So it's date night, the sitter just knocked on the door, and hubby is ready to go enjoy a night out with you. But you glance in the mirror on your way out the door and realize, holy cow, I can't do date night looking like this!
Girl, I've got you! Been there, done that. Luckily, I have a super fast makeup routine for everyday. You can read that routine here. So, I do that, and then I just take it up a notch. My friends over at Reina Rebelde sent me some samples of their products, and I absolutely loved their products to help elevate my look and take it from day to night.
I love Reina Rebelde because it was started by a Mexican-American woman, Regina Merson, and the line is all about embracing duality as a Latina woman who not only loves her Latin culture, but also embraces America and everything it has to offer. The name Reina Rebelde translates to "Rebel Queen," and the line itself is unabashedly Latina. The colors are versatile, which I adore. Some days I want to look just put together enough where I don't scare people on the street, and other days I want to really have that extra oomph in my look. This line lets me do that.
For my eyes, I used their 4 Play Wet Dry Eye Shadow in Azteca. I used the lightest shade (top left) in my brow bone and on the inner corners of my eyes. For my crease I used the shadow in the top right, and I then I wet my brush and used the darkest brown to line my lids on the top and on the bottom.
For my lips, I used their Bold Lip Color Stick in Brava. I am a sucker for bright lips, and red is my absolute favorite. It doesn't hurt that hubby loves it too! This red is classic, and the color is definitely long-lasting. I also love when I don't have to line my lips, which eliminates another step, and with this Bold Lip Color Stick, I didn't have to do that. The color didn't bleed or feather, and it didn't dry out my lips, either.
There you go! Date night makeup in under 15 minutes. I'm sure you can get on board with that!
Some days, going outdoors isn't really an option. Whether there are sickies in your house, the weather is crummy, or you just don't feel like putting on pants (hey girl, I feel you!), sometimes you need to keep those kiddos entertained indoors. And while I am the first to admit that I use my TV pretty often, I also like to have Caleb do engaging activities that hold his interest for a little longer than 5 minutes.
Sensory play is anything that engages your child's senses. Sensory play is important in helping your child explore the world. It also helps them to naturally use scientific processes, problem solve, and develop skills such as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. PBS Parents has a really informative article on why sensory play is so important.
Most of these activities require little prep, and I actually keep everything stored in a box and just pull it out a couple times a week. Once you have all the tools it's actually fairly easy to incorporate these activities into playtime a couple times a week.
If you check on Pinterest, there are hundreds of activities you could do with your little one. I'm only focusing on five that are tried and true in our house..
Sensory Rice Box
I bought an underbed storage box, filled it with rice, and bought a couple of tools so he could play. The same tools are actually used for multiple activities. There are: measuring spoons, fine motor skills tool set, plastic tongs, and little construction trucks. He's snuck a few other toys in there over the months but those are generally the tools he uses in there. I know many people do this using beans, but when we started doing it, Caleb was still pretty small and putting everything in his mouth. Even if uncooked rice would give him a tummy ache, it wasn't a choking hazard, whereas a dry bean could be.
Level of ease: Very easy once you have the tools, but cleanup can be a nightmare if you don't prep for it. Pro tip: use a fitted sheet with the ends propped up on the sides to keep the rice contained and make for easy cleanup!
We did this just yesterday, with zero prep or advance thought. I realized I was out of paper towels and decided to do something with the roll since I had a cranky toddler. I cut the roll in half, and covered one end of each with paper. I had him fill them about halfway. We used garbanzos and couscous because that's what we had on hand, but you can use rice, pasta, any kind of dry bean, cheerios, etc. With the garbanzos, I also practiced counting with him. Once they were filled, we covered the other end and had a dance party! A friend also reminded me that this can be down its water bottles, which probably makes it quite a bit easier!
Level of ease: Easy. But not very independent. If you're looking for something to keep them busy without you having to work, this isn't the activity for you. lol
Pom poms keep Caleb entertained for over an hour. There are so many things you can do with them: counting, color sorting, size sorting. He likes to transfer them from one place to another. A lot of times I will pour them all into a big mixing bowl and give him the muffin tin and his fine motor tool set and let him do as he pleases. This day I just put some on the floor and some in the muffin tin and let him use the tools to move them around as he pleased.
Level of ease: SUPER. Literally just dump everything and let them go.
Strainer & Pipe Cleaners
This is another super easy activity. The strainer is in my kitchen, so I just thread a few pipe cleaners through the holes and have him do the same. Sometimes he does it, sometimes the game is pulling them all out, but it keeps him busy for a little bit.
Level of ease: Eh. Doesn't keep him busy for a super long time, and threading those pipe cleaners can be a pain in the ass.
No Mess Painting
I fill Ziploc baggies with some paint, tape it down to chart paper, and put the chart paper on the window. Taping the baggies down keeps them in place, and I love the effect of the light coming through the paint, which is why I attach it to the window.
Level of ease: Semi-easy. Requires a little bit of prep with the taping and such, but I typically leave this up for days.
There you have it! Five sensory ideas that will keep your kids busy for a good amount of time! Incorporate them as you feel your child needs it - one a day, a couple a week, once a week. Below is a photo of how I store the tools, pom poms, and rice. I usually have the pipe cleaners in there too, not sure where they are at the moment. haha
What other fun activities do you do with your kids around the house? I'd love to hear about them! Drop them in the comments below!
I received a discount on merchandise for my honest review. All the opinions contained in this post are mine.
After our trip to Colorado, I decided that I couldn't manage a purse and a toddler anymore. I have been reluctant to give up my purse for a long time. You see, I love my designer bags. And I also don't switch out bags very often. I buy a purse and wear it until that purse's cost is pennies on each wear (Ex: I bought a Louis Vuitton Neverfull when I graduated from grad school as a gift to myself. I used that bag daily for nearly SEVEN years. At $700, that purse cost me $0.27 a day). But I digress. A couple weeks after our trip, after a particularly exhausting day of errands, I decided I had no choice but to switch to a hands free bag. I figured a backpack would be the best option and I started my research.
I had a few requirements:
I asked in one of my mommy groups and had a couple of great recommendations. But none of them was really what I was looking for. Lo and behold, I find that this company, Vauva, started following me on Instagram, and I check out their page. Of course, they would have exactly what I was looking for, because, duh, it was started by two parents. I reached out and they were willing to work with me, which made me so so excited.
So I ordered my bag and it actually arrived in the middle of Caleb's birthday party. But the following day I was so excited to open it and fill it with all of mine and Caleb's belongings. The bag certainly met all of my requirements. And I hadn't realized how free I would feel when I didn't have to worry about a bag in my hand or on my shoulders!
Now, about the bag. It's a synthetic leather (which means it's low maintenance and super easy to keep clean). The inside is polyester - also easy to clean! It looks chic and sleek. It isn't bulky or cumbersome. It's also the most gorgeous red color inside. It has two pockets on the sides, for things like cell phone, keys, and chapstick. It has a zippered compartment on the front of the bag - I keep antibacterial wipes, sanitary products, and my lipgloss or powder if I need it in there. There is also a zippered pocket on the back of the bag where I keep my wallet and my Kindle (for when he falls asleep in the car and I don't want to mess with him), along with anything else that is valuable and I want to make sure can't be pickpocketed.
The inside of the bag has four pockets, one insulated for keeping drinks hot or cold. The other three are of varying sizes and are great for keeping pacifiers, toys, crayons, and other small items. There is also a zippered compartment, and I've been putting his snacks in there.
The bag comes with a changing pad and a wet/dry bag. I keep his diapers, a disposable changing table cover, and a garbage baggie for poopy diapers in there and then tuck it into the changing pad. When he needs a diaper change, everything is in one place and I don't have to go rummaging through the bag. I keep that in the large compartment along with Caleb's Kindle (the bulky cover makes it hard to fit into the back pocket), a little notebook for coloring, my glasses, and anything else that might be too large for one of the pockets.
Above is pictured everything I keep in the bag on a regular basis. This is all stuff that will get me through a day out on the street with Caleb. We are headed to Disney soon, and this is probably what the bag will have inside, minus the two Kindles, for about 5 or 6 hours at the park (we don't typically spend an entire day there). If you're trying to fit everything but the kitchen sink in your bag, it's probably not the one for you. But if you want to streamline your stuff and feel like you have it all together, then this is definitely the perfect bag for you.
LOOK MA, NO HANDS!
I love that I can load Caleb in the car, put away the stroller, and get in my car, all without having to stop to put my purse in the front seat because it's in my way. And while we're out, I can hold his hand, carry him, push the stroller, or whatever it is I have to do, and not worry that my bag is isn my way.
I love how classy and simple the bag is. It looks put together enough that I can rock it with my workout clothes like I did here or with a cute outfit to spend the day out and about with my family. It's also completely functional and comfortable. The straps are like school backpack straps and help the weight of the bag stay evenly distributed on your back, without digging into your shoulders.
Last but not least, is price. When I saw that this bag was under $100, I couldn't believe it, especially when a lot of other bags I looked at were half as functional and double the price. Even better, though, is that from now until the end of February, Vauva is giving YOU, my beloved readers, a special hookup for 25% off! Use the code "TOPKNOT" at checkout, and save yourself some money on this bag. Or show your hubby this post and drop some major hints for Valentine's Day! ;)
I can't wait to see all you super mamas rocking this bag and simplifying your life while you do it. When you do, post your pics, hashtag them #vauvamama and send them to me! I'd love to hear how much you love your Vauva pack!
I'm off to order the beige one, friends!
If you follow my Instagram account, you know I have spent the last few weeks preparing for Caleb's second birthday. Last year, we didn't do a birthday party and instead took a trip to Disney with family. This year, when Eddie mentioned that he would love to throw a party for Caleb, I started my Pinterest board right away (Of course).
I decided on a Neverland theme, with the idea that I could incorporate elements of Peter Pan (a classic) and Jake and the Neverland Pirates (which Caleb loves and recognizes - as a matter of fact, every pirate is either "Jake" or "Hook"). Pinterest is a dangerous place, and my ideas quickly spun out of control. Thankfully, my parents are amazing at executing ideas and were able to let me borrow a LOT of things they already had. I took most of the photos myself, and in doing so while also trying to enjoy the party, I did miss a few details, but for the most part, they're included! Read on for party details...
I can hardly believe that today is your second birthday. It feels like just yesterday we found out we were expecting you, our perfect little creation. But lo and behold, two whole years have gone by since I first held you in my arms.
Watching you grow has been nothing short of miraculous. I see your personality coming through all the time, and your sense of humor is already leaps and bounds ahead of what I ever thought it would be. You have an uncanny ability to make me laugh and smile even on my worst days. You are, as you say, "fummy."
Your second year of life has brought so much adventure and energy with it. I am learning along with you, and to quote you, "my goodness!" How much I have to learn! Every day is an adventure, a learning experience, a load of fun. You have definite likes and dislikes. You love raisins, cheese, cookies, and all kinds of food, really. You don't like being dirty and you love the bath. You love Mickey and Cookie Monster and you love to explore. Just yesterday you searched all over the front yard and down the street for "Hook."
They say that the twos are terrible. We've seen a few snippets of the behavior that causes people to call them terrible, but I'm so excited to see you learn and grow even more. Two is going to be an amazing year for you and for us! I'm going to try to not let your twos be remembered as terrible. I'm going to try to remember that you are still growing and learning and that the big world is a tough place to navigate and you can get overwhelmed by it all. I may slip up, and we may have some rough moments, but I will do my very best!
We are going to fill your next year up with even more adventures and fun. You're going to keep growing, and learning so much. After all, this will be the year you start school! We are so excited to embark on the next year with you. While I know that memories fade, I will try to document as much as I can for you, while still being present and enjoying the moments we experience together. I always want to remember your smirk, and your funny grin, and the way you say, "Bye! Soon! Love You!" I want to remember how you push my face and Dad's together so you can see us kiss each other. I want to remember how you hook your arms around my neck and nuzzle into my hair. I want to remember how you look when you are napping with your Daddy. I want to remember how you call out "MOM!" every so often, just to make sure I'm still around.
Every day my love for you grows. Some days it's all I can do to keep from smothering you with hugs and kisses. Yes, your mom - the non-snuggler - has a hard time not snuggling with you. I also have a hard time disciplining you, but I know it's necessary. But I certainly do not have a hard time loving you.
But I can hardly believe how quickly the time is going. The saying is true, "time stops for no one." So I am going to make the days count. I'm going to make the hours and the minutes count. And I'm sure next year, I will come to this day and ask myself the same question I have asked myself for the last 2 years, "Where did the year go?"
And I know that one year from now, I will be even more amazed by you, and even more in love with you than I am today. Because you, little guy, are pretty amazing.
Cheers to two, and everything that comes with it.
I love you.
This is not a sponsored post.
Before you start reading, this isn't going to be one of those funny breakdowns of my day where I tell you I had to reheat my coffee three times and I still drank it cold (I actually drink my coffee hot most mornings thanks in part to Disney Junior and a good breakfast for Caleb). But anyway, read on to see what I mean.
If you follow me on Instagram and check out my stories, you might have seen me post this list yesterday. I was cleaning out my nightstand, and tucked into an old notebook I found this list. What is this list, you might ask? Well, apparently, I had very lofty (and quite delusional) goals when we decided I would be a stay-at-home mom. I also clearly did not have a child at that point or realize how much of my day would be consumed by a tiny tyrant. I mean, look at that list. I had photo shoots on Mondays, but never once accounted for the hours I put into editing. I had a field trip one day a week. Get out of the house ONE day a week? That's it? I would have lost my damn mind.
When I showed this list to Eddie last night, we had a good laugh, and he said, "So how's that working out?" When I responded that I must have been delusional, he said, "It's okay - you're doing a damn good job of keeping this house together, regardless of whether or not you have stuck to a schedule." Hey, I'll take that!
So I'm going to break down for you how my typical chores get done. It's not super organized and it isn't fullproof, but it works for me and I typically get most of the stuff I need to get done, done - without being a slave to my home or chores.
Cleaning - I'm going to be totally honest, I have a cleaning lady who comes every other Friday and does the cleaning in my house. So I can't give you a deep cleaning schedule. But I do maintain the house in between her visits. That means that about two or three times a week I clean my floors (they are the most unforgiving floors aside from white floors so I always feel like they are dirty - and I can't vaccuum because Bella goes nuts). My kitchen gets wiped down on a daily basis, because I basically wipe down all the countertops and clean the sink every time I cook. Bathrooms get the wipe down when they look like they need it, or when people are coming over (we have a half bath for guests and we almost never use that, so it's always pretty clean). I use a wet dust rag once a week to wipe down the other furniture surfaces, and that's about it! Floors are the biggie for me.
Food - Okay so I suck at meal planning. I have tried it. I typically have an idea of what I will make in the week, and I don't usually do anything super complicated. I may write a rough outline in my planner of what meals I'll make for the night, but its usually meals with few ingredients that are easy to put together - typically a protein and a veggie, sometimes a starch of some kind will be thrown in there. If it's too complicated, I won't do it, so KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is my motto. I try to get to the grocery store early in the morning, early in the week. If later in the week I realize I have run out of something, I use Shipt and have it delivered (follow that link and get $10 in free groceries and two weeks free). It gets rid of the temptation of stuff I don't need and I don't spend extra money.
Laundry - This is my biggest hurdle. I don't mind sorting, washing, or even folding. I hate hate hate putting laundry away. Sometimes it will sit on the couch in our room for over a week before it gets put away (whoops). But it's clean, right?! I usually spread laundry out over the course of the week. Caleb's clothes on Monday and one load of ours (usually darks since this is what we wear the most). Tuesday I'll do the rest of our clothes. Wednesday is towels and bath rugs. Thursdays is bed linens. I'm also guilty of having to wash clothes a second time because it never got transferred to the dryer. Hey, just putting it all out there.
Ironing - I don't do this anymore unless I have Caleb out of the house for an extended period of time. It's just too dangerous. Anything that needs to be ironed just goes to the drycleaner.
Picking up - I try to pick up as much as possible in the evenings. Once Caleb has gone to sleep is the easiest time to get it done. When I do this it also makes for a smoother morning because I don't feel like I'm walking through a war zone first thing in the morning.
Bills/E-Mail/Editing/Blogging - These usually get done first thing in the morning, while I'm having coffee and Caleb is having breakfast. Whatever I don't get to gets done during naptime and during any downtime we may have throughout the day.
A great tool I have found to help me keep track of chores is Any.Do. It's an app that syncs up with my calendar, lets me know what tasks I have to complete, and since I love to check things off, it's a really helpful visual tool for me. Sometimes the weeks blur together and I don't remember if I have washed the towels, but this app helps me keep track of what I have and haven't done. I can put tasks on a weekly reminder so I don't have to enter them all the time. It's really convenient, and can be installed across several devices!
So there you have it. My fantasies versus my reality. I wouldn't have it any other way, but it is certainly not what I pictured! I hope this helps you if you are still struggling with being a "perfect" stay-at-home mom (newsflash: there's no such thing! You're amazing!).
Have any more tips on how to get your household duties done? Leave them in the comments below!
This post is not sponsored.
Growing up, Christmas was never over on December 25th. First of all, my dad is just a little obsessed with Christmas (love you Dad). And also, in both our faith and culture, January 6th is the end of the Christmas season (fun fact: this is where The Twelve Days of Christmas originated - 12 days between December 25 and January 6).
In The Catholic Church, January 6th is celebrated as the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In many parts of Europe and Latin America, traditionally, the feast of the Epiphany is just as important as Christmas Day itself. Modern day tradition dictates that the Feast of the Epiphany is when the wise men came bearing their gifts to the King.
Growing up, we always knew it as "El Dia de los Reyes" and up until we moved out of the house, my parents always made sure to have a little something for us on this day. My grandmother and my aunt also always made certain that we celebrated this day (my aunt is actually the one who sent Caleb those little kings). I think it's a beautiful tradition that continues to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. There are different traditions across cultures, and this week I saw a lot of my friends asking questions about this day - many weren't even aware that this was a "thing," so I just wanted to share a little bit about the tradition.
It's actually quite simple. We leave our shoes out the night before. Some people leave a box with grass for the camels as well. Overnight, the wise men come by and leave a small gift by the shoes. This year they left a Mr. Potato Head (which Caleb is obsessed with), and the adorable wise men in the photo above to complete his Nativity set from the Itty Bitty Line from Hallmark.
A simple tradition that can go a long way in helping to explain how important the birth of Jesus was (and extending Christmas a few days isn't so bad, either).
Feliz Dia de los Reyes!
If you have toddlers, or young children, or children period, odds are you find yourself saying "NO" pretty often. Some days I feel like I haven't said "yes" to anything, and I guess it's part of the territory. But it also makes me feel pretty crappy. As a kid, I didn't like hearing "no" all the time, so I can only imagine what it must make my son feel like.
However, it is important to me that I raise a good, decent human being, who doesn't just act on impulse all the time. This means that somehow I have to teach him boundaries and limits and proper behavior, especially in social settings (I guess in private ones, too - I don't want his future spouse to be like, "Damn your mother let you do some weird stuff.").
And I know that toddlers and testing limits go together like peanut butter and jelly. But I feel like there has to be a better way than constantly yelling "No!" I also feel like I say "no" a lot preemptively, because we learn to anticipate what our kids are going to do - it used to happen to me with teaching. When explaining instructions I would rattle off a list of dos and don'ts. Students would raise their hands to ask a question, and I would say, "Hang on, that's next." They would always ask me how I knew what they were going to ask. I would tell them I could read their minds, but the truth is that you learn to anticipate behaviors, and the same goes for your kids. I spy him eyeing the dog's food, and I know he's going to make a beeline for it next. So I automatically shout, "NO! Leave Bella's food alone!"
But I don't want to be grouchy mom anymore. I don't want "no" to be the primary word that comes out of my mouth. I know it has to be in my vocabulary and I'm not saying it's a bad thing to say no, but there has to be a better way of getting my point across than barking NO twentyfourseventhreesixtyfive. I also don't want him to be afraid of trying new things because Mom is always yelling at him to stop.
So I'm working on this this year. I've come up with four things I can do to help myself and sound less like the Grinch and more like the sweet, loving mom that I am (most of the time).
Reason with him. I know, I know - who am I kidding, trying to reason with a toddler? But you'd be surprised at how often they just get what you're saying. Instead of "NO! Don't eat Bella's food!" I'll try saying something like, "You don't like when Bella takes your food, so let's leave Bella's food alone," or "Bella's food is for doggies, not for people." (Side note: this is really a thing in my house. He eats Bella's food like once a day.)
Encourage the good behaviors. Positive reinforcement always works. We all want to be told we are doing a great job. I've been working on this little by little and I praise him for helping me throw something away, or for not crying hysterically for me when he wakes up in the morning. It's not an instant fix but it is one that will work over time if you do it consistently.
Determine why you are saying no. Are you saying no because something is dangerous? Or just because you don't want them to do something? Or because it's a behavior that isn't socially acceptable? A lot of times I find myself saying no because he could hurt himself. But I also never want to be the reason my son is scared to try new things. So I'm replacing some of my nos with "Be careful," or "Let's try it this way," or "That could be too hot."
Keep them busy. When we let our kids get too bored is when they get into trouble. I'm not saying they should never be bored - that's how imaginations grow - but they need to have something that they can use while they are bored that will not push them to do things they aren't supposed to do. Caleb has a room full of toys - so when I have to get something done, into the playroom he goes. As long as he doesn't get into the closet, nothing in there is off limits to him. Blocks, magnets, crayons, and stickers also work really well for keeping them busy. ;)
I have no idea if it will work or if I can carry it through, but I'm sure as hell going to try. And I have zero answers to these big questions. I'm on this trial and error journey just like you are!
If you have any tips to contribute, let me know in the comments below - I'd LOVE to hear your take on this!
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.