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When you have a baby, you quickly realize that despite being an average of 7-8 pounds, the little darlings take a lot of stuff.

If you’ve read this blog for a while (or stumbled across any of my MANY “lists of things to organize and clean”), then you have probably gathered that I am not a fan of superfluous stuff. In fact, I spend a great deal of time and energy trying to remove as much unnecessary clutter from my life as possible.

So I viewed the whole “babies take a lot of stuff” mantra as more of a challenge than anything and set out trying to be as efficient with my purchases and baby registries as possible.

Did some stuff still make it into our apartment? Of course. (I’m only human.) But, for the most part, I’m pretty sure everything we have will be used if it hasn’t been already. And as a result, I’ve learned to really appreciate any baby item that can either solve multiple problems (like my swing/baby seat that allows me to put the baby somewhere safe and soothing while I get dressed in the morning AND keeps her entertained with multiple swing settings and a built-in white noise machine) or is a product that I know I will get tons and tons of use out of. Something that fits that description? My Beluga Baby Wrap.

My friend Haley started Beluga Baby when she had her (adorable) daughter, Sawyer. Haley wanted a business she could run from home while raising her newborn (I know, she’s basically Super Woman), selling a product that moms really need and would really use. Haley came up with the concept of her wrap because she loved the idea of baby wearing but wasn’t able to find a wrap that had everything she wanted. The other brands she tried were either too thick and hot or didn’t have the right amount of stretch to be comfortable for both mom and babe. After deciding to just make her own, she also knew she wanted to make it a sustainable product that was good for everyone, including the environment. That’s when she discovered the sustainable bamboo cotton blend that all Beluga Baby products are made from, as well as a supplier local to her Vancouver home. You can read more about the story behind Beluga Baby (and some of the benefits of baby wearing) on her website.

I had secretly been stalking Haley’s company for months (I love a gal with the gumption to start her own company!), so I was thrilled when she offered me a wrap to review in exchange for being a brand ambassador.

The first thing I noticed when it arrived is that this thing is so. Dang. Soft. I wanted to wrap myself in it. (Haley, business idea: Bamboo cotton onesies for grown-ups. Think about it. ;)) I couldn’t wait for my little girl to arrive so I could start wearing her around.



From the first time we used it, I was impressed. This thing must be some kind of magic because — and I swear I’m not exaggerating — within minutes of getting situated in the wrap, Vivian always falls fast asleep. Every time! Regardless of how fussy or cranky she was previously, there’s something about being snuggled against me and hearing my heartbeat again that must remind her of the womb because she can’t resist curling up and taking an instant nap. I’ve worn her around Astoria during rush hour, and not even honking cars, loud music, or screaming pedestrians could disturb her slumber.

Plus? She looks pretty stinking cute in it.




I’ve started wearing Vivi when I need to get work done on the computer and she’s feeling particularly needy, as well as whenever I need to run a quick errand in town. I was a pretty colicky baby, so if Vivi is too, I’m sure this wrap will be incredibly helpful in being able to get things done while simultaneously soothing a fussy baby.

Case in point: It took about 45 minutes of running around my block to take all these pictures, and Vivian slept the entire time. Didn’t even make a peep. My photographer/sister even commented that her newborn shoots rarely went this smoothly. Gotta love that.



Basically, this wrap is super comfortable for me and my baby AND is something I will use over and over again. (Plus, it folds up into a tiny little square, meaning this is one bit of baby stuff that hardly takes up any space.) And for me, that’s a win in the war against unnecessary baby stuff.

Want to get your own wrap? Head to BelugaBaby.ca and get your order in — they sell out fast! Haley’s even offering my readers 15% off with the code STOPME, so get on it! (And follow Beluga Baby on Instagram here for other news on new products, discounts, and special offers.)

Other mommas: What are your favorite bits of baby stuff that you can’t imagine going without? Do you wear your babies? Do you love it as much as I do?

{All photos by Figment Art & Photo Co.}

I’m a pretty lucky girl in that my husband does most of the cooking in our house. Occasionally, if he’s stressed with work or I’m craving something really specific, I’ll dust off my rusty culinary skills and whip up a little something, but in general, the kitchen is his domain.

Sometimes, though, neither of us is in the mood to do anything after work except to flop on the couch and have someone hand us a meal. That usually results in a sizable Seamless order, but recently we learned about a new option.

I’d like to introduce you to Kitchensurfing, an on-demand personal chef service where you can have a professional chef come to your home, prepare a meal, and clean up before you even sit down to eat. The result? A healthy, often locally sourced dinner in about 30 minutes time, cooked entirely to order.

The view.

The view.

Our chef, Claire, was delightful. She arrived promptly (even getting there a few minutes before we did), and quickly set up and started cooking. Joey and I sat at the table nearby and caught up on our days while the aroma of steak started to fill the kitchen.

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The talented Claire.

Before we knew it, Claire was done, the kitchen was cleaned up, and dinner was served. And, you guys? It was gorgeous.




We had the Rosemary Beef Tagliata with Seared Polenta Cakes and an arugula salad with baby artichokes and a balsamic dressing. It was totally delicious.

The most amazing part of this service to us was that, besides being super quick and delicious, it’s not even insanely outside our price-range — at least as an occasional luxury. Weekly pricing (one meal per week) for couples is $59, for a young family is $79, and for a family of four is $95. If you consider what you would spend on an evening out with friends, it’s not that different (and you can do this in your pajamas!). Joey and I could also see using the service again for an anniversary or other special occasion.

My date.

My date.

Interested in trying it out for yourself? Click here to learn more.

Have you already tried Kitchensurfing? Can YOU think of anything fancier than having a personal chef for the night?

[Disclosure: All Kitchensurfing links used above are affiliate links.] 

You know what we haven’t talked about in, oh, four posts or so? Working out.

About a week ago, Chobani reached out to me and asked if I wanted to review some of their product. They’d noticed that I cook with Greek yogurt often (exhibit A, exhibit B, exhibit C, and exhibit D), but that I typically prefer Fage and would I be willing to try out cooking with Chobani. Obviously, I was thrilled to be asked (I never say no to Greek yogurt) and happily accepted.

As if that weren’t enough, they also offered me an invitation to a special Chobani workout at Barry’s Bootcamp specifically for bloggers and media members.

Um…free workout? I’m down.

I don’t know if any of you have ever tried Barry’s, but it’s pretty hardcore. It’s broken down into alternating sessions of treadmill sprints/incline runs and weights/step/bands.

IMG_5073They also keep the mood lighting appropriately intense.

I run pretty regularly, but I’m a distance runner. Hills/sprints kick my butt. And 20 straight minutes of lunges, squats, and step moves didn’t make it any easier.

By the time I left the class, I could barely walk down the steps to the subway. That, my friends, is a good workout.

IMG_5075Plus, class ended with a free Chobani protein smoothie. Can’t beat that.

IMG_5094So sweaty. So thirsty for yogurt smoothie.

I don’t know if I’ll attend another Barry’s for a while (it’s a wee bit expensive), but it was fun trying something new.

Thanks again for the invite, Chobani!

I was compensated for this review by the BlogHer Book Club. The opinions expressed are my own.

So. What to say about The Good American by Alex George.


Before I start, I want to say something: I didn’t not like this book. It was a fairly charming story about a time period I happen to enjoy reading about.

That being said, I’m not sure I liked it.

Here’s the thing: I’ve studied writing for a while. I’ve been writing even longer. So I know and readily admit that often times writers ten to develop things. Things they do in their writing that sort if become habits. If we were boxers, we would call them tells, or something like that.

They become even more apparent in long-form writing, because usually a writer will employ these same tricks over and over again, not even realizing they’re doing it. It’s like when you’re in a job interview and you keep using the same phrase over and over again. Eventually, it jut sounds tired and phony.

The Good American‘s tell? Cliffhanger sentences. If I had to read the phrase “but things were about to get so much worse than we had ever imagined” one more time, I was going to tear the book in half.

Because you can’t use the shocking sentence every time, remember? Sooner or later, you need the story to propel the reader on, not the narrator.

And while this book is riddled with tragedy, there are only a few things that happen that are actually shocking. Really, it’s just a wee bit depressing (but mostly because the narrator sounds a bit bored with the whole thing most of the time). Even the actual surprise near the end is just kind of…confusing.

See why I had to start this post with a disclaimer? Because, really, it’s not that I didn’t like the book. The Good American follows the life of an immigrant family making their way through America at the turn of the century. It’s interesting reading how the family learns to adapt with the changing times and to see how these changes are reflected in their family business, a bar-turned-restaurant-turned-diner.

So, I liked the book. I just didn’t love it. I read it in one sitting on a 6-hour plane ride, which is probably for the best because if I had put it down, I didn’t have much impetus to pick it back up. (Despite all those (gasp!) cliffhangers.)

Have you read this book? Did you have similar hangups? Or do I just need to embrace the drama?

Join the BlogHer Book Club in our discussions here.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of No nonsense for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’ve always been a fan of tights and (ok, I’ll admit it) jeggings.

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**This giveaway is now closed. Click here for the winner.

This post is sponsored by Printcopia. The views expressed are mine.

I love houses filled with photos. When I was little and we would visit my grandparents’ house, I loved climbing their staircase and studying the wall of family pictures. Inspecting every tiny, grainy face was like looking into the past. Did they really wear their hair like that? Look how young my mom is! It was a trip, and it never seemed to get old.

Now I love having photos in my own home. From the ever-evolving gallery wall in the living room to the rows of pictures on top of our book cases to the over-sized shots from our honeymoon in the dining room, I’m pretty much running out of walls to plaster with more memories. (Not that that means I haven’t stopped trying.)

So I was pretty excited when I got an email from Printcopia asking if I would review one of their photo canvases.


Printcopia is a company that prints canvas photos, acrylic prints, panoramic photos, and more, turning everyday photos into works of art. (They also have sister sites where you can create car magnets, custom banners, and inexpensive signs…if you’re into that sort of thing.) Color me intrigued.

They offered me an 8×10 sample to review, so I sent off a photo that my sister had recently taken of us and waited impatiently for the canvas to arrive. And, you guys. It’s so pretty.

Printcopia let’s you choose whether you want to continue the photo on the sides of the canvas or add a solid border. I thought about doing a bold color (neon??) but decided black would probably have more longevity.

Basically, I’m super pleased with the quality.

And, as you probably guessed from the post title, Printcopia is also letting me give an 8×10 canvas away to one of my readers! All you have to do is leave a comment on the this blog post, and you’re in. If you want to get additional entries, simply complete the tasks listed below in the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That’s it! Giveaway ends Sunday, November 18th at 11:59 p.m. EST.