Fresh Wave Giveaway!

This has been one busy summer over at our house this year! Last summer, I went back to work full-time when Ellis was just 6 weeks old. After digging into my sick time and vacation time for my maternity leave, things were too hectic at work to be able to afford to take any more time off or even think about the costs of vacation after shelling out thousands of dollars of medical expenses. Now that I’m home with Ellis though, this summer has been the best one yet.

My husband is a teacher, so it has been great getting to spend so much family time together the last couple months. Without an office job to get back to, we’ve been able to work some vacations into our schedules this summer, and it’s been awesome! We took our longest vacation yet: 8 days in Portland in July! And we are squeezing in one last trip before summer’s over and heading to Gulf Shores with my dad (Ellis’s first beachy vacation!). We also worked it out to take a mini-weekend trip to Austin in June for MommyCon.

We love Austin anyway (lots of good vegan food us there), and I was psyched to meet up with other crunchy moms at my first MommyCon. While I was there, I scoped out the vendors and found some awesome, crunchy-mom approved goodies to take home.

My favorite from MommyCon was Fresh Wave. I hadn’t heard of them before, but I’m so glad I found them. They make natural products to remove odors from your house without all the icky-chemicals.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been trying to slowly replace things in our house with natural alternatives and a few DIYs. We swapped out cleaning products for natural versions, I make my own laundry soap, and I’ve even tried my hand at a few Pinterest projects.

When it comes to bad odors, we used to spray a bunch of Febreeze on a regular basis. Now I’m weary of putting all that crap in the air with a baby around. I found a recipe on Pinterest called “Faux-breeze” and gave it a whirl. Worth a try, right? Well, sadly the result wasn’t anything to write home about. It didn’t really cut it, so I set it aside and gave up for a while.

So I was really glad when I found Fresh Wave to give their products a try. I tried out their odor removing spray, gel, packs and fresh pod.

Fresh Wave Giveaway | sharonisamom.com

Their spray was the perfect solution to replace my Pinterest fail. You might think we’d need it most for baby-related stinks, but we actually use it most for animal-related smells! We have two cats and two dogs. Between the lot of them, it seems like it’s nearly every day that I’m spraying to remedy their dog farts, vomit and poop accidents. Oh my!

I use the fresh pod on the inside of the lid for our diaper pail. It sticks right on to eliminate odors round the clock! We use the Diaper Décor brand one for our cloth diapers, but it’ll work on most any diaper pail. After a few days, the diapers start to pile up, and the smell is not-so-alluring. The fresh pod has been working great at removing those odors though! I think I may need to get another one for our trash can in the kitchen as well now! After 30-60 days, just pop it open and replace the odor removing pack inside. Easy peasy!

We also use spare odor removing packs as car fresheners. I stuck one under the driver’s seat in my car and my husband’s car. They’re quite versatile!

Best for last! The odor removing gel just might be my favorite! My office/guest room has been taken over at our new house as the “cat room.” Things were starting to get pretty gross in there with the litter boxes. It was so distracting that I couldn’t even work in there anymore! Stuck the gel on my desk and noticed instant relief. We keep one in the living room as well. The changing table or bathroom would be another great spot for one though!

Check out freshwaveworks.com for more info on all of their products. Fresh Wave is also available at Target and on Amazon.

And what you’ve all been waiting for… how to win it all! I’ve partnered with Fresh Wave for a giveaway on my Instagram @sharonisamom. One lucky person will win everything pictured: a fresh pod, odor removing spray, odor removing gel and odor removing packs. The giveaway ends on Sunday, August 7 at 11:59 p.m. CST. Good luck, mamas!

My First MommyCon

After much anticipation, MommyCon Austin is officially behind us. And it was awesome! I enjoyed all of the sessions I went to, and loved being surrounded by other like-minded moms. Now it’s time to finally recollect my thoughts after the whirlwind that was my first MommyCon!

My First MommyCon: media swag bag | sharonisamom.com
Here’s the swag I got in my media bag!

I’m somewhat of a planner. I went into MommyCon with a schedule written out of all the sessions I planned to attend, and what times I had breaks to check out the vendors and grab lunch. I may try to plan and be organized, but I am also a bit of a hot-mess mom. It seems like the more I try to have control, the more things don’t go according to plan. Since I was a part of the MommyCon blogger collective, I planned on getting to the convention center early to meet up with the other members of the media team for breakfast at 8:30. But after a rough night, Ellis needed to sleep in Saturday, so I let him. That meant I was missing the media breakfast, but I still planned on catching a ride with my friends to get there by 9 for registration, or at least by 9:30 for the first session on our agenda. But we were running late, and by the time we parked, fed the baby and walked over to the convention center and got checked in, it was about 10:15. So we missed the first session we had planned to attend, but that’s OK. There were still plenty more great sessions for us that day. I peeked in to check out a couple of the vendors and grab a Kind Bar (thank goodness, since I’d skipped breakfast!), then we headed into the next session on our lineup to learn about potty training. My son is only 14 months old, and we hadn’t quite starting researching all that jazz yet on our own. I ended up learning a lot from this session and took home some great tips to try out when it’s potty-training time.

All this time, my husband was with Ellis, taking him on some Austin adventures. My friend Catherine was also at MommyCon with me, and her husband was watching their 17-month-old, so we let the dads be “mom for a day,” (as I called it). They met up at the Thinkery to let the kiddos have fun while the moms enjoyed a relaxed morning without the babies at MommyCon. My husband said they loved it! And we didn’t even have to pay, since we have a membership to the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History (we get in free to over 250 other museums around the country, how cool is that?).

While I waited for my husband to pick me up for lunch, I spent a little time checking out some more of the vendors (there were so many great vendors!). He picked me up around noon, I nursed Ellis, then we headed to lunch. The first place we went to was oddly closed, (apparently their servers didn’t show up), so we checked out our list of other restaurants we’d planned to hit up, and headed to the next one. To save time, we ordered it to-go and ate in the car as we headed to Starbucks (another stop I needed, since moms need coffee). Grabbed my coffee and headed back to the convention center. Tried to find where our friends parked since we needed to swap out car seats for the ride back after MommyCon. Turns out we went up and down the wrong parking garage before we finally found where they were parked at the other parking garage. Ellis was napping in the car seat at this point, so my husband made the trek to walk to the convention center, go up to the 4th floor and meet our friends to grab their keys, come back and do the swap. After all that madness it was 2:30 by the time Ellis and I got back to MommyCon (insert the ghost-breathing emoticon here)! All of that lunch/shuffling/driving around took two and a half hours out of my precious time at MommyCon! We had an hour allotted for our lunch break, and that means I missed yet another session I had planned to go to. So I spent a little more time checking out the vendors before heading to my next session: Sex and the Breastfeeding Mom with Naya Weber (she’s an awesome lady who runs the Lactivist in Louboutins blog and is an aspiring IBCLC, lactation consultant). This session was very different for me, since I could no longer sit and quietly take notes. I had Ellis with me now, so I listened from the back as he played in the play area, diligently eating all the spongy play things.

After that I made another stop to check out more vendors and get help from Tekhni for some one-on-one wrapping breakdowns. Before I knew it, MommyCon was coming to a close. I’d say winding down, but that wouldn’t be an accurate description. The excitement kept building right up to the very end, with everyone packed in for all the awesome giveaways. They finish out each MommyCon by giving away $10,000 worth of mom-approved products, so make sure you stay to the very end! Heck, one of my friends ended up winning the BEST jogging stroller- a BOB duallie ($710 value)! Totally jealous.

All things considered, here’s what I learned from my first MommyCon and what I might do differently next time:

Considering how long my lunch break ended up taking, next time I’d rather just do what my friends did and literally walk across the street and eat wherever is closest, not caring about how fun and family friendly it is. Ain’t nobody got time for that lol. Or most likely, I’ll pack a lunch or have my husband deliver to me. Either way, that means I don’t have to go anywhere, so I’d have more time to shop during the lunch break rather than having to miss sessions to check out vendors.

My afternoon at MommyCon with Ellis in-tow was admittedly less easy than my baby-free morning. However I LOVED that the convention was totally prepared for our littles. They had snack stations, arts and crafts areas, toys/play areas and several diaper changing stations (with diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, the works!). Seriously. The Babyganics diaper changing stations were SO AWESOME! It’s funny the things we get excited about as moms, isn’t it? I never thought I would be so stoked about butt wipes, but here I am. Nearly a month later I’m still raving about it haha.

All in all, I had so much fun at my first MommyCon. Absolutely loved it, and can’t wait to do it all again next year! We got cool swag, learned great tips, listened to some rad speakers and made fast friends.

One of the biggest takeaways was being able to nurse my baby in public, no cover, no shame without feeling like I had to worry about anyone saying something ugly about it. I don’t ever cover while breastfeeding in public anymore anyway. I tried it early on and decided it wasn’t for us. Sometimes I do the double shirt method (which keeps you very covered) and sometimes I have clip-down nursing tanks or a wrap-style dress. I generally try to avoid NIP if I can, but sometimes it’s unavoidable, and baby’s needs come first, of course. Sometimes I’ll retreat to the car to nurse, and sometimes I’ll nurse where I am. Sometimes I try to find an isolated and quiet corner, but sometimes I’ll nurse at the table while I’m waiting on my food at a restaurant. When I do the latter, I find myself with a resting bitch face that reads “Come say something to me. I dare you. I WILL CUT YOU.” Haha no joke! I live in a very conservative state, and you hear stories all the time of moms being shamed for nursing in public. Luckily I haven’t had anyone say anything to me, but they might not want to approach me with that look on my face either lol. Anyway, it was a nice relief to be in such a breastfeeding-friendly environment with no worries while I fed my baby. Based on the online chatter, that seemed to be one of the aspects that attendees loved most about MommyCon, and I agree!

While MommyCon Austin is over, MommyCon is not yet done for the year. Next stops are Costa Mesa (Aug 20 & Nov 11-12 for MiLK), Orlando (Sept 3) and San Jose (Oct 29). For more info, check out mommycon.com and use code SHARONISAMOM16 for $5 off general admission tickets.

Boob & Baby review and giveway

It’s time for another product review and giveaway! This week I got to try Boob and Baby’s Boob Butter. This nipple cream is truly a godsend for new mamas. Those first few weeks of breastfeeding can be excruciating on sore, cracked nipples, and using a nipple cream every time you nurse is a must if you want to make it through this with nipples intact.

Boob & Baby review and giveaway | sharonisamom.com

Back in my early days of breastfeeding, I was given lanolin (Lansinoh and Medela brands), and it wasn’t until later that I realized what it’s made of, and that it’s not vegan-friendly. Aside from that, it was sticky and smelled funny.

The boob butter on the other hand feels quite luxurious: goes on smooth and doesn’t stink. Plus I don’t have to feel bad about the ingredients! It is lanolin, shea and beeswax-free and vegan-friendly (yay!).

The 1 oz jar will last you quite a bit too. Even if you’re using it every time you breastfeed, it’ll last you about 2-3 weeks.

As some of you may remember, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to pump more, so I could donate more breastmilk to babies in need. I’ve added the boob butter to my pump bag. I rub some on before I pump, as it makes for a great lubricant. I highly recommend this to maximize your pumping output!

If you find yourself with any boob butter left over, you can also use it for chapped lips, stretch marks, pregnant belly itching, diaper rash (it IS cloth-diaper friendly too!) and windburn. Wish I had this after my race in November! Poor Ellis came to cheer me on, and even though we bundled him up in the stroller, the 25 mph winds that day left his little cheeks with windburn. Boob butter would have been a perfect fix! The ingredients soothe and heal skin great. I’ve even tried it as a tattoo moisturizer! Great for healing new tattoos or as everyday moisturizer to keep tattoos bright and vibrant.

I’ll be giving away Boob Butter to one lucky mama on my Instagram, so make sure to tag your breastfeeding friends or anyone you know who’s expecting! It’d also make a GREAT baby shower gift. Score 10% off your order with code LETDOWN! Giveaway ends Sunday, January 31st, and winners will be announced on Monday February 1. Good luck, mamas!

Teething Necklaces: Review and Giveaway

Teething necklaces rock. They’re cute and stylish for moms, and teething little ones love to chew on these silicone-beaded necklaces.

Teething necklace review sharonisamom.wordpress.com
Ellis found a teething necklace he approves of!

I got my necklaces from Zack’s Lucky Charms in right after Thanksgiving, and I’m already in love! I was excited to try it out, since Ellis already has his bottom two teeth, and the top ones are about to break through.

No matter what necklace I’m wearing, Ellis likes to grab it, put it in his mouth and gnaw away. Not always the best idea with most jewelry! That’s why I think this mama jewelry is such an awesome creation! It comes in plenty of cute designs, and the color combos are customizable too.

As soon as I put it on, Ellis gave it the ol’ taste test. He was going after it all day! He likes to chew on it when I’m holding him or wearing him in the ring sling, and he also likes to play with it while he nurses.

He loves it, and I do too. It’s officially mama and baby approved! I think it’s a must-have for anyone with a teething babe. Add it to your wish list for Christmas, or it’d make a great baby shower gift for a mama-to-be too.

Zack's Lucky Charms teething necklace giveaway sharonisamom.wordpress.com

After putting this one to the test, I am in love! I wanted to share these awesome teething necklaces with my readers, so I’ve partnered with Zack’s Lucky Charms to give away a necklace from their Mama & Mini collection to one lucky mom! Head over to my Instagram for your chance to win.

BONUS: Check out their shop here, and snag 15% OFF your order with code SHARONISAMOM. Enjoy!