Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Moving Story's Beach Bag Packing List!

Just as I suspected, with my mom's visit I haven't had a second to blog this week. Luckily, I have this lovely guest post from my bloggy friend Kim. Check it out!

Hi, my name is Kim, and I blog over at, "A Moving Story". I'm excited to guest post on To The Sea today. Erica and I both love a day at the beach, and I wanted to share my must-have beach bag items with you! My family recently moved to the sunny shores of Lake Michigan. Now that I live close to its sandy shores, I've found myself packing a beach bag pretty often. Here are the 13 things that I always pack in my beach bag.  

A Moving Story's Beach Bag Packing List!

  beach bag, beach bag essentials, beach bag packing list
1. Vera Bradley Market Tote. I fell in love with this bag on a recent trip to the Vera Bradley outlet. It retails for less than $10, is gigantic and I can hose it off in the backyard to wash away the sand.

2. Flip Flops. Fun flip-flops are an essential element for any day at the beach. I love Old Navy's annual $1 sale and always stock up. You can never have too many pair of flip flops to protect your feet from the hot sand!

3. Plastic Water Bottle. I prefer to pack a reusable water bottle. Normally, I stuff it with ice and allow it to melt throughout the day so I have cold water all day. It's really important to stay hydrated when you're in the sun!

4. Beach Towel. There are two camps of beach-goers: beach towel people and beach blanket people. I prefer to tan and relax alone--so I'm not a fan of the beach blanket, which involves sharing. I like to swim, shower and relax on the sand and an oversized beach towel is perfect for that!

5. Zippered Pouch. I use a zippered pouch to hold my essential items like my keys and my cash. A little zippered pouch makes bathroom and restaurant runs easy.

6. Sunglasses. Although I swear by my Maui Jim's, I never bring them to the beach. We play in the water, the sand, and I'm pretty famous for accidentally sitting on my glasses or forgetting them someplace. I usually bring cheap sunglasses so that replacing them isn't heartbreaking!

7. Wet Swimsuit Bag. I love to swim, but I can't stand wet clothes touching the other items in my bag! I pack a waterproof, washable bag to avoid wet clothes ruining my snacks and other clothing. My favorite wet bag is the the Ditty bag with me because it has a handy drawstring and is plastic lined.

8. Trash Bags. I always bring trash bags because we usually pack a picnic and I like to leave the beach as clean as we found it!

9. Lip Balm. I'm a big fan of eos lip balm because it has a light fragrance and is soothing--and because the lip balm doesn't turn, it doesn't break and fall in the sand!

10. Baby Wipes. This is an essential item: from wiping off sand and sweat to managing sticky fingers baby wipes are important.

11. Sunscreen. Be sure to spend time in the sun responsibly. The sun's rays are harmful and nothing is more uncomfortable than a sun burn! Protect your skin

12. Healthy Snacks. I like to pack better-for-you snacks when I'm at the beach. Healthy snacks like fruit and yogurt can be tough to find at the beach.

13. Beach Cover-Up. I am always hungry. And even when I bring a bag full of snacks from home, I rely on my cover-up so that I can hike to the snack shack and have lunch!

What about you? When you visit the beach what are your must have items? Please tell me in the comments below!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

30/52 {baby/toddler/life updates}

My mom and little brother flew in from Texas last night so it will probably be another week of sparse blogging over here.
Here's what our last week looked like...

As Damian gets older Eva is becoming more and more interested in him. I can't wait until they can entertain eachother for hours.
I know the picture on the right is pretty blurry but it cracks me up. Eva pretty much knows all the Frozen "dances" and she was putting on a performance for me in her new nightgown I found her on GroopDealz.

Video of the Week:
I caught Eva calling me Erica. SMH
Today Damo not only turns 13 weeks old, he also turns 3 months old! Wow. This week he has been much more interested in toys, mostly putting them in his mouth. He's also been babbling up a storm and blowing lots of little spit bubbles. :)

I fiiiinaallly got around to working on Damo's nursery this week. I still have a long way to go, but here's a sneak peek:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Damian: Three Months

Damian Julio,

Three months! Oh my goodness. Does that mean you're not a newborn anymore? I don't know, but you're definitely becoming more and more like a "real" baby. You're even more talkative and giggly than ever. You love looking at yourself in the mirror. You're starting to reach for things and swat at things. You love tugging at my hair or shirt while nursing. You demand to be in the upright position unless you're eating or napping. You just have to see what's going on around you. Thank goodness I can face you forward in baby carriers now because that's the only way I can get anything done.

This month you went on your first multi-state road trip. We drove to Boston where we spent your first Independence Day. You did a lot better on the car ride than I thought you would.

You also started going to the Kid's Club at my gym. I fibbed and told them you were three months old weeks ago. I was really worried you'd cry and demand to be held the whole time, but they always tell me how good you've been so I'm happy about that.

And you're just so handsome. Lately you've been doing this one-side-of-the-mouth smile and I just melt. I know you're going to be a charmer.

Things you love: You love staring at your sister. You love going for walks outside. You love swimming in the pool. You love cuddling after bath time.

Things you hate: You still hate your car seat. You hate when your daddy coughs or laughs too loudly. You're feeling better about naps and your swing (thank goodness).

As much as I'll miss cuddling with the tiny newborn version of yourself, I'm really excited about the coming stages. I love you baby boy. Thank you for being mine.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Introducing JoyBound Apparel (plus a $50 credit giveaway!)

So I have a blogger buddy who I've been following since I started blogging (three years ago this month!). Her name is Eliza and she blogs at JoyBound (formerly BabyBound). She has two babies around the same ages as mine and she's totally gorgeous:

Welllll, she recently launched her own business. It's called "JoyBound Apparel," and its mission is to remind women to find joy in everything that they do. It encourages women to discover inner beauty and create happiness around them.
You can check out JoyBound products and read about their thoughts on beauty on the website.

You can also enter to win a $50 gift card to JoyBound Apparel here!
All you have to do is follow JoyBound Apparel on Instagram, and like them on Facebook or Twitter for an extra entry. :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tattoo Booth Family Photo Shoot!

While we were in Texas we had another photo shoot with Iliasis Muniz Photography. This time we went for a tattoo booth theme!
Here are a few of my favs:

Monday, July 21, 2014

29/52 {baby/toddler/life updates}

We finally found a beach! Sort of. It's a Potomac River beach with what I think is imported sand. It's obviously not a substitute for the ocean but it's only a few miles from our house and Eva had a blast. Next time we go I'll bring my camera to take pictures of it with something other than my phone. 
I love that little smile.

We finally got bar stools for our little breakfast bar thingie. Eva loves eating her "cheereals," as she calls it.
We had a few two-year-old meltdowns. Sometimes I like to take pictures even though it makes her even more frustrated. I'll show them to her if/when she has kids of her own.
Video of the Week:
1. Eva tracing letters. We've finally had time to work on them lately. I found these awesome dry-erase books on Amazon. We bought tracing letters, tracing numbers, and tracing shapes.
2. I caught Eva putting stickers all over Damian's face when I wasn't looking.
3. Just some baby babble.
12 weeeks! Wow. I'm pretty sure Damian has recently completed a learning leap. He can do a lot more things with his voice and he's always using it. He has also been sucking on his fists nonstop. Sometimes he even stops nursing so that he can suck on his fists instead. I hope it's not teething. Eva didn't get any teeth until she was 9 or 10 months old (I don't even remember anymore! Gah!). Other than that, he got to go in the pool a few times this week, which he loved. It was a good week for us.
Check out this adorable bib I found on GroopDealz! I'm obsessed with bandana bibs.
Lots of cuddles:
And here's a picture of Eva's brother design:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Support Breastfeeding in Public

There have been a few articles floating around about breastfeeding in public (like this one). A friend of mine recently told me she doesn't feel comfortable nursing in public, and that she has gone to a bathroom to nurse before. This bothered me in a way that I can't explain... Not that she nursed in a bathroom, but that she felt so uncomfortable about nursing in public that a public restroom seemed like a better option.

I'm glad to have had a great experience with breastfeeding in public so far. The first time I did it I was in Virginia Beach. Damian was about three weeks old and I was wearing him in my Ergo carrier. I just lifted up my shirt and let him nurse while watching Eva and taking pictures of my husband surfing. A man came up to me and was like, "Wow! I have to tell my wife about this. She'd love you. You're like, super mom!"  The next day at the beach without the carrier and I fed him again, without a cover. I didn't own a cover at that point and didn't have much of a choice. I never, ever thought I'd be that woman. I guess since we were at the beach, sitting in a chair under a tent I didn't think it was a big deal. I felt completely comfortable.
But a few weeks later I found myself sightseeing in DC with the kids and family. I found a tree to sit under, wrapped a nursing cover around my shoulder, and began to nurse. Damian wanted nothing to do with it. I couldn't blame him. It was 90+ degrees outside and he was probably wondering why I was putting a blanket over his head. So I said, "F*ck it," and took the cover off. To my surprise, I felt completely comfortable with my decision again, even after getting one (just one) dirty look from a woman in her 30's.

It's not that I used to think that women should cover up while nursing in public- I just understood where people were coming from when they insisted it. But now?
I think it's completely ridiculous.
And I think it's really depressing that there are women out there afraid to nurse their baby in a public area even with a cover.

I'd like to convince them that they shouldn't care what strangers think about it, even though I shouldn't have to. When I lived in Tanzania, not only were women nursing in public (without a cover) all over the place, I frequently came across artwork celebrating it.
And I kind of think it's up to us, breastfeeding mothers, to change people's minds in the United States. If we don't breastfeed in public, people will never see it, and they will go around the same mindset that breastfeeding in public is not the norm. That only crazy hippies do it, or something.

Even if you're not a crazy hippy, even if you are a bit shy, or whatever your reason, I encourage you (ask you even) to nurse in public whenever you find yourself in that situation.
Don't go to your car. Don't go to the bathroom. Just nurse when your baby asks.
If not for you, then for womankind.

Or if you're not breastfeeding, whether you ever have or not, encourage a woman you see doing so.
Even if it's just a smile or thumbs up.
I've even seen thank you notes.

Don't just ask for change. Be the change. :)

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