So very grateful for everyone and their support! I always love putting together these lists, because not only does it help me to get organized, but it inspires all of you! Feel free to visit my Amazon or LTK storefront for all the inspo and don’t forget to shop all things Beautycounter! Enjoy the holiday season and make sure to add something special to your cart just for you! 🏼 *adds to cart 😉
Summer went by in a flash and back to school is here! We hope you had a fabulous summer packed with fun and memories to last a lifetime. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss the easy pace of slow summer, but we are excited for a new school year! There’s something to be said about fresh backpacks, new notebooks and pencils! As I kiss my kiddos and send them off to 1st and 4th grade, I couldn’t help but share our favorite finds! From clothes to supplies and everything in between, tax free is in full effect here in Florida and runs through August 3rd!
We partnered with WPTV NewsChannel 5, Wellington Green Mall, J.C. Penney’s, Francesca’s, Forever XXI and Abercrombie to give you all the back to school fashion you’ve been looking for in partnership with The Buzz Agency and sponsored by Cinnabon. Can you guess which color is this fall’s winner?
**This is a sponsored collab post with The Mall at Wellington Green and all opinions are that of
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I break down my top 7 gifts for your favorite person!
- Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer: This hair dryer is the mother of all dryers! I have a TON of hair and it has cut my style time down in half! I’m talking 40 to 20 minutes out the door! The best part? It’s light weight and comes with a variety of add-ons to help curl, minimize frizz and so much more. No more going through blow dryers all the time. Dyson makes pretty great vacuums, so it only makes sense that they’re killing the blow dryer game! Hurry, because these sell out pretty quickly!
- Beautycounter’s Flawless in 5: Nothing says I love you like #cleanbeauty! Flawless in 5 takes you from drab to fab in just 5 short minutes! It includes your choice of a foundation (with or without spf), eyebrow pencil or gel, volumizing mascara, refillable creme blush and lip gloss. All of the shades are customizable to you and your skin tone. Need help? Just message me and I’d be happy to guide you in the right direction! New clients receive 30% off with the code “CLEANFORALL30” through the end of April. Shop now at Beautycounter.com/brianadandrea.
- You know I’m a #lillypulitzer gal and I just can’t get enough of the the new 2 piece Rosalie Skirt Set. The dainty shoulder ties and the periwinkle color is just so darling and the perfect Mother’s Day outfit. Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day like a floral Lilly set.
- Meet your new best friend: The Bogg Bag! This waterproof, functional bucket bag is waterproof and perfect for that beach or boat day! It comes with a variety of inserts and clip ons for you to mix and match for tip top organization! The best part? It comes in a variety of fashion forward styles. I of course chose the Palm Tree print, the leopard comes in a close second!
- It’s time to set those feet in motion and hit the pavement in my favorite Nike sneaks! The Metcon 6 Nikes allow your feet to get the oxygen they need to move at lightening speed! In the most breathable design yet, limit pressure and increases stability! Plus the variety of colors are fun!
- Get them hater blockers out! Diff Eyewear is a company with a purpose and their shade styles are quite the fashion forward piece! I opted for the “Vania.” Black and classic yet with a statement, these shades are the perfect “mom”-cessory. More than 2.7 million people have received eye care thanks to Diff’s program, “Gift of Sight.” Each purchase helps someone in need to see a bit clearer. Now if that isn’t a reason to sport these, I don’t know what is. #giveback
- With summer just around the bend or maybe a Mother’s Day getaway, Beautycounter’s Countertime travel kit is the gift you never knew you needed! It comes with the most adorable little mesh (TSA approved) bag and 5 products designed to keep your youth even while on the go. Featuring Countertime Anti-Aging Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil, Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence, Tripeptide Radiance Serum, Antioxident Soft Cream and Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream, the perfect recipe to minimize fine lines and wrinkles! What could be better?
Our tiny humans are small. They are vulnerable. They simply don’t know any better. So it is up to us as parents, to always go with our gut and advocate for our children and the safety of their lives. I remember it like it was yesterday. Our family had recently moved to Orlando, because of a job opportunity presented to my husband. At the time, I remember how difficult it was to leave our family and friends behind for sure, but it was almost the most difficult to say goodbye to our pediatric doctor. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had interviewed him while pregnant with our first born, completely elated that we had found “the one.” It was almost as if he were a trusted member of our family, someone that would give us advice in good times and bad, when it came to the well-being of our little babies. When Reagan was first born, Dr. R (That’s what we will call him) saw us for his very first well-check, when he was running a high-fever, he was our trusted source, when it was time for vaccines, we drove a half an hour just to see our beloved doctor, because we didn’t think it would be possible to find anyone else who understood us…and then we moved.
I knew NOBODY. I couldn’t phone a girlfriend who had a baby, because well I had no friends. My bigger boy hadn’t started school yet, so it wasn’t like I could ask the others moms where they went and when he finally did start school, every doctor was more than 45 minutes away from where we lived and that was a no go with a 3 month baby in tow, who HATED the car and was already subjected to an hour and half commute daily. I remember scouring the mommy sites, local Facebook pages, doing research on every doctor in the area, when finally after countless reviews and numerous phone calls, we had decided on a practice. Upon arrival, I wanted to just curl up in a ball and cry. For whatever reason, it had this gloomy disposition in the waiting room…no one was friendly. Perhaps you could say it was the post pregnancy hormones that were kicking in, that contributed to my disappoint, but so be it. I know it didn’t do me any good to compare, but I just couldn’t help it. After going into what seemed like a weigh-in station at a vet clinic, we finally met with the doctor I had done countless amounts of research on. I wanted to like him. I really did. I try incredibly hard not to judge a book by its cover, but I just had this weird gut feeling about being there. My daughter Vera at the time suffered from a severe case of eczema on her face. I was nursing at the time and remember trying everything I could think of. Eliminating dairy, more water in my diet, lotions, body washes, keeping it dry, you name it, I did it! Dr. Y (we will call him) immediately saw little miss and said, “Oh, it’s just a simple case of baby eczema. Go to Target, get yourself some “xyz” cream and rub it on the area twice a day and it should go away (Not interested in degrading the company). I left that day sobbing in my car and oddly enough received a phone call from our previous doctor asking me how things were going and if we had managed to find a doctor. I remember in that moment wanting to head straight down I-95 and not look back, but that clearly wasn’t an option.
Our family is incredibly passionate about healthier alternatives. I wouldn’t call myself a crunchy mama, but if there is a healthier option for a lotion or a protein bar, you bet your bottom dollar I’m paying the extra 50 cents. I liken it to preventative medicine in an effort to not have to medicate an existing condition. I caved and bought the cream, because in all honesty I was DESPERATE! However, deep down in my heart, I knew that this lotion in particular was full of ingredients that I not only couldn’t read, but were potentially harmful to my little growing baby. I went home opened the bottle, put the cream on and by the next morning the situation had not gotten better, it got worse! Now while it could have been a number of contributing factors, in that moment I was mad at myself. Mad that I hadn’t said to that doctor that what he was “prescribing” was in fact no good and it didn’t take years of medical practice to recognize that, mad that I even gave it the slightest chance to help my poor daughter who was suffering from cracked, red skin on her precious milky face. I marched right back to the store, returned it and vowed that from that day forward, I would always be an advocate for my children. That mother’s know best. That I would be darned if some old school doctor who probably got his graduate degree long before studies were released about the harmful effects of products and foods currently on the market were no longer acceptable would tell me what my daughter needed most. That I would have a voice and the courage to say, “No Sir!” A month later, that said doctor wanted to prescribe yet another magic cream, that he thought would help my daughter with another skin issue she had. That my friends was the last time I went to his practice. I vowed to find another doctor that held on to the same values that my husband and I practiced. As luck would have it, we were able to move back home to our original doctor 7 months later. Now while maybe not everyone is so lucky, my advice is this. Don’t EVER let someone tell you their opinion doctor or otherwise and allow it be the end all be all. YOU have a voice, USE it! Whether that means getting a second opinion, changing doctors or just standing up for what’s right in the world. Our little ones rely on us to be their advocates in this life and that my friends, is something I will always do for my babies, no matter the circumstance.
You’ve heard this before while on an airplane. In the event of an emergency, place your oxygen masks on first and then your child’s…but have you really ever put those words into perspective before? Someone once mentioned that old adage to me before and that lesson really stuck with me. If I’m not right, then how can my children be? As parents it is within our natural instincts and DNA to take care of literally everyone else in our household (including our pets), before even worrying about ourselves. Making sure that all are fed, changed and happy, before taking a bite to eat, much less a shower. I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to do YOU. Have you ever heard the expression “Happy wife, happy life?” Well the same goes for happy moms and dads! If you are in this mindset that you must take care of every little thing your toddler or even spouse asks of you, without taking care of your basic necessities, then you WILL crash and burn.
I remember it all too well. I had my first born baby boy a little over 5 years ago. My world came to a screeching halt! I know I can say the same for my husband. We didn’t care about the things that made us, “us.” Was the baby sleeping? Was he breathing? Was he pooping? Well, what time did he poop? We were literally documenting when he ate, slept and passed a bowel on timers on our iPhones! All the while, a little piece of us were fading away. Now, I’m not saying it’s not important to put some things on the back burner to take care of this little human who needs you literally to sustain LIFE, but I think it was a breaking point for the both of us, when we started to lose sight of the last time WE ate or took 5. I don’t mean 5 minutes together (although that’s crucial), but completely alone! I remember my husband calling out to me saying, “Hey Bri? When was the last time you ate?” I honestly couldn’t remember? I was too sleep deprived, too obsessed with this new normal, that it didn’t really occur to me that if I wasn’t taking care of ME, how on earth would that baby be able to sustain without ME? Once I realized that…yes things started to shift, but still ‘til this day I need to constantly remind myself that it isn’t selfish to take 20 minutes to write, because that’s my passion and what makes me, ME. That if going for a bike ride makes me feel better than by golly, I had better start pedaling!
Even while I write this article, my five-year-old has interrupted me to ask me what’s for dessert, because he finished his soup! He can wait two more minutes for that cookie. He’ll live.
Again, while I reminisce of the craziest yet exciting time in our lives, it had been days, maybe even weeks since my husband and I had even noticed one another, because we were so focused on baby! I remember us both putting him down after a screaming, crying fit, 3 calls to the nurse asking why our baby was crying…only to get the response, “Well ma’am, all babies cry.” LOL She was right. We turned to one another and hugged. It was the first time since I didn’t have a big bump separating us and in that moment, I was instantly transported to that bright sunny day on 10.10.10 overlooking the ocean, when we said our “I Do’s”. It was in that moment, that I knew everything was going to be alright.
Ultimately, my children, husband and even my dog will always be first, but I’ve finally started to get back to being me. Even if that means having to schedule in a date night in advance (something to look forward to), starting my own blog (heck yes! One of the best decisions to take that leap!), starting my own business (Yes, it’s been quite the busy year and I’ve got enough bosses under one roof!), taking the time to give myself a little makeover and maybe someday writing that book I’ve always wanted to write. I’m slowly getting back to being me and I can’t encourage you enough to do the same…or at least try to, because there’s only one YOU in the world and you’ve got an army of people who depend on that!
It’s hard to imagine my life before kids. I used to always envision what it would be like to have children and here I am. Lucky as ever… with a healthy boy and girl in tow. Some days are hard, I mean REAL hard. There are days you think will never end, days when you have to tell yourself over and over they are your purpose in life and days when you feel like a janitor, left to clean boogers, vomit, poop and pee. Sorry for the mental picture.
Then there’s the anxiety. Something I never really quite experienced until I became a mom. Are they breathing? Are they hungry? Are they sleepy? Are they clean? Are they safe?
Just when I was starting to get the hang of this mom thing, the hubby and I decided to shake things up a bit. Baby number two. When we found out we were having a girl, we were ecstatic! I started to envision dance recitals, spa days and bows, bows, bows! I was so excited for my son to be a big brother to a cute little “sissy,” (that’s become her nickname these days). Then all of a sudden, I stopped in my tracks. Wait! How on earth was I going to be able to love another human being as much as my little boy? Sure I had the same setiment about my son and my husband when I was first pregnant, but this surely had to be different. I didn’t have enough of myself to give I thought…do I? How would I manage to split myself in two? Would I have to choose sides? Who would I bathe first? Who would I play with first? Then the age old mom anxiety kicked into high gear.
Nine months went by and she was finally here! Just like that, my heart expanded. So much so it nearly burst! Things fell right into place. Sissy had an immediate part in our little nest we had created for our family. It all made perfect sense. She belonged here with us, as if sent from the heavens above. It might sound cliché, but it was so true. She was here to teach my son about compassion and kindness, my husband about the truest of all emotions and me? Well, she’s taught me about the unconditional love between a mother and daughter and in turn made me appreciate my own mother more so. She’s made me want more for her than I had ever had for myself.
Life with two has been interesting to say the least. My son will always be a mama’s boy and the one who gave me the fortunate chance to be a mom to begin with, and for that I will be forever grateful. He is my inspiration. My daughter has afforded me the opportunity to see myself in her eyes. To relive my childhood again and to understand why my mom always wanted to wear matching outfits. Although, I still sometimes struggle with who to bathe first or play with first, I settle on doing it together as a family, because for me they are my purpose and my driving force and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
These past couple of days as a mommy of one have been pretty bittersweet. As the days and minutes wind down until we welcome our pretty princess, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing times we’ve shared with our first born baby prince. The opportunity my husband has afforded us to be able to have spent the last three and a half years together making memories, taking naps, going on walks, potty training and just being “us,” is something I could never repay him for. Some fond memories that come to mind are our trips to the beach, the pool and the library. Making new friends, taking countless mommy and me classes, watching him grow day by day, learn things piece by piece. Often times, things got a bit chaotic, just like anything else, but I am thankful for those moments too, because it has made me appreciate both the good and bad times we shared. I especially enjoyed taking him to his first movie, painting ceramics together and going on his first trip to Disney as a family. These are moments I will never forget and I know my husband too will cherish for the rest of our lives.
Soon another bundle of joy will be added to the mix. I can’t help but wonder how my little man will take to her. Sure, I know he will be a softie, smushy boy who will protect her. I just want him to know how much of a special place he holds in my heart. How, because of him, I was able to be the mother I always dreamed I would be. I hope he continues to look at me the way he has since the first days our eyes locked. I hope I can always make him feel proud of me, make him feel loved and as if he is the most important person in this world. I know it’s normal to beg the question of how on earth will I be able to make room in my heart for another baby? To love them just as much as my first? From what I understand, you just do and I am looking forward to finding out what that feels like.
Finding your own identity in a world of spit up, changing diapers and no sleep can be a tough feat. You used to be this strong and career driven woman who would stop at nothing to get that big promotion and impress your boss, but once you have a child, priorities shift. That huge project you once had your heart set on is now being pulled on string by string, by the little hands of your budding baby. Sure, you may go back to work and eventually get to work on that said project, but the feeling of knowing there’s that little special someone waiting at home for you changes things.
Someone once told me that this is “just a moment in your life.” I live by that sentiment every single day. The truth is my little man won’t want to hold my hand or give me one last kiss before bed someday. So each and everyday I promise to capture the moment I am in. Hold still, turn off my phone and relish in the pure bliss of being mom.
However, every mom at one point or another poses the question, “Who am I, other than mommy?” It can be tough to find the time to be yourself and enjoy the things you once loved, when you immerse yourself into being the mommy and wife you think your family wants you to be. You have the constant burden of what to make for dinner, is my child getting in enough time with me, there’s loads of laundry and dishes with my name on it. Let’s not forget how many more questions enter your psyche, when another child pops into the equation. The truth, is often times, your child is more than fine, because you’re questioning it. Order takeout, put the chores on hold and do what you love, what defines YOU. Whether it means joining a book club, taking a dance class, going for a run or even just writing in a journal. These things are important to keeping true to who you are and in the long run if you’re happy, then your family is happy for it!
Try to find a sense of community. This year I took it upon myself to become my son’s room mom for his class. Only two weeks in and I feel a sense of purpose in my community. Volunteering my time for my son and his pals has meant so much to me already. I’ve been able to connect with the other moms, find partnerships and make new friends. We all have one thing in common and that’s to ensure our children are getting the nourishment and education we had always hoped for, so that they can someday become positive contributing members of our society. So why not join the PTA or help with a major school event? You’ll be glad you did.
Next time you get down and out about your friends on Facebook, who are enjoying a nice glass of pinot by the lake and that fact that you haven’t taken a shower all day, relish in the fact that you are making one of the hardest sacrifices out there. To give up your dreams and aspirations for “just a moment in your life,” and before you know it, you’ll only have the memories to look back on.