Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our Nursing Journey and Bravado Nursing Bras

As I talked about in my post about Baby M's birth story we had a rocky beginning as far as nursing goes because she swallowed fluid when coming out from the c-section.  You can read our story here in case you missed it!

When we did get to nurse it seemed so easy but I did have a lactation nurse right there to make sure her latch was good.  I learned from the first time two years ago how important the latch was.  The first week of Toddler A's life I had to pump and use shields because of how broken and bleeding my nips were!

A few things that I feel helped this time were I drank Organic Milk Maid Tea from Earth Mama Baby Angel each day in the hospital I drank only two bags and my milk came in the second day!  I also was sure to get hot oatmeal with a banana each morning in the hospital. As well as, my sister had given me some nursing cream to apply that was lanolin free and I feel that it worked great for me so I passed it on to another friend who was getting ready to give birth!

Once Baby M was in my room and we were able to nurse freely I did have another lactation nurse check our latch again before leaving the hospital (last time I had to return after discharge for help).  She was latching great and we are going strong!  She has gained weight pretty fast she is a little chunk now and our newborn diapers only lasted a month.  So I would say mama's milk came in just fine!

Bravado sent me two bras and a nursing tank to try out and I wanted to share my experience with you and I have given my honest opinion.

The first one was THE BODY SILK SEAMLESS NURSING BRA in the color Jungle Berry.  While this selection was a few months ago (before I was lactating) so they have new vibrant colors now!

What I like about this style:

-Easy to snap down and back with one hand.  Great when you are holding your little one in the other :)!

-Love the color

-Comfortable to wear all day and all night (I sleep in a nursing bra and pads to prevent leaking)

-The bra has removable foam pads to prevent from seeing the cloth pads I wear!

-A proprietary Bra Conversion Kit (BCK) is included so you can convert your nursing bra to a regular bra when you are finished nursing to get the most for your money!

Things I found out after having Baby M:

-My boobs grew (A LOT)

-The bra made my boobs squish together like a uni-boob...for bigger chested women such as myself I would probably need a bigger size.  I had an XL and this is the biggest option.

Other than that I love the bra the feel and ease of using it!

The other style I received was The Confetti Nursing Bra.

What I like about this style:

-Easy to snap down and back up with one hand.

-Cute style with a little ribbon in the center with lace v-neck

-Wire free so easy to wear all day and night

What I did not care so much for was once again, my boobs grew much larger after my milk coming in.  With this style being an XL I also had a uni-boob.  So for me this works best at night because if I am up all day cleaning etc. I can't stand them feeling like that!

Lastly, I received The Essential Nursing Tank

What I like about the tank is that you can just slip it on under other shirts and while in public you can simply lift up one shirt and no one see's your stomach!

The clip is different on this one so it is a circle and fits under the hole.  It took me a few times to remember how to snap back especially when trying to get everything back in!

I find that this was comfortable while I was pregnant and after while nursing.  It it long enough to feel more covered especially the first few weeks after giving birth.

The only drawback for me is that I have rather large hips so it does tend to sneak up.  I am not sure how this would be fixed since it is a stretchy material but overall I do love the features of it!

You can see my review of The Bravado Essentials Embrace Nursing Bra here.

I love that Medela and Bravado have teamed up because I do have two Medela bra's from my first born that I really like to wear still.  I also like that there is a video teaching you how to correctly measure to find the size you need, because that is so important!

Connect with Bravado on their website, Facebook and Twitter!

Thank you for reading and I would love hearing from you!  How long did you breastfeed or plan to?  I did 15 months with my toddler and plan to do around the same or as long as Baby M would like to!  Also, what do you look for in a good nursing bra?

*All pictures are from Bravado's website...I did not feel you would want to see my bosoms :) I also didn't want to show them!

All opinions are truly my own!

Monday, September 15, 2014

ZAO Organic Makeup Review

Have you heard of ZAO Organic makeup?  Let me introduce you!

ZAO Organic Makeup is an eco-luxury makeup brand made in Italy from 100% natural ingredients.  Their products are "organic, chemical-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan and internationally certified by the most prestigious worldwide agencies."  This is beauty brand with a conscience whose products are sustainably crafted.  90% of their products are available in reusable bamboo packaging, which is both economical and chic.  This allows you to purchase a refill with a discount of 25-45% off!  Who doesn't love a good deal?!

ZAO sent me three of their products to review: green concealer, matifying cooked powder luminous complexion, and silk foundation.  

The green concealer is formulated to cover redness.   I tend to have redness on my nose and cheeks and this definitely helped to cancel it out.  The texture is smooth and I love that it comes in a lipstick tube for easy application.  I simply dot or draw a line where I had redness and blend it in with my finger.  I haven't used a colored concealer before this, but I loved the results.

The silk foundation comes in 6 shades and I was sent Ivory 701 to try.  This is quite possibly the best natural foundation I have tried so far.  I love the creamy consistency and I would say it provides a medium coverage.  It felt as though I was not wearing makeup, yet my skin tone looked even.  This foundation also lasts all day, and it doesn't become cake-y or greasy.  I think it performs well, especially for being a natural product.

The matifying cooked powder luminous complexion (346) is another great product.  I enjoyed using it alone and over the foundation for more coverage.  This is perfect for those days when you're in a hurry and need a little something to even out and brighten up your skin.  It provided a nice matte finish, a good amount of coverage, and leaves the skin glowing.  It felt weightless and allowed my skin to breathe. For very fair skin, it can be used on the cheek bones instead of all over the face.

Swatches from top to bottom: Matifying cooked powder, Green concealer, Silk foundation.
Here, the green concealer is dotted on the right side of my face and blended in on my left side. This is real life, folks.  No filter so you can see actual results :)  I should have applied a little under my eyes, but you get the idea.

This is with the concealer blended in and the foundation applied.

The result of using all three products combined!  I finished it off with a little mascara and clear gloss (a different brand).

Overall, I am impressed with everything I tried from ZAO!  The products are high quality, easy to use and perform really well.  They also offer more face products and a wide variety of products for eyes and lips!  Be sure to connect with them on facebook and twitter!  

ZAO has generously offered a discount code for you to try their products!  Enter ZAO914 at checkout to receive 15% off!

I was sent these products in exchange for my personal opinion.  All thoughts are my own!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Leahlani Skincare Review

Leah, the creator of Leahlani Skincare sent me some products to review.

First and foremost, ALL of these products are simply beautiful- inside and out!  If you can't make it to the spa for lack of time or money then why not treat yourself to an at-home spa experience?  That's where Leahlani Skincare comes in.  All of their products are lightly scented and with one whiff, you will think you are in Hawaii...or at least you can dream!  They were created to make you "truly fall in love with your skincare ritual, that you start and end your day with a little aloha and the best of intentions."  On each product ingredient label the last ingredient is LOVE, and it is very apparent!

Honey Microdermabrasion Cleanser
This 3-in-1 product is intended for use as a cleanser, exfoliator, or facial mask.  It smells of sweet honey and a blend of essential oils.  There are superfine crystals (Corundum microdermabrasion crystals to be exact!) in the cleanser.

Exfoliation is an important step in your skincare routine.  It is essential to slough away the dead skin cells so serums and moisturizers can be effective.  What I like about this cleanser is the crystals sink to the bottom of the jar.  You can choose to scoop a little cleanser from the top to wash your face or stir the jar to activate the crystals and get more exfoliation.  I prefer to stir it before every use :)   After using this my skin was more soft and my pore size noticeably smaller.

More importantly, if you are using an exfoliator containing microbeads, please know that those little beads are made of plastic.  They do not disintegrate and are polluting the oceans.  Read about it here.
The Honey Microdermabrasion cleanser is a great alternative.  It is made from safe ingredients and will not harm you or the earth :)

Mermaid Mask
This mask is packed with so much goodness: Hawaiian raw honey, Hawaiian spirulina, chlorella, sea buckthorn, luminess algae and 15 botanicals.  It was formulated to help with premature aging, redness, uneven skin tone and dry skin.  I think that covers all of us, right?!  The algae also increases cellular turnover.

When I applied the mask, I was a little shocked at how sticky it was (this is mentioned in the product description).  Aside from that, this mask smells incredible!  The top note (at least for me) is orange and it is quite refreshing.  Using the Mermaid Mask after the 3-in-1 cleanser definitely worked wonders for my skin.  I loved seeing the specs of green all over my face and feeling it work its magic.

Aloe Day Dream (Day Cream)
This cream has an aloe base with nourishing oils, Shea butter and a blend of essential oils (French lavender, Blue Tansy, Geranium and Chamomile).  It also has a natural mild spf and it's great under makeup.  It nourishes and balances the skin leaving it perfectly hydrated.

Its consistency is creamy and light, but thinner than the night cream.

Pikake Dream Cream (Night Cream)
With ingredients like aloe, rosehip oil, Shea butter, and green tea (to name a few) this cream is meant to fight free radicals, help reduce inflammation, and tighten the skin.  It's lightly scented with Egyptian jasmine oil.

I think I have a bad perception of night creams.  When I see a cream labeled as a night cream, I expect an extra thick formula, however, the Pikake Dream Cream changing my opinion.  I love the consistency; It's creamy, yet light and airy.  When I wake up in the morning, my skin is supple and plump.  So lovely!

Champagne Serum
It's called a "happy hour for your skin" for a reason.  It is packed with antioxidants and other healing ingredients to help soothe inflammation, repair sun damage and more!

I really liked this serum being that it is very easily absorbed into the skin and doesn't leave a greasy film.  The color is a glowing light green with tiny effervescent bubbles throughout.  If you have never used a face oil this is a good one to start with!

Coco Infusion- PuaKini Tuberose (Not pictured since the vial is clear)
Pure coconut oil enriched with organic flower and plant oils.  It can be used as a moisturizer, massage or tanning oil.

I usually stay away from body oils because the ones I have tried leave my skin feeling greasy.  This one is perfect; It sinks in quickly leaving your skin dewy and glowing.  The scent is heavenly and actually lasts quite a while.  I applied the oil after showering at night and I could still smell it on my skin the next morning!

I enjoyed testing these Leahlani Skincare products and highly recommend them to anyone looking for healing, natural skincare.  Next on my list to try is the Leahlani body butters and perfumes!

I have given you a snippet into each of these products, but please head over to Leahlani Skincare's Etsy shop to read full details on the products you are interested in.

Leah has generously offered our readers a discount code!  Enter MOMMYMIRANDA for 10% off a minimum purchase of $30.00.

Connect with Leahlani Skincare on Facebook and Instagram!

I was sent these products in exchange for my opinion.  All thoughts are my own!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Diaper Dawgs Spray Collar Review and Giveaway

I was given an item in exchange for my personal opinion.

When I first began my cloth diaper journey two and a half years ago people would always ask me about the poop part of using them.  I would simply reply the best I knew how and just say its not really that gross it is your child after all.  Normally they would turn their nose up!

It wasn't until my daughter started to eat mostly solids that I was a little (and sometimes a lot) grossed out by the poop!  I did not have a diaper sprayer until recently when I scored one on a local yard sale site.  Up until that point I was either plopping or swishing in the toilet which lets be honest can be quite gross.

Fast forward a little bit and Diaper Dawgs started appearing in the cloth diaper world with their original Diaper Dawgs to keep your fingers from having to touch diapers at all!  You can learn more about the company and the mom who created the company on their website.  While I do not have those they did send me one of their new The Spray Collar in Mutt to try out!

The Spray Collar is a food grade silicone piece that fits around most brands of diaper sprayers to assist you in spraying off your dirty diapers!  Why would you need or want this piece?  If you are like me my sprayer has a lot of water pressure so you had to be careful where and how you pointed it.   There are also many other reasons here.

For instance before using The Spray Collar I had gotten poop on the floor and splashed myself numerous times.  I am spraying mostly my toddlers poo (TMI) and it can be quite nasty which is why I jumped at the chance to try the Collar out!

My Review:

My Spray Collar came with brochures on how to install correctly, and other helpful information which you can find here.  The collar mounts on the head of your sprayer so you may have to purchase separately a handle style mount for a minimal amount OR you can simply hang your sprayer backwards on some models and not even need an extra mount!

Easy to set up-While I did get my husband to help me just to be sure I didn't mess it up bad it was quite simple and I am sure I could have done it by myself.

Easy to use-If you looked at the set up brochure you will find they suggest two different methods to using The Spray Collar.  A “Newbie” Press & Pulse Method and a “Master” Hover Method.  I found the Hover Method to work best for us (not that I was a Master :)  I should have practiced however before with a clean diaper as I did make a mess trying to figure out my best method!

You can see The Spray Collar in action in this video by Diaper Dawgs.

I honestly didn't realize what all is lurking in our toilet until reading on the brochure and I will happily spray my diapers now with The Spray Collar to be sure I don't have to touch that too often!

"Mutt" is fairly easy to clean the directions are to wash with an Antibacterial soap and between washes simply wipe with a disinfecting wipe or spray.  (I make my own using essential oils)

Finally, it is simply a pretty addition to my bathroom with its Pink, Purple, Blue and Green tones!

The Spray Collar is available for purchase on their website for 14.95 and the fixture should you need to fit your sprayer is 4.95.

Overall, if you are going to be spraying poopy diapers "Mutt" will be a great addition to your bathroom!

You can connect with Diaper Dawgs on their website, Facebook and Twitter!

Diaper Dawgs has offered one reader the chance to win a "Mutt"!

This giveaway is open to the US only and readers 18 or older.  To enter simply fill out the form in giveaway tools.  The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn.

Again, I received a product in exchange for my own personal opinion.  Mommy Miranda is not responsible for prize fulfillment.