gift guide: home

November 28, 2017

hey loves! so I recently asked on IG if you guys were into gift guides on the blog, and 90% of you said yes! so here we are! I'm not sure if I will be able to do a bunch of individual guides, but I figured if I could group them, it might be easier - and less reading for you! I wanted to share my top picks for the home for today. so whether you know a new homeowner, or want to snag something for yourself, grab a cup of tea, throw on a pair of joggers + let's shop!

1. iRobot Roomba WiFi Vacuum
not sure this baby even needs an explanation. it's been on my wish list for the past 3 years + I am really hoping Santa delivers one this year. Lu is crawling, which means we are vacuuming/sweeping constantly. these can be an investment, but it's currently on sale! 


2. PlayStation 4
this bad boy is one of the new gaming systems to hit the scene this holiday season! it offers wi-fi + BluRay capabilities. you can download apps like Netflix + Spotify, which we have been using daily. you can even link it to your iPhone or Android, making the possibilities pretty endless. oh, and don't tell my husband, but Santa already snagged it. get it now for $100 OFF!


3. Calphalon Cookware Set
this set is incredible. we have had ours for just about 5 years + they are still going strong! these are the perfect gift for a new homeowner, newlyweds or even wrap it up for yourself + throw a gorgeous bow on top, especially since it's UNDER $100!


4. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer
one of the most sought after kitchen items on the market, is this beauty. not only does it look gorgeous on top of your counter, but it's an item you can literally use for everything. there are so many attachments that are available, you could make breakfast, lunch, dinner + dessert. currently on sale for less than $200 right now!


5. Keurig Coffee Maker
we are currently in the market for one + I think we hit the jackpot. I am obsessed with the pearl shade, making it perfect for any kitchen! on super sale, for less than $90. pour it up people!


6. Wine Rack
if you aren't sure of what type of wine to get someone, grab one of these instead! perfect for anyone who drinks - wait, there's people who don't drink? I am loving the gold accents and right now, it's under $50.


7. Crock Pot Slow-Cooker
my god, I could not live without mine. wake up in the morning with the kids, throw all the ingredients in, let it cook, and have dinner ready without having a sink full of dishes to clean. this one just went on sale too, under $85!


I am seriously so glad you guys told me how much you enjoy reading these gift guides! hopefully I can get some more up soon before you finish your holiday shopping! I'll be sure to update you for my next one [or subscribe + never miss a post]! leave a comment below + let me know who you need help shopping for! 


*disclaimer: affiliation links are included in this post. all opinions are my own.

a letter to that mama

November 21, 2017

dear mama,

I see you. I can see your worry and the guilt already starting to add up. you're sitting on the floor building legos, or playing dress up with your first baby, when you feel it. those little kicks from your sweet miracle growing. it may have been planned, or been a complete surprise, but it's already starting. those feelings. I see you mama.

most days, the only thing reminding you of the new life growing inside of you, are those kicks. you don't get to stop your day to sit on the couch to soak in all the movements like you had done the first time around. you are busy running a household. folding laundry, making dinner. playdates, school events + chasing after a very busy toddler, who by the way, looks 5 years older ever since that test read "positive".

there is no baby book, logging every new craving, or new outfit that you picked up when you were casually strolling along in the baby section with your hot latte. your new sonogram pictures might get crinkled by the little hands of your first, because they "want to see their new baby". you cry at the thought of that. at the thought of a new little person, stealing the attention. how will you juggle it? how will you be in two places at once? how can you divide your heart? I see you mama.

you'll pack your hospital bag and wipe away the tears. bringing some "hand me downs" and trying to remember when your first was that small. hoping that you don't mess up. that you remember how to do the newborn phase. worrying about how your first will handle this new chapter. will they act out for attention? will they get jealous? will they be accepting? you'll wipe away the tears.

you'll give them their last "my only baby" hug and kiss. it might last a minute, but it'll feel like seconds. you know when you return home, it won't be the same. you will have to teach them to share with the baby, even their favorite toy. you will have to teach them about patience. that "the baby needs to eat, so just give mom a second". you'll see their face turn down when they've said "mom look at me" for the 76th time. you're trying. my god you are trying so hard. I see you mama.

some days will be really hard. you'll pray to find the balance. some days you'll feel like super mom, and some days you'll question everything. but every day, you do it.

everyday you love like crazy. you kiss every boo-boo. you prepare every meal, and give every bottle. you build every castle and you shake every rattle. you'll have play-doh in your hair, but fuck, that's better than never taking it out of the box, right? you'll appreciate every single second that you get one-on-one with your babies, and every second you are blessed to see them together.

some days you'll give yourself a "time-out" for the sole purpose of just catching your breath. take it. you deserve it. you deserve that moment, for all that you have done. you deserve that, and so much more. you've gotten through the fears and the worries. you've gotten through the sleepless nights. you've found your rhythm. you deserve it. I see you mama.

family photoshoot | Q+A

November 7, 2017

it might sound crazy, but sharing our family shoots has generated a ton of questions. sure Pinterest can give you some ideas, but I always think that getting someone's actual input always serves best. we have our upcoming family shoot next week, so I wanted to do a little Q+A to help you guys with location ideas, clothing choices + even how to find the best photographer. feel free to leave your comments below to touch on anything I may have missed! 

Q: how do you find the best photographer?

A: I think social media plays a role, but personal references are HUGE! depending on your style, it's best to shop around. email them all your questions, get a feel for their vibe + always reference back to their work. they may like architectural shoots, or nature. they may use props, or take more candid shots over "posed". ask for their prices + see what fits your budget. photographers who are just starting out generally have a very small fee (or could be free), so shop around!

our go-to photographer is coming back to work (fingers crossed) in 2018, so this upcoming shoot will be done by Tiffany Rose - who I have never worked with - but have heard amazing reviews about. her work is gorgeous + we have chatted in detail about my vision + her style, and the best way to combine the two! 

Q: how do you style a shoot?

A: a basic rule of thumb (for me), minimal patterns. I try to do solid neutral colors for the most part, maybe throwing in a striped piece here + there, depending on the shoot. for holiday shoots, I do like to throw something fun in. avoid dressing anyone in the same colors + make sure your clothing has different dimensions (i.e.: denim, cotton, tulle). you don't want everyone to blend into each other, or the backgrounds. stay away from any logos, or clothing with words. 

Q: how do you pick the location?

A: this is something you can definitely chat with your photographer about, but you should also have an idea of what you like. I am into outdoors, natural light + greenery. your photographer should have an idea of most local spots, or even some places you can travel to (but keep in mind most photographer's have a traveling fee). for seasonal shoots, I try to get creative, but otherwise, I prefer a shoot where I can have evergreen content (photos to use all year round). we did our 2015 holiday shoot at a christmas tree farm + it was perfect!

Q: what is a good price range?

A: this totally varies depending on the type of shoot you need. weddings obviously are at the top end, labor/delivery can get pricey too. I would come up with a price in your head that you are comfortable with, then shop around until you find someone who meets that. keep in mind that some charge by the hour, and some charge by the amount of photos they will edit. turn around time is a big factor too. you don't want to wait more than 5-7 days to have your pictures returned to you, especially around the holidays.

I hope this post helped some of you guys with ideas for your upcoming shoots! it's always best to keep it natural when you aren't sure of something. you don't want to look back at your photos + not look like yourself. keep hair + makeup simple, nothing over the top or too "dramatic". natural facial expressions, don't force it. the best is when you get caught in the moment. those shots are always my favorite!


lucy's birth story

October 18, 2017

toms river, nj

I have country music on & finishing up an iced coffee.

this post has been sitting on "draft" for 2 months, so I figured what better time to share it!

Lucy is now 8 months old - HOW? and believe it or not, we are still adjusting to life with two babies. every day is something different, a new milestone, challenge + adventure.

a lot of people assume labor/delivery occurs like it does in the movies. lord, I wish it did. 98% of the time, your water doesn't even break on it's on - shocker, I know. with Mila, I did go into labor naturally (after pre term labor at 29 weeks), we did make it to 39w4d. but with Lu, that wasn't the case.

as my due date approached, I went to my 39w appointment + discussed being induced. my anxiety was extremely high at this point, wondering if I would go into labor while I was out, or in my sleep (like with Mila). if I would have to wait for my husband to drive all the way home from work + cross my fingers we made it to the hospital in time. plus, who was going to watch Mila? 

we decided on an induction to help ease my anxiety + worries, and the next morning John + I headed to the hospital.

they hooked me up, and the nurses began to place bets

"we have 4 other moms here .. we are betting on you delivering first!"

no pressure.

spoiler alert - I delivered last

I decided I didn't want to rush for an epidural this time, since with Mila, it didn't work.

they began the induction, and we waited. I wasn't dilating much so they upped my medication. nothing. my OB came in, checked me + asked if I wanted them to break my water (which we did with Mila). I agreed since I knew what to expect. let's get the show on the road.

about 3 hours later, my labor was progressing perfectly. contractions were strong and I only had about 3cm until we would start delivery. my nurse came in to ask if I was ready for an epidural, and I declined. I was so calm and relaxed, the pain didn't really bother me this time around. 

now cut to 20 minutes later, I called in my nurse and said "let's get that epidural". normally they don't give epidurals after a certain point, but my nurses were incredible. at first it didn't work - as I expected - but luckily, they were fine giving me a few more doses. bless their souls.

after about an hour, I told my husband to shut the tv off + put on country music. I just wanted to relax until they told me it was ready to push. the clock read 4:31 and I said to John, "this baby will be here before 5, watch". I closed my eyes and woke up to my amazing doctor asking if she could check my progress.

"do you feel any pressure?"


she had me put my knees up, and immediately stopped dead in her tracks

she left the room, grabbed a nurse (who was assisting in the delivery in the next room), ran back in + grabbed gloves.

"you didn't feel pressure? she is right there!"

I looked at John and started sobbing (which I apparently did with Mila too). just knowing that in a few seconds, she would be on my chest. all this waiting, and the moment is finally here.

since I was still numb (thank the heavens), the nurses read the monitor and told me when I had to push. 

1st push: her head/shoulders
2nd push: she was here

the clock now read 4:35

they placed her on my chest and I studied her face as she took her first little breath.

her tiny cries, puffy eyes + 10 little toes

I remember thinking she was way smaller than Mila, and she was.

a perfect 6 lbs 4 oz, with a ton of hair

I took the next 2 days relaxing + enjoying my new little babe. I knew I didn't want John staying with me this time. Lu was nursing like a champ, and I was so much more confident. plus, why make your man sleep on a chair? I wanted him home with Mila, so a little after Lu was born, it was just me + my girl.

I decided to keep her in the room with me, unlike with Mila - who had to be kept in the nursery for observations. I didn't want to miss out on these moments again. the nurses took such amazing care of us, bringing me food after-hours, hot tea + keeping Lu swaddled up right - because let's face it - who swaddles better than a L&D nurse?! it was like a mini vacation, but deep down, I couldn't wait to get home to Mila + start this new chapter as a family of 4, with our newest Lucy Belle.

current favorites

October 7, 2017

the weeks seriously fly by. I have so many posts drafted up, and literally ZERO time to edit + upload. but I thought sharing a few of my current favorites would be a good way to transition into the colder months. I am in no way a "beauty blogger" - but I have received a bunch of questions regarding things that I have shared on IG [@gniccccc], so I thought it would make the most sense to have all those items in one place + give you a little run down about each.


this was introduced to me over the summer + I have been obsessed ever since. there is an option in your iPhone camera that allows you to take more "professional" shots. open your camera, click "portrait" + follow the directions it gives you on the bottom of your screen. it'll tell you to move closer/further away from your object + it blurs our the background, so your shot is more clean + less "busy". I love using this when I take photos of my girls. 


one of my mommy friends had posted a picture of her kid sleeping + the quality was unreal. I asked what camera she used, and she told me this! the YI HOME camera system is crazy good. if offers play back, and a live feed with no drag time. you can also talk through it, which I love. I believe most people use this as a home security system, but for a baby monitor, it's amazing.

purchase HERE


you guys, this stuff is life changing. you can use it all over your entire body. my favorite use is in my makeup routine. after my moisturizer + primer, I will mix a few drops of this with my CC cream, and apply with a beauty blender. CC creams can be more on the dry side, so this helps keep it smooth + keeps your skin super dewy.

purchase HERE


so as a mama of two, I need something quick + easy for when I actually have 4 minutes to put make up. this is my go-to because you don't need much + it's super light weight. a little bit goes a long way, but remember it can be more "dry" than a regular foundation. so use an oil or an extra moisturizer to help it from looking "cakey".

purchase HERE


I hope to get more of these "favorites" up, maybe monthly [totally being optimistic there], or even quarterly. fingers crossed for getting all my drafted posts published too - send drinks!
© tattoos + fairytales. Design by FCD.