Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is right around the corner on May 12th this year. The key to giving the mom in your life the best day is breakfast in bed and a great gift! I’ve put together five gift ideas from Beautycounter to make the day extra special for the lady in your life.

Transforming Lip Duo

 

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Transforming Lip Duo

This was a HIT during the Holiday season and was quick to sell out. It’s been offered in a beautiful pink box for the Mom’s this time around.

Our universally flattering Transforming Lip Tint instantly delivers the perfect shade of sheer, customized pink color for her unique complexion. Layer it with Crystal Lip Gloss to give her lips gorgeous shine and a flawless finish.

Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass

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This body scrub screams luxury! It’s great for exfoliating after a workout or pool day and has a light lemongrass scent. It pairs really well with the Body Butter and leaves your skin feeling rejuvenated.

Attain a healthy-looking glow and silky-smooth feel with this polishing, perfecting scrub. While brown sugar buffs away dull skin, hydrating sweet almond, apricot kernel, and sunflower oils and mineral-rich evening primrose leave skin looking supple and smooth. Lastly, a blend of pure citrus and lemongrass oils leaves a fresh and invigorating scent.

Overnight Resurfacing Peel

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Why not turn the clock back a few years with the overnight resurfacing peel. It is a one step face refresher — You will wake up with a glow, a more even skintone, and reduction of fine lines and pores.

Goodnight, dullness. Good morning, glow. Formulated with 15 botanically-derived acids, this leave-on AHA/BHA peel improves skin texture and minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines, and dark spots without irritation or over-drying. Glycolic, lactic, and malic acids clear away dull surface skin cells, while hyaluronic acid and essential fatty acids soothe and nourish to reveal a brighter, more youthful-looking complexion.

Flawless in Five

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Six steps to effortless beauty with five products. You get to choose your shades based on the experts recommendations. This is the best set to switch your beauty products over to safer! Moms barely have 10 minutes in the morning to get ready and this kit helps cut down time without sacrificing quality!

INCLUDES SIX SAFER, HIGH-PERFORMING PRODUCTS:
  • Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation
  • Touchup Skin Concealer Pen
  • Color Define Brow Pencil or Brilliant Brow Gel
  • Lengthening or Volumizing Mascara
  • Satin Powder Blush
  • Lip Gloss

Best of Beautycounter Set

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Another best selling set for the mom’s interested in skincare. You get four of the top travel sized products that Beautycounter has to offer in a beautiful gift box.

The set includes the #1 selling cleansing balm, No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil, Countermatch Adaptive Moisturizer, and No. 3 Balancing Face Mask.

Hiring a Babysitter 101

Hiring a Babysitter 101

Jake and I were clueless when it came to searching for a babysitter. Our needs were simple – the occasional date night sitter and someone to take E off of my hands for me to run a few mid-day errands. Other friends had used Care.com, so I decided to give them a try! We were able to post the job listing, easily respond to messages, and hire a sitter within a week! There are a few tips that I learned in our search that I’d like to share to make your hunt a little bit easier than ours.

Turn on notifications from the care.com app

I used the app on my phone (instead of the website) to respond to messages really easily and in real time. I actually never logged into the website for any of our search and found that the app was easy to navigate. Once you post your job you will get LOTS of messages… be prepared to respond to them as soon as you can in order to move the interview process along.

Have a clear job posting with needs and wage

We were shocked to find out what the hourly rate was for sitters in our area, but that’s the price you pay (literally) for someone capable to watch your child! Be sure to list out all of your needs – include feeding responsibilities, bathtime, bedtime/naps, etc.

Meet your potential babysitters in a public place before you hire them

After I narrowed down the babysitter hunt to two potentials, I planned to meet them both at a local coffee shop. I had a few questions I was planning to ask them, mainly about experience, but I really wanted to see how they reacted around Everly. Would they help her when she tossed a toy out of the stroller? How would they react if she got fussy/started crying? Were they attentive when I let her out of the stroller? Everly’s at the age where she loves strangers, but I was also interested in seeing how she acted around them. Did she start to cry/run away when they offered to hold her? Did she seem happy around them?

Have a list of questions ready to ask/interview

Treat this as a serious interview – if the prospective babysitter is not prepared to answer your questions, that should be your first red flag. If you bring your child along with you, you are guaranteed to be distracted, so have the questions written out/typed up on your phone.

Once you hire the babysitter…

It’s stressful to leave your child with someone new. I found comfort in leaving lots of lists! I had everything written out easily for the babysitter to refer to. I also plan to stay close to home for the first couple of times the sitter comes, in case I did need to head home for any kind of “emergency”. I’d also recommend laying out any rules that you have during a “walk through” before you leave – ie: put baby to sleep on back, instructions for diaper change, bottles, etc.

I hope this post was helpful for any moms or dads looking to hire a babysitter! If you have any additional tips, leave them below in the comments!

xo,

Jacci

 

Toddler Breakfast Ideas

Everly loves having yogurt in the morning, but we’ve been stuck in a breakfast rut. She goes a few weeks eating the same things until she doesn’t want it anymore and then we move on to the next one! Here are some breakfast recommendations I received from other moms on Instagram along with a few I researched on my own.

Avocado Toast

SO easy to make in morning, cut up into small pieces.

Almond Flour Pancakes

A friend of mine sent me the easiest recipe after we got the Arthur Flour care package. Everly isn’t really a fan of pancakes or waffles, but I’m sure someone else will enjoy this recipe.

Beat together 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1/4 cup heavy cream.
Add to 1 cup of almond flour and a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.

Egg cups with veggies

(easy to bake these in muffin tins). You can use any vegetables! I dice up carrots/sweet potato, butternut squash, zucchini, or peas.

English Muffins with peanut/almond/sunflower butter and bananas.

Top with hemp seeds!

Whole milk yogurt with honey and fruit

Scrambled egg, bean, and cheese quesadillas

Banana “pancakes”

mix one egg + 1/2 banana and cook in a pan like a pancake

Chia Seed Pudding

Oatmeal with blueberries and cinnamon

Smoothies!

Blueberry/apple sauce muffins

Any other breakfast ideas to share?

xo,

Jacci

A Day at Disney with an Infant

A Day at Disney with an Infant

Jake, Everly and I have lots of time planned in Florida for fall and winter, so Jake gave me the best anniversary gift ever – a Disney annual pass! Everly gets in free to the parks until her third birthday, so I plan to take her quite a bit when we’re in town. I have another friend with an annual pass, so we planned a trip and had the best time ever!

Taking a baby anywhere involves so much planning and I didn’t know what to expect. Everly never naps in her stroller or in the car, so I was nervous to say the least. I compiled a list of things that I packed (and really needed) and a list of fun things to do at Magic Kingdom. Of the four Walt Disney world parks, Magic Kingdom is definitely the best for children. There are plenty of rides that don’t require a height limit, character meet and greets and parades.

Planning/Packing for Disney was a process!

Things I brought:

Water bottles, snacks and sunscreen. You can bring food and water into the parks in a soft sided cooler (which is awesome!)

A battery operated fan that clipped on her stroller along with a sun shade, so she could have darkness for naps

Plenty of wipes, diapers and hand sanitizer

Our Uppababy Vista stroller and LilleBaby carrier

Cute matching Disney T-shirt’s that I ordered on Etsy

My Disney annual pass and Magic Band

I also downloaded the Disney World app ahead of time. We planned our fast passes for a few rides and meet and greets. You are also able to get a child swap pass, so another adult in your party can stay with the baby while you ride.

Our day:

As I mentioned before, Magic Kingdom is the best park for children. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult to get to. We didn’t stay on Disney property, so we parked in the lot around 9:30am and then took the bus to the gates. The line for the monorail and ferry were SOO long, so we opted for the bus. It only took a few minutes to hop on and was about a 10 minute drive – SO much easier than expected. Highly recommend the bus during peak times!

We had three fast passes planned ahead of time in the Disney app. The first was for the Meet and Greet with Ariel in her Grotto – it was so cute for Everly to meet her first Disney princess.

At this point we were long overdue for Everly’s first nap, so I broke off from the group and got her to sleep in the stroller with a fan and mesh black out shade.

After Everly woke up we took her on the Winnie the Pooh ride. This is another ride that doesn’t have a height restriction and is perfect for all ages. There is a point in the ride that is dark and Everly was scared and started to cry, but at the end the sun comes out and she was back to her happy self. She loved the part with Tigger bouncing around.

Everly’s favorite ride was “It’s a Small World”. That was my favorite when I was a kid too! It’s a great ride for kids of all ages with music and lots to look at. She sat still the whole time and pointed at all of the dolls dancing.

We were also able to meet Rapunzel, Princess Tiana, and Snow White. She loved getting pictures with each of them 🙂

By 3pm we were all wiped out, so we headed back to the AirBnb! BTW, we rented a super cute 2 bedroom AirBnB in Winter Park, FL (about 25 minutes away from Disney). It was perfect with a small pool and hot tub… here’s the link if you’re interested: Apt E -Modern Elegance in the Heart of Winter Park.

We have a few Disney trips planned coming up… what’s your favorite thing to do with kids at Disney World?

xo,

Jacci

Shorts: Outdoor Voices

Shirts: Matching Mom & Baby Disney Shirts

Flying Spirit with a Toddler

Flying Spirit with a Toddler

Welllllll… flying with a toddler is always an adventure. Especially one that is always on the go and loves to get into everything. When Everly was born, I knew that we would be flying a lot. My family lives outside of Orlando and it’s the perfect place to escape the Boston winters. Jake and I typically fly Jetblue.. you can’t beat the tv’s, free wifi, snacks, and drinks. When I was booking this trip with Everly the price of Spirit Airlines vs. a Jetblue flight was too good to pass up. I was able to buy 2 tickets (one for Everly and I – even though she could have flown as a lap infant for free), 2 seats, and 2 bags for cheaper than 1 Jetblue ticket.

I’m sure you’ve seen the ridiculously low Spirit Airlines prices and wondered how they do it. Well, they don’t let you select your seat or bring a carry on bag. They don’t provide complimentary beverage or snack service and they don’t have any inflight entertainment. The rows of seats are very close together too. That’s why tickets are SO cheap! If you don’t care about any of those things then Spirit Airlines is perfect for you!

The Spirit Airlines terminal at Logan Airport in Boston has two gates… it’s pretty pathetic, but there are some restaurants in the area including a Dunkin Donut and Starbucks and they even have a small play area for kids while you wait to board the flight. I had our stroller to gate check, her car seat to bring on the plane, a diaper bag, and my purse. The stroller was gate checked and we boarded with no delay. Getting the car seat into the tight seats was a challenge and those flight attendants are not there to help you. The rows of seats are so close together so Everly’s car seat had zero recline and I could tell she was uncomfortable (but safe). Our flight took off on time! It was basically a miracle because I’ve heard all of the horror stories.

Everly didn’t sleep for one second and she whined and cried A LOT. It was torture for everyone around us, but I’m used to it by now haha! I had lots of snacks and toys for her to play with including her tablet, legos, magnetiles, a coloring book, stickers and books… ok I definitely over packed, but we survived.

Any of this could have happened on Delta or JetBlue, so overall, Spirit wasn’t so bad. I’d probably fly them again if I purchased a seat for Everly. I can’t believe I just said that, but yes, it was worth the savings!

What’s your favorite airline? Have you flown Spirit Airlines before?

Xo,

Jacci

About Me: Q&A

What is your full name:

Jacquelyn Marie Kokos

How old are you?

I’m pretending like I’m still 29, but I’m 31!

How tall are you?

5’6″ (the perfect height!)

How many siblings do you have?

I’m the oldest of six! I have two brothers and three sisters.

What time do you go to bed at night/wake up in the morning?

I absolutely LOVE sleep – I usually go to bed by 11 and wake up around 7:15AM (a few minutes before Everly is up for the day).

McDonald’s or Burger King?

McDonald’s… obviously. I can’t believe people even eat Burger King.

Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

My brother, Everette. I usually talk to my mom and sister, Arielle, daily too!

When was the last time you cried?

I cry a lot! The silliest things make me cry… I usually cry during the Steve Harvey show in the AM or the Ellen show.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I have so many… because I watch way too much TV. Right now it would probably be any of the Real Housewives, but I love Game of Thrones, MTV “The Challenge”, any murder documentaries.

Do you believe in yourself?

Sometimes! I’m always trying to portray confidence (mainly for my daughter), but I have lots of insecurities too.

What can you see out of your kitchen window?

We have a very tiny city view, but I mainly see power lines and parking spots — city life.

Do you have any pets?

We have two Persian cats, Minnie and Ace. They could not be more different with their personalities. Minnie can sleep all day and likes to hide. Ace (also known as Bob/Bobba) likes to play fetch, meows a lot, and needs a lot of attention.

How long have you lived in Boston?

6.5 years! HOLY HELL! And the answer to everyone’s next question — we have no plans to move anytime soon!

Where do you like to shop?

Nordstrom is by far my favorite store. I also like GAP, Target, Aerie, WHOLE FOODS :), and lots of boutiques in Southie.

What was your job before you had Everly?

I was an Event Planner for a restaurant in Boston – planned their corporate and social events. I loved my job and working in a restaurant. You meet so many amazing people, get to eat delicious food, and learn so much about business.

How did you and your husband meet?

We met in 2010 while I was bartending and he was living in Orlando working for the Magic in ticket sales. He came into the bar with some of his friends and started talking to me about his job… I was going to the Magic game with friends the next day! We started dating right away and I called my best friend after our first date and told her he was the person I was going to marry.

Do you and Jake want to have more children?

Of course! We both come from big families, so we would love to be able to have more children when the time is right. We are set for right now though! It is a lot of work with Everly – she’s loud, bubbly and needs lots of attention. Jake would love to have a son, but I’m convinced he’ll be the dad with three daughters!

What is your goal for your blog?

I started this blog as an outlet while Everly naps (almost 4 hours every day). I’m not a very good writer and am trying to be more creative. My goal is to get out of my comfort zone and share things that have worked for Everly and I in my journey as a mother – from recipes to sleep tips, mom outfits to toys, etc. Hopefully, if you are a mother, you can relate to some of my posts!

xo,

Jacci

Bedtime Routine from Day 1

Bedtime Routine from Day 1

The sooner you begin a bedtime routine, the better. We started a routine with Everly around four weeks. It’s evolved as she’s gotten older, but it’s been the key to longer stretches of sleep. Those longer stretches eventually lead to a full night of sleep (10-11 hours for a one year old). PRAISE GOD! I don’t know about you, but I am a MUCH better mom when Everly is sleeping well – for naps and overnight. Here are some tips from my personal experience… obviously, if something is working with your baby, don’t change it!

Babies thrive with a routine that is scheduled. A bedtime routine can be as simple as diaper change, PJ’s and white noise or as complicated as three sound machines, a bath, swaddle, book, songs, etc. The first step to a bedtime routine is creating a consistent schedule. Jake and I loosely followed the E.A.S.Y. method (from Noob MommyEASY-Schedule-Cheat-Sheet I’m not sure if other people have had success with it, but it worked for me! It helped me figure out what time Everly should be napping and eating and that was good enough.

E.A.S.Y. method

E: Eat

A: Activity

S: Sleep

Y: Your Time

A hungry baby (or person in general) is not going to sleep as well as someone that is well fed. They are also not going to interested in any activity time. When Everly was younger her activities ranges from songs, tummy time, books, staring at her reflection in a mirror, sitting in her bouncer, etc. Now that she’s 12+months the activities are much different. She really has to wear herself out to be tired enough for a nap. We will usually go to the park, read books, color with her water books, build with blocks, use her “food truck” to cook, play with her babies/strollers, and the list could go on. Walks in the stroller don’t count as activities anymore – she needs exercise.

4 weeks – 4 months: Everly was still sleeping in her Rock N Play in our room — our bedtime routine looked like this…

Bath, Lotion, PJ’s, brush hair, swaddle, sound machines (white noise), breastfeed until sleep, put in rock and play and turn that thing on full blast!

4 months – 6 months:

Everly was moved into her nursery in her crib. We switched over to the Merlin Sleep Suit (if you don’t own this – buy immediately). Everly wore hers until she started rolling over daily.

Bath, Lotion, PJ’s, brush hair, sleep sack, sound machines, breastfeed to sleep, put down in crib.

At 6 months we also did cry it out — I’ll write a whole separate blog post on this. Long story short. It’s worth it.

6 months – 12 months:

At 6 months Everly started getting a bottle of breast milk before bed. Eventually, we switched the breast milk to formula (pumping is not fun).

Bath, Lotion, PJ’s, brush hair, Halo Sleep Sack, sound machines, bottle of formula, put in crib awake.

There’s no right answer for the perfect bedtime routine. Create what works for your family’s schedule. It is important to stay consistent and create a calming environment for bedtime!

Good luck!