3.23.2015

Freshly Picked Moccasins Review




Our daughter Gracia is now 15 months old. She started walking around 11 months old, closer to her first birthday and has not looked back since! When she started walking we noticed that it appeared that she may be pigeon toed, which is not too far fetched since I was as an infant. The initial focus as she was learning was finding shoes that would strengthen her ankles. Then as she would begin to fall and attempt to pick herself up, we noticed that the more flexible sole would assist her better in being able to get back up on her own. 

We looked for shoes with no laces and still do since she has a new found fascination with her feet. Nothing like having to worry about her tripping over her laces when she was already tripping over air. In my search, I began to follow some brands on Instagram to consider. 

An opportunity came to collaborate with Freshly Picked and I couldn't have been more excited to try these Moccasins out. They were so cute and fit all of our shoe must haves. 


I chose the Salt Water Taffy color, which I would describe as the perfect lilac color. When I opened the box, I inspected the shoes and noticed they had elastic that was perfectly hidden under the leather that would allow for me to not have to struggle to get the shoe on Gracia's foot but not too loose that she could figure out how to rip it off her foot and lose it some where. 






Gracia's feet measure at about 5.45" so we chose a size 5 for her. Freshly Picked makes it really easy to figure out what size shoe is best for your child with their easy to read sizing chart. I knew that she would have some room for her feet to move and for her to grow into over the spring. Interestingly enough she hadn't had a growth spurt in her feet - that is until recently. 


This would be her first time walking in soft sole shoes so I was intrigued to see how she would respond. I actually anticipated her walking around like she had on swim flippers for some reason, wondering what it was that I had put on her feet. I let her get familiar first just so that she would understand that they are shoes and go on her feet. 




We put them on her and took her outside. Time to break these bad boys in!
Now my initial guess was that with all the running and tumbling on the cement it would mean that she was going to scuff up her new shoes. Mind you, I have had to return shoes that had gotten destroyed after first wear and that was when she wasn't even walking. So I held my breath as we went outside to play on the first warm day of Spring for our area. 



After a while, chasing her up and down the side walk became a game to her.


She LOVED them. Thats all a mother really wants to know is if this child who is so picky will keep these shoes on her feet and will she be able to truly play and have a good time in them. The best part about them is .... THEY STAYED ON HER FEET! 


I wasn't chasing behind her picking up shoes and trying to put them back on so that she could continue playing. We try our best to avoid "reasons why she's crying" moments. I have picked her up from daycare with just her socks on because the shoes I sent her in were too heavy. 


Now came time to go back inside and I was hoping that she hadn't done so much damage on the cement and her running around that I wouldn't want to put them back on her. 


Much to my surprise the bottoms of her soles were next to perfect!
I honestly thought she was scuffing all the beautiful color and logo off the bottoms and that these wouldn't be a great play shoe. 


This is what they looked like once I took them off of her when we came inside


 

I can honestly say, that after this being our first time trying Freshly Picked moccasins, I would highly recommend them. The wear and tear is great. The color selection is even more fabulous! Our fashion style is focused more on dressing her in complimentary colors versus matching colors. They have a wide range of colors that fit right into a kids wardrobe because they aren't so busy and can go with everything.

I was impressed.  Absolutely.  And the best part is ... Gracia loves them!

We were able to giveaway a pair to one of our readers and hopefully we will be able to do it again in the future so that you can experience them as well. Until then, head over to their website and check out their latest clothing and shoe lines. You will not be disappointed. 



Special thanks to Iris Mannings for capturing our moments yet again! 
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3.02.2015

Freshly Picked Giveaway


I am excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with one of my favorite brands of shoes. 


I first heard about Freshly Picked when I was pregnant with Gracie. Following recording artist Monica Brown on social media, she had posted one of her gifts that she received from a friend for her darling daughter Laiyah. They were several pairs of Freshly Picked Moccasins. 

Here is a Laiyah pictured in her Moccs. 

In getting ready for Gracia's Easter photos, I really wanted something new for her that would be cute and comfy especially since this Easter unlike last Easter, she can walk. 
Imagine my excitement when this brand said that we could collaborate and is sending me a pair for review!

Imagine how even more excited I was that they are allowing my readers - new and old the opportunity to win a free pair for your little one as well! 
Made for infant and toddler girls and boys, this would be a great shoe to add to your collection! 

Want to know how to enter?? 

Winner will be announced on March 21st! 

Heres how you can enter...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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3.01.2015

Mommy and Toddler Natural Hair Care

Let's Talk about Hair!


Natural Hair seems like a trend but I just think that the understanding of how to care for Natural hair has become more popular these days. When I speak about Natural hair I am just talking about the fact that my hair does not have any chemicals, specifically Lye in it whatsoever. 

I did without relaxers back when it was not popular and not even intentionally. 
Back in 2007 when I lived in Chicago, I got into a car accident that injured my shoulder and caused me to have to get physical therapy. My hair was cut short into a tapered bob then and I couldn't raise my arm to maintain my hair. So I got a weave so that I would not have to do much to it until my arm was healed. 
Then my logic kicked in - there was no reason to put a relaxer in my whole head just to continue to weave it. SO, I stopped. 
Then I realized once my roots grew in that my natural hair actually gets pretty straight just by tugging on it and pressing it one good time - there was no real need for relaxers. 

Luckily, in 2015 - there are more blogs and information, products galore for natural, non-relaxed hair. Boy am I excited!!!
It helps me in my decision to not relax Gracia's hair ever and hopefully instill in her a pride of her hair so that she will never want to do the same once she gets older. 

I think it helps that although she is one, she sees me looking just like her. 


The weekends mean that its time to get our hair washing routine on.. 

After much trial and error - I have discovered that the best method to keep Gracia's hair thick and growing especially on her edges is the L.O.C. method. 


The products that I love so far for this on her hair, which by the way are about three different textures, are these pictured. 
(not pictured: shea moisture conditioner and water mixed, pictured: Taliah Waajid for kids, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, which helps hair grow in and Lotta Body Coconut and Shea Oil Curl and Style Milk). 


Use these ingredients in this order, chunky twists and shower cap for natural heat to seal in the moisture because she is too young for a steam treatment. 


I was able to figure out a few of these products from subscribing to Curl Box as a Christmas present to myself. Plus it does save money because its about $25 for 5-6 full sized products that usually cost about $17-$20 each.

And you know who loves it too!


For my hair - I use a Max Hydration Method that I read about. 
This is for Type 4 hair - now hair typing is a whole OTHER beast however - if you have "African American" textured hair 9 times out of 10 you have a version of Type 4 hair. Heck, if you have dry hair THIS method will work for you. 


Based on the chart above, these are some of the products that you can use. I don't use all of these in one sitting but I use one of each type for each step.
I didn't like Kinky Curly on my hair so I used Shea Moisture Gel however, I am not loving that one yet either so we shall see how it goes as I am still searching.



I start with my hair in a dry state. Its usually the remnant of whatever style I had that week. 


After doing the Max Hydration Method is when I get the chance to see my natural curl. So umm, yeah I am still trying to love it because truth - I hate the fact that my natural curl pattern makes me look like I have a Jheri curl pattern and that the strands are so thin, but hey - I just started this method so we shall see how it goes. 

Sadly, the shrinkage on wet curly hair is real! My hair touches my collar bone when its dry, not so much when its wet. 


Using a Denman brush definitely helps me define the coils versus the larger, thinner coils that first appear after the Max Hydration Method.



With the use of castor oil and other moisturizing products, you can see that my edges have grown in. Can I just tell you that I am excited.  Well HELLO edges!



My favorite styles so far are crochet hair styles, which I have done on myself and my family and friends this winter...  


and Bantu knots to curl my hair without heat. 
Unravel them and pinned on one side and I am good to go!


Are you natural and what are your favorite products?



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Catching Up : We have been Snowed IN!

Winter is here and we are fighting the winter blues. With Gracia turning one she is exploring a whole new toddler world and we are completely playing catch up. It makes it so hard to blog these days and thats fine because if I am not here, I am playing, teaching and enjoying raising Gracia with Amos. 
Trust me, she is observant and learning EVERYTHING!

She sees me pull out my laptop - because I am writing and finishing my first book (another reason why I have been absent from the blog) and here she comes to chat and catch up with mommy with her baby laptop as well.


Most of the days that I don't get a chance to catch up here, I am about that Manuscript Life. I can't really say what I am writing about in this moment, but I do promise to come and talk about it later once I feel that I am near complete. It is something that I have been putting off putting down on paper for years! I felt compelled to finally get it started and prayerfully completed soon. 


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One of the things that have plagued Gracia's first year has been double ear infections. 
Every other month, we have been to her doctor's office for what we think are going to be well visits and every time she has a double ear infection. 
After the third one, the doctor refers you to a specialist because they can affect her speech and hearing if we do not treat them or prevent them. 

So it was time to get tubes put in her ears. This was at the visit before her surgery because of course, in the waiting time between the consultation and the surgery she got another ear infection.


She had her surgery first thing at the crack of dawn at the Georgetown Hospital. Even though it was a quick outpatient surgery, there is nothing like having to dress your baby in mini scrubs and having to lay her on a table as she is put to sleep. I hated every single moment of it. EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT.


We kept each other company and helped each others nerves although I doubt we calmed each other down. Every time the Pediatric Ward door opened we both looked up to see if they were bringing our baby girl back. God knows it could be worse and we are so thankful that it is not! 


She slept off the rest of the anesthesia in the car and had no other side effects from it. By the time she woke up from her nap she was all smiles and ready to eat and ready to play!
She bounced back so quick. 

She even began talking more and copying words that she heard - it was almost immediate that we noticed a mark difference in her speech and her hearing. 


Our little Poodah is now thriving! 


She has mastered picking up food - and keeping it on her tray. The biggest struggle was to get her to drink from a sippy cup. She was so disappointed that I kept giving her a cup and not a bottle. She had a huge melt down every single time and then one day she just didn't mind as much.



She is eating her chicken, green beans and plantains while mom makes spicy Gumbo to keep us warm during all this snow. 
Can I just say how much I am tired of the snow?




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1.19.2015

Gracia's 1st Birthday Party

I see why once people have their first child, their blog suffers post baby. There are so many days that you want to sit and write but if you have that much free time, then you might as well be getting a nap in or dinner ready, or just woosah because your now mobile bottomless pit toddler will be up or home soon. Such has been my case-- my toddler can walk, run, climb stairs and eats like clock work. Not to mention teething and more ear infections than I was prepared for... 

Either who, a month later... lets talk about Gracia's First Birthday Party --

I think I needed at least two weeks to recover from hosting what was up posed to be a small family get together. But who am I kidding, any kind of party - I start to over think it and go wayyyyy overboard. It doesn't help that most of my vendors I am loyal to so they are very good to me. 
I decided that we would have her party at my parents house that is near me. My parents actually live in Dallas but kept our childhood home here. Its their first grandchild, so having a party at the grandparents seemed like the best thing to do. 

The theme of her party was Sophia the First. 
My child LOVES this show - when the theme music of this show starts, she goes into full drop it like its hot mode. So I knew that she would completely enjoy having a party filled with Sophia the First things. I pinned everything I could think of from Pinterest and went to work over the course of three months or so - although, leave it to me to leave everything till the last minute like I had planned on not doing. 

So here's a ton of pictures from the fun she had with a small group of friends and family- 

So lets start with my favorite part.. 

The Food: 
I had a snack table for the kiddies (and grown kiddies) - complete with snacks I know she loves at daycare (nilla cookies, cheeze its, pretzels and fruit snacks). I made some chocolate dipped oreo cookies, purchased a cotton candy machine from amazon which was a HIT and some cupcakes. 


I LOVE my go to Caterers, Class Act Catering (no this isn't a paid promo) but I do absolutely love how they take care of me even always, every single event, going above and beyond. Pause: yes I had her party catered because who has time to be in the kitchen all morning when you have to decorate and wrangle a toddler into a nap so that she is not miserable at her own party.

The menu: 
We had a great salad (and you know its great when there is absolutely no salad left when you are packing up plates. It was a salad with mixed greens, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries, cucumbers and balsamic vinaigrette. We also had a blacked chicken and shrimp pasta and the same version of the pasta with no meat for my vegetarian family members. We also had chicken tenders for the kiddies  - as well as ham and turkey slider sandwiches that I made the day of. 
So this is what I meant - I ordered chicken tenders for 20 kids and look how many he sent me! I was so happy to have more than enough to go around and then some. 



The Decor: 
I made most of the decor myself with the assistance of my sister and my cousin Q. 
I had seen a picture of a Christmas tree with toys all over it for the kids for Christmas, so thats where I got the idea of doing a "Birthday Tree" which is perfect for a child who's birthday close to Christmas. When guests came with gifts, they placed them under the Birthday Tree. 


I got a poster made of my favorite pics from birth to 11 months really easily done from this company called Printstagram. Its so amazing to see how much she has grown in one year. 


I found these mini trees at the Target in the dollar spot section. My cousin made all the golden crowns and we decorated it with scrap book parts that I got from Michaels.

The Entertainment: 

I decided that I really wanted to have a photo booth - I found a really cheap but great app on iPad and found an iPad tripod and set it up for the kiddies, but the parents definitely got into it too. 


I asked the girls to dress in their favorite princess costumes or fancy clothes for the Royal Affair. 

I also had a lady come and do Balloons for the kiddies - and she was GREAT!


We even had some "Pin the Amulet on the Sophia" for prizes! No ones a loser here... and check out the cute balloon bracelets and wands the young ladies have


The Birthday Girl!

Dressed as her favorite character, she had a ball! 
Now, she wouldn't let mommy keep her tiara on her for long which through a wrench in her hair style for the day, but its all good - she still looked cute. 

and she had a Ball!... she sat at the kids table with her friends 

We had the apple TV going with this playlist of all the songs from Sophia the First episodes on loop in order to provide age appropriate entertainment while they ate. 

Then this right here is where it started taking a turn... see that finger in her ear?! I should've known something was brewing...


But we kept going - changed her clothes so that she would feel a bit more comfortable because she started coughing and getting fussy. It was time for the cake. 


She didn't understand how to blow out a candle and wanted no parts of eating cake of any kind on this day but she knew that people were singing and she started clapping and saying yay. 

(but notice her red, puffy eyes?! UGH! something was coming)


 All in all, my baby girl had a great day. 
Peep in the background all those handmade red tissue paper flowers? yup momma was busy. Anything for my baby. 


 Happy Birthday Gracia! I hope you had as much fun as you could... 
We know you won't remember so these pictures really are for you. 


 So the next day after her birthday party was her one year well visit. We found out that Gracia had a double ear infection (her fourth documented double ear infection within one year) and needed to see a specialist. She also had RSV. That was the most heartbreaking. She had to sit there with the nebulizer at the doctors office. Nothing hurts your heart more than seeing your baby screaming because they are uncomfortable. She was prescribed a pump that we had to administer every 4 hours for five days. Thankfully, it never got worse than that - we prayed over her as well. 
She is doing much better and scheduled to have tubes put in her ears later this month. 


Thanks for reading.. 
We love you Princess!






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