Back To School...Ways To Save...

The “back to school” wave can create some anxiety all around. Kids of all ages get those pre-first day jitters but parents have the daunting task of getting ALL the things in preparation for the school year ahead. Families will spend on average, close to $700 on clothing, supplies, shoes, tech gadgets and more. Planning ahead is an important part of conquering the “back-to-school” craze and there are ways you can strategize to prevent over-spending.

London is starting Pre-K in a few weeks and she is over-the-moon excited about it! It’s really fun to shop for new fall clothes, the cute backpacks, lunchboxes, etc., but you can also turn it into an educational process as well! Teaching our kids the value of a dollar, the importance of smart spending and saving can be an intricate part of this. Depending on their age, you can plan a budget together and help them stay within that budget by looking for deals and shopping smart!

This time of year always helps us as parents re-evaluate where we are at in terms of our own budget and saving. It gets us thinking about more ways we can save and prepare for her future. We already have a college savings account for both of our children because it’s never too early to start planning ahead for that!

Last fall we got a chance to learn more about ways to plan and save for the future with the U.Fund Dreams Tour! This year, we’ll be attending Riverfest in Gloucester on August 24th, from 12 to 6pm! If you are looking for ways you can get the ball rolling, this would be a really great start and a fun event for you to attend with the entire family!

Here are a few helpful tips to make sure your back-to-school shopping goes smoothly…

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Shop at Home.

Start by shopping at home! You’ll be surprised to see what you already have lying around the house. Sift through the folders, notebooks, markers, pencils etc. to figure out what you can use and what is still good! Once you have gathered everything like scissors, glue and the other supplies mentioned - you can “shop” your own little store. A lot of times you’ll be able to knock off half of your supply list just by doing this one simple step.

Spread Out Purchases.

Instead of shopping for supplies, clothing, etc., all at once, spread it out over the course of a few months! A lot of people make the mistake of shopping the week before when everything is the most expensive and it takes a large chunk out of your bank account. Back to school items start popping up in stores at the end of June, so purchasing a little at a time will feel more manageable! Also, if you only buy half of your supplies and wait until mid-September after the start of school to finish your shopping - you will find some incredible deals!

Shop Smart for Clothing.

This is a great time to go through your child’s closet to determine what they have and what they actually need. Take stock of what they’re low on and focus your shopping on those items. Check consignment shops for back to school clothes in good condition and search thrift stores for gently used clothing as well! There are also “clothing swaps” you can look for on your local Facebook page! Take advantage of tax-free weekends such as Labor Day and when you shop online, look for “price matching” to find the best deals.

Save on Lunches.

Packing school lunch five days a week, especially if you have more than one child, can add up in spending category. Instead of buying pre-packaged snacks, buy in bulk and add them to individual disposable zip-lock bags. Save on drinks by investing in a sturdy thermos instead of bottled drinks or juice boxes. Choose a few days out of the week to go meatless by including things like veggies & hummus, fruit & yogurt, cheese sandwiches, etc. Keep in mind that some dinner leftovers make for a really great lunch!

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Shop Online.

Save yourself the time and also save your sanity by doing the majority of your shopping online. Look for coupon codes, stores that do free shipping, and have a simple return policy! Price-matching online is another way to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Typically Tuesdays and Fridays are the days that offer the biggest discounts! Also, keep in mind that some stores offer a price-adjustment if the price of the item that you purchased dropped within one or two weeks, so make sure to keep your receipts!


What are some ways that you like to save this time of year?

xx, Ashley

This blog post was brought to you by Fidelity and MEFA. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Summer Favorites...

Happy 4th! I can’t believe how fast summer is going! It’s been super busy for our family! London just turned FOUR years old (insane!), Chris has been traveling a TON for work, I’m full steam ahead with Arbonne, and Malia is about to turn ONE! Gahhh!! No wonder summer feels like it’s flying by so fast!

I wanted to share some of my current summer favorites! I’m SO into jumpsuits…so I’m definitely going to be dedicating a whole blog post to those here soon. They’re just so EASY, comfortable, and effortless.

I’ll also be gearing up for the Nordstrom Sale! i’ve got my eye on a few things :)

Hope you are all having a safe and fun 4th of July! Thank you, as always, for following along here and my little family on Instagram - your support is AMAZING!!!

xx, Ashley

Get Outside! 5 Summer Activities To Do In Boston With Kids...

 

This summer marks the SIXTH summer spent in Boston! I literally can’t believe it - it has flown by! When we first moved here it was just Chris and I exploring the city as newlyweds and here we are now, as a family of four with two young girls full of energy and spunk! I’m so excited to spend so much time outside again this summer and do ALL THE THINGS. We love to get out with the girls and take advantage of the beautiful weather as much as possible! There are so many incredible things to do in Boston all year long, but there’s something about the warm weather that makes the city even THAT much more special!

If you’re looking for things to do with your kiddos this summer, here are 5 outdoor activities you can do to enjoy the sweet sunshine together as a family!

The Lawn on D is right in the middle of the Seaport District and one of my most favorite parts of Boston! You’ll find 3 acres of green space filled with all sorts of lawn games, live music, lots of food and things to do for all ages! There’s something going on every day of the week - but there are also really fun weekly themes like "Southie Saturdays” and Sunday Fun Days (who doesn’t love a good theme!) We love to go and let the girls run around and there are always food trucks and an awesome food/drinks situation for mom and dad!

One of our favorite outdoor activities that doesn’t cost you a THING … is heading to the spray park. There are a bunch located around the city … but our favorite is actually in Belmont! Beaver Brook Spray Park is brand new and every kid’s dream! There’s an amazing playground directly next to it, so children can run from the spray park right over to the playground and back again! It’s a place you can bring a lunch or snacks and spend hours at because there is also a covered picnic area!

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Normally, I’m a CRAZY person when it comes to the girls being in the sun that long. Especially when they’re going to be getting wet and I am having to reapply sunscreen BUT, that’s why I love Banana Boat’s Simply Protect sunscreen.

It stays on in 7 conditions:

  • Sun

  • Pool Water

  • Ocean water

  • Wind

  • Sweat

  • Sand

  • 100-degree temperatures

It’s water resistant and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes! Something that is important to me as a mom is what I am putting on their skin as well. I know that the Simply Protect sunscreen is hypoallergenic, there are no added oils or fragrances, and it’s made with 25% fewer ingredients! You’re able to rest easy knowing that your kids can play in the sun protected by the best of the best!

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If you’re looking for a fun, outdoor shopping experience, head to the Faneuil Hall/North End area! Perusing the Boston Public Market is one of our favorite family activities! It’s a shopping adventure for your little ones that beats going to the grocery store! Everything is much less expensive and your kids will have fun browsing the aisles and seeings all of the colorful fruits and veggies!

We love to grab lunch inside where there are some of Boston’s favorite vendors set up! Make sure to grab a coffee from George Howell and a donut or two from Union Square Donuts. If you’re looking for a place to relax and eat your lunch, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is a linear park with beautiful green space and also a little water feature for your kids to run around in. Don’t forget to hit the nearby carousel before heading home!

The SoWa Market located in the South End is another favorite outdoor market of ours! It is Boston’s biggest celebration of local art, food, and music - and is very family-friendly! You’ll find an outdoor Beer Garden, live music, food trucks, lawn games, and more!

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Another thing that’s always a fun (and free) activity is a picnic in the park! We love the Boston Public Garden; Boston’s most popular 50-acre park located right in the middle of the city. You can take a walk across the bridge and hop on board the Swan Boats for a ride around the pond then find the prettiest blooms (there are plenty of them!), before finding a spot for your picnic blanket. London loves to find the Mother duck and her ducklings in the park and if you’ve read the book “Make Way For Ducklings,” you know why!

Whenever I feel like I need a little peace and tranquility I head to Castle Island. It feels like an escape even though it’s basically 5-minutes from the city center. I just LOVE the beautiful views and the walking path that circles the water. Our family enjoys staying active, so we’ll bring the stroller and get exercise with the girls. There’s also a playground and a food stand with pretty delicious hot dogs you should check out if you ever head that way!


Boston is such an amazing city. We are SO beyond blessed to call it home - and the summer just makes it that much sweeter to live here! However you spend your time outdoors in Boston this summer, be sure to stay protected with Banana Boat sunscreen!

 What are some of your favorite activities to do outside with your kiddos?!

xx, Ashley

This post was sponsored by Banana Boat. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

How I Road Trip With Two Kids...

 
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Ever since London was just two weeks old we have been what I like to call “road warriors!” She was born July 1st, just a week before her Daddy’s busiest travel month of the year so I learned pretty quickly that if I wanted help, I would have to get accustomed to traveling with baby in tow! Now that we have added Malia to the mix, trips have gotten a bit more interesting!

We make the three hour drive from Massachusetts to Maine to see family so often that I feel like I have it down to a science. I mean, there are sometimes “bumps” in the road LITERALLY and figuratively, but I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t when road tripping with two kids so here are some of my tips and tricks…

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Pack ALL the snacks. Seriously…all of them. You can never pack too many. London once went through an entire bag of “Yogi’s” (freeze dried yogurt drops) on a trip. As far as I’m concerned, all bets are off when you are in the midst of any sort of travel situation; car, plane, train, etc. Some other snack ideas are: graham crackers, pb&j, banana, cut-up fruit, squeeze apple sauce (if you think your toddler can handle this on their own), raisins, goldfish, animal crackers, and LOLLIPOPS. I like to keep a stash of dum-dums in my car at all times for a little “pick me up” when it’s REALLY hitting the fan!

Make a special playlist. This applies to London, since 7-month old Malia doesn’t have a choice. Lo LOVES music. She could probably sing and listen to her favorite Disney princess songs over and over again the entire ride. I would go a little nuts, so I like to make a special list and build it up to her the morning of our trip. I usually say, “Oh, London! I have an amazing music list that I put together for you for the drive…I’m so excited!” That’s typically all it takes to pique her interest. While we’re on the topic of music - don’t hesitate to blast some good old static from the AM stations if your baby is starting to lose it in the car. If they have a full belly and a fresh diaper - they’re probably just over being in the car and honestly, the static sounds like white noise and usually can calm them down slash drown out the noise a little for you!

Invest in SAFE and comfortable car seats. Let’s face it - this is the most important on the list! If you’re driving any sort of distance you want your kids to be comfortable AND hello - SAFE! We recently switched London to the new NextFit Zip Max by Chicco! The convertible car seat transitions from rear-facing to forward-facing to accommodate children from 4 pounds all the way to 65 pounds and what I love is that if we decided to use it for Malia - it allows for extended rear-facing up to 50 pounds! I always think, UGH my poor kids, their knees are in their chest when they’re rear-facing but it really is the safest position for them and the NextFix Zip Max offers 25% more legroom in rear-facing mode than other Chicco models! It also has extended calf support in forward-facing mode, which is a huge bonus. I actually took a photo because I wanted you guys to see what I’m talking about with the leg support/more leg space!

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I always seem to have a difficult time installing car seats but I feel like I can actually handle this one! You can achieve a tight fit using a vehicle seat belt or LATCH connector thanks to the SuperCinch feature, which is a force-multiplying tightener that helps secure the seat with less effort. ALSO worth mentioning because kids are messy :) … the car seat has a zip-off machine washable seat pad so you know, when a yogurt or applesauce inevitably explodes in the car, it’s not the end of the world!

The NextFit Zip Max is available online at ChiccoUSA.com and in select stores for $369.99, but the entire Chicco NextFit line was recently upgraded and also features additional models at a variety of price points to fit every budget.

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Screens are your friend. As I mentioned before, all bets are off when you’re traveling. I love to have a few of London’s favorite shows locked and loaded on the iPad. She is currently obsessed with Starfall ABC, which is a free educational app that’s on my phone so I put that on the iPad as well. We also like to play a few games to buy time. “I Spy” is always a huge hit and can usually eat up at least 15 minutes. I also like to get Lo looking out the window at the view / whatever we are passing. I literally say “tell me what you see” and she describes what she sees and then I do the same. We also like to name each color car that passes. These sound like the simplest of games and they really are - but they’ll help pass some time!

Plan a pit-stop if you need a break. We seem to always be driving north so I know a lot of the rest stops on the way, but if you’re driving somewhere and you don’t know the route, make sure you map it and check for safe places to pull over if you need to. Speaking of safety, always check the weather a few days before! I forget to do this all the time and there’s nothing worse than planning your trip, packing the car and then realizing the weather is terrible. It’s happened to me too many times!

Where is your next road trip?! I think we may be going to Maine again in the near future but also want to take the girls to Burlington, Vermont next month too! What are some of your own ideas you can share with me to make our road trips even smoother?!

xx,

Ashley

 

This post is sponsored by Chicco. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.





July 4th Inspo...

Is it really time for this post already?! Ahhhh! I’m not ready! Mostly I just want summer to go by slowly to be able to soak it up as much as possible!

We haven’t made any crazy plans for the 4th - but I do want to find some fireworks to go too! We’ll be celebrating London’s 4th birthday the weekend of the 6th/7th so will probably head to Maine to be with family - but on the 4th itself, we don’t usually do too much! We might grill some food and take advantage of the fun things that our city does! I rounded up some ADORABLE looks for this 4th of July and I want them ALL.

Check them out below - and I hope you all have a wonderful week!

xx, Ashley

Malia's 10-Month Update...

 
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MALIA GIVES KISSES NOW. I REPEAT….MALIA GIVES ME OPEN-MOUTH KISSES!!!!

It’s true. One of the things I was looking forward to this most was my FIRST KISS and Malia gave me my first drooly, boogery (she has a cold) kiss and I loved every second of it!!! Why are baby kisses just the sweetest thing in the world?! I can’t even believe she’s old enough to give me kisses and understand when I say “give mommy a kiss!” Melts my heart!

I feel like she has just exploded in personality the last month. She loves to clap, point to everything, play pass with her special red ball, and dance by shaking her hands when music is playing. She is the sweetest girl in the world…and just so SO happy all of the time. I said to Chris the other day, “does she ever cry?!” Honestly, unless she’s tired or hungry… the answer is no. Even then, she fusses it’s never really a full blown cry. We are just so blessed by her calm disposition - especially with a spunky little (almost) 4-year old - it’s nice to have a little change of pace ;)

Sleep

Our only big sleep update is that I think she has officially dropped her third nap! I’m not going to lie - it’s perfect timing with the weather being nice because being stuck inside on a beautifully sunny afternoon sounds less than fun! She is currently taking a morning nap, usually 9AM(ish) - 10:30AM … and her afternoon nap is between 1-1:30PM! She still goes to bed around 6:30PM every night and sleeps until around 6:45/7AM (Thank you, Jesus for giving us another good sleeper!)

Eat

Malia eats 3 meals a day and gets four bottles as always. We are starting to think about dropping some bottles…just not sure when. I went cold turkey with London at 12 months and she adjusted great. I remember being so nervous about it and this time I feel fine. I really think Malia will do great and adjust easily. She’s such a big girl…so tall and she weighs a lot for her age group too, that I think I’ll just have to make sure she’s getting some good snacks in :) I’ll tell you one thing though…I am SO ready to get rid of bottles and stop buying formula!!!

She LOVES food. She will basically eat whatever I put in front of her. I made turkey chili the other day which had a tiny kick to it - so I didn’t think she would like it - and she DEVOURED it. She loved the kidney beans! She is a big fan of strawberries and broccoli right now! She’s also coming around on eggs, which I’m happy about! She wasn’t sure of them for awhile there :)

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Play

Malia LOVES to do anything that London is doing. She loves to play instruments and anything that crinkles (aka plastic bottles! HA!) or makes a loud bang. She thinks it’s super funny to drop food on the floor (I, on the other hand, do NOT!). She loves to play pass. If I say, “Malia! Go get your ball!” … she will crawl right over and grab her ball and legit throw it to me. She loves to play with the toy kitchen and all of the food in the basket. She LOVES books! Anything with flaps or something she can touch and feel. She loves when I make animal noises…thinks it’s hysterical that a duck says “quack quack” :) … for whatever reason, I’ll never know! She will play in the tubby for a good 15-20 minutes every night, which is PERFECT because it’s a little break for me. I love putting her and Lo in together because they just play and she mostly watches what Lo is doing.

She is just the happiest, sweetest baby and I cannot believe so soon we will be celebrating her FIRST birthday! I don’t know where the time went :( It makes me so sad but at the same time, just so excited for whats to come!

Happy Tuesday! I hope it’s a good one and that you all have the best week ever!

xx, Ashley

Father's Day Gift Ideas...

 

I love when Father’s Day approaches because celebrating Chris and the kind of Dad that he is, is one of my favorite things. Of course - I love honoring my own amazing father too (truly the most hardworking person I know!) … and it’s fun for the girls, especially London, because I get to include her in the prep aka doing special things for her own Daddy!

I can’t give too much away about our plans, since sometimes Chris pops on the blog ;) …BUT I’ve started to set up a few things. I typically give one gift but I tend to like to plan activities / or something we can do with the girls. Spending time together as a family is the most important part so while I usually do a gift or two, planning the day out is what I love most.

For those who are like, YEP…I’m gonna stay in my lane and give a few gifts, I GOTCHU! :) Here are a few ideas - mostly from Nordstrom and Amazon because who doesn’t love two-day free shipping?! Enjoy!

xx, Ashley


My Fave Swimsuits...

 
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We are getting there!!! I can feel the air changing - and I am SO ready for pool & beach weather!!!

I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like I collect at least a few new swimsuits at the start of spring/summer every year :) This year I’m adding a few bikinis and one-pieces to the mix…so I wanted to share a few of my faves. I alway love ASOS, H&M, Forever21 (although their bottoms can be a little too “cheeky” for me!), J.Crew (when they’re having a good sale!), and Amazon (I make sure to read the reviews!).

I just got this one from H&M and I am so excited about the rusty color AND the high waist bottoms with the v-shaped waistband!! They are usually hit or miss for me, but I’m hoping for a win here! Ha! I was also really into this one-piece because it’s simple and would be comfortable for a day at the beach with the kids. It comes in a bunch of prints/colors - but I like the leopard print! :)

Hope you all have an amazing Tuesday! Here are some favorite swimsuits of now…and I threw in my favorite $20 cover up for you too - it’s a MUST…love it!

xx, Ashley

My Baby Must-Haves...

Happy Monday!

My sister is due ANY day with my new niece or nephew and we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival! It feels like it has gone by so fast (probably not that way for my sis! hehe!) … but it got me thinking about my “must haves” for baby again. There are a few things that I feel like I couldn’t live without for London…and I discovered another 2-3 things that I would add to my list since having Malia. One of those things is the bathtub seat! It’s under $40 and has just made our life so much easier. I don’t have to worry about Malia falling (since she wants to stand up now) and since she’s been able to hold up her head…we have been using the seat so the girls can take baths together. Saves time and my sanity! Another favorite is the Baby Bjorn bouncer. I used this multiple times a day all over the house, as it is easily portable - and super light to move! We had a toy bar for ours…so our typical routine was to feed Malia in the morning, then put her in the seat to play with her toys that were attached while we got London up and situated for breakfast and such. I highly recommend it!

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Another MUST HAVE in my option is the 4Moms portable playard. HONESTLY, I cannot even tell you the amount of times we have used this. We take it every time we travel - it has made numerous flights with us with zero problems…and the the size is what matters to me. It is bigger than a normal pack n play… aka I feel like the girls have more room. We took three trips in March and brought this on every one and London, who is almost 4 years old, happily slept in it (and slept WELL I might add) :) We will have it for the next 3-4 years for Malia…and I’m so glad we bought it…it’s been BEYOND worth it.

Here are a few other favorites for baby if you’re expecting, know someone who is, or you have a newborn!

xx, Ashley

Big Announcement...

 

I’m officially part of the Arbonne team!

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I couldn’t be more excited. One week ago, I decided to embark on this new venture in conjunction with the blog/social media piece that is already a part of my life. It has been such a fun week - I can’t even tell you how happy I am that I said YES to starting this business.

I wanted to answer some of the questions that I have gotten through Instagram about Arbonne and WHY I decided to join as a consultant, what I love about the company, what I love about the products, etc!

My WHY

This is a really easy one to answer and there are definitely a few reasons. The first is, I wanted to find a way to help my family more financially from home, through my phone and social media platform that I have already worked to establish. I do make money from blogging and collaborations with brands, but I feel a bit frustrated with Instagram and was definitely ready to change it up and add something NEW! I also LOVE everything that Arbonne encompasses as a brand and what their mission is. It’s about helping people and teaching them the best ways to live a healthier, cleaner lifestyle and sharing that with as many people as possible!

Why Arbonne?

GREAT QUESTION! Arbonne is the #1 Global Health Care company in the world. The WORLD. Their products are NON-TOXIC, cruelty-free, botanically-based and they ban nearly 2,000 harmful ingredients, abiding my European standards. Did you know that the FDA bans less than 20? TWENTY?!

I love that Arbonne isn’t pigeon-holed to one thing. There is literally something for everyone. Need help with your skin? Got it. Need new makeup? Done. Want to learn how to live a healthier lifestyle and have more ENERGY every day? The health/wellness portion has that covered. There’s even a baby line, men’s line, hair products, essential oils, etc. I LOVE that about Arbonne.

What’s going to happen with the blog?

The blog is here to stay :) I am going to work to deliver 1-2 blog posts per week as I have done in the past. I will still continue to post about my mom life and family life … and YES London will still be on IG stories :) (I can’t tell you how many questions I got about London. She truly is the star. I should thank her for my followers!) HAHA! Everything is going to stay the same in that regard … I will just be sharing Arbonne and products that I love … and hopefully that you guys grow to love!

Could Arbonne Be For Me?

I’ll tell you what made it easy for me to answer this question - and maybe you can ask yourself the same questions…

1. Do you want to live a pure/healthy lifestyle?

2. Do you want to earn extra money every month?

3. Do you want to be your own boss?

4. Do you want to work through your phone and the power of social media?

5. Do you like having a low start up cost? (It’s literally $49 to start your business. There is no autofill, no minimum orders … no gimicks. Trust me, I fell on the floor when I found this out!)

6. Do you like helping other people?

When I answered yes to those questions…I knew that I couldn’t wait any longer. I did my research like a maniac because that’s just how I am…but I am also one week in and I’m ALLLL IN. I don’t know how to do things halfway…so I jumped in and I have already learned SO much. I joined a team of amazing women that are SO inspiring and have created a sisterhood. I feel so supported and it’s just been such a blessing thus far. I am so excited to share this continually with you all!

If you are interested in learning more about the business side of things - I would LOVE to share more with you. It can absolutely lead to more financial freedom for your family and more flexibility. I am watching it already and I am only one week in. My only wish, was that I joined sooner!!!

Shoot me an email at: stylegraceandlace@gmail.com or just message me on Instagram :) I promise I will respond as quickly as possible!

Malia's 9-Month Update...

 

Hey guys! You’re long overdue for a MALIA update - and I know that because you keep sending me messages about what she’s eating nowadays, how she’s sleeping, what she’s up too, etc! :) I love it, you keep me on track!

She is 9 months and 10 days old! I can’t believe how fast it goes with your second baby…it’s crazy! I took her to her appointment and she is OFF the charts for height. She is 30.5” tall! Ahhh! The doctor told me the average 3-year old is 36 inches so, thus far she has the tall genes! At this age, London was 28.5”! It’s just crazy to see how different it can be from child to child! Not only is she SUPER tall, but she’s also weighing in at a whopping 22lbs - which is 93% for her age :) Bless her heart - that’s why she loves food so much and eats just as much as London sometimes (because, you know, TODDLERS!)

I thought I would break the update down a bit…so here you go :)

How she’s sleeping…

LIKE A CHAMP.

From about 6-8 months we went through a phase where her naps were really unpredictable and mostly SHORT. Ugh! It was really frustrating but I knew I couldn’t complain much since she was sleeping 12 hours through the night! She has been doing that since 13 weeks and never really went backwards…her sleep has only gotten better.

Her nap/sleep schedule looks something like this: 1st nap 9AM - 10/10:30AM, 2nd nap 12/12:30pm - 1:30/2PM and a 30-minute cat nap between 3:30/4:00PM. Her bedtime is anywhere between 6:30PM - 7PM and she sleeps until between 6:30-7AM. We are SO thankful that she sleeps like this, because we know it isn’t always the case. We followed the same book with both girls, and I will say - they are both wonderful sleepers. The book is called “12 Hours of Sleep by 12 Weeks” and we swear by it!

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How she’s eating…

She eats everything now, except for honey of course! She eats three meals a day as we do, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sometimes she has a snack! She gets four bottles a day; one right when she wakes up, around 10:30/11am, when she wakes from her second nap around 2:30pm, and before bed. I would say she takes in anywhere from 24-28 ounces per day…which again, is more than London did at this age. Every child is different so if you’re reading this and thinking “Oh no, my daughter (or son) isn’t drinking this” it’s OK…don’t stress. They always end up getting what they need. Our doctor does suggest that they eat three meals a day by this age though - so I think that’s a good goal to shoot for if you aren’t doing that already (but as always, consult your doctor first).

Some of her favorite foods include: blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe (she really loves all fruit!), zucchini, asparagus, avocado, black beans and cheese quesadillas, salmon, and chicken!


What she’s doing…

Malia started crawling when we were in Disney, as she turned 8-months old! She hasn’t stopped since and I think that has a lot to do with having an older sibling and wanting to do what they are doing! She pulls herself to standing and “couch surfs” a.k.a. takes small steps while holding onto the couch. She can stand on her own for a few seconds and I feel like she’ll be an early walker like her sister!

She LOVES books! She definitely already has her favorites; anything that she can touch and feel, pop-up books, or books with flaps - she especially loves those! She likes to play with wooden blocks and knock down any tower that I build :) She is very into playing her version of pass with a ball…which is her rolling it anywhere in the room and crawling after it (she does this over and over…so cute!) She has a few favorite stuffies and sleeps with her mini bunny blanket now…cuddles right into it. So adorable. I just can’t believe how fast she is growing. She is a sweet, calm, and relaxed baby girl. We are all so blessed by her presence…truly the sweetest little angel baby that melts my heart every day!

I hope you all have an amazing day!

xx, Ashley

Amazon Dresses under $25 and Try-On...

Happy MAY 1st!

I just got my first wave of Amazon dresses and I’ve got to say, I am SO pleasantly surprised. You GUYS. These dresses are all under $25 - I literally got these 6 dresses for just over $110 which, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Such a steal!

I wasn’t sure if I would like them; I was expecting the material to be cheap but the dresses are soft, comfortable, lightweight and really REALLY flattering for every body type! Also, I love the fact that each dress comes with at least four other color options / print options!

Here are the SIX dresses from my Instagram try-on that I did - so you can shop them here all in one place! Also if you haven’t had a chance, head over to check out my post on “Amazon Finds Under $25!”

  1. Yellow Swing Dress: It was hard to pick a favorite but I think this one had to be it! It is SO comfortable and cute with the ruffle detail. I dressed this look down with platform sneakers but if you check my Instagram “Amazon Try-on” highlight, you will be able to see how cute it also looks with heels! If you want to shop these platform sneakers - here are some lookalikes (mine are sold out!)

2. This casual black maxi is the most shopped dress on Amazon with over 2,000 reviews! I can see why everyone loves it so much. The material is soft, those POCKETS, the double slit on either side and the cute v-neck back … I was really pleasantly surprised with this one! I want it in gray next :)

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3. This rose-colored slip dress is another favorite and was super popular in the try-on! It comes in a variety of other colors, but I love the high-waist tie and flutter top. The length is really great too - I love a midi dress because you can dress it up with heels and also wear it with sneaks too! This would be so perfect for a spring/summer wedding, baby shower, Mother’s Day, etc!

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4. I love a good t-shirt dress and this ruched bodycon one is GOOOOD. It has gathering around the midsection which is really flattering and also, usually when I see “bodycon” I get freaked out because I’m not into suuuuper tight, but honestly - this was PERFECT. I got a small, so I would say the dress is definitely true to size and I didn’t feel like it was too tight at all. Also, I have really broad shoulders that can sometimes be a problem for t-shirts/dresses etc, but again - this fit well in all the right places!

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5. I was not sure about this polka dot maxi - mostly because I wasn’t expecting the dots to be so prominent but it really grew on me! This was the most comfortable dress out of all the others. The material is SO lightweight and “flowy” and I just loveee how perfect this would be for summer. There are a lot of other colors and I’m even thinking of getting the white to use as a beach cover up. It has a cute hi-lo feature too! I love the v-neck front / back also - SUPER cute and highly recommend this one!

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6. This is another loose v-neck maxi that has pockets and I loved it. The material was a little heavier than the red polka dot one but still a really nice material that clung to all the right places on your body. This is also true to size! I’m wearing a medium here and it was a bit big - so I should have definitely stuck to my normal small size. The length is perfect - you could wear flats or heels with this!

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Which dress is your fave?!

xx, Ashley

Mother's Day Gift Ideas...

I LOVE doing this post every year because it’s for the MAMAS! I always try to share a variety of gift ideas and some ideas in case you want to TREAT YO’SELF if you’re a mommy and you’re reading this :)

I love spending the day with my little family; we never have to do anything crazy extravagant, but just being together is the BEST. I’m praying for nice weather this year! Come on Spring!

Here are some cute MD ideas for the mom in your life! Have a great week!

xx, Ashley

Amazon Finds Under $25...

 

My Top 5 Amazon Finds…

  1. This dress is the most shopped dress on Amazon. It comes in a million colors…but I like the black and gray best! Cute to pair with a denim jacket and a baseball cap or just with lace up sandals. HOW GOOD ARE THE POCKETS?!

  2. I have this cover-up in a size small and I truly love it. It’s so easy breezy to throw on over a swimsuit at the pool or beach. It’s under $20!

  3. One of my favorite bloggers, Holli Woodward wore this swimsuit on her IG the other day and I was like WELL if it’s good for her, it’s good for me too! HAHA! I’m so sick of paying a million dollars for swimsuits and this one is under $30 and super CUTE!

  4. The most talked about leggings and a Lululemon DUPE under $25! They’re high-waisted, not see-through, they wear SO well and after many washes, they look the SAME!

  5. Obsessed with this tunic dress because you can dress is up or down! It looks SO comfortable - and comes in three other colors. I’m planning to include it in my next Amazon try on!

xx, Ashley

Target Mother's Day Haul...

Happy Tuesday!

Last night I went to Target to scour the aisles for some Mother’s Day inspo! There are so many cute things (naturally) that I wanted to buy for myself but I have will power!! :) I shared all of them with the swipe up links on my Instagram stories but just in case you missed them, you can shop them below!

I tried to share a variety of options - gift ideas for the fit mom, some home decor ideas, even a vacuum because that’s the kind of gift I want (ha!) and more! Shop below by clicking any of the items!

Stay tuned for more Mother’s Day guides! Have a beautiful day!

Spring Essentials...

This weekend in Boston was SO beautiful and I couldn’t have been more happy to finally venture outside in just a t-shirt! I’m pretty sure London was the happiest of all - but it was just so amazing. We tried to get outside and enjoy it as much as possible…because this week looks like rain, rain, and more rain! I’m just holding on to the age-old saying “April showers bring May flowers” because I need to believe more sunshine is ahead!

I loved seeing everyone rocking their cute Spring looks over the weekend as well. It inspired me to do a little post for you about “Spring essentials” and all of the things that are trending right now! I’m seeing lots of cropped wide leg pants / jeans and I’m shocking to say that I actually LOVE them. They’re super cute paired with platform sneakers and a tucked in tee. Also, these large hair clips are EVERYWHERE…especially the ones with pearl detail. I found some on Etsy for $12, so I thought I’d share the wealth ;)

Here are some cute things for Spring that you should totally check out! A lot of them are currently on sale, so hurry!

xx, Ashley

How To Do Disney With Kids...

 
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I can’t believe our Disney trip has come and gone! We had been planning to go as a family for a year and there was so much excitement and anticipation leading up to the week! My parents have a time share at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, which is where we always stayed growing up as kids. It’s SO fun to go back now and bring our own children to experience all of the fun and magic that Disney encompasses! My sister and her family came on the trip as well - and we all stayed in a three-bedroom villa which was absolutely gorgeous with views of Magic Kingdom; we watched the fireworks every night from our balcony…it was amazing.

While we were there I got LOTS of messages from people saying they had a trip coming up and were super nervous/wanted tips etc. All I have to say is YES, Disney is a BEAST of a place and it’s completely exhausting, but it’s ALWAYS worth it. If you go in with a few tips + tricks and a plan, then you will dominate it! This was London’s third time at Disney World (she’s 3.5 years old) and each trip gets better because she remembers more and more. The look on her face makes it me so happy. Bringing Malia added a new layer and definitely took more thinking in terms of coordinating naps, mixing bottles etc., but it was absolutely amazing and I’m so glad she experienced it with us. I know people say “I’m not going to take my kids to Disney until they can remember it” and I get that, but for us we just feel like the entire process of travel in general brings new learning experiences for our children and opportunities for them to grow, step outside of their comfort zone, and expand their minds…plus THE MEMORIES.

Ok, it’s time for TIPS + TRICKS on how to get the most out of your time there and also the best parks/things to do if you have a toddler/small child! There are certain parks (ahem, EPCOT) that I wouldn’t take the time to go to if you have kids the same age as mine. I’ll get to that in a little :)

Helpful Tips…

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  • Bring your own snacks and waters to the parks. Unless you want to spend $5 on a bottled water I recommend you pack your own! They let you do this so we stashed 4-5 waters in the storage bin of the stroller. I also pack a bunch of snacks in my luggage or buy snacks at a store outside of Disney when we arrive. I bring individual packs of goldfish, raisins, cheez-its, apple sauce pouches, etc.

  • Plan Fast Passes in advance. If you want a super popular ride like Peter Pan’s Flight at the Magic Kingdom, I would book a fast pass ahead of time for this! We did our fast passes a few days before our trip and we were able to get on all of the rides / see all of the shows that we wanted too (I made a list below of our favorites by theme park).

  • Schedule a CHARACTER DINING experience. When London was 18-months old and obsessed with Mickey Mouse, we booked a brunch at “Chef Mickey’s” at the Contemporary so she could meet all of the characters in one place. We did this instead of waiting in line at Magic Kingdom to see each individual character which would have been less than fun with a child her age :) This year, we made reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table which is located at the top of the castle in Magic Kingdom! London was in heaven! Each princess (Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White, Aurora, and Jasmine) comes around to your table while you are eating to chat and take photos. It’s WELL WORTH the money to see them all in one place! (*book these experiences well in advance! We also did a separate fast pass to meet Tiana and Rapunzel because they weren’t at the breakfast)

  • Bring your own stroller. I don’t recommend renting a stroller there - mostly because they look SUPER uncomfortable and there’s no storage underneath (which I count on). As of May 2019, there are new standards for strollers in terms of length and width, so make sure you check on the website before you pack your own. I’m sure the travel umbrella strollers would work fine. My sister has an almost two-year old and they used something similar to this one. We love the Babyzen YOYO stroller (as I have mentioned a bunch before) and they have an attachment/ride along board which is AMAZING!

  • Utilize the Baby Care Center. They have these in all four theme parks and they’re wonderful. There is a private nursing room with rocking chairs, a place to change your baby and highchairs to feed older babies as well! There is also a shop that sells formula, diapers, sunscreen, wipes, baby food, etc., should you have forgotten any of those things.

Our Favorite Parks / Rides + Shows…

Magic Kingdom

We spend the most time here every year, for obvious reasons - it’s the main park! There are amazing rides but also daily parades and shows! Here are our favorite rides/shows to see!

  • It’s A Small World (We never get a fast pass for this one - the line is always manageable)

  • The Voyage of the Little Mermaid

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant

  • Peter Pan’s Flight (Crowd favorite! Book your fast pass well in advance for this one!)

  • Pirates of the Caribbean

  • “Festival of Fantasy” Parade at 3PM daily

  • Country Bear Jamboree

  • “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” show (On the stage in front of the castle)

*I HIGHLY recommend the nightly fireworks show! London is 3.5 so we had her take a later nap so she could go (It starts at 9:15pm), but it is SO beautiful and worth it. London was completely mesmerized and honestly, so was I!

Animal Kingdom

We LOVE Animal Kingdom. It is so beautiful and probably my second favorite park after Magic Kingdom (It’s my husband’s favorite!) We never do many rides here because we’ve only always spent a half a day…but our top 3 are listed below. It’s just SO beautiful! The photo below of London meeting Pocahontas was when she was 2.5 years old - she loved it!

  • Kilimanjaro Safari

  • Festival of the Lion King Show

  • Pocahontas Character Meet & Greet

Hollywood Studios - If you only have 2-3 days at Disney as a whole, skip Hollywood Studios. We had 4-5 days so we went here, but I think you would want at least two days at Magic Kingdom and a day at Animal Kingdom! Here is what we did at Hollywood Studios…

  • Disney Junior Dance Party

  • For The First Time In Forever Frozen Sing-a-long

  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

  • Character Meet & Greet: Princess Sofia

I hope you’ve found this helpful! If you have any questions you can post them here or on my latest Instagram post (not the giveaway) and I will probably be able to respond quicker! Love you all!

xx, Ashley

Easter Sunday Attire...

I can’t believe Easter is next weekend! I love this holiday; celebrating the resurrection, soaking up Spring, all the florals, delicious food, and family time. I am starting to think about what the girls and I will wear on Easter Sunday and that got me thinking of sharing some inspo with all of you! I am sharing some pieces that are on sale so grab them while you can - also, a lot of them are casual so you can wear them multiple times :)

I hope you are all having a great week!

xx, Ashley


Prepping To Fly With Two...

Hey guys! I feel like I haven’t posted much the past month or so because it’s been so insanely busy! We went on two trips in March and just recently took both girls to Disney World…so needless to say - we are kind of exhausted :) I ran a poll on my Instagram to see what you guys wanted for content; a “how to” when it comes to Disney with kids or prepping to fly with two and it was pretty even so guess what - I’m going to do both!

I decided to start with flying with two because that one did slightly have more votes! Last month I posted “How To Travel With Your Three Year Old” because London and I have traveled so much together I feel like we have that down! Adding Malia, who is 8-months old, to the crew was SO much fun but also adds A LOT more to think about, plan for, and pack :)

How I prep for flights with two…

I ALWAYS make a list. This time I made one for each child and divided it into things I need for my carry-on and things I need to pack in general. I brought two carry-ons which seemed to work nicely. I did one backpack and a shoulder bag. I hesitated on the shoulder bag but it was actually clutch because it was already open and easy to access PLUS it fit underneath my stroller, which I always use through the airport (I’ll get to this later!). A bag like this would work nicely and I really like this one because of the attached wristlet!

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Here is what you can find in my carry-on bags…

Before I go ahead and list everything out - I HIGHLY recommend not just throwing everything in, but organizing things in gallon-sized ziplock bags. This helps IMMENSELY when it comes to fishing things out of the bag efficiently.

Shoulder Bag:

  • Malia’s toys/rattles (gallon bag)

  • Malia’s teethers (I put these in a smaller ziplock bag)

  • Snacks for London (gallon bag) *Some snacks that I typically bring: granola bars, raisins, goldfish, cheez-its, apple sauce pouches, pea crisps, graham crackers and I usually buy a banana and a cheese stick at Starbucks in the airport :)

  • Change of clothes for both (gallon bag)

  • 2 Aden & Anais muslin blankets (these take up no space at all)

  • Burp cloth

  • Carrier (We prefer the Ergo 360 so you can do forward facing but also they can face in when it’s nap time!)

Backpack:

  • Diapers/butt paste for Malia (I recommend butt paste when you travel because you may not be able to change your baby as much as you would at home / they may be in the carrier more so you wouldn’t want them getting a rash!)

  • iPad / kids headphones

  • Water Wow activity (these are a MUST for us!)

  • Books (2-3)

  • Crayons in a ziplock w/a small coloring book

  • Purell hand wipes

  • Gum / dum-dum lollipops

  • Ibuprofen (I like to carry this just in case. London has never had ear pain when flying but since this was Malia’s first flight and she had a cold, I wanted to make sure I had some Ibuprofen on hand!)

My Tips For Getting Through Security / The Airport…

Do you check your stroller? …What do you do with your pack n’ play? … Did you wear one child and push the other in the stroller? … Which carrier do you recommend? These are just a few of the questions I get asked when I travel with London and this past time with both girls.

Firstly, having a GREAT STROLLER makes all the difference and I always GATE CHECK my stroller which means I take it through security and use it to maneuver around the airport then check it right before we board! It is FREE to gate check (at least with JetBlue) and just makes life SO much easier. If I’m traveling with just London, I always use my Babyzen YOYO stroller which folds up, has a shoulder strap like a purse, weighs just 15 pounds, and can fit in the overhead bins of any airplane! Most recently when we traveled with London (3.5 years) and Malia (8 months) we used the Chicco Bravofor2 LE Double stroller and it was MVP of our trip, FOR REAL. London has the option to sit or stand while Malia sits in the front. London fits in the front too, which she loved to do when Malia was in the carrier. The storage bin underneath is HUGE which is another bonus considering it left room for my shoulder bag and carrier when I wasn’t using it. It also folds + unfolds in probably five seconds - no exaggeration.

When is comes to my 4Moms Pack n Play - I always check it underneath the plane and we never have any issues. I bring this when we travel (even though most hotels have their own), because it’s bigger than the standard pack n play … and almost the size of a regular crib!

When going through security I recommend baby-wearing because oftentimes they do make you fold up the stroller which kind of requires two hands. I wore Malia in the Ergo 360 carrier from the time we got to the airport until we got through security.

I like planning flights with the littlest one’s naps. This was pretty easy considering Malia still naps 3 times a day. She slept on the plane for an hour both ways, which was a huge lifesaver! I recommend getting to the airport with plenty of time to grab a few waters, hit the bathroom for the potty and a final diaper change before boarding. I also like to let them get their wiggles out and run around a little bit beforehand, since they won’t be able to move around much on the flight.

I hope I covered it all and I hope this is a help to you in some way! If you have any questions - head to my Instagram page and post them on my latest post so I can get to you quickly. Stay tuned for my “Disney With Littles” post for those who are wondering how to take on the beast that is DISNEY WORLD ;)

Have a wonderful week!

xx,

Ashley

20 Things To Do In Kennebunkport, Maine...

For those of you who follow along here or on my IG, you probably know by now how much I love Maine and how much we, as a family, love to visit Kennebunkport! It’s so special to us for so many reasons. We have vacationed there together for the past 6 years, we got engaged there, my sister was married there and my brother will be married there this October! Ahhh!! So many memories.

Anyway, I am a contributor for the Boston section of Mommy Nearest - and recently wrote an article for them about all the things you can do in Kenebunkport!! I wanted to share it with you guys - so you can check that out HERE!