Like many of us, I grew up knowing what it meant when those golden arches came into view. There’s just something about those fries. They have just the right amount of crunch and seasoning and they seem to melt in your mouth. My sisters used to joke and say they had addictive drugs. We all know that’s not true, right? Well, maybe not.
That’s exactly what the McDonald’s “Our Food. Your Questions” campaign is all about. Personally, I’m enjoying this campaign because baby Cadence is turning one pretty soon and I have to make important decisions about what types of fast food, if any, I’m going to consider giving her as she grows. I’m very invested in ingredients in all food I give her so I’ll definitely be asking some questions of my own. Wanna know what’s in Mickey D’s fries? Or why they taste so good you can’t seem to stop eating them once you get going? Ask them! See below for a video they did about the potatoes in Mickey D’s products:
McDonald’s wants to hear from you! Tweet @McDonalds & @BabyBrownSugar_ on Twitter with any questions you have about what’s in their food. Nothing is off limits!
To learn more about what’s in Mickey D’s food, check out their YouTube playlist which is chock full of information from the “Our Food. Your Questions” campaign. This post is sponsored by McDonald’s. Opinions expressed herein are my own and not those of the company.
When I first stumbled on Latham Thomas’ @GlowMavenInstagram page, I was both excited and bewildered. Scrolling through her beautiful images – the perfect mix of glowing selfies, delectable meals, yoga poses, and snapshots of her uber fabulous life as a mom, I immediately thought “How in the world does she do it all?” Latham is not only a mother of an adorable and super-talented 11-year-old son (the renowned DJ Fulano – hello?) but she is also the author of Mama Glow: A Hip Guide To Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy, the founder of MamaGlow.com, a doula and a maternity lifestyle expert. Talk about super mom status!
Above all that, Latham is a genuinely sweet spirit and I had the pleasure of interviewing her through her latest partnership with P&G’s My Black Is Beautiful and Pampers. Pampers is committed to showing support for mothers by providing access to information and motivation we need most. They’ve partnered with My Black is Beautiful to share Latham’s amazing advice to the masses. As someone who has loved the MBIB mission for years now and who also uses Pampers diapers exclusively on Cadence, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to chat with her. Those are two brands I really believe in. So without further delay, check out the advice Latham Thomas had to share:
BabyBrownSugar: Describe the term “mama glow”. Latham Thomas: Mama Glow is this abundant, radiant energy that comes from within. It’s about birthing yourself into this really powerful woman as you prepare to give birth to your baby. It’s really celebrating pregnancy and the birth process as opposed to being fearful of it. Our bodies are more than capable to do this and other amazing things. This passage in life is a greater way to reclaim your power. So many moms have launched careers and businesses just based on being inspired as mothers. So “mama glow” is about claiming that and not apologizing for it.
What are some quick & easy tips for working mothers that want to take care of themselves?
It all stems from having a support system in place. You have to have people that really have your back, who can provide child care but also people who can provide accountability. Be mindful of how you can integrate your friends and family into your support circle. We have to learn that it’s okay to ask for help. Remember those people who said “Hey whenever you need something, let me know!” Ask if they can help – whether it’s grocery shopping or babysitting, hold them to their word. When it comes to exercising, you should also make it simple! Don’t worry about the fancy gear. You can create a special space in your home with yoga mats, weights or a birth ball and do some workouts at home. There are tons of videos and online resources for at-home workouts now. We equate going out someplace to exercise but you can do it at home while baby is napping. We end up saying “I don’t have time”, but there are 24 hours in a day and you can find time. There’s no excuse.
How can women regain their confidence post-baby and through motherhood?
The main thing is to relish in the fact that you’ve just done something incredible. You should be treated like a queen! Many women don’t feel like that. They feel burdened and overwhelmed and so it’s really about changing a woman’s mindset about the post-pregnancy process from “Woe is me” to “Wow is me!”. If you can give birth, you can do anything. Part of that too is doing the things that you love and that you did before the baby. Things that will make you feel good whether it’s painting or salsa dancing. Don’t set those things aside.
Also, embrace the fact that your body will never be the same. Your boobs will never look like that again, your butt will never look like that again – both during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. You open up these mainstream magazines with the airbrushed models and the Heidi Klum’s of the world who snap back literally weeks after having their babies and it’s not realistic. People like Heidi Klum are PAID to have amazing bodies immediately post-baby. It’s literally her job. So women shouldn’t compare themselves to people like her and to this fantasy that it will happen overnight. The weight will come off because you’re busy and moving around and if you’re breastfeeding you burn over 600 calories every session. Just give yourself time!
Your son DJ Fulano is super-talented and passionate. What did you do as a mom to foster that talent and to allow his curiosity to morph into real tangible success.
I think it’s less about what I’m doingand more about me just getting out of his way. I remember growing up and I learned very early on that people were applauded if they were doctors or lawyers. I think I wanted to be a scientist back then. When you’re young, you think anything is possible until someone tells you it isn’t! Back then there were also more barriers and growing into adulthood, there’s so much more consciousness now about this entrepreneurship movement. With the expansion of the internet leveling the playing field so that everyone has a voice and everyone can make money, it’s expanded the consciousness of the children growing up in this environment and allowed them access to things we didn’t have. When Fulano was 4, he told me “I’m going to travel the world and make people happy with music”. He’s always been musical, so only because I was listening to that, I ended up taking him to his first beat-making DJ class. As parents, we have to be active listeners and allow them the creative freedom to tap into their interests and also give them a judgement-free zone to express that. Because of that, so many doors have opened for him. So I just hold his hand and make sure he doesn’t stumble along his path.
If you could give one piece of advice to your pregnant self, before your first child, what would it be?
Listen to those whispers within you. Keep trusting and having faith along your path. At the time, I didn’t know I was going to create Mama Glow. I felt something inside but there was so much resistance and so many naysayers. So I would’ve liked that advice and that push of encouragement. Everyone needs that.
I hope you guys enjoyed this interview and will be able to use some of these tips! I can’t wait to read your comments and feedback (leave us a comment below!) Loved this interview? Use the #MBIBMoms & #BBSMomsKnow hashtags to tweet/retweet us @BabyBrownSugar_ on Twitter, follow us on Instagram @BabyBrownSugarBlog and ‘Like’ our page on Facebook.com/BabyBrownSugarBlog.
I am so honored and excited to share that Fit Fab Mommy has profiled me in a Q&A on their blog! I’m seriously humbled anytime someone asks me to participate in one of these. In my Q&A with Fit Fab Mommy, I’m giving tips about what should be in your “haute mommy” wardrobe, my favorite thing about being a mom, and also where I like to shop for Cadence. Here’s a snippet of the interview:
Fit Fab Mommy: What are 3 key pieces every mom must have in their wardrobe? BabyBrownSugar: A structured blazer – you can take it from day to night and it instantly makes you look polished. A little black dress – ultra-flattering on everyone. A great pair of heels – staples like pumps are perfect for wearing in any season. Get them in a nice contrasting color or pattern so they make a statement.
Fit Fab Mommy: Cadence always has the most adorable clothes! What are some of your favorite baby brands? BabyBrownSugar: Thank you! I spend all my money at GAP, Old Navy and Carter’s. Those clothes last a lifetime and they’re so classic. They also don’t shrink, which is great considering how quickly she’s growing.
It’s officially 2015 and while we’re all hard at work putting together our long lists of New Year resolutions, I have to take time to appreciate 2014 as my first year in motherhood. Giving birth to my baby girl on February 4th was one of the best days of my entire life. It was the manifestation of all the pain, discomfort and anxiety I had experienced for 9 months. And it was my first time officially dedicating my life’s work and resolve to someone else beside myself.
Now entering her second year of life and my second year as a mother, my only real New Year’s resolution is to be a better parent, which inherently leads to being a better me. I know there are a few different types of parenting styles, but I can’t stand to hear about moms who are overworked, frustrated and just at wit’s end because they are not taking care of themselves. Proper rest, eating regularly (and wholesomely), and consistent rejuvenation is so important to being a better parent. Here’s how I plan on doing it:
1. Live A Healthier Lifestyle.
Once Cadence started eating solids, I was faced with the task of coming up with her daily menu on my own. I wasn’t too keen on feeding her strictly baby food from off the shelf and so I proceeded to making her meals from scratch using wholesome, organic ingredients in addition to occasional organic baby food pouches. Check out my How To Make Baby Food post for more on that.
Only problem with my wonderful meal plan for Cadence? I don’t eat as well as she does.
I don’t eat strictly organic foods and I also don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as I feed her daily. Now that Cadence is much older and actually able to eat chopped up and pureed versions of my own meals, I think it’s high time for me to be more conscious of what I consume. Not just to make the process easier during feeding time, but also because she’s watching my every move. And I want to make the right moves when it comes to health, so that she doesn’t face some of the challenges I did.
2. Sleep. And More Sleep.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s really something I have to try hard to do. Just two weeks after Cadence was born, P&G sent me on a Sleep Conference to highlight the importance of proper rest and some of their product offerings that help us to get it. We heard from brands like Febreze, Tide, Vick’s Nyquil, and more about the importance of sleep (read the recap here). That conference was a real eye-opener for me. Statistics and insights suggest that MOST people (moms especially) are not getting their optimal rest. Your body physically needs time at rest to rejuvenate, replace things you lose throughout the day and just to perform at it’s optimum. That also applies to your parenting prowess and your levels of energy. I’m vowing to stop neglecting sleep. Whatever it is will get done in the morning.
3. Have More Fun.
We rang in New Year’s Eve with my parents and the first thing my Mother said on New Year’s was “This year I’m going to have more fun!” My mother is in her 50’s, a proud mom of four and she has worked tirelessly her entire life to provide for us, nurture us and make us into wholesome, well-rounded, educated and accomplished individuals. And now, with 4 grown kids and almost 5 grandchildren (my older sister is pregnant!) she is realizing the importance of adding “fun” into your regular routine. What is life without great experiences? In 10 years, you’re not going to remember that load of laundry you forgot to fold, or that glass vase your toddler broke or any of these “things” you’re currently stressing over. You will remember the special occasions, the laughs, the stories and the experiences that make you happy on the inside. So I’m going to take a page from Mama Brown and stop stressing so I can have more fun in 2015. You should too!
What are some of your resolutions? How do you plan to grow in 2015?
I am so excited to present fellow mommy blogger Jewel Gould of What About Mommys. Jewel is a wife and mother of three (see her family above!) and decided to turn the painful experience of losing her mom into a positive outlet to celebrate motherhood with her blog What About Mommys. Here she gives us some great advice about surviving the holidays as a parent.
It’s that time of the year where we put up our lights, sip on pumpkin lattes, indulge in all the Holiday foods, and engage in lots of shopping! But more than anything else this season is truly a time to embrace special moments, make new memories, and simply enjoy your family, friends, and loved ones.
Often times we allow ourselves to get overwhelmed or we neglect the things that truly matter most. Yes, as parents, we want to make sure that our kids get all their hearts desire. But it’s also important to maintain your sanity throughout the process as well!
Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you along the way:
Yes we’re decorating, putting up the tree, and buying presents. But remember that there’s a lot more to the season than just the material things. Focus on the “little things”. Making some hot chocolate and snuggling up with the family on a chilly night – truly a priceless memory.
2. Find ways to stay indoors.
A great Holiday movie with some popcorn and laughter is a great choice. Staying indoors around this time eliminates the stresses of being out during the crazy holiday hustle and bustle. It also helps you to save!
Sometimes we have panic attacks over trying to find the “perfect present” for our little ones. But what’s meant to be will be. There’s that perfect doll or truck just waiting to be theirs. So don’t worry, it will all work out.
4. Don’t neglect yourself.
Make certain that you still take care of yourself, even amidst all of the holiday activities. Eat healthy meals, incorporate some physical activity. And simply engage in things that makes you happy.
Now this one is a big one. We can find so many unnecessary things that we need to buy when we don’t stick to our lists! Carefully make your list and stick to it! We’re trying to eliminate stress, so we don’t need the added pressure of buying any extra merchandise.
So there you have it! Have a healthy, happy and stress free Holiday!
I’m really honored to have been featured on mommy blog The Solo Mama chatting all about beauty tips for working moms. Much love and thanks to site founder Regina Sayles for allowing me to share some of my best beauty secrets as a new mom. Here’s a snippet of my story:
Based on these past 10 months as a new mom, here are some quick beauty tips that all working moms should know:
1.Have a go-to hairstyle
Hair is such a major part of your overall beauty look. Many times, it’s the first thing people notice and it really frames your entire look so it’s important to maintain it well. What has helped me tremendously is having a go-to hairstyle. One that I can rely on, that I know I’ll look good in and one that takes me less than 5 minutes to put together. I rely on extensions alot so I make sure to get a style that is easy for me to maintain. It may be a top knot bun or even a french braid. Whatever it is, know how to make it look good in under 5 minutes.
2. Invest in three must-haves: mascara, concealer & lip balm
Gone are the days when I can spend an entire day experimenting with new makeup looks. As part of my job as a style blogger, I do get to do it every once in a while, but when baby is around or when we’re on-the-go, I rely on these three simple products. Concealer is an easy alternative to freshen your complexion without the need for heavy foundation. It will correct small imperfections, help even out those dark circles under your eyes (sleepless nights, we know) and won’t come off when you kiss the kids before they head to school. Mascara is an instant eye opener and an all-around easy product to smooth on in very little time. And lip balm is perfect for keeping lips supple and making it look like you have something on even if you don’t have the time or energy for full-on lipstick.
When it comes to holiday shopping, I’ve always been pretty calm and collected this time of year. I had just a short list of friends and close family members to get gifts for and I’ve never really had to stress about who is or isn’t on my list. I’ve also never really had to worry about buying children’s gifts. That all changed drastically a few years ago when my nephew was born. Then after him another nephew, then another nephew, and now my very own daughter! Now Christmas shopping is an anxiety-inducing game of multi-tasking, making long lists, checking them twice, forgetting someone, making more lists and then eventually crying in a corner. It’s HARD. But it doesn’t have to be. This year, as it’s my very first year as a mom, I decided to pull together a 2014 Ultimate Baby Holiday Gift Guide with just a few of my favorite things that I think make great gifts for babies:
There’s something very special about giving a gift with a child’s name or face on it. They can keep it forever and they never have to fight with anyone else in the house (including siblings) about who it belongs to.
This is by far one of the coolest items I purchased for my little sweet pea before she arrived.I scored this on a discount through Zulily last November and I would undoubtedly purchase from them again. What’s cool is that these plates are totally customizable. Just go to the website and you can enter the baby’s skin complexion, hair type, eye color and even expression!
These Initial Request onesies are a really great gift. Her C is Cadence onesie (although it no longer fits) is still hanging in her nursery and is a really great keepsake. See here for my post about how I named Cadence. This one’s a no-brainer and really affordable considering that it’s personalized.
Paige & Paxton is a great series of puzzles, books and activities geared towards children 6 and under to help engage them in concepts around science and technology. Being the geek that I am, I plan on passing some of that down to my baby girl so giving her books and activities about these topics is going to be really important for me.
I broke these puzzles out for my nephews over Thanksgiving and they spent hours with them. Great gifts!
This book was given as a gift to Cadence and when I saw it I started cracking up. I learned a few things myself from this book. Never too early, right?
Self-Empowerment Books for Kids
Empowering my daughter to be herself and to appreciate her beauty is something that is so important to me. If I can do it through my own blog LoveBrownSugar.com for other women, there’s no reason I can’t do it for my baby girl. Since the very beginning I’ve asserted her with verbal affirmation that she is beautiful. The following books help with that:
All I can say is that I absolutely LOVE this book for young girls with textured hair. Not only are the illustrations beautiful, but it emphasizes a message that is SO important for young girls of color.
I also got some really great hairstyling ideas from it, believe it or not. This one is a must-have for baby girl’s library.
I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley ($6.00)
This was the very FIRST book I purchased for Cadence’s nursery. I knew before she was even born that I wanted to encourage her to embrace her curls. This book was released over 13 years ago all the way back in 2001 and the message is still powerful.
Emi’s Curly Coily Cotton Candy Hair by Tina Olajide ($6.76)
This book about accepting and maintaining curly hair is definitely a must-have as well. We get to see Emi recap her entire process from washing and detangling to wrapping up her hair for bed at night. This was so good I was taking notes! Great book for the young curly-haired girl in your life.
Recently released on Black Friday, author Shannon Ellis tells a story about a young girl named Victoria who brings her favorite toy to school for show & tell. It provides a great message about taking turns, sharing and also about diversity. I loved seeing all the different races and breeds represented in Victoria’s classroom. As someone who grew up in very diverse settings at school, I really appreciate that being emphasized in the story.
Who couldn’t use a gift card? Baby and kid clothes are expensive. And they outgrow them so quickly! Every parent and child will be thankful for a gift card from one of these brands. Here are three of my favorites:
Zulily.com- creative gifts at super low prices! This is where I purchased many of Cadence’s personalized gifts (see above).
GAP – whether it’s a baby or an older kid, GAP has a little something for everyone. This is one of my FAVE places to shop for Cadence.
The clothes are such great quality and they’re classic, which is key to a great kiddie wardrobe.
Old Navy- Old Navy has some of the best PJ’s and stocking stuffers around. They also always have really incredible deals on baby clothes and accessories.
What’s at the top of your holiday gift list for the babies and kids in your life? Anything I forgot to include? Leave a comment! I’m always open to new suggestions.
A few months back, Cadence and I had the opportunity to film with the lovely folks at Essence.com. I was called in to interview with Beauty Editor Deena Campbell about how I maintain Cadence’s hair! It’s actually something I get asked ALL the time whether I’m out in public with her or after posting her pics on social media.
So I’m really happy I had the opportunity to chat with Essence.com about the process and record this video as well. Check it out below:
3 Tips To Maintain Baby’s Curly Hair
1. Use Products With Natural Ingredients
From the very beginning I was very mindful of the ingredients that went into and onto Cadence’s little body. From the food she eats to the products I put on her body, I’m very mindful of exposing her to healthy, natural ingredients. In the beginning, I used purely water, shea butter and coconut oil on her hair.
When Cadence was a smaller baby, her hair actually maintained moisture alot easier. Now that she’s older, I have to add a little extra to it in order to prevent her curls from becoming dry. Even if I don’t “shampoo” her hair during bath time, I always add water to it and I seal in the moisture with a butter or an oil before putting her to bed. I really like this Belle Butters Whipped Shea Butter for sealing in moisture after I rinse her hair. It’s great for twists as well.
3. Minimize Hair Manipulation
When Cadence was first born, I really didn’t do anything to her hair. I’d put a pretty bow on her head and that was it. As I mentioned in the video, less is more when it comes to small babies. You don’t want to do anything that will put too much tension on baby’s tender head.
Now that she’s older and her hair is much longer and thicker, I’ve been experimenting a bit with styling. I braid her hair once a week after our detangling session. Sometimes, I’ll give her two-strand twist/bantu knots. I have been experimenting also with new product lines like the Curly Kids Haircare line. Though it isn’t 100% natural, their ingredients are safe and they have been doing wonders for keeping Cady’s hair tangle-free and manageable.
Any other questions on how to maintain baby’s curly hair? Leave me a comment below! (Moms out there with suggestions of your own – I want to hear from you too!)
There is nothing greater than knowing that you have loving, caring and encouraging people in your life who not only care about you but care about your offspring as well. Cadence’s godmother Jessica Andrews is one such person. Which is why when she sent me this post via email, the minute I started reading, my eyes welled up with tears. She is a proud godmother, a hard worker and in addition to all the fabulous things she does for a living (being a top style blogger, a freelance contributor for publications like the New York Times, Elle and Vanity Fair and an overall amazing human being), she does everything in her power to support me on my journey in motherhood. It’s with pride and honor that I present you with a letter from Jessica on how to be an amazing godmother aka a “Fairy Godmother”:
It was the night before Cadence’s sip-and-see party, and I had piles of printed photo paper sprawled on the living room floor at my Dad’s house, scissors in hand. My Dad walked in and gave me a quizzical look. “Godmother duties,” I explained. He laughed. “You’re not a regular godmother. You’re a fairy godmother.” My Dad has jokes. But he’s right in that I do go above and beyond for my little godbabies, Cadence and Naomi. I don’t do it to get anything in return, or simply to say that I did. I do it out of love. Love, I’ve found, is the source of every Mom’s superpower.
I can’t tell the story of my love for Cadence, without explaining my friendship with her Mom. Christina was my roommate for two years before Cady got here. And it was then that I saw how friends can become family. She was there cheering the loudest when things were going well for me. And she was also there when I was sick, or sad, or scared, or stressed — still cheering me on, still supporting me. She has this way of being honest without judging and always finding the bright side in everything.
When she found out she was pregnant with Cadence, I did everything I could to support her the same way. I went to the store for sandwiches and chips. I tried my best to encourage her as she made the brave journey to motherhood. “Look how much you’ve already sacrificed for your baby,” I’d say, pointing out her move from our apartment in Harlem to New Jersey. “You’re already a great Mom!”
The truth is she’s an even better Mom than I could’ve imagined then. It’s amazing to see your friend take on the most challenging and rewarding role of her life, and do it with such strength and grace. In between feedings and diaper changes and doctor visits, Christina still manages to pursue her own dreams, run her businesses and make sure Cadence’s life is full of fun adventures like water parks and apple-picking. Cadence has so much to be proud of.
Christina makes it look easy, but it’s not. There are many times when she’s juggling a million things at once. I laugh at how she’s always on a conference call handling business and the person on the phone has no idea she’s feeding, rocking or changing Cadence at the same time. That is when I try to step in as her village and her support, alongside Cadence’s Dad, grandparents and her many aunts and uncles (both blood relatives and friends). And we all do it out of love.
My friendship with Christina naturally transferred to her daughter. I loved Cadence before she even got here! And after that chilly day in February when she was born, I learned she’s pretty amazing on her own. I love the way her whole face lights up when she smiles and laughs. I love that she knows the camera and serves face as soon as she hears ‘click’ (#Slaydence). I love that she’s sharp and independent, always figuring out how to do new things on her own. I love seeing the determination on her face when she tries to crawl to the other side of the room, or contemplate how to get her walker past our makeshift chair fort in the kitchen. I love when she dances (on beat…to Beyonce!) or gets excited turning the pages when I’m reading “Goodnight Moon” to her before bed. I love when she lays her little head on my shoulder before going to sleep.
By definition, godparents make a pledge to take care of the child should something happen to their parents. But being a godmom is much more than serving as a stand-in. It’s about supporting the parents as best you can, reinforcing what they teach at home and giving them a break when they ask for it (and especially when they don’t). It’s about being there for the child: being present for lazy days spent watching “Sprout” and playing with toys, and action-packed days visiting the beach or exploring the FAO Schwartz toy store in Manhattan.
I really enjoyed taking both my goddaughters to FAO Schwartz on our first of many goddaughter play dates. Those are the kinds of things my godmom and Aunts did with me growing up. My childhood is full of beautiful memories of trips to the zoo, the beach, the circus, amusement parks, playgrounds, toy stores, kids museums and more. I’m grateful for the chance to create those same memories with Cady. I’m so lucky to be somebody’s “fairy godmother.”
Are you a godmom? What do you love most about it? Please leave a comment & share your stories.
Though I love the convenience and ease of packaged baby foods, from the moment Cadence started eating solids I have been making her food from scratch. Though it’s a much longer process than picking up a pre-prepared jar, I enjoy knowing exactly what’s going into her little tummy because I put it there. Also, I’ve been a BIG proponent of starting my baby off with organic fruits & veggies (full post on that coming soon). As you probably know, organic food is a bit of an investment (see here for my review of organic baby food brand Lizzy’s Garden) so it has been much more cost-effective for me to make handmade food for her. Here’s a quick rundown on how to make baby food at home and my whole process for creating my daughter’s wholesome organic meals:
So I start off with fresh fruits & vegetables. I like to get my organic fruits & veggies from Trader Joe’s because I can shop for Cadence’s food and my favorite foods from there at the same time. I get a combination of fruits and veggies that go well together in purees. Some of Cadence’s favorites include: Apples, Sweet Potatoes, Bananas, Pears, Peas, and Carrots. When she got a little older, I added in more advanced foods like Broccoli, Spinach, Brown Rice, Squash, etc. Consult with your pediatrician to determine the best time to introduce certain foods to your baby.