Monday, March 16, 2015

My Skincare Routine

I'm 100% a product junkie. I always have been. I love finding the next best thing and trying it out. But in 2012 when I got pregnant with my first son Niko, how I looked at beauty products changed.  I began to look into what is actually in all of the products we use today.  What I found really worried me, actually shocked me. There was no way I wanted some of the ingredients in these everyday products going to my baby, and so I decided to switch all of the products I was using to organic / natural products... except makeup. I haven't actually found an all natural or organic makeup line that I love, that has great pigments etc. So makeup is probably the only beauty product I use that isnt made up of organic or natural ingredients.

Pregnancy has really changed me for the better. I was really extreme with Niko while I was pregnant however.  I wouldn't even go into a hair or nail salon. Instead, I opted to do my nails myself until a few days before my scheduled csection with him.  And since then Ive stuck with my new all natural "habit".
My go to nail polish that is free of all nasties, vegan and even safe to use on kids is Ella & Mila

Funny enough, I remember after I stopped nursing Niko at 5 months (my milk just dried up) and I finally went to have my first facial in over a year I remember my facialist telling me how good my skin stayed after all this time. And its true!  From feeling like my skin NEEDED a facial every month to going over a year without one, my skin looked better than ever. Sure, I had a few clogged pores and maybe my skin was a bit dull- but it was nowhere as congested as it was before switching to all natural products.

I strongly believe in the power to heal and treat things naturally, and I educate myself all the time on new remedies and all natural products that can help myself or my friends and family. When I post pictures of myself on my instagram account, I get tons of people asking me what I use, or what foundation I'm wearing. The truth is, I dont wear foundation, EVER! ONLY if Im going out at night or have an event or party to go to, but on a daily basis, I cant stand the feeling of foundation on my skin, and I dont like that I cant snuggle up to my boys in fear of them getting a reaction to the makeup. So hearing people rave about my skin makes me really happy and confident in the all natural beauty products I have been using.

So, below I have listed all of the natural products that I currently use and have used in the past.

Current Skincare:

 I love just browsing different stores and website and seeing what products are out there and the ingredients in them. I came across a company called Sibu Beauty that looked interesting so I immediately checked all the products from their company on the website to see how the ingredients ranked as far as toxic or safe. All of the products I was interested in purchasing were in the green zone (safe zone)- AND they are also 100% VEGAN!  One of the main ingredients is Sea buckthorn. They smell nice, arent sticky, a little on the pricey side but if you go on their website they have a 10% off coupon if you give your email address... or just type in (exit10) at checkout.
Since using their products, my skin feels and looks amazing.
 Below are the products I currently use from this company.

Sibu Beauty

I love their eye cream!!!

The scrub I dont currently have but I just ordered it.

When I was pregnant with Niko, and before I started using Sibu,  I used a company called Acure which I really loved as well. Both of these companies are sold at Wholefoods, which have a great return policy, if you try something and you hate it you can bring it back no problem.   After browsing their website I just realized how many other and new products they have. I think Im going to order some from this brand again. I really loved their day time moisturizer.
Acure is also certified organic !!!

Along with face care, I also used Acures body lotion and shampoo & conditioner. Below are the ones I purchased.. I loved them as well.

After finishing these hair care products I discovered another all natural company and their shampoo and conditioner have been my favorite. I felt that it gave my hair so much volume. These are also sold at Wholefoods.
**** OMG, went to their website to grab pics to post on my blog and I just saw that they have an entire range of products from hair care to skin care, to hair tools and beyond. I think Ill have to order some of their other products and test them out.

Intelligent Nutrients

My go to every time for sunless tanning cream and tanning spray solution is from EcoTan. The best I have ever used, and its completely safe to cover your entire body with while pregnant, nursing or not, and know your baby is safe from harsh chemicals and toxins.

Thats it for now.
Ill do a post on what makeup I use in a separate post.
Again, please leave questions and comments in the comment section. Hope you love teh products as much as I do.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Where Has The Time Gone & Homemade Goat Milk Formula

I cant believe it's almost been a year since  I posted about my son Niko's first birthday party.  Since then so much has happened... As most of you know I had my second son in October 2014; Konstantino, aka Tino. He is now 5 months old. Tino and Niko are so different. I mean, they look similar but so different as well.  I remember the feeling the first time I saw Tino, wondering who he looked like, how he doesn't look like Niko, but does at the same time. He sounded different, his head and face were different, yet they were also so similar...  brothers for sure. I still cant believe Im a mom of 2, and 2 boys at that. They are 16 months apart, and as time goes on, and Tino is getting older, it's so cute to see Niko and him interact.
Ive become a pro at boy toys and games. I think I get just as excited as Niko does when I bring him home cars, or motorcycles and fire trucks... He is such a boy. Me being such a girly girl, I was always scared "what am I going to do with a boy", but you just figure it out, and I love it. Having boys is so much fun.  My husband and I are for sure having more babies, definitely 1, MAYBE 2 more LOL. But for now my body needs a break. Just 6 months after Niko (who was born via csection bc he was breech) I was pregnant again with Tino- so my husband and I need to be REALLY careful bc Im just not ready yet.
Speaking of them growing up and getting older, I cant believe my Niko will be 2 years old in 2 months... 2!!!!! It feels like just yesterday I was writing in my blog about my experience trying to conceive, and then finally having him... and now he's going to be 2.  He seriously looks like a 3 year old.
I love watching Niko.. Children are so amazing. No fear, so innocent, can talk to anyone and make friends with anyone. And the way they learn so fast is amazing. He literally repeats everything. Ill tell him a color or a new word just one time and he's got it.. Their learning ability is just amazing.

And my Tino, he is so smiley and calm- a Libra for sure. Complete opposite of Niko. Niko was a more serious baby always analyzing his surroundings and people, but now that he is a bit older he has gotten so silly and smiles and laughs all the time. It doesnt mean he wasnt a happy baby- he's just different then Tino. Tino smiles all day long, at everything. He's very content on his own for longer than Niko was, he loves his wubbanub (pacifier), Niko hated them. He loves the motorized swing, Niko hated it lol.
As for me, Ive been on a roller coaster of health issues since having Tino.  I had an amazingly easy pregnancy as I did with Niko. Spent most of my pregnancy in Greece during the summer- and then gave birth to Tino in London with the same Dr I used for Niko- Dr. Tg Teo- actually Professor Teo,  at the private Lindo Wing at St. Marys hospital (via csection again since I wasnt fully recovered from my first csection).  Im hoping with my next Ill be able to try VBAC (vaginal birth after csection)... Its always been my dream.
Anyway, after having Tino I ended back in the hospital numerous times for horrible stomach and back pains.. So bad to the point that I could barely walk.  I have a  pretty good tolerance for pain- so for me to ask my husband to take me to the hospital he knew something was really wrong. At first they said it was just pains of recovering from a csection, then they thought well maybe fluid was stuck in my spine from the epidural.  Then they thought I got an infection from the catheter , which I did and it gave me a horrible UTI the day I left the hospital.  So they put me on an antibiotic to get rid of it- but although they said it was safe to breastfeed while taking it, I didnt feel comfortable, so I pumped and dumped, but 3 days into the 7 day coarse I felt better, so I stopped taking the meds bc I wanted to nurse again. Well, bad move on my part. The infection came back so strong that I again had these horrible back pains. I finally called my dr and told him, " I can feel something in my stomach, like a ball and I can move it around". He then suggested I go in for an Ultrasound to see what was going on. Long story short- there was fluid in my extremely swollen kidney causing me all of this pain in my stomach and in my back "flank" as they say. From there I had to see numerous Drs and under go a hand full of scans until they determined that it was a PUJ/UPJ and that I would need surgery to fix it.... I was devastated. Sure, Ive had my fair share of elective surgeries BEFORE having kids, but Ive never had to have surgery for something because there was a problem which was out of my control. Having kids changes things. I no longer could selfishly just choose to go have a surgery and have no fear because I didnt have the responsibility of these 2 little lives that depended so much on me. I hope that makes sense... its just different now. So in February, 4 months after having my son and a few weeks before my 30th birthday I checked in at USC Keck Medical Hospital for keyhole surgery (Laparoscopic surgery) on my kidney.

My Dr was Dr Gerhard Fuchs, one of the best in his field. He was so nice and really went above and beyond before, during, and after the surgery.  I spend 3 long days in the hospital by myself. My husband stayed with me all throughout the day and always managed to make me smile- even when I was falling apart but then would go home to be with our boys. All I cared about was them...
I was scared... so scared, scared for my life. But I'm happy I did it. I feel healthy now. Apparently bc of the thinning of the wall of my kidney they could tell that I have had this condition for years... maybe even my entire life, but it didnt become a problem until after I had Tino. An artery and a vein were crossing putting a clamp in the ureter tube which connects the Kidney and the Bladder, so they had to cut, move and reconnect it.. I then had a catheter in for a week- which was HORRIBLE! And a stent in for 4 weeks. Removing the stent wasnt as bad as I thought but definitely not something Id like to have to do again. In between all of this I tried my hardest to nurse Tino, but I was stressed, scared and in pain, so 2 months after he was born I just couldn't do it anymore.
My keyhole incisions
Formula Problems.

I started Tino on Holle Organic formula because thats what I had Niko on and he did really great with it, but I felt it made Tino really gassy.  I then switched him to HIPP organic which he tolerated much better. But all of a sudden his skin became super dry, no lotion would help him. I felt horrible because  he was covered with spots of red bumpy dry patches; it looked painful.  I decided to try goat milk formula instead because its much more easily digested then cows milk. I turned to my favorite book , Nourishing Traditions, and looked up the Homemade goat milk recipe. After 2 weeks I saw an incredible improvement in his skin. He responded well with it and it made me so happy to see and feel his beautiful baby skin.

Below Ive included the recipe I used for Tino at home. I recently had to change it because of traveling, as this is something I make fresh everyday and has to be refrigerated. I had to figure out an easy way to make enough bottles to last a 14 hr day including an 11 hr flight from LA to Switzerland. Also below is what I did to travel and then the new, simpler recipe to use while Im away from home.

Tino's Homemade Goat Milk Formula
Combination of Westin A Price/ Nourishing Traditions and Organic & Thrifty.
makes about 36oz.


4 cups of filtered water

4 scoops of Meyenberg whole Goat milk. 

1/4 cup homemade liquid whey- Use only homemade whey made from yoghurt, kefir or separated raw milk. This is really easy to make however you need a cheese cloth and for the yogurt to sit out over night. This was one of the ingredients I could not do while traveling but I loved it for Tino)

1/4 teaspoon Infant Probiotic- (bifidobacterium infantis) follow product instructions

2 tablespoons good quality cream (preferably not ultra pasteurized)

1/2 teaspoon high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil ( bought mine from Green Pastures)

1/4 teaspoon high-vitamin butter oil  (also from Green Pastures)

1 teaspoon expeller-expressed sunflower oil

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons Frontier brand nutritional yeast flakes

2 teaspoons gelatin

2 cups filtered water

1/4 teaspoon acerola powder

1 -2 tsp organic blackstrap molassas (start with less, add more if needed. This provides B-vitamins, iron, trace minerals, and helped relieve constipation.) (If stools are too loose, decrease amount!)

2 tsp - Grade B organic maple syrup (to substitute lactose powder or you can use Turbanido Sugar)

How I make the homemade Whey

All of the ingredients I use for my Homemade Goat milk formula.. Most can be bought at Wholefoods or on Amazon.

Here is How I made it:

In my blender I added 2 cups of water.
-Then I added the 4 scoops of goat milk powder
-Then in a pan I put 1 cup of water, the gelatin and nutritional yeast flakes 
-put pan on lowest heat and wait for the gelatin to melt, stir occasionally. I add the yeast flakes to the pan because i felt like they would clog the bottle if just added to the cold formula. So this worked well for us.
- I measured out 1 more cup and left it to the side.
-Then I added the dry ingredients such as the acerola powder, and probiotic
-Then the heavy cream and liquid whey
-Then I added the olive oil and sunflower oil to the blender
-Now that theres oil on the teaspoon- i added the molasses as its very sticky- so this helps it to fall right off into the blender
-Take pot off stove, stir in your coconut oil and High vitamin butter oil. 
-Then I added the last cup of water to the pan to cool it off before adding it to the mix.
-I would blend quickly on low all of the ingredients currently in the blender and then add and blend again everything from the pan.

Lastly- I would pour 3oz at a time into Glass baby bottles. I did this because I felt that some of the ingredients would settle by the time I got to the last bottle so I tried to make it as even as possible. Tino in now drinking 7 oz so I do about 3 rounds of pouring into each bottle.

** Note: In europe I found it easier to use an electric teapot to boil 1 cup of water - pour into a coffee mug and then simply add in the gelatin, yeast flakes  , coconut oil and high vitamin butter oil. Stir and then pour into the extra cup holding the 4th additional cup of cool water. Then add everything to the blender.  You can use this method with the Tubanido sugar in the below recipe as well. 

This formula worked the best for Tino. His skin was amazing!!! Always consult your Dr or Pediatrician before hand.

How To Travel With Homemade Goat Milk Formula:

I looked everywhere for a blog on how to travel LONG distances when feeding your little one homemade goat milk formula, and I couldn't find anything for the life of me. I did find a Q&A on Mt. Capra's website but their way of traveling with all the oils separate and this and that just didn't seem practical to do when on an aircraft or moving vehicle and have a screaming hungry baby. Measuring out oils... I don't think so.
So I thought to myself... "why does this formula have to be refrigerated"? Oils don't have to stay in the fridge, sugar, acerola powder and molasses don't have to stay in the fridge... What puts an "expiration date" on the homemade goat milk formula is mainly the goat milk.  Ok, so the infant probiotic has to be kept in a fridge, but if he has that once in his morning bottle before traveling, I don't need to include it in all the others. 
I figured out that I could mix EVERYTHING in the new formula I was going to use while traveling  and just keep out the powdered goat milk in pre measured formula containers and mix it in when Tino was ready for a bottle. Then all I would have to do is stick it into my travel bottle warmer and Its ready to go!!!!! Gosh, I felt like a damn genius LOL.
My Kitchen the night before traveling 

New Goat Milk Formula When Away from Home- 
based on the Westin A Price and Mt. Capra recipes:

Ingredients- makes about 36 oz. ( This is what Im currently using while away from home for 1 month)
-4 cups of water
-2 scoops of Meyenberg powdered goat milk formula
-2 table spoons Mt. Capra Goat milk formula ( I couldn't get enough Meyenberg before leaving the states)
-2 tsp coconut oil
-1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sunflower oil
-2 table spoon organic Turbinado sugar ( could stick with maple syrup )
-1/2 -1 teaspoon molasses (depending on stool)
-1/4 tsp infant probiotic (follow product instructions based on age or weight)
-1/8 tsp infant powder multi vitamin (again, it says 1/4 for 6 months so i decreased it based on age)
-1 scoop Mt. Capra colostrum
- 1ml DHA - goes based on age/weight- should be 2ml but Im also using Cod liver oil so Im splitting        the dosage
-1/8 acerola powder
-1/8 high vitamin butter oil
-1/4 tsp fermented cod liver oil

So there were a few things in the Nourishing Traditons recipe that I really loved and didnt want to give up, like the acerola powder, high vitamin butter oil, cod liver oil and sunflower oil. So I combined the 2  recipes to how I felt they worked best. I would normally just stick with meyenger goat milk but I couldnt find enough cans of it before leaving but was able to get 2 containers of Mt. Capra- so i mix them together however when I go home Ill be switching back to meyenberg... I think he reacted better to it on its own.

Heres How to Prep Individual Bottles of Homemade Goat Milk Formula for Traveling (that don't need to be kept cool):
Homemade Goat Milk formula ready for travel.
I looked up on Mt Capra's recipe card to see their recipe based on an 8oz bottle. Being that Tino was drinking about 7oz I made it easier on myself and just made them all 8 oz. For an 11 hr flight plus 5 additional hours I estimated I needed 1 bottle for every 2 hours... Thats a lot obviously but I needed to over plan rather than under plan. Always expect the unexpected.  So I decided to make 6 travel bottles that did not have to be kept in a  cooler for traveling.

In one bottle I added -
-8oz of water
- 1/2 tsp already melted coconut oil
-1/4 tsp olive oil
-1/4 tsp sunflower oil
-1 tablespoon Turbinado sugar
-1/8 tsp molasses
-divided the 1ml of DHA into the 6 bottles (doesn't have to be perfect)
-divided the 1/4 tsp cod liver oil into the 6 bottles (again, doesn't have to be perfect)
- divided the 1/8 tsp acerola powder into 6 bottles (doesn't have to be perfect)
-divided the 1/8 tsp pre melted high vitamin butter oil into 6 bottles (doesn't have to be perfect)

I then measured out the 1 tablespoon powdered goat milk into my Tommee Tippee formula holders and put them into ziplock bags. 

These bottles do not have to be in a fridge!!! It made traveling so easy. When Tino was ready I added the powdered goat milk, gave it a good shake, and popped it into my Tommee Tippe travel bottle warmer. It was perfect. This is even good if you're heading out for the day but dont want to bring along a insulated bag with lots of ice packs plus your diaper bag and personal items lol... Babies require a lot of things.

The night before traveling I also made a fresh batch and froze about 5 bottles. These would then be added to my bag in the morning and act as ice packs for the fresh goat milk that needed to stay cool that I was also taking with me. So total I had 4 fresh bottles ready to go, 5 frozen bottles and 6 bottles ready to go minus the goat milk. Thats a total of 15 bottles, and Im so happy I had that many because once we landed and had a 3 hr car ride to our home and I didn't have to worry about finding all my ingredients packed away and a blender and making a fresh batch. I popped the frozen bottles into the fridge and had a few mixed bottles (the ones without the goat milk) left over to get me through the day.
Not having actually used the travel recipe in the past, I wasn't sure if it would upset his belly or if he would just hate it for some reason, so thats why I made a fresh batch and also froze one. But, is was perfect. Didn't upset his tummy and didn't throw up!!!

** Note- I traveled with 15 pre filled baby bottles on an international flight for 11hrs. Some people may not know you are allowed to do this when traveling with a baby. I brought both glass and plastic bottles in a huge cooler bag with ice packs. I did some research and found on the website the 3-1-1 rule. I wanted to include it on my blog for those who may not know about it when traveling. I also printed it out and kept it with me in my bottle bag incase I was given a hard time.
Here is the link to the website- you can download and print the entire page.

I hope this was easy to understand. I have so much on my mind and so much I want to share Im trying my fastest to get it into my blog.
Again, always consult your Dr. before hand. Im just sharing what I use and do for my baby and what works for us.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

Thank you. So happy to be blogging again. 

What should I write about next!??!?!

Mama of 2 under One and a half <3

Friday, September 26, 2014

Niko's 1st Carnival Birthday Party!!!

I can't believe this past June my little baby turned 1 !! Honestly, where does the time go.
For his birthday we threw him a Carnival themed party at our home in Beverly Hills. I knew exactly what I wanted, designed and sourced the entire birthday myself- no party planner. It was the first BIG party I ever threw and I have to pat myself on the back for this one, It was everything I wanted for Niko and more.

Here is a video done by the photographer / videographer Lori Dorman. Her team is truly amazing and I'm so thankful to have this amazing video to cherish forever.  After the video Ill list what vendors, websites etc I got everything from.

To watch the video in larger size please lick the direct link below

Niko's First Birthday! from Lori Dorman on Vimeo.

Niko's Custom Carnival Light Up Letters

I found The light up carnival letters on etsy and chose to go with a gold background and a combo of blue, red, white and gold letters.
Here is the direct link to what I ordered for Niko
I plan on reusing the Carnival letters for another birthday party in the future and Im going to hang Niko's name in our play room and have the same company make Tino's name as well.

Balloon Tunnel by Balloon Lagoon
The sesame street characters are from a company called
Send in the Clowns. Through them I got my juggling clown who also makes balloon animals, my kids DJ who was awesome, the Build a Bear station which was a HUGE success amongst everyone there, my cookie decorating station, a hand print station, a photo booth which prints the pictures right then and there and some staff to help check people in and run the stations and the 3 sesame street characters which Niko was obsessed with- literally wouldn't leave them alone.  They were a really great find.


All of the fabulous BALLOONS!!!!
Again,  I chose to go with Balloon Lagoon in Los Angeles bc they offered the best price on the Balloon tunnel I HAD to have. From there the owner Van designed a bunch of table center pieces to help fill the space of the tremendous 50'x40' Carnival tent we rented from Delrey Rentals.  I also rented my table, chairs and linens from them.

The beautiful backdrops I had behind the cake table and gift table are by a small company called The Designerie ( along with the huge wooden ferris wheel that held the cupcakes and wooden carousel.
The beautiful cake make to match Nikos birthday invitations is by Royal Cakes located in Glendale CA

I had these custom "goodie bags" made on Etsy along with custom water bottle labels, hotdog holders and a few other bits and pieces.
This is the shop I used

These adorable wooden kids picnic tables I found on amazon for about $60.00  They were soooo cute and Im going to reuse them in the playroom as well as outdoors for my boys.

The  carts you see in the background are form a company called Barts Carts. 
I had a popcorn stand, cotton candy stand, lemonaid stand, hotdog stand, icecream stand, juice/ smoothie stand, An entire BBQ area, French fry stand and a few others!

This amazing vintage style kids train was also from
Send in the Clowns.
Niko loved it!

Beautiful Cake by Royal Cakes !!! 

All the plates and matching cups, napkins etc came from Downtown LA. You wouldn't believe what you can find down there.
And Finally Nikos amazing custom party invitation that I designed!!! I have used this company for my Baby Shower as well- she does the most amazing work!!! Each invite was packaged in a custom box with Niko's name on it..

This was my Baby shower invite for  Niko.

If there is something you see that I didn't list the vendor, please ask in the comment section.

Here are some of the beautiful pictures taken at the party by 
(who also did my maternity shoot, and Niko's smash cake shoot)

You're 1 baby!!!!!
My Aunt Patty and Uncle Bob

My brother

My bestie from NY

My Dad

My mom

Cake from Royal Cakes La.

Photobooth with my brother and carnival props!

Build a Bear Station!!!! My Favorite

Fresh Lemonade stand from Barts Carts.

Best Balloon Tunnel. Everyone loved it.
28 feet by 13 feet

Necklace details below

Obsessed with the 3 sesame street characters.

Outfit details at the Bottom.


Cookie monster handed out chocolate chip cookies

A few extra details:
My dress is from Kyle by Alene too
My "Niko" necklace is by
Niko's crown is by
Niko's & Alki's matching Bowties are by

All photography by Lori Dorman

Niko's Gift area

I bought the mini gum ball machines off easy but you can find them on amazon as well. I bought mini gum balls to fill for color.
The Elmo tin pales I got down town LA and stuffed them with treats, toys, books and things
I bought a series of foam Sesame street board books in Bulk off and the quality was actually amazing
I also bought in bulk Organic snacks from Happy Family Brands and stuffed all individually wrapped goodies into Niko's custom goodie boxes and Elmo tins.
We also gave away Happy Puffs full size which the kids LOVED!
But I must say the books were a hit- not 1 was left!!

Custom Cake pops and Carnival cupcakes by Jamie Cakes

Carnival Cupcakes

PArty Favor area done by The Designerie. Contact info at the top.

Those Puffs were a hit!!!

Carts from Barts Carts

Fresh Fruit smoothies

Custom Water bottle labels bought on Etsy


Check in!

Entrance and Security ;)

Cake by Royal Cakes LA

The Build A Bear Station and some of the choices!

Build A Bear station under the mini tent!

Niko's Build a Bear station from Send in The Clowns LA.

Cake by Royal Cakes LA.
The goal for Niko's Party was to have something for everyone. Sure he's just 1 and will probably not remember it, and yes its a celebration for the parents as well of getting through the first year but Niko really enjoyed himself and had a good time ( maybe a bit in shock lol). He would not leave Elmo alone, He loved the train,  the Older kids over the Pinyata, cookie decorating station and Build a BEar station, everyone enjoyed the DJ, Carts and Food . There was really something for everyone to enjoy.

A big Thank you to everyone who made this special day possible, from my Aunt Patty and Uncle Bob, to my Family and friends who flew in from NY, to all the Vendors and everyone who came.