A Family Outing with L.L. Bean

Whew, this post was a long time coming!  The end of our pregnancy really knocked me for a loop as did the reality check of having a newborn again (how you forget these things!).  So the past couple of weeks really has been a whirlwind.  Thankfully L.L. Bean had been kind enough to send me their new diaper tote insert to try along with their large boat tote bag and it's been so helpful to carry around our gear as a new family of four.  
| This post contains affiliate links as well as an honest review of products provided by L.L. Bean |

A Family Outing with L.L. Bean - L.L. Bean Diaper Tote Insert and Boat Tote Bag

Since we got home from the hospital after the birth of our little one, we've kept our outings pretty minimal - grocery store, doctor appointments, school, that sort of thing.  But now that momma is feeling better and baby has been doing well it's high time we get back outside and enjoy this beautiful weather before the snow flies.  

So much room and so easily organized!  

So much room and so easily organized!  

L.L. Bean Diaper Tote Insert

Packing a diaper bag is always a little tricky - and even more-so when you have both a newborn and a toddler! After all, you don't want to be caught without a necessity, but you don't want to overpack either. Thankfully using the Diaper Tote Insert has made packing so much easier. In the insert I am able to pack all the necessities like a changing mat (which is included!), diapers, wipes, a change of clothes for the newborn, small first aid kit, nursing cover, bottles, etc - all in handy pockets and zippered compartments.

L.L. Bean Diaper Insert and Boat Tote Bags

After the Insert is packed it's easily interchangeable between a Medium or Large Boat Tote Bag, depending on what fits your needs best. We've found that putting the insert in the Medium Tote works perfectly for grocery trips, school drop-offs, errands etc. The insert fits snuggly inside with all your necessities.

For longer outings we've really loved putting the insert in the Large Tote (with long handles), which allows for extra room along each side of the insert as well as at the bottom of the bag.  This additional room gives plenty of space for extra changes of clothes, blankets, toys, etc and the long handles make it a breeze to carry, even if you're juggling two kids.  

Getting ready to use our L.L. Bean Boat Tote and Diaper Insert

By using the Boat Tote Bags as diaper bags, they really pull double duty!  Their classic looks never go out of style and by going with a simple last initial monogram for the large bag, it becomes something that will grow with us and can be repurposed by anyone in our family.  By picking something classic like this you won't be stuck with a diaper-specific bag that you'll never use again, and that's so important.  

L.L. Bean Boat Tote and Diaper Organizer

This past weekend we finally got out of the house as a family of four and headed to do something fun - and what better way to take advantage of this beautiful day than spending time down by the lake and hitting up the playground before visiting family.  

Since we were going to be out for the full day, I made sure to pack the insert in the Large Boat Tote so I could pack extra supplies for everyone - and it's a good thing I did!  Right before we left our toddler got her pants all dirty playing in the wet sand at the edge of the water so it was great to have clean clothes packed for her for the rest of the day.  

We had a lot of fun exploring around this brick boathouse from the 1900's!

We had a lot of fun exploring around this brick boathouse from the 1900's!

A family outing with L.L. Bean

Diaper Bag Must-Haves

Wearing baby makes it easier when you're out and about!
  • changing pad
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • baggies for dirty diapers and soiled clothes
  • nursing cover
  • change of clothes for baby
  • small first aid kit
  • hand sanitizer
  • wrap carrier
  • pacifier (and a backup one!)
  • snacks and water for mom and older siblings
  • bottles
  • formula
  • a small receiving blanket or swaddle blanket
  • small toy or book

Overall, having the versatility of this diaper tote organizer has been so helpful!  And I especially love that I can easily switch it between bags on the way out the door to best fit our needs for the day.  

- I received the Large Boat Tote and Diaper Tote Insert from L.L. Bean but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please see our full Disclosure Policy for more information.  Thank you to L.L. Bean for providing these items to me for review. -   

All outdoor photos by Adrian Pelletier Photography.  

Even Harley is a fan!  

Even Harley is a fan!  

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Introducing Our Newest Addition!

Here's the reason I've been so MIA recently ;)  This little lady has been keeping us busy and it's funny how easily you forget the sleep deprivation from the first baby!  I feel like a first-time mom all over again, relearning all those newborn rules.

This month I'll have some review posts for L.L. Bean and Safety 1st coming as well as an interview and giveaway with Woodboogah - stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed we get some sleep! 

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Back-to-School Lunch Ideas with Parenting New Hampshire Magazine

School is starting back up and that means it's back to the daily grind of packing lunches for most parents.  Parenting New Hampshire magazine interviewed myself and few other NH-based bloggers for our "Brown-Bag Makeover" tips and tricks.  

You can pick up a copy of this publication at many locations across the state, or read the article HERE online. 

"Brown-Bag Makeover" | Parenting New Hampshire Magazine

"Brown-Bag Makeover" | Parenting New Hampshire Magazine

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How to Best Help Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Helping in the Wake of Natural Disaster... 

After having helped with Hurricane Relief work after Katrina, I encourage anyone who wants to help with donations to give monetarily to charities, instead of donating supplies and "stuff."  Unfortunately the generosity of stuff tends to overwhelm distribution centers and so much ends up going to waste.

A few months after Katrina we threw away dumpsters-full of food, clothing, and school supplies - not because it wasn't wanted or needed but because the distribution center was overwhelmed with too much random stuff to organize and distribute in a timely fashion and sadly all these donations were quickly ruined by mice and water damage.

Please donate money instead so they can buy and coordinate what they essentially need right now and don't overwhelm them further logistically. 

Donate Now

This photo is one we took in 2006 on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, taken a few months after Hurricane Katrina.  

This photo is one we took in 2006 on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, taken a few months after Hurricane Katrina.  

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In The Final Stretch!

If I'll be very honest, these last two or three weeks of pregnancy have really kicked my butt!  For our first pregnancy, I worked 10 hour days in a doctors office up until the day after my due date.  This time around these last few weeks have been plagued by nearly constant Braxton Hicks contractions, ligament pain, dizzy spells, a terrible head cold, and now ocular migraines.  Second pregnancies definitely can be a whole different league than first pregnancies - I could write a whole post on this (and probably will later).  But in a nutshell, this is why I've been so MIA on the blog and Instagram lately, even though we're still waiting for the baby.    
| This post contains affiliate links as well as products provided for review by L.L. Bean |

For every "ailment" I've had these last few weeks the remedy from my doctors has been the same - "lay down and take it easy."  Which is much easier said than done when you've got a toddler and a million-and-one things you want to finish up!  Overall though we've been blessed with a healthy pregnancy so I really shouldn't be complaining.  

One thing I've been slowly working on these last few weeks is finally packing our hospital bags! L.L. Bean was kind enough to send me their new diaper tote insert as well as one of their iconic boat and tote bags and I'm looking forward to sharing a full review post with lots of pictures as soon as I can. For now I'll just say I'm really loving how spacious and organized everything is and how versatile this diaper tote insert and bag will be!

Packed and ready!  

Packed and ready!  

| L.L. Bean Large Boat + Tote c/o L.L. Bean | L.L. Bean Diaper Tote Insert c/o L.L. Bean | aden + anais Swaddle Blankets | Tiny Sheep (part of a Baby Stella doll set) |

Once I come back to the blog from maternity leave I'll be sharing lots more on this amazing bag and insert as well as featuring some more great New England-based businesses and makers - stay tuned!  

- I received this diaper tote insert and boat tote bag for review from L.L. Bean but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please see our full Disclosure Policy for more information -   

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Hills & Trails

Now that we're getting closer to our latest addition's due date, nesting is setting in full-force!  I want to clean everything, reorganize everything, decorate everything... if only the near-constant Braxton Hicks contractions would let me!  That's why I was so excited to receive this beautiful screen-printed pillow from Hills & Trails this past week - it's just perfect for curling up with and taking it easy.  
| Pillow was provided for review by Hills & Trails | This post contains affiliate links |

Hills & Trails Log Cabin Pillow

With all the Braxton Hicks I've been having, my doctor advised that I just "take it easy" - definitely easier said than done when you have a toddler and the house isn't ready yet for the new baby!  But in following doctors orders, I've been making sure to take breaks to lay down and relax throughout the day to keep those pesky Braxton Hicks contractions in-check.  

Recently, Kayna from Hills & Trails was kind enough to send me one of their beautiful hand-printed Log Cabin Pillows to share with you all and I just love how at home it looks on our bed! (And just another great reason for me to get cozy and take it easy, right?)

Hills & Trails Pillow is perfect for getting cozy with a cup of tea

All of Hills & Trails products are beautifully designed and hand-printed right in Maine!  They offer a variety of items including prints, apparel, housewares, and even kids items.  This particular pillow features a silk-screened log cabin design that has a hand-drawn feel.  And bonus points to Hills & Trails for adding a zipper closure to make the linen-blend pillow case removable!  - Afterall, with kids around having to clean the pillow is inevitable.  

I just love how all of their products are wonderfully made and fit right in - whether you're "upta camp," decorating a kids room, or just want to bring a bit of rustic whimsy into your home.  

Hills & Trails Log Cabin Pillow
I love the heart detail over the chimney!  

I love the heart detail over the chimney!  

Hills & Trails Pillow / Fair Seas Supply Co. Throw

Hills & Trails handmade products can be purchased on their website and various retailers throughout the Northeast.

Pillow c/o Hills & Trails | Throw is from Fair Seas Supply Co. | Mug is from Falcon Enamelware

- I received this pillow for review from Hills & Trails but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please see our full Disclosure Policy for more information -   

 

WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN HAVING ME STYLE, REVIEW, AND FEATURE ONE OF YOUR PRODUCTS?  
Please drop me a note


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Etsy Shop "On Vacation"

Our Etsy Shop is "On Vacation" (ha!) for at least the next month or so while we wait for our newest addition to the family :)  

I'll reopen the shop as soon as I can, but in the meantime if there's something specific you're looking for please let me know!  I should still be able to fulfill some small orders during this time as long as you're flexible with time frames and patient with me answering emails :)  

Thank you so much again for all your support for my little shop!  

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New England Maker: Watts in Maine

As you know by now, I love sharing about companies and products we love on the blog and our Instagram - and most especially those made right here in New England!  I decided to start a little series to showcase some of these great New England Makers and I'm excited to share the wonderful Kylie Watts from Watts in Maine for the first interview! 

Watts in Maine:  The Perfect Catch Cuff

Watts in Maine:  The Perfect Catch Cuff

Watts in Maine is known most for their Perfect Catch Cuff, made from brass lobster gauges. Recently they've expanded and also offer Maine and nautical inspired earrings and necklaces as well as recycled lobster tag accessories which benefit local lobstermen and their families.

Tell me a little about yourself and your business.  

Kylie Watts:  I currently work full time as an Office Manager at a pediatric dental office and do what I can after work and on the weekends with my Watts In Maine business.  My husband was born and raised on Vinalhaven Island in Maine, which serves as a huge place of inspiration for my pieces.  The idea of turning the lobster gauge into a bracelet actually came from our many visits to VH. 
I am also a born and raised Mainer!  I have a love for fashion, accessories, and jewelry. 

Kylie Watts of Watts in Maine

Kylie Watts of Watts in Maine

How did you start Watts in Maine?  Had you been making lobster cuff bracelets for a while or was this a new leap for you?

KW:  In the fall of 2014, I told my husband I wanted him to make a brass lobster measure into a bracelet.  I had mentioned it before, but we didn't follow through on it.  We bought a couple and started forming them and refining the process over a few weeks.  By November we had secured our first store, k colette, in Portland's Old Port.  I was flirting with another nautical idea before that, but it never made it out of its initial stages. 

Watts in Maine - works in progress

What does a typical day look like for you?

KW:  I work from 7:15am-5:30pm at the dental office.  On my lunch break and after work I read and return business emails.  My evenings are spent printing invoices, preparing orders, updating social media, and trying to fit in normal daily living tasks. 

Perfect Catch Cuff from Watts in Maine

What is your favorite part about owning your own company?

KW:  I love having the freedom to do and create what I want.  It's so exciting!  I also love connecting with other local small businesses.  It's nice to build relationships with others who are going through similar situations/struggles.  

And least favorite part?

KW:  The financial part!  Keeping track of the business side-ew.  :)

Packaging up Perfect Catch Cuffs

What has been the most exciting moment for Watts in Maine since you started?

KW: I was really excited to be included in DownEast Magazine's "40 Maine Made Gifts". I couldn't wait to go to the bookstore to snag it and see it in person.

Watts in Maine Earrings

What advice do you have for people just starting out?  

KW:  Spend time building your social media following, find a mentor or someone who can show you the ropes, and build your business at your own pace.

Anchor Necklace from Watts in Maine

What is your long-term goal?  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

KW:  My long term goal is to be able to focus on my business full time and only have one job.  I'm hoping to expand upon what Watts In Maine offers and could be doing that in the very near future!  Stay Tuned :)  
I'm not sure if I want a store front down the road, or where I see the business going.  To be honest, I take it one day at a time. 

All photos courtesy of Watts in Maine.

 

Do you own a New England-based business and would like to be featured in an upcoming interview?  Or would you be interested in having me style, review, and feature one of your products?  
Please drop me a note.  


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