NEWBORN MUST HAVES

If you’ve wandered to this blog post, it is most likely because you or someone you love is expecting… CONGRATULATIONS! Pregnancy is an exciting time to prepare for a new family member, and if you’re like me, you searched high and low to make things perfect. As much as I love sharing products, it is vital to look you dead in the eyes and say: YOU DON’T NEED ANY OF IT. Yes, things are helpful, but a newborn just needs a fresh diaper, some boob juice, and loving arms to sleep in.
If you are in a stressful financial situation, BREATHE. We live in a time where marketing is so intense, the sellers low-key shame new parents into thinking they will fail without their products… so STAY WOKE LADIES! All a baby needs is a tribe to look at it with heart eyes, and an occasional giggle when they fart. Don’t do anything just because it’s what’s trending on social media; invest in items that work best for your family.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are items that were most loved by us during the fog that is newborn-ness. Even though those first couple months flew by, these are the items that were useful and registry worthy!
*discount listed at end of post
Dock A Tot*
I’ve talked about DockATot maybe once on the blog (here.) It was the only way Anakin would sleep in his bassinet and made transitioning to the crib a breeze. The design is comforting for baby, and easy on the eyes. – We still use for occasional naps in our bed and the office room
Swaddles*:
I wish we had our Ollie swaddle since the beginning! Anakin was so snug and happy in his. It was the only swaddle he couldn’t break out of and is a great transition swaddle. The price is not astronomical for how great it is, but some more affordable ones that last: copper pearl and target muslin ones. We still use all of ours to use as a mat on our dog hair infested home, a light blanket strolling through the grocery store, nursing covers when feeling creeper vibes, and entertainment producing man-made breezes.
PackNPlay:
I swore up and down that I did not need a pack n play… My sister kept telling me DON’T RETURN IT, YOU WILL USE IT. We had a crib, bassinet, and changing table, WHY DO I NEED IT? Well, it came pretty handy when we left the hospital with an hour to evacuate for a category 4 hurricane. Anakin’s first couple days were spend being changed in and sleeping in the PackNPlay accessories. We didn’t use it again until he started rolling, and it is the only way I can pee or vacuum peacefully nowadays. The once ugly PackNPlay has it’s beautiful home in our living room, praise God.
Carseat + Stroller:
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways: you need to go places.
Boppy:
This is one of the multipurpose items that is always our go to! Nursing? Boppy. Bottle feeding? Boppy. Tummy time? Boppy. Resting? Boppy. Catching flights? Boppy. This is truly our most used item, and it is still in great condition.
4moms Bathtub:
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Something that I did not think we needed was this fancy tub. My tub is not as luxurious or safe as this amazing must-have (does it come in my size?) Anakin is almost too big for the sink baths, but it still is a favorite with the immediate temperature readings. As a military wife, there has already been times where I have no choice but to give him a bath solo (as early as three weeks old), so it was an amazing experience to have the relief of a calm, comfortable, and safe baby!
Zipper Pajamas:
After trying every type of pajama you could possibly try, any that zip from the foot to the neck are our favorite! They are easy for quick changes and keep baby warm up top as well. It was frustrating during middle of the night feedings and changes to turn on the lights because you can’t find which snap snaps where! We found ours at Target.
I hope this post was helpful for buying a purposeful gift for a loved one or registering for yourself! Below are a few coupons you can use, but please remember, everything is just a tool to make things easier. Babies need love and cuddles, not just things. You’re going to do great!
$10 off all DocksATots!– see full review here.
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Guilt-Free Self-Love

 

 

 

When I was a child, I would dream about my life now. I prayed so hard to God, to the moon, and my dead grandpa for love and to become a mom. I wanted a baby Simba or a Barbie in my arms at all times. I wanted to comb it’s hair, dress it up, and push the belly button to hear a Spice Girls single. Since then, every complaint that came out of a mother’s mouth translated to ungrateful… I WANTED WHAT THEY HAD! I wanted to lose sleep, I wanted to change poop-y diapers, I wanted to stress about finances if it meant I had a baby to love. Still, I am careful to not complain about any part of motherhood, because I am living my biggest dream. This is my purpose; maybe that’s not enough for others, but this is mine.

There’s no “but…. *insert complaint*.” I will still not complain about being a mom. Being a mom is hard work; that’s not a complaint, that’s fact. The work you put into it is what you’ll get out. What you water, grows. If you pour into your marriage, it grows. If you pour into a relationship with God, through grace, it grows. If you pour into your business, guess what… it grows! Growth doesn’t happen over night, even if you dump your whole pitcher of water in – you might drown it. Just building habits of taking care of what you’re called to will result in growth.

Where I’ve failed as a mom, is barely pouring into myself… and when I do, I feel guilty. I have been pouring into (managing) my businesses, marriage, child, occasionally pets, and friends – that when I stopped to look into the mirror, I couldn’t recognize the potato looking back at me. I am not a superficial person at all, but I should at least be bathed and groomed occasionally, right? Here are the simple, affordable, and quick ways I’ve poured into myself:

Learn something – read a book, read a blog, visit my favorite University AKA: YouTube. Learn something that will make you a better you. For me, it’s been listening to church services while nursing or playing with Anakin. I’ve also made a goal to read 18 books this year (1 book a month until June, then 2 books a month). I’m one book down, and have already read more books then I did last year! Learning more about Anakin also makes me feel more confident – checking in with developmental leaps helps me understand him better, and makes me less anxious about change.

Start something for YOU – for me, it’s been this blog. This blog is my space to choose my words wisely. Some blogs maybe for venting, some maybe to encourage. Maybe you prefer privacy – a journal would be great!

Change your look – y’all, postpartum hair-loss is real. Some things you can not dodge, no matter how many prenatal vitamins you take. I went to my hair stylist for just a haircut to reshape my mane. Yay, no mom bun on the weekends!

Buy new clothes for YOU – I’ve shared my nursing friendly outfits for just about every occasion, but Mama, get something for you. You don’t even need to leave the house. I now understand why my sister doesn’t try on clothes before buying – ain’t no mama got the time! Online shops have been my best friend. I know my staple pieces, and I want clothes that don’t have to be nursing specific or have milk stains. I want boots that are a new style for me, because I’m not worried about my big feet in pointy shoes. They’re cute, I’m cute, my baby’s cute – we’re gon’ be so cute and confident together. This camo tee and these pointy boots have been my weekend jam.

Save money – this last month’s read was one from Dave Ramsey, and Lord Jesus, thank you for him! The confidence and control over our money has blessed us. Our home (AKA: me) has been so much more efficient since making changes little and small! It makes buying a shirt and boots no big deal for our single stable income military family. Save where you can (make you own coffee and taste the $5 that you just saved), buy bulk, but don’t forget to bless others!

Go to brunch – you don’t have to actually go to brunch, but see someone in person. Ask them how they are, encourage them, and pray for them. Spend time having an adult conversation that isn’t gossip or mindless. Talk about Dave Ramsey because that’s where all my conversations have led to this month.

Try new recipes – browse through Pinterest or make something interesting with what you have left before grocery day. We fell into a pasta funk that left us feeling horrible. Thanks to new veggie filled recipes, we have gone a full seven days of no pasta!

Turn off your phone – or at least take a break from social media. The endless scrolling of other people’s seemingly perfect marriages/ children/ outfits/ homes/ etc. can make us feel like we aren’t enough. God did not overcome the world so we can compare ourselves to it. You’re enough. Your messy mom bun, milked stained nursing tank, and pasta filled body can rest in His peace today.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Thank you The Mint Julep Boutique for partnering with me in a guilt-free reset so I can better serve others. Please note that most of these can be done during nap time or while dad’s home! I have extreme anxiety about leaving Anakin (it’s getting worse) so maybe something in your mind means taking a longer time away from baby (and there’s nothing wrong with that!) We’re all being the best moms we can possibly be, and that is more then enough.

Winter Layers

WINTER HAS COME! The past few years we’ve lived in Florida, winter has been non-existent! This past week had the coldest night in over eight years; my husband had to warm up the Jeep for the first time ever (first world problems.) Anakin and I have kept our errands to the minimum and our warm clothes to the maximum being cozy in the house. Thanks to PinkBlush for collaborating with me on this post, and having all the layering essentials to get me through these cold weeks!

BLUSH + MAUVE

  • PinkBlush – Pink Top
  • PinkBlush – Mauve Knit
  • Jeans – Target

BLACK + BOLD

  • PinkBlush – Thermal Tee
  • Altar’d State – Brown Knit
  • Hollister – Leggings

Thanks again PinkBlush for collaborating on this post! Here are some previous outfits styling my PB items:

Lazy Day Outfits

Nursing Friendly Outfits For Traveling With Baby

Nursing Friendly Outfits For Going Back To Work

Nursing Friendly Travel Outfits And Thanksgiving Recipes

Nursing Friendly Thanksgiving Outfits and Recipes

Postpartum & Nursing Friendly Fall Outfits

MILITARY GIVEAWAY! #12strongmovie

I am so excited to be partnering with Warner Bros. Pictures this week for an EPIC giveaway in celebration of 12 Strong opening this weekend! One winner will be selected to win a $50 Fandango gift card to see the film in theaters and a military style 12 Strong Sweatshirt *insert heavy breathing over Hemsworth.*  THIS IS SO EXCITING! Anchors and Planes was born on my first day of supporting my husband through basic training and has featured care packages, life changes, and growth woven through the years of training, moves, and deployments over the past four years. I am so thankful to share this movie and giveaway that tells a part of our service member’s truth and reality.

Heart of a hero. Courage of a warrior. 12 Strong is in theaters Friday.

ABOUT THE MOVIE

Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers” films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” “Nocturnal Animals”) star in “12 Strong,” a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Based on Doug Stanton’s best-selling book, “Horse Soldiers,” it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.

“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghani horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.

Rated R for war violence and language throughout.

Visit the Official Website|| Like ’12 Strong’ on Facebook ||Follow on Twitter and Instagram

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A soldier is as strong as his word. Tickets on sale now for #12StrongMovie: bit.ly/12strongtix

12STRONG-Tickets

 

Giveaway Details:

This giveaway is unlike any other giveaway I’ve done so far! Instead of entering yourself to win, you are going to nominate an active duty service member or veteran from ANY BRANCH to win this prize!

 
One (1) winner receives:
  • $50 Fandango gift card to see the film in theaters
  • 12 Strong Sweatshirt
 Rules:
You are welcome to nominate multiple people, just make sure they are in separate comments! 
Giveaway closes in 48 hours. Open to US mailing addresses only#12StrongMovie #WBsponsored
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Lazy Day Outfits

I’ve partnered with Pink Blush to bring you guys my super simple lazy day outfits for the winter time here in Florida. Today was one of those days where I just needed a mental break from e-mails, cleaning the house, and wrapping up the holiday chaos. All I wanted was to drink my coffee while driving on my own time, cuddle Anakin, and watch him learn today. Even if I caved  to do laundry, it was a successful lazy day!

Stripes & Cool

PinkBlush – striped top (similar styles here.)

Target – maternity shorts

Turtle Toes – slip ons

Athletic &  Warm

PinkBlush – Thermal long sleeve (similar top here.)

Target – maternity leggings

Nike – running shoes

 

Thanks again PinkBlush for collaborating on this post and having it all for my outfit needs!

Feelings about The Last Jedi (SPOILERS)

I wanted to give myself a full week to share my feeling about the Last Jedi (who am I kidding, I really just wanted to watch it three times.) While most would say “review,” I’m going to say “feelings” since that’s all that they are. Reviews are for experts, and I am simply a consumer. A big fan, but still just a consumer. And out of respect of anyone who HASN’T seen The Last Jedi yet: LEAVE. BE GONE. Come back when you have, because we are diving into spoilers.

Watching at surface level:

I “feel” like this is a great movie to watch as a stand alone. This could have been an adult or child’s first Star Wars film, and it would still be extremely enjoyable. The colors, posing, choreography, and landscapes are visually stunning. The humor is both subtle and blunt for all ages to laugh at LEAST once (if not throughout the entire film). There’s a clear mission: get the hell away from the first order. At surface level, it’s a movie I’d recommend anyone to see.

Watching as a fan:

I feel like it’s the best Star Wars I’ve seen.
*Hides under a BB-8 blankie before being stoned to death by BBQ’d Porgs*
If that feeling makes you already want to punch me in the face, I’d be happy to refer a therapist to you, because remember: we are just consumers. If you’re thinking “ah, she’s a girl, what does she know about Star Wars,” that is probably also why you hated the film; it is full of bold female characters.
Women + Star Wars
This past year, I decided to keep my son’s name private during my pregnancy. When we introduce him, people high-five my husband… WHAT THE F-, not only did I grow him and push him out of my body, BUT I PICKED HIS NAME. I realized now, it’s because I am a woman. Even other women have said, “her husband is a big fan” while I have to politely say, “WE are big fans.” I share this to show that older people still associate Star Wars to be a man’s favorite, but if you cruise the little girl’s clothing at Target, the Rey merchandise will tell you otherwise. Star Wars is changing in a direction to include many roles for women in leading the first order, the resistance, and the new jedis to come.
Rey + Kylo
Their scenes together are hands down my favorite. I feel like Johnson perfectly executed them communicating via force. Their performances and chemistry were believable, and captured the theater’s attention. You hang on to every word they say, searching for clues for what is to come. Obviously their scene in Snoke’s throne room was my favorite. It was fluid, stunning, and the most romantic action scene I’ve seen in Star Wars.
Luke 
I personally don’t care about Luke’s character anymore. I think they could have given Mark more action, wisdom, and bravery, and less of a burnt out character. However I understand that they just had too many characters to develop and they didn’t want to continue building a character that’s a part of the past. He found peace, and I’m that was beautiful and all, but bleh.
Leia
DISNEY. WHAT THE HECK ARE YA GON’ DO NOW?! The first scene when you expect her to die… I was shook. Dang Disney, you just gon’ blow her out of the sky like that? Okay, you hood now DIsney, because that was brutal… but then she flew back to the ship, and while most cringed, I kind of felt a relief. I still want her character to come face to face with Kylo. Her using the force  would have been cool had it of been on land, but whatever. I spent the entire movie waiting for her to die! I wish they would have just said she doesn’t die, so I could have focused better on other things.
Rey’s parents
I appreciate the direction Star Wars is going in as far as Jedi’s aren’t that special, BUT I REALLY WANTED HER TO BE A SOLO OR SKYWALKER. They didn’t do a great job of giving fans any sort of closure in this character’s background to move on from it… Still secretly hoping in the next film, there will be a huge reveal that Kylo was just emotionally abusing her or that her an Kylo are not related and can be together (kind of like an anti-Anakin storyline: Anakin joins the dark side and loses the girl / Ben leaves the dark side and gets the girl).
And I am like the only person on earth who appreciates the love animals are shown in this film, so I won’t bore you with that.
For The Last Jedi haters:
This star wars trilogy is not ruined. You are not entitled to anything. No matter how many collectibles you have, we are all just consumers, m’kay?
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Last Minute Gift-Guide

$ under $25 | $$ under 50 | $$$ over 50

Tis’ the season… of waiting until payday! Maybe you’re like us and waiting on that final paycheck before Christmas to sneak in some last minute gifts. We unfortunately can’t afford to buy everyone everything their heart desires, BUT we can be thoughtful in our gifts. Gifts are not at all my love language, so I am mind blown when someone gets an extremely thoughtful and useful gift. Maybe they go out of their way to ask my husband,  search vegan products, or just listen to the holy spirit when he says “Angel needs this coffee.” Unfortunately, not everyone is as easy to read or shop for! Here’s a list of gifts that every personality type and age group would love:

For a baby:

pacifiers ($) – these are lost and get gross quickly. Refer to any photos of the baby to pick up an already preferred brand.
diapers ($$) – obviously ask if the parents prefer disposable or cloth, but since you can’t provide breast milk, this is the next best thing!
Babies R Us gift cards ($-$$$) – the holy land of reward points and gas drops, this baby may not be able to thank you now, but one day will!

For a kid / preteen:

prayer box ($) – with their minds becoming a distinct kind of creative and beginning to be aware of stress, a prayer box is a simple and encouraging gift instead of a diary or journal. It turns their focus towards peace and away from gossiping or “just venting.”
Authentic jersey ($$) – since they can’t take themselves to watch their favorite teams live, they can at least be in gear to cheer them on and wear to find new like-minded friends!
Target giftcard ($-$$$) – toys, books, video games, clothes… they would love the independence in choosing what they’re currently interested in.

For a teen/ young adult

Movie tickets ($) – Star Wars is life this year, and we all need to see it eight more times before it comes out on DVD
Headphones ($$) – We love our tech, and headphones are great for flying, working out, and quiet time!
Nordstrom giftcard ($-$$$) – easy to use on clothing, shoes, makeup, and at sister stores like Nordstom Rack and Hautelook.

For expecting parents:

Books or DVDs ($):  Especially if they’re breastfeeding, they will have a ton of time where they might want to take a break to dive into the world of adults.
Passion Planner ($) – Follow them on social media for discount codes! This is great for documenting appointments, feeding schedules, diapers, etc. Plus it helps with “mom-brain” or “pregnancy brain” when it comes to plans and finances.
DockATot ($$$) – One of my newborn MUST-HAVES! There’s a link below with a discount!

For parents of infants:

Amazon giftcard ($-$$$) – I feel like it’s a standard to have a prime account as a new parent. Save a friend from going out to run errands, and let the diaper genie refills come to them.

For parents of toddlers:

Locally roasted coffee beans: They need the boost to keep up with their wild littles!
Local drive thru coffee shop giftcard ($-$$$) – no explanation needed.
I hope this guide was helpful in your last minute shopping! Just a friendly reminder that money and gifts do not define your worth. Love the babies, kiddos, and adults in your family fiercely! Everything will eventually end up in the trash, but they will remember the love they felt in your presence (or Skype call).  So don’t worry about presents, but being present and give grace and not just gifts.
– Angel

Gifts for you:

Get $10 off your dock from DockATot
Use “ANCHORSANDPLANES” for $5 off Covered Goods!
Get 10% off all products at The Ollie World
Get 10% off all products atBinxy Baby
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Three Months of Motherhood

 

I have had a lot of time the past few days to reflect on the first three months of motherhood. If I could sum them up into one word, it would be “purposeful.” My young adult years have been full of championing others to fulfill their kingdom purpose instead of their earthly potential, yet I never knew exactly how much that would impact my view of God and motherhood.

I didn’t consider the sacrifice my body would have to make to give another person life, and it opened my eyes to the purpose of Jesus’ life (and Mary’s role in mothering him).

I didn’t consider that my spending habbits were unhealthy. How could I hold a baby wearing a sequenced PINK top? My belongings have been minimized to comfortable and purposeful.

I didn’t consider the value of fatherhood. The teamwork and communication that has to happen between two people raising a little is a part time job in itsself, but we keep eachother educated and at peace with prayer.

 

 

I didn’t consider the hope in tradition. That the making if tamales, lighting of a tree, or setting up the nativity would silence what was beyond our walls.

I didn’t consider the change in work flow. That when a new mom would reach out to me, I’d feel the same giddiness I feel with brides.

My body, habbits, marriage, traditions, and work have served a much greater purpose in the past three months. The heart behind motherhood can’t help but spill into every aspect of life, and I adore it. But even if I lost it all, being “Anakin’s Mom” is all I ever want to be.

Sweaters available at PinkBlush: grey sweater // Black cut out sweater

Nursing Friendly Outfits For Traveling With Baby

These will probably be my forever favorite travel outfits to share, because it was Anakin’s first two flight! Planning the trip was nerve wracking in it’s self, but the Lord provided the finances and flights all in perfect timing (as He always does.) While I have a million experiences I want to share about our first trip,  I am so thankful for PinkBlush for collaborating on this post to show y’all practical and cozy outfits for traveling with nursing kiddos!

OVER NIGHT TRAVEL

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  • Zip-up thermal hoodie – great for warmth and easy access
  • Nursing tank – great for discreetly nursing
  • Muslin swaddle – great for baby’s comfort and breathable
  • Basic black leggings – cool for when baby is sleeping on you during the flight
  • Converse – Lightweight for walking and flight

DURING VISIT (WEDDING)

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  • Off-the-shoulder dress- great for nursing and soft fabric to cuddle and comfort baby.
  • Flats – comfortable for carrying the weight of baby and dancing

Dress available at PinkBlush in plus-size!

EARLY MORNING TRAVEL

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  • Lightweight knit sweater and nursing tank – great for the pulling down / lifting up method to discreetly nurse.
  • Light pajama joggers – warmth for the early morning and chilly plane, yet breathable for baby’s body.
  • Converse (again)
  • Diaper bag

Similar knit sweaters are here at PinkBlush.

 

Minimal + Budget Friendly Christmas Decor

I’ve collaborated with Lorena Canals rugs to show you guys how we’ve decorated our home for Christmas with our minimal style and newborn budget!

Fairy Lights

$5.99 at Target

Nativity Scene

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$24.99 at 50% off from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Tree and Lights

$23.99 on sale at Target

Garland + Simple Wall Decor

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Snowflake decor in dollar spot at Target.

Throw Pillow + Cozy Blankets

Throw blankets are currently on sale for Black Friday at Lorena Canals!

 

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Thank you so much for checking out our living room space! We love what a difference having our new Lorena Canal machine washable rug and throw has done to keep this space cozy all year long and easy to clean up after a baby and two large dogs!

P.S. These rugs are on sale too!