DIY Indoor Herb Garden + Watermelon Caprese Salad Recipe

29 June 2017

This post is sponsored by EcoScraps. All opinions are my own. 
If you've been around for awhile and read any of our home posts you probably know that our love for plants and live greenery in general is well established. Just because you live in a a tiny space doesn't mean that gardening and growing your own food is impossible. Sure, you might not have access to backyard space in a city but that doesn't mean you can't get creative with your green thumb. These days there are numerous ways to grow indoors without having to compromise on space . Whether it's your own little herb garden or full on fruits and vegetables, it can be done and in style. Because you shouldn't have to compromise style for functionality. No matter how often David tells me gardening isn't stylish. Ha!

To kick off summer on the right foot I'm teaming up with EcoScraps to help me start a little herb garden of my own in our tiny space and we're giving away a $50 gift card to Walmart so you can start one of your own (enter below)!

Now, one of my favorite things about using EcoScraps soil, aside from it being natural + organic is they use their own compost made from plant materials and food waste to make the soil even more nutrient rich and to avoid wasting food (and reduce landfill waste). Did you know? Americans throw away 30 million tons of food waste a year. YIKES! EcoScraps soils are also sans synthetic chemicals and added poop. I got the EcoScraps Natural and Organic Potting Mix at Walmart and it's great for all types of containers, indoors and outdoors. (EcoScraps story here)

As far as our starter herb garden goes, I decided on a good variety of herbs for summer cooking. I chose a handful of different types that I find myself using a lot during the summer time like Basil, Rosemary, Mojito Mint (because mojitos!),  Parsley and Thyme. I bought these already potted so I could test my skills before trying to grow from seeds. We'll try that later if I'm successful.

I bought a few cute planters to help keep things uniform and went to work.

-  In each planter we added a small layer of EcoScraps Natural and Organic Potting Mix to the bottom before transitioning the plant to the new pot. 

- Next, since the plans usually form a little bit of a root ball, we broke up the roots a little bit so it's easier for them to grow out into the soil before adding them to the planter. 

- Fill the rest of the planter with soil, pack gently, and water accordingly. 

I personally couldn't wait to put my basil to work, so I immediately made a Watermelon Caprese Salad, perfect for summer get togethers and picnics! Scroll down for recipe. 

 - Quick Herb Garden Tips -

1. Start with Basil, it grows quickly and the leaves clearly wilt when they're not getting enough water.  It's a great starter plant! 

2. Read the label. Make sure you're putting your plants in the right kind of light and giving them the correct amount of water. Some need full light and some can thrive in shade, with little water. Read.the.label. 

3. When repotting, make sure you're putting them in a pot a little bigger than the plant. Break up the roots a little bit and add a layer of  nutrient rich soil in the bottom before adding the plant. 

4. Harvesting: Always take the leaves from the top. 

- Watermelon Caprese Salad -
1/4 Watermelon, sliced and cut into 2" Stars
Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced 
A handful of fresh basil leaves
2 Tsp. Olive Oil
1 Tsp. Basalmic Vinegar

1. On a large plate or dish arrange watermelon slices, mozzarella and basil in a line. 

Watermelon, Mozzarella Slice, Basil. Repeat.

2. Drizzle with Olive Oil and Balsamic. Sprinkle with dried oregano and basil.

3. Serve chilled. 

(Try my peach version here)

Enter to win $50 to Walmart!

At Home With Arlo Baby

28 June 2017

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Arlo Baby. All opinions are 100% mine.
When putting together our nursery I was convinced that having a baby monitor was completely overkill, especially when we lived in such a tight space. I mean, how could I not hear him from the next room over? We have all of 700 feet of space, so why would I need one? 


Little did I know... 

After entering the world of video monitoring I could probably never go back. For example: I can finish cooking dinner without having to constantly go back to our room to check on him, I can keep an eye on the boys while they're hanging with the baby, and I get the freedom to take a shower with the peace of mind that I'm not leaving the baby sleeping in his bassinet for too long. It completely eases my neurotic, "I have to check on the baby" tendencies. If you're a mom, I know you're with me on this one, especially in the first few months.


Meet Arlo Baby Monitoring Camera. Holy crap, my mind is blown. You have to check out this tiny little bunny camera and the app that goes a long with it. Not only are the adorable green bunny ears likely the cutest thing ever, the whole system has me thanking the technology gods. The room feels warm- is it too warm for baby? the Arlo Baby app has you covered with temperature, air quality and humidity monitoring. 





Need some white noise to help him fall back asleep? Boom, a playlist of 9 songs ready to go to help him right back to dreamland. Need a little light to maneuver those 2 am feedings? The other side of the camera is equipped with a night light that changes to whatever color you please (I chose light show because I NEED ALL OF THE COLORS). 


The camera quality is crystal clear at 1080p HD with advanced night-vision to track every one of baby's moves in the dark. It even has motion and sound alerts, along with a baby crying alert so you know it's time to get up and check on your little guy. Receive alerts via text or email and watch realtime from your phone. 

Arlo also records motion and sound-triggered events, and saves them in your cloud storage. They can be viewed, downloaded, and shared for 7 days, for free. You can even share access to the camera or specific videos with friends and family. Let the oversharing begin (ha!). 

As far as security goes, like most people, we're concerned about live-streaming and wifi security in our house. So I was put at ease about connecting the camera to our wifi after seeing that Arlo cameras are encrypted with the highest industry security standards. Now, I can not only see what Indy is up to from the other room but also while I'm on the train, running errands or at a much needed night out with friends. 

As of now, I only have one complaint and that's the lack of a video monitor. I'm not keen on having to use my phone 24/7 for monitoring. However, I did see that they have an HD monitor coming soon on the website, so that's already taken care of. Other than that, we're a match made in baby monitoring heaven. 

Who else is on team video monitors? 
Visit Sponsors Site

Lemon Prints under $100

27 June 2017

It's been well established that I'm all for a good, quirky print. So, while doing a little routine shopping for summer styles I couldn't help but fall for the cheery citrus printed pieces spotted just about everywhere. When life hands you lemons buy a lemon print frock... 

...and drink lemonade. 

In all seriousness, how cute are these lemon printed styles? Best part they're all under $100. 





- More Lemon Prints under $100 - 



Embroidered Chambray Dress

26 June 2017

Ok, I'm going to level with you here, I have no idea how this dress got so wrinkled from the time I got in the car to the time we shot these. It was all of 10 minutes. I literally have worn it 5 times and it has never wrinkled like this, like ever. So, fluke maybe? Don't let my fluke wrinkling deter you from how cute this dress REALLY is. I love it, creases aside. So far, I've worn it with sneakers, these sandals, espadrilles and heels - summer win! If you love denim, off the shoulder styles and embroidery this bad-boy is right up your alley. I couldn't help but add MORE color with the help of my new Kooba bag, I mean, this red! Am I right? It also holds everything, making it perfect for days where I want to skip the diaper bag situation and carry something a little more chic around. Win and win. 

Dress c/o Chicwish, Bag c/o Kooba, Sandals Forever21
 

Loyal Hana Ariel Nursing Dress

22 June 2017

It's officially summer which means there's no chance in hell that I'm not skipping the layer load in favor of something light, breezy and easy to just throw on in an instant. But, since I'll be nursing for a good long while I have to focus on options that are going to make mine and Indy's life easier. Ah, the practical life. Though I've already shown you that nursing doesn't limit your options I figured you might need a little more proof in the form of an ACTUAL dress made for nursing moms. Meet Loyal Hana. Guys, there's invisible zippers on all of their pieces for super easy access. Aside from being perfect for the expecting and nursing moms, I kind of dig their pieces - I mean, a white off the shoulder dress for summer? Yes please, I'll take 2. Also, it comes in black too and they have pockets. 

I'll admit I was a little cautious about wearing the "Ariel" dress out because the light-weight cotton seemed like it was see through but after pairing it with a black bra I quickly found that it was not. Win! Bright colored undergarments here I come. Just kidding. Maybe. 

All summer dresses need summer accessories so a lace up pair of espadrilles and a straw bag are the perfect pairings for kicking off the summer in style, nursing or not. 


-Shop The Post-

Indiana's Birth Story

21 June 2017

If you've had a baby, whether it was an amazing experience or a complete nightmare, you have a story to tell. I've had both. My first experience first was amazing. Even after 23 hours of labor and dehydration, it was a great experience. My midwife was incredible and I couldn't have asked for a better birthing experience. The second, well not so much. We opted for a birthing home again because our first was so great but since we had moved to a different area, we ended up with a midwife that we later found was completely incompetent and negligent and it almost cost us our son's life. Sure, It started off fine but towards the end of the term, we later found that she ignored some important warning signs. And then when I finally went into labor two weeks late, maybe eight hours later, I knew something was wrong. However, she ignored everything I said, told me I was being hysterical and basically said I should shut up. What a gem. The long and the short of it, after 17 hours of hard labor, my little boy was stuck with his head barely out for 23 minutes and no air to the brain, and the midwife apparently too clueless on how to deliver him the rest of the way, Thank goodness he was rescuitated in the ambulance by some amazing paramedics. We had a tough few weeks in the NICU followed by a year of neurologist appointments; but by some miracle, he made it out unscathed. After that trauma it took us awhile to even consider having another baby. 

Indiana's birth, you could say, healed us of the trauma 6 years ago, but it wasn't 100% easy every step of the way. The past always lingered in the back of my head that history could repeat itself and Indiana could suffer from the same fate that Evan did, and maybe not so lucky in the end. After all, we do produce big babies that like to cook for longer than 40 weeks. But, I was reassured that it honestly wasn't a big deal and while a repeat of the past was possible, like most things, it was a small chance. So I left my ob/gyn in hopes of having another birthing center birth with a midwifery practice in Brooklyn. I was upfront about my experience at orientation and was reassured that it shouldn't be a problem. 

I transferred to their practice in the beginning of my third trimester. Since it was a practice of several midwives I had to make my way through each one as my due date neared. I told them each about the experience and they all seemed unphased until my appointment at about 37 weeks with a woman I was seeing for the first time. I was already having a rough day and she wasn't very nice to begin with, so I got a little more emotional about my experience than I usually do. That's when everything took a downhill turn. She was clearly alarmed by my story. Although, it seemed that the explanation that the issue with Evan's birth was clearly the result of the former midwives negligence, so I thought the issue was settled.  That is, until I got a phone call days later asking for my previous records from the birth in Florida. I flipped. After Evan's birth we completely cut off the midwife and blocked her from having any information about us or him so giving her the knowledge that I was expecting or anything else about us put me in panic mode. I explained that I would give them access to the records but I didn't want them speaking to her because she was an established liar. Well, they talked to her anyways while the head midwife from the practice was on vacation. Naturally, she made it out that it was my fault and that she was the hero of the situation and strongly felt that I was not a candidate to have a birthing center birth. So, they broke the news to me and told me that I was no longer eligible to be with them. They told me that their OB would take me only if I agreed to a c-section. At this point I was 38 weeks and sent into a panic. While the chances of a shoulder dystocia are higher after having one I never expected that I would be forced into having a c-section. My options seemed to be that or go to the hospital as a walk-in to give birth. Great options, right? 

So, I called my first midwife and basically cried to her for hours. She offered to have me fly down and deliver there, which was amazing, impractical, but amazing. She put me at ease and I made an appointment with the head midwife at the practice to talk about the situation. We sat down, she heard us out and basically everything was put back to together and I was slightly at ease. At this point though, the emotional damage was done and I was completely second guessing my ability to give birth naturally at this point. So we agreed on me not going past 41 weeks, with weekly ultrasounds to make sure he wasn't a big baby, and moved forward, seemingly back on track. 

Like the other two boys, Indiana was late. I think it's from the stress from the whole last minute debacle, but I can't be sure. I went into labor at exactly 41 weeks. I called my midwife and shockingly they told me that I couldn't birth with them and had to go to the hospital. Apparently the last midwife I had an appointment with at 40 weeks (who was one not keen on the idea of the risk of birthing with them) forgot to mention I had to go into labor at 40 weeks and 6 days. So, I was completely blindsided because 1. I had no idea how to deliver in the hospital and 2. was completely on my own. After all of the back and forth for the last few weeks I ended up feeling completely abandoned. (Thankfully David and my friends were there for my endless text messages, panic attacks and hours of sobbing over the course of that disaster. )

Luckily, we had done a little homework on potential hospitals beforehand and decided on a hospital right away. The midwife sent over my records explaining the situation and previous birth story. We went in when my contractions were 3 minutes apart and I checked into triage. Finally after a couple of hours of waiting, explaining the story to residents and getting their reassurance, I was checked in and found that my cervix was only 1.5cm dilated. WHAT. THE. HELL. 
Thankfully, instead of sending me home they encouraged me to induce. At this point I had been up for almost 24 hours and was exhausted, but agreed, even though I was terrified. 

Before moving to my room we talked more about what had happened before, and every resident felt that the story seemed odd because real cases of shoulder dystocia end with them breaking the baby's clavicles. So they couldn't figure out why, if that was really the case, how the Florida midwife got Evan out without doing so. They agreed that it had to be incompetence and told us that it still was a slight risk but they generally unconcerned. I felt reassured and ready to take on my labor. 

They set me up in a room with amazing nurses and induced at around midnight on the 12th. They gave me the option of an epidural but I told them I would wait it out because I wanted to try and do it as naturally as possible, like the first two. I figured after giving birth to a stuck, 10lb. baby, I would be fine. Yeah, I was for about 4 hours, and finally the exhaustion, and no for sleep for 24 hours and the non-stop contractions (that's the difference between medical induction, the contractions don't have breaks)  broke me down and got an epidural. It.was.life.changing. David says that he walked back in two minutes after they finished to find that I was super chatty and chipper (i.e. high as a kite). Life was great, the pain from the contractions was instantly gone and I was left with just the feeling of pressure. I got a good 6 hours of sleep in and was good to go. 

After about 6 hours, I was at 6cm dilated and a new resident came in talking about my previous  experience and offered me a c-section to make things easier but I declined and agreed to further induction with pitocin. This just meant they needed more doctors in the room for delivery just in case we ran into any problems. They set up the room for delivery and left me. My nurse gave me pitocin and we waited. For about an hour and a half I kept mentioning to David and our nurse that I felt a lot of pressure and couldn't figure out what it was. 15 minutes later I felt a strange sensation and my nurse noticed my catheter had come out. The doctor came in to check me and lo-behold Indiana's head was making it's way out on it's own. Everyone came in and prepared for delivery. 

After one small push his head was born. David and I held our breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop. After another half of a push, Indiana made his way out flawlessly and David and I honestly couldn't stop the tears. That 8lb. 9oz baby healed us and gave us the amazing birth we had hoped for with Evan. Even after all of the emotional drama from the last few weeks it turned out to be the best birth experience to date. Between the nurses taking complete care of me, the doctors supporting me, and David being there every step of the way, it was by far the best experience. 

Everyone cleared the room, Indiana immediately nursed (and has been nursing like a champ since) while I inhaled two huge plates of food. My epidural took awhile to wear off on one side, leaving me with a wobbly leg for a couple of hours but it was well worth it after that experience. Shortly after the boys arrived with my mom and met their little brother for the first time, they didn't have much to say except that they were both alarmed that my belly was still there and were convinced there was ANOTHER baby in there waiting to come out. So, that was fun to hear and have to explain. The brilliant minds of a child. 

My stay at the hospital was pretty great, considering it was my first time staying overnight. David camped out on the pull out couch and my mom brought the boys the next day before she flew out. By Monday we were ready to go and start life as a family of 5.