Holiday Gift Guide for the Whole Fam {with Big Lots}

*This post is sponsored by Big Lots, but all thoughts and opinions here are my own. Thanks for your support!*
If you’ve been around here for a minute, you are well aware of my love for Big Lots. Whether I’m working with them or not, I am frequenting our updated location here in Cincinnati …so good! Lucky for me, I also get the pleasure of working with them this holiday season.
Christmas is just a couple of weeks away, so I have put together a gift guide of my favorite items. I walked every aisle and picked out awesome gift ideas for the entire family.

Your BIG LOTS Gift Guide!


1. Makeup Brush Holders – at just a $5 price point these ceramic holders are so cute and affordable for any beauty lover in your life.
2. Dream Street Kids – this is a full line of kids pillows, chairs, plush items and just overall cuteness. A perfect and cuddly gift for the littles!
3. Plants & Planters – hello affordable plant heaven. Dozens of faux plants and planters for the plant lady on your list.
4. Frozen 2 anything – need I say more? You want a frozen gift, toy, book, etc, they have it!
5. Candles – an oldie but goodie. Everyone loves a nice smelling candle. Choose from all sizes, colors, and scents.
6. Seasonal Gift Baskets – take the work out of hand picking a gift basket and buy one that is thoughtfully curated already.
7. Blankets & Throws – winter is just getting started, nothing says comfort like a comfy blanket.
8. Essential Oil Diffusers – I love the marbled ones best. A great gift for an “oily” mom.
9. Ear Pods – a fraction of the cost of real air pods but look identical. Choose from white or black.
10. Dearfoam Slippers – I absolutely love my leopard dear foams from Big Lots. Pick a pair for the entire family!
11. Candy for Stockings – we all buy it. We all want it!
12. Coffee Mugs – choose from a full wall of cute mugs. Perfect for literally anyone who drinks coffee or tea.…which is everyone.
13. Small Kitchen Appliances – the air fryer is a crowd favorite but there are tons more to choose from. Click here to see.
14. Pajama Sets – a longtime family tradition for so many …matching PJs! Grab yours all at once here.
15. Decorative Baskets & Bins – if you choose to make your own gift basket, choose one of these!
16. Dr Teal’s for Self Care – available in gift sets and individually. Give the gift of self care to yourself or the whole family.

Order by 12/18 to guarantee delivery by Christmas or just stop into your local Big Lots to check out the amazing stocking stuffers and gifts they have in store. Let me know what you pick up – Happy Shopping!



Breastfeeding Supply Haul {from a second time mom}

In no particular order of importance – here are my recommended breastfeeding essentials! I BF my first, Calvin, for 9 months and I’m so glad we did, but there is a little bit of a learning curve. My goal was to make it to one year but a demanding work schedule left little time for pumping and a lot of time away from my baby. This time around, I now work part time out of our home and will be able to be with my little girl more frequently. If you are a full time working Mom, it is so possible to breast feed a lot longer than 9 months, just make sure you advocate for yourself and for your breaks to get those pumping breaks in!

Vinyasa Scarf / Nursing Cover

For covering up during those very public feedings. MOST places don’t have a nursing friendly area for Moms. I found this scarf at Lululemon and it is PERFECT for a nursing cover – breathable, functional, and pretty. 🙂

Medela Pump in Style

This is the pump that I used with my first born and it worked great. Because I already have extra parts for it and bottles that fit onto the pumps, I decided to just replace and use the same one. Visit the medela website to insert your insurance here and see if you are eligible for a FREE pump. Most plans will cover one pump per pregnancy.

Racerback Nursing Bra

Supportive, comfortable, affordable, and functional nursing bras are EVERYTHING! My favorites have always been from Motherhood Maternity.

Clear Fridge Bin

For easily storing and organizing your breastmilk in your freezer or fridge.

Button Down Pajama Set

Supportive, comfortable, affordable, and functional pajamas are also EVERYTHING! I love this set for both the hospital and lounging at home.

10 ft phone charger

You will want a long charger for both the hospital and home as well. You are pinned under a feeding baby so often, you’ll likely need a longer cord for charging that phone. I know I will be using some breastfeeding time to get work done. And take photos of her sleeping. So many photos.

Medela Collection Bottles

Medela 8oz Bottles

These bottles twist and secure right onto the medela pumps. The collection bottles are great for when baby is 4 months or less and only eating about 5 oz at a time. After that, the 8oz bottles are great for taking to the sitter/daycare with milk.

Milk Storage Bags

Because I used the medela pump, I thought it would be smartest to grab the medela bags. This was not the case….these bags hold more milk, store better, and are all around just easier to use. They are my favorite!

Boppy Pillow

For breastfeeding support that wraps right around your waste. Don’t forget to bring your boppy to the hospital – they don’t always have a great nursing set up or supportive pillows.

Nipple Cream

For the early days when you are dry, cracked, and hurting. After a few weeks you should be healed and in the clear.

Disposable Nursing Pads

For milk leakage. You will have a lot at the beginning, especially in the night! These are so helpful and will keep you dry.

Haakaa Milk Collector

The Haakaa wasn’t a thing with my first born, so I am pretty excited to try this and save even more milk this time around. You connect to the breast you are not feeding on so that any leakage goes into this device and is not wasted!


Essential Maternity Basics You’ll Love

It’s true – I’m a creature of habit with the clothing items I love! Especially when I am pregnant, and even more so when I have found the perfect level of comfort! After two pregnancies, I can confirm that these items are my very favorite go-to’s. Most of the items are shown in black but most do come in other colors as well – I just tend to wear a lot of black when pregnant! Black tends to be a bit more slimming while lighter colors and patterns add to the cause. 🙂 All items are linked below, trust me, these are the very best – I wouldn’t steer you wrong!
Aerie Real Me Boybrief Undie
Comfort Slip On Memory Foam Slippers
Surplice Front Jumpsuit
Full Busted Seamless Nursing Bra
Play Real Me High Waisted Legging
Pure Body V-Neck Long Sleeve
Pure Body V-Neck Short Sleeve
Maternity Tank Dress
Maternity 3/4 Sleeve Dress
Ruched Waist Sleep Shorts
Secret Fit Shaping Panty
Jill & Joey Maternity Belt 
Here are some images of me wearing these items over the past 9 months:

I’m so basic 🙂

Which items will be you be grabbing? What am I missing from this list? Let me know which items you try!


2019 Baby Registry Essentials

Baby #2 is on the way (just 8 weeks to go!)

….and I started to find myself more confused than ever with what we need! Although we have a ton of the basics and essentials – a lot has changed with recalls, technology, innovations of what is recommended for an infant, in the past 3 years!
I’ve been doing a ton of research on my own + I asked a handful of real life acquaintances & friends what the #1 item I need for a baby in 2019 is! A lot of the answers lined up with what I had already added to my registry/list of things to grab! Here they are – with a small reason to why it’s on my list. Click the image of each item for a direct link to website where it’s available to purchase!

Dr. Browns Bottles

I’ll admit – I really love these bottles because they are my favorite color and perfect for a baby girl. BUT they also have amazing reviews and we are getting rid of 99% of our old used bottles. These bottles also come in several other colors and sizes! They are also BPA-, PVC-, lead- and phthalate-free.

Chicco Fit2 Carseat

We didn’t love our carseat for Calvin and we actually got rid of the stroller that went with it when we moved back to OH – so we need a new one! Craig and I finally made it to the store to look at some carseats in person and I fell in love with this car seat in particular! To me, a lot of the car seats we saw, looked and felt so cheaply made. Although we aren’t looking to spend a ton, this one is at the higher end of our budget, but I just love it so much! It is sturdy, padded in all the right spots, safe, and durable. I am really hoping we end up with this one for baby girl!

The Play Gym by Lovevery

I have gotten a ton of recos for this playmat, which isn’t just any play mat, it’s a “Stage-Based Developmental Activity Gym & Play Mat for Baby to Toddler. Lovevery’s award-winning debut product is essential for all your baby’s learning stages, providing what your baby wants to see, touch, and do as their little self starts to emerge. The Play Gym includes everything you need in an activity gym-from batting to teething to learning to focus-for a whole year of play.” I didn’t think that there was much of a difference in play mats but it seems a ton of research and strategic development has gone into making this perfect for a baby’s growing brain. Now look at me, I’m the mom who needs the very best for her baby that isn’t born yet. 🙂


Metene Thermometer

One of the scariest things as a Mom is when your baby is sick, has a fever, and is miserable. You want to know right away what action to take – but first you need to know how high the fever really is. With Calvin, we only had an underarm/rectal thermometer, which can be hard to use on a wiggly baby. I knew from the beginning this time, I wanted a medical grade thermometer that could be used quickly on the forehead and in the ear. This one is just that, is sleek, and has a great price point.


BIBS BPA-Free Natural Rubber Baby Pacifier

These are super super cute and come in both sets of 2 and 4 & multiple colors. The bibs natural rubber baby pacifier mimicks both the shape and soft materials of mothers’ breast. Their classic appearance captures a look that’s both timeless and elegant. They are also 100% free from BPA, PVC and phthalates, things I didn’t necesarilly research with Calvin, but care about now.

Simple Joys Short-Sleeve Bodysuits

There’s nothing I underestimated with a newborn more than how much they’d wear and need basic white onesies. Most of the time your baby will be in a simple onesie, not the pinterest approved attire that you may have envisioned. They will also wear basic onesies UNDER every outfit. You will need several in case of accidents, and they will get stained over time. I registered for short sleeve 0-3 months since she will be a summer baby. We will switch to long sleeves shortly after.

The Ollie Swaddle 

This swaddle is another item that I had dozens of recommendations for. I don’t have experience with testing it against other brands, but everyone who has it seems to love it! We swaddled Calvin for MONTHS and if this item promises a calm, soothed, better sleeping baby, we’ll take it! I love the Lavender color but it is also available in multiple shades.

The Dock-a-Tot

When Calvin was a baby, we used the Rock-N-Play as a place to set Calvin/as his “lounger.” Now that it is recalled, I’ve been told we need a new place to set baby. The Dock-a-Tot can be placed in a bassinet, in a crib, in a bed, and is designed to offer a soothing, snug environment for baby.

The Boppy Lounger

The boppy lounger is the same idea as the Dock-A-Tot, meant to be a place to set baby. One upside to the boppy is that it is a much better price point – although I don’t think it is meant to be a place for baby to sleep for long period of time, just to “lounge.”

img_1903The Halo Bassinet 

Since it is not advised for infants to sleep in the rock ‘n play (Calvin slept full time in it for 5 months!) we were on the hunt for a new bassinet to put in our room. The halo is one of the only bassinets I’ve found that can raise to our bed height and that swivels. It also has one side that can easily be pushed down to get baby out at night from bed. This item was also recommended dozens of times!


Baby Shusher

Save your lungs and get a baby shusher to put next to baby for easy soothing. I almost feel bad telling Craig this exists because of how much time we spent manually shushing Calvin to sleep!


Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine

 This particular sound machine combines nightlight, sound machine, and time-to-rise alert in one easy-to-use device that you can control from your phone! Customize color, brightness, sound, and volume level. Set programs to turn off and on automatically based on your family’s sleep schedule. I’m most excited to be able to control this device from my phone! The Haakaa Breast Pump 
I’m so excited to save a lot more milk with this little contraption! You suction to your breast and let the pump do the work for you as it draws your milk using suction, or you can use it for letdown what would otherwise be lost in a breast pad as you breastfeed on the other breast. Perfect for long distance trips, planes, car rides or anywhere you would like to discretely express silently and quickly. I had a manual pump with Calvin and it saved me so many times when I was out without Calvin or in the car and couldn’t feed right away! The Haakaa has been recommended a TON this pregnancy!img_1897There are so many other items that I want and need but these are at the very top of our list! What am I missing? What would you add to this list?
Thank you so much to all of my friends who have given advice, recommendations and input on baby essentials this time around!KaylaSignature-07

1st Trimester (and beyond) Pregnancy Essentials!

Hello! Welcome to my first post as a publicly pregnant mama! I shared on my instagram this week that the start of this pregnancy has been a bit more challenging than the start of my first. Nausea, fatigue, and illnesses kept me down most of weeks 6-10, but lucky at 13 weeks I am starting to feel better!

These essentials have been my “go to’s” for the first trimester – and I know they will continue to be for the remainder of this pregnancy!

image1 (5)

Aerie Play Real Me High Waisted Leggings


Almost right away, my regular clothes became insanely uncomfortable, so I went on a search for the best athleisure items I could find. I can’t say enough good things about these leggings. I tried on about a dozen styles of Aerie leggings in store and these are hands down the most comfortable and provide a ton of stretch to get me through at least the second trimester. They come in 4 colors, they come in short or long, and like the name, are amazingly high-waisted. I did size up to a large to ensure they would make it with me through the winter. Oh, and I got every color!

Cara Loren Prenatal Pre-Workout Supplement – Pink Lemonade


Do you know how hard it is to find a pregnancy safe pre-workout? With coffee being a big aversion for me, I really needed something to help give me the energy to exist, I mean, exercise. One of my favorite bloggers, Cara Loren, collaborated with Bucked Up to create this all-natural prenatal pre-workout supplement. One scoop contains 100mg of caffeine – they recommend 200mg or less per day for pregnant mamas so even if you had one scoop of this, you could still enjoy a small cup of coffee. The time of day in which I take this, depends on how much I use. If it’s early I’ll do almost a full scoop, if it’s later I’ll do half. The pink lemonade flavor is pretty tasty, too!
2919.pngAlthough I’d love to tell you I was as consistent with my skincare regimen in the first trimester as I normally am, it just wasn’t the case. By the end of each day I have been WIPED (pun intended.) Thank god for these color removing wipes that have SeneGence skincare properties in them. They remove makeup, condition skin, and yes – they are anti-aging with the edition of seneplex complex. Is this is good as cleansing, treating, and moisturizing? Not at all, but it is better than sleeping in makeup when we are too tired!
61CfNevPVlL._SL1500_I have been sooo thirstyyy this pregnancy and I had been wanting this cup for so long. The size and straw help me to drink so much more water, especially when I am on the go. Really any large cup with a straw will do the trick but this one is so sleek looking. It goes with me everywhere!
I have tried a couple different prenatal vitamins – I am currently using vitamin code but still like these RAINBOW LIGHT vitamins best. Make sure you choose a vitamin with a probiotic, it really helps to keep things moving during a time where digestion can be questionable. I think this prenatal is best with that, so far. You can purchase really at any drug store, target, etc, or you can buy on amazon to get shipped straight to your doorstep! I am trying another prenatal from PREMAMA this week, and will keep you all updated on how I like that one as well.
This product is a holy grail, both in and out of pregnancy! This tinted moisturizer is like a BB cream or CC cream, but way better. It is water resistent, anti-aging, and just one pump take the unevenness and redness out of my skin completely! It is truly color correcting, and truly a life saver! This is essential for the days you want to feel put together but not necessarily do a full face of make-up…aka every day of the first trimester!
I have talked about this dry shampoo several times over the past few weeks, but it is so key when the pregnancy exhaustion really hits! There are a lot of things I need to conserve and use this energy for – and redoing my hair from scratch isn’t one of them! This dry shampoo smells great, sprays clear, and is very lightweight! Find a good dry shampoo you love for pregnancy and more importantly, motherhood. You’ll need it!
ONE good thing about being in the first trimester during the holidays: peppermint is in! Why is peppermint so special? For me, the smell AND taste would help with my nausea almost instantly. I would diffuse it often in our kitchen, and one night I even took it with my to teach my dance classes so I could smell it if I really felt sick. I also put it topically under my nose some days to help me feel better. I have been using this Ellia Oil for a while but any peppermint essential oil should do the trick!

Lastly, I want to talk about the BAGELS & the BATHTUB. I have always loved both of these items but they have become an OBSESSION during this pregnancy. I have taken a hot bath almost every night to help my mind & body relax. Nothing is more soothing than taking that alone time after my toddler goes to bed and using it wisely. Grab yourself a candle, some good tunes, possibly a bath bomb, and RELAX, because we all know once a baby or another baby is in the house, it is a different story! Secondly, I have been joking a TON about bagels, but they are easily my #1 craving and nausea fighter this time around. I know that I don’t need that much bread, or that there are better things to eat, but you know what, I am letting myself have the bagel, and not stressing about it. If you’re wondering, I love mine to be blueberry, with strawberry cream cheese, please!!
What are your pregnancy essentials? What did I miss? Are there any other pregnancy posts you want to see?
Don’t forget to follow me on instagram (@kayla_cantor) or Facebook at Kayla Cantor.
Love you!

5 tips for Transitioning from Crib to “big kid” bed seamlessly

Hi Mamas! If you are here – that PROBABLY means you are about to go through the infamous crib to big bed transition. I was dreading this day for so long. The crib was the last form of confinement we had, and I was so nervous to lose that! But….we got a bit lucky! Calvin lasted in his crib until he was over 2.5 years old! He is a crazy, persisent, outing child, but has never been a HUGE climber. Probably because he is so big! When I first witnessed him scale his crib to perfection on the first try, I think I literally yelled, “NOOOOOO!!!” lol…. while I was glad that he learned how to do it safely on his own, I knew we were about to turn over a new chapter and likely lose some sleep.
To our surprise, the transition went extremely well. Knowing what I know now, I would tell other moms, it’s not nearly as bad as you think and as long as you have a good mindset and set some expectations – you will be fine! Although I didn’t read any tips (I’m more of a wing it type mom), I am here to share mine, ease some fears and give you some ideas to make the transition that much easier.
1.) Hype up the BIG bed
We decided to go straight from the crib to a big bed that my mom had saved for Calvin. Although taking the side off the crib first is another option, we just pulled the band-aid off all at once. We didn’t want to have another transition for him in a year or less, we wanted this to be it for a while. Plus, we are lazy and wanted to keep the crib in tact for baby #2 and just move it out of the room (no, I’m not preg!) Once we got the plans in place to put his big bed together (it is a double bed but pretty low to the ground), we let him know. He watched us put it together, bring the mattress in, etc. He knew that this was going to be his big bed. We did this as opposed to just putting it together, removing the crib, and then saying, “here’s where you’re going to sleep now!” He watched the whole process and was more than ready when it was his first night to sleep in the big bed.
2.) Pick a room theme or bedding your LO will LOVE
When I picked out Calvin’s new “big boy” sheets, I made sure to get something he would love. Although he didn’t come with me, he was sooo excited when I came home and showed him his new dinosaur bedding, new pillows (he had never used pillows) and SUPER comfy new blanket. While we’re talking about blankets, I have to share that this isn’t just any blanket, it is a MAGIC blanket – I feel like when we put it on him, his eyes just start closing. It is SO SOFT and affordable, and now he associates it with sleeping in his big bed. Once we lay him down it is the first layer we cover him with, and you can just feel him settle down. This gray blanket is the one…go get it!!


dino sheets

dino 2

3.) Continue your normal routine or establish one ASAP!
Bed time routine – this one is different for every family but our bed time routine is the same every night and has been for about 18 months. Bath and/or diaper change, jammies, movie of his choice on the big tv, brush teeth, sip of water, kiss from mommy and then daddy takes Calvin into his room. Then Calvin turns on his noise machine and nightlight before we lay him down. Yes, we tend to do a movie instead of a book before bed…sorry, not sorry. It is one of my favorite times of the day because Calvin gets so calm and snuggly and we do it as a family. If your routine has previously included your child getting into bed with you, make sure that you start to develop a consistent routine where they are now going into THEIR bed. Do the same thing each night before you take him/her in so there are no surprises. We did change ONE thing about our routine, which I’ll talk about below, but only for a few nights.
4.) Use the Certified Cantor COMFORT and then COUNTDOWN method
The first couple of nights in the new bed, Calvin would cry hysterically when we tried to lay him down and leave him. He never cries at night when he is ready for bed, so we knew that he really was genuinely scared when he said he was. It wasn’t a whine cry, it was a what’s happening, I’m terrified cry. We decided to lay with him and comfort him for 30 minutes the first night, 20 minutes the second night, 15 minutes the third night, and so on. Almost like sleep training, but he didn’t keep crying when we left. We then started saying we will lay with you for only 5 minutes, buddy. Now he basically asks us to leave so he can sleep. He doesn’t want us to lay with him at all, and we don’t. 😂 I know a lot of people believe in the cry it out method but this was so new for him – and honestly the days where he needs us to comfort him are so limited. We didn’t mind laying with him for a week or so until he got used to the new, open sleeping arrangement. We knew he needed our comfort for a few nights and that is OK with us. We would have drawn the line had he asked to sleep in our bed night after night or had he wanted us to keep laying with him for 30+ minutes every single night. We call this the “comfort and countdown” method, I’m not sure if we made it up or not. But basically we will comfort him and then say okay you have x amount of minutes left and he takes it so well. We also do this with iPad/TV time, meal time, bath time, etc. We let him do what it is he wants to do but we set boundaries with the timing of it. (Ex: you have 5 minutes left, you have 4 minutes left, etc.) Its a give and take method that really seems to work with our persistent, strong willed child who needs boundaries but won’t comply if we just try to take something with no warning. I don’t read many parenting books because of limited time, so everything we have figured out has been trial and error – including this method. It is probably named something else, but this is what we have discovered to work!
5.) Become a story teller
Sometimes if Calvin is having a hard time calming down for either nap time or bed time, we talk about all the fun things he’ll get to do and people he’ll get to see when he wakes up. We talk about how he won’t get to see those people if he’s tired or play with those toys if he doesn’t sleep first. Because he naps later in the afternoon, I usually use the daddy bribe. “Daddy will be home from work to play with you when you wake up, but only if you take a nap!” Now I will say you have to hold true on those after nap promises if your child has the memory of a steel trap, like ours does. That way, the next time you say it, they know you are telling the truth. It’s all a mind game, my friends!
These tips tend to work MOST of the time. There are nap times and nights here and there where he won’t nap or he keeps climbing out, but 99% of the time they do! Once of the nice things about his big bed is that he can get out on his own and come up to us, we don’t have to go get him out of the crib now. Mini perk 🙂
Let me know if you try any of these tips – I know that this transition is one of the biggest in the toddler years, so I hope they help! Good luck!


Learning to Swim at Goldfish Swim School + A Jump Start Clinic Giveaway!

Hi, Friends! It has been a HOT MINUTE since writing over here on Running with Strollers! I have been soo busy with my business, mommyhood, and we also bought a home back in March!
But I’m back with an awesome post as a GIVEAWAY for you all! Goldfish Swim School in West Chester, OH was kind enough to let our family try 8 weeks of swim lessons for Calvin this winter. Outside of it being a fun weekly outing for us, Calvin also learned some amazing skills and now has absolutely zero fear of the water! I knew that swim lessons were super important for our toddler but had no idea how much he DIDN’T know until we got there. Being a parent is scary, especially when your child is near water, so we are super passionate about teaching him the skills he needs to know to be safe in the water.



The variety of class times each week made it super easy for us to find a time that worked best for both Craig, Calvin and I to attend. You do pick a set day and time to attend, but they were also super flexible with rescheduling days and times as needed. We had to change our set day several times and it was absolutely no problem.
Since it was Calvin’s first time swimming at all, we were in the ‘mini’ level swim class which requires adult participation, is 30 minutes per class, and there is a maximum of 6 kids in each class. I felt as if 30 minutes was a good length of time – Calvin was always worn out after a half hour and started to lose interest in the rules of the class after about 30 minutes, lol.


Each class started with a welcome song, and consisted of “play” type activities to help learn necessary skills such as kicking his legs, pulling his arms, holding onto the edge of the pools, floating on their backs, closing mouth and eyes/getting used to water on his head and shoulders, jumping into the water, etc. They would use big goldfish, balls, boats, to help assist with learning these skills. At the end of each class there was a “fun” activity such as the water slide or riding in the canoe.


Outside of the actual class, I was very impressed with the friendliness of the staff (both in and out of the pool) and the cleanliness of the facilities. There are showers, dressing rooms, tables and chairs for waiting, and large viewing windows if you are the parent not taking the class that week (we tried to alternate.)
Here are some photos and videos of Calvin in action both on vacation this Spring and at our neighborhood pool this Summer. He absolutely loves the water, trips to the pool, and can stay afloat by kicking his legs and arms in just a small life jacket. We are continuing to work with Calvin on pulling his arms and getting more practice with holding his breath under water. The goldfish mini session was just what we needed to get Calvin started and I am so thankful we got this opportunity!


 ^^”alligator, alligator on the wall” – his favorite song from class!
And last but not least, since Goldfish Swim School is so incredibly generous…they are giving away a JUMP START CLINIC to one lucky RWS follower! This clinic is a $127.50 value and available at participating locations.
“The Jump Start Clinic is specially designed for families looking to get their kids water-ready in a hurry. They’re a great way to introduce kids to the fundamentals of water safety during the Summer months. Jump Start Clinics include four or five consecutive days* of 30-minute swim lessons that focus on everything from teaching the fundamentals of water safety to fine-tuning stroke technique.  Jump Start Clinics are held over the summertime and other select times during the year.”
Find your Goldfish location here.
To enter the clinic giveaway, please visit my instagram account and follow the directions on the latest post. It is super easy to enter and a winner will be chosen on Sunday, July 1st.
As always, thank you for reading, engaging and supporting my blog. Can’t wait to see who wins this giveaway!


Rompin’ Around {in Rose & Wesley}

So you may be wondering why I am writing and sharing a red, white & blue themed post and outfit for Calvin approximately 3 weeks after the 4th of July …. well this Mommy is just a littttle behind on blogging but we’re going with it. Does anyone else feel like life is running them over? JK, that’s an exaggeration. Kinda. Calvin sure looks like he is ALWAYS proud to be an American anyways:)
I had the pleasure of working with Mandi from Rose & Wesley – the cutest online boutique where  all of the items are handmade and the tagline is “Making Playtime Beautiful.” She was so sweet and sent me this hand sewn romper for Calvin. So. cute.
Cal is wear the LIAM romper which is so so soft and comfy for an active little boy. The romper is stretchy so it slips right on from the bottom up.  I can’t wait to get more for him – just like I love a good “momper”, they also work for the babes.
|Hat is from Jack and Winn|Shoes are from Converse |
Use code KGLOVES for 15% any order at Rose & Wesley!





Family Field Trip! {@ Krohn Conservatory}

Lately life seems as if it has been on complete OVERDRIVE! I never wanted to be one of those bloggers that was apologizing for not writing in such a long time, but here I am! lol…with work, growing my business, planning a wedding, chasing a 17 month old, and still trying to be a good fiance – it has literally been insane, and I don’t see any sign of it stopping any time soon!!!
Today we took the time as a family to go on a little field trip to the Krohn Conservatory, which is basically a showcase of plant species from all over the world located right in our neighborhood of Eden Park in Cincinnati! They usually have a butterfly exhibit, but we didn’t research beforehand and they are not back until August. SO we will be going back soon.
It actually sounds boring to walk around looking at plants but between the plants, flowers, sculptures, waterfall, coloring room, and fish in the ponds, Calvin was honestly AMAZED! Here are some of our snapshots from the day. I got a new lens for my Canon and I think my Dad would have been impressed at the photos I got of the flowers 🙂

^what face does a fishy make?

What are some other fun family field trips you like to take? Where else can we take this crazy little man for a reasonable price!?


Feeding our Toddler On the Go {with Bentgo!}

*Product in this post is provided by Bentgo – but all opinions expressed are my own*
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from having a toddler, it’s that they’re ALWAYS. HUNGRY. How does such a tiny body fit so many snacks? I can’t think of anything worse than being stranded on an outing with a hungry little Calvin. A snack solves (most) problems or tantrums that occur with our son. Being prepared with a well packed diaper bag and being ready with a meal or food for our toddler is EVERYTHING.
I was so happy when I discovered Bentgo Children’s lunch box, the all-in-one solution for on-the-go meal time. Bentgo is passionate about families leading healthy, balanced lives – and doing so efficiently. This is everything my blog and brand stands for, so I had to give it a try. The lunch box is portable, compact, keeps foods cold and separate in their different dividers. Although we are pretty lenient with our toddler’s snacking (I’ll admit we often give him anything that will make him happy #firstchildprobs), planning ahead and bringing foods from home allows us to avoid snacks such as french fries or cookies while on the go most of the time.


Our toddler seems to survive on two main food groups: fruit & cheese; so I made sure these were included on our outing to the park! Along with the fruit & cheese were crackers, steamed carrots and some turkey lunch meat.
Other outings that we will be bringing our Bentgo on this summer are:
The Zoo

The Mall

The Pool

Splash Pads


Grocery trips
Road Trips
I also love how the sleek Bentgo sits right in Calvin’s lap, or slides right into the diaper bag without taking up too much room. It doesn’t matter if it is turned upside down or shaken up a bit – the design of the box allows the foods to stay separated either way. They are also insulated so keeping them out of the fridge for a period of time is no problem.
Last summer, Calvin was only drinking breast milk so we did not have to think ahead about what to pack him on the go. I remember someone warning me that soon it would take much more effort for feeding our child. I’m so excited to have the efficient Bentgo in my mommy arsenal just in time for a fun-filled, activity packed summer with our little toddler!
Check out the Bentgo Bento Lunch Box site for additional bowls, accessories, and products.
All orders over $35 have FREE SHIPPING – you can also use my code RUN15 for 15% off any order through 6/26!
Enjoy, mamas!


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10 Diaper Bag Essentials + How I Pack It {With JJ Cole}

Hey Mamas! It’s been too long since I wrote on here!!! I am usually pretty good about posting at least ONCE a week, but it’s been crazy ya’ll. I started a new business endeavor and it’s been on fire this week. In a good way – like, a lot going on. I will post about this next week.
In the mean time, I wanted to share my diaper bag essentials. Getting out and about with a little one is KEY but it’s also important to make sure you are prepared at all times with a well packed diaper bag. Funny story, the first time we ever took Calvin out of the house, we went to a mexican restaurant and left the diaper bag under the table when we left! LOL. Craig had to drive back to get it. Having a diaper bag in tow is definitely a change – and it’s important to have the RIGHT one with you as your go-to.
You all KNOW I am passionate about a great diaper bag – I have written several posts about ones I love. Here I wrote about diaper bags for the cool mom and here I wrote about having a good multi purpose bag for work. BUT I recently got a chance to try out the JJ Cole Caprice bag and let me just tell you — all the heart eyes. It’s aesthetically pretty (v. important to me), light weight (and not in a cheap way) and has 10 pockets to store all the things. Additional features…
• easy-access exterior pockets for wallet and cell phone
• zip-top closure protects and secures contents
• spacious interior with multiple organizational compartments
• 2 insulated side bottle pockets
• includes coordinating wipeable changing pad
• optional padded shoulder strap offers stylish, hands-free carrying option
• includes no-slip grips™ for easily attaching to a stroller or shopping cart

What do I put in this caprice bag?


1.) Diapers – duh
2.) Pack of to-go wipes – make sure you buy the ones with an easy open, resealable top like the ones shown above
3.) Stuffed animal – Calvin is oddly obsessed with soft stuffed animals. He calls them ALL “ee ah” because we used to sing an annoying “ooh ee ooh ah ah” song to him when playing with his stuffed monkey.
4.) Books – not like our child sits still long enough to read a book yet, but we always have them with us in case, for distraction. He does like books with anything furry to touch.
5.) Sippy cup of water and/or milk – sometimes we bring both, but since we no longer do bottles (except 1 at night) we always have a drink with us
6.) Bib – because 1 YO’s are messy.
7.) Children’s Tylenol – no we don’t drug Calvin all the time but he constantly has teeth coming in and sometimes some relief is necessary.
8.) An extra outfit – because #blowouts. These don’t happen much anymore at all but when they do, you don’t want to be without extra clothes.
9.) A blanket – again, with the furry theme, Cal loves thick, soft blankets but for diaper bag purposes we usually bring a thin cotton blanket just in case.
10.) (Not pictured) – an extra pacifier!

^all of our items fit into this bag like a perfect little puzzle piece
One of the best features of the caprice bag, is its ability to attach easily to a stroller or shopping cart with these subtle hooks.
^Shop this bag @ your local babies R us!
^runaway nakey baby!
^the caprice bag has a long strap OR shorter shoulder straps
Guys thanks for being patient with me as I (per usual) bite off more than I can chew. Will try to get back to regular posting as the weather warms up and we are able to get out and take more #momblogger shots! 🙂
PS – We have our engagement pictures next week and I am soo excited. It’s funny – I’ve done a million “blog” photo shoots, having a “vision” in mind and coordinating outfits but I am really struggling with our “look” for these special photos! Will let you know what I come up with and post on here for you all to see ❤




Moms Matter Too: Post-Partum Stress/Anxiety + The Importance of Self Care

Alright guys, I’m going to do it, I’m going to be another #momblogger writing about self care. Honestly, before I was a mom, I didn’t even understand what “self care” meant and I sure as hell didn’t understand why so many moms were talking about it. I mean, it’s not that hard to take care of yourself, right? But at the beginning of this year, I feel like I got hit by a truck in my understanding of it and why self care should be our #1 priority. Yes – I said #1, before baby, before husband, before work, etc. If you aren’t talking care of yourself, ALL of these things suffer. I have felt it first hand.
I am bringing this up because I think a lot of moms read my blog probably think that I have it all together – a good job, a beautiful and healthy baby, a great fiance, a blog with pretty pictures that I am able to keep up even when life gets crazy…but that doesn’t mean that this shit is easy or that the last year has been all fairies and rainbows. In fact I sincerely hope from some of my other heartfelt posts that I don’t come across that way. It wouldn’t be honest of me if I didn’t talk about this part of motherhood.
For the second half of 2016, I was doing okay on the outside, but literally scraping by on the inside. The stress of returning to work and a normal life, only now with a baby, was probably the hardest life transition I have gone through. Having a baby that didn’t (still doesn’t always) sleep through the night and then going to work all day, left me exhausted by 7pm each night. I curbed that exhaustion with an excuse to not exercise and eat cookies every night if I wanted, because.. I (didn’t) GAF. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning because lack of exercise was leaving me even more lethargic, and my body started showing stress in many different ways that I had never experienced before (grinding my teeth, headaches, muscle twitches in random places.) When I ended up seeing a doctor in January for unrelated issues, I brought up my concerns. She is the one who explained to me that stress can present itself in many weird ways and my concern that I had developed a muscular disorder resulting in muscle twitches, was probably just stress.
If all of this sounds concerning to you, it’s because it is. I finally realized at the end of 2016, right around the time I stopped breastfeeding, that I had slowly bottled up a lot of Post-Partum Anxiety (I don’t say Post-Partum Depression, because I don’t think it got to that level) on-set NOT ONLY by life with a baby but stressful work, wedding planning, expectations on this blog, family health issues, and LIFE. I know it wasn’t anxiety caused by baby alone. I have explained this feeling to others as feeling trapped…that’s the best word I have for it. Not depressed, just trapped in a cycle that I couldn’t get out of. I had never once felt anxiety before having a child, and suddenly I was consumed by it. Craig asked so many times how he could help, but he was already pulling so much weight and I realized it was my responsibility to start taking care of myself and figure out how to make it better.
I have become extremely passionate about making sure that Moms Matter – once we have baby, we tend to shift the focus there, lose ourselves, and then fall into an anxiety ridden state of no longer having your own life, goals, and significance. Please tell me this isn’t just me, that others have longed for freedom and time to just focus on what YOU want for once.
 For me, PPA was not immediate upon the birth of my son like it is for some – it was a gradual decline starting at about 4 months PP until about 10 months PP. Only now can I look back, reflect, and write about these things, because I finally feel that I am coming out on the other side. I was too deep in it before and too STUCK to be able to realize what was happening, how to get out of it, or how to help other Moms. In that same doctor appointment that I referenced before, she gave me a mini therapy session on small steps I could take to relieve some stress and anxiety – I had no choice but to try and take her advice.  These are the things that have helped me feel more like myself, defend against PPA and create more energy in my life:
Consistent Exercise
I went from exercising 5-6 days/week before pregnancy, continued exercising until 20 weeks, and then pretty much stopped completely. I started again when Calvin was 8 weeks and felt amazing. Then I went back to work, then I made excuses, then I completely fell off the wagon. Turns out it is the most important wagon of all. Once I got back into a consistent (still not as much as before!) routine, a lot of stress and anxiety subsided, grinding of my teeth lessened, and I just felt overall better about myself and had more energy. If someone is going wrong in your life, I suggest taking some time to get moving and see if that helps.

Do Something you Love for YOU
I’m sure a lot of people in my life have wondered why I haven’t given up blogging when things get busy or I get overwhelmed – I mean it’s just an extra THING that takes up more TIME, right!? WRONG. This blog is what I started when I was pregnant for ME. When I was suddenly unexpectedly pregnant, working in a stressful environment, and newly living 600 miles from all friends and family, I needed an outlet…I needed to create something to focus on outside of the other stressors. I posted on instagram here that this blog started out about ME and trying to inspire others, but the opportunities that have come to me and the people I’ve met have inspired ME and I now write for all of YOU as well. I think everyone needs something of their own to work towards, a creative outlet, a business, a platform, that they can be proud of. I’ll be announcing soon Part II of RwS soon – aka my latest endeavor. What can you do for you?

Find a Strong Relatable Community
ALL Moms want to come across strong, like they are conquering the world, and let’s be honest, we are. Moms often answer with, “good!” when we first ask how it’s going…but if you really sit down and talk to a new mom, a veteran mom, or anyone caring for other humans, they will get real with you. I don’t think we feel like we can really say how we are feeling often enough and we think that everything we are experiencing, everything we are feeling is just “normal” for a new mom. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. I know we can all relate to the tough stuff, and having a community in which you can talk with, helps so much. Just to know that someone else has been through or is going through the same challenge you may be facing is really helpful. So, please reach out to me and we can chat if you feel so inclined – I would love that!

Break Free of Comparison & Social Media Pressure
I read an article recently talking about how parenting now is harder than parenting was 20, 30 years ago because of the insane amount of pressure put on us to do it all, have it all, while looking and feeling amazing. I don’t think that our parents had it easy by any means and can’t say I totally agree with that statement BUT I think social media is the cause of this statement. The only pressure we should feel is from wanting to better ourselves and our family. If you feel that pressure from other moms or what you see on social media is messing with your parenting, I would highly suggest taking a break. Now that is easier said than done – if you’re a blogger or business owner, your success likely is dependent on your social media presence and interacting with others. Find the balance. Set aside time to be 100% engaged with your family and set aside time to be on your phone (after work until Calvin’s bed time I am in 100% family mode.) Remember that REAL life is happening and passing quickly as your scroll through your feeds. Stay in your own lane, know what your goals are, and don’t let someone else’s success or statements bring you down.

If you’ve been here and can relate in any way, I’d love to hear from you – any other suggestions? Like I said, I finally feel like I have broken free from the PPA cycle and can talk about it with other moms. Thanks so much for reading and for all your support along the way.


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