family day | batsto village

December 21, 2015


 last month John took us on a little family adventure to Batsto Village. when his job relocated him, he came across this place & knew that I would love it. we decided we would take the drive (about an hour), explore the area, then grab lunch! getting away from the hustle and bustle of day to day life, was a treat in itself. but to be able to do that, with my family - you can't beat that!

the second we got there, this little one made a friend.
exploring with daddy.
and with mama! she is obsessed with rocks + leaves.

always dancing! 
the most beautiful girl in the world.
following the rules, as usual.
taking it all in. 
ending the day with a cookie!


we had no idea, but Batsto Village is actually really well known in the photography world. it was gorgeous! hopefully we will be able to go back + do a photoshoot soon! 

G.

rocksbox | month 1


if this is the first time you guys are hearing about RocksBox, check a few posts back to see what they are all about - you will fall in love, just like i did!

this month, i received my first box literally just as i was heading out to a Christmas party, perfect timing right?! i immediately took off the necklace i had on, and put on one of the items!

i told you guys i would share each month, so here is my first RocksBox!





honestly, at first - i was in love with this chunky piece. it was the perfect addition to my holiday outfit that i wore that night. then the next day, i really fell in love. this dainty, gorgeous necklace stole the show. it's exactly the sparkle you can add daily. especially with a curious toddler, the chunky necklace wasn't very practical. but i have been wearing this one almost every day!



be sure to check out my full post about RocksBox - and use code GNICCCCCXOXO when checking out to get your first month FREE!


G.

christmas photoshoot | danielle hughes photography

December 2, 2015


HAPPY DECEMBER! we had our much anticipated christmas shoot with danielle hughes photography this week, and of course every single shot was perfection. it took me 3 days to finally decide on the one for our christmas card, but i thought i would share some of the others with you guys!

don't forget, there's still time to snag that 20% off your 2016 session with danielle hughes photography - just check one post back for complete details!









danielle had the perfect location for us, and she never steers us wrong! i may have to send out a "new years" card just to use more of these shots - i can't get enough! thanks for stopping by!

G.

photoshoot | danielle hughes photography

November 27, 2015


there's something to be said about a mom with a vision, a woman with passion, and a beautiful growing friendship. enter danielle hughes photography. i seriously wish i could write the largest testimonial on her life, not just her amazing business - but i am hoping this will do. 

the first time we shot with Danielle, was for Mila's upcoming first birthday. we had chatted prior about our "vision", and she literally finished all of my sentences. she knew exactly what i wanted captured, and she delivered, plus some.








immediately after that shoot, we booked her for Mila's birthday party. i explained that she would be there as a guest, so eat & drink, but snap a few moments between Mila, myself & John. once again, she went above and beyond. i was completely in awe when i was sent the final photos.










and as you guessed it, she will be behind the lens for our Christmas shoot!  we have been discussing our ideas and are super excited to see everything come to life!

ready for the best part?!

Danielle and I would like to offer my readers an exclusive 20% off promo code!

book your 2016 session before the end of the year
mention promo code TFBLOG
receive 20% off your entire session




how freakin' amazing?!

i strongly suggest you guys check out her Instagram & Facebook page, and grab some popcorn because you won't be getting up for a while! whether you have an upcoming party, wedding or even baby on the way, be sure to shoot Danielle an email, to discuss any questions regarding dates, locations & availability!

daniellehughesphotography@gmail.com


G.

product review | arbonne ABC baby

November 18, 2015


as some of you may already know, i use to work with Arbonne in 2013. it was an amazing 3rd income (as me and john were both working), and i met so many great people! once i got pregnant, and was horribly sick for 6 months, it was hard to keep up with my loyal customers. i kept up with it for as long as i could, but once i had preterm labor, it was clear what my main focus needed to be.

long story short, i still use their products. they have multiple skin care lines that literally work miracles. i still stand behind them 100%. last week i was cleaning out Mila's changing table, and realized her ABC (the Arbonne skincare line for babies) had recently expired, so i tossed them. that same exact night, my mama friend Amy messaged me and told me she had recently joined the Arbonne team. we chatted a bit about our kids & the products, and she was nice enough to send me a new ABC line for Mila. 




a little history on Mila's skin? it's super sensitive. and in the colder months, her knees and elbows get very dry and bumpy, and her cheeks/chin get extremely red and irritated. luckily, we haven't gotten into the colder months just yet, but I'm super excited that we are prepared now thanks to Amy! the ABC line comes with a hair/body wash, diaper cream, sunscreen & baby lotion. all of their products are natural, and since becoming a mom, that is a huge must in my book.

for anyone who is interested in the ABC line, or any other line from Arbonne (seriously, they have a ton), contact Amy. she is my new go-to gal for all things organic and fabulous!



G.

CONTACT ME

October 20, 2015


I would love to collaborate with you & your company! please reach out if you think we would be a great match!

EMAIL | GIANAXNICOLE@GMAIL.COM
IG | @GNICCCCC

Please include BLOG COLLAB in the subject!

G.

product review | bugaboo cameleon stroller


as i come into my 18th month as a mama, one of the first things I've learned?

it's all trial and error

as my husband reminds me daily, "you said this was the only one you would need, now you want another?" yea yea .. i thought that stroller was the one. and even that baby bag. but here we are, 18 months later, 2 stroller in, and endless baby bags deep. if you're a mom, you know what i am talking about.

when Mila hit about 10 months, she began to hate her stroller. while pregnant, we agreed on a jogger traveling system. for the time being, it worked great. but for some reason, Mila hated it. i researched, and fell in love with the Bugaboo Cameleon. the seat was interchangeable, so we could face it towards us, or outward. you could also flip flop the back wheels (larger) to be in front, and the smaller front wheels to be in front, depending on your terrain.



i was a little nervous to still spend that money and have Mila not enjoy it. luckily, a fellow mama friend of mine had one, and she let us borrow it for a few weeks. 

before i knew it, Mila was asleep in it. she has NEVER fallen asleep in a stroller before. i sent my husband a video and said, "we need to buy one before we give this one back" .. i was amazed. it has been a life saver for us, and made going out a little easier. even though we don't use the stroller as often as we use to, it is still one of the best purchases we have made since becoming parents.


PROS | my kid slept in it, interchangeable wheels, interchangeable seat, customizing available, lower/raise the push bar, compacts pretty small to fit into a trunk, easy to open/close, baby bassinet

CONS | multi piece, material is hard to clean, basic accessories aren't included (foot tray/cup holder),  lower storage bin isn't too big, the price


now, there are a ton of other similar products on the market that have many similarities that that Bugaboo has, so if the prices don't work for you, there are other options out there!


          G.

mila's menu | veggie pasta + green gravy

August 13, 2015


since Mila sleeps so late into the day, its sometimes hard to get in all the nutrients she needs within such a small window. she normally has a large breakfast, small lunch, then a large dinner (if possible), along with her 16oz of almond milk each day. on days like today, when she slept a littler later than usual, i wanted to make sure her nutrient intake was just as good as any other day! Mila really enjoyed this one, since it was a little messy! BONUS!

what you'll need:

steamed broccoli
avocado oil
veggie pasta
graded cheese
milk
butter (optional)


what you'll do:

cook and drain your pasta (easy enough ..)
now for the green gravy
in a nutribullet (or babybullet), puree your steamed broccoli, milk, butter & avocado oil
you can add more liquid if you want it thinner obviously
toss in pasta & top with graded cheese


Mila loved this. you might want to serve it with a protein, like chicken or turkey. you can also substitute the broccoli with straight avocado, which i have heard is amazing as well.




thanks for stopping by!

G.

OOTD: baby wearing

April 13, 2015


since recently purchasing a Sakura Bloom ring sling, i found myself getting more casual with my daily outfits. i needed something that was comfortable, since i would be wearing my daughter, but still somewhat put together. i went to the Gap a few weeks back and grabbed some essential pieces that i thought would take me into the autumn weather, eventually. 

apparently, we are in prime baby wearing weather, and this go-to look has been the best for me & my Sakura Bloom days. plus, the last thing you want to do is fight a stroller in your trunk in the heat. a sling or structured baby carrier, to me, is the easiest. i keep both of mine in my car, since Mila hasn't needed to be recently worn at home. plus, it saves me from forgetting it, again.



daily mom life



boyfriend jeans // i don't know how i ever lived without these. i find myself wearing them everyday (oops), since you can really pair them with anything and everything. 

basic white tee // this has been a staple of mine since the beginning of time. i love basic tee shirts, especially in white. so amazing.

*i also grabbed a "boyfriend button up" from the Gap that i have been wearing pretty often. although i love it, it's a little tough to baby wear in a buttoned shirt*

louis vuitton never full // a classic bag that i hope to one day pass down to my daughter. we went with the GM, since i always had intentions of using it as a baby bag, which i am currently doing now that my daughter is a little older.

baseball cap // i have recently become obsessed with caps! i bought a few from Poshmark, but i tend to always go back to my vintage distressed Yankee one. perfect for 3 day old hair, messy buns or low ponytails!

espadrilles // as much as i drooled over the Chanel espadrilles, i knew it wasn't practical, and the price was a little ridiculous, i saw similar ones at Target and have been wearing them almost everyday. i may actually grab another pair since i have a feeling they'll be a staple of my wardrobe all summer.

*i recommend going up a size up*

sakura bloom // i purchased the pure Maple, which i have been loving. its a great gender neutral color and super lightweight (not the color pictured above). i love that i can throw it in my bag and not feel any added weight. we are still adjusting to a ring sling, but slowly getting the hang of it.

*i purchased mine used, from a seller on Instagram. i didn't want to spend full price, incase my daughter didn't like it. the seller had only used it once, and for almost 50% off, i couldn't beat it!*

jewelry // my accessories have always been super casual. i was never into necklaces or lots of bracelets. i honestly rarely wear my engagement ring since it tends to somehow scratch Mila when i am changing her.

we designed my ring & wedding band around the one i posted above, since i loved the dainty look of the band (which is all i wear). when i do wear both, i have been putting the customized Tiffany & Co. band John bought me for my 25th birthday in-between the two. it separates the pieces beautifully, all while adding a little extra bling.

i am not big into bracelets, since Mila would have a field day with them, so i opt for my rose gold Michael Kors watch. i believe mine is the "men's" version, so the face is oversized, which i love. same goes for necklaces, i have never really been big into jewelry honestly, but after Mila was born, i ordered a gold bar necklace with her name engraved in it. when i do wear a necklace, this is the one i reach for.

__________________________________

any other babywearin' mamas out there?
what do you find to be the most functional in your closet?
thanks for checking this out!

G.

#healthymom

March 27, 2015


if you follow me on IG [@gniccccc], you would know that i recently started a 30 day yoga challenge! so far i am loving it! i am honestly "better" than i thought i was. i find myself being able to stretch far more than i realized i could, and it's seriously a great workout. i have been following Yoga with Adriene and if you haven't checked her out, i highly recommend that you do. 

mila has begun a new sleep schedule since she is a little older now, going to bed at 8:30pm, so once she is down, and the house is situated, i can finally take some much needed time for me. the sessions run about 20-40 minutes, leaving me enough time to take a shower afterwards before hopping into bed! i thought about doing before & after shots, but i am not sure if i will yet. i started this challenge to tone up, since i have always been on the smaller side, i wanted to make sure i was feeling healthy and looking healthy too.

in addition to the yoga, i have incorporated a 30 day squat challenge too, since my butt seemed to disappear after mila was born (thanks kid). it's crazy, but i already see a difference, if that's even possible? i have been utilizing our NutriBullet and making juices daily, and really trying to eat better. i have always had a sweet tooth, which i refuse to give up, so i am slowing getting my eating habits to a better place.

i thought i would share the squat challenge
incase anyone wanted to join me on this journey!

day 1: 30 squats / day 2: 35 squats / day 3: 40 squats

day 4: REST

day 5: 50 squats / day 6: 55 squats / day 7: 60 squats

day 8: REST

day 9: 70 squats / day 10: 75 squats / day 11: 80 squats

day 12: REST

day 13: 100 squats / day 14: 105 squats / day 15: 110 squats

day 16: REST

day 17: 130 squats / day 18: 135 squats / day 19: 140 squats

day 20: REST

day 21: 150 squats / day 22: 155 squats / day 23: 160 squats

day 24: REST

day 25: 170 squats / day 26: 175 squats / day 27: 180 squats

day 28: REST

day 29: 190 squats / day 30: 200 squats


thanks for checking it out!
                G.

product review | the honest co.

March 5, 2015


a few years back when i first heard about the honest co. i assumed they were too expensive because they were organic. i brushed them off, and it wasn't until i was living on my own, and now cleaning, that i gave them a second look. their prices are far from expensive, starting from just $1! plus, now that everyone is jumping on the "organic" train, i thought i would share my thoughts on some of their products.





they have products for the home, baby, and now awesome lifestyle stuff too.



H O M E/C L E A N I N G


sponges
call me crazy, but i couldn't wait to try these. the rough side is made from walnut shells, which i think is so cool. they work great, don't fall apart like other organic ones i have tried, and the scrubbing side actually cleans. LOVE. oh, and they are white & tan. gorgeous.

dish soap
another score! i hate lavender, so i bought the grapefruit scent. it's light & not too much for your dishes. it bubbles pretty well, not the best, but most organic items don't lather since they aren't filled with toxic chemicals.

multi-surface cleaner
this was my first home item. love it. a little goes a long way! it spreads almost like an oil, if that makes sense, but doesn't leave your surfaces slimy. my daughter recently had a virus, so i filled a bucket of hot water, and added 3 tablespoons of this to disinfect her toys.

scented room/fabric spray
i am obsessed with anything lemon, so i had to buy this. honestly, i wasn't too thrilled. it doesn't have a strong scent, and the scent that it does have, doesn't last long. i may try buying one of their candles next to see if those give off a stronger scent.

toilet cleaner
so bummed i haven't actually used this one yet. i mean, i'm not mad i haven't been scrubbing toilets, but i can't wait to see how this works. has anyone tried this?


B A B Y



wipes
these were my first ever honest co. purchase. my daughter has super sensitive skin so i thought these would be a great item to have in her diaper bag. they are thicker than pampers, and a little more dry, more like a damn cloth. i think they are awesome!

soothing bottom spray
like i said, my daughter's skin is super sensitive. when i tried out a generic brand of diapers when she was in-between sizes, she developed little red bumps on her bottom. i saw this stuff at target & used it right away. after a few uses, the bumps were gone. LOVE IT. i also put a few sprays in each of her baths, just to help prevent any rashes. it smells great too.

detangling spray
this stuff is awesome. my daughter's hair is so long (not sure how, she is only 10 months), so after a bath, her ends are so knotted. i do a few sprays of this stuff after each bath and her knots are gone! it also works great if your baby wakes up with crazy bedhead.

beach diaper bottoms
how could i not get these?! they come in super adorable prints - we bought the pineapples. they are the cutest addition for our beach bag, so she won't be sitting in a diaper all day at the beach. since NJ is on it's 18 snow storm this winter, we obviously haven't tried these out yet. but i can't wait to see her wearing it, covered in sand.

____________________________

what other honest co. products have you guys tried?
do you love them, hate them? worth the money?

                                                     G.

rules of the house | 9 months

February 6, 2015


this whole mom thing is trial and error, right? my childhood friend came over today, who is pregnant with her third, and we got to talking. i explained i was worried about letting Mila try certain foods because she doesn't have teeth yet. she said she felt the same with her first, but was a little more "brave" when allowing her second to have finger foods. i know Mila is capable of doing so much more than i allow her to, but as a first time mom, i just can't help but be nervous. what foods did you allow your baby to feed themselves with no teeth? i have purchased so many things i wanted her to "try", and then i would get too nervous! help mamas!

i plan to "allow" her to be more daring, as i allow myself to be more brave.

she is now crawling and getting into everything, as it should be! and along with that, came some new rules of the house. although i am still learning to follow my own rules, i am trying to do the best for my daughter. i am attempting a no shoe policy, for obvious reasons. especially in the winter, when there is salt & chemicals on the ground. i don't need that getting tracked in the house. did you implement this rule when your baby became mobile? how did guests feel about it?

i kept telling my husband how i wanted a Swiffer Wet-Jet, so i could clean the floors (my house is only carpeted in the bedrooms), and Mila likes to crawl everywhere. we settled on the Swiffer Bissell Steamer. it works pretty well & the cleaning solution smells nice too. i am an organic type of girl, so i will have to hunt for organic floor cleaning pads that are compatible with the steamer. i recently purchased a bunch of Honest Company products, which i am loving, but haven't tried their floor cleaner yet. any suggestions for organic floor cleaners?

schedule. this one is super debatable amongst the mommy communities. in the beginning, obviously we didn't have her on a "schedule", she was just always eating & sleeping. but as she grew, i started learning her cues, and along came our routine. i never thought i would be a mom who had a "schedule" for their child, but as a stay at home mom, it's essential. it allows me to plan my day, know when i can shower, clean, eat & run errands. it has worked wonders for Mila, and in return, worked wonders for me.

my daughter has slept through the night ever since she was about 6-8 weeks old. she started off with 6 hours, then 8, and now she sleeps about 12-14 hours a night. straight. she goes to bed at 8, and wakes up anywhere between 8-10am the next morning. she is on 2 naps a day (about 2 hours each), but will always pass out in the car. of course my schedule gets all messed up on weekends, when daddy is home. but for the most part, he knows how i am with keeping her on it. i work my ass off to keep her happy all week, which keeps me sane. i know some people swear by their routines, especially if they have more than one child. and i know people who think i am crazy for having her on one. and honestly, i don't care either way. she is my daughter & i am home with her everyday. we are a team. i don't really like to call it a schedule, it's just become our everyday routine. did you have your kids on a routine? what worked? what didn't work? did you have a good support system?

there are so many things i said i would never do, but hey, shit happens. different things work for different babies, and families function is a million different ways. whatever works for you & your family, is perfect. stop the judgment. 


what other "rules of the house" did you implement with your little ones? as a first time mom, i love hearing what worked and what didn't. it's all a learning experience! happy baby, happy mommy!


                      G.

it won't be like this for long

January 25, 2015


ironically, that's the song my dad + i danced to at my wedding. a memory i hold near + dear to my damaged heart. you don't remember much from your wedding day, but that moment, feels like it happened this morning. it feels like he was here this morning too. 

i had an amazing upbringing, but honestly, i can't recall a lot of events. i can't recall the christmas presents, or the birthdays. but i do remember the beach days. coming home from high school and having my dad waiting for me to chat about my day. 

but what i remember most, i hate. i hate how i handled his illness. i hate the anger i had towards him, like it was his decision. almost as if he could see how mad i was, he would change his fate.

just about 3 months pregnant, during one of our last conversation, i told him how i felt. i told him how angry i was, even though i am sure he already knew. he looked up at me and said "you can't be mad. this is life. and it's okay.

but it wasn't just him leaving me that brought me anger. it was everything that brought us to that day. it was all the hospital visits, the surgeries, the family arguments. it was the years of bullshit. the years of lying and stealing. pulling her out of houses that should've been condemned, then watching her leave for another all expenses paid trip to go find herself. it was not being there for her wedding, but raising her kids. 

it was my dad never being angry towards her, no matter what she did. in the winter months, while my mother cried herself to sleep, he would leave winter coats where she "lived", and bring her out to the diner for a meal. they would talk over hot soup and then he would drop her back to where she wanted to be.

he never held anger against anyone. i think that's why i was so mad, because he couldn't be. i was angry for him. i was angry for myself, my mother & my dad. i was angry for her kids. i couldn't understand why someone would choose that life. the bullshit.

it was the big argument of letting her come back, and it ending with an i told you so. it was the court dates, the custody battles. it was the last years of my dad's life. the heartache and the bullshit. 

i was gifted (some say cursed) with quitting people cold turkey. if you bring nothing to my life, you won't be in it. if you've hurt me, and i give you another chance, and you screw up again, you're gone. i have zero sympathy. you're responsible for your life, good and bad. you make bad choices, bad things will happen. it's not hard. 

it's been just about 2 years since our last conversation, if that's what you want to call it. there was no invitation to my wedding, no birthday wishes sent + my daughter will not know of her existence, or all the bullshit. she came to my dad's funeral, i guess for closure. i saw her walk in, felt my blood boil, then carried on. not a word was exchanged.

people are in your life for a reason and a season. whatever is it, enjoy it. learn from it + let it go if it needs to be forgotten. you can't be mad. this is life, and it's okay. it won't be like this for long.



           G.

product review | ERGO

January 15, 2015


i never thought i would be a "baby wearing" mom honestly. once becoming pregnant, i started following some instagram accounts, featuring nursing moms [since i was one] and a lot of them would nurse while their baby was in a wrap/babycarrier. still, i wasn't too into the look

when my daughter wanted to be held for 3 days straight, i went to the store and bought a K'TAN baby wrap. having done no research prior to this purchase, i came home, and realized that i bought a wrap that was sized, and of course, i bought the wrong size.




i still used it [which i don't recommend] but i knew i wasn't being safe. so i returned it, and bought the MOBY. i had heard great things about this. the only negative was that there was so much fabric, since it was a "one size fits all". well, I'm 110lbs. so the amount of extra fabric was ridiculous. it was always dragging on the floor when i would put it on. i wound up putting it on at home, so it didn't touch the ground outside. not the worst thing, but definitely not the best.

it was pretty simple to put on, but i hated that it was a thick material, so i would sweat, which would make my daughter sweat. she never slept in it either. i liked it, maybe giving it a 7/10 rating. i kept it for about a month.

during that month, i got together with my girlfriend a few times, who had recently had her daughter. she had gotten the ERGO at her baby shower. i watched her put it on and take it off with no problems. a lot quicker than me getting my daughter in and out of the MOBY. her daughter was sleeping in it too. 

the only thing that was stopping me from returning yet another baby wrap, was the price of the ERGO .. $160 and up. i slept on it for a few days, even searching those mommy for sale pages online to see if anyone was selling a pre-loved one. everyone who had one, raved over it. okay, okay. finally, i decided to return the MOBY, and use the money for the ERGO. what's the worst that could happen?

i loved it

seriously. this thing is amazing. it's super easy to put on and take off .. and getting the baby in and out is a breeze. its light weight, has padding around the baby's thigh areas, and comes in adorable colors and patterns. they also are made with different types of material, depending on how you plan to use your ERGO. they are structured multi-carriers too .. so you can wear your baby in different positions. 

 


the best part? my daughter would sleep so soundly in this thing. it was amazing! i even raked my whole front yard with my daughter in the ERGO .. and she slept the whole time. SCORE! 






                      G.

beauty hack | shellac nails

January 6, 2015


it's time to get back to my roots. i started my blog/youtube channel because i wanted to share my affordable beauty finds, tricks + tips to make your days a little easier. along the way, i got married, pregnant, and bought our first home. i decided to share my life with you guys, but thought you could all appreciate a little beauty hack.

i can't tell you the last time i paid someone to give me a manicure. i am so picky when it comes to my nails. they need to be a certain shape, length + need to be polished a certain way. my nails have always grown super quick, and there is no way i could justify spending $20 a week, just for them to chip 3 days later. no thank you. 

this began my nail polish obsession. since i have been doing my manicures myself, for years, i have realized that instead of paying top dollar for the new shellac products, you could do it at home. with no UV lights or special equipment. i have tried this with different brands, and have found the ones that seem to work the best for me.

here ya go ladies!




what you'll need:

a base coat
i use seché crystal clear base coat

colored polish

matte polish
i have been using essie

a clear top coat
i use seché dry fast top coat


what you'll do:

apply your base coat
when that sets, apply two coats of your colored polish

once dry, apply one thick coat of matte polish
this tends to dry pretty quick, but still wait a few minutes to make sure it's fully set

then apply your top shine coat

you want to make sure, which each coat, that you cover the entire nail - especially the tip of the nail. if you miss the tip, your nails have a greater chance of chipping since there is no barrier of protection.


                                G.
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