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The Perfect Homemade Latte

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Today I decided to share how we make the perfect homemade latte. I’m going to share exactly how to make a latte and everything you need to make the best latte. So if you love going to Starbucks or the local coffee shop every morning, making it at home could save you big bucks!The Perfect Homemade LatteAir Tight Coffee bean storageAir Tight Coffee bean storageAir Tight Coffee bean storageAir Tight Coffee bean storageAir Tight Coffee bean storageThe Best At Home Coffee Bean GrinderAroma Water Kettle Stainless Steal French PressStainless Steal French PressStainless Steal French PressStainless Steal French PressStainless Steal French PressMilk Frother and HeaterMilk Frother and HeaterThe Perfect at Home Latte
I love my latte 85% frothy milk goodness and the rest good strong coffee. We tend to use Organic Columbian Medium Roast beans and grind them fresh. My husband swears by a simple French Press over all other coffee makers. French press coffee requires a coarse, even ground. He likes to make the coffee extremely strong. I have a deep love for my milk heater/frother. It gets that perfect froth that I die for every morning. I pour the coffee in first, but if you leave some coffee to pour after the froth you can try your luck at latte art 😉 So here’s the details on what you’ll need to make my perfect homemade latte!

You’ll need

MUG:  Gold Lips Mug
Coffee Bean Grinder:  Cuisinart Programmable Conical Burr Grinder also sold here.
Milk Frother and Heater:  I recommend either one of these here and here. I did try and get one entirely made of stainless steel, however NONE are entirely of stainless steel. They all have teflon or plastic that come in contact with the milk and become heated. There are affordable options that are SUPER easy to clean. Mine works like a champ! For extra frothing I can put it on one and half times and create some creamy frothy goodness. You can even froth without heat when needed.
French Press:  I prefer stainless steel French Press coffee makers over the glass ones. My favorite is here.
Water Kettle:  To quickly heat water I love the Aroma Water Kettle.
Coffee Bean Air Tight Storage: To keep beans fresh and packed with flavor you have to choose an air tight storage container. I love the Theraware canisters because they offer a unique composition that filters out damaging UV light while eliminating the remaining oxygen in the canister. This means continued, air-tight freshness. A a few simple pumps of the Vacu-Pump, contents are sealed airtight and the container remains odorless. The convenient Date Dial allows for accurate storage time tracking. So pretty much the perfect storage canister for coffee beans to ensure freshness and taste. Other optoins: here and here.

It’s Here! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

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The NORDSTROM Anniversary Sale is on now. The steals are up and I’m going to share with you some of my top picks. These will not last so don’t miss them! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale



My husband is dying for this…

But I’ll probably buy him this instead…

Is mine the only husband/bf obsessed with La Mer? He got all into the chemistry and mythology behind the famous way they make their formula. It’s actually pretty interesting.
So these are my picks. What will you be getting??

Remembering Paris

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What seems like forever ago hubs and I went to Paris. I’m finally going to be posting the images in a series I call…Remembering Paris.
L’HÔTEL DE LONDRES EIFFELRemembering Paris and our stay at the L’HÔTEL DE LONDRES EIFFEL. This quaint little boutique hotel was just adorable. It’s very tight in the rooms, but it has everything you need and you are in a prime location. The hotel front desk staff are extremely helpful and always take the time to direct us to the best places to see and give us maps when needed.

One thing I would say is to FOR SURE not eat at the hotel. The kitchen staff was rather rude and honestly just walk outside and you have tons of excellent breakfast options. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of them? Get coffee and a chocolate almond croissant. This is your chance! You’ll be walking off those calories baby don’t even think twice. L’HÔTEL DE LONDRES EIFFELL’HÔTEL DE LONDRES EIFFELL’HÔTEL DE LONDRES EIFFELL’HÔTEL DE LONDRES EIFFELThe window that opens up to the street was my favorite part. It was a cramped room, but that alone made it magical. I remember making a Google Plus Hangout to share the view with some friends around the world. It was my way of taking everyone with me. They were in love as much as I was.L’HÔTEL DE LONDRES EIFFELL’HÔTEL DE LONDRES EIFFEL
There was a meat shop perfect for grabbing some prosciutto lunch meat. Then you have the bakery with pastries and bread, be sure to snag some. We walked upon a little restaurant with outdoor seating that boasts having President Obama at one time. The smaller restaurant next to it we actually dinned in and loved the little tapas. I was pleased that Yelp actually worked and found many reviews in English with helpful tips.

Still close to the hotel was a pharmacy where the pharmacist was very patient even though she didn’t speak English trying to figure out what my husband was asking her for. We tend to always get sick on trips. Planes are so icky.
Remembering ParisOur favorite place to eat was also not too far a walk from the hotel. Les Cocottes was amazing! I still think about it often. It is one of the restaurants of Paris’s celebrity chef, Christian Constant. One of the times we went to eat there he actually came out and started to greet everyone and take photos with the obvious tourist. We must have blended in, lol. I had no idea who he was, but noticed his photo on the cook book in front of us behind the bar. He was obviously the owner. It wasn’t until later that night we were watching tv and noticed he was on nearly every channel as a judge to various cooking shows. So not only is he Paris famous, but he takes the time out to make sure his restaurants are in check and greets his patrons and fans. That in itself won me over. We heard nothing but wonderful things about all his restaurants. I would recommended any and all of them wholeheartedly.
Christian Constant Check back because next up I’ll be posting on my trip to the fabulous Palace of Versailles. Every girl’s dream come true, if I say so myself.

Probot five-minute 6-pack chiller

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Imagine, you throw a last minute get together at your place. Alas all you have are warm beers. Enter the Probot five-minute 6-pack chiller.
Probot Five-Minute 6-Pack Chiller
Probot is the world’s first portable five-minute 6-pack chiller. Chill up to 6 drinks at the same time, from warm to the perfect temperature in 5 minutes or less! It’s fully portable, so take it anywhere – Probot supplies a non-stop flow of cold refreshments, with no fridge or cooler needed.
Probot Five-Minute 6-Pack Chiller
That’s right, take it with you to the pool, the beach, wherever, and whenever you need it. It won’t let you know. The problem? We still need to make this awesomeness a reality for all. Only you can help make it happen.
Check out their Kickstarter campaign here, and find out how you can help make this a reality. Share it, tweet it, everything it until you can get one for yourself.

http://www.probotchiller.com/
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How to Enjoy Miami Like a Tourist

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Not many of us are lucky to live somewhere other people dream about and want to vacation.  So today I wanted to give a few of my tips on how to enjoy Miami like a tourist.
How to Enjoy Miami Like a Tourist
Those of us Miami locals sometimes forget the wonders of our city. We just feel HOT and frustrated in traffic.  Everything is too expensive, crowded, and the people are not as warm as other places.  While this may be true, we have a lot of be thankful for right in our own backyards.  Miami isn’t perfect, but it’s a great place to have an epic weekend.  Maybe we should step back and learn to enjoy it more like the tourist do.

Enjoy the Heat

Miami Beach HeatYeah its like your flesh is burning off.  It’s probably giving you sever skin damage and who knows what else, but just remember the good that comes with our blazing sun.  Hot bodies everywhere!  In a city where you have to be “summer ready” year round you see quite a few more tight, toned, and sexy bodies.  It’s no secret Miami boasts some of the most beautiful people on Earth.

Head to the beach and enjoy people watching EXPERT LEVEL.  You’re going to see some things that will blow your mind.  You won’t see bodies like these just anywhere.  This is what Miami is known for and you get to watch whenever you can squeeze in a power lunch by the beach.

The heat is also keeping clothing to a bare minimum.  Bikini clad in the streets of South Beach…no big deal.  Run around free, my friends, it’s all good in Miami.  Maybe the tourist look sideways at you, but the locals are just fine with it.

heat in Miami

Wander Around

Locals usually have a few choice spots they frequent.  Maybe they use Yelp or their friends to know what’s hot.  Tourist usually have no idea how to find the best spots, so they just wander the streets and look around.

Wandering has many benefits.  You can check out what strangers are eating and ask if it is good.  Have an excuse to go up to cool looking people and ask them about their favorite spot to eat in the area.  You may be surprised.  We’re not known for our friendliness, but do this enough and you could find some great tips from locals and tourists alike.

Take Pictures

Living here and being used to our surroundings can make you forget that it is beautiful.  Take out your camera…the good one, and capture the moments.  From our graffiti art covered walls, to high end shops, and the panoramic views.

You’ll never run out of great photo spots when you open yourself up to the natural beauty of Miami.

Eat Strange Foods

Arepa Burger from Pincho Factory

Arepa Burger from Pincho Factory

Toston Burger from Pincho Factory

Toston Burger from Pincho Factory

Miami is a melting pot and we always have something tasty cooking.  We are a latin food mecca, but not only that, we like to fuse it all together with other styles and create our own flavor of awesome.

Pincho Factory, for example has taken the traditional America burger and sprinkled some Miami flavor.  I kid you not, these unique creations are not only amazing but have received countless awards and praise.

So locals, next time you’re sweating and screaming stuck in Miami traffic, remember the good things.  Miami is full of adventure and beauty when you see it through the sunscreen scented shades of a tourist.

Happy exploring!

For more great Miami eats and things to do be sure to check out my often updated post here.

5 Reasons I’ll Be Shopping More at Nordstrom

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I’ve decided this and I’m going to tell you exactly why. Here are my 5 reasons I’ll be shopping more at Nordstrom. Firstly, no, not a sponsored post.
5 Reasons I'll Be Shopping More at Nordstrom
When I was younger we never went to Nordstrom. I completely avoided it at the mall. I wasn’t totally broke, but I was under the impression you have to have a lot to go there. It was one of those places were 20 sales associates were in your face begging for commission. At least that was my impression of it. I absolutely hate when you’re browsing and sales people get all pushy and in your face. When someone walks up to me in a store, I just walk out.

Then one day I heard about HauteLook from my friend Patty. This was the prefect way to shop. Great deals, great brands, limited quantities, so you have that level of urgency. Love it or hate, you have to make your decision quickly. If not, you’ll lose the good deal to someone who snags it up faster. The prefect amount of shopping and sport.

It was on one of my shopping “games” where I found the most beautiful long maxi dress. It was such a great deal I had to buy it. But I’m so short. I knew I would have to alter it and finding a place in Miami where they speak decent English and are affordable is near impossible. I have a closet full of clothing I still can’t use because alterations were so expensive it wasn’t worth it. Sometimes alterations can be nearly $100. For a dress you already paid $100 for, I just cannot justify that.

So with my HauteLook dresses (I decided to get a few), I walked into a Nordstrom. After some confusion over if HauteLook was indeed a Nordstrom company, it was told to me that all alterations were half off and if you spend over $100 on alterations they give you a $100 discount. Not sure all the details and yes I had to get a Nordstrom card, but 4 dresses later I only paid $12.

This leads me to reason number one:

Alterations

All Alterations are half off if you buy from a Nordstrom company. If they mess up the alterations they give you your money back or a new version of the item. Yes! This is huge. Not all bodies are created equal. We are different busts, heights, everything. You can’t limit us to the few sizes that are available. Let it be known that it is better to wear a cheaper garment that fits perfectly than the most fanciest and expensive one with a bad fit. In Nordstrom when trying something on, if you know you want it and need it altered, just ask the salesperson and the seamstress will come right to you.

Different Options For Your Budget

If you don’t have the budget for their main Nordstrom stores, you can always get the same brands for less online at HauteLook. If you need something even more budget friendly, head over to Nordstrom Rack. It’s their most affordable option and you can still use a regular Nordstrom store for your alterations.

Great Advice On Clothing and Life

I’ve had a lot of sales people try and get me to buy ugly expensive items before. Thankfully, this hasn’t happened to me at Nordstrom. I’ve been lucky and found some helpful and attentive people. For someone who hates the dreaded, “May I help you?” question, they really turned me around. They listened and sticked to my budget. My friend and I recently got some great life advice too. Our fabulous saleswoman told my friend to embrace her curves and those that put her down are just jealous. She went on to say that you can spend all your life trying to make other people happy and like you. You’ll never be happy that way. The only way to be happy is to accept yourself and if you love it, flaunt it. We’ll come back for the clothing and stay for the life lessons.

Amazing Service

These salespeople are great. When my daughter was impatient they would all come around and try to keep her happy. More than one person offered her a balloon. She enjoyed herself just as much as we did. I already mentioned they come right to the fitting room for alterations. They also walk you to other departments and introduce you to the sale’s people in that department. They all seem extremely well-trained. Everyone is on the same page with how things are done and you have to admire a smooth transaction.

Lots of Discounts

I’m not a fan of getting store cards, but because of the alterations and the discount I got one. I was shocked when I read some cards offer zero foreign transaction fees. Where was this card on my last vacation? The sale’s person went on an on about yearly discounts, points systems, and so much more. I seriously have no idea how it all works. All I do know is when I went back for yet another dress I had $20 off already earned. Looks like it wasn’t as expensive as I thought! I’m going to have to eventually sit myself down and figure out how all the discounts work. The once a year one sounded amazing. She said people usually wait until before the holidays to use that benefit. I’m excited!

DADELAND MALL FOOD COURT TO BE RENOVATED

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Dadeland mall food court to be renovated into a “dining pavilion”. At first, I was very exited for the renovations. It has become quite the eyesore over the years. It was always an unpleasant experience to be in Dadeland’s food court. Then I saw what they were planning and I immediately noticed some problems.

FINAL Rendering - Dining Pavilion
Here’s the info I received:

Dadeland Mall will undergo a renovation to enhance the current Food Court, creating a dining and shopping experience focused on comfort and convenience. Designed with shoppers’ feedback in mind, this enhancement project, which began in early June, will transition the current space into a sleek Dining Pavilion with contemporary accents inspired by modern Miami architecture.

A total of 19,298 square-feet of common area space will be fully renovated. Reminiscent of a modern food gallery, the Dining Pavilion will feature a series of distinct dining spaces and rooms, tastefully decorated in a neutral palette of white-on-white. Wood tones and a natural furnishings palette will add a warm richness and sense of drama to the space, reflecting the qualities of Miami’s great nightlife scene.
The Dining Pavilion will also feature additional enhancements including new vertical louvers, light fixtures on the existing rotunda, a skylight in the space, column surrounds, and new furnishings dynamically organized around a linear floor pattern, making it a posh hangout for day or night.

Guests will find fully-renovated restrooms with new plumbing and fixtures to create a modern, upscale space, complete with polished tile walls, stainless steel partitions and elegant white quartz-trough sinks and countertops. Strong Wi-Fi service and banquet tables with built in charging station will provide excellent work spaces for visitors. Additionally, a new family restroom, which will offer a separate nursing station, will be located next to Johnny Rockets, with a planned completion in early 2016.

All tenants will remain open during the renovation, and Dadeland Mall will continue to operate during regular business hours. The space is slated for completion in November, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

“The redesigned space, will create a true gathering place for our shoppers, tourists and area office employees alike,” said Dailen Rodriguez, director of marketing and business development at Dadeland Mall. “The renovation, which follows the addition of the state-of-the-art Terrace Dining Wing, is a continuation of Simon’s commitment to providing an elevated shopping and dining experience for the Miami market.”

It all sounds great, but further inspection still shows a huge bright skylight. The problem with Dadeland Mall is those bright skylights. We are under the hot blazing sun of Miami. It’s the only indoor mall where I have to use a sunvisor on my daughter’s stroller at certain times of the day. You see people avoiding the huge blinding sunny areas all over the mall. Skylights are fine, but they should have been tinted and not over places where people walk or have to sit. They are supposed to give light, but not blind and bother everyone.

The huge skylight over the food court has long been a problem. People hate sitting under it and fight for seats in the areas around it where they receive shade. It’s an indoor mall people go to when they want to escape the harsh Miami sun. Funny that architects keep missing that. It might look amazing at night, but it’s not a useful space during times when the sun is at it’s highest…lunch. Now this is an easy fix with good tints, but the rendering gives me no hope of that.

Since I’m mentioning what I don’t like I might as well mention the waste of space with the huge couches. I imagine them getting pretty gross with all the traffic they will take quickly. This is a packed mall with little space for people to sit and eat as is. They need to renovate the lounge areas in the rest of the mall, not take away dinning space. Perhaps smaller and more lounge chairs in those areas and more actual dinning seating in the dinning area. I wonder if the designers actually visit the mall and have seen the crowds?

In terms of the messy look of the dinning space now, I would suggest bolted down seating. Something stronger and secure. More tables that seat parties of 2 and 4. I love the few areas with the high top seating for single eaters and couples.

So I don’t know, that was my first reaction. I’m glad for the renovation, but wish they took the right advice from the right people when coming up with the design. I’ll probably stick to the more expensive restaurants on the new upper level. I really do love that area.

So get to the comments and let me know what your thoughts are on the space. Do you think it will work or would you have done something differently?
NORDSTROM.com

What Sponsors Need to Know Before Contacting Bloggers

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Whether you’re trying to promote an event or product, you NEED to get in good with bloggers. Here’s what sponsors need to know before contacting bloggers. These tips will help you get in good with beginning to powerhouse bloggers alike.
What Sponsors Need to Know Before Contacting Bloggers

Make sure their blog relates to what you are looking for

Nothing is more annoying and a waste of your time and their time then to randomly message EVERY SINGLE BLOGGER. Address the blogger by name, show you did your due diligence and looked through their website. You want to see what kind of promos they have already done and see if they have information anywhere on what they WILL DO.

You definitely don’t want to message a conservative blogger to promote a burlesque event or your lingerie line. If you want to promote a local event, you don’t want to contact a blogger in another city or country. Use common sense when it comes to your event and product to find a blogger that’s the right fit.

It may be a blogger with a smaller audience, but one that is more refined to a specific style and/or location.

Be ready to explain immediately what’s in your proposal for THEM

I can’t tell you how many emails I receive that are all DO THIS FOR ME. Why? What exactly are you offering? It’s similar to that line when I was just doing photography and people would say, “It would be a great opportunity for your portfolio”. No one really cares as a blogger, who you’ve collaborated with before. What’s more important is your audience and engagement. You don’t need a single sponsor or collaboration to grow your audience. So know before you message a blogger, that they don’t need you, you need them. Work out some sort of benefit for them that will help them and their blog. Will you give them a shout out on your business social media? Free samples? Paid advertisements? Paid promo post? Be specific and make sure it’s a real benefit. This is a real person you are talking to and they can tell a fake benefit a mile away.

We can’t review what we haven’t tried

Know that most bloggers will only accept products to review when you offer them FREE samples of it. They are not going to put their reputation on the line to promote a product they have never tried. It’s not good business and it can ruin their blog. Bloggers are some of the best advertisements for your brand nowadays. No one trusts ads. Who they DO trust is their favorite bloggers. Don’t undervalue that trust. Free samples, donated products for a contest, and a paid post is your best way to go. It’s some of the cheapest advertising available.

The Happier The Blogger Is To Work With You The Better Your Results

It’s not secret the more you spend and offer a blogger the more they will promote you back. If they are earnestly excited to work with you because THEY KNOW YOU VALUE THEM ENOUGH TO PROPERLY COMPENSATE, the more persuasive they will be to their audience about how wonderful your products and business are. You could have the best product, but if you are cheap and show you don’t value a blogger they will give a lack luster mention at best. Treat them in the way you would treat your best customer. You need to win them over just like you do them. They ultimately ARE your potential customers.

Case in point: I was in a very long standing lucrative relationship with a makeup brand. Even after it ended, I continued to have such a good feeling about them and their products that I honestly became a fan for life. I recommended them and continue to do so without compensation. They left such a good impression that their return on investment as far exceeded their expectations. I continue to purchase their products and sing their praises.

Disclaimer: If your product is cheaply and poorly made or just not that great. Don’t expect much praise. Rule one is have something people want. That’s a problem no promotions can fix. I have, on occasion, had to return payments after testing products because they were so bad I did not want to be associated with them. Money is great, but being true to the people who trust you, your audience, is the most important.

 

Onli Sparkling Waters and Free People Boho Look

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Today’s look is a darker Boho one featuring a Free People dress. I was able to sample some awesome onli sparkling waters too. Everyone who knows me knows my obsession with non GMOs, organic foods, and eating healthy. I’m super happy that these are GMO Free, BPA Free, Kosher, and Gluten Free!
onli beverages sparkling flavored watersSo many fun flavors you’ll have a hard time choosing one. It’s a local West Palm Beach company and for some flavors they use local ingredients. For example their Grapefruit Pomela & Peach sparkling water uses squeezed fresh Florida local grapefruit juice. All their flavors are unique and addictive. I actually bought them for many parties from Whole Foods since I like to offer my guests fancy non-alcoholic options. Their newest flavors also include Hibiscus Pomegranate Aroma, Green Tea Lemongrass Mango, and Espresso Swiss Hazelnut. Sounds super yummy, huh? I’m excited that they taste just as good as they sound. You can check out all their flavors Onli Beverages. Be sure to look for them at Whole Foods.

Free People Boho Look Miami BloggerFree People Boho Lookonli beverages sparkling flavored watersonli beverages Free People boho lookonli beverages and Free People Boho Look
onli beverages and Free People Boho Look Miami is a hot city and now that I have a new fabulous hammock I’m enjoying the outdoors more! Keep cool everyone!

Hammock | Dress – Xanadu Halter Midi Dress | Jami Spike Earrings As PicturedOption B | Onli Beverages

What Miami Moms Really Need on Their Baby Registry

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This post has been a long time coming. Now that baby girl is about 2 and a half years old I can say with certainty I would have put way different stuff on my baby registry. So here’s what I think Miami moms really need on their baby registry.
What Miami Moms Really Need on Their Baby Registry

Stuff Miami Moms Can Leave Off Their Baby Registry

Blankets – It’s too hot here! If anything get a very thin one
Long sleeved anything – It’s too hot here!!! (you might need one all year)
Jackets – It’s too hot here!!! (you might need one all year)
Those warm onesies that cover their entire hands and feet – It’s too hot here!!!
Baby hand covers – I know you are worried baby will scratch their eyes and face, but that’s supposed to happen!!! It heals and that’s how they learn not to do that. My doctor threw them in the trash, so don’t bother with them no matter what the older generation says. Not needed. Yes baby ended up scratching herself and her eye, but it healed and she did learn not to do that. One less thing to not worry about! Yay!
Black Carseats – Are you crazy?! It’s too hot here!!!!! I made this mistake, boy did I feel awful.
Black Strollers – Even more insane than black carseats. Why do they even sell these in FL?!?!? So crazy insanely hot baby was miserable 99% of the time. Sweating to death! I bought this expensive, but black, stroller thinking it would be a nice neutral color and wouldn’t show stains. At the expense of baby’s comfort. I had to give it away. Do not make that mistake just get a light colored stroller. With a HUGE freaking epic sun visor. We NEED that here!
Humidifiers – That’s for dry weather moms. Like up north when it’s snowing and they have the heaters on taking all the moisture out of their homes. We do not have that problem here. Plenty of moisture is already in your home and adding more will cause mold. A much more realistic (and dangerous) problem for us in Miami. If we need to make a room a little more humid, we can simply and safely crack open a window. More info.
Baby Tub – Never used it, waste of money. Cradle them in your arms in a tub with them or wash them bit by bit in the sink. In some countries they get a bucket and a hose and go outside. I can’t believe I almost got suckered into that jetted baby spa tub lol!

Baby Registry Items for Miami Moms

Feeding

Bottles: they are all BPA free now (yay!). Do NOT attempt to get glass or stainless steel style bottles. Boy I made that mistake. You swear you’re going to be careful with the glass ones. You think you are somehow more civilized than other moms and your baby will be calmer and different…HA!!! Honey, no. You are human, baby is a human infant. You WILL be sleep deprived and baby will get cranky. Sooner or later no matter what fancy safety contraption you put that glass bottle in, it will break and the results will be humbling. Same with the stainless steel. You cannot see how much baby is drinking and that’s huge! You need to simmer down and get the basic clear plastic BPA free bottles. You’re still a good mom. It will be just fine.

Bottle Nipples: Bottle nipples are the most important part of the bottle to babies. The first nipple they become comfortable with is what the will want FOREVER. We had 20 different bottle types and since we went with formula in the hospital and they use those pre-made little formula bottles we needed to get one near identical to those nipples and for us it was Dr. Brown’s bottles. Loved them.

Breastfeeding Supplies: If you exclusively breastfeeding you should be able to get a free breast pump now with your insurance so check with it and fight for it because if your health insurance is new (after the affordable care act) they have to give it to you. You’ll probably want bottles that are closer to a natural nipple shape in this case. My friend had luck with the Tommee Tippee brand. When breastfeeding you’ll also need nipple cream, a good nursing bra, and storage bags. Optional: nipple cream, nipple shields

Bottle Dryer: To dry your bottles get a standard bottle dryer. These are great and you need one.

Bibs: You’ll also need some bibs because babies like to spit up and eventually need to eat baby food which is messy. The bibs I like have button closure, easy to wash in the sink, and dry quick for reuse. Some good ones: here, here, and here. Button closure is preferred, but above all you want to rise and dry them for multiple uses throughout the day. Washing bibs means you need like 500 of them! It’s not smart and there is no need to suffer. Plenty of laundry to do without adding that to the mix. The ones that are entirely plastic will save yourself the most grief.

Utensils: At the beginning use something like these that are very tiny. Then get around 3 spoons and 3 forks. The best kind have plastic handles with metal like these.

Bowls: I started off with lots of fancy bowls and feeding trays. I quickly learned you want something small and that’s not easy to tip over at first. Do not judge me, but the best I found was a non slip cat dish! LoL!!! It had rubber on the bottom witch kept it in place for longer than the ones made for a baby. Something like this, but if that’s too much for you try this one. I know I’m horrible, but it really did work. When baby is a bit more civilized just go for some cheaper bowls/containers with lids and get a lot. Lids are great to save left overs that baby didn’t touch. Yay to no waste!

High Chair: You need this one. Get one that has a good harness to keep baby in it and safe. Eventually they try to escape and if baby figures out how to get out of the pack and play too soon this may be the only place you can keep them to be safe while you cook! So make sure the seat is strong and keeps them locked in. Nothing to heavy, so you can move it around to whatever room you are in. Kitchen to cook, etc. Look for something easy to wipe down with not a lot of nooks and crannies. It will get nasty and can be a pain to constantly clean. I went with a spacesaver one that attaches to any regular chair. I love this one even though it’s a huge pain to clean, because in the moments baby falls asleep while eating it reclines!

Baby Furniture

I’m going to just give you the essentials here.

Crib: Now your options are the cheap ones, the convertible ones that last forever, or getting multiple items like a bassinet + crib + whatever. I say just get a cheap crib and buy a nice big kid bed when the time comes. The pretty bassinet tiny crib is useless very quickly. Makes a great photo, but not much else. Co-sleeping contraptions are useless. The take up too much space and if you’re going to co-sleep just do it. Buy the mattress at least 4 months before your due date and open it up and air it out to release as much of the toxic flame retardant chemicals that are MANDATORY for all mattresses. They are toxic and a suspect in sudden infant death syndrome. Until the laws change do this much needed step. In fact formica furniture also has toxic fumes, if you are not buying all wood furniture buy everything a few months ahead of time to air it out and open windows while you’re home to let it escape.

Pack and Play: AKA play pen. Whatever you call it, you NEED it. Take it with you everywhere because you cannot put baby to sleep easily and safely without one. It’s also great when baby gets bigger and you need to go to the bathroom! Or if you want to cook and open an oven. There are so many times you need to put baby some place safe. These are a real need.

Changing Table: Yes this is important. More important than a dresser! Get a changing table. You never know if you end up with a c-section and you cannot bend down at ALL. I had one on the pack and play but it was still too low and I ended up having to buy one I didn’t make space for and had to cram it in the room. Buy one!!!!

Baby Sized Chair: Eventually baby will get big enough to sit and watch tv. Make baby more comfortable with a cute comfy baby sized chair. I bought one for like $50 or $60 and regretted it. It didn’t have a slipcover I could remove and wash. Just drinking water spilling on it made the chair look gross. It is worth it to get the ones from Pottery Barn or wherever that have the removable slipcovers. I may have to buy another one at this point.

Baby Clothes

Leave off any and all warm clothing from your registry! They usually give you swaddle blankets at the hospital and you need them for only a short time. Like I said before it’s hot here and babies like it cooler than it normally is in Miami at night. Unlike the rest of the country our nights are pretty warm. Baby will be fine in a just a normal onesie. So here’s what you’ll need…
Warm weather clothes: Think shorts, short sleeves, cotton, etc.
Snap buttons not real buttons: Who the heck put real buttons on baby clothes? I hate when behind the neck there is that one real button and you have to fight for hours to try and get it on. There is a special place in hell for companies that put real buttons on baby clothes. Go with snap buttons, trust me.
No polyester: Should go without saying but that’s too hot for Miami.

My top place to avoid if I don’t want to go broke on baby clothes… Janie and Jack. (Clothes so cute you’ll wish they were in your size!)
My other fave places to buy baby clothes: Lucky Brand used to have the BEST, but they just stopped (I bought bags full when they were clearing it out). Zara is expensive, but you can find cute clothes that look less cartoonish and decent materials. I like some of the stuff at Baby’s R Us like their FAO Schwarz. I also hit up TJMax and Marshall’s for name brands at great prices.

Baby Gear

Stroller: The bane of your existence for the next few years is the stroller. This is the true loss of your freedom when having a child. Not being able to maneuver ANYWHERE easily. Store aisles will be too narrow most of the time. People will be knocking into you. You’ll get stuck. It’s no fun, but you’ll get through it with the right stroller.

Again DO NOT GET A BLACK STROLLER. It’s freaking HOT in Miami! So you’re going to need to find a light colored one and only let your kiddos have water and food that doesn’t stain. Juice is horrible and gives them a sugar high and crash anyhow. The best color is something very light grey as it’s still neutral. If you just don’t care, get whatever light color you want and worry about selling it later or just donate it.

Be realistic with your needs for a stroller. It may be tempting to get a set with the infant carseat and stroller, but if that’s not the PERFECT stroller you’re going to regret it or be back at the store when you can’t take it anymore. I wanted to save money and ended up wasting tons more by doing that. Many people think light strollers are the best. I’ll let you in on a little secret, having a baby is going to give you killer STRONG arms! Right now you might not be able to lift 30 pounds. Eventually you’ll be able to lift 30 pound in ONE arm for HOURS at a time and not think twice about it. So when you’re struggling to lift that huge stroller now, keep that in mind. Within maybe 4 months I went from having trouble lifting groceries to holding a baby in one arm and a weeks worth of groceries in the other.

Stroller Features:

How light they are – I would rather heavy to get everything I want since you only open and close it when you arrive and leave.
How Easy it is to push and turn – one finger easy pushing is the way to go!
Storage basket – How much stuff can you store under the stroller? I mean that’s the ONE good thing about lugging a stroller around, the extra storage.
If the stroller can roll up to a restaurant and be about table height – This was important for me since we eat out a lot.
Comes in a light color fabric for the seat – It’s hot here!
Comfortable seat for baby – Padding? Adjustable?
Harness – Is it easy for a baby or toddler to escape?! Can the harness be tightened so that baby isn’t half way out of the stroller able to smack strangers? For that matter does the seat not go forward allowing baby to nearly jump out?
Sun Visor – Is it a strong one that really blocks the sun? Does it cover all or most of baby head to toe? Would baby not have any sunburnt skin after a hot day in Disney World?
How much space it takes up in your trunk – Not a big deal to me if I get what I want otherwise.
How easy it is to travel with – I say get a cheap umbrella stroller for that.

Stroller Recommendations:
Bugaboo Bee3 Stroller – a grey seat with different options for the sun shade color. From the options I saw the lightest colored ones were: Soft Pink and Yellow, and Off White. They come in other color combos, but again I’m looking at light seat colors for baby. These are also easy to move and have lots of under storage. Not a small or very light stroller, but you can’t have it all and this gives the most function.

Stokke Strollers – I love these!!! Lots of options in colors and features. Some allow for carseats and bassinets that lay baby flat for infants. The colors and function of these are why after trying many strollers I was finally happy with one of these…FINALLY! Since I no longer needed a carseat attachment (that phase goes by very quickly so don’t make it a selling point) I went with this simple model the Stokke Scoot.
The Stokke Crusi model is great too. This Crusi comes with a bassinet. I recommended checking these out and really deciding if you want to have more than one kids when purchasing. One of the models allows for two children and it’s a wonderful smooth ride.

I really wanted a Stokke because I like to eat out a lot and not every place has high chairs with working or strong straps. Baby easily can stand up and climb out! It was becoming a nightmare. I saw a women pull up her table-height Stokke and the kid was locked in secure for restaurant eating with family! Even the lower end Scoot I bought is about average table height and we have been able to do this. It’s an amazing feeling and one less thing to worry about. Being short it’s a little harder since I don’t have the same view I did with a shorter stroller. However, baby being up higher has so many benefits I feel it’s totally worth it. The ride is a dream with one finger pushing and tons of lower storage for long shopping trips. I went with the light pink Scoot and it cleans easy with a soap and water sponge looking fabulous. I regret my first stroller choice. It was the very popular Britax B-Agile and was light, but that’s about it. It had an uncomfortable back, it was black and hot, hard to push, and not as much storage. If I could do it all over again knowing what I know now I would have got the Stokke Scoot the the same Light Pink I have now. I would also not worry about the stroller attaching a carseat. So let me get more into…

Carseat: Try to get a light color one (again it’s HOT here) but at least get those sun shields for the back passenger windows that stick on the glass. I’m big into safety so since rear-facing for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE has a huge benefit I’m doing it! I look at max weight and height for rear-facing and safety stats when choosing a carseat. I went with the Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, in Cowmooflage. It’s rear-facing from birth (5 lbs. to 40 lbs.) and forward facing for kids up to 65 lbs. It’s so much better the Britax carseat that came as a set with my first stroller. It’s just made better and baby girl is so much more comfortable. I know what you’re thinking….the Cowmooflage (lol) color is black…yeah but it’s cute and I have epic tints on my car plus the sun shields. That being said my last car has crappy light tints and the sun would come directly on baby’s face and it was horrible. Moral of the story…never buy a car without making them add dark as legally allowed tints! You just mention it before you lease or purchase the car to seal the deal and they do it without paying extra. It’s a cheap service if you need to pay for it yourself just do it.

Diaper Bag: I made the huge mistake of buying a large (black) Coach diaper bag. It was very nice leather and fancy, but I didn’t need all that space. Now I just buy a medium sized cross body leather or easy to clean bag and put 2 diapers, 1 emergency outfit, and the portable wipes container. When I need to bring a bottle I use this small insulated cooler (free from Similac) and attach it to the stroller. I used to also keep a small changing page in whatever purse I used too, but stopped to save space. Now I just use a disinfecting wipe before putting baby down. It’s not super comfortable, but after a while you become ninja fast at this diaper changing business and you learn where all the nice bathrooms are, or just don’t care anymore.

Portable High Chair: We went with the Inglesina Fast Table Chair. Now you can only use it when the restaurant table is strong and won’t tip over and not super thick that the chair won’t fit. However, when you can use it it’s the best. Baby’s feet hang and there is nothing to step on to push up and climb out! Plus it has a harness, Yay! Active toddlers can be a hand full, but this makes life a little easier and baby is happy they are the same level as everyone else at the table.

OK so I didn’t tell you EVERYTHING you’ll need, but I told you the big important stuff I wish someone had told me about. Things I never thought about until my money was wasted. I hope my advice or even a small part of it was helpful or at least made you think about what you really need differently.

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