Emmanuel :: 18 months letter

 To my 18 months old baby boy.
Words cannot describe how much I love you and love watching you grow each day. You have been nothing but pure  since day one.
You continue to grow and be more independent. Feeding yourself, trying to wear your own shoes and clothes. You are an active little ball of energy.
Your favorite words / phrase are:
oh oh, putting your hands on your hand.

What did you do?
Get down!
Not nice

You are a good listener.
You love putting things in the trash. That is one errand I can send you and you will 100% deliver.
You love to put water in your mouth and gaggle it
You love to run away when someone calls you. You actually think it's a game.

You love being in the water and bath time and the pool.

Getting you away from water is always a challenge.
You are such a morning person.
 You pretty much do everything your sister does.
You love cuddling and giving hugs.
You love to blow kisses to your teachers.
Foods you are loving at the moment, grapes, banana, oatmeal and rice, Those never fail even when you refuse everything else.

Love you sweet baby boy!

May Wish List

Hi loves!
This post was meant to be my mother's day wish list / gift guide but life happened and it never went up in time. We were away from home (in North Carolina) celebrating hubby's MBA graduation. I could have had it up prior to leaving but time just slipped from me. Nevertheless, I am posting now and we'll just call it the May Wish List because, I truly love all the items on here and some I really need (big grin).

1//Oversize Denim Jacket// Believe it or not, the only denim jacket I own is from back in high school from Amanda Bynes collection, anyone remember her? I think it's time to add a second option from this era. Since that one is more fitted, I think an oversize one will be ideal.
I have also linked more options here and below.

2//Maxi Yellow Dress // Maybe I do not have a favorite color after all or maybe my favorite color is just always changing. Either way, I am currently loving and extra attracted to anything yellow. Or maybe it is my happy color. This dress is just lovely all around.
More Yellow dresses here.

3//White and Blue Stripe Dress// White and blue stripe is a classic and one that will probably never get old. I especially love this one for the wrap style effect , hi-low length and ruffle details. And the price is just right. This one is already in my closet. Hope to share when I style it. 
I have included a similar one, an actual wrap dress here.

4//Cobalt Blue Sandal//Ok, I am officially into block heels. I used to use work as an excuse, but I think I have fallen in love with them in the process. It's hard not to fall in love with comfort. Block and kitten heels are becoming a thing in my closet and I am loving it. That doesn't mean I'm getting old, does it?

5//Chloe Love Story Perfume// Just because I need a new scent and this one has good raves.

6//Block Heel Pumps// Same as number 4. Plus this one is simply classic with the bow and the navy color. And the price is amazing!

7//Wet N Wild Wonder Gel Nail Polish// I cannot tell you how much I love this nail polish and since discovery it, thanks to another blogger, I have not used any other brand of nail polish on my finger nails. All my old collection now belongs to Eliana (shhh...don't tell her yet). The closest thing I can compare it to is getting the shellac /Gel manicure, which I've had in the past. 
This polish keeps and strengthens your nails - no breakage at least not easily, doesn't peel or chip the moment you touch water, last up to 2 weeks and depending on how often you wash dishes, or cook, it could last longer; and the best part, no UV light required, no top coat required, dries fast and you can remove with regular nail polish removal. No need for foil and soaking your fingers and all that ceremony. I'll leave it there! 
I had issues finding more color options in store and just realized they have them online as well. Now, I can have a proper collection.

8//Canteen Crossbody Bag//Basket bag are becoming a thing. Majority of them I find non-functional. Half falls into the category of completely see through, making it impossible to put anything of value in there without a secondary purse, and other half is just to look stylish as they are small and not for day to day functions. I find this one strikes the perfect balance between functionality and style. Big enough to hold everyday essentials and still have that basket/natural feels.

9//Gold Bracelet Watch//I currently have 2 pairs of "good" watch I wear on a daily basis and they are both silver. Thinking this rose gold one will make a great addition.

10//Personalized Dainty Disk Necklace//I have always wanted something with my kids name to wear and I love this dainty necklace. I especially love the fact that it is delicate and subtle and not overpowering or all out there. It helps in keeping it even more personal because if you're not close enough to see, you'd think it is just a regular necklace. 

11//Yellow Tassel Earrings//Missing from the picture are these gorgeous yellow tassel earrings. Budget friendly ones here.

Perfect timing as Memorial day is upon us. Sure some of these items will go on sale so Happy Shopping!

5 Things Employers Should Provide for a Nursing Mom

Now, It has been a minute since I breastfeed or pumped. I stopped pumping around 10 months and stopped nursing Emmanuel at about 14 months. Our freezer reserves lasted about another month before we fully transition to whole milk.

S, you wonder why I am writing a post on nursing / pumping for working moms? Well, between both of my babies, I had to opportunity to experience being a nursing mom at two different companies. Although I am currently not nursing or planning on nursing a kid at my current company, I couldn’t help but notice some of the perks they offer to nursing / pumping mothers.
Based on my time with these three companies, and on my experiences both good and bad, for where they were lacking and could do better and where they hit the mark, I am sharing the 5 essential things I believe all employers should provide for working nursing / pumping mothers.

Proper Lactation or Mother’s Room

This is very important especially if you work in a common space or share an office. Might not be so much of an issue if you have a private office with doors and lock. 
But, in a case where you don't, we need a proper functioning and comfortable room. Not an old dingy janitor's closet that was cleaned out when they found out you would be needing somewhere private, but a proper room with basic features like a comfortable chair, a table and ideally a sink in the room. A small kitchenette close to the room will work as well as long as it is not the common area for everyone else in the building for lunch and break. 
Let’s just say I have experienced the not so glamorous end of the spectrum on this one and then somewhere in-between.

A Dedicated Refrigerator

Next on the list is a no brainer. If you have an ideal room for pumping, it only makes sense to put a small refrigerator in the room to store mother’s milk and not have to share or compete for space in the refrigerator dedicated to lunch boxes and access to the universe.
Granted there is another option and you can come prepared with you ice packs and storage bag but how effective that is depends on your work hours and pumping time. It will be nice not going home with lukewarm milk at the end of the day and having the dedicated fridge just let you know your employer fully considered your needs.

Time To Pump

Another very important element is time to actually use all these wonderful amenities they are providing. Now this one is tricky. If you have good supply and can pump multiple full bottles in no time and you get an hour break, that Is more than enough to knock out both pumping and lunch time at the same time, granted you bring lunch.
If you however must go out to get lunch, then one hour barely covers it. So, in my experience, eating out was not an option for me to effectively utilize my time. Also, some people might need more frequent pumping in shorter duration and that should be considered as well. This is very helpful when working long hours and at the early stage of returning to work where the supply is still trying to regulate and now has to adjust to being away from the baby, which means no nursing time if you previously did that while home with the baby. It is also  nice to have the option to pump multiple times as opposed to a big drain during lunch and then leaving work engorged. I could have certainly used a quick pump an hour or so before leaving work so I don’t go home engorged to only make a hungry baby angry while trying to eat or in most cases express before feeding.

Good Travel Accommodation

This applies if you travel for work. Good lodging with the necessary amenities is very important. Sometimes, that means an upgrade from the standard room with any side eye from anyone. I was lucky I didn't have to say too much to my boss when I had to go through this. All I asked was if there was a refrigerator in the room and he immediately knew what I was talking about and made the necessary arrangements. now, if you book your travels yourself, then you can handle this yourself. It is imperative to get a suite style room with a kitchen. The last thing you want is to be subjected to washing all your pump parts and bottle in an hotel toilet for days.

Milk Shipment Service

And last but not least, a courier service that ships your milk home while you are away for work. Although I may not get to use this service, I definitely know the impact it can have given my past experiences traveling with milk through the airports. The company provides the shipping supplies and covers the shipping cost as well.
This comes in handy in a number of way. First your baby doesn’t have to supplement if you don’t have a stash. Second, you don’t have to over pump prior to leaving to create said stash and lastly but most important you don’t get harassed and penalized at the airport for carrying / traveling with too much breast milk (I might publish the post which I drafted when this happened a while ago, if I can ever finish it).
Having a service that either ships daily or all at once based on mom/baby's needs is very important. The other aspect to consider from my experience is that if you are hyper-lactating, at some point you start to think you have too much milk to travel with depending on how long you’re gone for. Then, you start throwing it out. But, with this service, you can keep every single ounce of your milk and just send it home.

So, there you have it,  the 5 things I believe are essential.
I understand list paints the perfect picture. None of three companies I have experienced was able to check all boxes, so it might seem farfetched to even dare to dream of such a workplace. But, when you think about how much emphasis is placed on some other stuff or how much money is spent in some other departments, I think we can all agree these companies can do better and even above this.

So, my working nursing mother’s both past and present shed some light on your experiences and what else you think employers should at least consider to make our lives as working nursing mothers easier.

I was talking to a friend who is also a mom and we started talking about this topic and  she said something that didn't even occur to me because it was never an option for me and that is, the most important thing every employer should provide for moms in general, not just nursing mom is an on-site childcare.
When she said it, a light bulb went off in my head. With that option, one might not even need to pump at work, given you can walk over to go feed your baby. Granted they still have to be flex on your schedule so you don't feel rushed to feed both yourself and the baby all in an hour.
This potentially eliminates the need to pump depending on your milk flow and frequency of feeding / pumping. 
Of course there are other benefits. Who wouldn't love to go see their baby and get some cuddle time during lunch break!

Green on Green

Hi Loves!
I hope you enjoyed you weekend. I certainly enjoyed mine.  
We hosted our first guests since moving to Florida. My sister and her friend came over and it was a weekend well spent eating, soaking up the sun on the beach, did I mention eating and some much needed nap after all that good food.

Hubby and I did manage to squeeze in a quick date night which was much needed as they offered to watch the kids. 
The kids enjoyed having their aunties around and getting some extra attention.
 I survived first week at my new job and currently into my second week. 
I think I'm going to like it here with lots of opportunities to learn, grow and advance my career.

But, for now, the best possible news that this new job has given me is that I can wear whatever I want; skirts, dresses, open toe shoes...you name it! With the strict pants and closed toe shoes only (sometime steel-toed) requirement of my prior job this was music to my ears. 

I can now fully embrace my whole closet again and literally dust off my skirt and dresses.
That's not to say I won't be wearing pants but the fact that it is an option not a requirement makes it more enjoyably. 

I have to say I am well stocked on work pants but don't think I can say the same for skirt. I find half of my skirts "too dressy" or outdated (too tight) for work. 

So, I may need to revisit the proportion of pants to dress to skirts in my closet.
This should be fun!

Top: H&M (sold out, try this here, here & here)
Pants: Asos ( sold out, try this here, here & here)
Shoes: Asos (similar here, pink, black & gray

Currently Loving: : The Way (New Horizon)

This song right here is my current jam! 

I am either playing it on repeat or going into crazy mom head banging, hands in the air when it comes on in the car.

The lyrics are simple yet powerful. 
Great reminder, affirmation and source of comfort.

The beat I think is what gets me the most; it's hard not to get pumped when it comes on.

If you haven't listen to it yet, please do so and let me know you thoughts.