Uncategorized

Guest Blogger Feature: @priandlivy

photography

Hello! My name is Priscila, and I am the mama behind ig: @priandlivy. I have worked with many shops  for a while now on promoting their brands by being their Brand Rep or Brand Enthusiast. A lot of people ask what these roles mean, so I wrote a post dedicated to explaining exactly what a BR/BE is. Check out my blog www.busymommas.net to get an idea what the whole fuss is about!

I am also the owner of a small Photography business named Photos by Pri. It’s a hobby and a passion that I have, so if you want to check it out, go to ig: @photosby_pri and give me a follow!

For the mamas who are part of the Brand Rep world, we know that taking good pictures is a must! It is actually part of the requirements when you enter a search.

Today, I would like to share with you a couple of tips for taking awesome Brand Rep pictures. These tips will help you take better pictures, improve your editing, and will help you create the perfect setting.

Let’s get started!

1. Cluttered background is not cool. Make sure your background is clean and light. This will bring the attention to your child. Keep in mind that noisy backgrounds cause distractions, and you do not want that when taking a picture for a Brand. This picture will mostly likely be used in the shops Social Media account and/or their website, so make sure it is a bright and clean background. Want to see an example?

unnamed

This is Olivia, my baby girl. On the left, we were trying to promote the teething necklace around her neck. You can see that it is a cute picture, but it is very cluttered. It would be difficult for the shop to use this picture in their website. On the right, is a more light and clean background. We were promoting the headband she’s wearing. This picture can totally be used on a website or anywhere, because the headband is the focus of the picture.

Note that the background doesn’t need to be completely white. Just make sure your little one is the focus of the picture.

2. Setting!

Whether you are using a fancy camera or an iphone to take your pictures, the setting is important. This tip ties with the first one. Have you asked yourself, “How can some people make the background so white?” I have many times until I figured it out how to do it for $3.

Do you remember those white poster boards you used in school to make projects? BINGO! It’s time to use them again.

I went to Walmart and bought two white poster boards. I place one behind Olivia and one under her. That way I was able to have a completely white background.

Take a look!

unnamed3unnamed4

3. Take advantage of those free editing apps!

I don’t like to use filters on my pictures. The only thing that I adjust is the lighting, contrast and vibrance.

Filters tend to change the colors and we dont want that. We need to show the true colors of the products you are trying to promote.

I use Lightroom to edit my pictures. But if Lightroom is not for you, your phone offers editing tools. So use it and play with the picture until you find the perfect set!

Let’s look at an example:

unnamed5

Ladies, don’t think you need to have a light background to take beautiful pictures. You can take amazing pictures anywhere! You just need to know where is the best spot.

If you are at a park, choose a place with less people around. The people behind your child will cause a distraction, and we don’t want that.

Well, that’s it mamas!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did writing it.

I’d love to see some pictures taken by you, so tag me! @priandlivy

Love,

Pri

Advertisements
Uncategorized

Spouse Training Manual

Let me premise this entry by saying that I love my husband.  I do.  He’s a wonderful provider, a great father, he has drive and ambition.  He puts up with the 50 emotions I go through in one day.  He has always been supportive of my dreams.  We’ve been through a lot and have built a great family and life together.  But, sometimes, I just….*punches fist into hand repeatedly* you know? But seriously, contrary to this post, I do love him.

Ok, so a few days ago, I was at the house of one of my munchkin’s friends for a playdate.  His mother asked me to stay for coffee and so I did.  His mom and I actually hit it off pretty well (making a mental note to write an entry about how nervous I am when meeting cool moms; I mean it’s like finding a Unicorn! But I digress).  Anyway, toward the end of the playdate, her husband came home.  She has three kids, only one of whom is over 5, and I have two under 5; as you can imagine, it was a little chaotic.  We must’ve started and never finished conversations on about 20 different topics.  When her husband arrived my children had chosen this as the perfect time to FINALLY sit down and eat their pizza from two hours ago; because children are phenomenally oblivious to overstaying one’s welcome.  Her children had gone over to the couch and were wrestling over the iPad.  Her husband casually walked into the kitchen, fixed himself up a plate, and calmly sat down to eat while scrolling through his phone.  Meanwhile, the kids were climbing and screaming on top of each other on the couch.  This scene was all too familiar to me.  It may as well be my house.  Finally, she had enough and said something to the effect of, “Can you help?”

Cue husband grabbing one of the children and taking her to the other room.  She apologized to me saying, “I’m sorry.  It’s just he sits there calmly eating.  Meanwhile you and I wolfed down our food in two seconds and washed it down with the cold coffee from three hours ago while we wrangle kids.  I just can’t.”  I assured her that she had no need to apologize and that I have been there.  That I had just been there the previous night.  At which point we had a joking conversation about how there should be “husband training.”

Which brings me to my Utopia fantasy in which I envision what this would look like.  Oh and to be progressive and fair, I call it Spousal Training.  And it looks something like this, (this is only the beginning! haha!):

 

Spousal Training

Lesson 1- Pregnancy

You’re both pregnant.  Except when you’re not.

Ex. If she can’t drink during pregnancy, neither can you.  However, don’t mistake this with the entitlement to gripe and complain.  Make no mistake; she’s doing all the hard work.  Praise the ground she walks on.  She’s growing a human being. Her organs are being shoved into her extremities by the cutest intruder, who incidentally is constantly playing kickball with her bladder.

Lesson 2- Birth & Infancy

Let’s get one thing straight: You’re never going to sleep again.  And no, it’s not ok to sleep in on weekends because you have the “go to an office/building and get paid” job.  Her job is just as important; though she doesn’t get paid, she’s responsible for keeping the tiny human alive.  Not to mention she is responsible for shaping this tiny human into a decent and kind adult. If she has to be up; so can you.

Lesson 3- Household Chores

Ok, people. It’s 2017. Yes, being a SAHP (stay at home parent; I see you, Stay at Home Dads!), technically means that you have more time to cook and clean. TECHNICALLY.  But practically speaking, any SAHP will tell you this is rarely the reality.  Here’s my view: we all live in the house together, we all should help clean up.  When you have children under 5, this is hard to enforce. BUT; there are small chores some kids 2-4 can help with like cleaning up toys and getting in the habit of putting their clothes in the hamper and shoes in the closet.  It’s never to early.  On that note; working parents, yes, I know you’re tired at the end of the day.  But guess, what? So is your Stay At Home Spouse who’s been working hard to keep the tiny humans alive, fed, in one piece, entertained, and keep the house clean.  Lead by example and pitch in.  Even one load of laundry and the dishes can swoon a SAHP. (Hint hint, wink wink)

Lesson 4- Eating

Ok, I don’t know what else to call this.  But, as in the example of my mom friend; you do not get to come home and sit calmly with your phone and your dinner while havoc ensues around you.  Hey, we get it you’ve had a long day and you’re hungry.  Same for your Stay At Home Spouse.

Lesson 5- Be A Team

Ok.  All jokes aside.  Bottom line.  Be A Team.  Not every family gets to have a designated SAHP; some families have to have two working parents who do have to conquer and divide all child-rearing and housekeeping tasks.  And while some SAHPs have always dreamt of being a SAHP, others give up dream careers to offer a SAHP to your tiny humans.  So let’s be a team.

Any other ‘lessons’ anyone wants to contribute to my budding “Spouse Training Manual”?

Career & Mommyhood · Uncategorized

The Hustle While A SAHM

If you know me or follow my blog Instagram feed; you’ve come to know that I joke around a great deal.  Mostly about motherhood because, sometimes when the going gets tough, laughter is the only way to keep from losing your mind.  And if you’re a SAHM, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how many times a day I feel like I’ve lost my mind.  But, also if you know me, even virtually; you know I like to be honest about the ups and downs of motherhood.

And on that note; the past month has been rough.  My husband has had a particularly demanding schedule at work (he’s an attorney, so particularly demanding is an ever higher level than normal); he’s traveled on and off for three weeks and has had last minute projects that have kept him at the office until late.  In addition to that, we’ve had a lot of family  and friend commitments; visits, birthdays, holidays, and weddings.  All good things; but all things that have made life busier than normal.  This is not to mention the fact that I’ve been volunteer teaching dance at the munchkin’s school and they’re performance is coming up, plus I’ve had to schedule in daily time blocks to work with her on her letters as I realized she’s been having trouble learning them.  All this translates into my being unable to write or create as my chores and responsibilities have been a larger load than usual.  As someone who is trying to pursue a career in writing and producing; deadlines are extremely important.  However, after I’ve given so much of myself throughout the day, it’s been hard these past few weeks to sit at my laptop at 11 o’clock at night and write anything of substance.  My brain and creativity are fried.

Working as a mother is hard.  Many women who already have established careers, find it is very discouraging to try to come back to their careers after time away to have children.  In fact, in the United States, most women go back to work early because the fear the risk of losing their jobs.  So, I feel trying to start a new career while raising children is even harder.  I don’t want to miss out on my children’s lives and experiences and I want to be here for them but I also want them to know a woman CAN be a mother and a career driven woman simultaneously.

This past week though, it has felt like an impossible dream.  I have to fight my natural pessimistic tendencies, so I try to stay positive as much as I can.  However, without family support nearby or a disposable income to cover the astronomical cost of childcare; it feels like I’m swimming upstream.  My husband put it best; “You’re essentially trying to do two full time jobs.”  It has been a trying month culminating in a week of feeling utterly defeated.

Have you faced these obstacles as well? How to you find a way to do both? How do you get through the grueling and demanding weeks? Anyone else have the same issue with deadlines (when life gets in the way?)?  I’d love to hear from you all in my momster tribe community!

Love,

Nahyr

Uncategorized

Potty Training in 3 days- The Second Time Around


Or “Living in my PJ’s for 4 days.”
by, Nahyr Galaz Ruiz
I bet this is what you envisioned, right? Ha. I did too..once.
So,  Monday I began potty training my youngest.  She’s been demonstrating signs of readiness for almost two months and I just haven’t been ready.  I’m doing the 3 day strategy just as I did with my first.  Since this week is Spring Break, (no school for big sis) and the hubby isn’t traveling, it seemed like the perfect week.  In case you aren’t familiar with the 3-day method; you have to commit to bunkering down in your house for 3 days.  That’s right, you’re home-bound with a TODDLER for THREE DAYS.  
Day 1:
We take off the LAST diaper. I put a tee on her and tell her today no more diapers; she tosses it inside the diaper pail.  I explain today we’re going “Pee Pee in Potty.” G is THRILLED. She’s naked and free; why wouldn’t she be.  I’M thrilled! “This is going to be great,” I think to myself.  I did this with S; started on a Monday and by Sunday we had a FULL day at Disneyland with only one accident late at night.
I sit her on the potty and pump her full of juice.  Not a drop.
10 minutes later….
 Her first accident.  “G, Pee Pee in Potty. Not on the floor,” I say as I sit her on the potty and clean it up.  Big Sis S is freaking out.  I explain to her that its OK and part of the process.
I give G more juice.   S tells me, “You shouldn’t give her more juice.  She’s just gonna pee.” She’s not wrong.  But that’s the idea.
 9:10am G poops in potty!!! I know it’s a fluke but I take it; she didn’t freak out and that’s a WIN!!! G gets TWO M&M’s & a fun and silly potty dance!!! 
11:15am-1:15pm All Accidents.
By noon I’m questioning my sanity and asking myself why I’m doing this to myself A SECOND time.  Like labor, I seem to have blocked out the roughest parts and only remember the happy bliss at the end…WHY?!
1:00pm  Nap Time.  THANK GOD.  I slip training underwear on her and put a pee pad down on her crib mattress.  She nestles up to her blanky and Tigger.
1:15pm *Crying* Noooooo….I run to her room to discover she’s peed; in three different places.  Miraculously, Tigger and blanky are OK.  I suddenly remember; Nap & Night Training where gradual additions over the course of a couple months the first time.  I slip an easy-up on her.  She naps without interruption.
2:30pm She’s awake with a full easy-up.  I remind myself that that’s not today’s battle and to stay focused.  We visit the potty anyway. After 15 minutes; NADA.  Pitstop in the kitchen to get her a snack.
2:33pm She pees what seems like a GALLON.  I’m not sure I can get through this. The rest of the day is all accidents;  a few times I’m able to get her to finish in the potty.  I feel like this is impossible.
 What feels like several years later it’s 8pm.  I slip G into an Easy Up and call it a night.  Should I pour myself a glass of wine? I fall asleep contemplating the answer.
Day 2:
 7:45am G Wakes up, I sit her on the potty. Nothing.  We take the potty to our bunker set up in the TV room.
8:20am  G goes pee in her potty…I think I see the light!
Two accidents.
11:25am Pee in potty! Yay!!!
That’s the last success.  The rest of the day until bedtime is all accidents.  One of them while sitting on my lap.
Day 3:
8:30am Both G and I wake up exhausted.  I feel terrible for S; she’s been neglected, hasn’t gone outside and has been confined to the TV room with us for going on 3 days; on the bright side she’s handling it like a champ.  Might have something to do with the plethora of movies we’ve been renting and the getting to eat in the TV room (I never allow that), or the crafts in their small table in the TV room.
By the end of Day 3, G has had four accidents; one of them on me again.  I feel defeated.
Day 4:
On Day 4 you’re supposed to leave the house for an hour; I decided I was too scared.  After sitting on the potty for almost a half hour in the morning, G pooped in the hallway while I was trying to get her sister to put on socks.  THIS IS  MOTHERHOOD.
The new neighbors invite us out to play in the front yard….I oblige because S is so excited and she’s been so patient and understanding.  During the hour that we’re outside, I take G twice to the potty…nothing. Within 5 minutes of the second time she has an accident.  On the neighbor’s porch.  BUT: it’s 5pm and so far only 2 accidents!!!  Papi gets home and we decide to go as a family to have dinner and run Easter errands.
NO ACCIDENTS THROUGHOUT DINNER! 2 successful potty visits! YAY!!!
(When you become a parent, getting excited about poop and pee becomes perfectly normal.)
7pm After a successful potty run with Papi, G has an accident in the middle of the pet section.  Papi is mortified.  Twenty minutes later, another accident in the electronics section.  It’s time to go home. 
Day 5:
We have planned to see the Easter Bunny at a local train park, but I’m really nervous.  As soon as she wakes, we sit G on the potty.  After 45minutes; NOT A DROP.  I dress her in a tee and undies and take her Easter outfit in the trunk; I’m convinced she’s going to have an accident.  Upon arrival, we immediately set up the portable potty in my trunk and have her sit; after a few minutes, success!  We go into the park.
We arrived at the park at 10:15am and left at 2pm; only one accident.
At home we decorate eggs and make cupcakes, both girls nap, and we do our own hunt and bunny visit.  NO ACCIDENTS the rest of the day!
FINALLY SOME PROGRESS! After a week of intense potty training, G had a long, full day and only ONE accident! Woo Hoo!
Oh god. I hope I didn’t jinx tomorrow….Just in case; Jinx back, double pinkie, round the side, double pinkie, jinx back.
Please share your potty training stories and experiences!
Uncategorized

Always Magical Disney Adventures!

New Disney Experiences

by, Nahyr Galaz Ruiz

It’s no secret that we are a HUGE Disney family.  If you’re one of our out-of-town close friends, you’ve most likely been repeatedly offered to come stay at our house and come with us to Disneyland and/or Disney California Adventure.  Since we live a short sixteen minute drive away and are AP holders, we frequent Disneyland as often as we can!  We also love going with friends and family, so if you’re one of our peeps; we’ll most likely keep offering *chuckles*
Even though we are seasoned Disney-goers (we’ve been going as a family since Sia was 20 months old), almost every time we go we discover something new or do something we’ve never done before! It’s truly magical!   This past Sunday we visited Disneyland and opted to stay in the one park for the day.  Despite how often we usually go, due to work commitments, school, and travel; we hadn’t been able to get our Disney fix in a few weeks and we were really excited about finally remembering to participate in Disney’s annual Easter Eggstravaganza egg hunt! 
Easter Eggstravaganza
If you’ve never been at Disneyland for this event, I highly recommend it; particularly if you have children 5 and under (it’s not very challenging for older kids but we even saw some adults participating in the fun!).  To participate, you purchase the egg hunt map for $5.99 (plus tax) at a designated kiosk  This year, the small table under a red umbrella was located as soon as you enter the park on the right-hand side just past the Great Moments with Lincoln attraction tucked away in the corner where the characters disappear to for their break.  Be careful! We almost missed it! It’s pretty tucked away if you don’t know what to look for!  For $5.99 (plus tax)  you get your map and stickers to go hunt for all 12 eggs; once you’ve found them all, you return to the kiosk to redeem your map for your prize- an exclusive, Disney themed egg! You have until Sunday, April 16th to partake in this fun Disney tradition!!!  There are also different maps at Downtown Disney and DCA respectively; we’re going to attempt the other two maps as well!
Our spoils!
Character Breakfast 

After we picked up our maps, we decided we were hungry.  (We had left the house in a whirlwind rush and, while we packed snacks and juice, we didn’t actually eat breakfast).  While I snapped some reppin photos of Gavi’s dress, the hubby scouted a breakfast place to dine in.  We had never eaten at the Plaza Inn so he wandered on in.  It turns out we lucked out! The Plaza Inn usually requires advanced reservations due to its popularity for its Character Breakfast Buffet!  
We were all very excited to “discover” this experience; we had done the Character Breakfast at DisneyWorld but thought it was only available at the Disney hotel here in Cali- goes to show you that we don’t know EVERYTHING.  The girls had an absolute blast and the food was delish (I even broke my diet a little bit to sneak in some mickey mouse waffles…shhhh).  What’s neat is one of Disney’s photographers is stationed near the entrance to snap some cute photos of you and your littles.  They’ll come to your table and show you your printed photos for purchase.  Your also of course free to take as many photos as you’d like with your own cameras and devices and the characters come around and stop at each table.
Gavi was a little apprehensive about seeing her beloved characters up close, but Sia LOVED talking to each character and giving them a BIG HUG.

Finally 40 inches tall!
The egg hunt and character breakfast weren’t our only new Disney experiences, though.  Turns out our oldest, Sia, is finally 40 inches and could ride on a few big kid rides! This means she can now go on Star Tours, HyperSpace Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain!  
As we don’t normally do the big kid rides (because until now she wasn’t tall enough!), we didn’t arrive early enough to get a fast pass for HyperSpace Mountain, but that’s now high on our priority list for our next visit!
She did however, go on Star Tours, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain.  My daredevil child loved these rides and can’t wait to go on them again! This time around her daddy took her on them.  We did use the Child Switch pass for Star Tours but as I had a sore throat/cold, I refrained from riding anything that makes you scream! 
If you have littles, I highly recommend the Child Switch pass (most theme parks have them!), the adult who stands in line (whether FastPass or StandBy doesn’t matter) with the child tells the attendant that they will need a Child Switch Pass (note the other adult and young child need to be visible to the attendant so don’t run off just yet!).  The attendant hands you the pass and when your spouse or other adult exits the ride with your child,  you then get to use the pass and your child gets to ride twice! The second time you just walk right through with your pass; no waiting!  It’s a really great option for families with both young and older kiddos!
Sia totally ready for a second go at Star Tours, Mommy used the Child Switch Pass!

 

When you exit Star Tours, I highly recommend a stop in the Star Tours shop to build your own lightsaber and join the Rebel Alliance! May the Force be with you!

My little daredevil completely unfazed by the drop!

While Big Sis and Daddy rode Splash Mountain, Gavi and I went on the Winnie Pooh ride, met Tigger and Winnie Pooh (again) at the 100 acre wood meet and greet and shopped for Gavi’s first Disney stuffed animal.  (She has others she’s been given, but this would be the first time I take her to pick one for herself like I did her big sis!).  When we first entered the shop, Gavi made a dash for the Minnies and I was sure she’d pick one of them. Except she didn’t want one Minnie. 

She wanted ALL OF THE MINNIES.
(Blurry shots happen when mom tries to take photos while simultaneously making sure the toddler doesn’t run out of the store with 20 Minnies in tow)
Things changed as soon as she spotted Tigger on shelf nearby.  She immediately dropped all of the Minnies (Sorry, Minnie!), and ran over on her tiptoes squealing and gesturing for me to pull one down for her.  She’s found her Disney bestie.  Fitting since Tigger is as playful, bouncy, and smiley as Gavi and Pooh Bear is Sia’s bestie!
Her new Disney bestie!
From Character Dining, to a an egg hunt through the park, to new rides; our Disney visits never cease to be MAGICAL.

Uncategorized

Kids repeat EVERYTHING…


 

Kids repeat EVERYTHING.  Before I go into details, I want to preface this post with explaining to those of you that don’t know, that we’re a bilingual family raising our children bilingual (post on that to follow).
That said, sometimes on occasion either my husband or I will think of something in Spanish that doesn’t quite translate to English properly.  That’s the best case scenario.  Once in a while it’ll happen that it does translate but the translation is inappropriate.  #bilingualspeakerproblems
A couple days ago, my husband, girls and I met up for dinner with my good friend, T.   It was the first time that the girls had finally had the opportunity to meet T, so my eldest was understandably excited.  I had also just bought her a unicorn plush toy with a matching backpack and a little plush dog that she was eager to share with T.  She showed T her unicorn and he asked her, “What’s your unicorn’s name?” 
“I don’t know,” she replied distractedly playing.  “Your unicorn doesn’t have a name?!” T exclaimed bewildered.  “You gotta give her a name,” he continued, “How about Sparkle?”
“No,” she replied.  “Star?” he suggested.  “Mmm No,” she said.  Then my husband, thinking of the fact that the unicorn had a horn and translating in his head from Spanish “Cuernito” (little horn), he chimed in, “What about Horny?”
As soon as the word left his mouth, we both reacted (which in retrospect, we shouldn’t have; rookie mistake!).  “Alex!” I gasped as he dug his face in his hands and said “I know, as soon as I said it I heard it.”
Meanwhile, T is laughing his royal-tushy off.  Remember my first sentence? Kids repeat EVERYTHING.  So, what did my daughter name her unicorn? Horny.
Welcome to Parenthood.
Three days later I was able to convince her after suggesting several names, to rename her unicorn Princess like the unicorn toy that T told her he rescued from the garbage on one of his travels.  Judge all you want; I didn’t want to have to explain the original name to her preschool teacher or the other parents.
Have you ever accidentally said anything inappropriate in front of your kids that they then repeated? By all means, share in the comments!
Uncategorized

Healthy Momma, Happy Momma


 Healthy Momma, Happy Momma

by Nahyr Galaz Ruiz

As women we constantly juggle an endless list of roles; mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, professional, community member…the list goes on.  Our various roles demand our last shred of energy and sometimes sanity; this is why self-care is so important.  And yet, self-care is what we tend to neglect the most.  There’s a reason why the flight attendant instructs you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first then your child; because you can’t take care of anyone else until you take care of yourself. 
And yet so often we put the oxygen mask on everyone else before ourselves; sometimes not even putting it on at all. 
This past week I received a not so gentle reminder of why it’s important to prioritize self-care.  Trust me; I KNOW the struggle.  You’re talking to the queen of “stuffing my face with cookies and chocolate while locked in my bathroom,” and the “2 minutes after my kids are in bed you can find me sneaking ice cream on the couch straight from the tub.” I’m also the master of “its 9pm and I’ve had a handful of goldfish, coffee, and a mint all day.”  I realized though; that I can’t be my best self for my sweet, beautiful girls if I’m not taking care of myself.  So this week I joined Beachbody and have begun drinking their shakes, working out daily, and have been working on eating healthier.
Let’s be real for a sec; it’s hard.  But in the long term it is completely worth it.  Last night I had to squeeze in my workout at 9:30pm and shake at 10pm.  This morning I did my workout as soon as I returned from dropping off my eldest at preschool; I had to pause a couple times because my 19 month old was gleefully weaving between my limbs (planking with a toddler commando crawling under you is a CHALLENGE!); but I got it done- Nevermind that my 19 month old transferred our dog’s dry food from her bowl to her water bowl to make puppy cereal while I was finishing my workout…Never mind that.  So I get it, it’s hard to find spaces to take care of yourself.  But If that wakeup call from my hubby’s doctor visit taught me anything is that you just have to; there are tiny humans relying on you for everything; Love, Energy, Support, Learning, Comfort, Food, Health- EVERYTHING.  Let’s be our best selves so we can provide it!
And let’s support each other through it! I’m actively looking for healthy fish, chicken, and salad recipes to add to my lunch and dinner planning for my family! Feel free to comment with your yummiest and healthiest recipes! I’ll be your village; share if you’ve started a journey to health or if you’ve been on one for a while already! I’d love to hear from you fierce mommas!