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Baby’s First Hannukah and Other Holiday Shopping Faves for Families

As you shop this Holiday season, I encourage you to shop small, shop local, support the little guys and those who have a social cause attached to their ecommerce brand or shops.

Wild Dill is the perfect affiliate partner because I really love their products and really support the concept behind fair trade commerce.

They source their goods direct from the creators in Africa, South America, Israel and all over the world and sell them online for a fair share of the profit which is different from what a lot of companies do: they steal the concept, create duplicates in China made of sub par material and market them as authentic.

Here are my picks of my Fave Wild Dill poducts.

  1. I really love the plush and soft look of the Nui Organics Augustin Sweater. It is made from 100% GOTS organic merino wool the thermal properties are further enhanced by the many air pockets created by the beautiful honeycomb knit structure. The Augustine sweater is mid weight, durable and warm but also very soft to the touch.

2. For mom, this colorful and bright floral Pink Rose Bag made by artisans in Thailand caught my eye! It has a zipped main pocket for security and is lined in kelly green and made of an interior wipe clean nylon inside.

3. Because I am originally from Africa, I just adored the Red Fan African Wax Print Baby Sundress by Dsenyo for babies 18-24 months old. This 100% cotton dress is made by a women’s cooperative in Malawi, Africa. Pair with coordinating bloomers for the full look. Fair trade clothing for babies and toddlers. Dsenyo is a social enterprise partnering with artisan communities in Malawi, Zambia and Brazil, enabling women to become economically empowered through the sale of fair trade gifts and ethical fashion. I also like the Butterfly Monarch print version.
4. My First Christmas shirts are plentiful for baby but you rarely see My First Chanukah onesies or clothing and that’s why I was digging this Israeli-made Baby’s First Chanukah Organic Body Suit as part of Wild Dill’s Hebrew Baby Collection.

5. Because I believe in learning from birth, I was really digging this World Map Fabric Decal Mural that you can affix to baby’s nursery and keep in his room through pre-school so he can learn from the start that the world is larger than the confines of the four walls he is in! American Pop & Lolli creates these chic fabric wall stickers made of nontoxic materials, lead free ink and free from the PVC’s used in the manufacturing of vinyl. The decals maintain a very eco-friendly water based adhesive and the colors are printed with the new Eco-Sol Max inks, which are solvent inks that provide durability and UV resistance, but do not contain the harsh chemicals used in mild and full solvent printing.

6. I also love the handmade 100% cotton Batik Global Mama’s  Teal Floral Dress created by artisans in Ghana, West Africa!

There you have it! My faves and head on over to Wild Dill where you will discover a world of top quality fashion and products from all over the world that are quite unique and will have all your family and friends admiring them and wanting to know where you got them!

JJ’s Favorite Things {2019 Gift Guide}

This year, instead of producing 15 holiday guides with tips and suggestions of products I’ve learned about from others, marketing materials sent to me or from what social media says is the hottest “must-have” items, I’m publishing just one guide/list.

This list includes items that I have either 1) purchased or was gifted personally and I use and love; or I have researched and inspected and want on my personal “wish list”.

Therefore, followers and readers of this blog will get my authentic, genuine and unbiased perspective on what items I believe are great gifts!

naipo shiatsu massager

1

First up is this Naipo Shiatsu neck and upper back massager. The makers gifted this to me over a year ago to review and I must say it is the absolute best. My husband and I are still using it today and it has not malfunctioned and continues to provide almost daily relief to our achy necks and backs after a long day at work, sitting at a computer desk all day or after waking up from a restless night sleep. The massager cover is made of leather and has oscillating balls and three settings that deeply kneed into your muscles to break up knots, soothe aches and pains.

An expecting or new mom would absolutely love this as she experiences the aches and pains of carrying a baby and caring for a new born.

It’s $49.99 at Amazon.com with free shipping for Prime members.

I absolutely recommend this massager as a gift. Tell the recipient it came highly rated by me! They will love you for it

ABC 3d

2

Second, as a work at home mom blogger and solo-preneur who works from home, I am always on the go, covering events, shuttling my kids to sports, music activities, practices, meeting up with clients at coffee shops, blogging from cafes and lounges and local libraries and just hustling about.

Although my children are t/weens now, not long ago, I used to buy them toys and books for Christmas. I discover some at the library, book stores and am pitched several. My fave books for a baby or new mom are these 18 board books for Baby’s First Library

But if you want a book that is visually stunning, stimulating to a young brain and eye popping as a gift, I highly recommend the ABC 3D pop up book by French designer and artist Marion Bataille that I discovered while thrifting and vintage shopping one day. Each of the 26 three-dimensional letters move and change before your eyes.  SEE It for yourself up close in this YouTube Video!

You can buy it for just $10.55 on Amazon!

3

I have several stylish and colorful oversized bags that I chuck all my stuff, laptop, umbrella and other remote office stuff in before hitting the road, but I really need a deep sturdy laptop backpack instead.

I found the Incase Icon Pack in black online that I like because it has several compartments I can use to store an umbrella, pens, make up, my phone, a water bottle, and other items separately so I can find them in a pinch. I am otherwise always digging and rummaging around a big abyss when I need to find something.

I also like it because it looks sleek and has a sexy silhouette. Get it for $90 from Amazon.

This backpack would be much appreciated by the blogger, student, mom, dad or anyone in your family who need to stay organized and is always on the move.

4

When my son was being incubated in my belly during my first pregnancy, I played The Nutcraker Ballet’s “Dance of the Sugarplum Faeries” song regularly and when he was born, whenever he would fuss while in the back seat during travel, for example, he would immediately stop crying, cock his head towards the music and calm down. Music miraculously can calm, soothe and wire our babies brains for intelligence, I believe.

 

Invest in some belly buds to gift to a mom to be. The results will be long lasting, I think. There are a lot of brands out there and a relatively new comer to the market is mbrio which stands out because it pipes out music at a lower volume than its competitors for a safer level for the baby. Moms-to-be can clip the soft medical-grade silicon covered buds to their pants and connect. The buds are  just $34.95 and are compatible with apple iPhones and devices.

.

5

I am not certain a woman exists on earth who would not appreciate a trip to the spa. I know some people out there dislike strangers touching their bodies and face, yes, but they are the minority. A Spa Gift Cardis a perfect gift for any  expecting mom could use a massage, facial and some good old fashioned pampering while she waits for her bundle of joy.

You can purchase a card starting at $25+ and add on from there, depending on the cost of spa services in areas where you live

 

6.

Anything personalized is usually more cherished and loved because the giver obviously had forethought to seek out something just for the receiver. At this late stage in the game, time is running out to purchase a personalized item. I’ve given each of my kids when they were younger a personalized book and they loved it and still have it in their bookshelves today.

You can still get a personalized children book in time for Christmas from Uncommon Goods for US buyers for just $35.

 

 

7.

I just got an iPhone 11 and purchased a basic black Otter Box case which works functionally. I only use Otter because it is the only case that I can rely on to keep my phone safe but the black is not cutting it because it gets lost in the bottom of my purse too easily and I lose track of it all the time because it blends in with counters, and tables. I’ve left my phone several places and luckily got it back but I really blame the cover’s color for this problem. So I’m hoping to get an Otter case in a bright color for Christmas.

It sells all sorts of colors but I would love to get it in yellow for $50

 

insta pot

8.

Because slow cookers have been updated and now it’s quicker and easier to whip up a nutritious meal for the family with minimum effort, Instapot is the hottest thing around. The holiday season has revealed the lowest prices ever for them now as well. Currently, an Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker  which is almost $100 can be purchased for half off at $49 over on Amazon.com!

9.

Here is a personal thing. I am in love with Caroline Herrera scent “Good Girl“. It is my new second fave to Jessica McClintock’s self-named perfume which works with my chemistry and gets me compliments every time and all the time. If you are familiar with a fave scent, get it because many come with a free gift at the department stores. If you order Good Girl from Ulta for $69.99 you can get a free gift, a luxurious soft throw or robe. Nice! It’s like two gifts in one!

dooney and bourke wallet

BONUS.

Finally, I would love a new leather wallet. I have a very cute square coin purse wallet my brother in law gifted me from Brooks Brothers years ago. I get a lot of compliments because of the odd shape but it is not practical. I think anyone would love a nice quality new wallet for the new year!

I’m eyeing Booney & Bourke‘s Saffiano Large zip around wallet which the brand sells on its website for just $69! Woot!

 

There you have it! My 9 (10) favorite things for 2019!

Woman Killed By Exploding Gender Reveal Pipe Bomb

A 56-year-old Iowa woman was killed [in late October] by debris from an explosion during a “gender reveal” party, according to authorities.

Officials responded to a report of an explosion just after 4 p.m. in rural Knoxville, which is about 40 miles southeast of Des Moines, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

Local fire departments, emergency medical services and law enforcement responded, and found victim Pamela Kreimeyer dead at the scene.

An investigation found that Kreimeyer had been hit from about 45 feet away by a “flying piece of debris” that was being used as part of a “gender reveal announcement.”

The release said that members of the Kreimeyer family had been “experimenting” in the days before the party with “different types of explosive material,” and eventually developed what authorities called an “inadvertent” pipe bomb.

The gunpowder did not shoot out of the top of the stand as the family expected, and instead, the stand exploded, with a piece of metal striking Kreimeyer in the head and killing her instantly, authorities said.

“This family got together for what they thought was going to be a happy event with no intent for anyone to get hurt. What ended up happening was that Pamela Kreimeyer, a wife, mother and grandmother, was killed,” Sheriff Jason Sandholdt said in a statement.

He continued, “This is a reminder that anytime someone mixes these things there is a high potential for serious injury or death; please do not take these unnecessary risks. My condolences go out to the family.”

The sheriff’s office said the incident is under investigation.

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Study: Newborn Infant Boys Are Affected By Mom’s Pregnancy Depression

Women who have symptoms of depression and anxiety during pregnancy do not report concerns with their infant sons’ behavior – but do with daughters, a Cardiff University study has found.

As many as one in four women experience depression and/or anxiety in pregnancy and evidence suggests it can increase the risk of emotional and behavioral issues, particularly in boys.

The study focused on the children of mothers who had reported symptoms of depression and anxiety in pregnancy. Specifically, researchers looked at what early indicators of difficulties were apparent in these children at the age of one.

Researchers identified language delays and evidence of emotional difficulties in male infants but not in female infants, similar to findings from other studies.

The surprising finding of this study was that the affected mothers did not pick up on their infant sons’ difficulties – but did perceive issues in their daughters.

Professor Rosalind John, senior author on the study, said: “A key finding of our study was that mothers reporting higher depression and anxiety symptoms in pregnancy reported poor bonding, higher aggression and lower soothability for their infant only when the infant was female, and not when the infant was male.

“In contrast, our objective assessment found that male infants were more affected by maternal prenatal anxiety or depression, but this was not picked up by their mothers.”

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Get Fresh Groceries Delivered to Your Door All Year FREE

This post contains affiliate links. If you elect to click and sign up for some of these services, I will earn affiliate commission from your sign up. 

If you are expecting and standing on your feet and walking aisle to aisle to go grocery shopping might be out of the question, especially if you are on bedrest.

Thank goodness for technology and the gig economy, a lot of apps and services have cropped up to take the work out of it for you. For a small delivery fee, you can have someone do the shopping for you.

If you play your cards right, and organize accordingly, could arguably get free deliveries for a year. Sign up for each of the services for the first free months and try a new one each month then cancel before you are billed. Then when you’re done researching which store has the best prices and best delivery services, you can re-ignite your membership at the winning service!

There is a way to get free groceries for life. Keep reading this roundup to find out which will give you that option:

Instacart is the go to service for quick and effective grocery delivery. Customers select groceries from various retailers, then a personal shopper does the shopping and deliver the groceries to them when they are finished. This service started several years ago but only recently took off to become the industry disrupt or and standard. You can try it for the first month is FREE.

I first used Instacart a few years ago when my husband and I were away on a couple’s vacation and we wanted to deliver food home for our babysitter (my mom). It was easy to pick fresh ingredients and have them delivered thousands of miles away! It was soooo awesome! I’ve since used it again in crunch times.

This option  is great for those who live in cities and who don’t have cars also.

Also, if you want to make extra money for the holidays for an upcoming trip, consider being an Instacart shopper. 

Fresh Direct is another competitor to Instacart and it will give you 60 days of free delivery but the other draw back is that it is limited and doesn’t’ serve all areas. Click HERE to see if your home is covered and if so, enjoy this deal!

Amazon got into the market with its Amazon Pantry offering which is quite identical to Instacart in every way. However, the bonus for Prime members is their membership gets them  free deliveries all the time so long as they order over $35 (or $50 in expensive NYC) .

Sign up for PRIME HERE if you do not already have it.

Also, customers in Amazon Fresh cities will be able to order fast 1-2 hour delivery windows, which is much faster than the usual 3-4 hour window.

 

You knew Target would get on the bandwagon and via it’s shopping partners at Shipt, you can get your first delivery order FREE!

And the good thing about using Target is that you can have other essentials and not just groceries delivered to your home. Sign up for Target FREE delivery via Shipt HERE!

If you live in the states with Safeway Grocery stores, you can get your first order delivered free and a $20 credit towards your groceries. Use promo code Save20 on your first order.

Also, people who live in states and cities with a GIANT grocery store can also get the benefit of a month’s worth of free grocery delivery when they sign up. SIGN UP for Peapod by GIANT here!

Not everyone is comfortable having others do their grocery shopping for them and so these options are not the cup of tea for all, but for those who are cool with nixing one more thing off the weekly to-do-list, take every advantage now!

#GivingTuesday: How the Entire Family Can Participate

As Cyber Monday sunsets and people are wrapping up or enjoying their Black Friday deals or the great things they got from local merchants on Small Business Saturday, non profits nationwide are hoping to fundraise today,  Giving Tuesday.

The global event is in its fifth year and is celebrated each year the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It is the brainchild of 92nd Street Y, a cultural center in New York City and the United Nations Foundation.

Giving Tuesday is intended to be the launch pad for the charitable giving season. While the time period around the holidays is often about celebrating Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holidays that involve getting gifts, it is also a season for sharing and giving.

Thus the name #GivingTuesday is  appropriate and is observed each year by giving to nonprofits, charities and other organizations that are raising funds, including schools, churches and other charitable groups.

Beyond just collecting monetary donations, a lot of local orgs organize food and coat drives and many individuals celebrate it by committing random acts of kindness such as paying for the drink of the person behind them in the coffee line at work.

In 2015, 700,000 people from 71 countries came together to donate $116.7 USD million in cash. An additional $1.08 million USD was spent on gifts.

Children can give by  volunteering at their local shelter or food bank or doing something nice for elderly neighbors like mowing their lawn, shoveling snow from their driveway or helping them with groceries.

At home, younger kids can acknowledge the day by helping out with a chore like folding laundry, helping to cook dinner, or even reading to a younger sibling.

To help spread the message, snap a photo of your kids doing something good and use the hashtag #GivingTuesday to spread awareness and encourage others to get into the spirit as well!

Parents can use the day to donate to their area school, youth camp or other organization that works with familie

American Music Awards Red Carpet {The Moms}

 



In continuing the tradition of showcasing moms on the Red Carpets at Award Shows all year long, here is what the moms we’ve covered on this blog wore at the 47th Annual American Music Awards show which took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California on November 24th.

Heid Klum dressed the best I have ever seen her and less pageantry in a cute feathered mini dress by Monsoori. It was my fave look of then all actually.

Christina Alguilera appeared in a white caped draping gown by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Ciara covered up her svelte shape in an electric blue pantsuit by Balmain.

Meanwhile, actress and director Regina King showed up and showed out in all black regal look by  Ashi Studio and 2nd-time mom-to-be Jenna Dewan outfitted her bump in Emporio Armani.

Carrie Underwood rocked a high split with her purple gown by designer Stephanie Costello.

The REAL Best Cyber Monday Deals

Conventional wisdom now clearly states that unless a retailer is offering at least 40% off the orginal price of an item, then it is not really a “deal” per se.

For that reason, our curated list of deals have savings of over 40% and/or over $100 off.

 

Here they are:

Sceptre 50-Inch Class 4K Ultra HD (2160P) LED TV, $189.99 (orig. $399.99)

RCA 43-Inch Class FHD (1080P) Roku Smart LED TV, $199.99 (orig. $399.99)

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 32GB Android P Wifi Black, $149 (orig. $219)

Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, $49 (orig. $99.95)

CHI Original Ceramic Hair Straightening Flat Iron, 1-Inch, $52.78 (orig. $99.98)

Dyson V7 Motorhead Origin Cord-Free Vacuum, $179 (orig. $279)

Skullcandy Venue Active Noise Canceling Bluetooth Wireless Headphones in Moab Red, $99.99 (orig. $179.99)

Hover-1 Pioneer Electric Folding Scooter, Black with 8.5” Air-Filled Tires, $198 (orig. $348)

Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer, $59.49 (orig. $109)

Sky Rider Thunderbird Quadcopter Drone with Wi-Fi Camera, $19.97 (orig. $39.99)

KitchenAid Classic Plus Series 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, $199 (orig. $279)

The HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 Wireless all-in-one ink ready printer is down from $179 down to $69.99

Also, an Envy 5014 Wireless all-in-one printer with a $10 Instant Ink printer that normally cost $119 printer is down to $29.99 and a $59.99  and a HP DeskJet 2680 Wireless all-in-one printer with $10 instant ink for just $19.99 in white.

Good Luck and Here are What the most popular retailers are offering today:

Amazon Cyber Monday

Walmart Cyber Monday | Find a store

Target Cyber Monday | Find a store

Best Buy Cyber Monday | Find a store

Macy’s Cyber Monday | Find a store

Verizon Cyber Monday | Find a store

Kohl’s Cyber Monday | Find a store

Ulta Beauty Cyber Monday | Find a store

GameStop Cyber Monday | Find a store

eBay Cyber Monday

Costco Cyber Monday | Find a store

AT&T Cyber Monday | Find a store

T-Mobile Cyber Monday | Find a store

Dick’s Sporting Goods Cyber Monday | Find a store

Home Depot Cyber Monday | Find a store

Lowe’s Cyber Monday | Find a store

Big Lots Cyber Monday | Find a store

Newegg Cyber Week

Barnes & Noble Cyber Monday | Find a store

DSW Cyber Monday | Find a store

JCPenney Cyber Monday |

Zales Cyber Monday | Find a store

Cyber Monday: Best Time to Nab Huge Discounts Off High Cost Items Will be Left On Your Baby Registry

Cyber Monday is a great time to get those things for the baby on the way. Although you can expect to get a lot of items for your bundle of joy on the way from the baby shower, if you plan to have one, the larger and more expensive ticket items will usually be un-bought and left on  your registry.

The parents usually end up having to pick up the cost of these more pricey baby items.

So for you guys, if that’s you, or for grandparents, doting aunts or God parents or office co-workers that are planning on going in on one of the larger items, Cyber Monday is great for getting a deal that can be shipped directly to the soon-to-be new parents.

Here are the best deals we could find on 7 high ticket items that we curated for you expecting parents out there:

The best deal around is the $111 you will save when you purchase the highly valued and reviewed Maxi Cosi 5 in 1 modular travel system. This all-in-one system that included an infant chair and stroller that can be used a  carriage when baby is young through their toddler years regularly comes at a price of close to $400! It’s down to $288.00 over at Amazon.com where you can get a sense of how well this may work with your family from the reviews.

 

The Maxi Cosi 5 in 1 modular travel system includes the lightest infant car seat in the Maxi Cosi class and comes complete with the stay in car base and a STYLISH, easy to maneuver stroller

Save $100 on Graco® Grows4Me™ 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat. It is only $149.00, down from $249.00 at Buy Buy Baby. This seat can be used from the time you bring home the baby from the hospital until they are a toddler and are ready to convert to booster seat around age 4 or so.

Save $66 on 4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth enabled high-tech baby swing, down to $153.00 from $219. It was the “it”baby swing from a few years ago, can be hooked up to a remote music player, different recline positions and is Bluetooth enabled. The price stops a lot of people from investing in it but you can knock close to $70 off thru Cyber Monday at Target!

Also save up to $60 or more on Dressers for the baby’s nursing and get free shipping from Buy Buy Baby. This Storkcraft combo dresser, for example, was originally priced at $199 and is now just $139 thru Monday! We still have our baby dresser and our kids are 11, 14 and 17!  Getting a decent quality dresser is essential because it lasts years!!

Get up to 60% off the entire site at Carter’s, the place you go to stock up on all the baby essentials from nb to 24 months. You can purchase lots on a budget that will grow with baby. And now is the best time to stock up for the next two years when your money will be going towards other things like childcare! oy!

Save $40 on JOOVY Nook High Chair which is $79.99 down from $119 at Amazon.com 

I love the Joovy brand and this foldable high chair is great for families that live in apartments or small town houses or homes or simply want a chair they can travel with or fold down flat and store away. It has  a large tray that easily swings open to get baby in and out and the tray is safe to put in the dishwasher.

I recliner, rocking chair or glider for the nursery will be an investment because it needs to be comfy for mom and stand the test of time so this will be one of the most expensive items to get for that baby.  You Take $69 off Abbyson Living® Ashlyn Nursery Swivel Glider Recliner is $359.99 at BuyBuy.com down from $464.00. Bonus! Thru Monday, BuyBuyBaby will give you $100 for every $300 you spend online and you can use that coupon to purchase other items for baby.

Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales

Well we are good and deep into the Holiday Gift buying season with the launch of Black Friday today and continues thru Cyber Monday Here are the best deals I spotted of the items on sale at retailers  on my list that I thought I would share. For my college bound teen, I am digging this HP – 14″laptop for $199
Walmart has a ton of TVs on sale but most are sold out by now but you can still collect a 32″ HD TV by Sceptre for just $79 with free shipping or pick up It’s winter so this imported Serpa to Mink comforter set regularly price $159.99 for $49.99 at Kohl’s is right up alley! The set comes with a Comforter, Sham and 2 Throw pillows. Nice !
The HP OfficeJet Pro 6978 Wireless all-in-one ink ready printer is down from $179 down to $69.99 Also, an Envy 5014 Wireless all-in-one printer with a $10 Instant Ink printer that normally cost $119 printer is down to $29.99 and a $59.99  and a HP DeskJet 2680 Wireless all-in-one printer with $10 instant ink for just $19.99 in white.
I love the Salvatore Ferragamo shades I was gifted from my ad partner at SmartBuyGlasses and want to pick up a few pairs for my sisters. It is having a Black Friday Sale with up to 70% off.
Amazon is selling the Apple airpods for $139.99 down from $159.99. Even though it is not in stock currently, Amazon is still letting you order it when it comes back into stock Instapot sells for $99 normally but Kohl’s has it on sale for $64.99!

Sceptre 50-Inch Class 4K Ultra HD (2160P) LED TV, $189.99 (orig. $399.99)

RCA 43-Inch Class FHD (1080P) Roku Smart LED TV, $199.99 (orig. $399.99)

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 32GB Android P Wifi Black, $149 (orig. $219)

Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, $49 (orig. $99.95)

CHI Original Ceramic Hair Straightening Flat Iron, 1-Inch, $52.78 (orig. $99.98)

Dyson V7 Motorhead Origin Cord-Free Vacuum, $179 (orig. $279)

Skullcandy Venue Active Noise Canceling Bluetooth Wireless Headphones in Moab Red, $99.99 (orig. $179.99)

Hover-1 Pioneer Electric Folding Scooter, Black with 8.5” Air-Filled Tires, $198 (orig. $348)

Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer, $59.49 (orig. $109)

Sky Rider Thunderbird Quadcopter Drone with Wi-Fi Camera, $19.97 (orig. $39.99)

KitchenAid Classic Plus Series 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, $199 (orig. $279)