My Perfect Summer Sandal

Disclaimer: Tidewater Sandals sent me this product for free in exchange for a honest review.

I love flip flops. A little too much I think. If the weather was decent enough, I think that I could live in my flip flops (and believe me, I try to make it as long as possible, even when my toes start to turn purple in the winter). But when I wear flip flops, I need to make sure that they provide me with some sort of support, not only for my feet in general, but for my arches.

I have finally found my perfect pair of flip flops. Just look at these beauties from Tidewater Sandals.

Tallulah Gold | Tidewater Sandals

They are comfortable, stylish, cost effective – everything that I want in a shoe.

These sandals are perfect to wear to work or just around town and have arch support (which is key for me). I have been wearing them for the past month pretty much nonstop and are in love with them. I even wore them to Pinehurst this past weekend and they were super comfy to walk around in. I wore them yesterday during a huge rainstorm and loved that my feet were not slipping and sliding all over the place.

I really can’t say enough about these shoes. They are already a staple of my summer wardrobe and will continue to be a staple through fall… and maybe even winter!

Want to get your own pair? Tidewater Sandals is offering all of my readers a 15% off coupon code, BELLE15, that will be good through the end of May! Go ahead and get your summer wear today!

Caleb’s Teething + Baby Buddy

Disclaimer: I’m a Brand Ambassador for Baby Buddy which means I get free products in exchanging for promoting them. I wouldn’t promote a product that I didn’t believe in and use myself, but I may get a percentage of sales if you click on their link.

Caleb will be 4 months old on Thursday and I think that he’s started teething. I feel so bad for him. The poor little guy has been exessively drooling for the past few weeks and has been gnawing on his hands and toys. I picked him up an amber teething anklet to wear while he’s home and some teething gel but it’s time for me to start thinking about the future.

I’m vain about my teeth. Even though I’ve never had braces, I’ve always gotten compliments about how pretty my teeth are. I go to the dentist regularily and make sure to floss my teeth almost every day. I want to make sure that I get Caleb started off on the right track as well and develop good dental hygine. I’ve already been using this silicone finger toothbrush from Baby Buddy to help massage his sore gums which helps him to get used to the routine of having his teeth brushed.

Baby Buddy Silicone Finger Toothbrush with Carrying Case

I think that he enjoys it. But I need to start thinking ahead for when that first tooth actually breaks through the surface. Baby Buddy has these things called ‘Tooth Tissues’ which I think are going to be super easy to use. Tooth Tissues are bamboo wipes that are bubble-gum flavored and fluoride/paraben free! They are perfect for ages 0-16 months. Even better – you can stick one in your fridge to chill it to help with sore gums (or adults can even use it when they are on the go).

What I like most about Baby Buddy products is that they really seem to care about their customers. They’ve put a lot of time into the products they sell to make sure they are producing high-quality items. Their passion lies in oral care for little ones and it shows!

Check out the video I shared of me using the gum massager on Caleb:

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Importance of Car Seat Safety

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Cars.com. I was compensated for writing this post, though car seat safety is something that everyone who has a little one needs to take into consideration.

Back in July of 2013, I found myself going from car dealership to car dealership with my mom in search for a new car. The transmission on my old car had gone out and living in a small town with no public transportation, I needed a car in order to get to and from work. This was to be my first real purchase as an adult and I knew that I needed to make a good, well-informed decision because I would hopefully be driving this car far into the future.

I wanted a car that was reliable and that I would feel safe in. Even though children weren’t on the horizon at that moment, I remember saying to my mom that my car needed to be two doors so that I would be able to maneuver a child and the car seat easily. I needed a car that could grow with me as my life continued to grow in different ways.

Fast forward to now. I’m 34 weeks pregnant with my first child with that same car. Even though we’ve chosen our car seat, we have not yet installed it. I know that time is running out. But installing a car seat may be one of the most important things that you have to do when you are having a baby and I want to make sure that I do it correctly. According to facts presented on the CDC website regarding child passenger safety, car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants (aged <1 year) by 71%; and to toddlers (aged 1–4 years) by 54% in passenger vehicles.

We ended up going with the Graco 4ever All-in One Convertible Car Seat because Robb and I wanted a car seat that could grow as our child grows. Cars.com is a great resource on car seat safety and actually goes through many models of vehicles and tests the user-friendliness of installing car seats. They start each Car Seat Check by investigating the car’s Latch system, which is supposed to make it easier to correctly install car seats and then test how each vehicle handles the various sizes of child-safety seats in terms of both space and installation.

They also answered one of my biggest questions – Why Do Car Seats Expire?

Robb and I are making it a priority this upcoming weekend to go ahead and install our car seat into my car. Lil Bean could come at any time and I want to make sure that we are as ready as possible for his arrival. I don’t want us to rush around when it’s time and risk doing something haphazardly.

Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook [Review/Recipe]

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I recently had the opportunity to review the Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook written by Miranda Couse of the popular blog Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt. I love cookies but typically find myself fixing the same ones over and over. This cookbook is amazing though. It includes 150 recipes for all-time classics and modern twists on not only cookies, but brownies, bars, and no-bake treats. The recipes include easy-to-find ingredients, many of which are already in your pantry (if they are somehow magically in my pantry, then I know they will definitely be in yours).

I couldn’t wait to try her recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. I LOVE anything with chocolate and even though I am trying to cut down on my sugar intake, I figured that I could allow myself to indulge in one or two.

The verdict?

Nom. Nom. Nom. I can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes.

It amazed me how quickly this recipe came together. It took no time for me to measure out all of my ingredients, mix them, and bake the cookies. The cookies all turned out perfect in my mind as well – deliciously fudgy without being overwhelmingly sweet. The cookies themselves looked lovely with the cracked topping and would be the perfect addition to your holiday table or potluck.

Instead of baking all of the cookies at once, I ended up splitting the dough into thirds, rolling them up, and freezing two batches (without rolling them in confectioner’s sugar). I figured that once our Lil Bean gets here, it’ll be nice to just pull out a few pieces of cookie dough when I need something to perk me up.

The Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook will be released on October 31st, but don’t wait – preorder yours now and get ready to do some baking!

Print Recipe
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Recipe posted with permission from the Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12-13 minutes
Servings
About 34 cookies
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12-13 minutes
Servings
About 34 cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, oil, and both sugars until light and creamy. This will take about 3 minutes if using an electric mixer or 5 to 6 minutes if creaming by hand. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed or by hand until the dough comes together.
  4. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl for rolling.
  5. Using a medium (11⁄2-tablespoon) cookie scoop, scoop the dough into balls, drop them into the confectioners’ sugar, and roll to coat. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, until the cookies are cracked on top.
  7. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
Recipe Notes

Tip: You can roll the cookie dough first in granulated sugar and then in the confectioners’ sugar. This will help dry out the dough, giving your cookies even more of a cracked effect.

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Janie and Jack Holiday Collection

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that I’ll receive a commission if you purchase from this link. I was compensated for this post.

Janie and Jack recently released their new holiday Mommy and Me collection and I am in love! The collection is inspired by the special memories created between a mother and her child during the holiday season. As a first time mom due in December, I’m excited about the memories I that will soon create with Lil Bean.

The collection features a range of clothing for women and girls/boys ranging in age from 0-12 years old. The price point is very reasonable, ranging from $7-$169. It includes a wide array of styles in classic red hues and luxe velvets, perfect for a festive holiday get together.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the collection:

Embroidered Rosette Socks ($7) – I am a sucker for itty bitty baby socks as I think most people are. There is just something so adorable about their smallness and these socks, with their dainty embroidered rosette, take the cake. Even though these are geared more towards a baby girl, I don’t see why little baby boys couldn’t wear them as well!

Plaid 1-Piece ($42) – This is a wonderfully festive one-piece perfect for dressing your little one in when it’s time to celebrate. Chances are, I’m going to be too tuckered out this year on having just had a baby to really make the effort in dressing our Lil Bean up but I love this for maybe next Christmas. Besides, anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with plaid.

Dog Bib ($14) – I only just now noticed how well this adorable dog bib matches the Plaid 1-Piece (above). This is a soft cotton bib, machine washable, that is perfect for wiping up any holiday spittle that might dribble out from your little one partying too hard. The little embroidered dog adds just a touch of festive cuteness.

Faux Fur Sweater Dress ($69) – Even though my eyes tend to gravitate more towards boy items, I couldn’t resist sharing this knit dress with you all. Wouldn’t it be adorable for a little girl and I love the faux fur collar.

Velvet Tie Dress ($148) – This elegant velvet shift dress is not just for moms, but for anyone looking for a festive dress for their holiday party. It even has pockets which is a nice touch for someone like me who really doesn’t carry around a purse all that often.

In honor of the collection, Janie and Jack also released an exclusive video moderated by author/nutritionist/mother Daphne Oz featuring mother-child duos and fans of the brand to talk about their relationships and dress themselves and their mothers in their favorite looks.

Watch the Full J&J Holiday Collection Me and Mommy Video

Do you make it a point to buy a festive holiday outfit for yourself or your little one?