Monday, 9 December 2019

Banana Republic Luxe Holiday Gift Ideas


This post is sponsored by ShopStyle and Banana Republic. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and I'm getting right into the holiday spirit by planning my gift lists for all of the amazing people in my life. This year is a big one for me with the birth of Benny and I honestly could not have made it through the last few months as a new mom without the strong and inspiring women who all rallied around me to help out. Words could never describe how much I appreciate the support, so instead I really want to spoil them this holiday season with luxurious gifts that I know that they'll love. My ideal gift is something beautiful that I know the recipient will love, but would not necessarily buy for themselves.

Enter Banana Republic. I've been shopping at Banana Republic for luxurious gifts for my nearest and dearest for years. It's a place that I can depend on to find elevated pieces that can not only be enjoyed during the holiday season, but are always just great pieces to incorporate something special in your wardrobe on the weekly.

My first recommendation when choosing a luxurious gift is to consider a new coat. Now hear me out: if you live in a colder climate, sometimes it feels like putting effort into an outfit is all for nothing because it ultimately gets covered by a coat. BUT if the coat itself is something special and feels like a statement piece in itself, then the colder months don't feel like such a sacrifice to personal style! I'm loving the teddy coat trend again this season, and definitely have my eye on the Sherpa Cocoon Coat and Sherpa Car Coat from Banana Republic. For more of a bold statement, you may want to consider the Faux Fur Long Coat for a seventies vibe, or even a a Leopard Top Coat - because at this point, leopard print truly is a neutral. If the individual on your gift list veers more towards the practical side, then the Twill Utility Jacket may be more appropriate; this is a jacket that can be worn for most of the year and adds instant-style to any outfit.

Knitwear is a more traditional gift, but can be just as luxurious and special when gifting different cuts and styles. Take the Puff Sleeve Sweater; just as practical as a traditional sweater, but the puff sleeves make the design more current and fun! Such a treat to gift to someone that you love. For a real show-stopper of a gift, I have my eye on the Turtleneck Sweater Dress. Just as cozy as any sweater, but with a glamorous twist.

Something else to consider when choosing a luxurious gift is a piece of clothing in an unexpected pattern or with a fun detail that the recipient wouldn't necessarily splurge on for themselves. My absolute favourite is leopard print. Not only is it so on-trend for this season, it's a pattern that is truly flattering on everyone and can easily fit into most wardrobes. My picks that instantly stood out to me from Banana Republic are the Leopard Print Maxi Skirt (I have this same one and it's truly one of the most versatile pieces in my closet)  and the Leopard Print Peasant Midi Dress. For a touch of sparkle, and because you can never go wrong with a fun handbag, I love the Rose Gold Glitter Clutch.

I'm so excited to share my luxurious gifts from Banana Republic with my loved ones this season, with maybe a few gifts for myself as well haha.

What do you guys think? Do you like to treat your loved ones to luxe gifts for the holidays? Which is your favourite piece from Banana Republic? Let me know!

xo Joëlle
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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

5 Reasons To Invest In An UPPAbaby VISTA


From the minute we announced our pregnancy, it seemed as though our lives were consumed with collecting our baby gear. With so many products on the market, and with us being new parents, the process seemed to be completely overwhelming. One of the biggest items to consider with baby gear was and is your new baby's stroller. Brian and I knew that we wanted to make sure that we made the absolute best choice for our family; after all, we're city dwellers that live in a small space and travel on-foot for the majority of the time. Choosing our baby's stroller was a crucial decision.

Let me just cut the suspense and let you know that after lots (and lots) of thought and research, we ultimately landed on the UPPAbaby VISTA and we could not be happier with our decision. You guys - this stroller is absolutely fantastic. The VISTA is everything we were hoping for in a stroller and more, providing us with all of the features that we were looking for, and many that we didn't even realize we needed. The stroller has truly been a game-changer for our family, and while it does come with an investment price tag, I would choose it over again in a heart beat. Here are five reasons why you should consider investing in the UPPAbaby VISTA for your growing family.


1. It Handles Busy City Streets Like A Champ


Brian and I are very passionate about staying in the city with Benny, so we knew that we needed a stroller that was easily able to maneuver the busy city streets of Toronto. The UPPAbaby VISTA has exceeded our expectations. Not only do the wheels offer a smooth ride for baby, making sure Benny doesn't wake up during his stroller naps, the back wheels are large enough that we're able to handle any sort of terrain. Those of us in the city know how much construction affects our lives, so I'm grateful to be able to smoothy sail through any detour construction has to offer. Not only that, but we're still going to be traveling on-foot through the winter months - the wheels on the UPPAbaby VISTA will be key in traveling on a poorly-plowed sidewalk.

Ride aside, what truly sets the UPPAbaby VISTA apart from the rest when navigating through a city is how light and agile it is. My worst nightmare was being stuck when all of a sudden a route became inaccessible for wheels, especially since I would be walking by myself during the day. I've easily been able to lift, tilt and squeeze through narrow lanes with my UPPAbaby VISTA making it key to keeping my independence when alone with Benny.

And don't get me started in the basket - my word, the roomy basket under the UPPAbaby VISTA has been a total game-changer. I fit everything down there, and I mean everything - this is where our chihuahua Fritz will hitch a ride! On any given day, our basket will hold a full grocery shop, my large diaper bag, a spoiled dog and even my giant blogging camera. It's truly been a dream, and instrumental in making sure that I can get all of my errands done with a baby in-tow.



2. The Bassinet Is Dual Purpose


One of our fears when starting to choose and collect baby gear was that our tiny condo would become cluttered with all things baby. For this reason, choosing items that were multi-purpose was key. Thankfully our UPPAbaby VISTA has proven to be the ultimate in multi-purpose item - we actually use the stroller's Bassinet as Benny's bedtime bassinet in our bedroom! With the addition of a bassinet stand, we were able to easily convert the Bassinet from stroller to bedtime. The Bassinet itself is gorgeous, and with it's vented base and mattress for breathability and the fact that you can remove everything to wash in the machine, it's an easy choice for both stroller naps on-the-go and overnight sleep.

I just love the Bassinet on our UPPAbaby VISTA, and am already sad for the day when Benny outgrows it (once he reaches 20 pounds or can push up on his hands and feet.) It's been an amazing addition to our condo for its style and dual purpose.




3. It's Great For Small Vehicles


Are you sensing a theme here? Not only do Brian and I live in a small city space, but we also drive a small city vehicle - no mini vans or roomy SUVs here! For this reason, it was really important to me that our stroller be able to fold up compact to be able to fit into our small trunk. Not a problem for our UPPAbaby VISTA, which fits into our small car's trunk no problem. What's more is that because the frame is so compact and light, all 5'2 of me has no problems getting it in-and-out of the car on my own.

Another cool feature is how easily all of the UPPAbaby products work together. For example, we also use the UPPAbaby MESA infant car seat in our vehicle and it clips into the frame of our VISTA easily - without having to use a car seat adapter. I feel like a have a whole new stroller when I use this set up with the MESA car seat, a compact travel system that makes traveling with Benny so much easier. Truth be told, taking Benny in the car with me was one of by biggest anxieties and I credit how easy the UPPAbaby VISTA frame and MESA car seat are to being able to concur that fear.



4. It Grows With Your Family

On of the biggest reasons that Brian and I decided to go with the UPPAbaby VISTA was for how easily the stroller would grow with Benny. Currently we're using either the Bassinet or the UPPAbaby MESA infant car seat, but once Benny starts to grow over twenty pounds, we'll switch seamlessly to the Toddler Seat which can be positioned both front and rear facing as well as reclined. The fact that we know the UPPAbaby VISTA will be able to last our family through the entire stroller stage is amazing and is totally in-line with our 'buy once, use forever' philosophy.

Another reason we ultimately landed on the UPPAbaby VISTA was for the fact that, should we decide to have another child, the stroller converts easily into a double - even three, if you attach a piggyback ride along board!


5. It's Gorgeous While Still Being Practical


Look, I'll be honest - aesthetics are important to me. If I like the way something looks, it makes me very excited to use it. The same applies to the UPPAbaby VISTA. I mean, look at it - it's gorgeous! I myself chose the BRYCE, a beautiful whitish-grey colour, but had a hard time landing on a colour because I loved so many of the choices. There's also so many different accessories to customize your VISTA, from cup holders, handlebar organizers, snack trays and so much more!

Aesthetics aside, we're dealing with a stroller for babies and kids here - and babies and kids are messy. Because we use our VISTA multiple times a day, and Benny sleeps overnight in the Bassinet, things get messy. Poo explosions, pee explosions.. all of the explosions, we've dealt with and appreciate how everything with the UPPAbaby VISTA can be taken apart and washed. Make sure to read the directions on the label.

If you're like us and find that you're agonizing over making the right choice for your baby's stroller, I cannot recommend the UPPAbaby VISTA enough. I'm so glad that we made the choice and I'm excited to see where our Vista takes us.

What do you guys think? How important was your stroller when becoming a new parent? Have you ever tried the UPPAbaby VISTA? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Thank you so much UPPAbaby for partnering with me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
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Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Bathtime with JOHNSON’S® CottonTouch™


Thank you JOHNSON’S® for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

Since finding out that I was pregnant, one of the things that I was most looking forward to about motherhood and spending time with our new baby is bath time. Growing up, I loved bath time.My parents always made it so fun for my brothers and I, and I truly believe that this is what cultivated our love for being in the water. Even now as adults, you can usually find my entire family swimming or floating in the lake at our cottage. Knowing this, I really wanted to make bath time special for Benny from the very beginning; so much so, that I packed my favourite bath time products, JOHNSON’S® CottonTouch™,in my hospital bag with me so we could start on the right foot.

From the very beginning, I knew that we would be using JOHNSON’S® products on our baby's delicate newborn skin. My parents had used JOHNSON’S® products on me, so aside from trusting the brand, it's also fun to see them get nostalgic themselves when we pull out the products. In fact, JOHNSON’S® has been trusted worldwide for over 125 years! Aside from having my parent's seal of approval, I like that all JOHNSON’S® products are designed to be close to baby’s natural skin pH and hair pH, so they help to avoid disrupting the skin barrier. JOHNSON’S® products use 50% fewer ingredients and are free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates or dyes and are made with 96% naturally-derived ingredients.



For bath time, Brian and I are using the CottonTouch ™ Newborn Wash & Shampoo. I love how easy the product is to use, especially since time is of the essence when bathing a newborn. An easy lather, and washes off quickly and easily with no residue. What gets me most about the product is the smell; it seriously smells so good and I can't help but sniff little Benny's hair all day after a bath. Call me a nut, but it makes me relieved to know that I'll always have the scent of the CottonTouch™ Newborn Wash & Shampoo to bring me back to these precious newborn days.




CottonTouch™ Newborn Face & Body Lotion is what we follow up with after the bath to keep Benny nice and moisturized for up to 24 hours. This is such a beautiful part of bath time, as I love bonding with Benny with a gentle newborn massage, and seeing him look up to me in his tiny newborn towel after the bath. He's so calm during this process and it's honestly such a touching moment that I'll remember forever.




I'll admit, the first bath experience with baby Benny was not the picture-perfect moment that I had imagined. Since then, Brian and I have mastered our technique and
bath time has become one of my favourite parts of the day. I'm so happy that we chose JOHNSON’S® CottonTouch™ bath products to help us out with bonding with Benny and keeping him fresh.

What do you guys think? Was bath time a great memory for you too? Have you tried JOHNSON’S® products? Let me know!

xo Joëlle
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Monday, 30 September 2019

I'll Always Remember Us This Way


It's been nearly two months since we welcomed our little potato Benny into our lives. So strange - on one hand, it feels like he's been here forever and on the other hand I can't believe how quickly two months has flown by.

We've made it out of the newborn fog, survived the cluster feedings and are now in something that vaguely resembles a routine. Of course, there are challenges on the other side of that initial newborn stage. Brian returned back to work only to enter one of his busiest times; this means working overtime, weekends and work-related travel. Myself, as a self-employed freelancer with no maternity leave, I've been trying to juggle being there for Benny while maintaining my business and accepting and fulfilling contracts - something that's really important to me. It's been difficult trying to manage a balance, but we're getting through; largely with the support of our family, which has been key.

Even with all of the challenges that come along with bringing a baby into a very busy life, I can't express how much I've been enjoying this time. Having and raising Benny has taught me so much already - and it's only been two months! I want to sit down and update you with a proper post of how having a child has changed me, but that will come later in the week. For now, I just wanted to share these precious moments captured on-camera by Laura Clarke.

Through all of the chaos, and how quickly life moves, I always want to remember us this way.








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Thursday, 29 August 2019

4 Weeks Postpartum - Checking In


Yesterday officially marked four full weeks of welcoming baby Benny into our lives. Four of the shortest weeks, and also the longest at the same time. It's so strange to think back to a time when he wasn't in our lives, or being pregnant - any of that! It sounds cliché, but life before Benny was beautiful in its own way, but since he's arrived its become more of a distant memory and our new reality with a new member of the family has me feeling excited for the future.

I really want to make sure not to forget and neglect my blog along the way. Having a new baby has a way of changing everything, but I still feel like the same 'me' as before and I want to honour what is important to myself and my identity. This blog has been such a blessing in my life, and I look forward to seeing how my content evolves as I grow into different life stages.

That being said, as important as La Petite Noob has been to me, finding time to sit down and update the blog has proven to be very difficult. It's not that I don't have the time - Benny is such an incredible baby with a chill little attitude so I do have some time to myself throughout the day. It's my concentration that's the problem. Writing, which once came so easily to me, is now such a struggle. On the flip side, editing video is proving to be easier than ever. So funny how everything shifts with a new baby, even your working habits!

On the topic of shifts and changes, I thought that I would sit down and force myself to get back into writing - starting with a general life check-in and update since having Benny four weeks ago.


How I'm Feeling Physically


I'm happy to report that 4 weeks postpartum after my c-section, I'm feeling pretty great! My incision is healing nicely, I no longer wince when I have to get out of bed and the majority of my swelling has gone down. The first few days though? Brutal! Thankfully I seemed to turn a corner at day 5 and it's been slowly getting better ever since.

The one thing that's still a little strange to get used to is how soft my stomach is now - like there's literally no muscle, and it still feels kind of empty (I've read that this is a common feeling after a C section.) I'm honestly really looking forward to being able to work out again in a few more weeks so that I can build my strength back up.

How I'm Feeling Mentally


I'm so, so happy to report that my moods and headspace have seemed to normalize after dealing with some pretty heavy prenatal anxiety. I was so afraid for postpartum depression, but I feel as though a load has been taken off my shoulders since having Benny. You guys, I was experiencing some dark feelings in pregnancy - it was pretty bad. I'm so relieved to be feeling more like myself, albeit with a lot less sleep now, haha.


How We're Adjusting To A New Baby

I have to say, I'm really proud of the way that Brian and I have adjusted to having a new baby in the house. We're both older, so I worried that we would be too set in our ways and that having a huge life change thrown at us would lead to some tension. Of course it hasn't been all easy, but for the majority of the time we've been working as a team and developing a new routine to include baby Benny. In hindsight, I'm glad that we waited until we both felt like we were ready to have kids because I don't think the transition would have gone as smoothly even 3 years ago. Coupled with lots of help from friends and family, and we've been great.

Struggles


Of course, it's not all baby cuddles over here. There are a few things that I've been struggling with. The one biggest thing that has been harder than I anticipated is breastfeeding.

Now, it wasn't without warning; plenty of people warned me that breastfeeding would be hard. I just interpreted it wrong - I thought they meant that it would hurt. Turns out, it's not the physical pain thats the hardest part. For me, the challenge with breastfeeding has been developing a routine that seems to change by the hour, all while worrying if your child is getting enough to eat. There were a few days there where it felt as though I was breastfeeding every few minutes of the entire day, and Benny never seemed to be satisfied. With the help of a breast pump, and also just time, it seems to have gotten better but there is still the occasional hard day where everything changes all over again.

Another struggle that I'm embarrassed to admit, but want to address, is my relationship with my body. I'm really having a hard time getting used to the extra weight, the soft stomach and the feeling of weak muscles. In hindsight, I should have known that this would happen. While pregnant, whenever I imagined myself with baby, I saw my old self with my old body right away. Totally unrealistic I know, and it's resulted in having a hard time celebrating my postpartum body. All of my old clothes don't fit, and I feel as though I have to change my entire wardrobe again to accommodate my new weight and for breastfeeding. I'm really hoping that being cleared to workout by my doctor at six weeks will make things better and will put me in a better headspace.


That's it for me! Let me know how the first few weeks of bringing baby home went for you! What were your struggles? Let me know!

xo Joëlle

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