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summer fun at the MN Children's Museum

new partner: Be Free Revolution

babyproofing with North States

product feature: Zia earrings

austin | fowler diaper bag

the tadesse mini bucket bag

summer fun at the MN Children's Museum

I couldn't be more excited that Roy is finally getting to that age where he can do activities. And while activities a lot of times mean practicing walking, stacking blocks and playing with sticks, we can also add going to the newly re-opened MN Children's Museum!

We had the opportunity to check out the fresh new space in St Paul and had the best time! They have a spot specifically for younger kids called "Sprouts" that is full of Roy sized activities.

Roy's a huge fan of water so we spent a ton of time in the water spot of the room. They had adorable little rain jackets for the kids to wear so they didn't get soaked (how cute are these??).

I really loved how they filled the tubs with kitchen items like spatulas and spoons - they give us parents practical ways to recreate this experience at home!

They also have a fun "tree fort" full of pretend sticks and lots of books.

Roy got to practice his stair climbing (and was quite enamored by the slightly older kiddos who could run up the stairs next to him!).

They even had a Roy sized ladder climb which he crawled as fast as he could the second I put him down in the room. Our kid's a little daredevil!!

There was tons of other things to play with and that's only in one room!

If you have little ones and are in the Minneapolis area, be sure to check it out. There's truly something for everyone there! 

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new partner: Be Free Revolution!

I'm so excited to introduce our newest vendor partner, Be Free Revolution! 

Be Free Revolution started their work In Kenya, where they work with ladies in Kibera slum on handmade paper jewelry called, Papers of Peace, which  feed children twice a day at Wings of Life School in Kibera. They are now extending this concept to their local area of Memphis, TN for refugees placed in their city through The Ekata Collection. Each piece is handmade to embody passion, beauty and give purpose.

All of the jewelry in the shop from Be Free Revolution are from the Ekata Collection - I love being able to give refugees in the US a chance to learn a new skill and provide for their families!

Here's a few of the new pieces.

The Kyanite necklace is one of my absolute favorites! Long, gold necklace with 5 Gold Quartz stones at the end. This piece is a simple, elegant way to make a statement!

The Poly earrings are another favorite of mine. Between these and the Zia earrings, my ears are always looking fabulous. ;)

If you love studs, we have a beautiful turquoise stud for you! Gorgeous stud earrings created in turquoise, stone, brass, bronze and copper vintage wire.

If you're like me, you might need a gentle reminder to be kind - whether that's to your 1 year old who is learning how to walk and whines every time you stop helping him practice or to the stranger on the road who cut you off in traffic. This custom made Be Kind cuff is needed for all of us!

We also have amazing Turquoise Triangle earrings that are that are absolutely perfect for summer! Pair these with a summer dress or white tee and cut offs, these are will add that "special something" to any outfit.

And last but not least, the Triangle Wire necklace! Twisted wire in the shape of a triangle on a long chain - you're guaranteed to be the only one in your girl gang to have this unique piece!

I hope you love this new collection as much as me! Happy Shopping!

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baby proofing the house with North States!

It seems like with every stage there are positives and negatives.

When he started to roll over we were so excited - and then quickly realized we couldn't just leave him on the couch, bed or changing pad anymore!

When he started eating solid foods it was so fun - and then we discovered we had to have food ready for him to eat!

We were so excited for Roy to learn how to crawl and when he finally did, right before we left for Disney, we were quickly figuring out what things we need to baby proof!

He seemed completely unaware with the stairs for quite a while so we only added one baby gate (the Arched Auto-Close Gate with Easy-Step courtesy of our friends over at North States!) going downstairs until one day I let Chloe outside and came back into the main room only to find him climbing the stairs. YIKES! He went from not touching the stairs to figuring out how to climb them in a matter of a few seconds! (Parents, learn from my mistake. Add the baby gates to all stairways BEFORE you need them!)

We quickly added our 2nd baby gate to the stairs and felt much better about letting Roy crawl around our main level again. Rishi was the one who was put in charge of putting the gates up (we don't do projects together for the sake of our marriage ha!). The first one took a bit of time to figure out but the 2nd one went up in a matter of a couple minutes. Easy peasy!

One of the nice things about North States is their gates can fit most stairways! Our stairways have large openings so we simply added an extender to our gate so it would fit the entire opening. If your stairway is smaller, then you can do without the extender and use just the gate!

I absolutely love our gate for so many reasons. The Arched Auto-Close Gate with Easy-Step is able to swing both directions but you can also lock it to limit how it opens. They're super easy to open which is a bonus when carrying a child and having to open the gate with one hand and our babysitters can easily figure them out! They also have a  stay open feature so when Roy's not around we can leave them open and not have to deal with opening and shutting them. 

It was a bit of an adjustment for us to remember to not lock Chloe upstairs or downstairs ha! She doesn't bark so all of a sudden, we'd see her peering over the gate waiting for someone to open it for her. :)

The gates close automatically which is perfect for when your hands are full but early on I’d forget that I used the stay open feature after getting Roy up from a nap and all of sudden I’d see him crawling as fast as he can to the stairs. Thankfully he's the loudest crawler ever (despite being in the 7th percentile for everything) so you know when he's making a beeline for the stairs. In the beginning he would simply crawl over and close the door (what a good little helper!) but now he’s more interested in the challenge of the climb. ;)

The best part of our gates is that they're not an eye-sore! We're going to have these gates in our home for literally the next 2+ years now that baby #2 is on the way so I'm so thankful they blend in well with our home.

 

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product feature: Zia leaf earrings!

Everyone loves the look of large earrings but few of us an actually wear them since large typically equals heavy.

 

HOWEVER. When an earring is made out of leather, like our Zia leaf earrings, it doesn't matter how big it is, you'll never feel them! I honestly frequently forget I'm even wearing them until Roy sees them and goes to grab them, ha!

These earrings are handmade by women artisans at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in Northern India in collaboration our partner, Raven + Lily. The long tradition of hand-carving wood pairs nicely with locally sourced leather to create the beautiful bangle bracelets, beaded necklaces, and drop earrings.

 

All of the leather is locally sourced and hand-cut into our exclusive designs. The Neha cuffs that are made out of wood and leather go perfectly with these earrings!

As with all of our products, these earrings have a purpose behind them. The artisan women who hand make these pieces are able to find find new meaning through their work. They were once marginalized because of their gender and poverty and now find passion in their art and hope for their future.

Light, stylish and perfect for dressing up or dressing down, these earrings are going to be your go to earrings year round! 

Get your pair in white, black, gold or silver!

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things I'm loving: Austin | Fowler diaper bag!

This winter I was a vendor at a conference where I met the adorable Steph from Austin | Fowler. I got to hear all about how she started her company creating the most organized and adorable diaper bags after her twins were born. Organization and style were key to her in a diaper bag and she couldn't find anything that didn't end up being a black hole of chaos within minutes of filling it so she created her own!

And I feel her pain when it comes to the mess that the inside of a diaper bag can be! I can only imagine what the chaos will look like when baby #2 arrives and we have 2 sizes of diapers, bottles AND sippy cups, baby toys AND toddler toys. It's going to get crazy fast.

Well, fast forward to a few weeks ago when I got my hands on my very own Austin | Fowler bag! YAY! Steph sent over a Savannah (insert ALL the heart eyes) and I immediately transferred Roy's stuff (cuz babies need a lot of stuff).

Inside the bag are 6 bright pink removable pockets with labeled zippers. If you have ever taken a peek into our linen closet or storage room you will know my love affair with my label maker (yes, I'm a bit crazy) so to have pockets for "diapers and wipes", "snacks", and "books and toys" you can only imagine how happy I was.

Our current bag is a lot smaller and more flimsy than the Austin | Fowler so it felt really big the first time I carried it but I know when baby #2 is here I'll be extra glad for the additional space (not to mention the organization!).

{all pics taken by Brooke Aho}

If you're a mama looking for a better option for your diaper bag or a soon to be new mama on the hunt for the perfect bag, be sure to check out Austin | Fowler! And they're always coming out with new styles, new prints and new products (like these gorgeous wallets) so there's sure to be something you'll fall in love with.

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product feature: the tadesse mini bucket bag

Bucket bags are a true wardrobe staple.

It's simple structure is perfect for everyday use but fashionable enough that you'll be the envy of all your friends.

Our mini bucket bag, the Tadesse, is handmade in Ethiopia out of 100% genuine distressed leather and is named after one of the heroic women fashionABLE works with.

 

It's small size is perfect for all of your essentials - wallet, keys, phone - without weighing too heavy. Perfect for long walks for ice cream in the summer or taking to football games this fall!

The strap is adjustable so you can have it hang in that perfect spot. Check it out here for all the details or check out all of our leather bags here!

 

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my breastfeeding experience with Honest Co

If you've been following along on Instagram for the last 9 months then you've probably read a thing or 2 about my breastfeeding experience with Roy. If you're new to P+S then this will be all brand new. :) 

Early on in my pregnancy I heard story after story of moms who had a detailed birth plan typed out (wanting to eat this specific snack or hear that particular song when the baby came out) and how the actual birth went nothing like the birth plan which put a damper on the first few days of their baby's life. Immediately I knew I wouldn't have a birth plan. Easy peasy!

I did, on the other hand, have a "plan" for breastfeeding. That plan was to breastfeed for a year. Everyone I knew that wanted to breastfeed, did it and had very minimal complications and those that didn't breastfeed never really shared a whole lot about their decision to use formula. I knew there would be a learning curve but figured I'd figure it out easy enough and that'd be it!

When Roy made his debut on June 21st, those first few days were a range of emotion - clueless if Roy was actually eating anything when he was nursing, amazement that he seemed to latch right on, concern that he was going to suffocate on my giant boob (I was used to non existent size boobs and all of sudden milk made me look like Kim Kardashian), and annoyed at ALL of my friends because nobody told me how bad nursing hurt!! ;)

After a few days we seemed to have a figured out what we were doing and Roy put on weight very quickly. Everything seemed to be going as planned. Yay!

But then for some reason Roy started crying, sometimes screaming, through many of the afternoon feedings. I remember crying to my neighbor asking her why he was doing this. And as it goes with babies, there's always 500 different things it could be - did I eat something spicy, was he gassy, is he sensitive to a particular food - the options were endless.

I saw a lactation consultant who, of course, witnessed a perfect feeding and congratulated me for doing everything right. Despite seeing numerous pediatricians as we battled colds and all of those first few weeks of doctor appointments nobody seemed to notice anything wrong.

But the crying continued.

I had day when I dreaded feeding Roy. I would get anxious whenever it was almost time to feed him and would have Hart of Dixie playing when I started each feeding to keep me calm and not focused on the pain (the pain that yes, I was still experiencing) or the inevitable crying that would happen from Roy. Mornings and evenings seemed to go ok but the afternoons when I was home by myself could be so rough.

Rishi (my husband), my mom, my friends all told me it was ok to not nurse. That Roy needed a happy mama and if that meant not nursing then that's ok! That formula was just as good for Roy. Formula had come such a long way (like Honest Company's premium feeding solutions with organic, non-GMO and other high quality ingredients) and it was just as good for him!

But I'm stubborn and when I put my mind to something I do it. I didn't want to fail...or what felt like failing to me.

Imagine my surprise when I took Roy in for his 2 month appointment, the doctor looks in his mouth and tells me - "he has thrush!". Turns out he had an awful case that took 2 rounds of different medication to clear up.

Finally the crying was explained.

I had noticed some white in his mouth from time to time that I thought maybe was thrush but it was usually right after (or during) a feeding so I assumed it was from my milk. And as a first time mom I didn't really know what thrush looked like and I didn't want to panic over every little thing.

After Roy's thrush cleared up, and mine did as well (that explained why my nipples were still hurting!), breastfeeding got better for us.

But since the first 2 months were hard, it seemed like Roy still didn't love breastfeeding. I would fight him to nurse often times in the afternoon and would usually end up giving him a few ounces of pumped milk since he never seemed to nurse very well and he was always on the small side. That ended up being a full bottle for most of his afternoon feedings and slowly switching from me pumping those bottles to giving him formula since the stress of not producing enough was weighing on me.

By 6 months we had switched over completely to formula. And do you want to know what? I was relieved. Those first 2 months had been full of anxiety, guilt, frustration and anger feeling like I was failing at the one job my body was supposed to do. And the last 4 was felt like more of a battle rather than simply giving my child the nutrition he needed. Yes there were times of joy and love when we were cuddled up, nursing peacefully, but by the end of our breastfeeding experience the hard times clouded the good.

And now we're now pregnant with #2 (due in October!) and this time I'm going to take it day by day. I know now that sometimes things are out of your control and no matter how much you want to do breastfeed it might not happen as you planned. And at the end of the day, your child needs to be fed and you need to be happy. However that happens is perfect! 

I didn't know anyone else who had gone through an experience like mine and I vowed to not let any other mom who wanted to breastfeed, but couldn't for whatever reason, feel alone. We should all support one another no matter how we choose to feed our children.

Honest Company takes a best-for-baby approach and has developed a line of premium feeding solutions with organic, non-GMO and other high quality ingredients for various types of situations, including both breast and formula feeding.They like to think of themselves as a resource for both breastfeeding and formulaYou can find more about Honest Co's formula here and vitamin solutions here.

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my favorite baby products

Roy is officially 8 months old! That means we've had 8 months of trial and error with parenting and baby products. ;)

When I was pregnant I asked all my mom friends about everything they used from diapers to bottles to clothes. I took lots of their tips and advice and also found a few new products along the way.

Here are my favorite products to use with Roy! I only included things I especially loved instead of telling you every single thing I use. I hope this helps!

DIAPERING

1. Diapers + Wipes: Honest Company Diapers + Wipes  {good for the environment as well our baby's butt. They also deliver and are insanely cute so it was a no brainer.}

{Trust me when I say shopping with a new baby is hard enough so if you don't have to worry about fitting diapers and wipes into your already overflowing cart, it's 100% worth it.}

2. Changing Pad: Keekaroo Peanut Changer {keeps the pee by your baby's butt when the inevitable happens AND it's incredibly easy to disinfect. Rishi's favorite purchase. ;)}

3. Diaper Pail: Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail {we started out with the standard diaper genie but just invested in the Ubbi 2 months ago and we are all SO much happier. Uses regular trash bags and keeps the smell out like nobody's business. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.}

 BATH TIME

 1. Baby bath: Blooming Bath - Baby Bath (Canary Yellow) - soft and easy to throw in the wash. Perfect for bathing in the sink!

2. Body/hair wash + lotion: Tubby Todd  {amazing smell and Roy loves it!}

BREASTFEEDING

1. Breast pads: Bamboobies Super-soft Washable Nursing Pads {I tried tons and these were the only ones that didn't make me feel like I was wearing a padded bra but didn't leak}

2. Nursing pillow: Boppy {get it. use it. your wrists will thank you. then buy cute covers like these...not the dorky baby ones}

FEEDING

1. Bottles: Twistshake {get 20% off any Twistshake product with code paisleyandsparrow20}

2. Bibs: aden + anais {I didn't register for these but was given one at a shower. It is by far better than all of the bibs I got. It snaps so Roy can't pull it off and covers his clothes the best - read less laundry! Get these!}

3. Pacifer - Mam {Roy gagged on a lot of pacifiers but these work great!}

GEAR

1. Stroller - Uppa Baby Vista {expensive but worth it. especially if 2 kids are in your future since it easily turns into a double stroller!}

2. Car Seat - Nuna Pipa {Rishi loved it since it's from Europe and has higher safety standards. I love it because it's light and easy to get in and out of the car.}

3. High Chair - Keekaroo {it grows with your kid so you can use it as an infant through toddler stage!}

CLOTHING

1. Hi.Little.One {you can get personalized onesies! I take his monthly photos in the same "hi I'm Roy" onesie}

2. Finn + Emma {100% organic and adorable - you'll love these! they also carry blankets, teethers and rattles that we use and love...see these in the next group! get 15% off your order by clicking this link!}

3. Tea Collection {Roy's very first outfit was from Tea Collection - we bought it right after we found out we were having a boy! We love this brand that makes fair trade and ADORABLE clothes!}

Other Baby Stuff We Love!

1. Finn & Emma teethers and blanket {the adorable castle is a rattle and teether in one! Roy loves both of these and uses them all the time! get 15% off your order by clicking this link!}

2. Milestone Cards {perfect for documenting those important moments}

3. Lorena Canalas Rugs {machine washable rugs that are perfect for kiddos! ours will eventually end up in the play area I'm creating but right now it's perfect for our main level to help him learn how to crawl. the black rug in most of these photos are the rug we own!}

4. Baby Ktan Carrier {check out this post for all the deets}

 So there you have it! A bunch of all of my favorites. What did I miss? What a go to for you little one?

this is a sponsored post in partnership with tubby toddtea collectionlorena canals rugs, finn + emmamilestone cards, twistshake, and baby ktan and does include affiliate links. all words are my own and I wouldn't include these brands unless I truly love them! thanks so much for supporting the brands that make the paisley + sparrow blog possible. 

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things I love: The Bouqs Co

This year for Valentine's Day my husband did something a bit different. Sure I got flowers but this time they came wrapped in brown paper cut by a farmer earlier that day.

They came from the Bouqs Co! A company neither one of has had heard of but we're so impressed with their quality, mission and beauty that we'll definitely be ordering more!

The Bouqs Co is helping farmers all over the world grow their business - something I dearly love! Their Farm to Table Bouqs, like the one I got, are cut the day you order and shipped from one of their farm partners so they last.

All their farms practice sustainable, eco-friendly farming, and they cut only what they sell - so they don't waste 1 out of every 3 stems like others. LOVE!

The best part is they're extremely affordable and they don't try to upsell you on dorky add ons like teddy bears or balloons. So the next time you want to make someone feel extra loved or you want to treat yourself, try them out! You won't be disappointed!

P.S. This was no way endorsed by The Bouqs Co. We bought our own flowers! I just love to share my favorites with you! :)

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5 tips to brighten your day

Winter can be hard.

The days are short. The weather is frigid. And I'm not a big fan of going outside unless I have to. :)

We've had a milder than usual winter this year but it doesn't mean the winter blues don't set in! In case you're like me and can get a little down during the middle of winter (or whenever!), here are a few ways to brighten up your day.

1. Exercise!

Rishi likes to remind me that everyone is happier when I'm working out. As Elle Woods said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." It can be hard to get moving but it definitely gets those endorphins going!

2. Get outside.

On those -20 days, going outside is the last thing I want to do but even a short walk around the block gets me out of a funk. Sometimes even a walk from my car into Target does the trick! ;)

3. Call someone.

Sometimes I realize I just need to talk to someone if I'm feeling down. I'll frequently facetime my sister or mom to say hi. Even a quick 5 minute chat helps!

4. Do something you love.

Love organizing? (like me?) Love baking? Love sewing? Do it! Doing something you love and finishing a task will definitely give you a boost!

5. Get some "you" time.

Get a massage, paint your nails or take a bath! Do something just for you!

Shop my outfit here:

Bag - Golden Arrows Tote

Bracelet - Birhanu Gold

Pants - Pilcro from Anthropologie

Tank - From Anthropologie but out of stock. Similar here or here. Same brand here

Boots - Diba from DSW

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