Around the World and Back Again

Well, hello there. :-)

Since we last spoke, our family has traveled to two different countries, celebrated a long awaited pregnancy (not mine!), and was sick for three weeks. It’s been quite an adventure.

In February, we escaped the freezing cold to one of our favorite destinations: Mexico! Then, just last week, we came back from Milan, Italy. The two trips were very different for Baby Taco. The flight to Mexico was rough but Milan was easy peasy. I have tons of pictures to share and moments to relive with you. But for now, I want to share what I’ve learned about traveling with a toddler.

Baby Taco is a tricky toddler in that she’s currently in this phase where she doesn’t want to play with toys. Crayons, stuffed animals, and books will only keep her occupied for a few minutes. If its a new toy, maybe 15-20 minutes. On the other hand, she loves wheels, zippers, buttons, remotes, and anything else that’s dirty or inappropriate for her to play with. Of course.

So you can imagine our despair on the trip to Mexico. It didn’t help that we flew on United Airlines, the crappiest airline known to man. I created a Twitter account just to call them out on their piss poor customer service. But that’s a story for another day. The only thing that kept Baby Taco entertained and happy while we were waiting on that damn tarmac for an hour was Bubble Guppies and her new bobcat toy that she conned her father into buying her.

bubble guppies on the plane
bobcat baby on a plane
Next time we travel internationally, Baby Taco will likely be old enough to voice her discontent. I can almost hear her say, “Are we there yet?” and “This is so boring!” in her adorable voice. Unfortunately, even though she’s so cute, keeping her entertained on long flights drive ST and I to the brink of insanity. So next time, I’m going to give these a try:

1. Make Silly Faces with a Magnetic Playset is right: when you’re going on a flight, there are a lot of things you can’t bring, and this usually includes most of your kids’ favorite toys. There are some toys, however, that you can bring in, like a Smethport magnetic playset. Magnets are great because they’re easily stored and the pieces don’t get lost. There are various kinds of playsets – some let them create scenes with different parts, while others let them play dress-up or make silly faces.

magnetic farm toy
2. Play a Classic Game of Roadtrip Bingo
When Baby Taco is older and we can go on road trips to Sesame Place and Hershey Park in nearby Pennsylvania, Bingo is fun and educational. According to Free Bingo Hunter, a website that catalogues the many bingo portals online, bingo has been adapted into many different themes. MiniTime has created some free printable Roadtrip Bingo cards that you can use to banish backseat boredom.
bingo for kids

3. Use Magnetic Picture Makers to Bring Out Their Inner Artists
When you’re visiting a museum, what could be more fun than helping kids appreciate the art around you by having them try to imitate the art hanging on the walls? ST and I visit at least one museum whenever we travel. A magnetic picture maker would be a great way to recreate art you’ve seen once you get back to your hotel.

magnetic picture maker

There are many ways to keep your kids entertained, and some might work better than others. What do you usually do to make sure that your kids have a good time while you’re out on the road? Any tips would be appreciated!

The Impact of the DIY Blueprint Cleanse

I’ve been getting a ton of questions about the impact of the DIY Blueprint Cleanse I did over two years ago so I thought I’d follow up.

In case you haven’t read my previous posts about this, basically, I struggled with irregular menstrual periods for many years but never questioned it because I was young and had no plans on becoming pregnant any time soon. However, after ST and I were married, I diagnosed myself with PCOS based on research I’d come by on the Internet. My gynecologist listened to my concerns and referred me to do blood work that eventually confirmed my suspicions. Not only that, I was also diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Yay.


In the summer of 2012, I decided to do something drastic. I wanted to make a lifestyle change that would help me lose weight and manage my PCOS. I did the cleanse in June and went carb-free and then low carb after that. By September, I was down over ten pounds and normal periods had resumed without any help from medication. I felt amazing and my body hadn’t been that lean since… ever, I think. And by April 2013, we found out I was 6 weeks pregnant.

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Baby Taco was a little carb eating machine in utero so I was concerned about my blood sugar when it came time to test for gestational diabetes. Well, not only did I pass that test with flying colors, my midwife also told me that I was no longer even considered pre-diabetic.

omg yes

In short, being carb-free for several months changed my life. I truly believe its responsible for putting my health back on track and giving us our baby girl. And it all started with the Blueprint cleanse. Prior to that, I’d tried going carb-free but it was nearly impossible. Doing the cleanse made me stop everything cold turkey and, in a way, recalibrate my system. If you’re thinking about trying the cleanse out and going the DIY route like I did, DO IT!

Baby Taco’s First Birthday Party

I’ve been trying to finish this post for two weeks! Every time I sat down to write it, I had to get up again. I have no idea how parents manage to blog! I can barely keep up because we are now parents of a ONE YEAR OLD! I can’t believe it’s been one year since we met and fell in love with Baby Taco.

time flies copy

She really is the best: funny, silly, sweet, compassionate, and loving. ST and I are so in love with our girl. :-)

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I started planning Baby Taco’s first birthday very early on. Parenting was a tough gig from the get-go and I knew we would need ample time to prep. We wanted to do something kid-friendly and fun in Brooklyn. After a lot of researching, we booked Twinkle Playspace. This place is pure joy for kids! It’s an amazing venue run by amazing people. Read my Yelp review here.

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Inspired by a pink, purple, and blue theme, I created an invitation using Photoshop and inexpensive clip art from Etsy. The fonts are free: KG Eyes Wide Open and DJB Coffee Shop Espresso.

winter wonderland first birthday invitation

Once we nailed down the venue and the theme, everything else came together.

Decor and favors. Oriental Trading, Amazon, and the Dollar Store were my main sources of supplies for decor and favors. We went to a local party store and ordered balloons that spelled out Baby Taco’s name and two other bunches. I made a banner using Photoshop and Kim printed it and strung it. The upside of paying for an awesome venue is that it needs little decor.

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Table runners were just pieces of glittery silver tulle. The Instragam prints were reused from her 100 day celebration.

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Grub. My uncle owns a restaurant that dishes up the best Chinese take out in NYC so they provided a large spread of food for adults and kiddos. I bought sodas, juice boxes, and water from my local BJs and Mel bought stuff for a hot cocoa bar from Whole Foods. I ordered her fabulous cake from La Gran Via, a bakery in Sunset Park. ST and I are not so good at taking pictures, but you can kind of see the spread and banner in the background.

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This kid loves cake!

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Schedule. We didn’t have one! The lovely ladies at Twinkle helped guide us by reminding me of the time, asking when we should start eating, cut the cake, making announcements. It was mostly a free-for-all for the kids while the adults played with them and chatted. It really seemed like Baby Taco knew it was her party and she was all smiles and giggles the whole time! That made all the blood, sweat, and tears we put into it worth it.

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baby taco first birthday party6There are buttons in the space station exhibit that release bubbles when pressed! What a cool detail!

baby taco first birthday party3My mom’s expression in this picture is priceless.

Happy birthday, sweet girl. Everyday, you teach us how to be the best version of ourselves. You are the absolute best and we love you to the moon and back.

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Well, hello there.

Let’s Be Friends.