Loading...
Browsing Category

Reviews

Peek Inside Mandy Moore’s Nursery {GET THE LOOK}

black and brown Pottery barn nursery
nursery

If I were having a baby, I would definitely decorate his or her room in black and brown as opposed to traditional colors for babies like pastel pink and powder blue.

I love the natural earthtones of the nursery that designer Sarah Sherman Samuel created for actress Mandy Moore who is expecting her first child in coming weeks, a baby boy, with husband and Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith.

Samuel shared glimpse of the nursery in her Instagram stories as captured by E!

It included a black and white custom wall mural, natural materials, oak, wood and tan furnishings and decorations and a canopy!

Moore re-posted the story on her own story.

It is absolutely gorgeous!

It inspired me to create a mood board. (like Babylist’s below)

If you are expecting and haven’t yet settled on a theme for your baby’s nursery, I invite you to consider emulating the look of Moore’s.

You can start with a crib. I love the Larkin LARKIN BLACK METAL CRIB by CRATE AND BARREL
Outfit it with a black and white print fitted sheet like Pottery Barn’s COCO ORGANIC CRIB FITTED SHEET

Hang framed artwork featuring a brown animal. I like the fox in this white framed watercolor sketch.
Add seating like AllModern.com’s Mellinger Rocking Chair
Invest in a top quality dresser like Carson Carrington’s Gammelstaden Mid-century 6-drawer Dresser 

Make sure you add throw pillows covered in prints like 18 inch Birth Throw Pillow Shell
Carpet can be an allergen trap so hardwood floors are best for nursery and a nice rug in the color scheme would add flare and insulation. The Alfresco ALF rug is perfect.
Accent it with a brown table lamp like the Poldina PRO Rechargeable LED Table Lamp by Ai Lati Lights

Last Minute eGift Cards To Give

teacher gift graphic

Did you miss someone on your Christmas list this year?

Fortunately, we live in the era when e-gift cards and virtual gifting is now a very regular thing!

I’ve curated a list of nine stores that offer amazing virtual gifts you can simply email your child’s teacher:

starbucks gift card

Starbucks e-Gift Card

With the digital Starbucks card, your coffee lover fam or friend will get a code that she or he can add to her/his mobile device and order enough hot cocoa to sip and chill all Winter break long, depending on how much of a cocoa fan s/he is.


sugarwish gift card

Sugarwish

Send your fave a sugar rush this Holiday season with the popular Sugarwish treats delivery service. Send him or her an invite to choose their favorite flavors of candy, cookies or popcorn and it will get delivered to them. Prices start at $19.98.


sephonra gift card

Sephora

Who doesn’t love the gift of self care and pampering? With an e-Gift card from the beauty store, Sephora, you can send a present in any denomination.


audible gift card

Audible

A month free listens provides access to thousands of books, podcasts and Audible original content. Prices start at $15.00 for one month.


uncommon goods egift

Uncommon Goods eGift

An uncommonly good gift for any occasion, a gift certificate lets them pick from hundreds of unique gifts.


netflix gift car

Netflix

Since we all will be home anyway this Winter, your gift recipient can catch up and binge watch all those TV shows trachers missed during the semester! A Netflix membership for a month or two will do it!


amazon gift card

Amazon

They have it all so you cannot go wrong with an Amazon.com e gift card.


Ban.do

Ban.do is that place where you can find the quirkiest of gifts and its $20 Gift Shop is filled with a fun ecclectic mix of little gifts!


etsy gift card

Etsy

Etsy is a marketplace for personalized gifts, and everything in between! There’s so much fun on Etsy!


last minute gift card graphic

Best Gifts For Dad He Really Will Use

Fathers are often the after-thought every Christmas. People buy their dads or husbands generic “dad” gifts but not stuff their guy or dad really want.

This year, I curated a list of gifts for every type of guy that they will

handsfree dog leash

Dog Dad Who Runs

Sparkly Pets

If your partner, husband or dad is the one who walks the dog and uses that time to get in a good run or catch up on his fave audio book, then he would love SparklyPets hands-free leash. He can attach it to his waist belt and then have his hands free to scroll his phone, eat, or jog.

$21.95


Shaker and Spoon  ad

Dad Who Loves a Good Cocktail

Shaker and Spoon

Gift dad the joy in creating his own concotions and libatiosn with a monthly cocktail box delivering original recipes plus all the ingredients need to make them!

Each month, he’ll get 3 unique recipes by top bartenders + everything you need to make 12 drinks (4 from each recipe) other than the liquor—syrups, bitters, mixers, garnishes & more.

Dad will be exposed to new flavors & combos, and look at your liquor cabinet in a whole new way.

$40.00 per month


Viewsonic projector

Dad who Loves Movies

Viewsonic

If dad was a fan of going to the movies before the pandemic, he will enjoy getting the opportunty to have backyard movie nights.

Those who have reviewed this projector say it produces crisp picture quality indoors and out.

$379.99 per month


A couple of Tiles

Dad Whose Always Losing His Keys

Tile

Tile is great for that dad who is always losing his phone, keys, walled or gym bag. He attaches these tiny trackers to the frequently misplaced item, register it and the device will emit a small sound when triggered.

 If the Tile is within the 300 feet Bluetooth range, it will play a loud tune until you find it.

$21.95


Cozy Feet under dest warker

Dad Who Has Cold Feet

Cozy Products



  • If your husband or dad has cold feet, literally, not figuratively, he may love this ergonomically designed toe warmer to keep under his desk at work or home office.
  • This device provides direct heat, warms cold feet and legs most efficiently with its 2-heat setting, choose between two different heat levels for optimal comfort

$41.19


Kiehl's age defender

Dad Who Wants to Stay Young

Kiehl’s



  • From the product page: Age Defender Eye Repair is a lifting, anti-wrinkle, dark circle-reducing eye cream for men, visibly correcting aging skin around the eyes to firm sagging and visibly resurface crow’s-feet for a smoother, more youthful appearance.
  • The multi-action formula contains rye seed extract, which helps visibly strengthen skin for a recharged look, leaving the eye area with a more lifted appearance.

$32.00


After Shokz Biker

For the Biker Dad

After Shokz



  • A guy who loves to ride his bike and safely listen to his fave tunes while doing so will love to receive  Air Wireless Bone Conduction Open-Ear Headphones by After Shoks. They are super light weight and comfortable.
  • If you have a Sam’s Club membership, you can get it for $40 off this year.

$112.00


germaphone

Germaphobe Dad

Phone Soap



  • As seen on Shark’s Tank, Good Morning America and other shows, Phonesoap is the first UV-C Sanitize and charger. It houses two scientifically proven germicidal UV-C bulbs that completely sanitize your entire phone, killing 99.99% of all bacteria and germs.
  • In addition, the unit offers one USB port and one USB-C port for charging.

$55.90


aberfedly drink

Dad Who Enjoys A Smooth and Stiff Drink

Aberfedly



  • Yum! From the product page:
  • “Laid to rest for 16 years in handmade oak casks, this enriched offering is finished in first fill Oloroso sherry casks to impart a subtle fruitful nature and a roundness to the whisky. Soft notes of honey, freshened with citrus, which gives way to spiced pears, studded with cloves, and drizzled with caramel. On the palate this well balanced dram is at first sweet and rich like fruit cake, but ends satisfyingly with a hint of dark chocolate.”

$100.00


sweatpants

Dad Who Hasn’t Been to Work Since March

Outdoor Voices



  • Outdoor Voices makes the “All Day Sweatpants” which it touts to be the softest sweats you’ll ever wear. It’s just the perfect amount of slouch and slim for dad.
  • It has great reviews for being comfortable and truly wearable all day for weeks on end!

$88.00


sony headphones

Booming System

Sony



  • Experience an immersive acoustic performance with these Sony XB Extra Bass wireless headphones. The noise-isolating fit mutes ambient noises, while the lithium-ion battery offers up to 30 hours of playtime, keeping you entertained during long-distance travels.
  • These Sony XB Extra Bass wireless headphones have a touch sensor for convenient control. These wireless headphones are an outstanding option for a comfortable listening experience at home, traveling or in a noisy office, one reviewer said.

$123.00


golf putting range

Dad Who Loves to Golf

Par 3



  • In the winter when there are less opportunities for a Golfer dad to hit the links, or get to a driving range, there is this putting green.
  • Par 3 makes a three whole green to help dad practice his putting during off season so he is in tip top shape come Spring.

$34.93


binoculars

Dad Whose Always Looking to the Stars

Nikon



  • A dad who is a fan of astroloy, Super Moon or birds would appreciate a pair of binoculars.
  • From the product page: Pairing a relatively low magnification with large objectives, Nikon’s black 7×50 Aculon A211 Binoculars are outfitted with enhanced light-gathering capabilities, a large exit pupil, and long eye relief, which work together to produce an optic that is optimized for use in challenging light conditions.

$105.00


Dad doormat

For the Boating Dad

Wicked Good Doormats



  • From the product page: Long-lasting, all-weather doormats handwoven in Maine using some of the toughest nautical rope around. Designed to withstand the extreme conditions of the ocean, these polypropylene doormats are water-resistant, mold-resistant, and mildew-resistant. Because water runs through them they’ll never harbor odors. Added UV protection against fading.
  • This is one hard-to-beat, long-lasting doormat. Great for boats and campers, too. Only use on non-skid surfaces. Handwoven in Maine using imported nautical rop.

$69.95


Cuisinart cook

Dad Who Likes To Cook Simply

Cuisinart



  • The best thing about Cuisinart’s compact Air Fryer is the window that lets you see its specially engineered motor fan and heater deliver powerful airflow and high heat for perfectly fried food.
  • Dad will love to join this new kitchen gadget food trend.

$99.00


anker

Dad Who Is Always Out of Power

Anker



  • Dad can forever stay in the loop with a fully charged phone via anker’s wireless air charger.
  • This power bank charges iPhone SE, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, Xs Max, XR, XS, X, Galaxy S20 S10 S9 S8, Note 10 Note 9 and Note 8.

$39.99


Sonos music

Dad Who Loves Music

Sonos



  • The compact Sonos speaker system delivers superior premium sound from any room in the house and is compatible with Apple Air Play and other devices.
  • It connects from any room using the home’s wifi.

$179.00


Ember mug

Dad Who Loves Hot Coffee

Ember



  • The miracle of the Ember mug’s tech is that it keeps hot drinks the perfect warm temperature for up to 1.5 hours. Designed for home or office, the new Ember Mug² does is the perfect smart mug.

$99.00


Paul Smith wallet

Dad Who Really Does Need a New Wallet

SSense

For all the jokes about dads being always given wallets for Father’s day, their birthday and all other holidays, some dads really need a new wallet.



  • The Paul Smith buffed hide wallet is sleekly designed and simple yet exquisite and would make a great traditional dad gift with its style and sophistication.

$88.00








3 Book Subscription Services For Kids

girl reading
Girl reading
Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

These subscription boxes will tear kids away from the devices and nurture a love of books.

This year, many school children got homeschooled or went to school via distance learning and in between, maybe watched TV, played video games or engaged with mobile devices to distract.

Parents who want to make sure their children develop a love and passion for reading and books during this pandemic and beyonc should consider investing in a monthly subscription service or giving one as a gift to a child in their lives who loves to read or who should read more!

The global pandemic is restricting the ability for a lot of us to get outside this year which is frustrating especially to kids who love the great outdoor.

While a book cannot replace outside activity, it can be a way to exercise the brain.

In fact, book subscription businesses are trending.

Here are three that will deliver titles tailored to your child and his or her interests.

Atlas Book club logo

ATLAS BOOK CLUB

Maryland attorney and mom of three, Bunmi Emenanjo started a book club in 2017 so she could teach her Nigerian American kids about their culture and people from all around the world.

Emenano said she when she would guest read to children as part of the book club back then, she became intrigued and fascinated by how how responsive the kids were and how much they thirst to learn about cultures different from their own.

That curiousity turned into the Atlas Book Club subcription box business in 2019 for culturally curious kids!

The service delivers more than just books each month. Each box comes with souvenirs, postcards and other knick knacks related to whatever country is being featured that month.

subscription box about India from Atlas Book Club

Subscribers get a comprehensive and immersive experience in each box!

Since launching as a business in November 2019, Atlas Book Club has explored 20 countries including South Africa, Guatemala, the Philippines, Nigeria, Haiti, India, Chile and so many more.

Monthly subscriptions are $37.99. A three month goes for $110 and a 6 month about $215, which would make a great gift!

The box, while pricier than the other two in this list, is worth the value for parents, grandparents and caregivers who seek to grow a child who is a world citizen and who is cognizant and aware of the contributions of different people’s to society.

10 Books for Babies

EPIC!

Epic is another parent-founding platfom and is currently the largest digital reading platform. I’ve blogged about this company before which owns a a collection of over 40,000 popular children’s books from over 250 of the top book publishers.

Epic curates collections based on age, topic, and other categories.

Founded by two parents, Epic was born out of a single question: How do we make books more accessible to kids? 

Wanting to make books as accessible as games and other digital content, dads Kevin Donahue and Suren Markosian founded Epic in 2013.

Today, Epic has grown into an award-winning subscription service which gives millions of families and classrooms instant, unlimited access to thousands of books, videos and quizzes from leading publishers to help kids everywhere read, learn and grow.

While it is normaly $9.99 for monthly access, you can get an annual subscription for $4.99 now through December 31st if you pay for the full year in advance!

Epic Book club
10 Chapter Books

While it is normaly $9.99 for monthly access, you can get an annual subscription for $4.99 now through the end of the year 2020.


lily post

Lily Post

A committee of parents carefully curate Lily Post’s monthy subscription boxes. Delivered in a nice box is either a set of 4 hard back books or three picture books.

And with Lily Post’s charitable One Book, One Box donation program, each purchase supports the company’s mission to donate to charities that give the gift of books and literacy to communties and children in need.

Your gift or subscription would have altruistic purposes as well this gift giving season!

graphic

What to Get the Woman Who has Everything {Gift Guide}

posh mom gift guide image

It can be difficult to holiday shop for that woman who has everything.

Think the CEO or boss of your small company, a high net worth corporate executive or law partner, the jetset babe or your Chanel Princess bff who also happens to be a trust fund baby.

And because getting a $27,000 Tiffany Yellow diamond or a $371,000 Himalayan Birkin bag may be out of the budget, you have to settle for the next best things.

Lucky for you I’ve curated the below list with the help of some mom lawyer friends of mine I know who are in the know.

jolene

Jo Malone London

Luxury Bauble Collection

The luxe fragrance house sells six decorated baubles that can be reused each year and hidden inside each one is a duo of surprises including Colognes, a Miniature Candle and Bath & Body essentials.

$210.00

Handmade Chocolate

Burdick Critters Collection

Treat her with a collection of exquisite chocolate from New Hampshire-based L.A. Burdick Chocolatiers Burdick Critters Collection. All the critters are made individually by hand, meaning each is unique and no two are alike. Includes wood box of 16 Chocolate Mice, wood box of 9 Chocolate Snowmen, wood box of 6 Chocolate Pigs, wood box of 9 Chocolate Penguins, and 1/4 lb. Everyday Chocolate Assortment.

$198.00

Go up in budget with the Epicurious Collection for $350

joggers

Vuori

Joggers

The performance jogger by Vuori is slim but relaxed fit with a slightly cropped leg, side pockets and a drawstring. Designed with their softest premium stretch fabric, they’re your new go-to. Great for traveling, yoga, training and chilling. It comes in a variety of colors and shades and in sizes XXS to XXL.

$84.00

Barefoot Dreams

SOFT THROW

She will love to be blanketed in the luxurious warmth of a soft chenille throw from the Barefoot Dreams Store and you can practically feel the softness through the screen.

$120.00 +

NEST New York

Grapefruit Candle and Diffuser

If your rich misses is like a lot of women who enjoy fragrant homes, then she will thoroughly enjoy filling her abode in this intoxicating signature scent behind NEST New York’s iconic fragrance which is a blend of pink pomelo grapefruit with watery green notes, lily of the valley and coriander blossom. The Classic Candle is meticulously crafted with a proprietary premium wax formulated to burn cleanly and evenly, while the Reed Diffuser is made with the highest quality oils to release continuous fragrance for 90 days, uninterrupted.

$75.00

Skin Store

Slip Skin Pillowcase

Your receipient will love to lay her head down and protect her crown with a silk pillow covering. It is a brand of silk cases recommended by dermatologists, hairstylists & beauty experts and is made of the highest grade (6A) long fibre mulberry silk, and without the use of dyes.

If you’re seeing this on Cyber Week 2020, get 25% off with the code Cyber at check out.

$110.00

Lululemon

Align Yoga Pants

Get the most breathable, sweat wicking pants, soft, light weight and with added lycra that retains shape after wash and wear.

Normally $98-$118. They’re on sale for the season

$69.00

Drunk Elephant

The Littles

The eco-conscious beauty buyer is wary of essential oils, chemical perfumes, dyes, fragrants and alcohol that are all horrible for the skin and so she is drawn to lines like Drunk Elephant which has combined sample sizes of all its best sellers into one kit it calls The Littles.

$90.00

cavallini calendar

Cavallini & Co. Paper Company

2021 Wall Calendar

Printed on Cavallini Paper Company’s signature Italian paper, this calendar features a unique collection of late 18th century wildflower prints and is perfect for home, kitchen, or office.

Calendars.com is offering free shipping this week.

$21.95

Boden

A Dress

Any dress in any print from Boden could be worn at a variety of events, openings, meetings, formal or informal outings. This Mila Midi Dress with its colorful and attractive stripes would do perfectly!

It’s practically half off down from $198 right now but not sure how long this will last.

$99.00

Yeti

20 ounce Rambler

The Yeti ramblem with the megslider lid is the perfect gift for a coffee or tea drinker or anyone who loves to sip slowly because it keeps hot drinks very hot and cold drinks super cold for long periods of time. It’s a winner that I’ve personally enjoyed and highly recommend.

$29.00

Athleta

Pranayama Wrap

Go from the yoga studio to the coffeee shop and back in this highly coveted and well rated wrap from Gap’s athleisure brand, Athleta. And it has pockets! Yes to this.

$99.00

Good luck and happy shopping and shout out the ladies of the Lawma Facebook Group for giving me all these ideas for this post!

gift guide pinterest graphic

Matching Family PJs To Get Today

Family pjs celeb

The family pajamas thing is more than a trend.

In fact, each year, we see more and more families, large and small, outfitting themselves in matching pajamas and taking a photo to share in their social media fees and in their annual Christmas card or just for “The Gram”.

Celebrities Love This Trend

Celebrity families like The Currys, The Harts and more have been posting up on social in their chic coordinated sleepwear. Snapping a photo with the entire family has almost become the cliche yet obligatory new Holiday season trend.

And…you and your family can get in on the fun too. It’s not even a costly option anymore because Amazon, for example, sells sets that start at $13. What a bargain!

family in matching pjs

If you have a Macy‘s department store near you, hop in the car and head over to pic up its  Family Matching Merry Pajamas ($10-$49).

Walmart also has the red plaid family PJs starting at $10. The options and variety of styles are limitless

Here are a few faves:

family in matching pjs

Hanna Andersson

Matching Family Tannenbaum PJs are organic knit and cotton

matching pj

Hannukah PJs

Hanna Andersson also has matching families for Jewish families that do not celebrate Hannukah /

matcching ps

Gender Neutral

If you’re lucky to get these when they come back in stock in a variety of sized, you can get Old Navy’s gender neutral family set for under $30

matching pj

Family Pet Inclusive

We cannot let Fido out of the family photos and that’s why a lot of newer family sets include pieces for the family dog. Kohl’s had some starting at $19.99

luxe matching

Family Luxury Set

If you prefer premium quality PJs, then there are a few luxe brands also offering matching family sets like

Best Stationary Bikes Other Than Peloton

peloton instructors in front of a wall

Disclosure: This post may have affiliate links. If you purchase any item mentioned in this post, I will earn a small commission from the sale. 

With lockdown ahead, fitness fanatics will once again turn to interactive fitness equipment like Peloton bikes, and  fitness apps

As the country and the entire world goes back on lock down as cases of COVID-19 start the surge again, fitness fans and those of us working to unload some of our Quarantine 15 pounds will have to find at-home ways to exercise.

The new restrictions would mean workout apps like Beach Body On Demand, remote fitness equipment like Peloton bikes and on-demand online and mobile workout apps offered by gyms and exercise studios, large and small, will once again start to be the go-to source for fitness fanatics.

Not long ago, I counted myself among the super fit. I  would participate in charity road races every month. With work, life, family obligtions, I’ve fallen off the wagon but do plan to get back on the saddle.

I am familiar with the  Peloton revolution as I had downloaded the app so I could preview and explore the hundreds of free non-bike specific exercise classes which are available free for 60 days!

Peloton — at home fitness

Peloton Effect

I quickly began to understand the appeal to the disruptive spin bike company.

The bike comes with a 24-inch screen, access to world-class spin instructors and hundreds of fitness classes including 10-14 live daily classes and dozens of on-demand ones.

Early in the pandemic, a lot of people were like me and so much so that Peloton’s stock price jumped as sales soared durig the initial lockdown. While dealing with an order backlog, the company decided to forego participating in Black Friday this year and instead  decided to sell its world-reknown bikes which retails for $1, 895, a drop from its original $2,245 original price.

Beyonce x Peloton advert

The company upped its game again recently when it announced a collaboration with pop star Beyonce which involves Rides featuring her music.

Beyonce and Peloton worked together to create a series of themed workouts for her “Homecoming” HBO visual album, which is being held virtually this year due to the pandemic.

Additionally, Beyonce and Peloton are gifting two-year Peloton memberships to students at 10 HBCUs, and Peloton will also build recruiting partnerships with these schools.

Peloton bra model

Peloton Alternatives

While the idea of a 24″ HD screen that can rotate 360 degrees and a sturdy bike that can withstand the rigors of an intense rider sounds great, there are a few other bikes out there that will do the trick for less than half the cost.

Here are a few bikes that I have my eye on and am hoping some Black Friday sales come thru as well:

Bowflex

Bowflex C6 spin bike

Fitness equipment maker Bowflex‘s answer to the Peloton bike is its C6 which sells for  half the price of a Peloton bike at $999 and Bowflex throws in a pair of 3lb dumbells, adds an aditional 5-year mechanical warranty, a total of 10 years for its bike. The annual cost for the Bowflex workout subscription for the app service is $158 a year which is about 1/4th of Peloton’s annual subscription which is $468.

The C6 does not come with the monitor but it allows users to tether the bike with an app they connect to their Apple TV, a regular streaming TV or a phone or tablet.

Woman modeling Echelon spin bike

Echelon

A price point below that is the Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercie Bike which retails for $497 and is essentially a Walmart exclusive Peloton knock off complete with its own app  that comes with 1,600 rides included for 6 months of its subscription service.

Sunny Health

On the even lower end of the spectrum is the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1002 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike which sells for just $369 but has excellent reviews and comes well recommended for being stable, able to accommodate 100mph speed, is quiet and easy to assemble.

'woman modeling SUnny spin bike

 

Like Orange Theory, Peloton riders, have a cult-like following. They buy the gear and wear the branded clothing. But sometimes, the tops the instructors wear catch the eye of female riders and a new style trend takes off!

I noticed on Facebook this weekend that three of my friends were wearing the exact same cut-out bra. The linking characteristics of these three friends? They each are avid Peloton riders.

woman in cut out sports bra

It is sold on Amazon for $15, but I found a similar one at Romwe for 9.95. The plus to both of these is that the bra is well constructed for the price and it comes with padding!

Woman in Rowe Sports bra

Alo, a California-based yoga studio with studios and shops in Cali and New York, sells a version for a slightly higher price ($54).

Woman in Alo Sports bra

It gets excellent reviews as well from verified purchasers who describe the bra as comfortable, edgy and stylish. Their only complaint is that it has no padding and my not be suitable for HIIT workouts but is great for everything else.

Woman in free People ruffle Sports bra

Free People makes the Ruffle Me Up Sports bra which is a whole lot of feminine mixed with sporty.

Woman in Urban Outfittrs Sports bra with dog on deck

Finally, Urban Outfitters comes thru with the sexy pushup version in its Year of Ours Victoria sports bra.

SHOP MORE SPORTS CUT OUT BRAS

The appeal  of the black cut out bra phenomenon is not necessarily new. Fitness pro Sylwia Wiesenberg wore a similar cut out bra in her Femme Fatale workout video back in 2014 and similarly, inspired thousands of women to go out and get a similar bra.

DIY Celestial Themed Teen Purple Room Makeover {REVIEW VIDEO INSIDE}

During the current pandemic, a lot of people are using their extra time cooped up at home to do thorough cleaning of junk stored in their closets, attics, garages and basements and to redecorate and upgrade existing spaces or to expand and enhance their outdoor living spaces.

I am on that bandwagon and recently, I decided to finally upgrade the drab first floor guest room in my home which my daughter has been staying in as her personal bedroom. It lacked design and looked pretty rundown.

I wasn’t going to do it alone. My daughter had to put in some sweat equity into this project. I let her pick out the base color.

[HOW TO UPDATE YOUR DAUGHTER’ BEDROOM ON A BUDGET]

When I was a kid, my favorite color is purple and my daughter also considers that shade one of her faves so she decided that she wanted to have the walls painted purple. Purple is a color or royalty and is associated with celestial beings like the stars and the moon so we gravitated to that theme for the room.

The Budget

The total cost for the remodel: $500! Can you believe that?

My first investment was on good quality paint so  I invested in the PPG Timeless brand which can cost up to $100 per gallon but gets great reviews because you only have to use one coat.

The paint has a primer built in and is supposed to go on even and smoothly so you do not need to apply a second coat at all.  It was a little bit pricier than basic paint but still reasonable at $50, after shipping and tax for the gallon.

Next: Paint essentials!

Home Depot sells a reasonably priced paint kit that comes with a tray, liner, a couple of brushes, rollers and an edge brush for about $15! That’s a steal and while not professional quality, it was perfect for a small DIY job in a home.

Furnishings and Accents

We decided to keep some of the existing furnishings  in that  room or use some of the items I have picked up from Christmas bazaars and thrift stores here and there. Pre-Covid era, I used to like to purchase items that are heirloom quality or top quality when I see them when out and about thrifting or visiting yard sales on the weekends.

For example, I got the lamp and curtains in this photo above from a consignment shop nearby for about $7  each, or $15 total and I purchased the Ikea desk second hand for $20 from a local seller using Facebook Marketplace.  It was in perfect shape!

I had previously purchased a used office chair from the same guy and he offered me the desk though he hadn’t listed it at all. Sweet!

In lieu of just an accent wall, we decided to paint the entire room purple.

The Hiccup

Unfortunately, we discovered when we were done that the deep eggplant color was too overwhelming and too dark. My daughter and I decided to balance the dark wall with white or light colored linen and decorative accents.

I got a bed in the bag at Marshalls for about $60 and it included two accent pillows, a comforter, a flat sheet and fitted sheet, a sham pillow and a pair of pillow cases. We got it in queen size which is the size of the bed in that room. Kohls also sells these bed in bags for twin, full, queen and King sized beds starting about that the price I paid as well.

We diluted an entire wall by purchasing a white tapestry linen in a paisley print to drape that side of the room. It was only about $20 and was a popular brand, Ralph Lauren though Dormify sells plenty starting at just $11 for quality linen!

 

We let the celestial print in the bedding and tapestry drive the the theme and hung accent string lights from the ceiling and framed the wall and artwork framed in white with lights. The lighting also helped soften the dark colored purple walls too.

 

DIY Dresser Update

There was dark furnishings in the room before that we moved them out and to further lighten up the room via furniture, I decided to DIY spray paint a brown dresser in the room white. It was a bit of task because I did not have an electric sander and did not put enough energy sanding it with sand paper.

As you will see if you watch my video documenting the makeover, it was initially, a disaster because the first coat of chalk spray paint I purchased just ran over the sheen of the original paint job. Ugh!

I went to YouTube and found a video of a young lady, Desia Jean,who painted her furniture but who decided to skip the step of sanding it down first. I followed her lead and learned from her mistakes and subsequently, headed back to the store to pick up two more cans of semi gloss and that worked!

I really liked how the final paint job turned out. The paint was distributed evenly and without the blotches and sheer patches that were visible in previous coats. Phew! I had to have patience and trust the process!

I got new drawer pulls at the home design store that had a Victorian look to them for about $2 a knob (or $8 total) to tie in with the purple, mystical, celestial theme I was going for with this room makeover.

Luckily, I had already purchased some framed crafty cloth art work with green and purple in them which tied in well with the color scheme.

I went to Lowe’s and purchased a lamp shade a rustic old lamp we had in the basement for about $30 and we kept a steel grey side table that was in the room before because it blended in better with the new aesthetic than the old wooden chest and side tables that were in  the old version of the room did.

Decorating the Walls

While we were shopping for the linen and accent pieces, we found a large canvas sketch of a woman’s back and I thought it matched perfectly with a framed sketch of a ballerina’s back I had in my first apartment after college.

I fetched my old artwork from the basement and hung it up next to the white canva and framed it with the star string lights. Together, the grouping matched perfectly.

We got three other pieces of white framed artwork that cost about $15 each.

 

 

Finishing Touches

Finally, we picked up a couple of accent area rugs in white with a print and a light gray one at TJ Maxx for about $20 each and found the same brands online for similar price or slighty higher so I felt I got a steal, as usual!

I got wooden letters from the home modeling store and painted it white with the left over spray paint. The cost of the letters were abour $30 and the Command strips ran us about $20 for a few packs to hang up everything.

I got replacement blinds for about $40 for the pair at Home Depot as you can see in the video, the ones in the room in the before images was beat up and a hot mess!

The total output for the entire project is about $450 and maybe a little more. We love how it came out and it is a far cry from how it looked before! You’ll see it in the video of the project below but first a few other photos:

 

WATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO

Sporty Mom’s Guide to Chic Diaper Backpacks Dads Can Carry Too

Parker Baby Co changing pad

Diaper bags are traditionally feminine and come in nice pretty pastels.

They’re often offered in floral prints and some have cute geometric shapes and target moms who prefer soft aesthetics in accessories. This targeting leaves  out the outdoorsy, on-the-go, sporty type moms.

The yoga mom or mom who enjoys running and hiking for fun may be less inclined to purchase bags with soft color palettes.

Similarly, I think those former rocker girl or hip hop loving dame turned mom may prefer a bag that is functional and in darker shades. They may also perfer gender neutral designs.

The solution for me when I was starting my family was to invest in a black leather diaper bag by Coach which had a neutral design but lots of structure. I also invested in a cross body bag.

The benefits of having a non-gender specific styled baby diaper bag is that dad can pick it up and cart it with him when collecting the baby from her grandma’s house.

A diaper back pack is the ultimate compromise between bags that have to be carried over one shoulder and that mimic a handbag and a cross the chest messenger bag which is a style common in men’s bags.

Finally, when it comes to color, you cannot go wrong with black.

Black is stylish, sleek and matches everything. It’s a fave of moministas amongst and stains are hard to spot on black items.

When you add all of these characteristics together, a few bags come percolate to the top of the list.

Here are three:

Obersee Diaper Bag

Obersee Diaper bag

The award-winning  Obersee Rio Diaper Backpack is top of mind.

This back pack is made by the same family-owned company which got its start selling leotards and gear for gymnasts. As you can see from the photo above, it targets the adventurous outdoorsy type family which prefers to keep hands free to actively participate in whatever action is around them.

 

Obersee diaper bag

The backpack has plenty of interior room and comes with a Baby Bottle Cooler and Changing Mat, Shoulder Baby Bag, Food Cooler, Clip to Stroller.

Overall, the diaper back pack gets great reviews for durability, quality of material and sturdiness of structure online.

Obersee diaper bag

There is plenty of space within the interior of this bag and atop is a mesh compartment that can be used to store a pacifier, stuffed animal or wash cloth that is airing out to dry and won’t soak the other items in the bag.

15% OFF Back to School Sale at Obersee.com! Hurry! Promo ends on August 20. CODE: SCHOOL1520. SHOP HERE

Obersee diaper bag changing pad

And for moms and dads who routinely go and explore off the beaten paths, there is an extra large changing pad.

You  can be spread it out when there is no available diaper changing station. The size of this pad is extraordinarily large.  Exploring outdoors, socially distant, is a great idea during this pandemic!

Obersee diaper bag inside

There is a separate compartment in the front that separates blankets, change of clothes and other items. This compartment soiled by spilled foor or drink. The bag has a metal ring that you can use to attach to the stroller and also has a top strap for grab and go functionality.

The best function of this bag is its detachable cooler. You can house baby bottles or snacks in it. The removable cooler comes in a variety of colors if you want to mix and match.

Obersee diaper bag features

Parker Baby Diaper Backpack

Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack

A second functional and stylish neutral diaper backpack bag is the Birch Bag Birch Bag by The Parker Baby Co.

This bad is super large and comes in a chic grey with tan trim,  silver hardware, insulated pockets, stroller straps and a good sized changing pad. I wish the changing pad was a little larger but is it sufficient.

mom changing baby with Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack changing pad

There are ten functional pockets including a “mommy pocket” with key ring, insulated pockets, a laptop/tablet sleeve, changing pad (included) and more. The convenient stroller hooks allow you to connect it to your stroller while you get out for some fresh air after being cooped up inside the house too long.

Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack mom and baby

This bag is also made with a neutral design and for the modern mom and dad in mind. The Parker Baby Co is a family-owned business headed by parents of twin girls, a toddler and a sweet baby boy, which claims to “strive for simplification” when designing products. It gets mainly 4 to 5 star reviews on Amazon.

Parker Baby Birch Diaper Backpack dad

Hap Tim Diaper Bag Backpack

Hap Trim Diaper bag

The Hap Tim Diaper bag is a less costly alternative to the previous two which has upper mid price range. This is also cloth bag but is made for the rugged outdoorsy family who don’t mind being out in inclement weather. The bag is waterproof! It wicks moisture in light rain.

As with the other two pags, the shoulder pads on this bag are padded and extra wide for ergonomical comfort.  It also has plenty of space and compartments inside to chuck all the various things you have to carte along when you take baby out!

This bag also boasts a double design, meaning there is a separate section made to be removable. It can store items as well similar to the Obersee.  The bag is very large and spacious even without the front compartment.

It is also has 18 pockets that you can easily organize all the different things you schlep on trips short and long: your keys, mobile phone, laptop, bottles, change of clothes, burp cloths, receiving blankets, and more.

 

Finally, for the fan of designer bags, you have the Herschel Settlement Sprout backpack. This sleek yet highly functional back pack features integrated storage for diapers, wipes and toys, with an easy-access folding changing mat that stows in a custom compartment.

It is 17.5 inches deep so if you plan to take your laptop to the park or cafe (when the pandemic is over) you can securely fit it in this bag. It’s 100%woven fabric in the signature of this brand. This bad has large storage in the front pocket and external zippered side access to the changing mat when you don’t have two hands to manever the bag.

Because it is more of an adventure seeker backpag, it has a waterbottle pocket and a mesh container for yoru accessories.

buy from herschel

 

I also like this non diaper bag version that is sold at Smallable.

smallable herschel

There you have it! I hope this review was helpful to you and even if you don’t invest in one of these three bags, I hope this post gives you some ideas on what to look for when shopping for your sporty chic diaper back pack!

Good luck, parents and parents-to-be!

Germ Guardian Portable UV-C Light Sterilizer and Sanitizer for Dorms and Small Spaces {Covid-19 Era Review}

Evidence and data support the fact that UV-C light cleans and disinfects germs and bacteria within seconds of contact and therefore air purifiers that use that technologyy are a hot commodity these days.

In the mom groups I am in, those of us with college-bound kids are sending them with portable air purifiers and cell phone cleaners like Phone Soap which reminds us that hospitals and laboratories use UV light to keep their facilities sterile and so phones are perfectly fine being used in that product.

Coeds can be messy and fail to clean their rooms and let them get musty, dusty and funky and all of that can impact air quality and also create an environment that is not conducive for clear breathing.

During this coranvirus pandemic, clean and uninfected air quality become even more necessary than in previous years so it was a no brainer to hop on this bandwagon!

I ordered the Germ Guardian portable UV-C air purifier which gets tons of positive reviews on Amazon.com from pet owners, ashtmatics and more. According to blogger BeCalmingHaven who reviewed another version of this brand’s purifier, “UV-C lamp roasts any microorganisms in the purified air, reducing the chance of sinus and lung infection spreading from one roommate to another.”

He added: “Any sneezing or coughing produces droplets that hang in the air and infect the roommate, who then gets to reinfect you. This cycle tends to be hard to break, which is where one of these puppies come in.”

It came this weekend and I took it out of the package to test it out in the room that houses the family guinea pigs and kitchen. So far so good, but here is my initial unboxing and set up: