Best Dressed Riding Hood

I am so excited to share our Halloween costumes with all of you!

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I’m pretty certain this will be the last year that I get to choose their costumes, so I wanted some photos to document the cuteness! We met Mac from Buchanan House Photography at a local park and I can’t say enough good words about her and her work! It was a hot day and the babes were less than thrilled to be in their costumes in the woods, but Mac was so patient and even convinced them to play a game to she could get the right shot!

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Buchanan House Photography offers many different portrait options and we went with a mini-session that lasts typically lasts 30 minutes. It was the perfect time frame to get some great images of the babes!

When deciding what they should be I wanted them to be something that coordinated, but didn’t seem too juvenile for Ari. Hey, he needs to keep his street cred while matching his little sister! I also wanted something that my hubs and I could easily match too! When we go out as a family my hubs will be a huntsman and I will be the Granny ;).  Growing up my brother and I usually had homemade costumes made by my Grandma or passed down from older cousins. I really wanted to find costumes that were homemade and not found in a store! I stumbled upon two etsy shops; See Sal Sew & One Two Three Shop that made us the most beautiful costumes I could have ever imagined!  If something is handmade it is always a little more special to me as it reminds me of my Grandma who used to sew just about everything for me!

Giada’s dress & cape were from One Two Three Shop. Her dress is made with an elastic waist and NO zipper. I don’t know about your kids, but mine don’t love zippers touching them like a lot of other costumes. The dress is full enough to add a tutu skirt underneath for extra flair and the cape comes all the way to the ground.  It will help keep little miss warm in the event we have chilly Michigan Halloween (which is 99% likely) and there is plenty of room to layer underneath! They have lots of other costumes and handmade dresses and One Two Three Shop is offering 15% off any purchase now until October 15 with code redriding15.

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Most of the wolf costumes I found online seemed very young/cartoony looking. I wanted his costume to look realistic and not like he was in a “baby” costume. When I saw this one I just about died. It was exactly what I was looking for! Ari’s costume came with a handmade hat (that is so intricate and realistic looking), gloves with fur, and a tail. Depending on the weather he will be wearing a black jogging suit that he already owns!  See Sal Sew is a mom run shop in MD. She makes a variety of other costumes too and will take custom orders via private message on etsy! Let her know I sent you!

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These images are so near and dear to me. When I think about how few Halloweens I will get with them being little I get a little teary eyed. They just seem to grow up so fast.  Because Mac is pretty sweet, Buchanan House Photography is offering a FREE Halloween mini session for one follower too! Head over to facebook to enter! Details announced 9/17 at 9pm.

*30 minute shoot in Rochester or Shelby Twp with 3 5×7’s included.

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Road Tripping 101…with Kids!

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Hubs and I just returned from a week long road trip with the babes! We went from Michigan to Virginia (and back) with a couple of stops along the way! This was our first adventure like this and I do have to say it went pretty smoothly! The babes LOVED staying in a hotel and the car rides were pretty painless. Here are some of the things that helped us remain stress free!

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-Split the trip up!! Our entire trip was about 8 and a half hours one way without stopping and we decided that we shouldn’t try and make it in one day. Both ways we stopped at the halfway mark and stayed over night.

-Try to drive during a normal “rest time”. The very first day we got on the road it was 4pm and the babes were no where near tired. This was probably the most restless part of the journey.  The days that we left right before naptime (noon) the babes were naturally ready to rest and it made for a pretty quiet ride.

-Portable DVD player is a MUST! We borrowed one from a friend that had dual screens. It was nice to start each leg of our trip with a movie. I also borrowed movies that the babes hadn’t seen before. It kept their attention!

-Make up little travel bags with coloring books, crayons, and stickers. I got all these items at the dollar tree and didn’t show them to the kids until we got to the hotel! They loved it!

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  -Utilize the hotel cribs! Giada still sleeps in a crib and it was super hard to contain her to a bed at night. The second day of our trip I called down and we got a rolling crib! It was the perfect solution to keep her contained!

-Pack easy to travel/eat in the car snacks. I brought applesauce pouches, mini cups of pringles, apples, and other individual snacks they didn’t need to be refrigerated. I also brought a loaf of bread along with peanut butter & jelly for easy lunchtime sandwiches!

-ALWAYS get a room with a mini fridge! Each hotel we stayed in offered free breakfast. Every morning we would take an extra milk from breakfast to have for later in the day!

-Use fast food drink holders as individual plates for the car! This was an easy way to portion meals on the go for them..and allow them to still have their dips!

-Let the kids run off some steam at rest stops!! Or better yet, find a waterpark! We stayed at one on our last night and it was so refreshing to have a place to go play instead of camping out in our hotel room!

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-If you can’t find a waterpark at least find a hotel with an indoor pool!

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-Bring an ipad or tablet that can connect to the hotel’s wifi. Hotel TV’s are always hit or miss as far as catching a cartoon. This way the adults can watch the TV and the babes can relax with their favorite shows at night!

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-Have a diaper bag close to the front of the car with all incidentals you might need along the way. Our bag included band aids, ibuprofen, Tylenol, wipes, a change of clothes for each kid, sun block, bug spray, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. I wanted something easy to grab without having to sift through luggage.

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-Make a schedule, but allow for some flexibility. Sitting in a car for a long period of time isn’t easy on anyone! Sometimes you just need to go with the flow on vacation!

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They See Me Rolling { Double Stroller Tips }

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I’m in a few “mom” support groups on Facebook and I cannot tell you how often we talk about double strollers. Do I need one? Should I get a tandem? What about side by side? Does it have to be compatible with my infant seat?

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My babes are 22 months apart and for us a double stroller was 100% needed. There wasn’t any way shape or form I was going to let my 22 month old walk for any extended period of time.

After researching and hunting for nine months we decided on the Britax B-Agile double stroller. The side by side style seemed most suitable for us and it folded up so small!

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I opted to not use a car seat convertor for my double stroller and here is my reasoning…

First, the convertor was an additional $70+. I thought that was outrageous! Second I tested out the convertor bar in the store and just didn’t feel like it was a good fit. It made the stroller seem a lot bulkier and I didn’t want to have to take the bar in and out each time I used my stroller. Instead I got this newborn insert and put Giada in the stroller completely flat.

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A few tips for you to decide.

1. Acutally test out the stollers! I went to Buy Buy Baby several times before I made my final decision and walked around the store with each model I was considering. I found that the tandem strollers were a lot harder to maneuver vs the side by side strollers.

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2. Check out the storage situation. The Britax B-Agile double had easy access to the basket from the front!! So when my diaper bag was hanging I could easily get underneath!

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3. Consider if the canopy’s are individual or one large shade. You might want your infant covered, but your toddler will have other plans.

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4. Practice folding the stroller closed and fitting it in your vehicle. Buy Buy Baby is great about that and will let you! Some strollers are very large when folded and don’t fit easily in trunks.

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5. Consider buying second hand! We’ve used ours for 2 summers and are just about done with it. It’s in mint condition so I’m sure other’s will be as well!

Happy Stroller Shopping!

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Everytime I come around your city, Bling Bling

 So…. it all started when Giada was around 6 months old….

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 I would dress her up and put her in one of my necklaces…It made picture taking easy because instead of trying to escape, she was infatuated with the necklace around her neck.IMG_20140324_111712

Fast forward to now. Giada is almost 2, although sometimes it seems like she’s almost 22, and I still give her necklaces to wear when I want her to smile for a picture.  The only difference now? She won’t take them off.

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I came to the realization that Giada needed her own collection of jewelry.  If you know me by now you will know I don’t do anything in moderation. She couldn’t have just one necklace to wear with her entire wardrobe?!?!?

….and so I was on the hunt for someone to make us a collection FAST!

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Insert AK’s Hidden Gems, a local Shelby Township mom that makes the cutest jewelry for moms and babes! I messaged her pics of Giada’s clothes and she quickly made us a plethora of necklaces and bracelets to coordinate.

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The sets are made for children and are sized appropriately.  Like any potentially hazardous item, though, I never leave Giada wearing her jewelry unattended.

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Does your little diva need some accessories? You are in LUCK! She is offering 10% off to all my followers. Just enter BESTDRESSEDBABES2015 at checkout on Etsy.

Go like AK’s Hidden Gems on Facebook for discounts and a giveaway coming so SOON!

Kids Being Kids… and capturing it!

Fall is upon us and here in Michigan it has shown up fast and furious!  While I am BEYOND excited to be sipping on pumpkin spice lattes while wearing my boots & scarves, I can’t believe how fast another season has come and gone.  When you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life you don’t realize the changes.  In fact my babes have changed SO much just from the beginning of the Summer to the beginning of Fall.  I mean when summer first started Giada wasn’t even walking yet and now she’s RUNNING!

Pic12As Summer was winding down I knew we needed to get some pictures of these two before yet another season went by.

Pic11I met Adriane from Adriane Baden Photography earlier in the year and I knew she would be perfect to capture these two!

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I threw together some “Fall inspired” get ups and we met Adriane on a weeknight in downtown Rochester.

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Adriane has a little girl of her own so she was really able to relate to the kids and it made the session super laid back and fun!

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  In just about 30 minutes we were able to shoot some pics and be on our way to eating ice cream on a nearby patio! I just loved that I wasn’t trying super hard to get the right poses.  Adriane focused on the kids and just let them goof around!

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Anyone else have babes that seem to change as fast as the seasons?!  Have you documented their changes?

Well, Mom’s in Metro Detroit, you are in LUCK!

Adriane is offering a special to all my readers!! $75 for a quick, simple, and FUN session of your kids just being kids. It’s the perfect price point to capture your babes during this “season” of their childhood!  Meet her someplace local and let the kids run around. She will be sure to capture their personalities!

Pic16I mean, come on. I just about died when I saw the sweetness of this photo.

Thank you so much Adriane, I truly cherish these pics!

Email Adriane for details and be sure to tell her I sent you, you wont regret it!!!!

Macomb County Mini Session Photographer

Sweedie Kids : Making Bibs Trendy

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I was provided free product for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.  I promise to only promote products and companies that I LOVE!

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Let me start this post by saying this. I haven’t really had the best relationship with bibs during my 3 years as a mom.

Seriously. Bibs are just… ehhh…how do I say it?  Dorky.

I dress my kids in pretty cute stuff only to cover their clothes up with a character bib? No thank you.   Then there is another problem; most bibs are made of Velcro, so even when I do put one on my babes, they rip them off in 30 seconds flat.  I don’t know about you, buy I always find myself playing a game of bib on, bib off for the rest of the meal. Most bibs out on the market just don’t serve a purpose for me.  So for the past 3 years instead of using bibs, I usually just strip my babes down for meal time and take them straight to the bath after. This plan of attack works when we are at home, but makes it super tricky to dine out and a pretty big mess for me.

LUCKILY I recently found out about Sweedie Kids. They are a company that makes Bandana Bibs and was started by 2 moms who were born and raised in Sweden!  Hence the name Sweedie Kids.   I’ve seen this style of bibs before worn by toddlers and always thought they were just a fashion statement until I got my hands on some!  Yes, they are a fashion statement but also an AMAZING baby product that serves so many functions.

How often do you see that?!

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After trying these bibs out, its safe to say I’m a Bandana Bib Believer!  Finally I found TRENDY bibs that are also functional!!!

 Here are a few of the reasons why I LOVE Sweedie Kids.

1. Instead of using velcro they have snaps. Once I put these on my babes, they cannot take them off.

2.  The patterns!  All of their patterns are very modern and neutral.  They can be worn with almost any outfit without looking “dorky”

3.  They are very absorbent.  They added a sweatshirt material backing that helps absorb extra drool!  I’m sure some of you have little ones that seem to drool and drool all day long.  Well they can wear these without having to switch bibs every hour.

4.  These can be worn by older kids too!  My son is famous for wiping his ranch, ketchup, or any other dipping sauce he got his hands on, on his arm.  I  can’t tell you how much oxy clean I go through in a week!  While he’s too old to be seen in a Mickey Mouse bib, this modern Bandana Bib from Sweedie Kids made him look like a cool cat.  Before we ate I told him “only use your Bandana Bib to wipe your mouth”, and it worked!  We left the restaurant with not a drop on his clothes!  Oh and he thought he was pretty cool wearing it too!

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5.  They are machine washable and don’t fade! I got these in just over a month ago and wanted to really test out the durability of them.  Like I said before I was a bib skeptic.  I used these bibs for a month straight, machine washed them after each use, and they still look as great as day one!

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Thank you for changing my mind Sweedie Kids! I am in LOVE! I bet you will be too!  Go shop their etsy shop!

Sweedie Kids has generously offered a 20% discount off to Best Dressed Babes Fans.  Just use code BESTDRESSED from now until 7/2