minute with a child’s foot or hand or mouth on me, we all cuddle and get ready for bed time and Lucas asks me to tell him a story and I forget my exhaustion. I tell him about the adventures of Prince Lucas and all the shenanigans he gets into while exploring NYC and these stories are his favorite. MY stories. The ones I create just for him. Then we tell a few jokes and he covers me in kisses.

And don’t get me started on the relationship my kids have with each other. They love each other something fierce and I feel so proud and lucky that Ivan and I gave them the gift of having a friend for life. Nobody makes Lillie laugh like Lucas does and she doesn’t mind one bit when Lucas uses her for jumping practice or covers her little body in Ninja Turtles.

I’m tired as fuck but my heart is so full. My kids are god damn unicorns and that’s the truth. My truth. Thank you my Lucas León and Lillie Sol for making me the happiest, proudest, sappiest mama in the world. I love you. Te amo.

DAYS LIKE THIS

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A few snaps of my love bugs and I on mamas day. The weather was perfect and we strolled along the Upper East Side before heading to Queens to spend the afternoon with the grandmas and our family. I actually shared the day with Ivan who’s birthday happen to fall on Mother’s Day this year. So basically it was a mama/birthday extravaganza. So much love. All day long. I am wishing and praying for a million more days just like this one.

On Lillie Sol: Romper by Anaiss & I
On Lucas León: Cardigan, Tunic, & Shorts by Anaiss & I | Sneakers by Bucketfeet

WHOLESOME BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS WITH GARNIER®

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, Garnier® Whole Blends™ continue to remind us of our unique beauty.

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Everyday my emotions fluctuate intensely. Extreme exhaustion, happiness like I’ve never known, frustration(oh the frustration!), a form of patience that I truly believe only a parent is capable of, and love. So much love. The purest form that is what unicorns and fairy dust are made of. All of these emotions encompass the beautiful moments and memories I have and continue to create with my children.

It’s so easy to focus on the negatives and the feelings that may seem “bad” (i.e.: frustration, a loss of patience, the nights where your head hits the pillow and you think to yourself..”I could have done better today”). I have come to realize that every morning is a fresh start. A clean slate to continue creating memories and try to be the best mom you can be. And luckily our kids are so very forgiving. Am I right? Now that Lillie is 9 months, I have finally begun taking better care of myself. I am no expert in parenting but what I do know is that when you feel good, your energy shoots up and you are an overall better person, wife, and mama. Taking even just a 1/2 hour a day makes a world of difference in my mood and demeanor.

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A few days a week I carve out time for my overall beauty routine. This includes everything from threading my eyebrows, face masks, hair masks, and giving myself a blowout. For hair maintenance I have been using Garnier® Whole Blends™. The Repairing line with Honey Treasures shampoo/conditioner and mask keeps my hair strong (which is so important since I have been regularly coloring it since last year) and it smells divineeee. Some important things about this line to note: it’s paraben-free and is so gentle on my hair. The ingredients used for all Garnier® Whole Blends™ (such as Argan and Coconut Oil) are all purchased fairly and sustainably to support local farmers and what I love most: Garnier® has partnered with TerraCycle to keep beauty products out of landfills.

So yes mamas, I promise, taking care of my hair and my overall health and body has made a huge improvement in the way I feel day to day. It seems so small but in reality it is such a mood booster and makes me feel put together. Even when we are just headed to the park or on an errand. Happy mama, happy life… 😉 Take a little time to pamper yourself. You are worth it! And it makes creating those beautiful moments with your family all that much sweeter.

Photos by Mary Grace

SPRING BREAK

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Last week the kids and I headed to Clearwater for Lucas’s spring break. My mama came with us and honestly it was such a relief knowing I was going to have an (amazing) extra pair of hands. Lucas went ahead with my mom and I flew out the next next day with Lillie. Alone. For the first time. I’ll say this – Lucas has been a champ flyer from day one. He snoozes most of the flight and has always been perfectly content either on my lap or now that he is older, playing games and watching movies. He has never cried on a flight. NOT ONCE. No way I could be that lucky twice. Right? Yea, NO. Lillie cried for a solid 20-25 minutes on our packed flight and I was that mom, awckawardly smiling at blank stares (and some pitty stares) and frantically hushing her baby. 25 minutes is a loooooong time when your trapped on an aircraft like sardines. I walked her up and down the aisle and nursed her until she finally passed out from exhaustion. At that point I was sweating, equally as exhausted, and to be honest all I wanted to do was sit down, put in my ear buds, and listen to some Drake. Can a mama live? I really wish I could say I was calmer and gave zero f’s what everyone else was thinking but when you’re in the moment it’s really a bit nerve wrecking and anxiety inducing. Anyways, an hour later and we were in sunny Florida!

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The sunsets on Clearwater beach are just unreal. 

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My new favorite head wrap for Sol. And that little outfit? I’m in baby bliss over here. 

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These are a few of my favorite snaps from the trip. We really had such an amazing time and it was such a treat to be with Lucas for an entire week and get some much needed one on one time with him. If you haven’t been, Clearwater is such a beautiful, beautiful place to visit. I have been coming here since I was Lillie’s age on family vacations to visit my aunties. It’s a second home for me and such a comforting, safe space. It’s familiar, calming, and just what I need a couple times a year for a pick me up and when I need to get out of NYC. Lucas has come to love it as well and I can’t wait to continue our yearly tradition with both kiddos.

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME THAT BEAUTY COMES FROM WITHIN

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My mother is the most beautiful woman I know. Inside and out. I have vivid memories of watching her get ready as a child. Sitting on the toilet, my little legs crossed, watching in awe as she carefully applied rose colored rouge and and raspberry lipstick. She always finished with a light dusting of face powder. Before we would leave the house she would spritz on her perfume and I loved how the scent would float around the house behind her as she collected her purse and put on her shoes.

My mother taught me that beauty comes from within but that pampering yourself and a sense of self love is so very important as well. I take pride in putting myself together not just as a mom but as a woman who is ready to tackle anything the day brings. Whether that be a splash of perfume, a luxurious hair mask (Honey Treasures by Garnier® Whole Blends™ is my fave!), a fab outfit, or the perfect accessory – I always feel better when I look my best.

On this upcoming Mother’s Day (and all the beautiful ones to follow), I am spending the day with all the strong, confident women in my life. My mama, my mother-in-law, and my sister. There will be talk of kids, life, motherhood, laughter. I truly can’t think of a better way to celebrate being a mama. And we will all be in our Sunday best. Beautiful inside and out.

Here are some favorite flashback images of my beautiful mama!

sc0005c4cdI wish she had kept this velour jumpsuit. I mean – fab! sc00304512My mama and I in Clearwater, Florida – my very first trip to the Sunshine state. sc0020f74fBlack and white portraits that I just love. 

 

Now for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, tell me in the comments below, how will you celebrate Mother’s Day this year?

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/2/2016 – 5/10/2016

Be sure to visit the Garnier® brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

STYLE WITH KOHLS X REED KRAKOFF

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For over a decade Reed Krakoff was the man behind the creative direction for Coach. In 2013 he ventured off to design his own collection and this year he joined forces with Kohl’s to bring a limited edition collection to the masses. The line features his signature handbags (at an amazing price point: $59-$129) as well as ready to wear and small accessories.

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I feel so honored to have been able to work with the amazing Kohls team and the incredibly talented Reed Krakoff to bring you a taste of this fab collection. I spent the day shooting with Melodie Jeng a few weeks back and we hit up some of my favorite NYC gems – Cafe Ost, Tompkins Square Park, and beautiful Park Avenue. It was such an awesome experience. My absolute favorite piece is that sunny yellow gem of a satchel you see in the photos. The color is everything and it’s the perfect size for every day use. Totally my #1 pick for pairing with blue jeans and a white tank.

Below is a brief Q&A I had with Reed Krakoff:

What was your inspiration behind the collection? Colors, patterns, etc.?
I drew the biggest inspiration for the REED for Kohl’s collection from some of the items from my luxury collection. I was so intrigued to reintroduce some iconic pieces to a wider audience. When designing, I always think about the most exciting, impactful and aesthetically pleasing outcome, which is when the color blocking concept went into full swing. It’s always been a part of my design philosophy to create things that are bold, exciting, and happy, and generating excitement in the affordable accessories category is one of our main goals with the REED line at Kohl’s.

What kind of woman do you see wearing your collection? What is her style?
The target customer for the REED for Kohl’s collection is really anyone who appreciates fashion, someone that might be new to designer collections, but loves style and of course value.

You can get more inspiration and style ideas over on Pinterest. Also, shop the entire collection here.

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Photos by Melodie Jeng
This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. Thank you for supporting the companies I love and trust!

MEAL TIME WITH YOUR TODDLER

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I remember Lucas transitioning from a plump baby who ate everything we gave him into a picky toddler who could go hours with zero sustenance and would remove everything off his plate. Meal time became a chore that dreaded. I mean, who wants to try and reason with a ragy two year old that only wants to eat chicken nuggets, corn, carrots, and cheese sticks. It got to the point that I was in constant communication with his pediatrician. I just couldn’t understand why my child refused to eat. After talking with other mamas I felt reassured that this was just a normal stage in toddlerhood.

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That being said, I had to find ways to be creative and get him to try new foods that I knew would be both tasty and nutritious. A go-to of mine has always been Plum Organics. They are an Organic baby, toddler, and kids food company that use non-GMO, delicious ingredients in all of their products. You can read a previous Plum post here. Now that Lucas is in pre-k, our mornings are always rushed and we need quick, healthy options for breakfast. I introduced him to their Mighty Mealtime Organic Oatmeal a few weeks back and it has been a hit. It’s made with 8 minerals and vitamins along with 3g each of protein and fiber. It comes in two flavors – banana strawberry and apple cinnamon – and both are so tasty (I was the official taste tester for my kid..) I love that it’s made with oats, grains, and real fruit bits and Lucas thinks it’s delicious AND I’m relieved that he’s eating such a healthy breakfast before a long day at school. Wins!

Here are some of the various ways we serve it up to him add some variety:

+ sliced strawberries or a handful of blueberries on top
+ a scoop of nut butter mixed in along with a side of whole wheat toast
+ a whole apple sliced up on the side or on top

I’m so thrilled that Plum Organics is offering my readers a chance to win a large assortment of the Mighty line! Hop on over to Instagram for details later this week and learn how to enter. Happy eating little ones!

LILLIE SOL X APPLE PARK

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Isn’t it a wonderful feeling as a mother when you find a company that you love AND you can stand behind? Apple Park’s motto is “Our products are not only safe for small ones, they are good for the whole Earth”. It truly doesn’t get better than that. Their entire collection, from plush toys to towels, is not only beautiful but organic and environmentally friendly.

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I’m honored to share with you the debut of their layette collection. When I first received the collection I was floored by the textures and how soft each piece was. As I washed (and washed and washed..) the layette, the colors remained vibrant and just got softer. The delicate color palette and patterns are just gorgeous. I think Lillie Sol loves them too 😉

Although I am partial to the entire collection my absolute favorite are the sleeping gowns. I used to put Lucas in gowns and now they are a favorite of mine for Lillie. There’s something so sweet and innocent about a baby in a sleeping gown! From now until April 17th receive 15% your entire order by using the code ‘LL15’!

This post is in collaboration with Apple Park. Thank you for supporting the brands I love and trust! 

A VERY HAPPY EASTER

IMG_6465 IMG_6468 IMG_6470 A little late, I know, but I wanted to share these photos of our Easter Sunday. We spent the morning sipping on coffee in our pjs and watching Lucas delight over his Easter basket. He had been asking for a chocolate bunny for weeks and I think he was pretty pleased. After a slow and lovely morning we headed to Brooklyn for a family dinner. Shortly after we arrived we set up an egg hunt for Lucas (which he LOVED) and Lillie was thrilled to chew on his eggs after he collected all his loot. The holidays are just so special when you have kids and it just makes you take a step back and reflect. All the work and love my mother put into creating special memories that I will cherish forever and now it has come full circle. Here I am prepping and creating baskets, planning an egg hunt, making sure we have a specific chocolate bunny, all to see my child smile. I hope they both remember these days forever.

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I hope you all had a blessed holiday with your loved ones and from my family to yours we are wishing you so much love!

On Lillie:
Flora & Henri Lace Baby Dress | Flora & Henri Scalloped Bonnet | Pram Mary Janes

On Lucas:
Flora & Henri Tee (Similar Here) | Zara Trousers (Similar Here) | Thrifted Minnetonkas

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