Monday, June 15, 2020

6 Best baby Shower Gifts for New Moms

You would think that because I’m a mom with a child already I would know a certain amount of “what to do” when having a new baby but after nine years, I went completely blank when it came down to purchasing items for our new baby. 

Due to the pandemic, my husband and I decided to purchase all the essential items for our baby considering that the shower that was planned, was scheduled for two weeks into the lock down and could no longer be possible. From cribs to bassinets, swings, pampers and diapers. We googled every essential list for newborns and purchased everything on the list. Baby Jordan had more than he needed and he hadn’t even graced the world with his presence. 

As with everything else happening during the pandemic, JT did not arrive as scheduled. A day after being released from the hospital, as I sat down in our living room enjoying the sounds of rain outside, a knock on the door revealed a long line of friends and family, signs and posters, showering both baby and I with gifts and surprises with a drive by shower. After the shower of love, I looked at all the gifts we received and my first thought was, we really do not need all of these items; but boy was I wrong. 

Beyond the basics needs for baby, I received some of the most thought out gifts just for me and my sanity during this time, here were a few of my favorite gifts for showering mom after childbirth: 

  1. Postpartum Starter Kit
    I have this one friend who always gives the most creative gifts. It’s always like the care package you never knew you needed. This postpartum kit was not something I wanted but what I actually NEEDED. After a natural delivery with no medication, coming home with baby was a bit painful not to mention the leaking from every possible place on my body. Thankfully this kit provided breast pads for my leaky boobs, nipple cream, jumbo pads for the downpour down there, and specialty pad popsicles that were frozen and included a magical concoction of aloe, witch-hazel and Jojoba oil which provided healing down below.
    Postpartum Kit

  2. Food
    If you’ve ever given birth, you know that the days after for some strange reason you are super hungry! Gifting a new mom with food parcels and items to alleviate her having to figure out food for her and family is an ideal gift! From gift cards to restaurants or even delivery services, you can not go wrong with food. 

  3. Wine
    Maybe it’s me, maybe the thought of alcohol doesn’t have the same meaning for you, but when a close friend of mine asked me to give her a few of my favorite wines because she was putting together a “welcome back to the real world” gift for me, I cried tears of joy. No I haven’t had any to drink as yet because I am breastfeeding, but knowing it’s there and can be accessed at any time brings me comfort. 

  4. A Lactation Box
    If you know mom to be will be breastfeeding her newborn, create a lactation box to aid in the smooth transition of breastfeeding. I got Mothers Milk Tea, Fenugreek and breast pumps with specific instructions on when to take them, how often and what to expect. This definitely relieved a lot of the stress I was feeling getting into breastfeeding as I hadn’t done it with my first child. 

    Mother's Milk

  5. New Baby Photo Session
    As if keeping your newborn, alive, fed and happy isn’t enough, there’s the pressure of capturing moments at every point of the baby’s life. With my first baby, the only pictures I have are those I took with my cellphone. Being gifted a traditional photo shoot for the family with newborn is a very special gift that takes the headache away from mommy having to figure it out. 

  6. Gift Cards 
    Can you ever go wrong with a gift card?!?! From a pamper day at the spa, to baby store shopping and wholesale outlets for stocking up on pampers and wipes, gift cards are always a great idea. PS. I absolutely can not wait to use the ones we received!! 

With every new child, comes a lot of stuff for baby, make mom’s life a little bit easier by showering her with items that she will not only needed but she would also appreciate! 

Monday, May 18, 2020

4 Ways I have Saved During Quarantine

It’s no secret that this quarantine has caused us to spend more in certain areas such as groceries and takeout, deliveries, power bills, phone bills and maybe even internet, but with the quarantine also comes cut backs. No different from everyone else, I have had to come to the harsh reality that COVID has and will continue to disrupt a lot of my plans. For me though, while the news of things being rearranged is a difficult pill to swallow, I have to be happy about some of the benefits (mainly financial) that the quarantine has provided. 

The look you give when you said that there were no more packages to
come but the the delivery guy is at the door.

Here are 4 ways, I have contributed to the savings in my household during the quarantine (that also justifies some of my spending ): 

Beauty (savings of $450 monthly) 
I’m no beauty specialist, nor am I the town’s hot girl, but there are certain things that are very Essential to me personally and professional and appearance is one of those things. From the $125 every two weeks to get my feet and hands done to the $45 bi-monthly for my daughter’s wash, treatment and style, weave installations and the replenishing of makeup as needed, we have saved over the last two months about a thousand dollars, simply by staying home and being quarantined. While this is certainly a celebration, my husband reminds me daily that when we are all clear, the first place I need to go is to the salon. 

Maternity Wear ($500+) 
The quarantine period started in my sixth month of pregnancy. At that time, I had only put on three additional pounds and my baby belly barely showed. I was still wearing my regular clothes with the exception of some items. Due to COVID, I’ve had the privilege to ditch purchasing maternity wear with the exception of a few comfortable bras. If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know how expensive maternity clothing could get, so for us this was a huge win! 

Coffee ($30 weekly) 
Have you ever really sat and think about the amount of money you spend on simple things like coffee? Neither have I, until now. If you know me, you know of my love for coffee. It’s another one of those essential items that I felt I couldn’t live without, or so I thought. Firstly, being pregnant has restricted caffeine intake (😫) but beyond that, once the lock down orders were issued, Starbucks was one of the first businesses to be effected. This resulted in me making a shift to decaf coffee made at home which is not quite the same. My mom suggested switching to teas while pregnant and trying out different flavors and I have to say, I think I’ve been converted! Mint Tea and lime is my morning and evening time favorite and I have grown to love and appreciate green tea. 
Oh to coffee again 

Babymoon Cancellation ($3k+) 
I was so excited about my babymoon. Mainly because, with my first child I didn’t have the opportunity to do it and the idea of having one last hooray before baby’s arrival definitely sounded like something I needed. Two weeks after the lockdown orders were issued was our planned Island getaway. While we weren’t traveling out of the country, we booked an island hop to Cat Island with an exclusive villa on the beach. We would have had a concierge team to fill our villa daily, beach tours, couples massages and sunset dinners. While I’m super bummed that this trip had to be cancelled. I am happy that we were able to save these pennies so that once  baby is here, we are able to go as planned or do something bigger,  where I wouldn’t be limited to what I can or can not eat, I would be able to drink endless cups of champagne and dance until I’m weak. 
Where we would have spent our babymoon 

Don’t get me wrong, while we have saved quite a bit during COVID, we have also had to spend. From the increased grocery bills to preparation of baby’s arrival inclusive of all the things we would have typically been gifted at our shower, to keeping the LO’s entertained, Amazon and local online businesses have been our best friends ! 

As for me, I believe in balance, while it’s important to save and make sure bills are paid, it’s equally important to enjoy the frivolous joys of life, like the mini shopping haul I did because I realized that my closet needed more shirts or the ridiculous amount of baby clothes that the child probably will be too big to wear or the face products that I will add to my collection of things I never use. If ever in doubt, remember all the areas where you saved and be as responsible as possible during this time.  How have you saved during this pandemic? What things are you cutting back on? 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Balancing Work Life & Mom life Amidst Quarantine

Last Friday, as apart of the Mother's Day message from my daughter's school, the administrative team dropped hints that in September (the new school year) chances are, homeschooling would continue. To take it even further, they gave us new resources that we would be using effective today, in preparation for our "new normal". After reading the communication, cuss words followed. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter and the homeschooling because of COVID has not been THAT bad, but do I want to continue into the new school year, heck no! 

Honestly, I think that we haven't been doing too bad. All homework assignments are being turned in (whether late or not) and I am keeping my composure every day. Even if it means sending her to her room to watch Netflix, while I take a much needed break. Again, surviving, but definitely not prepared to continue for an even more extended period. Between homeschooling my 8-year old daughter, trying to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for me to remain valuable to my company, preparing for the arrival of my son (yup 4 weeks to show time) all while trying to keep my new marriage together (my husband's love language is quality time ), sis was not prepared for this to be my new norm. 

On Saturday, I spent most of the day trying to figure out homeschooling options in The Bahamas, to the point where I were I became obsessed. I realized that perhaps I was overreacting a bit and took a step back. Sunday morning, my awesome little family woke me up to lots of love. From breakfast in bed, to a clean kitchen and washed clothes, both of them got up super early to make sure my day was made. I had two naps for the day and the weather made it a perfect, stay in bed and cuddle experience (thank you May showers). They truly put my mind at ease. 

                          Today, I am in a better frame of mind: as they say, a Sunday well spent, brings a week of content!

Let's face it, we all have our moments where we feel like we are not doing enough. That was my moment, but now I am back. I was reminded by my husband of all the amazing things I have been able to complete for the house, on my job and even creatively, despite being on lock-down. As he said "this may have been your most productive season yet". So here are a few tips for how I have been able to balance and manage work life/ mom life and wife life during this season: 
  1. Be Realistic: Realistically, I can not do it all. I don't even try anymore at this point. I know what need to be done, I set up a task list based on priorities and I complete what I can when I can, leaving anything extra for the next day. There was a time in my life when I would be defeated if I didn't complete a task on my list for that specific day. Now I am comfortable knowing I am not super human and I can not do everything in a day, even if I tried. 

  2. Communicate Often: As simple as this may seem, this has made all the difference in my success as home-school teacher, employee, wife and parent. At the start of every new week, I send a weekly recap to my boss reporting on what has been done, outcomes and results and what I intend to complete for the upcoming week. She loves this, because rather than hunting me down and wondering if I am working, I give her the confidence that I am not at home catching up on trash T.V. all week long (although some days I am). I communicate with my daughter's teacher daily. From sending feedback on the new apps that the school is using, to asking questions about the assignments, I do not let days pass without connecting with her. I communicate with my daughter what her assignments are for the week and we discuss the best ways to tackle them. Finally, I communicate with my husband all day every day. My hubs really has become my best friend. He is my safe space. I share my frustrations with him and my joyous moments, the wins and the L's and it really creates a sense of comfort  that I appreciate. 

  3. Set Boundaries: At the beginning of all of this, I was getting work calls all hours of the day. People assume because we are not in office, it means that they can call and send emails at anytime and get immediate responses. Nope! Just as there are boundaries in the real world, there are boundaries in quarantine. I can not tell you how many video calls I have denied, like seriously, what happened to regular voice calls?! Setting boundaries can be difficult but in the long run are the best way to maintain your sanity. 

  4. Know when to switch roles: Remember you are playing the role of teacher, mother and wife, but it is key to know when to turn off roles and pick them back up. The first two weeks of quarantine, I was so focused on my daughter doing school work and not falling behind that I drilled her daily. She was frustrated, I was frustrated and ultimately the entire family was frustrated. Our evening dinners were not as animated as they usually are and we often went to sleep exhausted. For me, knowing when to turn off teacher mode and get into loving parent and wife mode was key. 

  5. Have Fun: Yesterday, in my daughter's Mothers Day speech, she said to me, she wished I could home school her for the rest of her life because these past weeks have been the best. She said she likes her teacher, the work is hard but I help her through it and the lunch lady (me) has been on point. HAHAHA  Fun is now an element that we include in every day learning, from baking to swimming, to picking flowers and even building tents around the house, including fun and excitement in our days allows her to release extra energy and not become overwhelmed with what is happening around her. 
At the end of the day, our kids will not remember COVID-19 and its economic impact on the world as we know it, what they will remember is how they felt during this time and the things we did to keep them going. Work life is tough, throwing homeschooling on top of it and entertainment can seem impossible, but with some planning and adjustments I guarantee you it gets better. 
Friday, May 1, 2020

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hi My Mama Bees, 

So before we even get started, let's be real, COVID-19 has completely come in and messed up all of our plans for the beginning of 2020 hasn't it? I am an expecting mom, so for me, I can truly say, every single thing that I thought I would have been doing in Q1 has been either cancelled or placed on hold. Be that as it may, the show still has to go on and we simply have to adjust. That is the rule of thumb for motherhood right?!

This is certainly a first, moms all over the world are spending Mother’s Day in quarantine. While typically,  this day rarely is any different from every other day as a mom, I thought it would be great to get the ball rolling to ensure that my fellow mom friends here in The Bahamas are able to be honored and celebrated on our special day, despite COVID 19. With just under two weeks, to pull any of this off requires planning, so dads, husbands, boyfriends and kids, it's time to get to work!

Here are some awesome Mothers Day gift ideas that you can arrange for your moms to enjoy this Mother’s Day:

  • Something Sweet
    If mom is anything like me, nothing says I love you like a sweet treat and luckily for us, there are a few sweet options currently opened during the weekdays with delivery! My personal faves are Puffee Cotton Candy and The Boutique Cake. From champagne flavored cotton candy to macaroons and cute cupcakes, these local vendors can make mom's Mothers Day super sweet!!
Yummy goodness from Puffee Cotton Candy 

The Boutique Cake 
  • Allow her to put up her apron for the day
    s I mentioned, preparing for Mother’s Day this year will require a bit of planning, but I know that you can do it! There are several restaurants opened that are offering delivery as well as curbside pick up, here are a few of my favorites:

    - Titan Hospitality (The Steak Dinner is to Die for!)
    - The Island House Booze & Bites has a robust menu with so many options!
    - Sushi Rokkan & Prego in the Old Fort Shopping Center both offering curbside pick up
    - Outback Steakhouse
    I'm sure there are much more, but I want to list the locations that I know are open and are offering not only good food but awesome service despite what is happening!!
  • Tingzzzz
    I’m sorry but I’m a mother who LOVE gifts. Yes, cooking me breakfast and providing it in bed is fun and cute, but I’d like to feel special too! Gifting is always a yes! Here are some cool ideas that are affordable (considering the current economic climate), fun and mom will love!! Don't forget, although outside is technically closed, online ordering is still very much open and many local businesses are coming up with creative ways to get there products and services in your hands! 
Can be found at Shop The Red Box Bahamas 
There are so many options to choose from and so many local vendors who are willing to customize things to fit your budget and needs. Although we are stuck in side, let's remain safe but together. Wishing you all a Happy Mother's Day!!!
Thursday, November 28, 2019

Yes, I will celebrate at 6 months!

First things first, if someone had told me a year ago that today I would be married, I would have laughed so hard. Marriage was never one of those things I actively pursued, in fact, I remember someone once telling me that I don't even seem like the marriage type. I really don't know what that meant but here I am today happily married! Today makes six months since my husband and I exchanged our "I Dos" and on this day I decided to start blogging again because my life has changed so much in so little time. Blogging has always been therapeutic for me and I have connected with so many like-minded persons because of it, so doing this is needed.

When they tell you marriage is not a destination it is a journey, they were right. 

If you know me, you know that I procrastinate; in every area of my life. If I have something to do, I will wait until the due date to get serious about completing it. I am not proud, but this is who I am. My procrastination did not go away when dealing with planning my wedding. Beyond my dress, everything for the wedding was in my head, planned and figured out, but in reality was not done. I remember having to block the wedding planner a few times because she kept reminding me about deadlines that (in her opinion) I was not taking seriously. Despite it all, everything we wanted became a reality when we walked down the aisle exactly six months ago. I enjoyed that summer day to the fullest and seeing my husband smile from ear to ear made me the happiest bride in the world.

Now what?!
We had a late afternoon wedding that continued until about midnight where we drank and danced the night away. Everything about the wedding was true to who my husband and I are as a couple. After we left the wedding site, our friends who flew in for the wedding along with most of the bridal party went up to our honeymoon suite, ordered a crap load of food and drinks and we laughed, drank and partied until the wee hours of the morning. Once everyone left, I remember laying on the bed in my dress looking at my husband and thinking, we are married, now what?!

Every week since the wedding I have selected one of the well wish cards and advice that I received during the wedding shower and the one common piece of advice that I have received is "marriage is not a destination but rather a journey". When people stop me and ask "how is the marriage life treating you", I typically respond with a pure answer and it is usually something like "it is a learning process" or "we are adjusting well". The blank stares I get in response are the funniest. But in these short six months, I have learned the true meaning of marriage is to journey together in love, despite the obstacles, being transparent and honest about feelings, ideas and decisions as hard as they may be.

So here I am, six month later with three things I have learnt after my first six months of marriage:
  1. Communication is Key: I know this may sound cliche but communicating, whether it is good or bad, is truly key. I have no issue saying what is on my mind, but for me learning how to say things in a way that is not disrespectful, is clear and does not set the wrong tone, was a definitely challenge.Ladies, men are much more emotional than we think. Believe me!
  2. Transparency makes everything better: keeping things bottled up does not solve any problem. When I am most transparent with my feelings and what I want, my hubby is happiest. This is not always easy and it is not something that comes natural to most, including me, but it makes all the difference. I would say to be prepared for transparency, it is not always the easiest pill to swallow.
  3. Sex doesn't solve problems: the thing about sex is, it feels good in the moment but when its
    done, anything you had to deal with before still exist. Nothing is worst than not enjoying the after joys of sex because you are upset about a pre-existing issue. Sex is great, but that problem you were facing before the bumping, will be there even after. 
I am no expert on marriage and I really believe that as time continues together we will learn so much from each other that we could write a book (although we wouldn't ever really write a book) but on this day, six months in, I am so excited that I am learning in love and growing with this incredible man. What lessons did you learn early in your marriage? How have you adjusted to marriage life? 

Yours Truly, 
Mrs. Newlywed 
Sunday, January 20, 2019

Mom Crush Monday Feature: Jasmine Chanelle

Jasmine Chanelle
The J. Chanelle Group, LLC

I met Jasmine online about a year ago as I was searching for fellow marketing and pr professionals. Her page stood out to me because beyond her role as a brand strategist, her page really captured her love for her son and family. If you scroll through her page you get a snapshot of what she values most and that includes, branding, motherhood, wife life and creating a successful life, in no particular order. About nine months ago she revealed that she was expecting and I got so excited! I was also a little nervous because I thought, how will she continue to do these great things now with baby number two. Nine months later and she is still posting daily, hosting classes, taking on new clients and being an overall kick-ass mom!

How she does it? 

Jasmine spent some time answering a few questions from me on balancing life as mom and entrepreneur:

What is your career? Is this something that conflicts with your role as mom/ becoming a mom? I am the Principal Brand Strategist and owner of The J. Chanelle Group, LLC. This hasn’t conflicted with my role as a mom because I am able to control my own schedule as a full time entrepreneur.

On average, what amount of time do you spend weekly at work/ pursuing your career? 
I spend 40+ hours a week building my business

On Work Life Balance

You seem to have mastered the phrase "work-life balance" Tell us the secret! 

I think we have to focus on work life harmony and not work life balance. Something is always going to fall through the cracks you just have to decide each day which thing is more important.Becoming a mom helped me learn to set healthy boundaries. In the past I would say yes to a lot of things even if they caused inconveniences to me. Now as a mom I have to use my time more wisely which means saying “no” to things that don’t benefit me or my family. Setting boundaries has really allowed me to have more peace and manage my time better.

Let’s face it, while we all love our little ones, there are times when we as women simply need our own space/ time. Do you ever feel guilty as a mom taking a “mommy break”?
No I don’t feel guilty when taking a break, and I am very intentional with my self care time. I know that the best mommy is a happy and sane one so I indulge in self care so that I can be rejuvenated and calm when it’s time to go back to mom and wife mode.

If there was one thing that hasn’t been invented as yet that can make your job as a mother easier what would it be?

That’s a really good question, I’m not sure what would make motherhood easier other than a second set of arms and another brain lol

Husbae or Baby? Which comes first

Which comes first: husbae or baby? 

That’s a hard one! As a newlywed I’m learning that marriage comes first because we both have to be great partners in order to be good parents but this is something I’ve learned and am still practicing over time.

What advice would you give moms who feel overwhelmed with life balance and not being their “best self”? 
Enjoy the moment! Kids grow fast and those early years are the most formative. Also I would advise new moms to give themselves grace. Motherhood is a life-long journey and you will make mistakes, learn along the way and trust your instincts. I believe that indulging in self-care is super important to balance, how often to you indulge in self-care and what does self-care mean to you?
I indulge in some form of self care every week, whether it’s a nail date or diving into a new book I take time once a week to treat myself to something that makes me feel relaxed or happy. Self care to me is finding ways to give back to yourself as much as you give to others.

Jasmine can be found on Instagram: @_jasminechanelle . Follow her for more #momboss inspiration!
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

My Best Day As Mom

If you are a mom, like me, I am sure you have difficult days. However, somewhere beyond the horizon, there are the occasional great days where you fall asleep with a smile on your face. Then there are the incredible days when you feel so accomplished, you've checked off everything from your to-do list, you've completed homework with time for fun and you've made dinner with dessert. Although rare, best days are indeed possible with a little planning!

Here are 5 Ways I have learnt to make every day the Best Day Ever as a Mom:
  1. Planning - I can not stress the importance of planning enough. Not only does it decreases the amount of time spent in chaos, but it also eliminates the chances of random things happening and throwing your entire day off. Typically, I pack my daughter's backpack and lunch bag the night before ensuring that in the event we wake up late the following morning, there isn't much to do. Along with packing bags, if I am not able to get my daughter's hair braided on the weekend, I try to have this done at night as well. Which brings me to my next point.
  2. Get Help - I remember when I found out that I was pregnant, everyone said I needed to learn how to braid hair ( this along with many other things I NEEDED to learn). Then I said to myself, why stress myself doing everything, when there are people who are skilled to perform these functions. Braid hair, I call the hair braider. Clean the house, I call the housekeeper. I have come to the realization that I do not need to do everything and sometimes it is okay to hire the help you need to alleviate the burden.
  3. Stop and Enjoy the Moments- There was a time when I would be with my daughter on an outing distracted by sending emails or answering work phone calls. It got so bad that she would ask me a question and in my distraction I just answered whatever I thought "fit". One day my daughter called me out on my actions saying "mommy, stop pretending that you are listening to me because what you are saying makes no sense". It was in that moment that I promised myself to stop and enjoy every moment when with family, especially with my daughter.

    Work It Baby Work It
  4. Dance Always! - Even in completing the above, good days are not guaranteed. For me, the difficulty of knowing that I have planned and done my best and the day still ends crappy is pretty daunting. However, I have learnt that sometimes it is better to let go. Perfection is never the goal of life and it certainly isn't the goal of motherhood. Understanding that things won't always go your way is key. Dance. Let your hair down and be proud of what you have accomplished!
  5. Remember that no matter your effort, there is a pair of eyes looking up at you thinking that you are the greatest mom ever and could never be more proud! Nothing gets me like when my daughter tells me that she loves me, for no reason at all; but there is a special fuzzy feeling when my daughter prays and tells God "thank you for giving me the best mom ever". No amount of preparation or planning can prepare me for those moments and its then that I am reminded that my best is more than enough!

Until Next Time Mama Bees,