by gillian claire

SOCIAL MEDIA

8.03.2018

World Breastfeeding Week + Why I Don't Find Judgement "Natural"

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This is a blog post I originally wrote in 2013 and wanted to revisit and share this year during World Breastfeeding Week. I hope you enjoy. :)
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i’m having a lot of conflicting feelings this year during world breastfeeding week. i feel like it might be safe to say that i am as or more passionate about breastfeeding as anyone. i have been breastfeeding for the past 5 years of my life which isn’t much to some people but to most people i’d say it is. that’s a lot of breastfeeding.
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breastfeeding is something that has become such a way of life for me. personally, i always knew i would breastfeed. and now, i  feel like maybe i have a million different breastfeeding topics that i could expand upon such as the many benefits of breastfeeding, my journey and struggles breastfeeding a tongue tied baby, my experience with extended breastfeeding, breastfeeding a second time around, breastfeeding + the nicu, breastfeeding + co-sleeping… and so-on and so-forth.
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breastfeeding is something that i am passionate about. that i love. that is part of me. that is part of my children. but, this year breastfeeding is bringing up a lot of of other feelings for me and one of those is the feeling of exclusion.
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in my life, i have definitely felt a lot of “exclusion” from other people when it comes to my beliefs and parenting practices. and heck, also my lifestyle in general. the list includes: getting married young, having babies young, breastfeeding, breastfeeding (albeit modestly) in public (GASP), breastfeeding my toddlers (FAINT),  sleeping with my babies, sleeping with my toddlers, delayed vaccinations/opting out of vaccinations, homeschooling, etc. sometimes this bothers me a lot. it bothers me that people feel that they can say whatever they want to say to me about my choices when i haven't said anything to them. this really bothers me in any situation. i cannot imagine opening my mouth and judging someone so openly. so harshly. i’m sure all mothers can relate to me here.  there is just something about becoming a mother that opens you up to this world of everyone telling you what to do and most importantly what you are doing wrong. I will never understand this. never, never  - never.
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and then there is the exclusion on the other side. i attended a breastfeeding event recently in my new town which is where this observation really stood out to me. one part of me was very happy to be attending this event. it was something special that i had planned to do with my littlest son. it was fun to be around a lot of people who shared in my beliefs and to be in a place where i did not have to feel excluded. however, it also made me feel uneasy. it made me feel uneasy to be in a place where women who don’t breastfeed or can’t breastfeed wouldn’t feel welcome.  a place where you would feel guilty if you planned a natural childbirth but ended up with a c-section. a place where you might want to run and hide before whipping out the disposable diapers from your bag when all the other babies were wearing cloth.
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i know that we “hippie” moms like to think of ourselves as being so “natural”. i am pretty obsessed with the word natural come to think of it. but i never want judgement to come "naturally" to me either. that's when i know something is wrong with the way i'm viewing motherhood.
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obviously,  i am passionate about breastfeeding and i believe that “breast milk is best". i would love to inspire other women and help them to be able to feel that they too can choose breastfeeding for their families. however, i do not believe it is the end all. i do not believe that i am the best mother. not at all. i have so many limitations and weaknesses as a mother.
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i guess what i'm trying to say, is that even though people have definitely made me feel excluded because of my parenting choices, i never want to make someone else feel that way. i’m so thankful that i have been able to connect with mothers out there who are doing things all different ways and i’m thankful that they have felt that they could connect with me as well. each one of these mothers i admire for different reasons. i am thankful for their kind comments to me, and i am thankful that they have never made me feel excluded. let’s all please continue to be friends and build each other up. that is what i want most of all.
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i have a lot of work to do to become more of the person that i want to be and of course i'm not sure what the answer is. i'm not saying that the event i attended was a "bad thing" or that i will never attend an event like that again. these are just the thoughts that are accompanying my mind as i celebrating nursing and what it has meant for my babies and myself.
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we all have a different story as it relates to feeding our babies. for me, it has been exclusive breastfeeding at birth and extended breastfeeding against societal norms for both of my boys. there have been great joys and also struggles. this year, during world breastfeeding week,  i would love to hear what role breastfeeding has played in your life, if any, and what it has meant for you :)
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(asher, breastfeeding, november 2012)
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6.18.2018

New Gummy Vitamins for the Whole Family!

Happy Monday!
Today I'm sharing the new gummy vitamin brand that has become a part of our daily routine.

This post is sponsored by Natrol but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. 

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In our house, vitamins are so much more likely to be taken each day if they are in gummy form. I'm not just talking about the kids either; this is true for my husband and I as well! Tell me I'm not alone in taking adult gummy vitamins... There is something maybe psychological about eating a "treat" vs. swallowing a pill that helps me remember to take vitamins each day!

Natrol's new line of Multi Gummies offer something for everyone in the family. We have been using their Women's, Men's and Kid's Multi Gummies which are specifically tailored to each person in our family!

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Here are some things that stand out to me about Natrol Gummies:

"These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent and diseases."

  • Made with 85% organic ingredients
  • Non-GMO
  • Made with 26 fruits and veggies
  • No artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives
Natrol Gummies are also vegetarian and gelatin-free!

Additionally, these gummies taste so good! They make a perfect little treat for me during the day and my kids always ask for their vitamins now that we have Natrol Gummies in the house!

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I'd love to know: does your family use vitamins/supplements? I'm really working on getting back on a good routine of daily vitamins for my family and I'd love to hear which supplements you think are important in addition to a multi-vitamin!

Natrol Gummies also offer a Pre-Natal vitamin as well as Melatonin and Hair, Skin & Nails.


IMG_6215IMG_6224If you'd like to try out Natrol Gummies; Just look for the purple bottle top in stores!

Also, it's great to know that Natrol offers a money back guarantee if you aren't happy with their product!
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XOXO, Gillian

6.08.2018

How To Go Multiple Days Without Washing Your Hair!

Secrets for going days between washing your hair...

This post is sponsored by Dove Hair Care but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Ok, I want to know: how often do you wash your hair? I used to wash my hair every day. I became so used to the routine that I convinced myself I looked dirty if my hair wasn't freshly washed.

Oh how times have changed, hah! I can proudly say that I now only wash my hair 2-3 times a week and I consider that a win! I have long hair and it is so much easier getting ready in the morning when I don't have to squeeze in washing my hair, letting it dry & styling it each day!

I'm partnering with Dove Hair Care today to share some tips for going days between washing your hair!


Give your Hair Time to Adjust

Did you know that your scalp actually produces more oil the more often you wash your hair? Your scalp gets used to its oils being stripped by hair products and tells your body that you need more. It can take a little while for your scalp to adjust so my first tip is to give it time! Try washing your hair every other day to start out and build up to more days in between.

Style on Day One

I find it easier to style my hair when it is freshly washed and clean. Some people find it easier to curl second day hair but I usually always do it on day one and make that style last for a few days.  (Side note: I do NOT style my hair every time I wash it. I work from home and my hair is honestly usually in a side braid!)

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Use Light (not heavy!) Products 

If you coat your hair in product, it will be harder to squeeze more time in-between washes. I'm a minimalist and take a "less is more" mentality even when it comes to my hair!

When I curl my hair, I use a little hairspray after to keep the curls especially since I want them to last a few days. I recently tried out the Dove Compressed Extra Hold Hairspray and I love how light and airy it applies! My hair remains very touchable and soft even after sleeping on it.

I also tried out the Dove Thickening Ritual Shampoo and Conditioner. These products both leave my hair feeling very fresh, clean and bouncy. This shampoo and conditioner really did give me more volume after one wash and I love the flowery scent it left on my hair!


Touch-Up Style on Day Two

My go-to way for styling my hair right now is to put in some loose beach-y curls with a curling wand. I can then easily touch-up a few curls with another pass of the curling wand and it's ready to go for another day or two!

The curls will be a little looser and softer the following days but I like that! I add a little Dove Compressed Extra Hold Hairspray each day after touching up the curls. On day 3, I'll keep the curls but do a pony tail to mix it up as the curls are getting looser.


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Do you use any Dove products? All of the products I mentioned in this post + used in all of these hair photos can be found at a Walmart near you. Check out the video below to see how soft + bouncy my hair looked after using these Dove products!

XOXO,
Gillian

3.06.2018

Custom Invitations with Basic Invite!

I'm partnering with Basic Invite today to share a little bit about their "truly custom" invitation website! You may remember that I have worked with Basic Invite in the past to create custom thank you cards which I loved!

I was compensated for this post by Basic Invite. All words and opinions expressed are my own. Thanks for reading along!
high school graduation card
photos provided by Basic Invite

Basic Invite is truly the best invitation website I have come across and they offer hundreds of beautiful options to choose from for wedding and birthday invitations, birth and graduation announcements, customized business stationary and more!

The Basic Invite website is super easy to use and almost every little detail of their products are customizable! They offer over 180 different color options for each element on the card so that you can make them look exactly how you want down to the littlest detail! Their website also allows you to preview your design as you go along. The option to customize and personalize so many details is what really sets Basic Invite apart from other invitation companies! You can even order a sample card to see how your finished design looks and feels in person before placing your final order. 

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One of my favorite features of Basic Invite invitations are their gold foil designs! They offer foiling in gold, silver, and the best in my opinion- rose gold! How gorgeous are these gold foil Sweet 16 cards? Basic Invite also offers over 40 different envelope color options and all of their envelopes are peal and seal which is such a time saver!

graduation invitation
Graduation season is coming up quickly and Basic Invite offers the best graduation announcements and invitations with over 300 designs to choose from and customize! They also offer hundreds of options for college and high school graduation thank you cards!

Do you have children graduating from high school or college this year? My littles will be "graduating" 1st and 4th grade and I can't even believe how quickly it's going! Next year will be the last year that they are both in elementary school together and it's literally breaking my heart!

Be sure to check out Basic Invite if you are looking to create beautiful, personalized invitations or stationary! 

Use code 15ff51 for 15% off your purchase!

XOXO, Gillian
2.28.2018

Teaching Children Responsibility through Pet Care

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhatFuelsRight #CollectiveBias

I can't express enough how positive the experience of adopting a pet has been for our family! I was really nervous about adding another living thing to our lives but it has so much easier than I anticipated and adds immeasurable joy to my kids' everyday!

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My boys have truly enjoyed the experience of having their first pet and I have loved walking through this special time with them! They are at perfect ages (6&10) to help out with pet care; in fact they love getting involved and taking on the extra responsibility. I'm partnering with  Purina® and PetSmart today to share a few ways to get your kids involved and teach responsibility by caring for a pet! I love that not only am I strengthening their bond with Finn but am also helping them mature by learning to serve and care for someone besides themselves!

Involve your Kids from the Beginning!

Our decision to get a cat was kind of spur of the moment but also something that had been pressing on my heart for about a year prior. The kids were over the moon when I announced that we would be spending the weekend looking for a cat and they were with me every step of the way!


If bringing home a pet is something you plan for in advance, you can get your kids involved by having them help research pet care online or by looking for books at the library. Even though we didn't plan far in advance for Finn, the boys were with me at the pet store to help choose what we needed (vs. what we wanted) to care for our new kitty! We also started talking about what they would be doing to help out and I made it clear that they would need to show responsibility from the start!

Play Time

This is one of the easiest ways to get your kids involved in pet care because hello, kids love to play and so do animals! I've taught the boys that sometimes when Finny starts biting or getting a little too rambunctious, he is telling us that he needs to play. They love tossing toys for him in the living room or even creating cat toys out of cardboard. Asher was making forts for Finn the other day in the bedroom and I love seeing our cat bring out their creative side!


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Feeding

Feeding is another easy way to involve your children and teach them some responsibility! Asher, my 6 year old, especially loves feeding Finn. When he gets home from school, he always makes sure Finn's food and water bowls are filled! Finn gets especially excited about his morning meal because that's when we give him wet food and Roman loves helping with that!


We like mixing it up and offering Finn different foods and have recently tried the Purina® Beyond Natural and Purina® Beyond Simple Origins lines that we picked up at PetSmart! PetSmart has the widest variety of premium quality Purina products available at amazing prices. We love and trust the Purina brand (check out my last post with Purina here!) because they provide complete and balanced diets for pets!

Rome and Ash love our visits to PetSmart and we always seem to come home with a few extra things that we didn't come in for... During this trip, Roman tried to convince me that we should get a Chinchilla, ha! PetSmart allows pets in store and I really want to bring Finn on one of our trips to see how he does!


Click on the image above to shop the Purina Beyond Natural cat food for your kitties! We tried the Indoor Grain Free cat food in the flavor Salmon, Egg & Sweet Potato and as you can see,
it is Finn-approved!

The Dirty Work

Honestly, most of pet care is pretty fun and enjoyable in my opinion but of course there are a few aspects that take a little more encouragement when getting the kids involved! I am definitely dropping the ball a little in this area. I usually clean out the litter box myself because it's just so easy but this is an area that is perfect for teaching my boys responsibility! I also need to involve the boys a little more in making sure they brush Finn regularly because the cat hair situation is starting to get real around here!


Best of All, Cuddling!

I really feel like giving our kids more responsibility in pet care helps to strengthen the bonding process! Feeding, grooming and attention are all ways my cat feels love and giving my boys a nudge in those areas has helped them to connect!

The cuddles between my boys and Finn are the sweetest part of owning a pet. It's literally priceless to see how Finn will lay on his back and let Asher bury his face on his tummy because as Ash says, "it just feels so good!" Roman is not a great sleeper but now Finn likes to hop onto his bunk bed with him some nights and those are the nights that Roman always falls asleep the fastest! 

Well, I'm literally getting a little emotional because honestly having a friendly furry animal in the house is one of the best decisions I've made as a parent so far! I hope this post has helped spark a couple ideas for you if you are planning to get a pet or have just brought one home! 


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I'd love to hear your stories of adding a pet to the family in the comments below! For more cute cat pictures, follow me on Instagram: @bygillianclaire




Check out your local PetSmart to try the Purina Beyond Natural and Beyond Simple Origins cat food for yourself! 

Other Kitty Posts:



XOXO, Gillian



2.07.2018

$200 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Happy Wednesday! 

Today I am teaming up with a bunch of blogger friends to bring you another great giveaway! Enter to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card!

Good luck!

amazon blogger giftcard giveaway 2018

GIVEAWAY

Use the form to enter below and good luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
One lucky winner will be selected at random and contacted via email. Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize before an alternate winner is selected. Open worldwide.
2.02.2018

Drugstore Beauty Must-Haves for Winter 2.0!

Last year, you might remember that I shared my favorite winter drugstore skincare products! I feel like winter is the time of year where you have to be a little extra with your beauty routine. It's cold and dry and in my opinion a little bit miserable during wintertime! I wanted to do another round of my favorite winter skincare products that I've added into my routine this year and I threw in a couple beauty products this time as well!
_MG_1856-4This post contains affiliate links: scroll to the bottom of this post to shop my favorites!

Ok, I'm starting off by sharing two beauty products! The black nail trend has been hot this winter and honestly I wasn't sure that I would like it on myself. I always gravitate towards peach or blush nail shades but I tried it and I loved it! Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish is pretty much the only nail polish I buy now because I find it to be the best drugstore polish out there. People have asked if I get  manicures when I wear it and it lasts longer than any I've tried. This is the shade "Blacky O" and I've also been loving this Big Matte Top Coat to add a matte finish and mix it up sometimes!

Que Bella Gel Eye Masks

My under eyes always need help + in the wintertime I just want to add all the extra moisture and pampering there that I can! These are my favorite under eye masks and they are so cheap! I grabbed this 3 pack at Target for $2.99! I splurged for a more expensive brand while I was there last and these are so much better! The back of the package says that these eye masks "visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles and leave your eye area brightened and soft."

Pacifica Lipstick Wipes

I actually received these in a PR package back in the summer and shared them in a blog post already but they have really come in handy this winter! Even though these wipes are meant to remove lipstick, they are exfoliating and perfect for keeping my lips smooth especially before applying lipstick!

_MG_1844-3Blistex Lip Balm

Ok, another lip product! I have big lips and I swear winter is the #1 enemy for me! Blistex is by far my favorite chapstick brand and I've tried a lot. I almost always grab the Blistex Medicated Lip Balm but I tried this Soft and Lush Lip Balm and I'm loving how soft it feels as well as the girly scent! (That's the best way I can think to describe the smell!)

No7 Lift & Luminate Eye Cream

I won a collection of no7 products in a contest this year and I am always grabbing them! I really like this Lift & Luminate Eye Cream. It's just a good basic eye cream that's perfect to give a little extra moisture and life under my eyes before applying makeup!

_MG_1847-2DERMA E Psorzema Cream

I received this Psorzema Cream from DERMA E in a PR package recently and I've loved using it as a body lotion this winter! I don't suffer from Psoriasis or Eczema but if you do, you may want to give this product a try! It's inexpensive and DERMA E is one of my favorites because they are an awesome natural brand that is 100% vegan, gmo-free and cruelty free!


Have you tired and loved any of these products as well? I'd love to hear your beauty must-haves in the comments below!

xoxo, Gillian

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