Coffee with Liz

Happy Friday friends! Thanks for submitting so many amazing questions over the holidays! So sorry for the delay but I’m happy to inform you that Coffee with Liz will be continuing in 2018 so keep the questions coming. I hope you guys have a great weekend! xx

I am getting married this summer and our invitations are going out soon. How did you handle plus ones at your wedding? We are on the younger side and have a lot of unmarried friends. Anyone married, engaged, living together, and our very good friends are definitely able to bring their significant other, but we have a group of friends who are dating someone, but who knows how serious it is, and my fiancé and I don’t know them. I don’t want to offend anyone but where do you draw the line!? You and Dave got married around the same age as we are so I am wondering how you handled that.

Oh I remember this being so tough! Unless they were our close friends who had been dating their significant other for numerous years and that we knew well, we cut it off at engagement. Honestly, there will always be someone you invite who asked for a plus on anyways. I think you just have to hold strong and say that your venue only allowed for a specific number and you had to draw the line somewhere. It’s your day!

Where did you shop and what pieces were essential for building your maternity wardrobe?

Let me start by saying that my maternity wardrobe wasn’t very large. It consisted of a few pairs of maternity jeans (my favorites being these, these, these and these), a couple of these tanks, Ingrid & Isabel long sleeve tee’s, this dress from Hatch was my go-to for weddings and events, Ingrid Maternity at Target always had great sweaters, Splendid leggings are super soft and cozy but I probably wore my Isabel & Ingrid seamless leggings the most. Honestly, when it was cold you would find me in maternity jeans, a maternity tanks and open cardigan (like this or this) and if it were warmer I was probably in one of these dresses with sneakers! If I wanted something trendy I would browse ASOS maternity section (especially for wedding guest dresses).

What did you pack in your hospital bag the second time around?

I’ve been getting this question non-stop! I used my Longchamp weekender bag and packed two pairs of these pajamas which I basically wore the entire time I was there. I liked that they could be unbuttoned for nursing and felt a little more conservative than a robe (which is what I wore in the hospital with Charlie). I brought two of these Cosabella nursing bras (my favorite) that I wore under the pajamas. I love the pretty lace. I went to Target and bought a few pairs of these seamless undies which I brought but just ended up wearing the beautiful gauzy option they provide. To go home I wore my favorite leggings, a nursing tank and a cozy cardigan with these sneakers. I had bought this Tata Harper Essentials Set and brought a few products for my toiletries bag and I’m obsessed with this body wash so I brought that to make my first shower post baby a little better. For Jack I brought two blankets – a Little Giraffe cozy blanket and our M+A Always blanket and a Kickee Pants outfit (the SOFTEST jammies) to go home in! Honestly, your baby is dressed in those little snap tee’s, pink or blue hat and flannel blankets that the hospital provides so all he needed was something to wear to go home. I think that’s it!

I’m wondering which neighborhoods you would suggest looking at were we to move to Chicago.If you were to do it all over again, would you live in the same part of the city you were in?

We lived in Lincoln Park for 10 years and loved it! It was filled with delicious restaurants, beautiful homes, parks, was central to every other neighborhood. We loved it most because it was close to the water which we walked every day that we could. However, I loved so many other neighborhoods for different reasons. The West Loop is the new hot spot, close to downtown and filled with some amazing restaurants/shops. I love the cool vibe in Bucktown – also great restaurants, home to the 606 path and I love shopping on Damen. Those three are probably my favorites!

I have an elegant baby shower to go to at the end of the month and was looking for some cool baby shower gift suggestions!

These one month cards are precious, I have and love this baby journal, this swaddle is gorgeous and I love these sweet little hooded robes.

 If you were to make a Top 10 Baby Registry, what would be on it?

Such a good question! A Dohm sound machine, Fisher Price Rock n’ Play, Ubbi diaper pale, phil & teds lobster chair (a must), Boppy pillow, Skip Hop activity mat, Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit, Boon countertop drying rack, City Mini GT Stroller and Infant Optics video monitor.*

*I know there may be some confusion between yesterday’s post and these recommendations but when I think of the products we used the most with Charlie in the first year – these were them! We still use a lot of them and are continuing them with Jack. In regards to the monitor, we use the Infant Optics monitor as our travel monitor and it is amazing. The Amazon reviews don’t lie. If they sold a double monitor I would have totally bought it!

We are going to Hilton Head this spring, but will be flying into Charleston and spending the day there before heading to HHI. I’ve never been!  Any suggestions on what is a must see for just a day there?

I did a big post about our favorite things to do in Charleston here!

I’ve enjoyed seeing you move into your new home and begin to decorate. My husband and I are trying to save to buy our first home while also trying to pay down some debt. Do you have any tips or strategies for saving ? Did you travel less during that period? I’m trying to budget out our year but always find myself wanting to have it all. Lol! Any advice for saving and for a first time home buyer?

I think the bottom line is to have realistic expectations for what you can and can’t afford. Dave and I talked a year before we purchased our home about the goals we had for our family and knew that buying a house was at the top of our list. We decided that we needed to save X amount for our max budget and gave ourselves a year to do so (which seemed doable if we stayed focused!). Honestly, I cut up one of my credit cards (ha!) and tried to deposit money into our savings account as soon as it came in. My biggest issue is our credit cards and I spend the most money at the grocery store (Whole foods addict) so I really tried to plan out our meals and visited Trader Joe’s more often. I think you’d be surprised how quickly small adjustments add up to bigger savings!

I am expecting my second baby boy in April and have been considering what we’ll reuse from baby #1 and what needs upgrading. Six weeks in, do you have any thoughts on what has been a lifesaver with 2 kids? Or something you bought for Charlie that you didn’t love so you opted for something different with Jack?

We honestly didn’t get anything new with Jack except for a bassinet (the SNOO). We definitely utilize chairs/swings the most and I’m sad to say that Jack is held way less than Charlie was at this age. It’s just the case when your toddler is screaming to be held! I love the Boppy because Jack can easily sit next to us on the couch. I got a lot of questions from readers wondering why we didn’t get the Dock-A-Tot and honestly, I just didn’t see a need for it! I wanted Jack to nap in his bassinet when possible and the Boppy seemed to be similar (I know the Dock-A-Tot is flat but still). We did also order this for travel. Our chair collection is a little embarrassing – we have the the Boppy, the Rock n’ Play, the mamaRoo and the Baby Bjorn bouncer. These are spread all over the house but right now we use the Boppy and mamaRoo the most. When Jack was congested last week we had him sleep in the Rock n’ Play to keep him elevated. 

I’m wondering if you have any advice on how to balance family time when it comes to your parents/siblings and in-laws? I got married this past summer and let’s just say the holidays were challenging in terms of splitting time and making sure both sets of parents felt they were getting a fair share (for context we live within an hours drive of each set of parents).  It makes me especially conscious of how we’ll need to manage that when it comes to having kids in the future too. 

Our situation is a little different because we live a mile from my parents and Dave’s parents live in Michigan. We see my parents a lot – whether my mom stops by to see the boys/help me when I need to get some work done or we have dinner together (at least once a week). However, when we see Dave’s parents it is for extended periods of time (a few days at least). Aside from traveling with my parents here and there, we really don’t spend longer than a few hours with them where Dave’s family we will spend numerous nights. Unfortunately I think the sharing only gets harder when you have kids. It sometimes feels like we always have travel or visits on the calendar because everyone is excited to see your babies grow! However, I think when you have kids it is easier for people to come to you. You’re allowed to be a little selfish and stay put. 

How bad was it moving while pregnant? I was trying to avoid it at all costs, but would love to hear your perspective!

Not bad at all! Honestly, packing was the worst part (but just more annoying and tedious) and then the movers come and take care of everything! On the day of our move, I drove Webster and Charlie out to the suburbs and Dave stayed back and made sure the movers packed everything and met us at the house later. When you’re pregnant with a toddler, you kind of have this mindset that you can do anything. You just power through shit because you have a crazy kid yelling in your ear at all times and no time to sit and relax like you did when you were pregnant the first time. I would say make sure you hire good movers to help – we used New City Movers here in Chicago and LOVED them.

I’m due with my first in June, and I just reached my halfway point in my pregnancy.  I’ve been following along on all your recommended baby products, but were there any books or websites you used on how to actually take care of a baby?  That’s my current stress dream… the baby comes and I don’t know what to do!  🙂

Before Charlie I read Bringing up Bebe and Babywise. Sleep was #1 on my radar but once Charlie was born I didn’t remember one word from either book. You never really know what you’re doing (I still don’t!) but you just respond to baby’s needs and go from there. Eat, sleep, poop – that’s all they do in the beginning. You’re basically feeding, changing diapers and clothes, and rocking your child back to sleep. Eventually you get the hang of it and it becomes way more fun as they play and interact with you more! I will say the most helpful items once I became a mama were this What to Expect the First Year book (I read it almost every night!) and The Wonder Weeks app. Both are amazing resources! You’ve got this!

What are your favorite tops for nursing? 

I’ve been living in henley tee’s – these and this are my favorites! I wear a lot of nursing tanks with a cozy cardigan layered over the top (good for extra coverage). I also love these Rails shirts – so soft and currently 30% off – because they are easy to unbutton for a quick feed. I basically where the same items every week – ha.

With a toddler, busy work schedule, and wanting to spend time with my husband I struggle to find time for my girlfriends and it makes me sad. I often miss how much time we used to spend together.  We are hoping to have another baby in 2018 so free time will be even more tight.  How do you find time for friends?

Ugh this is a tough subject because I feel the exact same way. Honestly, I don’t find much time for friends. It’s even harder since we moved to the suburbs and a lot of my closest friends are still downtown. I constantly struggle with making plans and finding time for myself. Sadly, carving out time for myself takes priority these days (it’s what keeps me the most sane) but I always feel so refreshed after spending time with my girlfriends. When I first had Charlie, I noticed a huge shift in my friendships. Not in a negative way, just different. It’s hard when your lives have been on the same path (in my case, since high school with my closest friends) and then these big life events start happening and eventually your lives/priorities change. But I’m realizing with baby #2 that it’s ok and that eventually you’ll all catch up. You can’t feel guilty for the stage your life is in and although it makes you sad, remember that everything is a phase. In my case, the reality is that I don’t have free time between being a mom a wife and a business owner. I know my friends understand that and eventually things will slow down, we will find balance and we will settle into a new pattern. 

Could you recommend where to find cute gender neutral newborn hats?  Jack has had some adorable hats on and I’m wondering where you got them? 

I love Zara Baby for cute neutral hats, Jack wears his Baby CZ hat a lot, I also love this hat from Gap Kids. 

Can you share your winter favorite skincare products? I just recently purchased some M61 skin product and loving it so far.

Yay so glad you’re loving M-61! It’s my favorite. Winter is super drying on the skin so I am all about adding as much moisture as possible. For total body I have 3 products that I rotate between (for no particular reason I just like all of them) – M61 Hydraboost Body Butter (great for every day because it absorbs quickly), Kopari Coconut Melt and Almond Oil (both are great to soothe skin overnight). For my face I have been using 3 products regularly: M61 Hyrdraboost serum (after cleansing), followed by the Elemis Superfood Facial Oil (BUY THIS) and for moisturizer I’ve been rotating between the Hyrdraboost cream and Elemis Ultra Rich Pro Collagen Cream. Also, if you’re looking for an eye cream – this is worth every penny. 

How do you care for and wash your sweaters? Even if the tag recommends machine wash cold I find them pilling after just one wash!

I usually get them dry cleaned or if they can be machine washed with cold water I’ll lay flat to dry and then throw in the dryer for 5 minutes with a dryer sheet to make them fluffy again (they go in the dryer DRY). I also ordered this fuzz-away piller remover from Amazon after hearing amazing things so I’ll let you know!

I’m going to a charity event in February which is black-tie. Can I wear a jumpsuit? Or should I stick with a floor length gown? Can you offer any suggestions?

I definitely think you can wear a jumpsuit! Here are a few that I think would be appropriate: I love the peplum on this one, this strapless jumpsuit and I love the idea of this cropped jumpsuit. Pair with some sparkly earrings!

Do you feel like your “date night” style has changed since moving to the suburbs?

Haha, what is date night? Kidding, kind of. In the winter I usually opt for a sweater dress (I just bought this in a small and it is so cute!) and OTK boots or skinny jeans, my go-to blouse (on major sale!) and black booties.

I just found out we are expecting our first child this summer, and I was wondering how you maintained a healthy pregnancy. What kind of workouts did you do? Foods you ate?

Congrats! I always tried to stay active more days than not – so I would typically work out at least 4 days a week (even if that meant going on a 30 minute walk). I loved the AAPTIV app. They have an amazing maternity program for each week of pregnancy with multiple workout options. The trainers are motivating and it honestly made exercise feel fun and doable throughout. In terms of eating, everything in moderation. If I’m really trying to focus on eating healthy then I keep to the lean, clean and green mindset. BUT, sometimes you just need to order a pizza and breadsticks because your baby is craving it 😉

We also just bought a crib bumper. But have just read some nasty reviews on bumpers being linked to SIDS. What do you recommend?

We didn’t use a crib bumper until Charlie was one. I recommend waiting until the baby is completely capable of escaping a scary situation/strong enough to push away from the bumper if he/she were pressed against it. Hope this helps!

Don’t forget to submit your questions for next week by emailing [email protected] with the subject “coffee with Liz.”


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