Want to clean faster and easier? Join me at my Norwex party!

Please stay seated. And pour yourself a beverage. This party is exactly where you are. No need to go anywhere!

The party will get underway tomorrow (Sept. 5) at 9 a.m. and will continue through Monday, Sept. 11 at 10 p.m. EST. Please feel free to shop here. If you want to join the Facebook party, let me know and I’ll invite you!

Norwex’s mission is to “improve quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes.” You’re on board with that, right?

My latest purchase!: the Household Package

I heard about Norwex products when someone recommended them for cleaning the crayon our of our white carpet. (Thanks, Michael.) Shortly after that, I was invited to a party and just this weekend I received my “household package” (EnviroCloth, Window Cloth, and Dusting Mitt for $52.99 + shipping). I only just remembered I was supposed to use it on the carpet. Trying that now…

I was nervous to trade in my Clorox wipe for my EnviroCloth this evening while prepping dinner (try this recipe, it’s amazing) but that’s why I got them and I will start tomorrow! (I also watched more videos to make sure I know what I’m doing…)

About Norwex microfibers, from Norwex:

  • Removes up to 99% of bacteria from a surface when following proper use and care
  • Contains BacLock® an antibacterial agent for self-cleansing purposes only
  • Helps eliminate the need for paper towels and chemical laden cleaners
  • Significantly reduces the use of costly cleaning products
  • Ultra-thick and absorbent to pick-up and hold more dust, dirt and debris than other cleaning cloths
  • Holds several times its weight in water
  • Made of more than 10 million feet of microfiber for more effective cleaning power

How does Norwex try to accomplish this? Watch to learn more!

View the 2017 catalog here.

And happy shopping. I have my eye on one of their mops!!

Let me know if you have any questions!

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Beautycounter visits the Island

Beautycounter2

Over the weekend I hosted a Beautycounter party with a few of my girlfriends. Think Stella & Dot or a Tupperware party, but with natural beauty products instead.

If you want to try out Beautycounter, you’re too late for their debut at Target, but you can order from my link! We all agreed that we want an introductory sample-sized kit of Beautycounter favorites, but it doesn’t currently exist, sadly.

I’m still figuring out exactly what I’m going to order, but here are the items I have my eyes on:

  • Nourishing cream cleanser ($26)
  • Nourishing day cream ($43)
  • Balancing face oil ($68)
  • Rejuvenating eye cream ($58)
  • Daily shampoo ($22)
  • Daily conditioner ($26)
  • Touch up skin concealer pen ($32)
  • Lengthening mascara ($29)
  • Winter warmth color palette ($58)

Beautycounter1

Beautycounter3

About Beautycounter

Beautycounter is committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States. Their Never List is made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that they never use as ingredients in our products. This includes the over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, plus additional chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern.

While all Beautycounter ingredients are sourced with a higher standard of safety and quality in mind, it is well recognized — and accepted by regulatory authorities around the world — that incidental, trace levels of a chemical may inadvertently be introduced a cosmetic product due to the complexities of the supply chain and manufacturing process.

Check out this shortened, pocket-size version of their Never List that you can use for easy reference.

To compliment the Never List, the Environmental Working Group has a Healthy Living App that provides ratings for 120,000 food and personal items. I have downloaded the app but haven’t had the nerve to scan yet– I’m too scared!

Questions? Reach out to my friend CariAnn at www.beautycounter.com/cariannwitsoe

 

Accidental blog hiatus

Whoops! It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. Being a working mom is a lot of work and sadly my blog-writing time has dwindled. I’m very sorry for this hiatus and I figured I’d show you what I’ve been up to.

I hope to get back to it soon, so please keep checking back! Thank you for reading!

Baby Michael: Month 1

Baby Michael: Month 1

Baby Michael: Month 2

Baby Michael: Month 2

Baby Michael: Month 3

Baby Michael: Month 3

Baby Michael: Month 4

Baby Michael: Month 4

Baby Michael: Month 5

Baby Michael: Month 5

Baby Michael: Month 6

Baby Michael: Month 6

Baby Michael: Month 7

Baby Michael: Month 7

Baby must haves from a first time mom

BabyMustHaves

Now that I’ve been a mom for two whole months, I’m full of advice and helpful tips. I’m also taking tips and advice, so don’t hold back!

We thought we were ready to be parents, but in reality, we didn’t know the half of it.

Prior to Michael joining the world, we spent a lot of time researching products, browsing reviews online, and discussing needs with friends. Then he joined us and we figured out what works and what doesn’t for our little man.

First and foremost, you need a camera! We use both a digital SLR and our phones and have thousands of photos of our sweet little man!

Phone apps.

MammaBaby. I’ve had some friends make fun of my obsessive tracking of dirty diapers, sleep, and nursing timing, but when you’re this tired — or at least I was — this app is your brain. Plus its so nice to wake up and look at the sleep timer without trying to do math!

Anything white noise. We downloaded a white noise app to an old phone and it really helps Michael sleep. In fact, I think it helps us sleep too, when he’s in our room.

Pandora. I don’t usually use Pandora, but I’ve found that Michael likes music and the Baby Mozart channel plays some really fun classical versions of rock songs. Have you heard of Rockababy? My favorite is the Michael Jackson favorites.

Facebook and Instagram. You’ll never be so caught up on everyone’s business as when you’re up every couple of hours scrolling through the updates.

Pinterest. You won’t have time or energy for the crafting and party planning that you once did, but someday you will (at least I hope) and I will have a lot of great ideas stockpiled and ready for that time!

 

Sleeping.

We love our Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play. We had a bassinet at the ready for Michael to use to sleep in and he hates it. We’ve tried putting him down in it three times all with negative results. The rock ‘n play keeps him him snug and slightly upright, so his breakfast/lunch/dinner stay down. While we have the vibrating option, we don’t turn it on very often. In fact, it seems to bother him more than anything else. All of the sleep training books we’ve ready have actually said that this is a good thing.

Sleep training books. Plural? Yeah, you read that right. Sleep deprivation is horrible thing and after one night of nursing for six hours and actually sleeping for two hours in an eight hour stretch, you’ll reach out to everyone you know with an infant and buy several recommended books from Amazon in the wee hours of the night. We’re reading On Becoming Baby Wise, 12 hours by 12 weeks, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby, and whatever else folks recommend!

We also learned that a “witching hour” is a real thing and our guy experiences one from 9 p.m. – midnight quite often. He just won’t go to sleep! We try to get him good naps throughout the day and put him down in the 7 p.m. hour. Hopefully he grows out of it sometime soon. I think staying awake with a baby who is nonstop fussy or asleep with his eyes open is more exhausting than waking up a couple of times at night! It was nice to know that we weren’t alone and that this stage too, will pass.

Swaddle Me Velcro swaddles. Michael has mixed feelings about swaddling, he really prefers his hands be out to flail about, but these Swaddle Me outfits came in handy in the first week or so that we swaddled. We also got this Halo outfit that we’ll be using once transition him to his crib. We’ll be using it more as a sleep sack though, so his hands will be out.

Nightlight light bulbs. Or a dim-able lamp works too. We swapped out the light bulbs on a few lamps in Michael’s room and in our room. The low lighting is needed as we rock him to sleep or check on him in the middle of the night.

 

Nursing.

Brest Friend. A nursing pillow was a must have for the first month and a half of Michael’s life. We tried both the Brest Friend and the Boppy pillow. While the Boppy is great for propping him up (mainly during our many photoshoots), I preferred the Brest Friend for nursing. Plus Brandon gets a kick out of saying “Brest Friend.”

Pumping bra. You can cut slits in a sports bra (thanks, Pinterest!), but I really enjoy my Simple Wishes pumping bra. It allows you to go hands free while pumping, so you can multi-task and do things like chop veggies, or blog or something at the same time!

Steam sterilizer. I used the microwavable bags for awhile and then I bought this Munchkin microwavable steam sterilizer for bottles and pumping supplies. I love it! It’s also important to have a drying rack for your bottles. We have this one, since we use Dr. Brown bottles, but I think they’re all created equal and any one will do!

Premie bottle nipples. In the early days, Mr. M would guzzle from his bottle too agressively and would choke a bit. We switched out the nipples that came with the bottles with the premie-sized version. He’s back to the normal size ones now, but these were great for slowing him down a bit.

 

Diapering.

Diaper Genie. Whoever invented this thing is a genius! Dirty diapers go in and an easy to handle baggie comes out! It resembles a weapon of some sort, but we haven’t battled with it yet.

Vaseline. We put a bit of Vaseline on M’s “bathing suit area” after diaper changes and it keeps things fresh! Beyond the $1 difference between the two tubs in the baby section at Target, the “baby” version has a pink label and has a baby powder scent.

Shout! This is a must for babies. When the occasional blowout happens (often), a few squirts of Shout! takes the stain right out. We keep a bottle by M’s laundry hamper and will until he’s mobile.

Two changing pad covers. Sometimes little boys pee on you when you’re changing them. Sometimes they pee on their changing pad cover. For this very reason you need two covers. At least.

 

Other stuff.

Boba wrap. This thing. We were pretty intimidated by it: 18 feet of elastic fabric that you’re to wrap your baby in for hands-free wearing? Without him falling out!? Yeah, right. We watched several YouTube videos and finally got the hang of it, and Michael loves it. We put him in it, walk around, and he usually calms down and more often than not, falls asleep! The latest trick that helps combat that witching hour: wrap and strap up the kid and vacuum! Who would’ve thought?! He loves it and it knocks him right out!

Jack (the cat) and Michael both love the Boba wrap!

Jack (the cat) and Michael both love the Boba wrap!

Beco Gemini carrier. This carrier is great. It requires no “infant insert” like the Ergo carriers and allows the kid to face in or out and ride on my front, back or side. It turns out we were using it wrong initially (thanks, Megan!) and it’s great for walks inside or outside of the house. It’s still a little tricky to unlatch when you’re solo, but I’m getting the hang of it. It also is very comfortable for Brandon to wear.

Michael's Beco carrier

Michael’s Beco carrier

Blankets. We love, love, love the four-pack of Aden + Anais Classic Swaddle Blankets my good friend Traci gifted us. We use them as blankets, as a car seat cover, nursing cover, as a burp cloth, the list goes on. They’re really great and versatile.

Baby monitor. We opted for this model from Infant Optics and we really like it! We like that it’s a closed system and the imaging on the screen is very clear. However, when it’s on and near our computers, our wifi gets spotty. It also randomly loses signal and makes a loud beep, which of course could wake the baby you’re spying on. So that’s annoying. But overall, we’re fans!

Pacifier. This thing is a plug for our occasionally crying son. We have four and have them everywhere. He’s also recently discovered his thumb, which is great for self-soothing.

Diaper bag. You need one if you want to go anywhere! The Skip Hop bags are great. Lots of pockets and reasonably priced.

Car seat. Obviously, it’s a must. (At least if you want to leave the hospital!) We opted for the Maxi Cosi based on friends’ recommendations. We’ve been very pleased with it.

Stroller. I love our stroller for “momming it up.” We have the City GT Mini and I love it. It has a narrow profile, so I can visit most stores freely (Fireworks: widen those aisles and I’ll go crazy inside! Until then, I can only window shop!) and is lightweight and very easy to handle by myself. We have the attachment to place the car seat in the stroller, but the one downside is that you can’t use the stroller’s rain canopy and the car seat at the same time, a bummer for moms on maternity leave during the rainy season in Seattle. Make sure you get the “GT” and not just the City Mini, for the all-terrain tires! We also have the parent console (a must!) and hooks, which are great for shopping or holding his diaper bag.

"Momming it up" in the University Village with most of the gear I've listed here!

“Momming it up” in the University Village with most of the gear I’ve listed here!

Exercise ball. You know that ball you use to do crunches on? It’s also great for bouncing your screaming child to sleep! Have one of these on-hand, especially for the early days. And then when you’re abs re-emerge, you can resume crunches! Or not.

We have so many other items that we have yet to try out– I’ll try and keep this list updated as I find more items that are new baby “must have’s”!

For now, here is Michael at his one-month photo shoot:

2015-10-15-Month-1

And his two-month:

2015-11-15-Month-2

Happy birthday, Washington!

The wonderful state of Washington turned 125 today! Happy birthday! (Washington became the 42nd state in the United States on November 11, 1889.)

We celebrated with a bottle of Washington wine: the 2009 Cave B XXIV Merlot. It needed to breathe a bit but is drinking wonderfully as I type this post. (We paired it with a big bowl of “pasta:” spaghetti squash, chicken Italian sausage, kale, mushrooms and onions. Now that I think about it, we totally should have made something more “Washington”… Maybe next year!)

Celebrating Washington's birthday  with some excellent Washington wine

Celebrating Washington’s birthday with some excellent Washington wine

Back to Washington. Here are some fun state facts for you Washingtonians (and those out-of-state readers interested in our fine state):

  1. The state of Washington is the only state to be named after a United States president. Before it became a state, the territory was called Columbia (named after the Columbia River). When it was granted statehood, the name was changed to Washington, supposedly so people wouldn’t confuse it with The District of Columbia.
  2. Seattle is home to the first revolving restaurant, 1961. (The Space Needle)
  3. Washington state produces more apples than any other state in the union.
  4. Washington state has more glaciers than the other 47 contiguous states combined and eighty percent of the glacial ice in the contiguous U.S is found in Washington State. (We love you, Alaska!)
  5. Washington flagEverett is the site of the world’s largest building, Boeing’s final assembly plant
  6. The oldest operating gas station in the United States is in Zillah.
  7. Washington’s state insect is the Green Darner Dragonfly.
  8. Washington’s state gem is petrified wood (We have a piece at home!)
  9. The world’s first soft-serve ice cream machine was located in an Olympia Dairy Queen.
  10. Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world was founded in Seattle.
  11. Puget Sound’s many islands are served by the largest ferry fleet in the United States.
  12. The forests of the Olympic Peninsula are among the rainiest places in the world and the only rainforests (such as the Hoh Rain Forest) in the continental United States
  13. The percentage of non-religious people in Washington is the highest of any state, and church membership is among the lowest of all states.
  14. United Airlines was originally owned by the Boeing Airplane Company.
  15. Popular games Pictionary, Pickle-ball, and Cranium were all invented in Washington.
  16. Famous Washingtonians include: John Elway (football great and Brandon’s hero), Macklemore (musician), Ryan Lewis (musician/producer), Bob Barker (TV host), Ray Charles (singer/musician), Fred Couples (golf), Bing Crosby (actor/singer), Bill Gates (Microsoft Founder), Jimi Hendrix (guitarist), Quincy Jones (music producer), Gary Larson (cartoonist), Kenny Loggins (singer), Steve Miller (musician), Ahmad Rashad (football & TV host), and Adam West (actor).
  17. Washington’s state motto is Al-Ki (Indian word meaning “by and by” — Also a neighborhood in West Seattle!)
  18. We have six National Forests and 215 State Parks.
  19. Washington is number one in the country in the production of hops, apples, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries.
  20. Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, the largest dam in the United States that my Grandpa helped build!
  21. Up to 5,000 wild horses roam the Yakima Indian Reservation.
  22. Washington is home to four of the five longest floating bridges in the world: the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge and Homer M. Hadley Bridge over Lake Washington, and the Hood Canal Bridge connecting the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas.
  23. Seattle was the first city in the world to pump Muzak into stores and offices.
  24. Seattle was the first American city to put police on bicycles.
  25. Washington is a leading lumber producer. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock (the state tree!), ponderosa and white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar.

Read more about Washington and our state symbols here.

Happy birthday, Washington!!

Happy birthday, Washington!

Happy birthday, Washington!

What does the fox say!?

So… I’m totally obsessed with Ylvis’ new song “The fox” and I will apologize in advance for anything you might see that may get stuck in your head. The song has only been stuck in my head for going on two weeks…

I discovered this glorious song through my new phone and itunes radio…and by being a slacker and not loading my itunes playlist onto my new phone. It was weird enough that I took a screen shot and sent it to Brandon, so he could take a listen. He’s not an itunes fan, so he went to the internet and happened upon the glorious video. I didn’t realize the weirdness until we watched it the next morning in bed. So. Freakin’. Weird. And fun!

Ever since I discovered “The fox,” I can’t stop seeing fox items! I so want to buy them, but have resisted thus far. I just don’t know how long I can contain myself…

A fox costume, complete with UW Husky-colored tie (from Old Navy)

A fox costume from Old Navy

More fox love from Old Navy: socks!

More fox love from Old Navy: socks!

(Hint: Brandon: I want those socks for a stocking stuffer!!)

Old Navy has a lot of cute kid fox items, but this sweater is totally legit for a 31 year old woman.

Old Navy has a lot of cute kid fox items, but this sweater is totally legit for a 31 year old woman.

This teal cookie jar from Target looks a lot better in real life. Does the fox say "Cookie, cookie, cookie, cookie...?"

This teal cookie jar from Target looks a lot better in real life. Does the fox say “Cookie, cookie, cookie, cookie…?”

Target also has Fox Socks. Foxes are all the rage!

Target also has Fox Socks. Foxes are all the rage!

This was one sturdy fox! So sturdy that he'd be perfect for holding open the door... Love West Elm!

This was one sturdy fox! So sturdy that he’d be perfect for holding open the door… Love West Elm!

I’ll leave you with yet another Fox video, this one of staff at Schmitz Park Elementary in Seattle. Have a great day!

Stella & Dot visits Megan’s Island

The Megans (Look at all my baubles!)

The Megans (Look at all my baubles!)

You’ve probably heard of Stella & Dot, a “social selling company that creates flexible entrepreneurial opportunities for women.”  Take the idea of a Tupperware party and substitute boutique-style jewelry and accessories for containers. If you don’t personally know a “stylist” yet, then you’ll hopefully meet one soon and be invited to a party.

I personally know two stylists and this past weekend I hosted my — and her — very first party. Her name it Megan too, so I hope this doesn’t get too confusing.

Megan is a friend and colleague of mine and she just started “styling” for Stella & Dot. I was honored to be the guinea pig as she pimped out the line.

Here are some photos of the spread:

Megan Erb: Stella & Dot Stylist with the mostest

Megan Erb: Stella & Dot Stylist with the mostest

Stella & Dot goods. Ohhh! Awww!

Stella & Dot goods. Ohhh! Awww!

More Stella & Dot goods

More Stella & Dot goods

More Stella & Dot!

More Stella & Dot!

And the real spread: Meats, cheeses and wines:

The real spread

The real spread

What were my favorites?

Serenity earings

Serenity earings

Haley necklace

Haley necklace

Want to shop with the Megans? Use this link to check out the catalog and place an order. Check it out soon, since the holiday line made it’s debut TODAY! Happy shopping!