IT’S GIFT GUIDE SZN!

Y’all. I love gifts. I love giving them, I love receiving them, I love picking out gifts. My love language is gifts (in case you couldn’t tell!) and I’m super PUMPED to put these gift guides together!

Over the next few weeks I’ll be putting together guides for…

  • Babies, toddlers, and kids
  • Grandparents
  • Teachers
  • The men and women in your life
  • Those who are impossible to shop for!
  • And obviously – gifts for you!

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GET EXCITED!!!

xo, Rachel

What do I register for?!

Big Things:

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Why this one? Well we originally registered for and received another stroller and ended up trading it in for the City Select when we were planning on fostering. The City Select has so many different options – one seat, two seats, standing board, car seat adapter, etc. It can comfortably carry up to 3 kiddos (two sitting and one standing) so it grows really well with you!

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The Snap-N-Go is great for quick trips when you are still using the infant car seat. It folds up well and is easy to open/close. I still use this a lot when I’m only with Emmy!

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I love this backpack diaper bag! There are plenty of pockets inside to stay organized, an insulated pocket in the front for bottles, and comfortable padded straps. I feel like it’s easier to carry than a one shoulder bag.

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I love that this monitor can be easily moved and attached to different places! We had both of the girls in our room before moving them and this can easily go back and forth. Before they can stand and grab, it attaches to the crib and once they are crazy toddlers that destroy everything at bedtime (what? I have no experience with this… ;)), you can move it out of reach.

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So the Dock-A-Tot has been great for both of our girls. I will say that they provide a message on safe sleeping that is very helpful and to consult a pediatrician if you have concerns. The AAP says baby should be alone, on their back, and in a crib. We do use the DAT to co-sleep with Emmy because she’s been such a colicky baby and it was safer than holding her all night. With Lainey we pretty much only used it for naps. It was also great while traveling on long flights! On the way to Hawaii, we just laid her across our laps and she slept most of the way.

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Did I know that I could be in love with a diaper pail?! Enter Ubbi. This thing seriously traps in oder like a magical diaper fairy and you can use regular trash bags with it.

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We use the Hatch for Lainey. It has a lot of fancy features that we don’t quite need yet (OK to wake, can be programmed to do different colors/sounds at different times, etc.) and it’s really pretty. Emmy doesn’t really use a sound machine but in the beginning we just got this portable hushh and it was great.

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This carrier is awesome. It is easy enough for anyone to use and it’s super stylish. I’m a fan!

 

Smaller Things:

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1. Nursing Supplies/Bottles/Bottle cleaning

Again totally depends on you and your baby but here are some of the things I love: bottles + breast milk storage, hands free pump bra, and a bottle brush.

2. Boppy

Great for nursing mamas. We also used for elevated tummy time or just lounging before they could really sit up well.

3. Swaddles

Which ones? Well, probably one of each unfortunately. And the one that works well for your first won’t work well for your second so just keep them all stashed until you’re done having babies!

4. Feeding items/cups

These are good for as your baby grows. Not breakable, dishwasher safe, fun colors.

5. Wubbanub

Makes it so easy to keep track of which paci belongs to which child!

6. Bath Items

We like this bath and this bath wash and these bath thingys and minimal toys.

7. Bedding

Hands down Burt’s Bees is my favorite ever.

8. Car Seat Mirrors

How did people survive without these?! So comforting being able to check for breathing every 10 seconds in the car too.

9. Books

All the books! Here’s a list of some of our faves.

10. DIAPERS/Wipes

If there was one thing I could tell you to register for it would be DIAPERS. Because it sucks to spend your own money on them! Use your own money to buy the fun stuff!

 

Things I thought I’d use but didn’t:

A crap ton of burp cloths/bibs – is there another piece of fabric close by? good enough!

Bumbo – maybe I’ll use it more with Emmy but I never used it with Lainey

Walkers – these aren’t recommended anymore. We did have a play table that we used occasionally but push walkers were more entertaining for Lainey.

Baby mittens or socks – can people actually keep those on?! If so, I’m impressed.

 

Favorite Girl Shops:

Baby Bling

MerciBowCoup

June and January

Smocked Auctions

Little Unicorn

L’oved Baby

 

xo, Rachel

3 Things I Love About My Wood Watch

I think one of the biggest marks of #adulting is owning a fancy watch, amiright?! Enter: JORD watches (pronounced yode which totally threw me off but I digress).

The watch I got is the Cassia series – Walnut & Vintage Rose. I love the coloring on it and how easily it can be dressed up or down!

  1. Timeless & Inexpensive: For $199, the Cassia is a timeless piece (ba-dum-chhh). My packaged included this cute little watch pillow and box for storage, a cleaning cloth, extenders (because life gets ya sometimes), and their own wood preserving brush! 

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  1. Customizable: JORD also has so many customizable options. The huge selection  and ability to customize  makes JORD a great place to look for gifts! Custom  professional sizing & personalized engraving is available on watch back plates as  well as cedar humidor display boxes. Generous returns and exchanges, free worldwide  shipping, along with great warranties make purchases for loved ones worry-free. I’m thinking of getting an engraved watch for Bryan for our anniversary next year (10 years together!!!).IMG_4627

     

  2. Unique Watch Features: My watch has a modern watch face with a vintage feel, making it very unique, versatile, and easy to wear on any occasion. The roman, concave dial and domed sapphire crystal also adds a distinct and beautiful touch to the wood watch that you wouldn’t typically see.IMG_4585

Overall, I’m super pleased and wanted to share the love! The best part?! You could win a $100 credit toward any JORD watch! Just follow THIS LINK to enter – super easy! 

Good luck! xo, Rachel

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Knock-Offs

Ok, listen, your girl can’t pass up a sale so I did the thing that millions of basic girls did this week (insert eye roll): I went to the #nsale.

And you know what? I wasn’t that impressed. I found a few things that I liked but even on sale they were pricey and I’m just not at a point where I feel the need to buy a ton of staples that will last forever because “forever” with kids is like a week! That being said, I did find a few things that I think are worth the purchase and then a few things that are better as a knock-off! I’ll share things I found in store and online.

In store:

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Nikes from the sale – originally $130, on sale for $96 // Amazon Tennis Shoes – $32
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ECCO Soft 7 III Slip-on Sneaker – originally $150, on sale for $99 // Old Navy Leather Slip-on – $25
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1.State Celvin Sandal – originally $98, on sale for $$60 // Target Sandal – $25
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Blondo Lidia Bootie – originally $150, on sale for $99 // Amazon Booties – $25
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Madewell Stripe Top – originally $72, on sale for $48 // Amazon Stripe Top – $20
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Top Shop Cardigan – originally $68, on sale for $45 // Amazon Cardi – $35
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The North Face Rain Jacket – originally $120, on sale for $90 // Amazon Rain Jacket – $24
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Treasure & Bond Sweater – originally $79, on sale for $50 // Amazon Sweater – $20
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Thermal Henley Top – originally $59, on sale for $39 // Amazon Henley Top – $18
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All in Favor Twist Top – originally $29, on sale for $19 // Amazon Twist Top – $14
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Denim Mini Skirt – originally $55, on sale for $36 // Old Navy Mini Skirt – $25 + 40% off

Dark Wash Jeans: Rag & Bone – originally $250, on sale for $167 //  Gap – $70

Mid Wash Jeans: AG – originally $225, on sale for $150 // Gap – $70

Also Pictured: Amazon Headband, AE Shorts

Worth Buying from Nordstrom:

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1. Natori Bra – originally $66, on sale for $44 // 2. V-Neck T-Shirt – originally $15, on sale for $12 // 3. Spanx Undies – originally $24, on sale for $16 // 4. Hanky Panky Undies – originally $22, on sale for $17

Can you tell that I think undergarments are worth the money?! I think they are the key to looking good in any outfit. I also ask my mom for Hanky Panky Undies for Christmas every year even as a 27 year old woman. 🙂

Online:

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42 Gold Woven Loafer Mule – originally $79, on sale for $50 // AE Woven Mule – $15
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Gray Single Pass Curling Iron – originally $160, on sale for $107 // Hot Tools Curling Iron – $50
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Slip Silk Pillowcase – originally $170, on sale for $119 // Amazon Silk Pillowcase – $24
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Nadri Necklace – originally $85, on sale for $57 // Etsy Necklace – $18

And of course, Emmy had to do her own Nordstrom try on! She only got one thing – our favorite bows: Baby Bling!

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Happy Shopping! xo, Rachel

 

7 poolside must haves this summer!

1. A good sunscreen

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1. Beautycounter // 2. Think Baby // 3. Bare Republic // 4. Alba Botanica // 5. Supergoop!

Sunscreen is essential by the pool, lake, ocean, long walks, etc. I’m sure we all know someone who has been affected by skin cancer so put that sunscreen on! Also, who wants to look all leathery and wrinkly when they’re older?! Take care of the skin you have.

2. A good self-tanner

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1. Supergoop! Sunless Tan // 2. Coola Sunless Tan // 3. Isle of Paradise Tanning Mouse // 4. Isle of Paradise Tanning Drops // 5. Isle of Paradise Tanning Mitt

We know the importance of sunscreen, but we want to look sun kissed too. Enter: self-tanner!

3. A swimsuit that makes you feel like a rockstar

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1. Summersalt // 2. J. Crew // 3. Aerie // 4. Madewell

You ARE a rockstar. You deserve to feel that way no matter what you are wearing. I’m a one-piece fan but find what makes you feel great and rock that swimsuit, dammit!

4. Pool-safe glassware for your summer cocktails

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1. Wine Tumbler // 2. Pineapple Cup // 3. Teal Tumbler // 4. Silicon Wine Glass

Laying by the pool means you need something to help cool you down. Whether that’s a cocktail or mocktail, you’ll want to make sure your glass isn’t actually made of glass.

5. Post swim haircare

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1. O&M Surf Bomb // 2. Briogeo Replenishing Shampoo // 3. Honest Detangler // 4. Reverie Anti-Frizz Treatment // 5. Briogeo Deep Conditioning Mask

Chemicals in the pool can be harsh on our hair, so make sure you add plenty of extra moisture and maybe a mask after pool time.

6. Fun sunglasses + hats!

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1. Straw Hat // 2. Chambray Hat // 3. Rainbow Sunglasses // 4. Heart Sunglasses // 5. Tortoise Shell Sunglasses 

I’m a fan of fun shaped sunglasses, even though my husband makes fun of me. You do you, babe.

7. Reading material

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1. Kindle Paper white // 2. Again, But Better // 3. Magazine Subscription // 4. Pool Book Float

The kindle paper white is my favorite way to read poolside. The screen makes it easy to use indoors or out and you can connect it to your library card for unlimited book possibilities!

 

That’s it! Hope y’all are enjoying this summer heat! Xo, Rachel

Deals of the week!

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1. J. Crew Beaded tassel earrings – 50% off plus another 20% with code 1DAYONLY

2. Amazon Fire Stick with Alexa – $40 (normally $50!) and would be great for Father’s Day!

3. Old Navy Toddler T-shirts – starting at $4 – we have a ton!

4. O.R.G. Skincare Oxygen Cleanser with Collagen – $22 (50% off!)

5. Jesus Storybook Bible – $10 (normally $19) Lainey loves this Bible and it makes me cry every time we read it!

6. Basic kimono – $24 (originally $48)

5 things I’ve learned in 5 years of marriage

5 things I've learned in 5 years of marriage

Bryan and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary on May 17! We also celebrated our 9 year dating anniversary. We started dating, were engaged, and were married all on May 17, two years apart. Marriage has been everything I imagined and nothing I expected all at the same time. Here are five things I’ve learned in the last five years of marriage.

1. Marriage will sanctify you. 

All of the good, the bad, and the ugly about yourself will be reflected and magnified tenfold. If you let it, this can change you in the best ways. You’ll have to do the hard work of growing into the person you were meant to be but you’ll have your best friend beside you reminding you of the good you don’t necessarily see.

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2. You will laugh more than you ever thought possible.

When you spend so much time with someone, you begin to find even the most mundane things hilarious. There have been times where Bryan and I are doubled over with laughter about absolutely nothing! We find each other funny and most of the time I’m not sure why.

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3. You will cry more than you ever thought possible. 

This person will make you more angry than you ever thought you could be. And it will be something as simple as an old cup of coffee on the nightstand that will set you off. You will say things that hurt the other person just because you know you can and you will have to learn how to forgive.

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4. You will come up with some weird nicknames. 

We call each other bean and I have no idea why or how we got there!

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5. You will have to choose each other each morning (and maybe multiple more times throughout the day). 

Marriage is so wonderful but very difficult. You will learn to turn your focus outward and serve your spouse, especially when you don’t want to. Some days this will come easily and other days it won’t. Wake up and choose each other and half the battle has been won.

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Happy belated anniversary to my big bean.

xo, Rachel

rachel reviews | 14 day detox tea

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Ok so I started this 14 day detox tea when I was like 4 weeks postpartum and really feeling like shit about myself – let’s just get that out there. I even did a “before” weight just to see if this affected it. I was cleared by my doctor so I knew I could start exercising, yada yada. I honestly was hoping for a quick fix to jumpstart weight loss. However, when I pulled out the scale to do my “after” weight the battery died! I took that as I sign that I should just measure how I feel about myself and the answer is: I feel great!

I think this tea would be a great way to kind of reset after a vacation, holiday season, etc. I’m not a doctor and I don’t know if there’s any actual science to this stuff but I did feel better after drinking the tea each day. It also helped me think about the choices I made throughout the day. When I was pregnant, I wasn’t allowed to exercise which just meant that I kind of gave up and started eating whatever I wanted. So after ten months of that, I really needed a bit of a reset.

Pros:

  • I felt better after drinking the tea (not as “heavy” feeling/bloated throughout the day)
  • I made better food choices!
  • The price! Only about $14, where other detox teas run as high as $50 or $60.
  • The taste! I am not a tea drinker and I think it tastes great.

Cons:

  • I don’t think I lost any weight from it – though my scale broke so who knows.

That’s really the only con! If you are a tea drinker (even if you aren’t) I would definitely recommend this tea. I even drink it occasionally now, i.e. not a part of a 14 day detox. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!

xo, Rachel

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Men are hard to shop for, am I right?! Hoping these gift ideas help you out this Father’s Day!

Father’s Day for the sports enthusiast:

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1. Spikeball

2. Basketball Hoop Mug

3. Weighted Running Pack

4. Corn Hole (a classic!)

 

Father’s Day for the techie:

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1. Tile Key Finder (anyone else’s husband lose everything?!)

2. Wireless Speaker – can be mounted on anything and also serves as a wallet!

3. Charging Station

4. Portable Cinema – pricey but how cool!

 

Father’s Day for the fashion forward (or maybe one who needs some fashion help!):

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1. Dad hat

2. Patagonia baggies swim shorts

3. Leather sneakers

4. Backpack

 

Father’s Day for the manscaper:

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1. Skincare kit

2. Body wash

3. Beard oil

4. Shave kit

 

Father’s Day for the foodie: 

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1. Mike’s Hot Honey

2. Chef’s knife

3. Dual charger and mug warmer/cooler

4. Water bottle with snack storage

 

Enjoy! xo, Rachel

Seasons

If you are familiar with the Christian vernacular you have heard the phrase, “It’s just a season we are in.” This is a phrase I have heard and used many times before, particularly when it comes to the hardships we’ve experienced the last four years; however, it wasn’t until I was talking to a friend last week that I realized it’s really just been one long season. I’m not sure about you, but I often think of seasons as short bursts of something. Summer only lasts 3 months and then it’s gone. But that’s not necessarily true with the seasons of our life.

It’s no secret that in the last four years we have gone through infertility treatments, miscarriage, illness – both physical and mental, job dissatisfaction, high risk pregnancy, family cancer, death, surgeries, 135 days in the NICU, physical therapy, speech therapy, feeding therapy, vital stim therapy, eye exams, doctors appointments, hours on the phone with insurance, being denied services, fighting to get medical equipment, financial difficulty, unknown after unknown, and I could keep going. One. Long. Season.

Recently, I’ve been reminded of the battle of Jericho that is detailed in Joshua 6. God often does this for me – He presents the same story or verse over and over again because He knows how stubborn I am. In fact, as I am writing this I’m watching Queer Eye on Netflix and there is a choir singing The Battle of Jericho. Ok God, I hear You.

In Joshua 6 the Israelites had finally made it to the promised land after 40 years in the wilderness and then they come upon Jericho. If I were an Israelite, I’d be like, “Really God?! We just went through 40 years in the wilderness, the promised land is in our sight, and you’re giving us another battle to fight?” Jericho was an impossible battle and what does God tell them to do? Walk. Just put one foot in front of the other. Keep going. And that is what He is telling me.

Rachel, I see you in the wilderness.

I am with you.

Walk. Put one foot in front of the other.

I will fight your battles for you.

I don’t always feel this truth, but He is gracious in reminding me, in pulling me back to Him when honestly I’m just angry. Angry at this broken world. And He pulls me close and says, I know. I see you.