Baby's Super Tips to Zap Eczema!

Isn't this graphic fun?! I had a blast playing around with the Comic Heroes Theme on PicMonkey. It's a nice alternative if you don't know how to use Photoshop. 

Happy Friday, folks! Give yourselves a high-five for making it through yet another week! I don't know about you, but this season has been pretty intense. While I'm excited for the upcoming holidays, I'm a bit flustered by how quickly my calendar is filling up!

Seeing as how the weather is cooling down--or is already pretty cold, depending on where you live--it seemed like the perfect time to share a few tips on caring for and protecting delicate baby skin. A little over a month ago, my husband and I noticed a few reddened areas on our daughter's skin. We discussed it with our pediatrician, who thought it appeared to be eczema, but because the blemishes were minor, couldn't be certain.  We weren't worried, but we did keep a watchful eye on how Joy's skin reacted to various stimuli (new foods, fabrics, and environments).

While on vacation this past summer, we made the mistake of using a different detergent and our daughter immediately developed an angry rash all over her chest, back, and along her jawline. Our oldest son had eczema when he was a baby (he's since outgrown it), so we weren't unfamiliar with it. With him, we applied Aquaphor multiple times a day, paying special attention to his "hot spots": the crook of both elbows and behind both knees. We tried the same approach with Joy and it worsened her condition! To the internet we went, where we found the National Eczema Association's list of approved moisturizers, cleansers, and other products, and used that as a jumping-off point.

Now that we've been using the items below for awhile, I can confidently say that they're incredibly effective at protecting Joy's skin and controlling her flare-ups. If you're looking for ways to battle eczema, I hope they work for you, too!

1. California Baby Eczema Cream
This stuff is pricey, but it works! So far, Target has the lowest price at $29.50, but it couldn't hurt to shop around. After the first application, we could feel the difference in Joy's skin; after a week or so, it was completely clear.

2. Vaseline for Baby
To maintain and protect Joy's skin, we apply a thin layer of eczema cream followed by another layer of Vaseline to seal in moisture. This is most effective after bath time, but we'll do it on non-bathing days, too.

3. Shea Moisture Fragrance-Free Gluten Free Baby Wash & Shampoo
First, let me say that I adore Shea Moisture's entire line of baby products! Everything smells so doggone good and is made with wonderful ingredients. Unfortunately, the scented items proved to be too harsh for my girl, so we switched to this formula for sensitive skin. It works well and doesn't irritate her skin. Win-win!

4. up & up Baby Liquid Laundry Detergent
Moment of truth: I was one of those people who thought "baby laundry detergent" was a scam. Really and truly! So of course, I would give birth to a kid whose skin is too sensitive for regular ol' Tide. *sigh* This stuff is cost-effective and gets her clothes clean without making her break out in a full-body rash. God bless it.

So, that's it for my tips (so far)! I'm nursing, so I'm definitely watching what I eat and how that may affect Joy. At this point, I haven't found anything that is cause for concern, so we'll just keep on using the products above. If you have any tips, though, I'd love to hear 'em!

Have a blessed weekend!

The Tent.

Hubby and I had a beautiful "Date Night In" in this tent. The pic doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea. 

It's been a rough few weeks. I won't get into the specifics, but there's been so much thrown at our family in a rather condensed amount of time. Some days, it was like fighting against the tide; one wave would crash, and then another would be looming on the heels of the first.

It was exhausting and disheartening.

However, this weekend, we had a breakthrough. I cannot even convey how necessary it was, but that's kinda how the good Lord works. He's never early, but His timing is impeccable. On Friday night, the four of us--Baby Joy turned in early--hung out in a tent in our back yard. A bag of obscenely large marshmallows, a (small) makeshift bonfire for roasting the aforementioned confections, and a laptop playing the latest adventures of Captain America.

I felt like the richest woman in the world. My heart was so damn full as I snuggled next to my husband and giggled at our silly, beautiful boys, so excited to be "camping" with Mom and Dad.

The next evening, my husband surprised me by turning the tent into a beautiful, grown-up oasis. He strung lights, prepared a platter of assorted cheeses, meats, and dried fruits, and had two bottles of white wine chilling on ice.

And he did it all for me.

After over a decade together, he still enjoys finding ways to make me smile. It was just what I (we) needed. Lately, I had been feeling like a failure, that I'd managed to do nothing but age over the course of the last decade. So much floundering and so little to show for it. Things simply hadn't gone as smoothly as I had hoped.

As I looked around that tent, I finally recognized the fullness of this blessing. I married a wonderful man and together, we built a family, a strong one, and a life that is still evolving. That is priceless.

The money may--or may not--come, but the truth is, I am already wealthier than I ever thought I'd be.

Did you know that it's #mondayformoms? Well, now you do! Come join the party and link up with Mrs. AOK & Friends because we'd love to expand our MommyMonday Blog Hop circle!

#ThrowbackThursday: Two Moments That Made Me Nostalgic for the 90s.

Who doesn't love a good #ThrowbackThursday post, amirite? If you're into that sort of thing, prepare to get yo' life!

Pretty much every adult around my age (32) watched and fondly remembers The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Like, I don't know if we can even be friends if you don't understand my undying love for that show! Obviously, Will Smith was the main character, but the ensemble cast was strong in its own right. In particular, Alfonso Ribiero, who played "Carlton", Will's straight-laced cousin, was unforgettable. And everybody did--or attempted to do--his signature dance. The show may have ended almost 20 years ago, but it turns out, there's still a rather large audience who adores Alfonso Ribiero and The Carlton. If the video below doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.

*sings* It's not unusual to be loved by anyone...

As someone who came of age in the 1990s, I have a tremendous amount of love for the music that came out of that era. All of it encompasses the soundtrack of my journey from girlhood to adolescence to young adulthood, and most of it sounds as good today as it did back then. Like most young black girls, I loved me some Brandy (still do, to be completely honest)! The first time I saw the video for "I Wanna Be Down", it became an instant favorite. When it hit the airwaves in my town, I was glued to my radio with my finger on the "Record" and "Play" buttons (pre-iTunes and before I got my CD player!), waiting to record the song on my cassette tape. Then, when the remix hit, I about lost my freakin' mind! My mama didn't let me listen to a lot of rap, but she gave this song a pass, and I'll be forever grateful to her for that. Seeing all these beautiful women sharing their gifts with each other without competition meant--and still means--so, so much.

I didn't watch the Hip-Hop Awards, but when I heard, via For Harriet, Brandy, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and Queen Latifah reunited for this remix, I couldn't click this link fast enough. It's been a minute since we've seen 'em, but this performance feels like they never left the spotlight.  

Are you a child of the 90s like me? What are some of your favorite moments from that decade? Leave me a comment below! :)

My Favorite #OutrageHiatus Twitter Accounts!

Hey Y'all!

I'm back from vacation and ready to jump into my routine! I wasn't totally offline, but I tried to curb my usage. At any rate, I returned to find my Twitter timeline to be chock-a-block with unfortunate current events. Perhaps, your social media accounts are suffering from a similar fate.

#OutrageHiatus to the rescue!

An "outrage hiatus" is a way of breaking up the negativity or monotony of your social media feeds with lighthearted or enjoyable items. Anything that brings you joy and makes you smile can function in this manner. In fact, I think it's best to have more than one stream of enjoyment. Below, I've listed five of my favorite online respites. In this post, I'll be linking to their Twitter accounts, but many of these companies are on Facebook, Instagram, and more!

1. PurseBlog
I can't afford 99% of the luxury items featured (yet!), but I love drooling over 'em, anyway. *le sigh*

Image via PurseBlog
2. TravelNoire
I'm not sure how I stumbled onto this one--it was probably retweeted onto my timeline--but I'm so glad I started following them. I love to travel, and getting out of the country as often as possible is a dream of mine. However, what's particularly groovy about TravelNoire is that it features people of color in exotic locales. I can't tell you how inspiring it is to see globetrotters who look like me. I'll get there, someday. In addition to stunning photos, they also give travel tips and links to airfare specials.

Image via TravelNoire

3. Bears Acting Human
This is exactly what you think it is.

Image via Bears Acting Human

4. Grammar YUNiversity
I'm a bit of a grammar nerd, so when I found this account, I immediately liked it. The posts are clever, informative, and useful (which is easier said than done in 140 characters!).

Image via Grammar YUNiversity
5. PoC Beauty & Melanin Matters
These accounts both feature striking images of ethnicities and skin tones rarely seen in the more Eurocentric, mainstream media. MelaninMatters focuses more on dark-skinned men, women, and children throughout the diaspora. One day, the world will figure out that variety is indeed the spice of life. While we wait (and wait, and wait), get into PoCBeauty and MelaninMatters.

Image via PoCBeauty
Image via MelaninMatters
And there ya have it, folks! Do you have any frivolous social media follows? Leave a comment!

A Much-Needed Joy Update: 5 Months Old!

Hey Gang!

It's been too long since I my daughter, Joy, has made an appearance on this here blog (she's been featured more on the Living My Someday YouTube channel, to be honest), so I thought I'd amend that today! She is five months old and I'm really struggling to figure out where the time has gone. As you can see, she makes baby girlhood look good and manages to charm the living daylights out of everyone she encounters (especially her daddy!).

Since we got the okay from her pediatrician, we've introduced solid foods into the mix. Because my husband and I are into food, I'm certain we were more excited about it than Joy was! Nevertheless, she's taken to eating like a fish to water and scarfed just about everything we've put in front of her. As with our boys, we've continued the tradition of sticking to Plum Organics and Ella's Kitchen. The food combinations are delicious and free of junk. Pretty soon, we'll start pureeing our own little recipes, but for now, we're happy to have access to nutritious store-bought options.

As you can see, I'm having a blast playing dress-up with her and she's a good sport most of the time. She hasn't taken too head bands, yet, but I'm working on it.

In her leisure time, she enjoys hanging out in her Exersaucer, aka, The Command Center, rolling around on the floor with her favorite rings, and giving big, toothless grins to anyone who passes by.

I say this all the time, but I can't help it: Joy literally brings me and just about everyone else joy, simply by breathing. Daily, I'm humbled and elated by her presence. God is so good.

Anyway, that's it for this post! If you'd like to see where I bought the super-cute outfits she's wearing, click here to see her "Smedium" Baby Girl Fall Haul Video + Fashion Show!

I'm so excited that Fall is finally here (and bringing with it much cooler temperatures)--do you have any plans for the season? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Happy Fall, y'all!