The BEST Baby Shower Gift We Ever Gave

Whether you are a brand new parent or have just welcomed a new baby into your family it can be difficult to select the right products from what can often feel like an ocean of options. Our journey with our new #OneTinyHuman introduced us to a lot of new infant products and we are so fortunate to share the ones we love with you. This January Philips Avent launched the NEW Philips Avent Anti-colic bottle with AirFree vent. The AirFree vent is truly innovative but I also want to share with you about the best baby shower gift we ever gave.

Avent AirFree

I planned to help a lot with planning Bella’s baby shower but when it came to the gift we would present I struggled. Of course, there was a well curated registry of things her parents had picked out but I wanted to select something REALLY special. Something that would be as much of a gift to them as it was for the baby. I watched the registry options dwindle down as we got closer and closer to the date of the shower.

Finally it came to me!

I remembered being so exhausted the first time I was a parent. Feeding the baby every two hours takes a toll, even if you are taking shifts with your partner. There were times where I didn’t just want sleep but I wanted the comfort of my husband next to me. You know how you just sleep better knowing your partner is there? We decided our gift would be an invitation to take the overnight shift with Bella a few times a week so they could get a full nights sleep TOGETHER.

Sleep is so precious when babies are small. It’s precious to watch them sleep and treasured because those first few weeks because sleep is in such limited supply. The quiet hours rocking her and keeping her on a feeding schedule while they rested allowed them to have a very solid start as a family. It also gave us some of the most precious memories and bonding time we could have dreamed of.

Avent AirFree fuss free

Allowing Bella to take a bottle during these late night hours was the key to making it all work. Selecting the right bottle was not as easy as we thought it. So much changes in a product industry that with each new baby it really can feel like starting all over again. Starting with brands that are recognized and trusted was important to us. For more than 30 years, Philips Avent has been listening, learning and innovating in partnership with parents– all with the mission to help give babies the best start in life. There is a tremendous amount of security there.  Bella took to a bottle with ease and with a few hours of uninterrupted sleep her parents were refreshed and ready to start another day of work and nurturing.

Philips Avent recently introduced something new to help with colic and reduce fussing: The NEW Philips Avent Anti-colic bottle with AirFree vent.

NEW Philips Avent Anti-colic bottle with AirFree vent

 

avent bottle airfree vent with milk

Stays full of milk, not air

The bottle with AirFree vent is designed to help your baby swallow less air as they drink by keeping the nipple full of milk during feeding. This reduces the amount of air your baby ingests helps with common feeding issues such as colic, reflux & gas. It makes feeding time more comfortable for you and baby. The nipple says full of milk, not air, even when the bottle is horizontal. The unique AirFree vent helps the baby swallow less air by drawing air away from the nipple. The shape of the nipple allows for a secure latch, and the ribbed texture helps prevent nipple collapse, for uninterrupted, comfortable feeding every time.

This means fussing at night is significantly reduced. The nipple is clinically proven to reduce colic and fussing due to the valve to prevent vacuum build-up. As your baby grows there are different flow rates to keep up with your baby’s growth. The Philips Avent Anti-colic bottles can be used with or without the AirFree vent. The AirFree vent is compatible with all of the Philips Avent Anti-colic bottles. This gives moms the freedom of choice to pick what is best for their baby. Moms always know what’s best for their baby.

avent bottle air vent

Easy to clean – wide neck & few parts

With its wide neck and fewer parts, the bottle is easier to assemble and to clean quickly and thoroughly. The bottle design is easy to mix and match tops and bottoms. This way you can progress easily from bottle, to training cup, to sippy cup, with fewer parts. This makes the minimalist part of ME very happy. Fewer things to clean and parts to keep up with mean getting back to snugging your baby or even having a moment to yourself.

Avent AirFree

You can keep up with everything that Philips Avent is doing on their website and social channels here :

• Twitter: @Avent_US
• Facebook: @Philips.AVENT

Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Philips Avent via Momtrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Philips Avent or Momtrends. 

The Day Before my Father Died

Barn Door and Pine Cones Strawberry pinesTwenty years ago, I slammed the door and walked out in a frustrated whirlwind way that only a teenager can. I can still feel the vibration of the door hitting the frame.

“You are going to regret all this work one day. You need to pay more attention to us! You need to pay more attention to ME.”

Those were the last words I would ever say to my father. It was less than six months before I would graduate high school.  I had never spoken to him that way before. He was my hero. I was frustrated that I had discovered a fatal flaw. All heroes have them but this was shaking my world. I was frustrated that he couldn’t do it all. I was more like him than anyone else on the planet. This was a mirror of my own humanity. I didn’t know how to process it. As teenagers, many of us say things we regret. None of us expect those words to be the last and we certainly don’t expect them to be foreshadowing.

I went to my grandmother’s house to cry. She listened and tried to explain the pressures of being an adult and being a parent to me. He was raising two daughters the best way he knew how. “None of us have done this before. We’re all going to make some mistakes” she told me. I listened and tried to absorb all that she said. I stayed until the tears had dried.  I was as smart and self-aware as any 17-year-old girl could be at that time in life. I couldn’t tell the future though. Most of us can’t. I had no way of knowing that the heavy workload my father choose would be the death of him.

The next morning I got dressed for school and quickly paused to consider knocking on the closed bedroom door to say goodbye. I don’t know if I was worried he would still be upset for the way I spoke to him or if I was still a bit upset that I didn’t feel heard. I quickly decided against it. If I had known how the day was going to go, I would have knocked on that door. A few hours later I stepped off the bus into chaos. There had been and accident and my father had been rushed to the hospital.

The next few hours were such a blur that none of the conversation that happened the evening before seemed to matter. There were waiting rooms, surgery, and the worst phone call I’ve ever had to make. “There’s been an accident. You need to get on a flight right away. He’s in surgery. We don’t know if he’s going to make it.” There’s no manual for telling someone their spouse may not live. Especially when that someone is your mother. Especially when you are a teenager.

“None of us have done this before. We’re all going to make some mistakes.”

My mother’s flight arrived to the hospital before the doctor came out of surgery to announce that he had not survived. Everything was a blur from that moment forward. We were all in shock and the conversation from the night before didn’t seem to be the most important thing to bring up then. I guess so many other things avalanched in the days, weeks, and years that followed it never seemed like the most important thing to bring up. Yet it has has shaped so many decisions in my own life the past twenty years. The career path I chose, the number of overtime hours I would accept, how far we are willing to commute all played into the always analyzed work-life balance.

In hindsight, I would have chosen different words that night. I would have been more understanding. I was wise enough even then to never make myself feel guilty. I loved my father and I know he loved us. That’s why he worked so hard to show his love and why I was so jealous for his time with us. Some people show their love through gifts, some through actions, some through words, some with a hug or holding your hand, and some with their time. If you have never read the 5 Love Languages I HIGHLY recommend it.  I’ve always been pretty proficient at self-therapy and I knew that a relationship is defined by more than a singular moment or conversation. We are not our successes or our tragedies. We, and our relationships, are the culmination of so many moments that matter.

My father will always be the caretaker who sat me on the hood of his truck and pulled glass from my knee when I ran too fast down a giant hill. He will always be  the first man who put on a suit and took me to dinner.  He was my Mr Miyagi who frustrated me with simple tasks that fine tuned my work ethic and muscle memory into skills more valuable than gold. He made me attend college meetings alone, knowing I was terrified because “In life there are a lot of intimidating situations you will have to face alone. Get comfortable being uncomfortable now.” On Sundays, he taught me to drive fast on back country roads and calculate clipping point. The words of “I’m proud of you” still play on repeat. He taught me a lot of life lessons:

  • A half-truth is still 100% a lie
  • Sometimes our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses
  • If you are at 90% there is still 10% you can strive to achieve
  • You are the only one who has to approve of your life
  • You can have anything you want in life depending how hard you are willing to work for it.
  • Never be afraid to speak your mind respectfully. Once you become disrespectful you forfeit your right to dialogue.

As an adult with four children of my own, I now know what an immense struggle work life balance is for most of us. This week, I’m looking forward to spending a few days in New Orleans with Dad 2.0 Summit, a community of fathers and brands who spend their efforts telling authentic stories of fatherhood. Some are balancing a traditional workplace and fatherhood. Some are solely working from home. The commonality is that they have all made a commitment to make fatherhood their business. We support the successes, struggles, and importance that fathers have. This is the community I want every father to have access too. The stories that are being told here and the community that exists for support is so valuable. It’s not that any of us have all the answers. The truth is “None of us have done this before. We’re all going to make some mistakes”. The comfort comes knowing that in community we are not alone.

4 Daily Supplements You Need for Better Health

daily supplements

This post is brought to you by Sambucol and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own. As always we promise to honor our commitment to present products and partnerships that we are authentically using and resonate with us.

Like many people I know, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I choose a word of the year to guide my goals for the next twelve months. My word for 2018 is WHOLENESS. I made it a goal to find wholeness in my mind, body, spirit, career and relationships. This means I have to do a lot more to take care of myself.  The more we truly take care of ourselves the better we are when we serve others in our home, at work, and in the world. It requires a good deal of self-discipline actually, which if I’m honest, is a challenge. I have to make myself go to bed on time and get enough sleep. I have to choose every meal to cut out junk foods and eat a balanced diet of vegetables, protein, fats and a few carbs. I drink a ridiculous amount of water each day. I’ve also started taking daily supplements.

Although we are only a month into this new year, I’ve already gone through some stages with this new routine. It has gone something like this:

“Look at me! I’m such a responsible adult. Getting sleep, taking care of myself…wow…I’ve never felt better!!”

“(rushing our the door) Oh, my goodness… I can’t forget my lunch…and my vitamins….my water bottle…. so much to remember..”

“Ugh, Yes I feel a little better but it’s a lot to keep up with. Does it realllly make a difference?” 

“Wow, my hair is really shiny and my skin looks AMAZING. I don’t NEED coffee to wake up anymore. I feel great and more on top of things with work. I think these changes ARE making a difference.” 

As you can tell, it was a process. I had to learn to incorporate it into my day. Although I’ve always taken good care of my skin, I get so many compliments on my complexion now. I have never seen my hair be more healthy and shiny- there are now a good deal of selfies on instagram attesting to this. I don’t know how much money it saving me money as I haven’t crunched the numbers for a total but it definitely isn’t costing me more. I don’t eat fast food anymore or go through the drive thru to pick up coffee like I used to. I am buying monthly supplements but I feel like it is a much better trade-off.

Curious about my daily routine?   Here is the supplement routine I take daily to stay healthy:

4 daily supplements for better health

4 Daily Supplements You Need for Better Health

1. Probiotic

What is it & Why do I need it?

Probiotics are “good” bacteria touted to help maintain digestive health and boost the immune system. You can take them in a dietary supplement or get them from food sources, such as yogurt. When the gut becomes unbalanced with unhealthy levels of certain bacteria, probiotics can help restore the balance. They’ve been shown to secrete protective substances, which may turn on the immune system and prevent pathogens from taking hold and creating major disease.

2. Multi Vitamin

What is it & Why do I need it? 

When we don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, we miss essential nutrients, which can lower our risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other health conditions. A recent CDC study, they found that 76% of adults don’t eat enough fruit and 87% of adults don’t eat enough veggies. A multivitamin is like an insurance policy, a daily guarantee to ensure your body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs. It can make up for the shortfalls that happen when you don’t get what you need through food.

3. EFA supplement

What is it & Why do I need it?

EFA stands for Essential Fatty Acids. They are essential because your body cannot produce them on its own so they must come from your diet. The two primary EFAs are known as linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).

4. Black Elderberry Gummies

What is it & Why do I need it?

Black Elderberries have been recognized for centuries for their immune-supportive properties. They are high in flavonoids called anthocyanins, (fun fact: anthocyanins are what gives the berries their bluish-purple color). These flavonoids have antioxidant properties, and they also have been recorded to have a high oxygen radical absorption capacity (ORAC), the scale that measures antioxidant activity.

Disclaimer: You don’t have to take your Black Elderberry in Gummy form but we LOVE Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies for the ease of taking them in this way and few more reasons…..

  1. Sambucol Gummies contain no artificial flavoring, dairy products, eggs, gelatin, gluten, peanuts, preservatives, wheat or yeast. This means they are suitible to offer to veterinarians and vegans!! We are always checking labels for gelatin.
  2. Sambucol Gummies contains only 1g of pure cane sugar in each gummy with no artificial flavors or sweeteners.
  3. Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies provide the equivalent of over 3.5g of Black Elderberry per serving. This makes two gummies approximately equivalent to one serving of the Sambucol original syrup! This helps making sure you and your family get the most potent dosage to keep your family healthy.
  4. They are totally safe for children and adults. Sambucol Gummies provide strong immune system support to help you and your family stay healthy throughout the year and can be taken every day for continuous immune support.

Look for Sambucol products at select Target stores and most drug and grocery stores.
Visit www.SambucolUSA.com, on facebook, and on Twitter to learn more!
*Sambucol Black Elderberry is a dietary supplement and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Hopefully this insight into my new routine will encourage you to do something similar. I’ll be back to update you on my progress as the weeks continue. The thing I want us all to do more of is to take care care of ourselves. It’s so important. You’ll feel better. Trust me 🙂

Blinker : The Coolest New App to Buy, Sell, and Finance Your Car

Blinker

We’re partnering with Blinker app to tell you about the coolest new app you NEED to download if you are looking to buy, sell, or refinance your car today. While this IS a sponsored post but as always we stay true to our commitment to only share authentic partnerships and messaging that has resonated with us.

Blinker is making it a snap to buy, sell and finance your next car. Literally. If you can snap a photo of your car with your smartphone, you can sell your car today. But what about your next ride? Blinker can help you buy a car too! Maybe you’re happy with your vehicle but you’re constantly crunching the numbers to pay for it. Blinker can even help you refinance the car you are in. Blinker is an app that simplifies the entire process. If you can take a picture with your smartphone, you can buy, sell and finance today. This free app has launched in Texas and people are already earning an average of $3,000 more than trading in at the dealership.

What is Blinker and how does it work?

Blinker uses patented image-recognition technology to make remove the anxiety of listing your car for sale, communicating with buyers and obtaining a loan for another vehicle.

Blinker Refinance

What does it cost?

Here’s one of the best parts, it’s doesn’t cost the buyer or seller anything. Blinker is a tech company NOT a dealership. They aren’t taking a commission or a cut of the vehicle sales. This helps buyers save thousands of dollars with every transaction. In fact, buyers and sellers using Blinker are saving an average of $3,000 on every transaction.

Save Even More:

For a limited time, when you download Blinker, enter my code 6CHASES and list your car for sale, you’ll earn $200 when it sells.

Is it safe?

YES!! Safety in the car buying and selling process was one of the main reasons Blinker was created! The identity of every user is verified by Blinker before the transaction begins. Every car listed with Blinker includes a free comprehensive vehicle report from CARFAX. This allows you to browse the full maintenance record and gives you important information that impacts your decision when buying a used vehicle. Any vehicles that are salvaged, stolen, fire-damaged or odometer-tampered are prohibited from being sold through Blinker. Every measure possible is taken to protect both buyer and seller when using the Blinker app.

To learn more about the company, visit blinker.com. To download the app for free, search “Blinker” in the App Store or Google Play Store.

You can also keep up with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  We’ll also be talking more about this app in the weeks to come. It’s an app we’ve been shopping ourselves. (Teaser Alert!) We may even have a successful Blinker story of our own to tell you about!!

A Little Bit of Kindness Can Go A Long Way in a Kia Niro PHEV

They say little bit of kindness can go a long way.  As it turns out if you are driving a 2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) you can go even further on less. Right before we shut things down for the holidays Kia Motors America invited Jillian from Hello Splendid and I to take a “Choose Your Own Adventure” road trip from L.A. to San Francisco and we had the most amazing time spreading kindness all over California together.

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Solvang CA

As exciting as this adventurous opportunity was on its own, this would also be a very meaningful trip for the two of us to take together. Just 39 weeks prior Jillian received some very life changing news.  Before this, we had been talking about “one day soon” taking a road trip together. I’ll tell you that I leave a lot less for “one day soon” now. Our plans for the trip and so many more things would be put on hold as all concentration had to be forth to fight this new diagnosis in the months following. It felt like the world was simultaneously spinning and standing still for everyone. When we talked 36 weeks ago, it was decided as soon as it was possible we would ABSOLUTELY be taking that road trip we had talked about. It was a promise of something to hold on to, something to hope for. So much happened in the weeks that followed but on December 13 we finally were able to set out on that road trip together.

Day Made. (Ps I love you @hellosplendidblog )#thenewkia

A post shared by Lifestyle Blogger 🌎Alice Chase (@alicechase) on

As it is with a choose your own adventure type trip we got to choose the adventure!! We had a starting time/location, a generous budget at our disposal and an ending time/location- that was it! There were a few other teams traversing the roads with us and given the same parameters. A list of bonus points would be granted and tallied once we reached the predetermined destination. Before we arrived, Jillian and I had talked about how we would structure this adventure. One of the biggest themes we wanted to incorporate was kindness. Kindness is something we both feel strongly about making time for no matter the day or agenda. Countless times we have both given and received kindness in different forms the last year and it was the best way we could imagine to theme our trip.

kindness kit Collage

As we prepped for the trip, Jillian shopped for supplies to include in our “kindness kits” and I started planning our route. Trip planning and finding unique destinations is one of my favorite things to do. I especially enjoy catering each trip to the interests and likes of those taking it. Jillian let me keep the itineraries a secret until literally the moment we were on the road. I love surprises but I’d totally be lying if I said I didn’t have butterflies in my tummy wondering if she would like what I had chosen.

After a brief product presentation and run down on the Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid, charging stations, and lunch, we had a fantastic send of from Charles Phoenix a master of road trip Americana! His energy totally set the stage for road trip excitement! We didn’t have to worry about where we would be recharging on the road as there were plenty of level 1 and 2 charging stations in between our starting point and end destination. Whether you’re at home or on the road, rest assured you’ll find a power source anywhere you can plug into the electric grid. And with Kia’s UVO eco App, you can schedule charge times at home and find public charging stations.

But first…. Target! We needed a few more supplies for a very important stop that would come later. On our way in and out of the store we made it a mission to return all the stray carts in the parking lot. It’s such a simple thing to do and costs nothing. It made at least one employee’s job easier that day and the organized side of my heart was fulfilled. Kindness mission #1 : CHECK!

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid roadtrip Target

It was time to get on the road before we hit too much of L.A. traffic. Even with the best of planning, we definitely saw our fair share of traffic but we had plenty of great conversation and music to keep us going. Every road trip needs its soundtrack and  the Harman/Kardon Premium Sound System delivered crisp sound for all our playlist favorites. The Clari-Fi™ technology restores compressed tracks for noticeable clarity. The music wasn’t fading but after a few hours on the road we were . We made one stop for coffee and hustled towards our evening resting stop. We drove over mountains and watched the sun set. When it became dark we could smell the smoke from the California fires inside the Niro. Our conversations became more serious as we thought about those who had lost so much. We traveled a bit further the smell of smoke dissipated as we entered the Danish streets of Solvang, California, a location that has since become one of my favorite locations in the U.S.

Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid Solvang CA

We were in love with the town right away. We arrived to our hotel, The Landsby, about 7PM. The hotel staff was lovely and made a ton of recommendations for places to eat and visit during our stay. They were kind and welcomed us genuinely. We took our things to the room and were in love with every detail, from the llama artwork on the walls to the tiny lavender sachets reading “good night” placed on each of our beds. We were so enamored with every detail here. I promise to do a full post just on the Landsby itself soon.

The Landsby hotel Solvang CA

One challenge we had arriving to Solvang later in the evening was that the town begins to close down around 8-9 pm. This left us with just a few options for dining but those that were open were welcoming and warm. We walked to dinner at a location nearby our hotel thinking we might enjoy a little stroll after. When we stepped out after dinner the temperature had dropped dramatically. Instead of walking, we hopped back into our Kia Niro PHEV and toured this adorable storybook city listening to Christmas music just in awe and grateful for this time together.

Solvang CA flag

As we were driving and noticing the adorable shops and just FALLING IN LOVE with every shop and street in the city we noticed something else. There were a record number of fire trucks also parked along the road and completely filling one parking lot adjacent to our hotel. Many of the men and women helping to keep the residents and landscape secure during this time were also making Solvang their safe space for the evening. This gave us another moment of kindness inspiration.

delivering kindness kits on our roadtrip

We didn’t know exactly when or where our Kindness Kits would come into play during our trip but we knew that if you prepare the opportunity will present itself. The next morning we left a few items of support to those serving all year long.

Delivering Kindness to firemen in California

After that we were off in search of a traditional Danish breakfast. It’s funny to be a transitioning vegetarian in a Danish community- sausage or some form of meat is offered always. There were definitely options but we in search of the traditional æbleskiver.

Danish æbleskiver in Solvang

Aebleskiver are round pastries, like pancakes formed in a sphere.  In Denmark, æbleskiver are common at Christmas and over the days leading up to it. In December, they are often served with gløgg, Scandinavian mulled wine. In Norway, warm waffles have much of the same function as æbleskiver in Denmark.

Shoe store in Solvang CA

We walked by a few shops and so many that we wanted to visit. We decided at breakfast that we would scrap a few other things on the agenda in order to stay as long as possible in Solvang. We were already planning a trip back. Before we left we did a little photo shoot with our matching Dinosaur costumes because when you have a friend that has a matching costume the only question is “Will it fit in my carry on?” (more Dinosaur photos coming soon!)

dinosaur costume at the Landsby

The staff at the Landsby had been so nice to us that we made sure to leave them a handwritten note of thanks. I can’t wait for my next stay here!

Thank you notes hotel

We had several more hours of driving ahead of us so it was time to get on the road. Our next stop was one we were both very excited about. The last several months had given us plenty to catch up on and as with most road trips there were several stretches of highway for miles.

Kia Niro PHEV

Due to the route we chose to save time we didn’t have a ton of ocean front views but we waved as we drove by. Jillian lives just steps away from the ocean in CA so we were most excited about seeing parts of California that neither of us had discovered.  We definitely did make note of several places we want to stop on our next trip.

Our next stop took us to Oakland, right across the bridge from San Francisco. We both have a friend who is near and dear to our heart, Brandi from Mama Knows It All.  Even though it was moving week for her she was able to get away and meet up for a quick visit. Little did she know that we had a surprise for her too. (Remember that Target run we took ?)

Gifts for a friend

These items may seem like an unusual combination but have a meaning. Together they represent trusted friends who: travel through life with you even when the outcome is uncertain, genuinely celebrate your wins, believe in your gifting, show up at just the right times, and offer their gifts to you making life even sweeter. Simple gifts and time together, no matter how short, are treasured.

2018 Niro Plug-In Hybrid

We attempted to recharge the Kia Niro PHEV while we refueled on donuts and coffee and found it so easy to locate charging stations anywhere on your route. You can check for available charging stations right from the dashboard in your car or from the Chargepoint app. We weren’t far from our next stop in San Francisco. This night we would be staying at Hotel Zeppelin.

Hotel Zeppelin The Den

Hotel Zeppelin gameroom

It wasn’t long before all the teams had arrived together at the hotel. It was such a fun reunion with all the other road trip teams who has been out traveling as well. We got to see pictures of the different roadside attractions, share stories of adventures and ways that kindness was shared. It was an amazing thing to see that although we have lots of choices in the route we take there is joy in every journey and the people who share it with you.

The next morning Clarissa, Jillian, and I loaded our suitcases back into a Kia Niro PHEV and headed out to the airport to return to our homes spread literally across the nation. We all agreed what a wonderful experience it had been and we started planning for our next trip(s) together in 2018.

Airport friends

What were some of the best trips you took this year? Any special road trips planned for 2018?

*As is common, all travel, accommodations, and budget for this trip was provided for by our host, Kia Motors America. All opinions and storytelling are the sole expression of the author. 

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