The Doll Dilemma

  
As Christmas is approaching, if you are doll shopping for a little girl, I’m sure you have been thinking about the pros and cons of buying an American Girl Doll verses a retailer store brand like Target’s My Generation Doll or a toys r us doll. You have asked yourself and your Facebook community to chime in on this delimma of which would be best how the quality compares? Here are a few insights geared to help you choose. 

1. Quality comparison

First off I want you to consider how your child “plays”. If your delicate little daisy sips red koolaid in a glass tea cup on white carpet in a white dress and can walk away just as clean and daintily as she arrived then it doesn’t matter what kind of quality you buy. Your princess will be kind and gently and loving to even the most delicate doll. 

This being said, my child may or may not be gentle but her little brother sure is not!! And by the way I would never give my little flower koolaid while wearing a white dress on white carpet! 

The standard of the American Girl Doll quality is far superior to that of any box retailer brand doll. Why do I say that you ask? Because the American Girl Doll Company wants your business for a lifetime…they are in the business of dolls and the world of a doll. They don’t offer deodorant and dvd’s during your shopping experience but detailed doll accessories and vignette play to create a environment for your doll  a hair salon not for you but your daughter’s doll, and of course a bistro that will have a high chair for your doll while you eat and then return to shop of course. 

When baby brother takes your little ones favorite doll and gives it swirlies in the toilet and then a new marker makeover and haircut what can you do? I’m sorry to say most retailer dolls end up in the trash and it can be hard to find another “like” one. Now you did only invest $25 or so which isn’t the end of the world but it is to your delicate flower. American girl has a doll hospital that will repair your daughter’s favorite American girl doll for a fraction of the price of buying a new one. And you can teach your daughter that when we get hurt we don’t get thrown away but we can go to a doctor and get better.

2. Customizable options

American girl dolls can be customized to the skin tone, eye color, hair color you desire and then have matching clothes for your daughter. A lot of Box retailers have preselected combinations.

My daughter could care less what combination of a doll she has. So this isn’t a big deal to our family. My daughter was completely happy with the $50 American girl doll Craigslist special she got last year that had the black square beauty mark in her leg from a non American girl black sock whose color transferred and couldn’t be removed or sent into the hospital in time. 

3. Price

Hands down the box retailer dolls and accessories will be less expensive. American girl dolls and accessories are meant to last and be a doll that your daughter will hand down to her daughter. American girl dolls can range in price from $125 to $150 depending on set combination accessories etc.

 Costco currently has a deal for American Girl Doll gift cards. The gift cards can be combined with discount codes and in store specials. $100 of gift cards for $79.99. So hurry to your local store. Essentially you could save $20 on a $100 purchase. Also keep an eye out for Jill’s steals and deals for crazy flash sales on the American girl dolls as well as zillily.

Here in our household we have chosen to mix box store salon chairs, dogs and carrying cases with our American girl dolls, dogs and beds. My daughter has a our generation doll she got for her birthday and it’s nice but I will tell you brushing it’s hair and dressing the thing is more challenging by far. My daughter asks why the arms are hollow and why it looks different but still plays with it. 

I don’t believe in spoiling a child or overindulging them but if I had a choice between a mega block and Lego brand we all know which one will last. If you are thinking about which doll remember regardless how much you pay that doll will be played with, it will be loved and it will be swung around and thrown by a younger brother or even drooled on. Knowing I can get anything repaired gives me the peace of mind. 

4. Know your child

My daughter doesn’t have to have new. She wears a mix of new clothes and goodwill clothes plays with toys from toys r us and toys from the dollar store. Kids just love to play. Buying her the AG doll was something I wanted to do because my mother had scraped and saved for me to have one for my Christmas  present when I was young. I did the same for mine and decided to sell stuff on my local yard sale site to get her a used AG doll. It makes me see feel good to know her doll has been loved and played with since last Christmas and that if she ever chooses to resell it she could get back the $50 I paid for it. The our generation doll will become a goodwill find one day for $3.00.

I want to add that the American girl doll store makes every effort to service in the salon and bistro all dolls regardless of manufacturer. The hair salon styled my friend’s daughters target doll and made no mention to the little girl that it wasn’t an American girl doll. 

Don’t go into debt for a doll. Your child loves you and will be happy with anything that is bought with love. If you choose the box retailer’s doll don’t worry. If your daughter ever wants the American girl doll help her earn the money to buy one new or used, it will mean that much more to her if you are on the fence because of cost. 

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The 5 best baby products

Every year baby companies try to come out with their latest and greatest to remarket to previous and acquire new moms as their customers. With baby number one I was a working momma and I told you about my favorite things for a Working momma in one of my very first blog posts ever. 

Now I’ve been a stay at home mom since baby number 2 and now on baby number three and the last.  My new favorite gadgets or baby “things” are awesome! Don’t believe me check them out. 

1. The WubaNub Pacifier ($12.95 Amazon.com)

This incredible invention is not new by any means but invented 17 years ago by a desperate momma.  (www.wubbanub.com) Forget that lost tiny pacifier that fell between the seat back of the rocking her chair and you couldn’t find. This little stuffed animal makes it a lot easier for you and others helping you, because you know you have told everyone to drop what they are doing and help you find that pacifier. 

So why is this on my new list? They come out with different stuffed animals of course. I was not a participant in the Beanie Baby craze but the retired and new animals are hot commodities. I mean look at their newest addition the “baby lion”. It’s adorable and those cute little two month hands can hold it and squeeze it and when you put the pacifier into your baby’s mouth it doesn’t falL right away to the side when they spit it out but rather the weighted feet keep it put.

  (Image compliments of WubaNub.com)
2. Carter’s Mix & Match Fresh Air Crib Liner ($59.99  Buybuybaby.com)

I know we have all thought about how terribly ugly the breathable mesh crib bumpers are and have owned one out of the feeling of duty and responsibility to our child’s safety. Well Carter’s (and a few other manufacturers) have developed a wonderful little thing called a crib liner. Decorated adorably to match the color theme of your room it provides a breathable mesh but with adorable fabric accents. 

The best part is that the bumper is  part of the liner. Instead of putting your mattress on your crib springs, the springs are covered by the   an attachmesh bottom that is attached. When you secure the liner like a normal crib number you set the mattress in and when you change a sheet there is no need to remove the number since it stays in place. 

  (Picture courtesy of buybuybaby.com)
3. Bright Starts Take Along Toy Carrier ($5.79 Target.com)

We have a Chicco keyfit30 car seat and this little guy has been amazing. Now equipped with Velcro on the sides to attatch the toy to the car seat for the perfect fit, it can be moved to the right height for the baby to reach. 

I put this on her seat last month (she was 2 months old) Mainly so her brother and sister could entertain her in the car. As soon as she turned 3 months she was rattling the zebra by herself and as if this week she is now pushing the Tigers nose to hear the music. 
4. Baby bunners cream by Homemade Addiction ($35.95 In the baby organic gift set Etsy.com )

My doctor said that diaper rash is inevitable. Dr. Aurora proceeded to explain that when urine and feces mix in a diaper it creates a chemical reaction and a irritant to the skin hence diaper rash. I try to be careful what I put on my baby’s behind. When I found the Homemade Addiction Baby Bunners Cream I was hooked. 

This awesome cream has zinc oxide to protect those cute cheeks and is really easy to apply. It’s not sticky or pasty and actually doesn’t appear white once it’s applied. I can read all the ingredients and know what they are. It’s great for sensitive skin. My daughters bum is protected and just as perfect as the day she was born. 

  
Picture compliments of etsy.com and homemade addiction 

5. Angelcare Baby bath support ($19.99 Target.com)

We have all battled the kitchen sink and lost at least once with the baby bathers that supposedly fit any size sink for those delicate little ones. The bathtub in our bathroom was made for bathing. I don’t know about you but I found that I could bath my baby quicker in the tub than the sink. This contoured bath support is made of perforated formed soft plastic. It dries quickly and is soft for the baby. It is easy to use and makes bath time a breeze. 

   Photo compliments of target.com
What’s your favorite baby product? Comment below. 

Gluten Free Cheerios are here!

Have you heard about the new Gluten Free Cheerios? Living Gluten Free can be a challenge. But breakfast just got easier. As a kid I loved Cheerios whether with bananas or strawberries or even just plain.
I was so happy when I went to Costco and the Honey Nut Cheerios I usually buy my kids now had a gluten free emblem on it!!! I thought maybe I was mistaken so when I got home I put the boxes side by side and sure enough they are now gluten free. I can enjoy Honey Nut Cheerios Gluten Free now with my kids instead of buying two different cereals. Here is the side by side view of the old and the new.

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What’s the difference between Gluten Free Cheerios and Cheerios? The difference between the marked and unmarked boxes is that the boxes with the Gluten-free seal means that the product was produced in a facility that is completely free of any ingredient that could contain gluten. Many times facilities produce more than one item and there is cross contamination. The item after produced is then tested for gluten. To be certified it must be free from any gluten.

Where to buy Gluten Free Cheerios:
-Kroger
-Publix
-Whole Foods
-Costco
-VICS IGA

Introducing the new LulaRoe Classic Tee, LulaRoe Perfect Tee, LulaRoe Jade Leggings, and LulaRoe Jordan Leggings

I can’t wait for the LulaRoe Classic Tee and the LulaRoe Perfect Tee especially since I love the LulaRoe Randy Tee and the LulaRoe Irma. After being introduced to LulaRoe and their buttery soft leggings I couldn’t believe I actually found comfortable clothes that I could wear pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and post pregnancy. Now those leggings I love come in a yoga band to make them extra comfy for the changes.

I didn’t think it could get any better, but recently they revealed the LulaRoe Classic Tee, the LulaRoe Perfect Tee, The LulaRoe Jade capri length leggings, and the LulaRoe Jordan leggings. So what’s the big deal? Well, now there are more styles to mix and match with your favorite leggings, skirts or dresses. Whether you are an xxs like me or a 2X like my aunt there is something for everyone.  Here is a sneak peak of the pictures.

lularoe perfect teelularoe classic teelularoe jade lularoe jordan

The release date has not been set but the excitement surrounding these new items is already creating a buzz. And pictures are out.  Which one is right for you? That’s the wonderful thing about LulaRoe, you can order online or you can contact a boutique owner and they will come and set up a pop-up boutique shopping experience for you and your friends at your house. I don’t sell LulaRoe but I will say it is addicting. And if you don’t want to cry always wash LulaRoe on delicate or hand wash cycles in cold and hang or lay flat to dry. It’s worth the extra care to keep them soft and lovable.

My Favorite things when I was a working new mom

A friend of mine is due in August with her first and being super excited she is also a little anxious about what will happen when she goes back to work and asked if I had some favorite items that I found awesome while I was working. Of course I do and hence this blogpost. If you aren’t into reading about new mom “stuff” and the things that go along with that, namely carseats, breastfeeding, etc, read no further, I won’t take offense.

Now to give you an idea of my life when my husband and I found out I was going to have our first little baby I was working about 60 hours a week as a director of corporate relations for a local college and was in school full time earning my Master’s Degree. Besides that I had made the “decision” to have a breast milk baby. I know, I know, everyone I worked with thought I was crazy too and all said that they never attempted it. I almost agreed when I found out on day one of daycare I needed to provide 7 (4-6 oz) bottles of breastmilk. Ok, so here we go. I do want to note that my daughter was my first child and I really wanted to have to purchase some items only once so I did lean toward gray since I could always couple it with pink or blue.

Chicco Keyfit30 Carseat

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A great carseat that you love is really important. At the daycare I would drop my daughter off in her seat and we would put her in it when I picked her up. My husband had an extra base in his car so if he needed to pick up our daughter he just would grab and go.  I loved the Chicco Keyfit30 because it was one of the lightest on the market and having just had a car accident not too many years before I was all about the lightest possibility. Remember, when you pick up a carseat, which I did pick up every single one at Babies ‘R’ Us, your child will be in that seat until they are 1 years old and up to possibly 30 lbs, that car seat gets heavier and heavier not lighter and lighter. I loved the carseat and the best time to pick one up is on clearance when they switch their fabric prints, or with a coupon or competitor coupon. Do not buy any carseat used!!! A carseat base is fine but not a carseat. You don’t know the history of the seat and it could be compromised.  Definitely worth the investment and this was the most expensive baby item I owned. Yes, even more than my Medela Freestyle Breast Pump, and my crib. Luckily it didn’t expire before I had my second and he was able to use it because it was gender neutral.

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

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So the hype about this product is true! It’s awesome. I was on the road for about 65-70% of the time. Committing to pumping and working is a huge commitment when doing on-site events as a vendor at different companies locations. This pump is small and has a lot of power to do single or double pumping. Now, I was really budget conscious when I went shopping and yes I bought a used Medela freestyle pump off of ebay for about $100 instead of the $300+ they ask new at the baby stores. TAKE your pump with you to the hospital when you deliver. The lactation nurse will show you how to use it and give you a pumping 101. Now I have friends who thought, gross a used pump. Sure I looked at it as I just needed the actual battery powered motor everything else I could replace for under $25. I called Medela and they sent me new hoses free of charge since they don’t sell them. I went to Target and picked up new cups since everyone is a different size and mine didn’t come with any to sanitize anyway. So I ended up with a pump that was awesome for 1/3 of the price. I used this every day and it’s still going strong. There is a car charger for it that they sell separately and the battery, if you find one that says the battery is bad, is sold at Radioshak.

Milkies Milk Saver

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Milk is precious when you need as much as you do for daycare, so the milkies milk saver works awesome for about the first 6 months and then is pretty much not as advantageous after. You can get an extra 4 oz if you use this while nursing or if you are pumping just one side because you are going to feed the baby when you pick them up.

Nest Elliot Diaper Bag

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I needed a diaper bag that looked like a bag that I could take out on a date or carry to work. Now, I had a skiphop special I picked up on clearance at Target to drop off at the daycare since it gets destroyed with the back and forth and the masking tape they put on all of the diaper bags with the name of the child. But my nest Elliot bag kept me feeling like I was still a sexy fashion forward mom that could go to work or church and have what I needed and she needed.  The nest Elliot Dipaer can run pretty pricey but you know I’m all about a good bargain so buying this bag new wasn’t a top priority for me. I love a good leather bag as I am a coach girl but I found a black bag on ebay for less than $80. For that one go to bag you are going to use for the first year and a half of your child’s life I felt like I got my moneys worth.

Itzbeen Timer

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The idea of a timer that you could use and “leave” with a babysitter or a husband was awesome. There are plenty of apps out there but you can’t “leave” your phone when you are leaving your baby at home. I went to evening school so this was super helpful for Daddy and Grandpa to figure out the last time the baby ate, had a diaper change, or slept. It helped them figure out the type of cry.

Lilypads

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I used a lot of Lansoah disposable nursing pads day to day and they worked well but I bought these anyway after a friend of mine shared  her recommendation. I loved these for when I would go swimming or for mothers day I went to get a massage, or intimate times when you might be afraid of leaking. These are self adhesive. I do recommend buying their cleaner with them.

Seven Slings

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This sling I picked up paying for shipping only. They run a lot of deals and coupon codes that make this “free” and they have a lot of prints so you can pick up two if you are about matching or changing it up. They also fold down pretty small which made it fit in my purse really well. I kept my baby in the sling at church to cut down on the “can I hold your baby and breathe all over it and I know its cold season but I really want to hold her and spread my germs”. It worked great.  Use promo code “MOTHER14SS” at SevenSlings.com to get aFREE Baby Carrier – a $40 value!

At Checkout they will give you codes to go to their sister sites for other free products and I’ve done that with the Carseat Canopy which is the next item.

Carseat Canopy

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A must have for a napping baby or to keep the sun out of their eyes. This carseat tentlike blanket gives a soft side that often times I used as a blanket for the baby to lay on with the regular fabric side on the ground. Sometimes I even had to use this to clean up messes or use as a birp cloth when nothing else could be found. It is very machine washable. There usually are coupon codes to get this for free as well. From their last promotion I received a few months ago they said  Check out our 12 brand new prints! Use promo code “MARCHMADNESS14” for a FREE Carseat Canopy ($50 value) at CarseatCanopy.com today!

Ipod nano

I said it. Getting your baby used to sleeping with noise and music will save you on sleep. Otherwise your child could end up being a light sleeper. Remember it is very loud in the womb and they are used to a lot of noise, to help them sleep this works fabulously. I didn’t buy one of these, I just added some music to mine and loaned it to the baby.

UdderCovers

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The nursing cover is great for if you are pumping in the car, yes, I know all about that as well, or if you are nursing in a mothers lounge or even at home when you have company. It also makes it a little dark for the baby and reduces distractions during nursing. I was always afraid someone would walk in on me pumping in the room they assigned to me at work so I used this all the time. Their most recent email newsletter offers a free one. Go to UdderCovers.com and use promo code “MARCHMADNESS14” to get your FREE Nursing Cover in any print ($35 Value) today!

Nalgene Bottle

This was for me to make sure I was drinking enough water. You can’t pump, you can nurse as effectively if you aren’t drinking enough fluids. No need to be dehydrated and this kept me aware of what I was putting in as I was taking out.

So to my friend, I hope this helps give you some tried and favorites of mine.

Jamberry Nail Wrap Review Two-Week update and Jamberry Nail Wrap Removal

So two weeks has passed and it is time for me to switch it up some. My wraps just barely started lifting today on the two week mark. How could I tell? Well when I did my hair this morning my hair got caught in a couple of my wraps so yep, time to switch it up. I did just about everything with these on, you name it, including scrubbing my car after my son was, lets just say very sick in it, to scraping off stickers and opening cans. Through the two weeks I only had a slight lift on one of my nails but I just reheated and applied direct pressure. So I love them. I got way more wear out of them than expected and honestly it made me love them even more knowing that I could get another application, maybe two out of whats left on the sheet.

I was a little worried about removal but as you can see in the video it was super easy and they did pretty much soak off very quickly. I did go over my nail with some more remover after to get a little bit of the glue off of a couple of fingers but overall, super easy removal. I remember one of the few times as a teenager getting acrylic or gel nails for prom and then having to “remove” them to go back to play basketball the next week. This was a breeze and way less painful than acrylic or gel nail removal. The Jamberry Nail Wrap Acetone Remover Method worked awesome.  Enjoy the sweet savvy savings of doing your own nails.

 

update: Since doing the review I totally ended up getting tons of comments on my nails. You can check out my website http://www.jberryatlanta.jamberrynails.net if you want to browse. 🙂