Monday, July 21, 2014

Lily Jade "Baby Bags"

The two diaper bags that I had from when Pickle was little were pretty girly - lots of pink and flowers.  Even the "gender neutral" one I had from Petunia Picklebottom (that I didn't really like that much, review HERE), was pretty feminine.  I felt like I wanted to look around for an inexpensive, inventive solution that doesn't lock me into it being solely a traditional diaper bag.

That's when I found the "Baby Bag,"  part of the line of designer diaper bags by Lily Jade.  Put simply, this is an insert with all of the regular pockets, zippers, and cubbies of a traditional diaper bag, but you can put it inside of another bag you already have to transform it.  Here's what it looks like sitting on its own:

And looking from the top down:

This is the Medium Baby Bag Organizer in red, but they also have a large size - both the medium and large sizes are available in both red and khaki, and both run $55 regularly.  (Right now, however, they're running a sale for $10 off!  LINK - they're also featuring all of their gorgeous new bags that were released this month, which all still come with a free Baby Bag for a 2-for-1 value!)  

You can't really tell from these photos, but I have stuff inside all of the interior pockets, diapers in multiple outside pockets, and diaper balm in yet another pocket - and there's still a ton of room.  I don't have changes of clothes or the like yet, as I'm still only 34 weeks and still nesting - but you can see that I can fit a ton in there in addition to what I have already.  The medium bag is 15" x 8.5" x 5", but is made of flexible, washable material, so it expands really wide beyond the advertised five inches.  The tote has a zipper on top, as well, to that makes it additionally versatile.

Have a $7 tote that you want to turn into a diaper bag, or a $300 Coach tote purse that you would prefer to keep using rather than switching to something with a cartoon on the outside?  The Baby Bag works for either of those, and more!  I took a simple, inexpensive tote that I had from Amazon, and transformed it into a cute, gender-neutral bag that doesn't scream "I have dirty diapers in here!" just by popping in the Baby Bag Organizer:

As you can see, the Baby Bag just slips right inside, and is low enough that diapers and the like don't pop out of the top.  If I wanted to personalize this more for the young man we'll be having soon, I could easily get the bag embroidered with his initials or something similar.  Due to the wide base of the Baby Bag, I didn't have to worry about attaching it to the tote at all, it just sits right inside.

I tried this, as well, with a purse I had:

Again, just a standard-sized tote purse.  The base on this exact purse is a little narrower than the Lily Jade bag is at its full expansion, but it easily accommodated all of the items that I already had packed inside of the Baby Bag.  I took this with us out to dinner with our 4-year-old and packed it with some snacks, books, and so on, and it was such a better solution than just throwing everything in my purse.  I could still put my wallet and checkbook in the pockets of the purse, so I wasn't losing any functionality as an actual purse.  This was the perfect way to crossover a purse and a diaper bag without having to invest in a new bag that I may not like quite as much!

The other great thing about the Baby Bag is that you can just carry it around the house as a diaper caddy/organizer.  It has spots for a nursing cover and a changing pad, so you can easily fit in any supplies that you might need around your home.  It's not huge and cumbersome, so you could easily tuck it out of sight in a drawer when you're not using it.  With it being washable, it also makes it a great option to keep at a changing table without fear of it being ruined.

I'd recommend this organizer easily for any parent.  It's a convenient, inexpensive alternative to the traditional diaper bags on the market, yet is stylish and full of features.  When I'm done using this as an insert for a diaper bag, I plan on using it as a camera bag - the pockets are the right size for lens attachments and memory cards, and it keeps all of the items organized without them being a mess.  So, I'll be getting use out of this bag for years to come!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

I don't get exceptionally large when I get pregnant - rather than going out, I tend to carry really long in my torso.  That keeps me from getting all-over stretch marks, but I did get a couple near the end of my pregnancy with Pickle where her head was sitting (I was pretty lopsided and carried all to the left).

Those two stretch marks had gone away by the time I got pregnant this time, so I wanted to try and keep them away.  I invested about $11 in Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter (LINK). 

I started using this around 26 weeks or so, when I popped.  It's got a great smell (as Burt's Bees is so great at doing!), and isn't super-greasy.  It's mostly just like a thick hand lotion.

It worked great for the first three weeks or so, but I've still developed a couple of small stretch marks in the same area where I had them with Pickle, as well as new one.  I don't know that there was much the belly butter could have done to prevent the ones in the area that I had before, but the new ones are a little less encouraging.

All in all, this is one of the cheaper belly butters on the market, and it may be doing SOME good, but I don't know that I'd purchase it again.