I was provided with a subscription in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
I have been an avid reader my entire life. One thing I always imagined as I got older was reading to my kids. We don't necessarily have formal story time every day around here, but I do make it a point to read to Caleb throughout the day. Sometimes it's in the bath with a bath book, or right before we nap. New books are my favorite, and he loves exploring new reading material, too, but sometimes it's hard to figure out what new book to get!
Enter Bookroo, a monthly children's book subscription. They have two options for subscriptions: a Picture Book Box, which contains two picture books perfect for ages 2-6, or the Board Book Box, which contains 3 board books perfect for ages 0-2. Each book comes individually wrapped, and Caleb had so much fun unwrapping them. He kept saying, "Mommy, present!" I feel like this made him even more excited to receive a book as a gift!
Our first box had two really fun books, and Caleb has enjoyed them both greatly. His favorite of the two is "A Dog is a Dog," and he loves to point out all the animals.
They have one month, 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month subscriptions, so there is really an option for every budget. And while this is something great to get for your own children, I also think it makes a FANTASTIC gift.
Why not give a gift that keeps giving for months after a holiday or a birthday? And a gift that will allow them to keep learning and growing for so much time to come? As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to add this to Caleb's Christmas/Birthday wish list right now!
And guess what? If you use the code TOPKNOT, you will get 15% off of your Bookroo Box Subscription!
What are you waiting for?
This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links.
We are in the dead of summer around here, and man is it HOT. I don't know about you, but when it is this hot outside, the less clothes that actually touches my body, the better I feel. Yoga pants are impossible, as are jeans. I spend a lot of the summer in shorts and swing dresses, which help me stay cool. So this outfit is perfect for me!
The shorts have a drawstring waist - I've actually blogged about them before. They are so soft and so comfortable. When I purchased them, I knew they would be a summer staple, and boy, was I right. Especially after two and a half weeks of vacation, and a weekend at BlogHer, the drawstring waist came in super handy.
The embroidery on the blouse keeps it on trend and makes the outfit a little dressier. I can't stand tight tops in the summer (hello underboob sweat!). I wouldn't normally pair two loose items, but this was such a fun outfit with so much movement that I couldn't help but be happy about it. The biggest plus was how comfortable it was.
I paired it with tan sandals and a tan choker, along with some colorful sunnies. It's a perfect summer weekend outfit. You can also dress it up with wedges or add some color with some fun tassel sandals. Either way, you'll be easy and breezy.
Tank: Habit Boutique
Sandals: Tory Burch
Sunglasses: Old Navy
This post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links.
I realized recently that Caleb is 2.5, and I've yet to share about his room with you all! When i first found out I was pregnant with Caleb, we had no idea if we would be having a boy or a girl. But I found a nursery I loved and I never ended up finding anything I liked more. So Caleb's nursery was chosen basically from the very beginning of my pregnancy.
I wanted something that was very gender neutral, that was good quality, simple, and that I could use for future babies. We zoned in on this Restoration Hardware Crib and dresser and purchased it during an end of summer sale. We also went ahead and ordered the conversion kit to make it a toddler bed, but since he has been sleeping well, we haven't made the plunge and switched it over yet.
The walls are covered in wallpaper that looks almost like linen. We purchased the wallpaper at Sherwin Williams and had it professionally installed.
We also knew we wanted animals to feature greatly in the room. The two elephant baskets that hold diapers and supplies are from Pottery Barn, as is the bedding, and the white animal heads hanging on the walls are from ZGallerie.
I originally had my heart set on a rocker from Pottery Barn, but by the time we made a decision, they were majorly on backorder and wouldn't have arrived until after Caleb was 3 months old or something like that. So I found an old fashioned rocking chair on Wayfair, and purchased that for less than $200.
About two months ago, I decided that Caleb's closet needed some major reorganizing. So does every other closet in the house, but that's for another day. With some help and guidance from my friend Jessica over at Thoughtfully Organized, I was able to purge a lot of stuff he no longer needed and purchased baskets to organize the odds and ends in his closet. I purchased all the baskets in his closet at Target.
I tried to utilize some of the wasted space by attaching Command hooks in the closet so we could hang smaller backpacks and items.
These larger baskets are perfect for Caleb's collection of hats and for extra diapers. I also purchased these at Target.
What's your favorite part of your child's room? I'd love to hear all about it!
I shot this look back In February and hadn't gotten around to blogging it, but it's okay because it's actually a perfect look for a summer date night. My love affair with crisp white shirts is never-ending. When I was working, anytime I would come across a white blouse with interesting details, I would snag it and then I would wear the heck out of it.
While this blouse probably isn't work appropriate for most professions, it really is the perfect top for a night out. The off-the shoulder and the gorgeous bell sleeves are just perfect.
I of course, am a jeans queen and love my denim, but denim and a crisp white shirt are one of my favorite looks of all time. While silhouettes may change and fit may change, the look itself is classic and can be dressed up or dressed down. In this case, I paired it with olive green pointy-toed block heels, but this look would be just as perfect with a pair of flats, or wedges, or sexy strappy sandals.
I've posted about these embellished jeans before and how much I love them, but I think the embellishments add the perfect little touch to an otherwise pretty simple outfit.
While we're on the subject of independence this week, let's talk about it on a more personal level. In this day and age where helicopter parenting (it's a thing, I promise, look it up) is so popular and so damaging, let's remind ourselves to be more like America and loosen the reigns a bit. When I was teaching, the one thing I always swore was that I wouldn't be a helicopter parent. And while what you say before you have kids and what you do once you actually have them are two different things, this is one thing I have tried to stick to. And while Caleb hasn't started school just yet, and I don't know what I'll be like once he does, I am trying to make sure he doesn't feel like he is still attached to me by the umbilical cord.
According to the article I linked from Parents Magazine, helicopter parenting means that parents are overly focused on their children. In this day and age where we are so consumed with perfection, we sometimes forget all the great parenting skills our parents had, whether they were intentional or inadvertent. I find that I have to be very conscious and tell myself not to hover. We have been taught to fear so much, danger lurks around every corner. The other day, when talking about traveling abroad, someone told me, "You have to watch your stroller every second or they will walk away with the stroller and your child in it." I get it. We want to protect our kids. We NEED to protect our kids.
But it cannot come at the cost of their independence and ability to do things for themselves.
I think helicopter parenting is a term that is typically applied more to school aged children and parents who are making sure their children succeed at any cost, including completing assignments for them. However, I definitely think the tendencies can begin before school begins, and I am trying to do a few things to foster independence in Caleb that will help him adjust to life away from home and Mommy & Daddy's arms.
He plays independently. A lot.
Momma's got work to do. The house needs picking up. Blog posts have to be written, meals need to be made. When we over schedule our kids from such a young age, they never learn to be bored and use their imaginations. They feel like they need to be entertained at every moment. And I do not have the time, nor the energy, to entertain him every minute of every day. He's got a playroom full of toys of every kind at his disposal. This doesn't mean I won't play with him for a little while, or schedule play dates or take him to do an activity of some kind, it just means I'm not planning every second of his day.
He isn't attached by the umbilical cord.
They cut that thing the second he popped out. Literally - it was cutting off his air supply. There's no need for me to keep him within arms reach when we are in open areas. At the playground, at the park, at the beach, I give him space. If I see he needs help or there is imminent danger, I stop him or help him. But otherwise, I'm letting him build up that confidence. And I'm always paying attention and just a short distance away.
He gets hurt. And gets in trouble. And everything he does is not adorable or funny.
My child isn't always in the right. If he hits your child without reason, I'm going to scold him, but you can go ahead and scold him too. If I tell him not to do something because he's going to get hurt, and he keeps doing it anyway and gets hurt, I'll comfort him, but I also talk about the consequences of our actions. And contrary to popular belief, everything he does is not adorable, and we shouldn't laugh when he does something he really should not do. Is this hard sometimes? YES. But it's important for them not think that everything they do is adorable.
It isn't easy. I've had to make a very conscious decision for some of these things. And I know once he starts school, it won't get any easier. But when he applies for college or a job and stands out because Mom isn't the one doing his communicating for him guys this really happens, like for real), then I'll know we did a good job.
Last week I had the pleasure of appearing on a segment on our local news station. Caleb and I appeared for Mommy & Me fashions on NBC's 6 in the Mix, in a segment put together by my friend Kathy over at Freshly Squeezed Fashionista (I've talked about her before - she's the one who took these shots of me, and these). Kathy has been super helpful in getting me out of a style rut - she wears combinations that I would never think to put together, and she's always challenging me to wear something out of my comfort zone.
When I was shopping for pieces for this segment, I went to Old Navy, and I sent her photos from the fitting room. I sent her a shot of this outfit and said, "I can do the shorts with a white top OR the shirt with white shorts." And her response was, "NO! I love them together!" I was a little hesitant, but I ended up really loving this outfit! I'm calling it my "Tranquila & Tropical" look - tranquila means relaxed (tranquil).
I would never have paired the same print on the top and bottom, but I feel like this just works, and it's a really fun look I could wear on vacation, or even for just a day out and about in Miami. The earrings and clutch were provided by Fringe Boutique, and the shoes were provided by Chiffino. My gorgeous hair and makeup were done by some awesome ladies from GlamSquad. I loved the side braid, and the bronzed makeup accented the (minimal) tan I acquired on our recent stay at the beach!
This top is the softest, thinnest material, and it is perfect for summer. Old Navy really hit it out of the park with this top! The shorts are a linen blend, so also really perfect for summer! It's a comfortable, breathable outfit - and aside from the fact I'm wearing heels, it's a great outfit to run around after Caleb,
I love the colors on this clutch - I feel like it would go well with almost anything, and those pom moms are too cute! And the heels, while a little high for me and what I have been wearing lately, I did love the way they made my legs look!
Stay tranquila & tropical, babes!
I don't know about where you live, but it has been brutally hot here. Some days you walk out the door, and feel the vapor attack you. It takes a good five minutes for my camera's parts to get de-fogged, and I'm sweating within 30 seconds of stepping outside.
Needless to say, we are consuming large quantities of anything cold around here - I'm drinking iced coffee, eating cold salads, and trying to be in the air conditioning every possible moment.
Obviously, cold treats are a must, but after consuming way more ice cream than we should while on vacation, I'm trying to opt for some healthier alternatives. So I ordered these popsicle molds* off of Amazon. (*affiliate link)
On Monday, I had some berries that I needed to use up, so I decided to go ahead and make some popsicles. I wasn't in the mood to use the blender, so I just tossed the ingredients into the mold. It could not be any easier! I'm not including measurements because I honestly didn't measure them. This isn't a true recipe, just a guideline!
These popsicles, aside from being crazy refreshing, also have no sugar added, are really hydrating, and contain a serving of fruits (as well as some protein because of the Greek yogurt). Plus, those last bits of fruit that hadn't been used up didn't have to go to waste!
strawberries, hulled and sliced
plain Greek yogurt
I mean, look at that face and tell me he didn't enjoy those! lol
Keep cool, lovers!
We are home from our two week stay at the beach! We enjoyed ourselves so much, but if you have ever spent a day at the beach, you know how hungry you can get - and let's just say that we ate heartily! I got groceries yesterday and decided to whip up some acas bowls for breakfast this morning, in an effort to get some good nutrients in and to fill our bellies with yumminess.
This is a breakfast that is easier to make than it looks. Just pick your ingredients and toss them in the blender! The fancy toppings are just an extra, and you absolutely don't have to spend a lot of time on that! I don't really measure the ingredients, I just do it based on what we want that morning, so I'll give you an estimate, but feel free to change it up and add what you like! Frozen fruits are always best to use in these, they make the bowl less "soup-y" and more custard-like.
Peanut Butter Acai Bowl
1 packet frozen acai puree (I get this at Trader Joe's)
1 cup kale
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 cup frozen cherries
1. Blend together first 6 ingredients until smooth.
2. Transfer to a bowl.
3. Top with blueberries, 1/2 sliced banana, chia seeds, and granola.
A while back, I posted about accepting my MomBod. And while I don't beat myself up about my weight or the way I look anymore, If I'm 100% honest, I don't always love myself the way that I should. I brush off compliments and say, "Oh no way, they're just being nice." And really, that's a knee-jerk reaction that we develop to compliments when we don't feel worthy of them. And I don't want that to be what my son learns from me - that I, or any woman, doesn't feel worthy enough to accept a compliment from the ones they love.
I didn't realize just how much I did this until recently, when Eddie told me how beautiful I looked while we were at the beach last week. I nearly rolled my eyes and I definitely made some kind of guttural sound like "ugh, yea right." And he called me out on it. He wasn't upset or hurtful, but he definitely made me realize that I'm not as receptive of compliments as I should be. And in the last few weeks, Caleb has started to tell me, "Mommy, bee-ful (his version of beautiful)!" I don't ever want to shoot down his complimenting me. Because guess what? In their eyes, I am beautiful.
Lately, I've been having Eddie take outfit photos of me. Not because I don't want to work with photographers, but because there is something different in the way Eddie captures me. I don't know if it's because he knows my best angles, or because he's looking through the lens at someone he loves, but I'm always so happy with the way those photos turn out, and I tend to nitpick at them way less than I do at other photos.
I actually had him take some photos of me this past week, on the beach, in a bathing suit. We had gotten up early and the morning was beautiful. I threw on my swimsuit and a sarong, and I grabbed my camera on the way out the door. I asked him to take a few shots of me, not knowing what I would use them for. When I started browsing through them, I was pleasantly surprised. Because before I noticed my belly sticking out, I noticed my smile. Before I noticed that my boobs didn't look perfect, I noticed how relaxed I looked. And I noticed that I did, in fact, look pretty.
And you know what? Since that moment on the beach, I haven't felt self-conscious about the way I look. I have been focused on making memories with my family, and relaxing, and enjoying the time we have been spending together. Because years from now, my son and my husband won't remember that I had a little extra back fat. They will remember jumping in the waves with me, and building sand castles with me, and walking up and down the beach with me. And that's what I want them to remember. Not that mom was too ashamed to take off her cover-up to jump in the water with them.
So from now on, I'm going to try to be more accepting of compliments. I'm going to try to see myself the way those who love me see me, for myself.
And you should try it momma. Because you're beautiful, just as you are. Trust me.
P.S. I want to shout out a blogger who epitomizes body confidence and positivity, Sarah Tripp at Sassy Red Lipstick. She is gorgeous, and every time I see her posts, I realize that I am normal, and that I should be happy with how I look, right now. Go check her out, I promise you won't be disappointed (her hubby also happens to be her photographer and they're the cutest).
Bathing Suit & Hat: Target
If you have been following me on social media, you know I'm not posting as frequently because we are on vacation at the beach. This year, we decided to do a staycation on a beach close to home. We arrived a week ago, and we'll be here for another little bit. Unfortunately for us, the weather has been terrible! We've had a few flashes of sunlight and clearer skies, but for the most part, it has been soggy and rainy.
We have decided to make the most of it anyway and we have been doing a lot of reading, playing together, and spending time with one another. It has forced us to slow down and enjoy one another, which is something I will never be upset over.
But since our time in the sun has been limited, I try to have my beach bag ready to go at all times so we can just run out when the sun comes out. Truthfully speaking, my beach bag is always packed and ready to go in our linen closet, especially in the summer months, when last minute beach days are always a possibility.
Keep in mind a couple of things:
1. We are staying on the beach. If I was spending a day at the beach and was further away from home, I would probably pack a lot more.
2. Caleb requires a lot less now than he did last summer or the summer prior. Now he's happy to play in the sand most of the day and run around chasing the birds or run from the waves.
I'm using a Longchamp bag that my mom gave me for Christmas as my beach bag. This one is colorful, and it doesn't let the moisture in. Plus, I can zip it up to keep the sand out when I'm not using it. It cleans up easily enough, just wiping it off with a damp cloth.
Inside my bag I keep a few essentials (not everything is shown in the photo above):
A couple of other things we take to the beach, but that are not in my beach bag:
And for Caleb, since sunscreen application and re-application is important, but sometimes difficult, I dress him in a swimsuit and swim diaper, but I always put a rash guard with SPF on him to protect him from the sun's rays and preventing a sunburn.
And there you have it, our beach essentials! I hope this is helpful, and I hope you have some amazing summer beach days! I'm off to enjoy some sunshine. :)
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.