Traveling with a family

Let’s be super honest - traveling with family is a feat. Traveling with family AND small children is a bigger feat.

I’ve been brainstorming for a while about how to write a blog post featuring all the travel tips I have for families, particularly with infants, but then I had this revolutionary idea.

I should not only feature someone who knows it better than me, but we should also probably give away a family vacation.

Oh, you think I’m joking?

NOPE

I’ve partnered with a bunch of badasses this month to not only give you the need-to-know deets on how to travel with a family (internationally, mind you!), but to also give you (yes, could be you!) all the things you need to have a family vacation of a lifetime.

As we work to plan for next year, and hopefully aren’t getting toooooo caught up in the bustle of holiday season yet, something we are making a priority as a family for next year is travel.

And then I realized, I am no travel expert. Not even kind of. In fact, Joey has never been on a plane, but he rocks road trips. And I’ve only been overseas once.

So, I needed to learn. And quickly, so I can plan accordingly! Cue, my badass friend Rachel, who is not only a super seasoned traveler, but a fellow mompreneur and expert in how-to blogs, if I do say so myself.

Not long ago, her and her husband, along with her parents, and Knox (10 months old) on a excursion to Italy and it was pure EPIC. And of course, in true Rachel style, she wrote an amazing blog about it with so many tips and tricks, that I found myself taking notes faster than I could even read. She’s that good.

You can read her whole post RIGHT HERE, but here are the need-to-knows for those skimmers out there:

airplane and airport tips:

  • Depending on the age of your babe, bring lots of snacks and toys.

  • Fly an airline that helps families (KLM was amazing).

  • Make friends with the people around you.

  • Chill out and let them roam as much as they can in the airport and plane before take off.

  • Wear comfy clothes.

  • Have lots and lots of wipes.

  • If you are bringing a stroller, make sure it’s easy to fold down so it can go through security.

  • Make sure your carry ons are organized and you know where everything is.

  • Be prepared to not sleep.

tips for busy sight-seeing days

  • Be willing to take breaks

  • Wear lots of sunscreen

  • Buy Gelato

  • Have a stroller and a carrier

  • Have a blanket or something to use for diaper changes

  • Snacks, snacks, snacks

  • Bring lots of wipes

  • Have a plan for your route

general tips

  • Know that things will not go as planned, so be flexible.

  • Our child was very active, but not yet walking when we were gone, so I had to let him crawl in public places. Gross? Yes. But, I had to let him move and crawl at some point.

  • Always have snacks, diapers, and wipes. Always.

  • Have a good baby carrier that can be used for front and back carry.

  • Bring a small, compact stroller.

  • Make everything you need for the baby easily accessible and organized.

  • Ditch the schedule of naps and bedtime and just enjoy your time.

  • Stay at hotels vs. airbnbs because you are more likely to be able to get a crib and also have a bigger bed.

  • Naps: all of his naps were either in the car seat or Ergo.

  • If you’re going to Italy: Italians love babies, use it to your advantage :)

  • We packed all the diapers and wipes we needed, so we didn’t have to be stressed about buying them there.

  • We packed everything in a very organized way to make sure we both always knew where everything was.

  • If you don’t have access to laundry, make sure you bring enough clothes. We went through 2-3 outfits a day.

  • Use sunscreen!

But without further ado, I know you want to win a family vacation so you can put all this to use!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve partnered with these amazing brands to give you so many tools, gift cards, CASH and style must haves for travel. And of course, a JoJo because as we all know, you definitely need one of those for travel (more on that next week!)

Here’s what you can win:

01. $300 hotel voucher from Triphop
02. JoJo Infant and Toddler Lounger (perfect for travel) from Nicole&Co. ($119 value)
03. 3-month subscription to SCOUTbox ($114 value)
04. $250 Amazon gift card from Project Mom
05. $300 shopping credit to DiscountGlasses.com
06. Five pairs of Fuzzy Babba slippers! ($90 value)
07. A watch and bracelet set from Mon Amie ($125 value)

Giveaway closes November 17th, just in time for holiday gift giving, too!

How I consolidated 3 weeks of work into 1 day | creative biz client management for dummies (like me)

Own a creative biz? Want an easier client management solution? 

Ok, let’s start here.

I bypassed Honeybook more than a few times. Somehow convinced myself that it wasn’t for me. That for some reason, my creative biz didn’t fit in the Honeybook box because it wasn’t wedding based.

This, my friends, made me a fool. A F O O L !

Here’s how my normal workflow would go:

  1. A potential client would email me through my website. I would have to check more than one email address daily, making sure nothing was missed. And even then, I missed them due to spam. Stupid spam folder.

  2. I’d write back, ask about what they are interested in, and how can next connect.

  3. We’d then schedule a time to chat, which would take a few emails back and forth.

  4. Then we’d decide to work together, and then the real work on my end started.

  5. First, send a proposal. Open Word, find a past client’s proposal that was most similar and customize for this client. 

  6. Find which email address I communicated with this client from. Send proposal via email. 

  7. Wait for response.

  8. “Looks great” response would come through, then I do this all over again with a project agreement. Open Word. Customize an old contract, send it off.

  9. “Snap a photo of the last page signed and send back to me!”

  10. Ugh. Seriously. Face palm.

  11. Draft invoice for deposit in Quickbooks. Download. Save. Send. Wait for check to be delivered via snail mail. 

  12. And then, finally, we’d start the project.

I’m tired already and we haven’t even started.

But here’s the thing. As a small business owner, I don’t have the funds or the brain space to use another, and yet another, app for these things. Just e-sign contract agreement apps can cost a minimum of $15 a month and that’s just for e-signatures. I still have to draft the contract myself.

Then we get into payment processing, digital proposals and email management galore. 

I thought this worked.

And honestly, it did work. But little did I know that there is such a better, and so much easier way.

On my IG story today, I’m going through a simple Honeybook overview and how I was able to get each and every one of these steps, the initial client onboard particularly, into one simple place.

My first project through Honeybook, the client on boarding took 1 day. Deposit paid and everything. Versus the weeks it used to take me. In fact, I’ve been able to onboard almost double my normal client load in the same amount of time, simply because of this simple process.

The important pieces are this – I was able to send the proposal, contract, and deposit request IN ONE EMAIL. No more back and forth. 

I got paid the day after I talked to the client, and their project got started the day after that. We just took 3 weeks (or more) off the books that would have been complete wasted time.

Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is that there is no other software or platform out there that does this for creatives. And frankly, I’m not even taking advantage of everything I COULD be doing.

Book keeping, calendar syncing, analytics and reports, client inquiry forms, time tracker, referrals, and file library.

Features I’m currently loving:

TEMPLATES

I am able to upload contract and proposal templates (Honeybook even took the ones I had and input them for me!), so all I need to do is click SEND and it customizes itself to my new client and project.

Speaking of project, I can upload, make and/or customize project templates using a list of services I already offer. So. Simple. It makes me feel stupid for not doing this before.

Emails - I can customize email templates for each stage of the client management process. No “generic” emails ever sent again, and I feel so confident that I won’t forget something, because it’s already done for me!

REMINDERS

I am an accountability rookie. I do not like accountability (for myself or others… freedom lovers unite). But Honeybook reminds me all the time when something is due, or someone needs something, or I said I would do something. No more missed deadlines or slacking on response times.

PAYMENT

You guys, it is the easiest thing in the world. I don’t even need to create an invoice. Just a *templated* payment schedule for projects, and viola. Payment made and money in my bank account. Simple as pie. Actually, easier, and much faster, than pie. Pie is hard.

50% OFF

Because I love this software so much, and feel like such a fool for not utilizing this sooner (like, wayyyyyyy sooner), I want to offer you other creative biz bosses (or even if you’re not creative, but like, a bookkeeper, this could still totally work fo you… seriously), access to Honeybook for a major discount. 

First of all, get a trial period for absolutely free. And if you don’t like it, ditch it. But you’ll love it. So I’m so excited to be able to partner with Honeybook to give you 50% off your year of Honeybook. 

I know that you will love it as much as me, and I wouldn’t tell you to go for it if I thought this was a waste of your valuable time. Because let me tell you – just in time saved using this little but very mighty app, I’ve TRIPLED what would be the cost of Honeybook is clients booked and deposits paid in ONE MONTH. 

That’s a lot of money that I would not have made otherwise, or it would have taken me A LOT LONGER to make it.

Anyway, I really would love to offer you this as a gift from one overworked and overwhelmed biz boss to another. 

Kantha Bae

Becoming a mama has not only given me the incredible opportunity to share about my own journey as a mom, but I’ve been lucky enough to have connected with so many other amazing humans I would have never met otherwise.

One of them being Krista, owner and designer behind Kantha Bae.

Like many brands I love, Kantha Bae serves a deeper purpose and has a business heart of literal gold.

 
 

Kantha Bae, and their partner Basha Boutique, supports Bangladeshi women coming from at risk and trafficking environments to find a home, a job, and safe care for their children. Each piece of Kantha Bae goods is hand made by one of the these women, and let me tell you, holding these pieces in your hands brings the spirit of them right into your own soul.

Every single piece of Kantha Bae and Basha Boutiques goods is ONE OF A KIND. Meaning, no one else in the whole world has this. 

Krista, owner and founder, is a mom to 5 and an amazing inspiration. I am lucky enough to be able to call her an Insta friend, and real life inspiration behind my own work as a mompreneur.

I am so excited to be a brand partner for Kantha Bae, and share these incredible pieces of one-of-a-kind fabrics with you.

You can head to the shop and see all the amazingness yourself, but here are some of the pieces I am lucky enough to have.

Kantha Bae restocks the first Monday of every month at 5 pm (that’s today!).

The baby slings are of course my favorite, but now that Joey is almost 40 pounds and doesn’t sit still, I’m not in a place to use one. I am, however, planning to order another chunky quilt for Joey’s room and head wrap because I think, maybe, I’m cool enough to pull one of those off… maybe.

Calling All Product Shop Forces

 
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Do you guys know my friend Rachel?

I feel strongly that you must. I pretty much talk about her every day and she’s also pretty much the best.

Well, here’s the thing:

Rachel and I are biz besties, but she’s also a life bestie. And she’s really really good at what she does.

For the last 15 weeks, Rachel has been hosting a “test” mastermind group, per say. However, we all know that anything “test” from Rachel means that it’s full blown amazeballs and she has put everything she has into its creation.

So this mastermind, specifically for product shop owners, has been something I’ve watched from a little bit of a distance. You see, because Rachel and I are besties, and now she’s besties with these ladies in her mastermind, I’m not besties with these ladies in her mastermind.

Seriously. The internet is so amazing. I’ve been able to curate these incredible relationships because she has shared me with them and them with me, and now I have this little group of fab biz ladies that I don’t really know what I did before I knew them.

Part of me feels a little FOMO because I don’t have a product shop, hence I don’t qualify for this particular mastermind group. Not to say that Rachel probably wouldn’t let me in it anyway… but that’s neither here nor there.

The point is, is that I know a ton of you ARE product shop owners, and are at so many different stages of your business. Many are thinking about starting but don’t know where to start. Some are seasoned and want to take it up a notch. Some are right at the beginning and thinking about growth and a steady paycheck. Whatever the place or season, I swear, Rachel has been there and is eager to share the wealth.

Rachel is one of the most selfless women I know, making this mastermind group a solid endeavor and investment for anyone in the industry.

Anyway, I get asked all the time about what kind of business tips and tricks I can offer someone who is wanting to further their business online. And this my friends, is my recommendation.

There is one catch, though. As of right now, Rachel only has ONE SPOT left. Ya. Because she is that awesome.

So if you want to apply, head to the link below, and get your application in ASAP. 

Anyway, ciao for now and may the product shop forces of nature be forever in your favor.

What kind of mompreneur are you?

 
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So, two weeks ago I get this email.

"Hey, we've noticed you have quite a cool mompreneur following. Are you interested in partnering with us to create some cool quizzes to engage your audience?"

Ummmmm, yes please.

Interact is a pretty awesome software that enables you to make all those cool-ass quizzes you see all over social media. I most commonly frequent the "How well do you know FRIENDS" and "What kind of donut are you" and "How excited are you for the Spice Girls reunion tour." But that's just me.

Anyway, the point is, Interact thought that all of you guys somehow made me cool enough to be a partner, and they have given me access to this software in exchange for sharing it with you!

I haven't dove super deep into all the features yet, but here's what I know:

It's crazy easy to use. It acts like Zapier, if you're familiar, and basically allows me to add anything I want, anywhere I want.

I love that I can brand it for myself, and I'm not restrained to anything at all. Fonts? Here's all of Google. Colors? Give us an hex code. Photos? Use our stock of you want, or upload your own because we know you're awesome.

Make it a "how well do you know..." type, or a "what kind of..." type and so much more. 

integrate with any email or lead collection service. Literally. Any.

Add calls to action for every single response. Know you want to take people to a download? A blog? A podcast episode? A webinar? Whatever you can dream, you can send your potential client to.

I could go on, but basically, I want to say THANK YOU to all of you who have made Interact think I'm awesome, because now they are awesome and now we can all be more awesome.

The end.

Oh! Want to see how this works?! I created a super fun, casual quiz below to find out what kind of mompreneur you are. I'm not totally sure my questions correlate, but it was an experiment so just roll with it.

Love you, mean it, and have fun Momma!

Yes, Interact did give me free access to their software in exchange for this post, but trust me, I only promote brands and business I think are great. You'll enjoy them, too. Thanks for supporting me and the brands I love! 

Mother's Day

 
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There’s a lot of really amazing moms kicking butt out there. I mean, almost a third of the world’s population is who I’m talking about. Moms in general, kick butt.

But in honor of Mothers’ Day fast approaching, I have rounded up so of my most favorite mommas to follow on Instagram.

I get asked all the time who I recommend for following along, for an assortment of reasons:

  • Momma mindset
  • Productivity and balance
  • Biz boss and momma workflow
  • Fashion and lifestyle
  • And so many more

But just a few of my favorite mommas on IG have so much more to offer than just those things. These mommas are hardcore dedicated, both to their craft and their offspring. Dedicated to their spouses and their families. Dedicated to building a community of like-minded friends instead of loyal followers.

These mommas are just a few of the many that I strive to emulate, imitate and eventually share life with.

Felica Allen

Reasons I love her: this boy mom is all things real. Felicia is the marketing director for Wild Bird, those amazing slings we all wear. But more than that, she’s a baby wearing lover, and advocate. Most of all, she has recommended some of the best books ever for parenting to me, and I love that we share a similar, if not identical, view of boy parenting.

Reasons you should follow her: the adventures she goes on with her boys, gorgeousness that is her life.

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Felicia shared Janet Lansbury with me, and for that, I am forever grateful.


Simply Sadie Jane

Reasons I love her: Oh em gee, Sadie is so freakin’ funny. Mom to three, the newest being baby Henry who is so chunky I just die. 

Reasons you should follow her: candy suggestions, health and fitness inspiration, realness

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: watch the Henry Eats highlight reel in her IG


Chrissy J Powers

Reasons I love her: Chrissy’s honesty about life is unreal. Barely anything is filtered, she isn’t afraid to be real in any and all situations. All the while, her feed is gorgeous to look at and I wake up in the morning excited to see what she’s storied from the night before.

Reasons you should follow her: True biz boss momma. Mom to two boys and a girl on the way, and she has a killer business consulting, coaching and marketing. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Her gender reveal story for their baby girl. She and her husband could not wait until 20 weeks, so they had the early blood test and her reaction is so priceless. I cried for a whole day about it.


Rachel Hollis

Reasons I love her: Rachel took me a minute. She’s a lot to handle. And then I realized, that she’s basically me. She’s author and mom and big biz boss. I aspire to be her, like ASAP. 

Reasons you should follow her: Motivation. Real life moments and solutions. Because she’s been there and done it and if you follow her advice, you’ll make it, too.

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: When Girl, Wash Your Face went onto the NY Bestseller list. It’s been there for three weeks, but the first day it did, her story and reaction was the most unfiltered, raw real you’ve ever seen. A little girl’s dream come true.


Against All Grain

Reasons I love her: My gosh, this girl is gorgeous. So are her kids and so is her husband. But that’s not why I love her. I love Danielle because she puts herself and her family in front of everything else. Author, blogger and basically a celebrity, Danielle still makes herself so grounded and accessible. 

Reasons you should follow her: Even if you’re not into cooking/recipes, she’s worth a follow. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: The shooting of her latest cookbook. It was astonishing. 


Jen Hatmaker

Reasons I love her: Do I really even need to say? If you’re not following Jen, you live under a rock. Jen is just, goals. The end. 

Reasons you should follow her: Her Facebook posts are pure gold. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Her text conversation with Glennon Doyle about her girl going off to college 700 miles away, stating that she made a mistake in raising her daughter to be self-sufficient and independent. She should have taught her nothing and made her stay home forever. It’s the best. 


Anelise Salvo

Reasons I love her: Well, I know Anelise personally, so I’m a little biased, but I love her because she’s so raw. She’s a designer, like me, and does so by all means necessary while also being Mom of the Year. 

Reasons you should follow her: She and her husband spend two seasons a year in different places - one season traveling and the other in Tahoe. Their adventures are the most amazing you’ll find. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Last year, her and her husband and newborn baby boy, Costa, lived out of a van on the other side of the continent. She ran her design business, and they LIVED IN A VAN. It was the most amazing adventure I’ve ever seen. 


Shay Cochrane

Reasons I love her: Shay is queen. Shay works two days a week, and moms/wifes/lives full time the other days. I mean, goals. Queen of styled flat lays and all things pretty. 

Reasons you should follow her: Quirky authentic motherhood of two girls, all the while living in a gorgeous house with a hunk husband who also kicks butt in business. Also, she takes amazing photos. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: I love her BTS of her photoshoots. She shares them all the time, and I’m sucked in every time. 
 

Fabletics + A Momma Who Lifts

 
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*This post is sponsored by Fabletics. All opinions are my own.

After I had a baby, I wore athletic wear most every day, like most new moms. I always made sure my top was loose and my leggings went high. Get my tummy tucked back up where it’s supposed to be and leave room for a nursing babe.

Until very recently, I never really cared about how that athletic wear looked, or acted, other than keeping my tummy tight.

But now, I’m able to keep my athletic wear where it is supposed to be – doing athletic things. Let me say this: This is an honor. Never in my life did I think I would be here, caring about if my bottoms were squat proof or if my sports bras cut into my lats or not.

However, now I do care.

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This spring, I’ve been able to receive and review some Fabletics athletic wear. And let me tell you two things about this:

  1. Really?! Fabletics cares about me?! Let me just pinch myself and act like I’m only one degree of separation from meeting Kate Hudson.
  2. I’m kind of sold. Gimme more.

Coming from the girl who wears mostly black and white and navy most days, these floral print leggings were kind of a shocker, but as soon as I put them on, I was looking in the mirror and literally “hot damning” myself. I can pull these off. And if I can, and walk out in public with them, so can you. I swear.

And also. I need to go find a good yoga class so I can show off this sports bra. I did a little review HERE of that one, and though it’s less supportive than my other sports bras, I admit I’ve worn it almost every workout. It’s that comfy.

So, you’ll see me rocking these spring flings, and for sure some more of the Fabletics wear, all the time.

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Favorite things about these leggings:

Totally squat proof! I know, they’re even white!

So, so soft.

Thick but very breathable.

High rise is snug at the waist but looser on the rise, keeping everything in but not cutting into my ribcage or waist.

Perfect rise on me (5’7”), coming just at my bellybutton. Also the perfect length.

Can we talk about this print? OMG, next time I’m wearing my fluffy pink sweater and putting a bow in my hair and calling myself Spring.

Get two pairs of these (and any of the other) amazing leggings for $24 when you join Fabletics’ flexible VIP membership program. Seriously. Do it. They are the best – go here for the deal.

Get my leggings right HERE

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ErgoBaby 180 Stroller GIVEAWAY + Review

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There is no other ‘hood I would rather be a part of than motherhood. I am so blessed that not only do I get to enjoy the little moments of motherhood with my baby boy, but I actually get to share so many things with all my other ‘hoods – like the Insta-hood!

Speaking of ‘hoods, how about the fact that cruising through my own little hood is one of our most favorite things to do.

Joey spends a lot of time in the stroller, strolling through our neighborhood with the girls, trekking through the gravel to the park, and most weekends we are at the farmers’ market; getting that stroller quite sticky with fresh persimmons and all the berries we can stuff in our mouths.

And just like our babywearing obsession, Ergo has yet again appeased my soul and my love for ease of mommyhood.

The new Ergo 180 stroller is just as fab as our favorite carrier, this one (in case you missed it), and frankly, I’ll be getting myself one of these babies if and when baby number two comes someday. Maybe even if baby number two doesn’t come. It’s that great.

But for now, this turnkey, super modern and ultra-awesome stroller is going to one of you, yes you, in what is sure to be the best Easter basket a momma ever did see.

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Ok, ok, but what makes this stroller so great? Well, let me tell you, momma!

It’s crazy lightweight.

I can carry this things with one arm, and still have Joey in the other. Oh, also, I can carry it down the stairs and also hold things in my other hand. I’m not kidding. It’s so light.

All four wheels lock, two ways, individually.

Want to walk the straight line? No prob. Want all the movement? No prob. Want to lock the wheel closest to your foot without walking around the back? No prob. Want something in between all these options? Ok, it’s got that covered, too.

Face your baby, or don’t (Joey’s preferred way to walk). Or switch.

With major ease, too.

Tall? Short?

Doesn’t matter. It adjusts for everyone.

Adjustable seat recline.

The only thing that isn’t as easy as my Uppababy, but still crazy simple.

The sun shade is the coolest thing ever.

It can go a little, a lot, or All. The. Freaking. Way. Down. This was also Joey’s preferred way to walk, apparently. He HATES the sun in his face, and this sun shade is made for a baby like Joey.

Cleaning made slick.

Just unsnap it, throw the seat in the wash, or spray with a hose as I would do, and viola. Clean without the hassle.

And the winner is – ONE HANDED FOLD UP.

Pull on the handle in the middle. I’m not kidding. It folds in half and then you can carry it with the handle. I’ve been folding it up just for fun because it’s so incredible. Like whaaaat?!

I have to be honest, I never thought I would find a stroller I love more than my Uppababy one. I adore my Uppababy stroller and carseat and bassinet combo. But this thing, well, I would switch in a heartbeat. I’m obsessed.

And so, I’m stoked to handing this cadillac off to a momma who needs it. Because God knows we could all use a little more ease in our mommyhood season.

Without further ado, I am stuffing this stroller box with not only this brand spanking new (minus a few Joey Cheerios from the photoshoot) Ergo 180 stroller but also whole bunch of other new momma goodies from some of my other favorite mommas to give one of YOU the Easter basket of a lifetime.

But how do you win? Super easy.

 
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Head on over to my Instagram and enter on the post with this photo. Just follow the loop of mommas, and get yourself the chance to win:

Be sure to leave these other mommas some love, too.

*This giveaway is not sponsored by Instagram or any other party.

**This post does contain affiliate links and I may be compensated from the brand retailers. However, all opinions, photos and copy are my own. Thanks for supporting me and the brands I love!

Also, in case you missed it for some reason, there's more giveaways being announced over on the email list. You can get more info by joining here!

A Glimpse Into Babywearing and Weights

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There are two types of babywearing workouts:

The one when you wear your baby as a tool, to add weight to yourself and to also soothe them. This is generally while they are little, don't talk, and can't reach around your with their arms yet.

Then there's the one that I had this morning. When your toddler is making a fool of himself, and you, by smearing banana all over the gym floor and then begging to be held. But then you hold him and he wants down. Cue, the Ergo and some help to restrain the beast that is your child.

But not to worry, wearing a thirty pound kettlebell on your back is nothing compared to a thirty pound toddler who kicks you when you're deep into your squat and then scratches your waistline and laughs. 

Really, though. I enjoy nothing more than working out with my baby boy. He was 4 weeks old when we got back to the gym, and he's spent most of his days in that Ergo, strapped to his mamma while she kicks booty. Literally.

It always seems to be when we need them to cooperate most, they decide to ruffle feathers. Old news, I know. So instead of an in-depth review of this bad-ass brand today, I'm going to prove to you that this brand is not only workout proof, but babywearing workout proof.

You're welcome.

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I'm wearing the Fabletics Camila Bra in clay in a medium. Honestly, it is a little loose on me. Granted, I don't have much to fill it up. However, it is ultra comfy, stays crazy cool through a sweaty workout, and the back is so cute. 

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This goody is best worn for slow weight lifting or yoga workouts, as it doesn't have a ton of support. But that's my jam, since there's not much to support. And it's nice and stretchy. 

Joey, obviously, is happy back there. And mamma got her squats and sumos in, even with the extra weight.

*This post does contain affiliate links and I may be compensated from the brand retailers. However, all opinions, photos and copy are my own. Thanks for supporting me and the brands I love!

ERGO BABY | OMNI 360 + A GIVEAWAY!

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Let me start from the beginning.

I have an addiction to babywearing. I think it’s seriously the best thing that’s ever happened to motherhood. I feel proud to be a parent when I think about how long ago, and how wonderfully, moms have been wearing their babies. How much they got done, how much they bonded with their kids, and how much they knew it was the only way to parent.

Babywearing is really the only way I have been able to BE A PARENT this last year.

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Babywearing is how I got dinner cooked, how I went to church, how I wrote blog posts, and how I worked out.

Because of wearing my baby, I now have not only my pre-baby body back, but a body that is healthier, stronger and slimmer than it has ever been (that includes college…).

My journey of babywearing is long, and bouncy, as I use a lot of different carriers and jump back and forth between them often, depending on our current needs.

Ergo, though able to be used through basically every stage of babyhood, has been the most essential to me in the last 6 months, particularly at the gym.

(Post is in partnership with ErgoBaby)

I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of Ergo’s influencer team, and with that came the pleasure of trying out the brand new Omni 360 baby carrier. As a religious user of the original Ergo 360, I have to admit I was hesitant, as I didn’t really want to change my mind on how much love I had for my carrier.

Final thoughts? Well, I still ADORE my Ergo 360, and will continue to use it for my babywearing workouts. But, the Omni 360 definitely has a place in the babywearing arsenal.

Want to win one of these bad boys? Check out my latest Insta post to enter! Hurry though, giveaway ends in a flash.

WIN

Pros

  • Front babywearing. I actually prefer the Omni, simple because I can get Joey in an out without taking the carrier off my shoulders. Best part? I don’t have to clip the straps behind my back.
  • Flexibility of size. I love not needing an infant insert, and that depending on size of baby, I can easily adjust the height of the carrier, even while it’s on. So easy, simple, and customizable.
  • Front outward carry. Joey could have stayed like this all day in this carrier. I was able to keep him up a little higher because of the adjustment options, his arms were much more comfortable and the slimmer hip stance made it even more chill for him. Also, his head didn’t rub against my chest as aggressively as in the original 360.
  • Solid colors. My Ergo 360 is solid black, but honestly it’s the only one I’ve seen. This Omni 360 comes in lots of solid colors with no two-tone, light colored inside, making the look so much cleaner, and stains much less of an issue.

Cons

  • Hip strap. After wearing Joey on the front for more than an hour, my lower back wasn’t very happy with me. The thinner hip straps and lower back support patch didn’t really fit me very well, and I definitely prefer the wide, velcro strap of the original 360.
  • Going from person to person. Because of the so many adjustment options, switching the carrier from person to person is a little cumbersome. It takes a little more effort to fit it correctly.
  • Tightness. I couldn’t get it quite tight enough in our workout to do some of the exercises we normally do with our original 360.

So all in all? LOVED IT. But I will keep my nice, broken in, solid black, deodorant stained, perfectly adjusted Ergo 360 for the time being. Talk to me when I have a newborn though… I’ll be ordering one of these Omni 360s in a hurry.

Want to purchase an Ergo? I suggest you do ;) Get 10% by signing up for for the Nicole&Co. email updates and get your discount code.

Want to see Joey and me awkwardly review the Omni 360 at home? Check it out below and leave some love.

Motherhood & Co.

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Currently, sitting in the recliner in the living room, watching a rerun of The Voice, looking down to find a piece of half chewed cheese quesadilla stuck to the back of my hand.

You see, I just finished picking up said half chewed pieces of cheese quesadilla off the floor while Adam put a very cranky and moody and teething, allergy induced, pink eyed Joey to bed.

So it makes total sense that there is a piece of it stuck to the back of my hand while I type this.

By the way, it’s still there. It’s safer on the back of my hand than it is on the floor where I might step on it, or on the arm of the chair where Adam will put his hand later and yell at me for leaving it there.

I also just trapped my husband in a not-so-kind conversation and totally set him up to fail.

I also have pink eye. In both eyes.

Earlier today, I let Joey chase and crawl all over Rudy the Roomba, which is not a rare occurrence, fully aware that it is not good for said Roomba, as Joey is quite strong and very capable of breaking it in two. And frankly, as of that moment, I’d rather pay for a new Roomba than get up from my seat to move Joey to a new location with a new toy, knowing full well he will be back to the Roomba in a minute flat.

Also, yesterday, I watched as Joey pulled the dining room chair over on himself. Seriously, stood there, frozen in my tracks, like a statue. It was like I knew that I couldn’t help him, but even if I could, I didn’t know how to. So I just watched, let it all fall, and then picked him after, hoping to God that he was not suffering from a concussion which I think I may have, might have been able to, avoid. If I had just moved.

Joey has a bruise on his eyebrow as well, from falling down on the edge of the coffee table.

Yep, I’m that mom right now.

See, we are all the same. Every night we put the babies down to bed and know that if we kept all the humans, animals, Rudy the Roomba and most of the plants in the yard alive, it’s a win.

But there are some things that are a little bit different, I’m realizing. And putting all moms into the same category as the “organized chaos” type really, actually leaves out so many of us.

Because yes, my life is complete organized chaos. And on most days, I feel like a hot mess. A blessed hot mess, but a hot mess nonetheless. But also on most days, my role as a mom is not the only role I play. And it’s important to know, though I am a mom, this is not my entire identity. And for so many other woman, it isn’t theirs either.

Many of the things we do fall into the cliches, however they roll. Such as the top knot, wine drinking, yoga pant wearing blogger. Yep, I am that mom.

I also am part of a Mommy and Me group, but instead of talking about our baby’s teething situations while sipping too much caffeine, we wear our babies and aren’t afraid to lift really heavy things.

I am a business owner, but I’m rarely ever a business owner and a mom at the same time.

I drive a mommy car, but it’s a badass mommy car, and I take the top off, a lot.

I read books to my baby, but they are things like “People Over Profit” or “Rising Strong” or the latest Nic Sparks book, because he doesn’t care what the book is about. As long as he gets to hear my voice.

Here is my point: you do not have to be ordinary, even as a mom.

This idea that moms “can’t do it all” is very true. It’s also incredibly false.

You see, we actually can. We can do all things. We can do all things well. And we can do all things THAT WE WANT TO DO.

We are all just winging it. Seriously. Nobody knows how to actually do this parenting thing. But the thing is, though there are millions of things to read and “experts” to talk to, it doesn’t seem like anyone is really sharing the ins and outs of HOW they did it.

We can keep using generalities, or we can talk specifics. And if you really want help with this mommy business, generalities don’t help any of us.

A friend told me, when Joey was a mere two months old, that I was doing it. I was doing what all moms wanted to do, but couldn’t. I was working on my businesses, I was working on projects for my clients, working on my body, my marriage, my faith, my cooking skills, my breastfeeding form, to name just a few.

I remember feeling like that was completely ridiculous. I was just trying to survive. Make it through the day without losing complete control of all I held dear. Turns out, those things I held dear? They held me together, too.

I get questions all the time:

How do you balance mommyhood and your businesses?
What tools did you use to combat your postpartum depression?
How are you able to cook dinner most nights and still get Joey to bed on time?
How did you get your body back so fast?
How do you justify using or paying for daycare?
What do you mean Joey sleeps all night long? How?! (that’s a fun one…)
Or my favorite, “How do you find time for it all?”

It’s time we got specific. It’s time us moms come together and actually outline how to do this thing. How to be a mom. AND all the other things we want to be.

Not one piece of our life that we find important is negotiable. And just because being a mom comes first does not mean that we need to have a numbered priority list, and start from the top and work our way down. All those things matter.

And so, since we all in this together, let’s talk about it together. I’d love to hear some of your really specific questions. About any, all, some, of these things we do in our lives. I want to help, or find some help, and make motherhood not so scary, for all of us.

Something is in the works for this, I promise, and with your help, we can put all the tools together, and have a very real, very candid conversation. Together.

PLEASE SEND ME YOUR QUESTIONS!

I truthfully, honestly, want to hear

xoxo

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The Design Tribe | A New Collaboration and a GIVEAWAY!

Owning a business is, like, freaking scary.

Want to know what has helped ease the terror a bit?

Our tribe. At the beginning, it’s easy to feel kind of feel alone and like you’re walking on fire, hoping you don’t get burned. But then, all of the sudden, someone picks you up, slaps your booty and says “Hey friend!”

This is our tribe. We are entrepreneurs. We are ladybosses. We are lighthearted and funny and ambitious and quirky and authentic and NEED EACH OTHER.

The Design Tribe is our little version of a true to heart tribe. We started our businesses, grew our businesses, helped each others’ businesses and shaped our businesses TOGETHER. And now, as creatives, we have so many ideas. So why not collaborate instead of compete?

The Design Tribe, a collaboration between Rachel Allene and Nicole & Co. is for the ambitious, lighthearted entrepreneur. Like you. And we are so excited to share with you!


So my fellow tribe, you have decided to take the leap, too.

First of all, Pop Clink Cheers! I’m raising a glass in congratulations to you.

Second, holy hell, are you so freaking scared right now?

Ya, been there. It’s like you’re staring over the edge of a cliff, and making the decision to jump. Question is, do you have your parachute ready? Or better yet, a hang glider. Then you don’t actually have to hit the ground at all!

We can fill this little post with tons of motivational fluff and entrepreneurial spirit-power quirks and all that jazz. It’s always lovely to hear how awesome you are.

OR

We could talk about what to do next. You already know how awesome you are. You are doing the bravest thing in the whole wide world. You’re awesome, duh.

Now that that is out of the way, what to do.

You gotta get your business built, babe.

Cue, our sweet little giveaway that is not so little

We are giving away a Neon Headquarters Launch package! Ya, the whole thing. The entire shebang. As in, you don’t have to do anything other than win this shindig and you’ve got yourself a business ready to rock and roll.

One day, all the things.

NHQ Launch is like a beer flight – get a taste of all the different aspects of running your business. Indulge in the whole experience while still savoring, appreciating and satisfying each important characteristic of launching your dream.

It’s collaborative. It’s in person. And it happens in ONE DAY.

What do we do?

Business Paperwork
Insurance
Business Plan
Strategic Content and Message Development
Branding
Website
Marketing
The Visuals
Digital Newsletter
Pep Talk From a Pro
Strength Finding
Goals

In our experience, starting a business goes like this:

Get really excited.
Google “how to start a business”
Cry
Lose faith in humanity

Let’s change the status quo of starting a business. Let’s do it this way:

Get really excited.
Call NHQ.
Cry for totally different reasons.
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We get it. Starting a business is like crawling through the labyrinth of insanity. It feels daunting and confusing and freaking expensive. It does not have to be this way. Hence our little NHQ system, built for creatives going there by creatives who have been there.

Sound better? Yay! Totally!

So what better way to get your business off to a kick-ass start in the New Year than little “kick in the ass?”

Follow @rachel_allene and @nicole.and.co
Like the photo posted
Tag a friend. Or two. Or three. The more you tag, the more entries you get.

And win this year. Literally. It’s 2017. Time to rock this shindig.

Let’s do it.

Want more info on NHQ? Go to neonheadquarters.com. Extra entry if you can find the Cookie Monster.

Okey dokey. One more thing! We wanted to give you the opportunity to snag a FREE print from our new collection. So, if you want to snag this goodie (pictured below), be sure to sign up for the newsletter, boo.

Sig up for our newsletter and GIMME THAT PRINT!

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