I received this backpack free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
If you've been following me for a while, you more than likely remember me posting about VauvaPack. Over the last 6 months, they have been in the process of rebranding, and they are now RYLA Pack. The bags are just as great, and didn't change enormously, but the small changes they did make are awesome.
First off, I'm slightly obsessed with their new color, Mountain Grey. The hardware is more of a matte gold than it was before and the grey and gold go together spectacularly. They added elastic to the side pockets, so fishing your keys and cell phone out fo the side pockets is much easier. They also lined the inside of the secret pocket in the back with a soft liner so your electronics won't get scratched. The interior of the bags is a nice beige color, and the new bags are more matte than their older counterparts.
If you follow along with me on social media. you will have seen that we spent some time in New York right before Thanksgiving. I took my purse and I also took my RYLA, and guess what I took with me everywhere in the city? The RYLA. I even used it to carry all my camera equipment when I went to take photos of my brother-in-law and his wife.
So what do you think? Do you need one for yourself? I think you do! And if you go get it right now, RYLA will give you 20% off your purchase price! Just follow this link and your discount will automatically be applied at checkout! If that doesn't work, use the code TOPKNOT20.
Keep it real, friends!
A special thank you to Mixto Food & Drink for hosting us! And thank you to Jessica Marinello for most of these photos since I was a scatterbrain and didn't take any photos with my camera!
A few weeks ago I hosted my first brunch for local mom bloggers at Mixto Food & Drink in Miami Springs. It was an intimate affair where we got to chat about motherhood, family life, and balancing real life with being a blogger. It was a nice change of pace to be able to chat with other moms who are going through the same things as I am in multiple ways.
The brunch was an idea Gina, who owns the restaurant along with her husband Ernie, brought to me a few months ago, and after a postponement due to Hurricane Irma, we finally made it happen. I was excited to host brunch in a new spot with great meals, and Mixto did not disappoint!
First, can we talk about their decor? I love the black and gold decor and the amazing chandelier that you see when you walk in. The second floor is set up like a mini library with a few tables as well. I also love the communal table in the center of the restaurant. One of my favorite things however? The tables, which are decoupaged with pages from some of Gina's favorite books! She and her daughters did those all themselves. Such a cool idea!
But I know what you really want to know about is the food, right? They kicked off their brunch just a few weeks before we went, and the brunch menu made me want to try one of everything. I was between the Croquette Benedict and the Tater Tot Waffle, but I settled on the Croquette Benedict because, well, Eggs Benedict. Honestly, it was so good that I would have licked my plate had it not been for the fact that I was in the company of really wonderful ladies whom I did not want to gross out!
I followed up my breakfast with a cup of decaf hibiscus tea, which was delicious. And we decided to split a slice of guava cheesecake, which was spectacular.
And the amazing ladies who joined me, you should definitely go check them out! They are all amazing mommas and have some incredible talents and focuses that they show off on their blogs!
Angie at The Real Food Mama
Jessica at A Mother Adventure
Saray at Saray & Co.
Yarlenis at Her Inspired Guide
Nicole at Nico the Adventurista
We got to chat about blogging goals, motherhood goals, and shared tips and tricks for everything under the sun.
So go check out these mommas, and if you're in the area, go check out MiXto - I promise they won't disappoint!
P.S. If you're in the area on October 28th, MiXto is participating in a community trick-or-treat party, which is free to the community. It will take place from 5:30 - 8:30, so go check them out!
I try to limit Caleb's usage of my phone and iPad as much as possible. Truthfully, he doesn't use it very much at all when we are home - he typically uses it when we are out and he is tired and starting to pitch a tantrum. It's just the easiest way for me to cut the tantrum and not ruin others' dining experiences. Otherwise, though, the phone is solely an emergency use basis. I keep the iPad mounted on the headrest in the car and he watches it like a TV when we are on road trips.
With that being said, there are a few apps that we go to for just such occasions.
The folks over at Kidloland sent us a subscription for unlimited access to the content in their app. It's been such a great resource for me to use. Even if Caleb isn't using my phone, sometimes I get stuck on what nursery rhymes or songs to sing. Their library is absolutely enormous. They have songs for counting, ABCs, and phonics, and they all involve some kind of interaction, so your kids aren't just watching the videos. They have tracing activities and coloring activities. Have a picky eater? They have songs about fruits and vegetables. They have a phonics module, and tons more. The app is recommended for toddlers through age 5. Their website also has some great resources and coloring pages! I know that I will be renewing my subscription for this app!
The awesome people over at Kidloland have given us some free subscriptions to give away to you all! Read all the way to the end of this post to find out how to enter!
To download the app:
Because, duh. Mickey and Minnie and Goofy and Pluto. Caleb likes to watch the episodes. They also have games, but we haven't explored that very much. You can sign in with your cable provider account info and have access to all full episodes for your kids' favorite shows. This is convenient for those moments when your child (well, my child) is yelling for a specific show.
These apps are adorable. It's basically Elmo & Cookie Monster FaceTiming your little one! The app accesses your camera so it looks like they are really on a FaceTime call. There are pauses for your child to respond back, and this is another one that makes Caleb crack up.
This app kept Caleb calm basically the entire flight when we flew from New York to Denver this past December. You can build Mr. Potato Head with all kinds of accessories and then put him into different environments. Then he interacts with the environment and does silly things, which always elicits a hearty laugh! (I have to say that Mr. Potato Head is Caleb's favorite real life toy. He plays with it every single day.)
This app is great for identifying things around the house. Caleb loves to have Daniel use the potty and he loves to put him to bed. It's not an app he will use for an extended amount of time, but it doesn't keep him busy for a few minutes at a time.
This app is for mamas, not for little ones. I haven't used this much lately, but when Caleb was a newborn I did, a lot. I used it to track his feedings, and his wet and soiled diapers. I also kept track of his growth when we would visit the pediatrician. It is a very functional app with a lot of capabilities. If you're a pumping mama, it helps you keep track of your pumping sessions as well, including how long you pumped, and how much your output was.
We probably spoiled Caleb for life, but we have a sound machine in his bedroom that we put on for him every night. It helps to drown out the other sounds in the house, and I have found that he sleeps so much better with some white noise.
There you have it! Our favorite apps! Don't forget to enter the giveaway below for a 3 month subscription to the Kidloland app!
While I was getting ready to write this, Eddie looked over at me and says, "Wait, so you're writing a list on what to get for Mother's Day for other moms to read it?" So I almost nixed the idea. But then I thought, "No - because I'm usually the mom that has no idea what to ask for, and I would love to have some ideas of what I could ask for this year." Plus, we have other moms we buy for don't we? So I decided to stick with it and publish this list anyway. Use it to buy for the other moms in your life, or send it to your significant other in an e-mail. Or not. I included things I've been pining over or things that have been a hit as gifts in the past.
For every mom
I have been swooning over Taudrey's stuff for a LONG time now. Their pieces are all handmade and personalized. They are a local Miami company - I actually went to the same high school as Tiffany (and I taught her little brother, too!) the owner and designer. Their pieces are dainty and beautiful on their own, mixed with other pieces, dressed up, or for everyday. I actually have this necklace, with Eddie & Caleb's initials. This is another beautiful option. As a matter of fact, you probably can't go wrong with a whole lot from this company, and there's a Taudrey goodie included in this week's giveaway! Read all the way to the bottom for details on how to enter and win!
For the mama to be
If you haven't heard of Lauren Arboleda at Food from the Heart, you should definitely go check out her blog. She has healthy and delicious recipes that you would never guess are so good for you. And she recently published her first book, Pregnancy from the Heart. She includes tips for pregnancy, healthy eating, including a fertility diet, recipes, tips for staying active, and what to do to get ready for baby. What I love about this book is that she isn't giving you tons of technical terms - it's like you're reading the words of one of your best friends!
And guess what? We're giving away a copy! I've teamed up with Lauren and one of you lucky readers will get a copy this week! Follow the instructions at the end of this post to enter! Not expecting? So what? I'm sure you know someone who is - and even if you don't, the recipes in here are definitely usable for those of us who aren't pregnant!
For the practical mama
One site I am always checking for new products is Mark & Graham. They do a lot of personalizing and their preppy modern take on items is so lovely. If I were to choose just one thing to add to my list is would be this super cool car organizer.
For the mom who needs a break
You can't go wrong with a day at the spa, a massage, or a mani/pedi. Just saying.
For the mom who's always on the go
I've talked about how much I love my Vauva pack backpack before, and the more time passes, the more glad I am that I got it. I have used these bags for Disney trips and every local outing imaginable. Heck, sometimes I put my camera lenses in there even when I don't have Caleb with me.
For your own mom
We actually gave my parents a family photo session for Christmas this year, and they absolutely loved it as a gift - I don't think we could ever top that. I know that as a mom, memories with my family are one thing I will always cherish. So why not gift mom a photo session? Check out local photographers in your area (oh, hi, Miami mommas - time for a shameless plug), and book a session for mom! I promise it will be a hit!
For the mom who loves to cook
Anything from LeCreuset is always a hit for me. The quality is amazing and cast-iron is always a good idea! For our anniversary, I actually got a special edition Beauty & The Beast soup pot, and it is a permanent fixture on my stove because I love it so much. That one is no longer available, but look how beautiful these flower ones are!
For the sentimental mom
Make her something, or help your kids make her something. Any mom will love a handmade gift, more so when it comes from their children! I'm leaving a couple of pins below to give you a few ideas!
For the shoe lover
Last year I got a pair of Soludos and I have not stopped wearing them. What better gift to kick off the summer season than an adorable pair of espadrilles? Soludos has all these cute designs and you can find a pair for everyone on your list! How cute are these flamingo ones?
This won't cost a thing...
Give mom the day off. It can be on Mother's Day, or another day of your choosing. Let her sleep in. Don't let her wash dishes. Take care of bath time. Get the kids ready for brunch. Keep the house picked up. Sometimes as moms, that's all we need!
At the end of the day, know that whatever you get your Mom, she will be happy. It will be a gift, from you, from your heart. And you can only truly understand that when you become a mother yourself. It's not about the presents, it's about your presence. But something thoughtful and from the heart never hurts.
Anniversary Giveaway #3
I'm a little late with this one, and I apologize, but I was stuck in bed with a stomach virus and it was not pretty! But this week's giveaway includes the beautiful Pregnancy from the Heart by Lauren Arboleda, and a Taudrey hair elastic/cuff that says "Mom Life." Perfect Mother's Day gifts for the moms in your life! Enter below for a chance to win! Giveaway will run through 12:00 am Friday and the winner will be announced Friday morning, as usual!
I was provided meals at no charge for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Transitioning from a full time stay-at-home mom to an almost full-time work from home mom has been a huge adjustment. It wasn't a conscious decision, it was something that just happened, and it's been a blessing in more ways than one, but it has definitely been a bigger adjustment than I ever imagined. Some days I feel guilty because I am not giving Caleb my full attention all day long, but I have come to realize that I need to find a balance. And if I can dedicate two hours to just working in the morning, then I can focus on him for the majority of the rest of the day, or at least until Eddie comes home.
On weeks where I know we will be extra busy, Babe Appetit has come to the rescue! Babe Appetit is an organic meal delivery service based in Miami, FL. They design food plans for children ages 6-36 months. Packages range from 6 meals for parents wishing to introduce new flavors a few days a week, to 10 meals, which would cover all weekday lunches/dinners. This was designed to offer weekend flexibility since many families (at least ours) eat out on Saturday and Sunday. Meals are delivered on Sundays.
The meals are delicious. We have tried several of the items off the menu, and I can honestly say that it is food I wouldn't mind having, either. With samplings like mojo chicken, vegetable lasagna, and turkey chili, who can go wrong? There are meals for every taste and they are all executed deliciously.
So if you're like me and you need an easy fix for your mealtime worries, don't hesitate to check out Babe Apetit!
For more details and pricing reach out to Debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.