Moving Forward

  I have to admit, I contemplated a bit about even writing anything about the new year at all. Everywhere I looked and everyone I talked to seemed to have nothing good to say about 2016 and are ready for 2017 to take the wheel. I, on the other hand, have conflicting feelings. Last year, I wrote about how we were hoping for change in our lives  and 2016 brought just that. Little did everyone know at the time, but when I wrote those words just one year ago, I was pregnant with our little Blake and already knew that change had arrived. Blake has been the biggest blessing and brought together our family in ways that I have never dreamt that she could. Our family is more connected now than ever and she was truly the puzzle piece that we all felt we were missing the second that she was born. Her smile lights up all of our faces and there is nothing that I love more in this world then watching Branden be a big brother and Chris now be a girl dad, too. They are the best father and son duo and I know that as long as I have this little family by my side that anything is possible. I'm excited about the future of the Coopers and know that if we continue to work hard, we will eventually reach our goals of moving out of the city and buying a home that we love. But, that will happen when it's meant to. I'm thankful for everything that 2016 brought in our lives and the word "change" certainly described just that. We in addition to expanding our family, Chris started a … [Read more...]

The Only Bottle For Our Babes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Philips Avent. As always, opinions are my own.  When we first had Branden, now eight years ago, we were new parents swimming in a sea of bottle options. We went through quite a bit of the many, many brands on the market until we found one that was right for our little guy. Philips Avent was the answer that we had been looking for in those new moments of parenthood that made feeding so much easier. Fast forward to almost nine years later and we didn't even blink an eye stocking up on the Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottle for little Blake. In fact, these are the only bottles that we will use for our babes. I shared over the summer how I attended a Philips Avent event with Sarah Chalke and got to hear her story about using these awesome bottles with her children, and definitely felt a camaraderie there. You can watch her video here and instantly see that you are in good company with Philips Avent lovers everywhere. When we had Blake, colic was definitely a worry, since we didn't deal with it when we had Branden. At about a month and a half old, it hit us like a ton of bricks and my husband and I were scrambling to find a resolution (and get some sleep, too). We turned to the Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottle because Philips Avent is the #1 bottle brand and it helped create a better feeding experience for both us and Blake that lessened the screaming and lead to less gas, as it's clinically proven to reduce colic … [Read more...]

DIY At Home Day At The Spa In A Jar Tutorial

  Ok mamas, if you're anything like me, you're getting a bit overwhelmed with holiday stuff at this point, am I right? It's the week of running around to tie up any loose gifting ends and get all those last minute things for stocking or people we accidentally forgot (oops). I'm sharing my new favorite gift that is SO easy to make, really fun to receive and easy on your bank account: the DIY at home day at the spa in a jar. Your friends will use every single piece that's included, while they get a few minutes to themselves to enjoy it. So cute, right? How to make the spa day in a jar Here's what you need to complete this super easy DIY: Unscented Epsom Salt (this bag will only cost you $7.99 for 2 pounds) Your favorite essential oil (I used Lavender, it's my favorite!) A single use face mask (My favorites are Masque Bar as they come in sets of 3) 2 nail polishes (I like to include Sally Hansen Top Coat and Sally Hansen Cool Cucumber - my favorite this season!) Contigo Shake and Go Tumbler Simply add a half cup of the epsom salts to your open tumbler and drop in about 5 drops of your essential oils. Give it a good shake and then fold in the face mask and add your nail polishes. Close the lid on tight, throw in a holiday bag and you are ready to go! Check out my video below for a little extra inspiration to see just how easy it is to make! Watch my quick video here: I seriously can't recommend making these in mass quantities for … [Read more...]

In The Spirit of Giving

This post was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. Giving in any capacity has always been a huge part of my life. Back in high school, I used to go on mission trips with church to countries that were so poor that it made your heart literally ache. I was never much for building things, so my volunteering heart always fled to the children and lifting their spirits in any way that I possibly could. One year, in a small village in Jamaica, I sat with a little girl outside in the blazing heat. She was so interested in my phone and the camera and I brushed it off as her never playing with one before. But it went so much deeper than that. This little girl had never seen a picture of herself. This is something so simple that we take for granted each day. As an adult with a family and a job, my giving now happens in many different forms throughout the year, but I always promised myself that it would be something I would instill in my children as they got older. Blake is much too young to understand and Branden of course isn't perfect, but we do our part as much as we can so that he knows just how fortunate he is and that we should be grateful for all that we have. I try my hardest not to make giving a one time, holiday only yearly thing, but a part of our lives. Living in New York City, we send out our laundry to be washed every other week and in the parking lot of a clothing … [Read more...]

My Secret For Voluminous Hair

This post was developed in partnership with Women’s Rogaine®. All opinions are my own. Mom to mom: our bodies change drastically every single pregnancy. With Branden, I had some pretty positive side effects (as in, my metabolism sped up and I was finally able to lose weight), but with Blake, I'm struggling with super dry, thin hair and skin. I'm finding my hair everywhere and my already thin tresses are losing more volume everyday. Since hair loss runs in my family, I knew that I need a change and a volume boost, no just for the holiday season, but for my daily routine. So, I turned to Women’s Rogaine® and sharing style tips + spilling the beans on my secret for voluminous hair. So obviously I've been having some major "hairapy" because you can see that these is some natural volume happening here. Some of my favorite styling tips for thinning hair comes from Celebrity Stylist Jill Crosby, who always recommends starting with the scalp, “keeping the scalp clear of waxy buildup creates a better environment for hair regrowth. I recommend shampooing every other day, for every type of hair.” My hair is super thin, so I always overlooked this important fact, but have started adopting it as part of my routine and not only does it help give me volume, it saves me time in the shower. Jill aslo recommends playing with your part, “Experiment with flipping your part to the opposite side. By adding a little texture spray to the roots you can get a new voluminous flip started. Or try a … [Read more...]

Holiday Safety Tips For Accident Prone Families

  Are you a member of a family who always somehow seems to end up with a knocked over christmas tree? Something always gets caught on fire while cooking? Or you can't quite remember which wires are meant to be used on the outdoor or indoors lights? Yup, I'm right there with you. A few weeks ago when we were putting up our Christmas tree, Branden decided to (very proudly) climb up and put the star on the top without any help while my husband was untangling ornaments and I was changing a diaper. Let's just say we almost had a mini disaster here. This is exactly why we all need to learn a little bit about the most proactive holiday safety tips so that we don't end up spending the most exciting season of the year in the emergency room. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend an event sponsored by Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care  and learned so much about keeping our family safe this holiday season. (Seriously, it was embarrassing how much I didn't realize!) First and foremost though, if you are in a situation where you do need to get to an urgent care, there are 30 different Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care  locations that allow you to self-checkin online and are easy to check the wait time at all the different locations. And as an added mom tip: if you don't feel like pulling your kids out of school for a day to go to the pediatrician, they offer walk-ins for the flu shot for only $20 each - does it get any easier than that? I think … [Read more...]

Minecraft Holiday Gifts For Kids

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  If you have followed along on my families adventure on Instagram, you can easily see that Minecraft plays a major role in Branden's life. It's one of those super cool games that I'm okay with him playing as a parent since it strengthens so many different skills and he has even taken classes for working with the Minecraft platform - it's pretty awesome in our eyes. (He has also dressed as both Steve and a Creeper for Halloween two years in a row now.) So, with Christmas "creeping" it's way rather quickly, here's what I have to say about gifting Minecraft gifts this holiday season. First and foremost, Best Buy has so many amazing assortments of Minecraft games and collectables to choose from, there is something for all the kids in your life no matter what stage in the game they are. We've been spending an awful lot of time at Best Buy lately because my computer crashed and I've been working with Geek Squad, so I've had lots of time to peruse their selection. Not sure what Minecraft is? Minecraft is a game about placing blocks and going on adventures. You get the chance to explore randomly generated worlds and build amazing things from the simplest of homes to the grandest of castles. You can play in Creative Mode with unlimited resources or mine deep in Survival Mode, crafting weapons and armor to fend off dangerous mobs. Do all this … [Read more...]

Smart Music For a Smart Baby

  Being a full time work from home mama is super, duper tough stuff. Yes, my schedule is more flexible and no, I don't need to have a babysitter full time (yet!), but my days are still a balancing game. When Branden was a baby, I had more time to give him undivided attention, and he definitely excelled because of that. Sometimes, I worry about Blake not getting my full attention to start educational activities, so being introduced to the Nuryl music app put my mind at ease, at it has so easily been integrated into our daily lives for a smarter future. There have been so many studies done (including this one from University of Washington's Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences) that link together the role music plays in how smart babies can become and it makes perfect sense to me. We noticed really early on that when we played music, any music for Blake on Pandora that it instantly made her happy and calm and when we found Nuryl, it just took things to a whole new level. (Follow along on Instagram this week where I will be sharing behind the scenes of our experience using Nuryl!) The Nuryl music app can be easily downloaded on your phone for free, but there is an annual subscription for $89.99 or monthly subscription for $9.99 - totally worth it! The program was developed by Rick Beato, a classically trained musician. It is a music immersion program, specifically designed to improve cognac development for babies still in the womb to age two years … [Read more...]

Kissing Beauty Pain Good-Bye

This post was sponsored by Sensodyne® as part of an influencer activation for Influence Central. Sensodyne® compensated me in connection with statements made in this post.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own. I've said it already, I know, but I turned 30 this year. (Whomp, whomp.) But with 30 came a total no nonsense type attitude and the realization that I need to stop putting myself through so much when it comes to my beauty routine. Come on, you know what I mean. The pain. The hurt from so many different procedures we do on a weekly/monthly basis. I’m saying “buh-bye” to the pain for good. I've always had sensitive teeth. Now, you can turn to Sensodyne® True White® for a whiter smile and sensitivity relief, without the compromise. Back in my college days my girlfriends and I used to gather around our favorite beauty mags and choose different treatments to try out that came with so many different promises. With age, came the knowledge to make better decisions and know that more pain doesn’t mean more beauty. In fact, it means the opposite. Beauty shouldn’t be painful. So fast forward almost 10 years and today I stand as an adult making super informed decisions for my everyday life. I have chosen not to live with sensitive teeth anymore and missing out on eating my favorite foods (or eating them extra slow) just because. I am faced with better options in my life like Sensodyne® True White® – and you best bet that I am going to take it. Did you know … [Read more...]

The Perfect Holiday Dress To Flatter a Post-Baby Body

  Getting dressed up around the holidays is a lot of fun. But, getting dressed around the holidays after you just had a baby and are still unsure of your new body is not so fun. I've been searching for the perfect holiday dress to flatter a post-baby body for quite some time (Ya know, so I can hide my love handles on Christmas eve?) and I finally found one that I love that will take me way past holiday festivities. I know I've mentioned before that I'm trying to step outside my comfort zone and play with mixing prints and different textures, so I tried to do that here - and you would be surprised how easy it is to throw together a memorable look. My new Pink Floral Print Chiffon Long Sleeve Maxi Dress is from Pink Blush and I'm pretty obsessed with all the possibilities it brings. I paired the floral dress with my Zamri faux fur jacket (the sleeves also zip off to make it a vest!) and completed the look with my favorite booties, giving it all a very boho feel to it. Sometimes it's just fun to step out of the "mom mold" and put together an innovative outfit. What was my goal here? To find the perfect holiday dress to flatter a post-baby body you have to keep in mind your areas that you're insecure about. The last thing you want is to be enjoying yourself at a holiday party while simultaneously trying to cover your thighs or stomach with objects in the room. Choose a holiday dress that you know you will be comfortable in. So the goal is to start … [Read more...]