WHOLESOME BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS WITH GARNIER®

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

Garnier5Garnier6

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.

GarnierGarnier7Garnier8Garnier3

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

IMG_6907

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!

IMG_6905IMG_6949

The sunsets on Clearwater beach are just unreal. 

IMG_6941IMG_8472IMG_6858IMG_6843IMG_6865

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

IMG_6889IMG_6739IMG_6742IMG_6748IMG_6694
IMG_6701IMG_6723IMG_6720IMG_6832IMG_6824
IMG_6799

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

sc00216f57

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

Nicole-UES-II-MJJ_8511Nicole-UES-II-MJJ_8607

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.

Nicole-CafeOst-Select-MJJ_7651Nicole-CafeOst-Select-MJJ_7683Nicole-CafeOst-Select-MJJ_7936Nicole-CafeOst-Select-MJJ_7731

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.

Nicole-TompkinsSquarePark-MJJ_8265

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

IMG_6670

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.

IMG_6652IMG_6651IMG_6668IMG_6657

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

IMG_6602

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.

IMG_6609 IMG_6599 IMG_6611 IMG_6620 IMG_6628 IMG_6625 IMG_6600 IMG_6604 IMG_6623 IMG_6608

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.

IMG_6488 IMG_6493 IMG_6543 IMG_6496 IMG_6530 IMG_6500 IMG_6501 IMG_6502 IMG_6505 IMG_6512 IMG_6517 IMG_6547 IMG_6563 IMG_6589 IMG_6580

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

A PLAY DATE WITH H&M AND HEY MAMA

HM-Nicole (1 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (7 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (8 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (14 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (25 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (29 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (32 of 63) copy-2 HM-Nicole (34 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (51 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (52 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (54 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (56 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (58 of 63) copy HM-Nicole (60 of 63) copy HM-Nicole-54

Spring in NYC. Pretty much the best (after Fall of course ;). As soon as that warm breeze hits the air, I am itching to be out of the house every day. My very favorite place to go with the kids is Central Park. The Conservatory in particular is absolutely stunning with it’s fountains, gardens, and maze-like pathways which Lucas loves to run through. I got to have a play date there last week with H&M, Heymama, and one of my very best friends in the world (since we were 11 you guys!). Pretty sweet! Viviana, the babies, and I all wore H&M and just walked around the park. It was perfect. I’m obsessed with this seasons selects at H&M (that red dress is my absolute fave and it was only $20. I mean…) and they have always been my go-to for staples for the entire family.

The best part of the afternoon was watching our little girls kiss and interact and of course seeing all the beautiful blossoms popping up. There is nothing better than beautiful, pink covered trees. Trust me on this!

Heymama asked Viviana and I to take a little friendship quiz and it was so much fun. You can read our answers below:

Nicole

+ What do you love most about your friend?

She’s incredibly loyal and the most amazing mother to her three girls.

+ What do you think she appreciates most about you?

Our ability to get together at any point and pick up right where we left off.

+ Her favorite thing about you is?

My honesty and our trust in each other.

+ Best memory of you and your kids together?

The day she came with her daughters to visit me the day Lucas was born. To see her children hold my baby was a surreal, perfect moment.

+ How are your parenting styles different?

I actually think we are pretty similar in that we both have similar approaches and are pretty traditional. I think she might have the disciplining thing down to a science and I’m still learning!

+ Best piece of parenting advice she’s ever given you?

Patience and how to discipline with love.

+ How would she describe herself in three words?

Funny, strong, loving

+ How does she react to her kids tantrums?

Viviana has the patience of a saint and is able to be firm yet remain incredibly calm.

+ Name her favorite tv show? Favorite guilty pleasure tv show?

Sex and the City. Any of the Housewives.

+ Funniest thing she’s ever done?

We have so many hilarious moments that we’ve shared. We’ve been friends for 20 years (crazy!) so we have been through it all together.

+ If you spend a date together with your kids, what would she want to do most?

Take the kids out to explore NYC. We’d go to the Central Park Zoo and then eat authentic Chinese food.

+ If your friend could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Fiji!

+ Most perfect day for your friend  “sans kids”?

A day at the spa then out for dinner, dancing, and drink with her girlfriends. A mama can dream!

+ What’s a guilty pleasure she wouldn’t want to admit?

Lots of wine!

+ Who is your friends style icon?

Kate Moss

+ If she could be anyone for a day who would it be?

Sofia Vergara

Viviana
 

+ What do you love most about your friend?

Her ability to stop and take a second to capture all the beautiful moments life has to offer, because lets face it how many of us value the little details of every day life.

+ What do you think she appreciates most about you?

The fact that I am always honest with her, no matter how big or small the situation is, I will always give her an honest response.

+ Her favorite thing about you is?

Being able to text me at any time for an on the spot recipe!!

+ Best memory of you and your kids together?

The best memory of the kids together has to be when we surprised Lucas and picked him up from school one day. He was so happy to see us and the girls were so excited they were able to visit his school.

+ How are you parenting styles different?

It all sums up to city life vs the suburbs.

+ Best piece of parenting advice she’s given you?

Telling me not to give up on breastfeeding and encouraging me to keep going even when I felt i couldn’t continue.

+ How would she describe herself in three words?

Funny, Classy, Trendy

+ How does she react to her kids tantrums?

Even if she wanted to scream her head off you would never know, she is always super calm with them and some how seems to talk them into realizing they made a wrong choice.

+ Name her favorite tv show? Favorite guilty pleasure tv show?

Sex and the City. Love and Hip Hop.

+ Funniest thing she’s ever done?

We were at one of the saddest get togethers imaginable but you can always count on your bestie for a good laugh. Nicole was pumping and her milk was spilling out everywhere. She  peeked out of the bedroom desperately looking for the first female in the room to come help her. She was soaked!

+ If you spend a date together with your kids, what would she want to do most?

Have a picnic in Central Park.

+ If your friend could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Dubai

+ Most perfect day for your friend  “sans kids”?

Sleep in, wake up to fresh iced coffee in bed, followed by a lunch date with her closest girlfriends. Return home, take a nap, wake up and get ready for a low key dinner date with the hubs.

+ What’s a guilty pleasure that she wouldn’t want to admit?

One word: chocolate! Hahaha!

+ If your friend could have one wish what would it be?

To one day own a brownstone on the upper east side.

+ Who is your friend’s style icon?

Audrey Hepburn

+ If she could be anyone for a day who would it be?

Kourtney Kardashian!

Shop our looks:

Me: Dress (similar here)| Choker
Lillie: Dress
Viviana: Top | Skirt
Sofia: Blouse

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 46