Like most everyone, it kind of sickens me to walk into Ikea and see Christmas decorations. I'm not ready, I say! I'm not ready! But ready or not, the holidays are coming, and quickly. Last year I was inundated with holiday card orders at the last minute - I know, I know, you don't want to think about the holidays until at least Thanksgiving - but last minute orders stress me out, so too bad for you! ;)
In order to avoid the mad rush that was 2010, I'm offering 10% off the design fee on all custom cards through November 10. And as always, past clients don't have to pay to have themselves re-drawn, so potentially you may only need to pay for printing and envelopes!
Check out this year's designs (or come up with your own cute idea!):
The following two "cards" are belly bands, which you can wrap around a 4" x 6" photo, or your holiday newsletter!
And please tell your friends, because you've only got until November 10 - friends don't let friends pay full price when they don't have to, am I right or am I right?
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Warning: this entry is going to be epic. As in, seriously long. My apologies if you have no use for a diaper bag.
When you first have a baby, the mountain of crap you have to take with you everywhere is IN-FREAKING-SANE. Seriously. Half the time my enormous diaper bag was overflowing, and I still didn't have everything I needed!
Now that Charlie is over a year, I don't take the diaper bag everywhere I go - I leave it in the car in case of an "emergency." In the early months, however, you will definitely need a diaper bag with you at all times. Little babies poop approximately every thirty seconds, and that poop has a tendency to get everywhere. Basically, every day is a series of emergencies. ;)
In the beginning, having a very cute diaper bag was super important to me. Later, though, utility took over, and we used the "Diaper Dude" that my parents bought for Y. For every day use with an older baby (when you don't have to carry around a change of clothes, nursing pads, etc), I think putting a smaller pocketbook sized thing in an attractive purse is a better idea.
First, let's talk about the actual bags. You can get really obsessive about bags, which is a (very) dangerous road. We have four, which I think is one too many. Trust me, this can be a bad habit.
- The first bag I got was this OiOi Messenger Bag (1). I was never totally sold on this diaper bag. I thought it was really cute pre-baby, but it felt a little flimsy.
- Then I bought this Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag (2), which I think is VERY cute, but has very small side pockets that won't fit even a thin sippy cup. One major benefit to it is that turns into a backpack, which is great for the airport.
- Eventually, we switched to Y's Diaper Dude (3). It isn't cute at all, but it has all sorts of ingenious little things, like tons of pockets for organizing and a strap that you can snap on and off (so you don't have to pull it over your head).
- I also have this diaper wallet (4) for the essentials (you could also get a diaper pod, or (if you're fancy), a Petunia Picklebottom clutch). This thing is great to carry only what you need in an absolute pinch (ie, a couple of diapers, a diaper cover (if you use gDiapers or cloth, like we do), wipes and a few baggies for dirty dipes.
For newborns and small babies
Little babies must really enjoy pooping, because they do it all the time. Usually, they like to poop out the sides of their diapers (or up the back), soiling themselves, their outfit, and whatever they were sitting on. It's pretty great. They also like to barf on everything in sight, usually soiling themselves, their outfit, and you. Thus, you need to bring a LOT of crap with you.
- First, I recommend being organized. Have a bunch of little bags (like these drawstring Tote Bags (1)), and keep like items together. I am lucky because my mom is awesomesauce and made me some.
- Burp cloths are an absolute MUST. Because I like things that people see in public to be pretty, I loved these Aden & Anais burp cloths (2) for the diaper bag. At home we used these thin birdseye diapers, but they are ugly.
- A change of clothes for baby. This means a little bag filled with a new onesie, pair of pants, socks, and a sweater (because you never know if it's gonna get stormy all of a sudden, haha). These are the sorts of things to keep in a drawstring bag.
- An extra shirt for you. One day, you'll thank me. Also, snacks for you (3). Very important.
- Whatever you need to feed the baby, whether that's nursing pads for you, or bottles and formula.
- Extra pacifiers (4) if you use them.
- Diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, and a changing pad (most diaper bags come with a changing pad) Plus, you need something to put the poopy/wet diapers in. I love these biodegradable trash bags (5).
- A baby blanket. These are good for spreading on the floor at Baby & Me group, or for keeping your little muffin cold in a place with air conditioning. You can also put this over the carseat to block out light. You don't need anything fancy - these these thin blankets will do just fine (5) will do just fine. Or if you are fancy, you could bring an Aden and Anais swaddle wrap (6).
- Wet bag - this is great whether you use cloth diapers or not. When baby barfs on something, you need somewhere to put the dirty clothes. We have this one made by PlanetWise (7), which comes in a three sizes and lots of patterns.
- A couple of toys like this crinkly activity book (8) (see my other post about baby toys for this age group)
For older babies and little toddlers
As your baby gets older, you don't need to take the essentials everywhere you go (because they stop pooping on everything, all the time). We have the "emergency" diaper bag (with a bunch of diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, diaper salve, rags, etc), which we keep in the car. We rarely need everything in there, but its good to have, just in case. We have all that stuff in the Diaper Dude. We also keep some of the items below in the back of the car (in an ugly Drawstring Backpack), because we don't need them ALL the time. In the future, I'll do a post about what baby stuff we keep in what location, which will include a "what's in my diaper bag" show-and-tell. But for now...
Most of the stuff you'll be taking with you relates to food:
- Travel Packs of Disinfecting Wipes(1) are necessary for eating in restaurants or riding in shopping carts. I'm not afraid of germs, but I am TOTALLY grossed out by the crusty, slimy (seriously) highchairs at restaurants. To be honest (and this is a controversial "do you really need it?" item), I got a highchair cover (2) because I got so sick of cleaning highchairs only to be STILL grossed out. I also use the wipes on shopping carts all the time - some stores don't have antibacterial wipes by the carts.
- Along the same lines, if your kid is eating in a restaurant, they can either eat off the table, or they can eat off something like the Tiny Diner (3). This thing has pluses and minuses. It works well on certain kinds of tables, but the suction cups don't work that well on others. plus, the whole thing rolls into that catch-all thing at the bottom (which is great), but C tends to grab the catchall thing and pull the whole Tiny Diner off the table. I think the pluses outweigh the minuses, personally. I really don't like leaving a mess when we go to restaurants. It's not cool to make the server clean up after your kid, I say. Their lives are hard enough!
- Lifefactory Sippy Cup (4) (for water) - we actually keep the sippy cup attachment on the four ounce bottle, just because it's easier to carry around. We recently found just the sippy cup part (they were out of stock for awhile), so you can have extras or convert your existing bottles.
- Because we (mostly Y) are anal about keeping plastic away from C's food, we bought this stainless steel Eco Lunch Box (5). We also have stainless to-go containers (6) (in addition to a bunch of glass jars we've saved from jam, etc). We take these when we're packing a lunch.
- A lunch pail like our cute owl one from Skip*Hop (7) is a necessity. You need a cooler for all the food (plus one of those frozen thingies to keep it all cool). I also keep a bib and a napkin in the inside pocket. I like the Skip*Hop one because it comes in all different kinds of animals!
But you'll also need a few other things, like entertainment & diaper stuff:
- I suggest taking a diaper wallet or diaper pod (see top image) with you instead of a whole diaper bag. Keep the diaper bag in the car with stuff you don't need as much, and the wallet for the necessary things. The only drawback to these is that they don't fit most cloth diapers. We use compostables when we're out, so I have an extra Little gPant and about three compostable gRefills.
- Sunblock is always good. Make sure it passes the new sunblock tests, though!
- I keep two toys in my purse that C never gets to play with at home (and rotate them out randomly). She is always very excited to see them. I also keep a bunch of random crap that she's fascinated by - for example, she likes twisting the top back on these Plum organics baby food pouches, so I bring an empty one. Other hits? a hair elastic, an empty Myntz tin (Y is addicted to those, so we have plenty!) and two cheapy metal bracelets (sort of like these, but mine are from H&M). I also have my iPhone, filled up with the best baby apps (<--I updated that post to include screenshots, by the way!). Peekaboo Barn always works. :-)
And thus ends another of my epic "must have" lists (this one new and improved! With pictures!). I hope you find it helpful! Anyone else have any "must have" items for the diaper bag? Or, heck, indulge me: a favorite diaper bag?Comment
October 20, 2011 in
All photos courtesy of Mark Elola Photography - many thanks for sending the photos over, Mark!
Confession: I absolutely love drawing wedding themes. I love the idea that an entire wedding can be built around one of my illustrations, and the creative ways that my clients use their drawings never ceases to amaze me. I've been meaning to post some of the "real weddings" from my past clients to show you guys how a wedding theme can be used -- and what better wedding to start with than that of Stacie & Nick?
I had the honor of creating Save the Dates, Thank You Notes, Invitations and a wedding theme for this couple. Stacie was a ton of fun to work with - I love it when a client has fun style and a bit of a wild side. :) In case you missed it, here are Stacie & Nick's wedding invitations.
Stacie and Nick were married by the ocean, and wanted a very colorful wedding using the colors orange, pink and red. Playing off the beach theme, I incorporated sand dollars and starfish in a circular design (I prefer circles or squares for wedding themes -- it makes them easier for the client to place on different printed materials). When the wedding theme was complete, I provided Stacie with a few digital files. Using those images, she created all of the elements you're about to see.
I absolutely LOVE how they used the theme I designed - check it out!
Their reception tables, with favor boxes and menus.
And stickers for the candy buffet bags (I love candy buffets. I hope they never go out of style).
Stacie & Nick are the second couple I've worked with who provided their cake (or in this case, cupcake!) baker with the theme. Check out this gorgeous cupcake display, incorporating the sand dollars and the sea stars from the drawing!
Love. And now I'm hungry.
Thank you so much for permission to use the photos, Stacie! Congratulations to you and Mark, both on your beautiful wedding and your gorgeous new daughter!Comment
Happy Tuesday, everyone! I'm guest blogging today over at Rockin' Green Soap's blog (our diaper laundry detergent!). It's my first time guest blogging, so won't you go over and join the conversation? Here's a little teaser:
I'm sure that everyone feels like they're failing in some way - even those who look like they are doing it all probably think, "oh, but I didn't even get to half my 'to do' list!"
A few people have said to me, "I don't know how you're doing all of this!" so I thought it might be time to write another post about how someone runs a business from home and cares for an a-little-bit-over-one-year-old (uh, how did that happen? Shouldn't she still be a bitty baby?!). Because honestly, although I am doing the essentials, doing much more than that is VERY difficult. And I'm not about smoke and mirrors. If it's hard, I'm going to tell you.
Let's revisit - just for a moment - what I thought about working from home before I gave birth. I thought that it was mean for parents to say "good luck! You'll never plan anything again!" and "I hope your kid actually NAPS because mine didn't!" Thirteen months later, I can say this: it might have been mean to scare a poor pregnant gal, but they were RIGHT. What they didn't say, though, is that although you can't plan anything and working during naps is no way to live, you can (and will) make it work.
The key is streamlining your work. Nothing has made me more efficient than having a baby. Wondering why I'm rarely on twitter anymore? Did you send me a personal email three months ago? That there is evidence of things I've had to let slip. Now instead of perusing blogs like I used to, my google reader is trimmed back to only essentials, and I only read it from my iPhone if Charlie is playing quietly by herself. Instead of coming up with new and uninspired products that will never see the light of day (which I have to admit, I used to do), I just...don't.
For awhile, I worked during every nap and after bedtime every night. It didn't take long for me to realize that working that much is completely unsustainable (especially considering I was up multiple times at night because my baby didn’t sleep through the night until she was a year old). At that point, I decided to take stock of what was really important to me, and here’s what I came up with:
- My child - At around 6 months, Charlie became much more mobile and engaged. Although she still liked to play by herself, she really wanted to play with me - and I wanted to play with her. I felt guilty doing any work while she was awake, and I didn’t want to leave her to her own devices in a play pen if I could help it. Between work & Charlie, Charlie wins.
- My sanity - I am a Type A personality, and I will go, go, GO until I completely run out of steam, because I generally don’t know my own limits. This is how my filing cabinet gets decoupaged with maps of Oakland and Charlie’s walls get a mural. If I have an idea, I am almost compulsive about needing to see it through. This is unhealthy, and I do not recommend it. When this kind of insanity is applied to both my personal life (ie, decorating) and work, I burn out - quickly. I made the decision that I cannot compulsively work on new products. Things will progress more slowly now, and I simply need to be okay with that.
- Custom work - When I make a commitment to work with someone, getting things done in a timely manner is extremely important to me. All other work (ie, the clothing line) take a backseat to my custom clients. This also applies to my work emails - I remember that as a bride, I was super excited and couldn’t wait to hear back from my vendors. I try to remember that feeling no matter how preoccupied I am.
Once I established what was important to me, I realized that I could accomplish what was important to me work-wise, and if I felt burnt out I didn’t have to go any further than that. Not getting burnt out means that the quality of my new products is much better, and I also have time to let ideas marinate before I waste time working on something that could be improved upon. So although I’m not getting as much done to grow my business, there is a bright side.
I know that there are some work-at-home parents that are able to schedule their days. These parents often get up really early in the morning in order to have dedicated work-time, then spend the rest of the day playing with their kid(s) guilt-free. This may be something I try in the future...but I’m really tired, and I can’t imagine getting up at 3am. Getting up at 6 is hard enough!
Any WAH (work at home) parents out there with experiences or tips to share?
Got a burning question? Ask it here!