Packing Cubes- The best invention for traveling with kids

I first bought packing cubes when I was new to Ebates, and when Ebags was having like 20% cash back deals around the holidays, I figured why not. My aunt and uncle had sworn by them on our family trip to Ecuador, and they travel all over the world. What I didn’t know was how impactful these relatively inexpensive, zippered, cube-shaped bags would change the traveling-with-kids game for me.

Packing Cubes are amazing! They were just what I needed to keep my little one’s clothes organized in my suitcase and when I arrived at my destination. Now I use them EVERY trip I take. I pack all my daughter’s clothes in a medium size cube, and her socks and undies in a small one. When we arrive, I can pull her cubes out and organize them in the hotel drawers as I please.

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While traveling, I prefer to unpack my suitcase if I will be in one place for more than one night. That way I can tuck my suitcase away in the closet or in a corner somewhere and not worry about digging through it every time I need something. However, if I am not able to unpack, the cubes also come in handy by keeping everything separated and organized. I also try to make sure I have one cube available for stuffing in all our dirty clothes.

I just ordered Caroline a new set of pink cubes since we have a new addition to our traveling family!

 

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Summer Time Prep

Who would have thought that summer time required so much prep for a pre-schooler? Here in the North Atlanta area, even the pre-schools take a summer break!

Who would have figured… summer break when your not even school-aged yet.

One Perk of this “break” is all the fun things going on this summer in Woodstock and around Atlanta. There are tons of events and even summer day camps for kids under five. I am excited to sign Caroline up for a few princess dance camps and a ninja warrior themed gymnastics camps in-between our summer travels.

We will also try to venture into the city in order to visit the museums and other fun places we have yet to explore in our new city (Atlanta.)

What are your favorite summertime activities?

PS if you’re in Woodstock, GA and you have a little girl age 3-6 check out Dance Imagination’s Story Book Summer Camps. 

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XO,

Laurie

Insta Shopping

Before I had my girls I had no idea  Instagram shopping was a “thing.” Now, I can’t get enough of shopping my feed!

Ok, Amazon Prime is still on the top of my list when it comes to online shopping, but Instagram is a close second. You can find so many great trendy and unique things on Instagram for your littles and yourself. I discovered some of my most frequented online shops via Instagram.

The best part about social media shopping are the flash sales, and discount codes stores share exclusively with their social media followers.

Here are some of the many shops in my Insta feed you should check out:

@sweet_peekaboo

@swankyshank

@trendytreehouse

@meandzoey

@twinkletwinkleliljar

@alleyandrae

Also, this is NOT a sponsored post these are just a handful of the many shops I follow and shop on via Instagram, your welcome.

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My girls in customized Trendy Treehouse!

xo,

Laurie

A little Longer

Tonight I will hold you little longer, nurse you longer, gaze into your eyes longer… Because, I know when these moments pass they will become fewer and fewer. You will get bigger, start talking and walking and before I know it you will no longer be a baby. I am so grateful that life surprised us with you and a little sad this will be our last baby. For now, I will soak up your snuggles take in your smell and appreciate the long nights and days because the weeks, months and years are swift.

Love,

Your Momma

The Weekend

Before we moved to the Atlanta area, I was an Executive Vice President working a typical 9-5 day job.

When Friday at 4 pm rolled around, I would scoop up Caroline from school and spend the next two days soaking up all the time I could with my little love.

Now that I am home with both girls SEVEN days a week I find myself preferring the weekdays. Funny how that works…

On weekdays we have dance class, gymnastics, and story time at the library. On weekdays there is structure and way less traffic!

Weekends are unplanned for the most part and somehow feel like more work. My husband typically likes to do stuff around the house and watch sports on the weekends.

Meanwhile, I am entertaining the children in our home. Not that I don’t love spending time with them, I do, but sometimes this momma needs a break. Even if that break is a 45-minute dance class or a trip to the HomeGoods store.

Who would have thought? For now, I am enjoying my weekdays because soon I will be headed back to work and my SAHM life will be long behind me.

Xo,

Laurie

“Un”Curated Mom life

I think it is safe to say we have all done it… social media stalking mommy, fashion, fitness and travel junkie blogs. Often we find ourselves wishing our life could be that picture perfect.

Hey, I do it daily.

Reality is that their lives (bodies, houses or faces) do NOT look like that!!

My goal as a “mommy blogger” is to provide you with a dose of reality, some good old fashioned “Uncurated” #momlife.

Sure, I’ll still pop on a filter now and then, but what you will see and read on my blog and Instagram (@ihustleforher ) will be raw, real and 100% my life as is.

Never curated or staged, aways as is. Here’s to hoping this doesn’t get to scary 😂!

Xo,

Laurie

Staying Home

I never imagined myself as a “stay at home mom” but with recent circumstances and a sudden move right after Ella Jaye was born, I find myself doing just that…

With Caroline, I went back to work a few days before she turned three months old. I was thankful for the opportunity to start a new job and throw myself into crushing it at work AND being a present mother after hours.

I was surprised at how hard it was for me physically and emotionally but was proud of my work life success. Like most working moms, I felt a void only spending a few hours a day with my beautiful baby girl.

Time passed, and the working mom mode became second nature and even empowering, my career excelled, and Caroline was thriving. I was blessed to have a flexible work environment and an understanding boss who allowed me to “lean in” and be present as a mother.

Shortly after Ella Jaye was born, we moved our family to Woodstock, GA (just north of Atlanta) to pursue an excellent career opportunity for my husband.

I was torn.

I skyrocketed to success, starting as a Manager and within just three years was sitting on the Executive Management Team as a Senior Vice President running the Marketing and Development departments.

Loving my job (killing it) AND had achieved a fantastic work-life balance. Every working families dream! Ultimately, making a move for my husbands new opportunity made the most sense…

So here I am, home with both girls and only working a few PRN hours a week to finish off projects I had started before I left Florida.

I am torn because I never imagined enjoying being home as much as I am. Our new neighborhood is AMAZING, and I am keeping busy with new friends, old friends, and all the family I have nearby.

The thought of leaving my baby is hard. I imagined it would be easy since I did this before but for some reason, it is way harder with Ella Jaye.

I will do my best to blog about my new, stay at home mom /job hunting status as I find the time!

Did I mention it is exhausting? I feel like I have not had a single minute to myself since Ella was born.

Working on figuring out my next move but for now, I am living up the mom life and taking in all the baby smells 🙂IW5A2266

 

XO,

Laurie

 

 

Party of four!​​

Well, we are officially a party of four! Ella Jaye joined us on October 3rd, 2017 and we could not be happier. Being a mom of two is MUCH different and definitely more exhausting but we are doing well and falling into a routine after we turned our life upside down by MOVING out of state just over a month after Ella was born. More on our new adventure in GA as I transition to working full-time to full-time mommy and job hunter. Wish me luck!

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Do your family photos when you travel

As a photographer, one might assume my family is well documented, but the reality is, it’s not. My husband and daughter are well documented but Mommy is often left behind the camera and missing from family moments.

My little family has done a lot of traveling in the short two and half years of my daughters life. So when it can time again for family photos, I used a family trip to New York City as an opportunity.

We scheduled a family session in Central Park and it was the best travel decision I have made in a long time!

My first thought was it might be to costly in the big city, but the reality is you can find a photographer  within your budget just about anywhere in the world. We ended up booking a friends wife, Asher Gardner, an amazingly talented and sweet woman.

We met on a cold November day in the park and spent and and hour taking photos. It was so exciting having professional images of all three of us in a place that we created life long memories. Not to mention it makes great wall art!

So the next time you are planning that big family trip, take some time do some research and find a photographer to capture your family. Oh and if your in NYC make sure to look up Asher Gardner Photography!

#momphotog

#ihustleforher

xo,

Laurie

Then it happened to me…

I have never been a safety obsessed parent. I care about my child’s safety and make sure we don’t put her in harms way, but I tend to not sweat the small stuff. It seems like almost every day if not every hour there is some new parenting rule about how to do it the right way, safest way or best way. Sometimes I wonder how we all survived before ALL these rules came into play…

Anyways, here is my story and word of caution to parents about furniture and tip hazards.

Yesterday, I was getting ready in my bathroom about 3 feet away from my daughter when it happened… Our relatively new Ikea dresser tipped over top heavy on my two year old daughter!!!!!!!

It was not your classic unattended child story, she simply walked up the the dresser pulled out a drawer then another. As I heard something slide off the top I turned to see the dresser crashing down on my baby. Without hesitation I grabbed the dresser, but it was to late. The drawers came crashing down on her. As she screamed and cried I carefully got her out form under the mess. Her arms were red and puffy and the left side of her face already swollen and turing black and blue.

I was terrified but level headed, I quickly asked her to move the areas the seemed injured and to my relief it seemed like other then some serious bruising and dresser PTSD she was ok. OMG! I was shaking but keeping it together for her, I didn’t want her to see I was just as scared. After a few minutes passed we both calmed down sat on the bed and called Daddy to make sure we did not over react and call 911 to take her to the emergency room. She was ok, shaken but nothing broken.

After this happened I started to google Ikea tip over stories and found that some families were not so lucky. Grateful for our relatively happy ending I am terrified of the what ifs… what if I was not there to help her…what if it hit her head just right… ugh.

After reading up on it I found that IKEA (Orlando) should have offered us straps and did not! I am angry and annoyed that they do not do more to assure the safety of their customers and their children at the store level. Of course their corporate office promotes safety but WHY did no one in the store offer us the secure straps as we check out with out two year old in tow?

The top heavy design became apparent to me a few times when using it myself… but I NEVER thought it would completely tip over by just having two drawers open at the same time.

For those of you who shop at Ikea PLEASE make sure to secure your furniture. This is a link to the dresser we have that is still for sale and should be recalled.

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20318601/

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#scaredmamma

#ikeatipover

xo,

Laurie