A couple of weeks ago I flew from Miami to New York to attend a product launch event for JOHNSON'S. I documented some of my trip on Instagram, but I didn't mention something. That was the first time in over ten years - since before Eddie and I were married - that I had really traveled alone. I've driven to Orlando from Miami before and met Eddie there, but in the almost NINE years we have been married, I haven't had a reason to travel anywhere alone. Add to that having a child attached to me 24/7 for the last nearly 4 years, and well, there went the time!
I always have a little bit of anxiety about traveling - mostly when I am in the packing stage. The morning I was leaving to New York, my stomach was a mess, I was so nervous, and I packed and re-packed no less than 3 times. I texted my best friend, and told her how nervous I was and she told me, "Of course you are, you're leaving your kids and husband behind." In my heart I knew my kids would be fine and well taken care of. Eddie is an amazing, hands-on dad and is so good with both of them. Plus we had the grandparents lined up to help out, too. There was nothing to worry about.
But then I thought, "What if something happens to me?" I literally created dozens of scenarios in my mind and stressed myself over things that, were they to happen, would be completely out of my control. Finally I snapped myself out of it, took a deep breath, and put my fears in God's hands.
Off I went, to do the airport on my own, get an Uber on my own, check into a hotel on my own, figure my meals out alone, sleep on my own, and attend an event where I didn't know anyone. But something happened along the way there. I relaxed. I enjoyed myself. I listened to music. I walked alone. I enjoyed silence. I walked like I knew where I was going. I met up with a friend for drinks and stayed up later than usual. And I felt good about it. I missed Eddie and I missed my babies, of course. I thought about them every moment. But doing this on my own made me feel capable, and it made me feel like I had a little bit of my self back.
When I was in college, I went to New York with three of my girlfriends. On our last day, we were tired and went back to the hotel room to nap. Well, I ended up being the only one who woke up from the nap and needed to eat, so I left the hotel and wandered around Times Square on my own for a little bit. The next morning my friends gave me some grief about going out on my own, but I never once felt uneasy about doing it. This whole trip kind of made me feel like that.
I have this fear of growing older and being so reliant on Eddie that I am incapable of doing things on my own. Eddie loves to take care of me, and I absolutely love that about him, but I don't want to be in my 60s and scared of doing things because someone else always did them for me. And while I don't want to leave my husband and kids all the time, I think doing it was really empowering for me.
Some of you might be thinking - what a baby, I do this for work all the time! And girl, do I salute you, but I have never had to travel further than Orlando for work, and even that was with coworkers. So for me, this was a big deal. But it was a reminder that I can do things I'm not always comfortable with, and that sometimes, stepping out of my comfort zone can be more rewarding than I anticipated. For me, this wasn't just a "work trip". It was about finding a little piece of myself, and growing in a way I didn't know I needed to.
So the next time you get a chance to do something that is new to you - don't hesitate. Take the step. I don't think you'll regret it.
P.S. As soon as I decided to go on this trip, I went looking for an outfit. I found this look at New York & Company - it was on a mannequin and I loved the combination of the polka dots and stripes. (Shop the look below.) I also loved the movement on the pants, but this bold of a print mixing was also outside my comfort zone - so you could say I tried several new things this trip!
I scheduled a shoot with Lauren of Laurel Creative and when we met up to take these photos, it was raining! (You can probably tell in the first couple of shots if you look really closely.) But we stuck it out, and got it done in under 30 minutes. I felt like a sweaty mess and my hair lost all it's curl after the drizzling rain stuck to it, but I still love what these photos represent (And hello, how amazing is that taxi shot?!).
Shop My Look
This is a sponsored post. I was hosted by Dolphin Mall in exchange for this post.
When you think of Dolphin Mall, you probably think of Johnny Rockets and outlet shops. And while it is Miami-Dade County's largest outlet shopping center, there is a lot to do at Dolphin Mall. Especially in the summer months, when you need to beat the heat, Dolphin Mall has it covered for you, your kids, and everyone else in the family - from shopping, to dining, to entertainment, and then some.
A couple of weeks ago, the mall hosted me and a few other mommy bloggers who are from Miami. I attended with Chloe, so there were a few things we didn't really get to enjoy as much as if I had had Caleb with me, but Caleb went to camp because I wasn't ready to brave the mall with both of them at the same time, especially when Caleb is hit or miss in situations like that.
We started off the morning at Dave & Busters, with some breakfast and game time. Kids really love Dave & Buster's because of all the games. I know the last time Caleb was there he had a blast!
After Dave & Buster's we hit Forever 21, where the older kids got to do some crafts and activities, while us moms browsed all the cute merchandise. This Forever 21 is enormous, so you are bound to find something to fit your needs!
Then we were off to Cinebistro for lunch and a movie. Cinebistro is a movie dining experience. The way it works is you book your seats in advance when you purchase your tickets. They suggest arriving 30 minutes prior to the movie start time so you can place your orders for food and drink (they have a full service bar), and you can order anything up until 5 minutes before the movie starts. The waitstaff brings you your food and drinks, and you never have to get up out of the big, comfy seats. It is kid friendly for any showings before 6 pm. Any showings after 6 pm, and guests must be 21 and over. The food was good, the dessert was even better!
After the movie, I hit a couple of shops, including H&M (they have a pretty big location here with a kid's section, too). Then Chloe had a diaper blowout and I had to pick Caleb up, so we headed out. But Dolphin Mall really has so much to offer. Below I'm listing their summer promotions. If you need something to entertain your kids (or yourself) this summer, and beat the sweltering South Florida weather and the afternoon thunderstorms, Dolphin Mall definitely is the place to go!
Cobb Theaters: Tuesday June 12 - Thursday August 2, Cobb theaters will offer free admission to kids for screenings of kid friendly movies every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10 am. [305.591.9380]
Dave & Buster's: All games half price on Wednesdays. [305.468.1555]
Buffalo Wild Wings: All summer, kids eat free every Wednesday from 5 to 11 pm. [305.513.2660]
Monday Mayhem: $14.19 Unlimited bowling with shoe rental. Food & drink specials starting at 8 pm.
Wednesdays: Unlimited Laser Tag Missions - $15 per person starting at 6 pm.
Mondays: BOGO 50% admissions.
Tuesdays: $5 off admission
Wednesdays: Kids eat free
Fridays: BOGO 50% off on select appetizers
I was provided with Tidy Snap free of charge. However, all opinions are my own.
When I first had Caleb, like any first time mom, leaving the house was an exercise in how much I could fit in my bag. I had a pretty big diaper bag, and I wouldn't leave the house without anything I thought I might possibly need in any scenario. Before Caleb was even born, I had my diaper bag packed and full to the brim, because you know, I could have to leave the house at a moment's notice and God forbid I didn't have anything and everything I needed ready to go. I carried about 3 extra pacifiers with me, a bottle of ready to feed formula just in case my milk dried up from one minute to the next (I know, I know), several extra outfits, blankets (yes, plural) and anything else I could think of.
I learned that I barely used half of what was in there, and I could definitely cut back on what I was carrying with me on a regular basis. I eventually transitioned to a diaper backpack and minimized the amount of things I carried with me.
This time around, I hadn't even prepared a diaper bag. I actually pulled out the diaper bag I used with Caleb, washed it, and had every intention of using it again, but instead I turned to my trusty RYLA Pack. Now I typically alternate between my RYLA Pack and my Louis Vuitton Neverfull, because it's big enough to carry everything I need and still look stylish.
My RYLA Pack comes with a diaper storage and changing kit that folds up into itself (but you can buy something similar to this on its own), so I just take that and switch it from one bag to another. In there I keep diapers, wipes, baggies to throw away stinky diapers, a travel size diaper rash ointment, and a travel size lotion. I also keep hand sanitizer, a sanitizing spray, hand and face wipes, and pacifier cleaning wipes that help remove dirt and germs when she inevitably drops her pacifier on the floor.
Another great product I have found has been Tidy Snap. Do you remember those slap bracelets we used to collect and go crazy for in elementary school? These are just like that! As a matter of fact, whenever Caleb gets his hands on them, he uses them as bracelets! They're rubbery, so they don't slip and slide around, but they are really great for helping to keep you organized.
I take two of these Tidy Snaps and in one I roll up a muslin blanket. The Tidy Snap helps keep it from becoming a mess in my bag. I use another snap to wrap a burp cloth (which I sometimes use to cover my breast while nursing - without having to cover the baby's entire head) and an extra onesie or romper in the case of a diaper blowout.
So anytime I want to switch bags, I grab those three things and make the switch (or leave it out altogether if I'm going out without them). It's really simplified things and helps me to stay much more organized. I know the kids things are wrapped up in one of these, and it's not getting mixed up with my stuff. The snaps are also really great for organizing outfits for travel, and keeping blankets rolled up in the drawer so you can see what you actually have in there.
I've linked all of these essentials or similar products on my Amazon Influencer Page, under Diaper Bag Essentials. For Tidy Snap, you can go directly to their website.
In November, we took an extra long weekend trip to New York, and even though we have been there a few times already with Caleb, this was the first time that he was really aware of what was going on and the fact that we were in a new city. We planned a lot of activities based off of things we thought he would like, and decided to visit some major landmarks, even though we had already done a lot of them, because we knew he would enjoy them.
We spent a few weeks leading up to the trip talking about how we were going to go visit New York City, and talking about some of the sights we were going to be seeing. We watched a few movies that took place in New York and made sure to point out the landmarks, and he was more than excited once the day of the trip finally rolled around.
We flew out of Miami into LaGuardia, and because Caleb is over the age of two, he needs his own seat now. Let me tell you, purchasing a seat might be more expensive, but oh my goodness was it so much more comfortable! While Caleb does watch TV at home, I don't usually let him handle devices unless it's a real necessity, but trips are a different story. I made sure to download a few of his favorite movies onto an iPad and we got him headphones. We also brought along a few snacks and some of his favorite toys. Since the flight wasn't a long one I wasn't really concerned with much else.
Once we arrived, we picked up our bags and took a car into the city.
The Statue of Liberty
One of the landmarks we talked about a LOT was the Statue of Liberty. We figured she is so iconic that he would always recognize her. I booked the tickets online ahead of time with the service that the National Park Service recommends, so we wouldn't have to wait in line. We went on a Thursday at noon and the lines weren't bad at all anyway.
Caleb absolutely LOVED the ferry ride there. He kept looking around, and looking at the water. Once we got to Liberty Island, we walked all the way around, stopped in front of the Statue of Liberty, and then kept strolling. His attention wouldn't have held for much longer than that.
Make a stop at DO, Cookie Dough Confections if you've ever enjoyed a piece of raw cookie dough in your life (and who hasn't?). Don't go overboard, it's super rich. But Caleb loved this stop for sure.
Okay, so we typically avoid Times Square, unless we are going to see a show or something. But we knew that it would have a major draw for Caleb, and boy, were we right! He loved looking at all the lights and buildings. He even took a picture with Spider-Man (albeit a little wonky-looking Spider Man), and he is still talking about Times Square a few weeks after the trip. We popped into the Renaissance Hotel, which has some amazing views from the lobby, and then we walked around a bit. We also strolled through the Disney Store, because why not?
We walked over a couple blocks to Bryant Park, too and he really enjoyed watching the ice skaters. If you're there during the holidays, they have the cutest holiday village set up so you can go shopping for Christmas gifts from local artisans.
Books of Wonder
After reading about the most whimsical children's book store, Books of Wonder, I knew we had to make this a stop. We all enjoyed perusing the vast number of children's titles, and they have an adorable little area where you can read books with your kids. It's definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.
Central Park & Tavern on the Green
There is just so much to see in Central Park. From the views of the city, to the ponds, to people watching. We were there so I could take maternity photos of my brother-in-law and his wife, but Caleb liked being pushed around through the little pathways and looking at all the big trees around him.
We made a reservation for brunch at Tavern on the Green, which is right on the edge of the park. The food was delicious, and they had a great selection for children, as well.
New York City Subway
Go for just one subway ride. The sights, the smells, the sounds - kids will be enthralled. We headed to Brooklyn on our last day there, and we decided to take the subway. Caleb liked going on the "fast train" and asked all kinds of questions about it.
We got off the subway and stepped right into DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). It's a really beautiful area filled with families and beautiful views of Manhattan. We walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge Park and took a ride on Jane's Carousel. It was built in 1922 for a park in Youngstown, Ohio, and was moved to Brooklyn in 1984 for restoration. It was opened to the public in 2011. It is enclosed in a glass "jewel box," and you get the most gorgeous views of the city while you are on it.
Either we talked about the bridge a lot, or Caleb latched onto it when we did talk about it, because the entire trip, he talked about how he wanted to see the Brooklyn Bridge. So when we finally made it there, he was so excited to see it. We walked across it (it was a Sunday afternoon when the weather was glorious and it was packed), and now he knows he was on the Brooklyn Bridge.
There were a few other places we stopped in at, mostly food places, that I wouldn't necessarily say are great for kids, but that we really enjoyed. Here's the short list.
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!
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. :)
Earlier this week, my friend Kathy from Freshly Squeezed Fashionista and I went exploring in Little Havana, a classic Miami neighborhood that pays homage to all things Cuban. We took some outfit shots for her, and then I handed my camera to her and had her snap a few shots for me as well.
We started off at Ball and Chain, where we hung out for a little bit, I snapped a few shots of her, and we had this incredible drink called the Pastelito Daiquiri. It had rum, guava puree, and a few other ingredients that I'm not sure of, but it had a pastelito de guayaba floating in the top of the drink. It was like my favorite childhood breakfast was turned into the drink of my dreams! Haha Ball and Chain has live music all the time, and the night scene is pretty awesome. If you're looking for a cool spot to hit up in Miami, this is definitely a great one!
We had been promising our boys ice cream all morning, so we decided to stop into Azucar. We both got the Abuela Maria, which is vanilla ice cream, with chunks of guava, cream cheese, and Maria crackers. This is a snack my grandmother used to make for me after school, so it's always a little bit of nostalgia when I have this. The boys loved their ice cream!
The bright streets and lively colors of the Little Havana area made for the perfect backdrop for these photos. My friends over at Truth & Glory sent me this adorable Blessed Mama tee, and I think it's perfect for any mama in your life. And from now until Saturday, use the code TOPKNOT to get 15% off of your purchase from their shop! They are a local Miami shop, so if you want to shop local - contact them for sure!
I paired the tee with these super comfy shorts from Gap, and these colorful pom pom sandals from Target.
We wrapped up our afternoon by having a delicious medianoche sandwich at El Exquisito. Overall, it was a hot but really fun day in Little Havana, and I can't wait to go back!
When I first started this blog, this was one of the things I most wanted to do with my readers... share places I love and have enjoyed with Caleb. I can't believe now is when I'm finally getting around to it! I haven't been to every single place on this list with Caleb, but I did get a lot of suggestions from other toddler mamas in one of my mommy groups. So if we are recommending it, you can bet that they are places we have taken our kids!
If you're from Miami, most of these places probably won't come as a surprise to you, but you might not have been to all of them. If you're not from Miami, but have been considering making a trip down here with your kids, know that South Beach isn't the only part of Miami that you can visit with kids (nor should it be the only place you visit!).This list isn't totally comprehensive, and I didn't include areas like Little Havana or Wynwood, which have their own attractions, some appropriate for kids and others not necessarily. I focused on places that really are entertaining and captivating for kids.
Without further ado, here's MY-ami!
1. The Beach
You can't mention Miami and not think of the beach. So that's why it's first on the list. Kids love the beach and can be entertained there for hours at a time. There is always the miles of beach on Miami Beach, although during peak tourist season parts of the beach can be particularly packed. South Pointe Park is a great option - there is a splash pad area that is great and some lush green areas as well. The biggest downfall here is that parking can get pricey and the walk to the beach from parking is a long one. If you've ever been to the beach with kids you know how much stuff a day at the beach requires, so this might not be the absolute best option.
One of our favorites because it is far away from all the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach is Matheson Hammock Park. Tucked away in the back of the park is a man made lagoon which is fed by the bay. It's lined with palm trees, has lifeguards, and parking is easy and close to the sand (and cheap!).
South Point Park
1 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Admission: Free (Parking fee varies, however)
Matheson Hammock Park
9610 Old Cutler Road, Miami, FL
Admission: Parking Fee About $5.00
If your kid loves trains - take them to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum! They have old trains that are no longer in use. Caleb loves climbing into the cars and running through them. At Christmastime they do a really cute Polar Express activity (we haven't done it yet but will probably do it this Christmas). They also have special activities throughout the year and Thomas comes to visit, too!
Gold Coast Railroad Museum
12450 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177
Admission: Adults $8.00, Kids (ages 2-12) $6.00
3. The Zoo
Once your kids are old enough to recognize animals, Zoo Miami is the place to go. The zoo is huge and has some beautiful areas. Get ready for some walking! They have family bikes you can rent as well and tour the zoo that way. There are two splash pads and tons of cool animal exhibits. One of our favorite things to do when we go there is to feed the giraffes. It's $3 and you get lettuce leaves to feed to them.
The zoo and Gold Coast Railroad Museum are actually located on the same property. The zoo is massive but the railroad museum isn't, so you might be able to squeeze both in on the same day, but I wouldn't recommend it.
12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177
Admission: Adult $21.95, Children (ages 3-12) $17.95
4. Miami Children's Museum
We haven't been to the Miami Children's Museum in a while, but this is an awesome place to go anytime, but even more so when the weather is crummy because it's indoors! They have tons of exhibits, where they focus on dress up, on careers and occupations, and loads of sensory activities. They have seasonal exhibits which are always filled with activities as well.
Miami Children's Museum
980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132
Admission: General Admission $20, Florida Residents (Must present I.D.) $15
5. Fairchild Tropical Gardens
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a beautiful botanical garden filled with lush vegetation and greenery. I actually haven't been here with Caleb but I was there last week for a photo shoot and all I could think while I was there was that it would be the perfect place for Caleb to run around. There are wide open spaces and plenty of interesting things for them to look at. It also has so many incredible photo opportunities!
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33156
Admission: Non-member adults $25, Children: 5 & under FREE, 6-17 $12
6. Pinecrest Gardens
Another place with lush greenery, Pinecrest Gardens has a lot more areas geared towards kids. They have a playground, a petting zoo, and a splash pad. Its much smaller than Fairchild and comes with a smaller price tag. We have only been for a birthday party and haven't really experienced all that the Gardens have to offer, but it is certainly somewhere we will be going back to!
11000 Red Rd, Pinecrest, FL 33156
Admission: General Admission $5
7. Knaus Berry Farm
Knaus Berry Farm is open seasonally from November - mid-April. When they are open, they make these incredible cinnamon buns and outrageous milkshakes. Lines can get pretty long, but when you taste one of those buns you will know that your wait was worth it. Take a bunch to go. You can also go strawberry picking here. I actually remember going here when I was younger - it has been around since the 50s and remains family owned and operated. If you can make it out here before they close for the season, definitely do!
Knaus Berry Farm
15980 SW 248th Street, Homestead, FL 33031
8. Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)
We haven't been to the Perez Art Museum Miami with Caleb. I'm not sure that the museum itself would entertain him for too long. But the draw of PAMM is that they have lots of family friendly events. The park outside is also so inviting for kids, and has amazing views of the bay, along with this incredible breeze. If you can swing it, enjoy lunch at their cafe, the food is delicious and it's such a relaxing environment.
1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
Admission: Adults $16, Children (under 6) FREE, (7-18) $12
9. Robert is Here Fruit Stand
Similar to Knaus Berry Farm, Robert is Here is only closed in September and October. They specialize in rare and exotic fruits, but also have milkshakes and produce. They also have a petting zoo and a splash pad, as well as picnic tables. They have grown so much that they now have live music on certain days of the week as well!
Robert is Here Fruit Stand
19200 SW 344th St, Homestead, FL 33034
Admission: Free, Prices vary
10. History Miami
Truthfully, the last time I came to History Miami I was probably in elementary school! But it is a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, and it has all kinds of exhibits that are meant to preserve the history of none other than, MIAMI! It's actually somewhere I would probably take Caleb when he is a little bit older, but it's still a cool option and an awesome way to learn about Miami's history! I'm actually really intrigued by some of their upcoming exhibits and may try and convince the hubs to do a date night there. ;)
101 W Flagler St, Miami, FL 33130
Admission: Adults $10, Children (6-12) $5, (6 & Under FREE)
A few bonus spots:
For those of you who live closer to or north of the Dade/Broward County line, I had some amazing suggestions as well. I'll just list them below along with links to their home pages.
And there you have it! A list of all things Miami for kids. Pin it, save it, let me know what you get to! I can't wait to hear all about your Miami adventures! Go ahead, make it YOUR-AMI!
P.S. I have to give a special thanks to my mommy group, who supplied me with a lot of the ideas you read about in this post! You girls rock!
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!
The end of a year always brings on reflection of the past 365 days. This was a year filled with adventure and growth. We traveled more than I ever thought we would - it felt like every month I was packing for something or other. I wouldn't trade the adventures we have had as a couple or as a family for anything in the world.
It was also a year of growth in many ways. We grew in wisdom as parents. I no longer feel like I am so reliant upon the opinions of others. I know my son and we as his parents know what is best for him. This also means we grew in confidence when it comes to Caleb and our parenting decisions.
I grew my photography business, even though I didn't have plans to do so. It ended the year on a really high note.
Finally, I started this little labor of love and it has been a far greater and more fulfilling endeavor than I ever thought. I started it thinking that not very many people would be reading it, but knowing that I wanted to write about motherhood and life in general. I never imagined the feedback I would get and the number of people who would tell me that they loved reading my blog. I have had moms of toddlers, women younger than me who don't have kids yet, and women of my mom's generation alike tell me that they love reading what I'm writing. It's been so much fun and it's been incredible to hear that kind of praise for something that truly comes from the heart. So thank you, dear reader. Thank you for your shares, your likes, your comments, and for sticking around and hearing about my journey through motherhood!
My goal in the new year is to post more consistently, but also to maintain great content. It's important to me to keep this blog true to how I started it, maintaining authenticity and quality content and writing.
I'm looking forward to all the incredible things 2017 will bring our way. May the next year be filled with peace, love, and prosperity for each and every one of you!
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.