Friday, December 28, 2012

Well, friends... this is a post I have been dreaming of making. If you remember back to the Wishlist Wednesday post from months ago... I digitally drooled over the beauty and organizational overload that is the Ju Ju Be Be Prepared, but at a price of $180, I did not foresee ever owning one of these beauties.  

Then I discovered the amazing world of B/S/T and adopted my very own, new to me, excellent condition Be Prepared in Mint Julep.  I. Am. In. Love. 

Everything I dreamed it would be, it is, and so so much more! I have probably watched every single "How I pack my diaper bag" video on youtube, looked up every possible review, and still, I get excited seeing new posts and videos. So here I am, offering you, my lovely readers a look into MY Be Prepared. 

A front view.  For those who are curious... this bag IS pretty huge.  Like, carry-on luggage/over night weekender bag huge. BUT if you're already considering a Be Prepared, you most likely are either: 
  • a mommy who cloth diapers
  • a mommy of multiple children (multiples or older/younger siblings)
  • Like me... just an organization fiend and terrible overpacker :) 
Yes, this bag is large. When I looked at the dimensions, I did not think it would be truly that much larger than my previous bag, the J.J Cole Satchel (love that bag too!). Side by side, however, the BP is definitely taller and a bit deeper too.  

As you can see in the picture, I currently have the messenger strap attached. The bag does come with attached (i.e. cannot detach) tote straps which are nice, but if you pack a lot, it can be a bit awkward to carry on your shoulder. The straps fit nicely into the pockets (one behind the mommy pocket and the other in the back).  I'm very picky about straps though, so you may find them perfect :)   The messenger strap is awesome. It has the memory foam pad to help with load bearing pressure and adjusts easily.  I love the hardware too. Nice and strong and secure! 

In the picture below, you can see the lovely D ring that connects the messenger strap.  One of my biggest pet peeves with bags is that usually, the strap connector has that icky rubber coating, which inevitably cracks and means that ultimately...sometime down the will need a replace the strap.  I do not foresee this happening as Ju Ju Be has the best and strongest hardware I have seen yet.  

One thing I do not love is that the mommy pocket tends to sag (you can kind of see this in the picture below). Keep in mind, however, that mine is an older "generation" and I believe they all come equipped with a snap built in now to keep the mommy pocket attached upright against the main compartment pocket.  It isn't a HUGE deal, but something I have found causes the bag to tip a bit. I will probably try attaching my own snap at some point. 

The Mommy Pocket.: I LOVE LOVE LOVE this pocket. Some of you may remember that my first diaper bag was the J.J. Cole 180 messenger style bag.  I liked this bag, and still use it as LJ's day care bag, but found the organizational pocket flap ineffective for moms as it only had slots. No real pouches or space for my super big Vera Bradley wallet.  As you can see below, Ju Ju Be did it again and has created a pocket that is perfect for moms! There is a mesh zip compartment where I currently keep my makeup.  I like this pocket especially because of its mesh, see through material, allowing easy access when on the go. I currently keep tissues in the next pocket, which I believe is intended to house a cell phone. I keep mine either in the side bottle pocket (see picture above) or in my pocket, so I made it my kleenex holder! I also do not keep sunglasses on me, so right now my sunglass pouch holds a lip gloss that I use frequently and a tide pen. There are more mesh pockets (no zipper, but nice elastic) along the bottom. I have only had this bag for about 3 weeks so I don't have it FULLY packed yet. I probably will ultimately keep store cards or library cards there.  I currently use the photo brag spots for coupons but will eventually put pics of my little man :) 

I also ADORE the key bungee cord.  I just toss my car keys into the pocket, but keep my store card key chain attached for easy access! 

Now onto the interior!

This is the main reason I bought this bag... the amazing gusseted interior that essentially makes every mommy the new Mary Poppins.  It's the clown car of diaper bags. Seriously.  
Below is a picture of my every day carrying.  In case you cannot tell...there is TONS of room left. Like, "could still fit a jacket, thick blanket, and a xylophone inside" tons of room left. The black bag is a Ju Ju Be Be newest obsession. There are seriously hundreds of uses for these and I may have already bought another. Ideally, I want to have about 4! 
This one currently houses LJ's toys so that they are all in one easily accessed spot.  I plan on having another for diapers and wipes, and one eventually for clothes instead of keeping them in the pockets.  Oh  and one for food so we wont have any messes! I'm sure I'll find reasons for more too!

And here it is all unpacked.  Again, I don't even have half of what I could fit in there.  But the contents of daily use are: 
  • Full wipes pack
  • boogie wipes
  • paci/table wipes
  • small wash cloth
  • spoon
  • pair of socks
  • 3 diapers
  • digital camera
  • baggie with snacks
  • formula pack
  • two long sleeved shirts
  • one pair of pants
  • one large burp cloth
  • one bib
  • light blanket (Aden and Anais) 
  • nursing cover
  • dumbo stuffed toy
  • cell phone toy
  • rattle penguin
  • Baby Einstein music toy
  • teether
  • Makeup bag with medications 
  • Not pictured: Tommee Tippee bottle. (the side pockets, which are insulated, hold these wonderfully!)

All packed!

I was all set to "officially" make this post when I decided I would just tell you all a little bit about how wonderfully I packed this bag for the past holiday weekend.  LJ spent his first night away at grandma's house last Friday.  I managed to fit all that I already mentioned, PLUS the following: 
  • a LARGE Costco's Kirkland brand formula can
  • an extra pair of pj's
  • an extra change of clothes
  • the V-Tech kitty toy (not sure what the real name is but it is rather large)
  • A Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Puppy Piano.  
Yes... I fit formula and two LARGE toys in here too. And it zipped. Amazing.

There you have it folks. I hope you found this review helpful and I would love to hear about your Ju Ju Be addiction! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


It's the day after Christmas. I am sitting on our family room couch, Christmas tree glowing, dog at my feet, listening and watching my little boy giggle and squeal while bouncing and playing on Daddy's lap.  For the first time in a long while, the only thing on my mind is: joy. Not the commercialized holiday joy that I will admit to being obsessed over, but pure, unadulterated, raw emotional joy.

Life is not perfect. There are times when I think that winning the lottery would solve all of the world's problems. But you know what? I am truly, utterly blessed.

I have a career. I have a beautiful home, two cars (between my husband and my self), a loving (albeit sometimes OVERLY so) dog, a husband who is my best friend in the entire world, and a beautiful, happy, giggly and healthy baby boy who makes my heart grow larger each and every day that he touches my life.

Screw the lottery.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Calling all android tablet mamas!

So I just got a new Galaxy tab 7 and am looking for baby app suggestions!  My little guy loves to play, so suggest away!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Buyer Beware... My experience with the Baby Bullet

Hello friends,

Today, I am saddened to be writing my first truly negative review. I hate complaining. I hate to make people or companies out to be of poor quality, I really do.  When attending conferences and being asked to evaluate the workshops, I almost NEVER rate to the lowest or poorest level. But being a mama blogger, and a blogger targeting new or soon to be new mamas, I feel it my duty to share my poor experience that I have had while dealing with Baby Bullet.

I received my Baby Bullet as a shower gift. I was beyond thrilled! Being of the semi-crunchy mindset, I was absolutely ecstatic to begin making my baby's food from scratch.  My husband and I anxiously awaited the day we could break out that beautiful shiny new "toy" and prepare our son's first meal.

We chose to start with a simple choice: avocado.  We followed the directions listed in the "cookbook" included in the box to a T. Suddenly, however, we heard groaning and grinding noises. I started smelling smoke. At first we thought that maybe some water had leaked in to the motor. Upon further inspection, however... this is what we found:

The clear-ish plastic ring that is set around the base had come loose, getting caught up in the blade itself.  As Baby Bullet provides replacements of this ring, I can only assume that it is not uncommon for them to break. Furthermore, a white plastic ring from UNDERNEATH the blade had come up and gotten wrapped around the blade as well. 

So much for that!  When I had a free moment last weekend, I tried calling the number listed in the manual. It did not work. I then called the number listed on their customer service section of the webpage and the call kept being disconnected. Finally,  I sent an email to Baby Bullet's customer service page. In my email, I explained what happened, and noted that I had received it as a gift, and did not have a receipt. 

I was pleased to find an emailing waiting in my inbox on Tuesday morning.  Unfortunately, the email was of no help. In my response, I was told that they would be happy to help, but that for the warranty to be covered, I would need to provide barcode information from the motor (which I had) and a copy of my receipt (which I, as I had already informed them, did not possess, as it had been a gift).  I wrote back explaining this and awaited a response.

Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon. I had no response back, so I chose to call again. I tried a dozen times and the call would not go through. Finally, I got through, but was told by a recording that I would receive a call back, as the lines were too busy. Finally, about an hour and a half later, I received a phone call back.  

After explaining my situation, I was ultimately informed that, as I did not have a receipt, they would still honor the warranty "this once", as I was just outside the one year limited warranty for the product. I would have to pay shipping and processing for both the motor and the blade replacements, and any future issues would be at my own expense (even though I had only received the item 8 months ago).  

 When I questioned why I would be outside the warranty, as the product was given to me just this past spring, I was told that without a receipt, they use the manufacture date on the product found from the barcode information on the motor base.  My immediate thought was: What about someone who purchases a model that was manufactured in 2011, but has sat on the shelves? Are they simply out the warranty entirely?

I was flabbergasted.  I told the woman that I would wait and see if I can return it at the store, as I do not wish to be without a warranty should anything further happen, but commented to her that I think it is of very poor customer service to market a product directly to parents of babies, to have it sold and advertised in stores where people would set up baby registries, and then insist on having a purchase receipt in order to receive the warranty of the product.  The woman was very polite, but simply told me that without that receipt there was no way of knowing when the purchase was made.

While I do see Baby Bullet's side in wanting to ensure that they are offering a warranty to recently acquired products, I feel that they are in effect punishing moms and dads who might receive this as a gift, by greatly reducing, or in some cases, eliminating their ability to receive a warranty on their product.  

Ultimately, I have been incredibly disappointed with the product but more so with the company's customer service and will not be purchasing this item (or any others from their company) in the future.  

***Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Baby Bullet, nor was I compensated by any other person or company to write this review.  None of the information provided in this review is falsified or exaggerated.  This review is solely that of my own, personal experience and should only be taken as such. ***   

Mommy---the only person I want to be...

I've been home with my little LJ for the entire week so far. Poor little guy has a nasty bug featuring a super fun congested phlegm-y cough and high fever.  It is truly the saddest thing in the world to me... he looks up during his coughing attack with this look of terror and implores me to help with his little blue eyes. "Mom!" they cry, "help me! What is happening??".  It's so unbelievably sad.

This week has had me realize just how much being a Mama really means to your child.  The love that you receive from your child is the purest and most incredible love there is.  To LJ, (his Daddy and) I am his entire world. I'm the security, the answer to everything that is scary or new.  If something doesn't feel right, Mommy's arms are where he wants to be and are better than any medicine I can offer.  The look in his eyes when I pick him up, rocking him and singing my "Mommy loves you" song---that look of love, trust and thanks... it makes every stress, every other thing that seems important vanish, and the only thing I want to do, the only person I want to Mommy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This mama's back!

Hello my lovely readers!
First and foremost, I want to apologize for my little "dropping off the face of the Earth" adventure.  Between going back to work, dealing with the new found stress of working mama, my first semester of grad school, my husband and I both coming down with the flu and everything and anything in between.... my blog unfortunately was thrown to the wayside.

But, I am back.  I won't guarantee a post every day, but will strive for at least 2 or 3 a week (every other day).  (Although, I am very determined to try to pop in daily, even for a small "daily recap").

So... what is new with this mama over the past 4 months?

  • My little LJ is now 8 months old. 8 stinkin' months of adorableness and I cannot believe how fast the time has flown.  When I wrote my last entry, he was just learning the art of smiling. Now he smiles, giggles, babbles and is venturing into the butt shaking action of attempted crawling. I am already getting teary eyed thinking of throwing his first birthday party in a mere 4 months! 
  • I'm nearly halfway through the year at my job. It's crazy and I still feel like I just began! Definitely looking forward, however, to a much needed winter break in... 17 days! 
  • I've finally started to tackle my Wednesday Wishlist, and think I have purchased approximately... 3 or 4 of the items thus far. I promise to update with reviews asap! 
What's new with you? Feel free to share interesting thoughts or ideas for blog posts, as well!