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My Holiday Gift Guide – gifts everyone will love

My Holiday Gift Guide – gifts everyone will love

I have sat down and put together this Holiday Gift Guide for after Christmas sales that you will want to check out! These are items my family and I received for Christmas that we are loving and look forward to using all year long!

This post contains affiliate links.

Maternity/Post Partum Wardrobe Holiday Gift Guide

I am currently reaching the end of my pregnancy and clothes have all become constricting and uncomfortable. So this year for Christmas, I asked for several different items to add to my wardrobe.

This is one of my favorite items that I can’t wait to try! It is a nursing nightgown. With no energy in the middle of the night, it is crucial to have something that is easy access for the baby and you. With my first child, I just word my normal shirts and the bottom half of me would freeze. Then, if I wore a nightgown, my shoulders would be cold.

This will be the perfect mix to keep my shoulders warm and easy access to breastfeed in the middle of the night!

I got four of these, they come in pairs. They are so comfy! If you want comfy yoga pants to lounge around your house in with the kids, these are the ones to get. The band can be folded under your belly or you can have the band up over it. Definitely going to be living in these for a while!

Lastly, I got these super soft and comfy Cardigan Sweaters. If you know me, you know I am always cold. I live in the sweater that I got from Target last year, and I am happy to add this one to my wardrobe to switch back and forth from.

This second cardigan will definitely look better after pregnancy, but I am still very happy to have it in my wardrobe now!

Around the House Holiday Gift Guide

The boys got an outdoor playset for one of their Christmas gifts. They love to play outside, but I do not like to sit out there. So, this year I added some patio furniture that I could be comfortable sitting in while they played. This is the one I got and I couldn’t be more excited to get it set up and start enjoying it. Especially since on Christmas Day, it was 70 degrees here.

Kyle got this as one of his gifts and I feel like it was one of mine! One of the first things I did when we got home was to create a space for it and get it set up. Unfortunately, It was the middle of the afternoon by the time I got it in its place so I haven’t tried it yet. But, you better believe tomorrow one of the first things I am going to try is a latte or cappuccino.

With this Keurig, we will be able to sell our old Keurig coffee maker and my espresso machine since it makes coffee, cappuccinos, and lattes. My espresso machine is nice but it is a pain to have to clean it like I do every time I use it. This new Keurig machine will make cleaning a breeze since it is top-rack dishwasher safe! Who doesn’t love a frothy coffee in the morning!?

Gifts that Little Boys will Love

These are a few of the toys my boys are loving that they got this year. Perfect to add to your kid’s birthday lists or even buy now and save for later.

These are their favorites from what they got. The lion blankets are hooded and perfect for play or sleep. They are also very big, so they will last a long time as they grow.

Kaius loves the linkimals that he can play with individually or they will sing and dance together in unison. If you follow me on Instagram, @momma_of_dragons, you will have seen Kai dancing with them as they sing.

For Gabriel, he loves building things so the domino train and the k’nex pieces are entertaining him for hours. As well as the leapfrog backpack, he can practice his letters and play games with them on the go.

Finally, the two scooters are so fun! For now, they are using them as ride-on toys, but I am sure as they get older they will be used more like scooters. The perfect transition toy that grows with them for their outdoor play!

These are just a few of the different items that we were able to receive this year. We are so grateful for what we have and I wanted to share with you our favorites! Thank you for following along! Did you get any similar items, and which are going to be your most used this coming year?

My journey to Motherhood Pt 1

My journey to Motherhood Pt 1

Let’s talk about how I became a mother to two boys and another baby on the way. My fertility journey from PCOS to two boys and another baby on the way. I might have to break this story up into several posts because it spans my lifetime. However, I know a lot of people can relate to having difficulties getting pregnant so I wanted to share my journey. Let’s start with 5 years ago, in 2014.

The Beginning

I had been on birth control for a couple of years but knew it would probably be difficult to get pregnant when my husband and I were ready to have kids. I knew this because my periods before I got on birth control, were 50 to 75 days apart. Sometimes they were even 80 days apart sometimes less, but never regular.

When my husband of several years and I were ready to start trying, I got off birth control. At first, it seemed hopeful because things seem to start off on a good foot with my first cycle only being 48 days long. But the wait then began to elongate. ..

I got off birth control in May, and by October nothing had happened, and I had only had two cycles. I began to look for an answer to what I figured would be a diagnosis of PCOS.

PCOS is Polycystic ovary syndrome. Basically, it means there are cysts on my ovaries that interfere with fertility. I began to track my periods and track all of the signs of fertility.

What was my body and its fertility doing?

As time ticked away, I began to learn a lot about fertility and my body. I started charting and tracking all my fertility signs. I began learning that my body didn’t have a problem after I ovulated except for a low progesterone level. In addition to that, my main and most glaring problem was that it took forever for me to ovulate. I would have a period, then 40+ days would go by before my body even thought about ovulating. Then I would ovulate, and 13 to 14 days later I would have my period.

This made it difficult getting pregnant because it was so long between ovulations. For other people, they can try once a month. Mine was once every 2 to 3 months. Besides this, I was experiencing low cervical fluid levels and low progesterone levels after ovulation.

I was discouraged but not giving up because I knew that everything was in God’s hands. He is the ultimate authority to my fertility, and no matter what happened I would learn to trust him with this. If you are feeling discouraged, I wrote this blog post about some ways to deal with it.

What do I do?

The first thing I did after temping and learning more about my body was looking into natural remedies. I stumbled upon a herb called Vitex via a facebook group I was in. After learning about it, I began to dig dipper into vitex. I learned what it was, what it was thought to do, and possible side effects and how it might help me. In the research, I found that Vitex had similar properties to the prescription Clomid and I became hopeful this was the answer.

PCOS Cycle

Throughout this journey, my husband and I were seeking answers from God. Asking for His guidance, and trusting that in the right time all things would come together. Whether that be through natural remedies, or through a doctor’s help.

Here is a screenshot of my cycles from 2014 to present.

My Fertility Journey with Vitex

After getting vitex and adjusting the dosage to be what I thought was a good amount, I hit my first stumbling block. 4 days after ovulating, I got super dizzy. I ended up going to the ER. They gave me some medicine to help me with the dizziness and nauseous but didn’t have a specific reason for why I was dizzy. I knew, though, based on the fact that I had just started the vitex and ovulated, it must have been caused by the vitex dosage.

I laid on the couch for 4 days miserable and unable to go to work or stand because of the dizziness. Finally, the problems seem to subside and things returned to normal. After this, I adjusted the dosage down a bit and did not experience another dizzy spell. I hit another wall though.

My next cycle was 100 days long. With things not seeming to be getting better I finally decided it was time to see a doctor and figure out what they could do. I made my appointment and describe the symptoms I was experiencing.

She was very nice and ran some tests but almost immediately diagnosed me with PCOS. She prescribed Metformin to me and mentioned Clomid. After discussing both options with her, I decided to hold off on Clomid and see how the Metformin worked. I knew from my research of the Vitex that I couldn’t take Clomid and Vitex at the same time. In addition to that, She mentioned that I could only take Clomid for a couple of cycles because of possible cancer risks.

That scared me and I decided to wait and do more research on the Clomid. I thought it would be good to start with Metformin before jumping to something that drastic. I say drastic because of the limited use options and possible cancer risks.

Fertility and Adding in Metformin

I continued to take my vitamins, the vitex, but now I added in the Metformin. It was February/March. I had been off birth control since May of the previous year and had only a mere 5 cycles in that time period.

Metformin is a diabetic medicine that doctors will prescribe to people with PCOS as an off label use. People with PCOS are shown to be insulin resistant and medicine helps reduce the insulin levels in the blood, thereby assisting infertility issues that are caused by high insulin levels.

Finally, after just two weeks on Metformin, I got a positive pregnancy test. I was over the moon! Now all I had to do was get through the pregnancy and meet my new beautiful baby. Or so I thought…

Continue the journey with me next week in the next blog post…

PCOS cycles

Sign Up to My Mailing List and Get a Free Digital Download

I would love to stay in touch with you! That is why I am giving away a free digital download when you sign up for my mailing list.

When you sign up, you will be directed to download this gorgeous free fashion illustration download.

It’s an 8×10, so you will be able to print it out and frame it wherever you like. Sign up now!

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xoxo!

Heirs of Love Study

This month my sister and I have put together a devotional-scripture letter study called Heirs of Love. It is based on what we have been learning in our other devotionals. I would love to share with you more about it and invite you to join us!

The Topic

We are discussing what the meaning of life is in this study. In Ecclesiasties, Solomon asks some really deep questions and tests things out with all his resources and power. We look at that then dive deeper into the word and the Godly broard view to discover what the meaning of life is and answer some of his questions.

Then, from there we are going to discuss what this means to us as Christians and the calling on our lives. I don’t want to give too much away here because I really want to show you the scripture and walk you through it step by step. So, please join us. You can sign up here.

Freebies When You Sign Up

When you sign up, you get a planner page with what verses and lettering we will be going through. Also, you will get a free fashion illustration download.

Looking Forward to the Journey

I hope that you will join my sister and me on this journey. It will be a great discovery and hopefully be a balm to some of life’s deepest questions. In addition to the study, we will be calligraphy lettering each day and sharing via Instagram out lettering. Here is my lettering from Day 1:

Join us on Instagram, @sharrette.co and @sharretteco_design to see the lettering we are sharing through-out the month and a few notes from the study. Feel free to tag us and use #heirsoflove.

See you there!

xoxo

A Boutique I’m obsessed with and why you should be too

Have you ever fallen in love? Yes? What about Fallen in love with a store or boutique? I have, I’ve found one I’m obsessed with. I love 90% of their clothing. I’m going to tell you about why I am obsessed with this boutique and why you should be, too.

“A man will never love you or treat you as well as a store. If a man doesn’t fit, you can’t exchange him seven days later for a gorgeous cashmere sweater. And a store always smells good. A store can awaken a lust for things you never even knew you needed. And when your fingers first grasp those shiny, new bags…”
― Sophie KinsellaConfessions of a Shopaholic

First of all, can we talk about how amazing Confessions of a Shopaholic is as a movie? It is such a fun and light-hearted movie! I love movies that inspire me so much that I end up reading the book. That movie was one that I read the book after seeing.

The Boutique

Vici Collective – How I found them

I found Vici Collective through a Fashion Blogger on Instagram. They were wearing some of their clothing and tagged the boutique in their post. Of course, I followed the link over and after scrolling through their feed I was hooked!

Since I have started following them I have made several purchases of clothing.

 This winter my go-to top has been this button down thermal. I wear it every week at least once. I feel in love with it from Urban Outfitters but I actually bought mine in a Mulled Wine color from Vici Collection. It is very soft and comfy, and the price was more affordable than at Urban. 

Other items I’ve purchased from Vici Collection are a pair of jogger pants, some dresses, an off the shoulder oversized cardigan sweater, and a pair of leggings. 

Why I love them

One reason I love them is that their Instagram Feed is always legit. They are always adding new items to their store, and so they are posting new items to their Instagram feed daily. Just go check them out here, and you will see what I’m talking about. 

I guess that is what keeps me coming back to them. They post high-quality photos and make their clothes really appealing to my style and aesthetic. 

Things to Watch For

The first time I purchase from them, I got these super cute zipper leggings. I was so disappointed though. When I received them, I had expected them to be a beautiful blush color and they were very brown. 

I’ve seen other complaints on their Instagram that the filters they are using are very deceiving on what you will receive. So, be cautious when purchasing! 

The good thing is they have a lot of influencers and you can see a “truer” version on the clothing item from them. 

When I buy

I usually buy clothes from them when they go on sale. They have flash sales that they will put clothes at $20 or under. That is when I have gotten most of my clothes. Shipping is pretty fast and not too expensive. 

All in all, I would recommend them but make sure to just buy with caution because of the color changes. 

If you would like to check out other clothes I’m obsessed with, check out this blog post about shein.com. It’s a review I did on ordering from them. 

Until Next time!

xoxo

 

 

Devotional Corner – The Beginning

I’ve been consistently spending time doing quiet time the past two weeks, and I thought I would implement a Devotional Corner every now and then on my blog.

Welcome! Thanks for joining me!

Here is a little background on what I’ve been studying:

I’ve been inspired by Amanda, @movethemountains. She had a January Lettering and Devotional challenge that my sister and I joined in called Daughters of Promise. I’m still going through all the days and listening to the devotionals she did as a companion to them. They are so powerful and really speaking to my heart, as well as my sister’s heart.

In addition to that devotional, I’ve been going through one called The Call by Amy Groeschel, She is Pastor Craig Groeschel’s wife. She put together this study for something called Sisters. I’m not quite sure the entire background on the study, but I started going through it with my sisters. We watched one video together, and then I started on the daily devotionals.

Wow, God spoke straight to my heart through this study! It’s been answering some questions I’ve been pondering the past couple of years. Let me share my questions with you.

My Questions

I love the book of Ecclessiaties. I often wonder the meaning of life. What is my purpose, what is the point of making money? It never satisfies and nothing I’ve done or seen can satisfy me because inevitable I always want more. How can this be all there is to life? Always wanting more?

I discussed this and more with my friend, and we just basically go around in a circle. I knew in my heart that my purpose in life is to know God and make him know, but why does that feel like it isn’t enough? What does that even mean? It sounds so cliche to me, and I felt like I was still missing something. I told this to God and decided to also do a study on Ecclesiastes, maybe I was missing something.

More to Come – Stay Tuned

Have you ever felt like there was more to life and you were missing the meaning of it all? Here is a post I wrote about feeling discouraged that might help you. I hope you will Stay tuned for my next devotional corner, I’m going to share exactly what God’s been saying to me and how he has been answering my questions.

Feel free to subscribe so you get a notification when I post the next one! Comment below some of the questions you have had about life, I’d love to pray about them for you.

xoxo

5 Must Packs and 5 Things to leave behind for Vacation with Your Kids

5 Must Packs and 5 Things to leave behind for Vacation with Your Kids

Recently, my husband and I went on an all-inclusive trip to Cancun and we took our two children who are almost eight-months-old, and two years old. It was a wonderful time where we enjoyed the beach, the food, and relaxation. Here are the top ten must-packs from my packing list when you travel with kids.

The Top 5 Must Haves

1. Pepto Bismol for Kids and other Children’s medicines

One of the worst things that can happen to you, God forbid, when you are traveling is that your child gets sick in some way. They can come down with a cough, a fever, or a tummy ache that leads to other bathroom problems.

I won’t go into much detail here because I’m sure you can imagine what it is like to be at a meal and your child needing to go to the bathroom 3 times within that span because they aren’t feeling well. This happens because your child isn’t used to other foods or can get some other food borne illness.

I recommend packing the following medicines:

  • Medicine for their stomach like this Pepto Bismol for kids.
  • For fever like children’s acetaminophen.
  • Something for cough and mucus. We prefer to use Zarbees because of the natural elements but any cough and mucus deterrent will be great to have on hand, just in case.
  • thermometer
  • gas drops for your baby

A great idea before you go on a trip is to help build their immune support. You can do this with Elderberry and Briar Rose drops. Or, getting out in the sunshine and letting them play for at least 30 minutes a day. If you are like me though, you probably don’t get that much time for them to play outside so the supplements are great for immune boosting. In addition to those two things, you can boost immunity with probiotics and vitamin d drops.

I recommend packing and having all the above. There is nothing worse than being on vacation, your child getting sick, and you not having anything to give them. Trust me! Even though it takes up space and adds weight to your bags, it is better safe than sorry.

2. Sunscreen and lots of it!

Even if you are going somewhere cloudy or cold, you need lots of sunscreen for the outdoors. It is heartbreaking if your baby or child gets a sunburn and you could have prevented it.

I recommend packing any sunscreen that has the main ingredient as Zinc Oxide. This is my favorite one, Badger SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen Cream.

Though it is hard to apply because it is so thick, you can mix it with coconut oil to give it a little more give. It is a great natural sun blocker. It forms a barrier on the skin to help protect and block sun rays. Unlike another sunscreen that absorbs into the skin along with any toxic ingredients that are used to make it.

In case of a burn, it is great to have on hand some aloe vera and lotion. One of my favorite lotions is the Johnson & Johnson Creamy Baby Oil. It’s a two in one combo pack because you get mosquito protection along with it’s moisturizing benefits.

3. Stroller and a Puddle Jumper Life Vest

The stroller was great for pushing the kids around in the airport or at the resort. If you aren’t going to an all-inclusive, there are many places that strollers work for and don’t work for. If you think you will be out and sightseeing a lot, a stroller is great for back up. Even if you don’t use it, my motto is better to have it then not. No one wants to carry around a 20 lb baby all day.

Alternatively, if you won’t be in a place where you will be able to push a stroller, pack your baby carrier. We have the K’tan and the Lilli Baby. Both are excellent baby carriers for different situations. We used the K’tan for going to the beach since I knew it would get sandy and is easy to throw in the washer when we got home.

The Lilli Baby is an excellent carrier when you are going longer distances and need back support. I love that you can wear the baby 6 different ways depending on their mood and size.

If you are going anywhere with a pool or beach, don’t forget your child’s life vest for swimming. It takes up some space in your bag, but definitely worth it since it literally can save your child’s life. We use this one and love it. It’s safety checked by the coast guard and will help not only keep your child afloat but keep your child’s head above water too.

4. Entertainment and Toys

Pack a few toys for the car, for the airport, for the airplane, for the hotel room and whenever you have down time. It is pretty embarrassing trying to get your child to stop climbing on things because they are bored and you didn’t bring any distractions.

We packed a few cars, some stackable rings for the baby, a rattle, and a train book to help distract our sons in different situations. The stackable rings were the big hit for both of them!

Also, YouTube has a great premium service where you can download your child’s favorite shows and use them offline. We downloaded a few for the airplane, though, the airplane did have a great entertainment system that he largely ignored.

5. Snacks

I’m going to be doing a post on this soon but snacks as a mom are so important. Especially if you are a #boymom, like myself. My son is constantly asking for something to eat and is very picky. He prefers to eat fruit and that just isn’t something possible to bring places. So, recently I went to Wal Mart and got a variety of snacks to pack in the diaper bag for on the go.

Some that I recommend:

  • rice cakes
  • apple sauce squeezes
  • fruit snacks
  • granola or chewy bars
  • cereals
  • Mini Muffins
  • pretzels
  • teddy grahams

A few other things I was glad I packed for the beach were

  • two different sized beach or tote bags to carry the sunscreen, baby hats, and toys back and forth to dinner and the beach.
  • My own sunglasses, because how often are those forgotten in the car?
  • Stuff for me to do in downtime that doesn’t require internet or my phone, i.e. a drawing pad and good book.
  • My phone and charger to take pictures with.
  • Sippy Cup for the 2 year old. Great ones to take are the toss and go because if you lose them it isn’t a huge deal and they are mostly leak proof. I say mostly because if your child knows how to pull of the lid it’s going to spill everywhere, which happened to me a couple of times.

I wish I had packed more cute covers for wearing to the beach or around the resort. If I were to have brought another one, I would’ve bought this one:

Bonus – Underwear!

If your child is potty trained and gets sick, make sure you bring plenty of change of underwear. You don’t want to be washing dirty underwear in your sink trying to get some on the last few days for them to wear, so always bring extra!

You get the idea, now lets move on to things that I packed that I didn’t need.

5 Things to Leave Behind

The above five things are things we would’ve missed on our trip if we had not packed them. We used all of it and we were definitely glad to have it. Here are five things I packed that I could’ve left behind:

  1. Kid Sunglasses – Unless your kid is obsessed with wearing the sunglasses, they will hardly wear these. It is better to take a sun hat in hopes they keep that on.
  2. Too Many Toys – It’s great to bring toys but I would narrow it down to less than four. We took a whole backpack full for our son and they just played with two or three of them.
  3. Baby Powder and Water Shoes – These would’ve been great but they were forgotten at the bottom of the bag. We never got too sandy that we needed the baby powder and if we did they had wash off stations in varies locations.
  4. Too Many Shoes and shirts – We definitely overpacked on the shirts and clothes. I came back and half my clothes were untouched because I wore my swimsuit most of the time with a cover-up.
  5. Laptop and other Big Electronics – This is a vacation with your family. The last thing you want to do is be distracted. You are spending a lot of money, you might as well unplug and enjoy your time.

I looked at a few other packing lists on pinterest when I packed and made my list from that. I know that I was definitely glad to have the above and wish I had left a few of the things behind. Be prepared but have fun on your trip. You only live once, so might as well enjoy the ups and downs.

If you liked this blog and want to know more about me or my daily life check out my blog posts in the About me category or follow me on Instagram @sharrette.co or @sharretteillustrations.

You can also check out my pinterest for things I pinned before my trip here. I have a bunch of great kid boards where I pin things like what to teach my son, different craft or activites, and even just fun baby gear!

Xoxo!

A Review of My Recent Shein.com Purchases

A Review of Shein Clothes

I have seen the shein.com ads for a long time now and have wondered about the quality, shipping, and sizes of the pieces. The prices are so reasonable and the styles so cute, I finally decided to take the plunge and order a few items. This is a review of my recent purchase and whether you should order from them as well.

What did I purchase?

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am pregnant right now. Buying pants or skirts were out of the question. I wouldn’t be able to wear them for months still, and who knows what size I’ll be after the baby is born. I did end up going through their selection and save some to my wishlist for later, though. Hey, a girl can dream!

For the shirts that I ended up buying, I tried to find styles that I thought would look good both now and postpartum. The shirts that I bought were simple. Some were flowy and some were just normal t-shirts. Plus, I couldn’t resist this graphic t-shirt that has the word Nope on it.

It is always difficult to gauge what size to get when you haven’t purchased from the store before and shopping online. Plus, add being pregnant and it all just becomes a shot in the dark. I ended up getting a medium on everything. It seemed the safest bet in the end.

Receiving the Goods

One thing I was nervous about when I ordered was that shipping would take a month to get to me. I have bought from other similar sites and it did take that long, but this is not the case with Shein. It only took about a week, and everything was there.

When I was originally shopping on the site, I was going back and forth so much on what I wanted to buy that I was adding and removing stuff from my cart for several days. In the end, I didn’t double check the number of each item because somehow I ended up with 3 of the same shirt. I originally thought it was their mistake, but alas no. I had paid for all three and definitely had to do a return order.

Other than that, everything was there. Now for the fittings.

Trying Everything On

Even though everything I ordered was a medium, somehow there was a wide range in the size of everything. At the bottom of each item on their site, people do upload pictures of the clothes and review them. That is actually very helpful.

This blush shirt, that I ended up with 3 of, is super long in the back. I love the fit but I’m worried that it will look excessively long in the back when I’m not pregnant. We will see. I decided to keep one of them and send the other two back.

I also purchased this green shirt with a cute x detail at the neckline. Besides that, it is a pretty simple shirt. It seems slightly short, but that could just be my belly making it shorter. I’ll have to update this once I am postpartum. The material seems a little cheap, but not enough that I felt the need to send it back. It is soft and subtle.

Updated:

Finally, the last two shirts I bought were this Nope shirt in Black and a navy blue shirt that says wifey. I love both but I have not worn the wifey shirt once. It is really long, and I haven’t found myself drawn to it to wear.

So, now being postpartum, I wear the green and black shirt the most. I don’t wear the blush shirt hardly any and I don’t think I’ve worn the wifey shirt once. It’s a shame too because I hate spending money on things that I don’t end up wearing.

Conclusion on Shein

All in all, I like the purchases that I got from Shein. I wish I had returned the blue wifey shirt only based on the length. I feel the quality of the clothes is comparable to the price they charge.

One negative is that I think they only give you one free return, so I don’t think I will rush off to order more clothes from them. There is such a variant on the clothes, that I would be nervous about each item and how I liked it.

If you want clothes that are cheap and look good, then shop here. If you want high-quality products for great value, I’m not sure that Shein is the place to buy from.

Have you bought from Shein? What was your experience? Did you like the clothes?

Check out some of my other fashion blog posts below in the related section. In this blog post, I talk about some fashion trends for this spring. Also, if you are looking for a great mascara that gives you the false lash look, check out my review of these three mascaras.