Sakura Bloom Fabrics (updated)

IMG_4324

Still, the single questioned I get asked the most is “which sling should I buy?”. Never anything about nursing or marriage or cosleeping, which is more than ok with me. I collect slings like some 8 year old collecting baseball cards. I enjoy talking about them!
I thought I would first break down the slings from lightest to heaviest since this seems to be the most important characteristic. Then I’m going to talk a little about the 3 different fabric options currently offered.

OK FIRST FROM LIGHTEST TO HEAVIEST:

  • PURE LINEN
  • SINGLE LAYER LUXE
  • SIMPLE/ ESSENTIAL SILK
  • SIMPLE/ESSENTIAL LINEN
  • LUXE SILK

Perks to the lightweight:
Summer friendly, great to learn on and easily glides through the rings.

Perks to heavierweight:
supportive, better for bigger babies, keeps them warm during the colder month

Now a little about the fabrics.

LINEN:
Image

This is a Pure Linen in Mint. No filter and natural light. This fabric is much lighter weight than any carrier I’ve ever held. I would compare it to an Ikea pillow case. I expected a drastic change when I washed it (on cold, followed by hanging to dry) but nope. Exactly the same. The only way to get this buttery soft like a favorite old t-shirt is by using it. That being said, the double layer linen is a hard one to break it, but once you do the pay off is huge. Now that Mila is over 1 we find ourselves using the double layer linen often. Its supportive, grips well, is hard to break in, but also hold her in place the best.

SIMPLE SILK WASHED:
Image

After washing a silk (machine wash on gentle, hang to dry) the silks lose some of their shine, show more of those little nubs that make the fabric so recognizably silk and become lighter weight and softer. yet no less supportive. Each time you wash it, it will lose some of its color saturation and shine though.

SIMPLE SILK UNWASHED
Image

The silk brand new out of the box is your safest bet. It is the quickest to break in. Is cozy for a newborn, supportive for a toddler, can be dressed up or dressed down. Dupioni silk is very lush and expensive looking. And their newest colors are so vibrant and saturated.

SINGLE LAYER LUXE:

IMG_4318 (1)

This fabric is textured all over. Not the random lumps but a constant fine texture through out. This somewhat stiff but very supportive fabric has a unique texture almost like a micro-corduroy. It’s made of 101 different variations of the color. There will be a dark mustard thread right up against a pale buttercup yellow. I’ve found that the colors aren’t as inky as with the simple/essential silks. The finish on linen is like a cream base nail polish. The finish on the silk is like a shimmer polish. And the finish on the Luxe is holographic. The are so many different shades. Its a showstopper.

SINGLE LAYER LUXE SILK WASHED:

IMG_4486

I washed it and got a much better photo of the color!! This also does the texture more justice. This sling is the favorite, hands down. Its a perfect middle of the road sling. Strong but thin. Beautiful and luxurious. Supportive but not too beastly. That being said, you have to put the work in. I see so many people expect to just love their luxes instantly, especially with the high price tag. But it’s like a pair of dr. martin boots. They are fantastic, but not at first, you have to give it time. But once you do you have a cozy pair of work boots that will last you years. If you are someone who plans on wearing almost daily long term, I highly recommend the luxe fabric.

Lastly, here’s a link to the video I made comparing the different slings:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur3GV8rcyDk

Imperial Barber Products Review- Guest Post

 For Father’s Day I begged and pleaded for you guys to help me sweeten Justin’s day up by voting for him to win the Imperial Barber Products giveaway. He won! Thank you so much for the support you guys. It came and he is so pleased with their products I suggested he write a guest post reviewing it. So here it is…

Image

I’d like to start off with a huge thank you to everyone that follows my wife’s blog! Back in June, the guys at Imperial Barber Products held a Father’s Day contest and many of you were awesome and voted for the picture of Lucy and myself. The picture ended up winning and I received a Field Shave Kit in the mail earlier this week. For those unaware, Imperial Barber Products are an American made line of premium grooming and shaving products designed by Barbers. Check them out at http://www.imperialbarberproducts.com.

Now for the review..

ibpx9 (1)ibpx8

The first step was unwrapping Imperial’s Glycerin Face/Shave Soap and using it to wash any dirt and oil away. This soap is made with pure vegetable glycerin and infused with vitamin E. It is sold as unscented, but to me it seemed to have a very crisp, clean sort of scent. It reminded me of trips to the Barber Shop. It washed away easily without leaving any residue and didn’t cause any irritation meaning I’ll be using this daily from here on out.
ibpx6ibpx7

Next I moved on to Imperial’s Pre-Shave Oil. I’ve never used a Pre-Shave Oil while shaving, but I have to say I’m really pleased with it. It comes packaged in a small bottle with an eye-dropper. I put about 3 drops of the essential oil blend into my hands and massaged it on to my face. The lavender scent isn’t as strong as I worried it might be which was a pleasant surprise. Imperial states that this is used to reduce skin irritation and minimize cuts and nicks that could be caused while shaving. Now that I’ve covered all the areas I’ll be shaving, it’s back to the Glycerin Face/Shave soap..

ibpx5 ibpx4

After slightly wetting the natural Boar Bristle shave brush provided, I was able to work up a surprisingly nice lather from the Glycerin Face/Shave soap. The brush is lightweight and meant to be used as a travel option, however it is still high quality and great to work with.ibpx3

             Shaving with my usual razor..I can definitely feel the difference with the Shave Oil and Shave Soap combination. It’s definitely feeling like a closer shave, however shaving is an easy process and no issues with any nicks or cuts.ibpx2
Last but not least is my absolute favorite of the set. Imperial’s Bergamot Aftershave! The scent of this stuff is amazing. Imperial should bottle and sell a cologne version. Infused with Macadamia Nut oil, it conditions and cools your skin and is the perfect way to end your shave.

I can’t say enough about these guys and the quality of their products. They’ll definitely have my business now and in the future.

I love you Mod Cloth!

 So a couple months ago I blogged about how hard it is to find clothing I like in my post Post Baby Wardrobe. My body looks different, and my budget is still limited like someone in their early 20’s, but I no longer feel comfortable in $8 graphic tees from Forever 21. Finding that balance between feeling like myself and feeling attractive, while still wanting to look like a “mom”. I ended the entry asking that if anyone figure out where I can shop, please let me know. I got tons of good suggestions and links shared. But ModCloth.com has really stood out.
Now I won’t that shopping from this site is anything new. Its just that it was my go to for dresses for special occasions or family photos. I don’t think I ever really looked through the separates. But I’ve found myself somewhat addicted to getting casual clothes from them which I wouldn’t have expected.
Ok for starters I just wanna run up and hug whoever runs their site and thank them repeatedly for featuring non-models all over their site. Not the rare plus sized model. Which is also hard for me to use as a guide since most are built like typical models but with big breasts and hips. I am 5’3 and 145lbs and pear shaped. I’m a medium up top but like a 10 on the bottom. SOoooo its pretty hard to compare myself to 6’0 tall athletic builds or hour glasses figures. Its not to say these types shouldn’t be on sites too. They should as should short girls, top heavy girls, girls with long legs, girls long torsos, girls with broad shoulders. It’s refreshing that their site does that, and makes imagining the clothing items on much easier.
Check out the Mod Cloth Mavens in the style gallery.
Yes they are all gorgeous girls well styled. But all look like women you might actually run into on the street.

IMG_3054

Then on each item you can see real girls wearing the article in the reviews. But also they feature some of their employees modeling. And it includes their measurements so you can take it into consideration.
IMG_3057

Then if you are still unsure about size, which I often am. I mean I’m a small at Old Navy and a large at Forever 21. Now at that Mod Cloth carries a bunch of different brand…oooft. So when all else fails you can talk to their customer service reps immediately. And they are very very helpful. At telling you if the yellow is more canary or mustard in person, or helping you through re-tying a bow that you untied and now it looks way different than the picture. Seriously, anything.
IMG_3058

Now if you still are unsure about something, no worries. Order it anyways cause they do free returns and exchanges. You can print the label off right from their site to send it back. But be warned, it takes like 3-4 weeks from when you put it in the mail to when you actually get the money back in your account. Still it’s nice to know that option is there.

Ok, now to talk about the phone app. Its just like having the site in your hand. The lay out everything is so user friendly. But my favorite part is the reviews. It keeps a list of the items you recently bought, and you can not only write your review right there, but you can upload a photo. So take a selfie, write a review. BAM.
PicMonkey Collage (11)

Ok now the actual clothing. Yes most is polyester. I love cotton, but most of what I’ve gotten from this site is polyester. But you can search and see the fabrics. Its just that I’m already trying to pick stuff that’s cute, that I can nurse in, that is seasonally appropriate. Fabric isn’t on the top of the list but few things am I blown away but how comfortable it is. BUT IT LOOKS CUTE!!!!

I’m not going to kid myself. I’m not super stylish. But their stuff is pretty fool proof. The pieces stand on their own which means you can put on you usual leggings and sandals but their blouses are so fun, the outfit now actually feels like an outfit.

My favorite item? The Charter School Cardigans which I have in 3 different colors. If you follow my instagram its my rust one, my mustard one and my dusty rose one. HA. They aren’t so long and feel more modern after years of living in super long draped cardigans. But I dont really want to review each individual item. The site has great reviews already. But I’ve made 3 orders in the past couple months and gotten like 20ish different things from headbands to high waist jeans. And I have been be pleased with everything I’ve gotten. Seriously everything.

Tomorrow I’m gonna put together like two favorite outfits and post them. But for now I’m gonna go eat dinner. ❤

Baby Carrier Reviews

The question I get asked more than any other is “what kind of carrier should I buy?” And then I begin asking the poor mother 101 questions and lengthy comment threads ending in more confusion than resolution. So I have created a helpful guide with this post. Yes this is a lot of information. But I hope this is a lot of useful information.

 There are 4 main kinds I would recommend. Stretchy wrap, Buckle Carrier, Woven Wrap and Ring Sling. Then there are different brands of these different kinds. Now there are plenty of other options out there but I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with all the different soft structure carrier wrap conversion mei tais and the crazy list of acronyms for them that I think in the long run can just discourage beginner wearers or those curious to try it. If you have any questions about any of these styles feel free to ask. If I dont have the answer for you I can hopefully get you in touch with a mom who does.

Stretchy Wrap
Stretchy wraps are a wonderful option for a first time baby wearer. For starters, they are very affordable (Most range from $50-$70). These work by first wrapping the carrier, then placing your baby inside. They are best for the first 6 months. I had a moby wrap which did the job but overheated easily. The stretchy wrap I now suggest is the Solly Baby. Lauren who writes Rain City Baby, a stylish blog as hip as she is, has agreed to share her review on the solly baby wrap.
DSC_0287 rcb
“Living in the city with a baby comes with challenges.  I knew before I had Ruby that I had to find a carrier that would be comfortable for us both in the first few months as well as functional for our on-the-go lifestyle. Prior to becoming a mama I used various carriers and wraps with children that I worked with as a nanny. I wore babies that I nannied in the Moby but it always felt like a task to tie and I would frequently overheat while wearing it. I still loved the idea of what the Moby offered, so when I heard that there was an alternative product with less fabric, I was excited to try it out.
I had never used the Solly Wrap before becoming a mama. Needless to say, I am very satisfied with my decision. If you follow my IG feed @raincitybaby you will see Ruby in her Solly wrap all the time. It has been my go-to baby item- I wore it so much that I decided to get a second one!
The most common question that I get about the Solly is what differentiates it from the Moby wrap, which is similar in function and appearance. The primary differences are the amount of fabric and the thickness of the fabric. The Solly tapers at the end for a small tie, whereas the Moby has the same width of fabric at the ends, making a big bulky tie. The Solly folds into itself (as opposed to a separate carrying pouch) which makes for a compact little square to toss into the diaper bag.The Solly Wrap is made out of custom-made organic fabric, which is thin, breathable, stretchy and very soft. I love that I can feel confident in her comfort when I put her in the wrap in just her diaper. The fabric is probably softer than any outfit she has! Another reason that I love the Solly brand is that the maker, Elle Rowley, donates wraps to moms in need and a portion of their profits go to charity. I love knowing that a portion of the money that I spent will be used to help other mothers.

   My favorite thing about wearing the Solly Wrap is the closeness I feel to my baby. This wrap makes baby wearing comfortable for both of us, which allows her to relax into me for the most epic of snuggle sessions 🙂 “

Buckle Carrier
If you see yourself being turned off by baby wearing because the wrapping looks complicated or fear the potential human error involved then a buckle carrier is a great option for you. They are user friendly and are a favorite by many baby wearing moms and dads. These carriers work by just buckling and minimal tightening. You can use them around the house but I mostly see them used for long hikes or zoo trips. The top 2 in my book are the Boba and Ergo. You can expect to spend around $100-$150. Ashley, an adorable mommy/photographer writes a gorgeous blog full of the most amazing photos of her family. Here’s what she had to share about baby wearing with her ergo.

389993_10100179992939773_1290241970_n
“I’m Ashley, mama of an almost-two year old busy busy boy, Arlo and I blog at lifeasashlet.com. When I was pregnant, I discovered the world of babywearing through the wonderful world of the Internet and couldn’t want to get my little baby all wrapped up against my chest. I even brought a wrap with me and wore him in the hospital!
Over the last couple years we’ve used a few different carriers and our favorite is by far the Ergo. Easy, comfortable and versatile, the Ergo has been a lifesaver more often than I can count. In the beginning it was my sanity – morning noon and evening walks with my newborn, getting me out of the house and moving again while healing from his birth. It was my entertainment – I can’t count how many times he fell asleep in the Ergo while walking around Target, around Greenlake, around our neighborhood. It was my break – my husband would dutifully strap our fussy baby into ol’ faithful and sway into the evening while playing a video game or bouncing on the birth ball and let me grab some needed shut eye. It let me do laundry, modestly nurse on the go, get dinner on the table and made airline travel a breeze.
Now, as a mother of a toddler it offers a whole new world of use. We use the bus as cheap entertainment for our wheel-loving kid, and the Ergo is the perfect carrier for our big kid. I’ve gifted the Ergo to several mamas-to-be, and my favorite part is the ease. Just clip, slip in the kid, clip again, and you’re done. I can get him on my back in one swift motion, and my front is just as fast. It’s the perfect carrier for a Baby Wearing Newb, reluctant husband and wonderful way for Grandma to bond with a new baby.
With the added infant insert, or a well placed receiving blanket it can hold the newest of new all the way up to bigger kids. At 37 inches and over 30 pounds, Arlo is  still comfortable and secure both in back carry, front and even hip. You can find Ergo carriers on any major retail website, Target, and my favorite – swap boards for a very reasonable price. “

 

Woven Wraps
 Woven wraps are very versatile. You can front carry, hip carry, high back carry, torso carry, the options are endless. These carriers are used by the baby wearing enthusiasts who wear their little ones for hours a day, almost as a life style choice. If you are curious about trying out a woven I recommend starting with Caribou Baby. They have a great selection of the more affordable wraps which range from $100-$200. But the most coveted wraps of all are the Oscha Slings. They are gorgeous, a considerable investment and hard to get your hands on. But they really stand out as the best of the woven wraps. My lovely friend Nichole is awesome enough to share about her journey into babywearing and what is so wonderful about the wraps Oscha makes. You can follow nichole on instagram @raestreet. She not only has an amazing wrap `stash, she is learning to weave herself. SO cool.

photo (1)

“Hi there, I’m Nichole and I am a mama to the most incredible little boy, Oliver who is nearly 11 months old. When Oliver was born, it became clear pretty quickly that he was a high needs baby. He was attached to a boob pretty much 23/7 and I was more than happy to oblige, though I was a little surprised. It’s hard to know what to expect as a new mom! So, when the fancy BOB stroller we had bought in preparation for our babe was just not working out, I pulled out the grape purple moby I had been given at our baby shower. I watched a few youtubes and read the manual…I tried it a few times and then, while cursing, threw the material on the ground in frustration for not figuring it out right away. But then I started looking into babywearing more. I had ample time to explore Instagram feeds, babycenter groups, and Facebook pages on my iPhone while underneath my constantly nursing babe. I saw gorgeous pictures of mothers with their children on their backs wrapped in beautiful pieces of cloth. How had I not heard or seen of this before?! I had to find out more. I had to figure out a way to keep my precious baby close to me so he could be happy, safe and content on my chest while I was able to tend life’s other demands. I discovered so many brands of woven wraps – where to start?! I ordered a Girasol from a vendor to see if I could make this woven wrap thing work. Once it arrived, I wrapped my little 6 week old son and he instantly snuggled and up and fell asleep. We were both hooked. Being wrapped was the only way he took naps during his first 6 months of life. I really don’t know what we would have done without babywearing. I tried many brands, blends and designs of woven wraps and my favorite soon became clear. Oscha Slings out of Scotland makes gorgeous jacquard woven wraps whose designs and fibers made me swoon. Lush cottons, supportive linens, cozy wool, and luxurious silks all made with artisan craftsmanship for mamas to carry their babies in. There are many fabulous brands out there that I really like as well, but overall if I had to pick one brand it would be Oscha. Their designs speak to my personal sense of style and are made with such quality that they easily support my ever growing kiddo. We now go on lots of walks with him on my back and use our wrap conversion ring sling for when we’re out running errands. Oliver is running around exploring everything he possibly can and being an expressive, outgoing social butterfly. When he needs his mama he knows I’m always there for him arms open and sling in hand.”

Ring Slings
Of all the carriers I’ve tried, these are my favorite.This style carrier is great if you plan on wearing baby for a nap, or to the grocery store or maybe to the park for a play date. Its easy to get baby in safely once you get the hang of it, though it does take a little practice. But once you get it down these are the best for quickly getting baby in while standing in a parking lot or if your baby wants in and out often. They are also awesome for nursing in. You can use them for newborns and toddlers, which make them a pretty safe investment. My favorite brand of ring sling is Sakura Blooms. Most range from $80-$180. Since ring slings are my go to I’ll do my own review on my recommendation and how I came across them. picmonkey_image

I’m Jill and I write this blog 😉 I had to go through about 10 different carriers before finding the right fit for us. I knew I wanted to keep Mila close and keep her in my arms. But out there are some really sad looking overheating, poorly wrapped, and incorrectly used baby wearing photos of us. But more than anything I just didn’t feel like myself. As if trying to dress a post baby body with a closet full of maternity wear isn’t hard enough, now lets throw in trying to match your carrier. But then I stumbled on the Sling Diaries 1. I saw moms like Carolee and Jodi and Emily and thought “ok these ladies make it look so cute! I wanna be a cute mom too!” Sakura Bloom ring slings come in a few different types. The “Pure Linen” was my first and are still the one that I use everyday. It’s lightweight and breathable but strong enough to feel confident using it even past the first year. Its also so small I can scrunch it up and put it in my purse. The “Simple Silk” is the one to go for if you want a carrier that you’ll use from newborn through the toddler years. The silks are very lush looking, but more importantly, they are the most supportive. They will make a 20lbs baby feel 7lbs again. They come in an array of different colors that are all are gender neutral. If you are thinking a ring sling is the carrier for you and you don’t know which Sakura Bloom to pick, go to my about me and watch the video that goes into depth about picking which one is right for you.

The Honest Company- Review

When I was pregnant with Mila I came across The Honest Co. on Facebook. I called Justin while he was at work supers stoked “BABE! SERIOUSLY! FAMILY FRIENDLY! ECO FRIENDLY! AND THERE ARE SKULLS ON THE DIAPERS! and If I’m not mistaken they deliver for free?” I kept having to re-read how it worked cause it was a little confusing. Did you pay for a years supply up front? what do you do if you run out of diapers? How do they know how many a months worth is? But I ordered the free trial and then was like. “Ok, so the soap smells like oranges and there are skulls on the diapers. cool.” but I still wasn’t completely sold. So I called and spoke to a customer service rep and got a ton of the answers I was looking for. Still get the sample sizes, the are awesome for the diaper bag.
For starters I was able to sign up for my first month right then (it was 3 months before Mila was born) Get that first shipment so I could organize them in the nursery and have them ready for her. But then she postponed my second shipment until 1 month after my due date.
The diaper bundle comes with 6 packs of diapers and 4 packs of wipes. Early on this lasted us 5 weeks. After the first few months it lasts us 6 weeks. You can adjust your bundle to ship whenever you want. We haven’t ever come close to running out too soon.
They have plenty of information about cost. and comparing them to other brands. I often see it compared by diaper or by week but I think that’s just confusing.

  •  6 packs of diapers and 4 packs of wipes that are store brand costs $46-$50
  •  6 packs of major brand (Pampers, Huggies, Etc.) diapers and 4 packs of wipes is $60-$70
  • 6 packs of Honest Co. Diapers and 4 packs of wipes is $80

That’s the bottom line. You will probably spend about $20 more a months. that’s like $5 a week. Or a latte. For non toxic, family friendly, eco friendly diapers that are gentle and fragrance free? Its worth $5 a week to us.

Now I will say the diapers are not as plush as pampers. Especially the pampers swaddlers that make me remember sweet newborn Lucy and make my heart burst. But even though they aren’t as soft, they work. We have only had a handful of “blow outs” in Mila’s 9 months of life so far.
The wipes suck. I’ll admit it. They stick together. It should be an Olympic event trying to get out just one wipe. But they are paraben free, biodegradable, hypoallergenic and have never irritated Mila’s very sensitive skin like even the store brand ones that are for sensitive skin have.
Also they are cute. And diapering sucks. I’ve considered clothe just because I love fluffy baby bums with plaid prints or the galaxy ones! The galaxy ones almost sold me. But now even those of us who have opted for disposable can pick out charming prints like leopard print or strawberries or hippos.

Of the family bundle items we have tried many but not all. They come out with new stuff faster then we can update our bundle choices. We always get the Multi Surface Cleaner and Laundry Detergent. We love the hand sanitizer! It could be our favorite of all the products. The massage oil smells yummy, is great for baby massage time. We use the sunscreen and the tangle spray. Lots of their products smell citrus fresh. Which is common in the eco friendly products since its a great natural fragrance option.  The hand soap smells like lemongrass and is very crisp and androgynous. The baby soap is nothing special but it works. We have never not liked what we picked out for our family bundle.

The diapers I love though. I am excited about this option. I love not having to have a baby showers worth of gifted diapers in all different sizes stuffed in a closet somewhere. I love that you can pick up to 6 different fun prints. And I love that it takes away a huge chunk of the guilt I have for not cloth diapering.
honest co review

Sakura Bloom Guide

I decided to make this video showing the three main types of ring slings sakura bloom sells. I don’t work for the company, they didn’t ask me to make this, actually it was another mom, Emily from 9 months & Beyond who did 🙂 which is awesome and super flattering. I mega failed at using woven wraps and sucked at back carries so feeling like an ‘expert’ at ring slings has made my night!! Please excuse Justin’s, PANT-LESS reflection in my glasses 😉 haha.

I hope this is helpful. And again this is just to help those who have already decided they want to try a sakura bloom and now want advice on which one to get.