Barbara Ann is a twenty-something, fashion and style blogger, who spends her days working within the bridal industry, art directing and designing how Canadian couples plan their weddings and their registries.
With Sterling almost 4 months old it’s hard to believe how much has changed. He’s doubled in weight, he’s sleeping through the night (most nights) and he’s smiling all time. With that being said, it’s hard to believe how much hasn’t. I’m still hungry and tired all the time and my main concern is still to keep this sweet little boy happy and healthy.
During pregnancy, most will do everything in their power to ensure a healthy baby. We eliminate some of our favourite foods (bye sushi), we get lots of sleep and take prenatal vitamins which help to ensure that you and your baby are getting the essential nutrients like iron, iodine and folic acid to help with development and overall health. I’ve partnered with Jamieson Vitamins to discuss what I took during my pregnancy and have continued to take since Sterling’s birth. Although this post is sponsored by Jamieson Vitamins all opinions are 100% my own.
I was advised that as soon as I began trying to get pregnant I should be taking a prenatal vitamin, so early last year I headed to the pharmacy and picked up a bottle of Jamieson 100% Complete Prenatal Multivitamin with DHA. With many options to choose from I selected this one because it had 150 mg of omega-3 DHA, which helps develop the baby’s brain, and only required me to take one soft-gel per day. I reviewed it with my doctor, who reassured me that it had the right amount of folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects with the baby and had all of the vitamins and nutrients I would need to have a healthy pregnancy.
Now that Sterling is here and I’m exclusively nursing him, I’ve continued to take my prenatal vitamins and began giving him Jamieson Baby-D droplets and Probiotic droplets once a day. Vitamin D is crucial for building healthy bones and teeth and to help him develop a strong immune system. The Probiotic drop is for supporting gastrointestinal health in infants. Both flavourless drops can be added to milk or formula, applied onto a pacifier or directly onto his tongue.
The early days of motherhood isn’t always easy, but Jamieson Vitamins makes it easy to ensure that I’m doing everything in my power to provide Sterling and I the vitamins and nutrients we need.
If you are interested in working together in please contact Krista at Shine Influencers (email@example.com).
When purchasing our new home years ago, we decided on a 3 bedroom, with a master bedroom, a home studio and the third to be a man-cave, that would turn into a nursery once the time came. Well, I got pregnant a few months after moving in making Trevor’s dream man-cave unfulfilled.
For our nursery, we wanted our small space to feel clean, bright and yet invoke a magical feeling, but as we didn’t know our baby’s gender it was important to keep the space as neutral as possible. Our goal for the room was to give Sterling a room that he would love to grow up in.
We started with the search for white furniture that would provide as much storage as possible (small space problems). When I came across the Baby Knightly Wyatt 3-in-1 convertible crib at West Coast Kids, I knew I had struck gold. I loved the simple and smart design of the solid wood crib, the brass metal accents and of course the storage trundle. It also has the ability to convert into a toddler day-bed and a full size bed, meaning we’d only be investing in one piece of furniture that would last for a longer period of time.
Our nursery has two large windows and gets tons of natural light and we knew we wanted our only real wall to be an accent wall, but were unsure if we wanted to paint or wallpaper. We came across Rocky Mountain Decals on Instagram, a Canadian company that specializes in easy to install and removable wallpaper. Trevor and I fell in love with the Misty Mountain wall mural and thought it would be the perfect neutral backdrop for our little explorer. The installation of the mural was easy, a simple peel and stick application and took Trevor a few hours to put up. The fact that its effortless to remove is also amazing, as when Sterling grows we can update his accent wall to a different one of their fantastic murals or papers. Check out this video of the install of the mural.
Once we had our accent wall picked, I began to look for accessories and decor that fit the mountain theme. When I foundThe Butter Flying(again on Instagram), a Montreal-based brand, I loved the idea that the mobile would be the clouds. These hand-made mobiles were so delicate and beautiful, adding the perfect amount of special charm. The Butter Flying and I have teamed up to offer you 10% off The Butter Flying’s Etsy shop by using the coupon code 10HAPPY.
Flooring was one of the final details for the room to help ground the space and add an element of warmth. We have hardwood floors throughout our home and I wanted to have a plush rug for Sterling to play on. Lorena Canals available at West Coast Kids is an amazing line of machine washable rugs that specialize in creative and fun prints and spaces meant for nurseries. We never know what will end up on our rugs with a cat, dog and baby so it’s important for this to be durable and easily machine washable.
Sterling’s room is small, so we needed to make sure that we picked things that complimented the space. The Keekaroo Peanut Changer has been the ideal for us, sitting perfectly on top of his dresser, thus taking up no real estate on our floor. Our Peanut is slip resistant and made of a material that won’t allow fluids to penetrate. I also love how easy it is to wipe clean (because accidents happen), without adding any laundry.
If you follow me on Instagram, or have read my post from almost a year ago, you’d know that I LOVE The One of a Kind Show. The semi-annual event brings in some of the most creative and talented vendors from across Canada for my favourite trade show.
This year I went into the show with a very different mindset. I was on the hunt for the perfect and most beautiful things for babies. Now please note, The One of a Kind Show is such a large show that I may have missed an amazing vendor, so please let me know what your favourite booth was. These are a few of mine.
Ouistitine is a Montreal based company that makes handmade dolls, toys from recycled natural fibres. I fell in love with the pig hand puppet and went back on day 2 of The One of a Kind Show to go get it.
Ollie Jones You can’t help but smile when looking at the fun and playful designs by Toronto-based Ollie Jones. As you know I love my prints, so expect to see Sterling in a lot of adorable outfits by Ollie Jones.
Sonic Bloom Succulents
I am plant obsessed, like most millennials, and lately I’ve been on the hunt for unique ways to display and add greenery into my home. When I came across this colourful booth I immediately fell for her whimsical air plants inside brightly painted dinosaurs. I also checked out her site and found out so much info about keeping my plant babies alive.
I came across Mally Designs’ booth during the 2017 Holiday show at The One of a Kind Show, and couldn’t wait to pick out a pair of shoes for my future baby upon their arrival. The soft leather moccasins, by the Vancouver based couple, are available in so many colours it was hard to choose. We went with Midnight Blue (their darkest blue) which is a perfect start for Sterling’s shoe collection.
This adorable line of baby and children’s clothes is designed in Toronto by Shay Benedict and draws inspiration for the line from her two kids. I loved the unapologetic prints that are a refreshing change from the typical for little ones.
Happy Quilts Co.
Now it may be because I spend hours breastfeeding, but when I walked by and saw this giant boob, I was obsessed. I loved the quirky humour of Steph Hung. Available in both pre-made pillows and quilts or DIY kits, Happy Quilts Co. is a must have for a modern home.
Adelaide Creek Furniture Inspired by the classic kids building blocks, these customizable toy boxes are the cutest thing to store away your little one’s toys, blankets or keepsakes in. They can also double as seating, side tables or storage in rooms other than your nursery.
The number one topic I get asked about since becoming a mother is sleep. How many hours do I get? How many times does Sterling wake up? Naps? With so many parents struggling with lack of sleep, it makes sense that everyone is so curious about how we are doing.
Trevor and I have been very lucky, Sterling is a great sleeper (so far) napping throughout the day and only waking up a few times overnight. The midnight wake ups may be few but they still cause us to walk around pretty dazed, especially on the bad nights. So when Fisher Price reached out for Sterling to try their Soothing Motions Bassinet, we jumped at the opportunity to improve our routine. Although this post is sponsored by Fisher Price all opinions are 100% my own.
Loaded with features like nature sounds, music, a nightlight and projection light that displays stars on the ceiling, this bassinet has it all. The projector is also removable which is ideal for travel or use as a table top soother. It’s easy to assemble and takes up little space, making it perfect for beside my bed, allowing for easy feedings during the night when needed.
My favourite feature of the Soothing Motions Bassinet is the way that the bassinet sits in the stand allowing it to move with Sterling’s movements and the calming vibrations that help lull him back to sleep. The mesh sides are also great for visibility and for allowing air to flow through, ensuring he doesn’t overheat.
It also has a spot underneath ideal for storing your diaper bags, books or in our case Taco, who loves to stay close to Sterling ensuring he’s safe all night.
For those who are in the baby planning stage, I would be adding the Fisher Price Soothing Motions Bassinet to your wish list. #RegisterForSleep today and get a good night’s rest, once your baby comes.
If you are interested in working together in please contact Krista at Shine Influencers (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ever since I was little, I’ve been visiting Miami to enjoy the sun, sand and shopping. It’s always felt like a second home for me. This year would be a very different trip for me, instead of visiting my grandparents, I’d be visiting my parents and instead of bringing a friend or Trevor, I’d be bringing my 7 week old son.
The thought of traveling with a newborn was stressful, but once I got his papers together (passport and letter for Trevor stating I could travel with him – which is 100% needed when crossing the border) I got excited to show and experience my favourite place with him. Miami for many is an amazing party city, but for me it’s always been a place for relaxation and rejuvenation. This year with Sterling on hand, I planned to take it even slower for our 10 day trip.
The Flights I did a lot of research for best practices when flying with an infant. The best tips I learned was to feed upon take off and landing, as the swallowing process helps with the pressure changes. If feeding wasn’t possible then pacifiers could help to avoid popped ears.xt
I also decided that because I was travelling alone it would be best to wear him using my Solly Wrap and by the time we took off, he was sleeping. My infant wrap (which I love) was actually amazing for both the travel days and on the longer days exploring the city.
We visited some of my favourite restaurants that I’ve been dining at each year, like Mo’s Bagels & Deli – which is like the most classic Jewish deli with unbelievable smoked salmon (they call it nova) and amazing black and white cookies, The Original Pancake House – which has the best chocolate chip pancakes, and Joe’s Stone Crab, the go-to spot in Miami for stone crab.
We visited our usual spots like the Aventura Mall and Lincoln Road, two amazing destinations for shopping, with the latter having amazing restaurants and a great late night atmosphere. This we explored the breathtaking Miami Design District and the inspiring Wynwood Walls, a community covered in stunning graffiti and street art filled with culture, cafes and galleries.
The Snap Ultra stroller was used everyday providing Sterling not only a smooth ride but also protection from the sun with its large breathable canopy. The lightweight stroller fully reclines providing Sterling the perfect place to snooze during the pool days and easy fold down and take with us in our rental car to explore the city. The large basket underneath was perfect to hold our parcels when shopping.
Have you traveled with an infant? What were your tips and tricks? I cannot wait for our next trip together!
Photography by Gary & Cynthia Solomon
I received products compliments of and/or in collaboration with ValcoBaby Canada, but all opinions are 100% my own. If you are interested in working together in please contact me (email@example.com) or Krista at Shine Influencers (firstname.lastname@example.org
About a month ago, I mentioned how much Sterling and I were loving our Dock A Tot in my Infant Top 10 List and as the weeks have gone by, this multi-functional nest has become one of my most essential and recommended items in our home.
The Dock A Tot is a lightweight docking station that is handmade in Europe and created as a solution for a more comfortable and supportive sleeping frame for infants and children.
Made from 100% cotton and materials that will not harbour heat, allowing the best possible micro-climate and breathability. Dock A Tot is also Oeko-tex certified and passes the standards for healthy textiles which means it is free of harmful substances.
The cover, which is available in tons of adorable prints and patterns, is also machine washable, which is amazing, as I’ve learned how messy babies can be. I have the Bananas For You print and love how on-trend (and gender neutral) it is.
We’ve found it perfect for lounging, playing, chilling, resting and snuggling and lately we’ve been using as part of his supervised tummy time. By placing Sterling with the round bumper under his chest and armpits, he can strengthen his neck and has began to reach for colourful things in front of him. Sterling also sleeps securely for hours (only on his back) allowing me to work, cook and clean the house. The snug fit of the Dock A Tot is to resemble the womb, comforting him to fall and remain asleep.
We also love how portable and lightweight it is. When planning a day out to visit family and friends, we’ve brought the Dock A Tot with us to ensure Sterling has a comfortable spot to lounge and nap. We kept the packaging and cardboard it came in to ensure it stays clean and help keep its shape during the transporting. Last week, our Dock A Tot joined Sterling and I in Miami, fitting perfectly in my luggage and was the perfect place to sleep and to move throughout the condo for lounging.
We have the Deluxe + which is meant for 0-8 months and cannot wait to get the Grand for Sterling when he’s 9-36 months. I have and will continue to recommend it to excepting families, as I can’t imagine our home without it during the last 2 months.
I received products compliments of and/or in collaboration with Dock A Tot, but all opinions are 100% my own. If you are interested in working together in please contact me (email@example.com) or Krista at Shine Influencers (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It’s been just over 2 months since our son blessed our family and filled our home with an indescribable love. When I got pregnant I got excited to prepare for a family shoot and knew there would be only one photographer I wanted to capture the love and craziness of our family.
Scarlet O’Neill is a Toronto-based wedding photographer, whose work has been featured basically everywhere. I found her while working with Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay and fell in love with the way she documented love stories. I knew that she would be the perfect person to share this special time with.
Our day together was filled with laughter and sharing stories. Here are some of my favourite photos we shot with her. And don’t forget to follow Scarlet on Instagram for a beautiful feed filled with wedding and lifestyle inspiration.
A quick update about Sterling at 2 months old: he’s beginning to smile, he loves to splash in the bath, cuddle during story time. He’s travelled (like a pro) to Florida and enjoyed 10 days in the sun exploring Miami.
Thank you Scarlet for capturing our family perfectly. We absolutely love these photos.
I started this post probably three days before I went into labour, which was 2 weeks before my due date. I was excited to share some of my favourite items, and why I thought #babyNegin would love them. There were a zillion things that they say you need vs. what works best for you, and this can be somewhat difficult to navigate. For Trevor and I, we tried to keep things simple and ensure we invested in things that would compliment our lifestyle.
Our new ride: Trevor and I had been driving a 10 year old coupe upon getting pregnant and one of the first things that EVERYONE told us, was that it was time for a new car. There would be no way, we could get a baby in and out of our current ride and it was time to look for a bigger option. After months of research (mostly on Trevor’s part) we agreed that we wanted an SUV, packed with all the safety features but not comprising on style and luxury.
2. Baby Negin’s new ride: When shopping for strollers, options seemed endless with so many varieties in the market place. We knew we needed something compact and lightweight, that was ideal for long walks with Taco. We started browsing and testing out each stroller and we loved how easily the ValcoBaby strollers handled.
We picked the Snap Ultra Tailormade in denim, weighing just 8.2kg, this lightweight stroller is ideal for easy traveling. Suitable for infants with a full reclining seat through to 45 lbs, the stroller includes a beautiful boot cover and collapsible hood. It also has adapters available to pair with our Maxi Cosi car seat.
3. Shopping Cart Hammock: One thing that confused me, while getting ready for Sterling, was how I was going to be able to go grocery shopping. Typically a task I love to do, I couldn’t figure out how to push both a shopping cart as well as a stroller. I was then introduced to the Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock, a one-of-a kind hammock that provides a safe and cozy seat that hangs elevated inside the basket portion of most standard shopping carts. It’s ideal for babies who are not quite ready to sit up yet and allows plenty of room for groceries. I also love that I can place my car seat on top of the sling and secure it to the shopping cart, for those quick trips to the store.
4. Baby Carrier: When we moved into our stacked town home, I knew that our stairs would be an issue once we started our family. Not wanting to leave an infant alone, I’d need to find an easy solution to keep my little one close while allowing me to move around our home. Once getting pregnant and bringing home Taco, the requirement for something that would be effortless became urgent.
I stumbled upon Solly Baby on Instagram (where I find and fall in love with a lot of brands these days) and was taken back by the beautifully designed fabrics of these infant wraps. Made in the US, the wraps are made from certified Lenzing modal, which is lightweight, buttery soft and a sustainable fabric sourced from the pulp of Austrian beechwood trees and dyed with environmentally friendly dyes.
I simply love that I can keep Sterling close and still go about my daily activities, and he seems to love it too.
Together, they prepared me, while scaring the shit out of me, for everything I’d need to know regarding nurturing my newborn. I walked away from the show, knowing that the most important things was to feed my baby, regardless of method. Whether it be through formula, breastfeeding, pumping or any combination of these options, I felt confident knowing that there is no right or wrong way to feed your baby.
Being a busy mom, with the hopes of jumping back into the swing of a blogger lifestyle, I knew I’d need to use a pump to help share the responsibilities and ensure that there was always a supply of milk available for my growing son. The new Sonata Double Electric Breast Pump by Medela, is quiet, responsive and smart connecting to the MyMedela app which tracks your baby’s growth, pumping sessions and personalized content regarding lactation information, to help you reach your breast milk feeding goals.
6. Portable Baby Lounger: Being an entrepreneur means that even though you may have just given birth, it doesn’t mean the projects stop. I am fortunate, as Sterling is a napper, who will fall asleep basically anywhere, as long as he feels secure.
Enter the lightweight and beautiful Dockatot, a multi-functional lounging, playing, chilling, resting and snuggling dock you can take anywhere. Sterling sleeps like a champ in this 100% cotton, cozy and breathable nest available in two sizes, (Deluxe for 0 – 8 months and Grand 9 – 36 months), as its snug fit resembles the womb and makes him feel safe.
7. Easy Swaddle: Sterling, as mentioned is a great sleeper and we are fortunate because of that. We strongly believe in swaddling and creating cozy womb like environments, which has been proven to have therapeutic and developmental benefits. We tried a few different methods of swaddling and found that the most effective and easiest is with the help of The Ollie World Swaddle.
What we loved most about The Ollie was the design, the Velcro kept Sterling feeling secure in the moisture-wicking material and the opening at the bottom made over night diaper changes easy without the need to un-swaddle. Swaddling for us, has allowed Sterling to sleep safely and self-sooth throughout the night getting hours of quality sleep at a time.
8. The Cleaner Pacifier: I tend to fall in love with beautifully designed things, and hope that they product matches the level of design. With The Pop Pacifier byDoddle and Co, recently seen on Shark Tank, we’ve found that magic spot where function meets fashion. Recommended for babies 0 – 6 months (but suitable for older babies), this 100% silicone pacifier is designed so that the nipple pops back into its built-in protective bubble every time it falls, allowing for fewer trips to the sink to wash it.
9. Baby furniture that doesn’t look like baby furniture: Our living space, in our new home, was designed to be very open, with clean lines, bright and light colours (see our kitchen reveal and living room reveal). Trevor and I spent a lot of time curating the collection of furniture and decor to match both of our styles and allow for optimum entertaining.
With a baby on the way, we didn’t want to throw away everything we had done to create this aesthetic, and began the hunt for well designed baby items. We came across the ingenious Tripp Trapp highchair by Stokke, a Norwegian brand who’s focus is on creating products that encourage child development and to strengthen the bonds between parents and children in those crucial early weeks, months and years. Created in 1972, this chair is designed to grow from infancy (with the infant attachment) into adulthood by having adjustable seat and foot plates.
10. Rock-a-bye-baby: For the past few weeks, we have been very lucky. We did our research and found the perfect bassinet that allows Sterling to sleep well throughout the night, waking only when he has a wet diaper or requires a feeding. We knew we would want something that rocked, but was simple in design, and didn’t really find the need for technology to be involved (if he was a fussy baby we may have rethought our strategy).
We purchased the Canadian made Monte Design Ninna Nanna bassinet, which has a removable bed nestled into a solid birch rocker base and we loved everything about the stunning piece of furniture. When Sterling wakes up, he rocks himself back to sleep quickly, and the height is perfect for easy feedings throughout the night without having to leave my bed.
It’s been a month since my son, Sterling Emerson surprised us 2 weeks earlier than expected. In those final weeks of my pregnancy, I had a lot of plans in the works, from appointments, meetings to blog posts. So when labour started for me, I sat there in the hospital sending out emails notifying everyone to expect a delay. My due date was January 18th and during the month of December I was in a lot of pain, finding it difficult to move especially in the evening and overnight. It was January 4th at midnight and Trevor and I were watching one of the late night talk shows, when he had fallen asleep. I was unable to get off the couch without his help at this point, so I woke him up so we could make our way to bed. Upon standing up, my water broke. Shocked, Trevor and I agreed that I should shower as he finished packing our bags, prepared snacks, loaded the car and took care of Monkey and Taco before heading to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital around 2 am and checked in with the maternity ward. I was told to relax and try to nap in the assessment room or go for a walk around the hospital and check in with the nurse every hour.
By 9:30 am they moved me into my birthing suite, where my amazing nurse Louise explained to me that I was only 1 cm dilated and they were going to hook me up to an IV and give me Oxytocin which would stimulate the uterine muscles giving me more intense contraction.
By 2 pm, I got to 3 cm and it was time for the epidural. From there, thankfully, things moved along much quicker and within the next hour and a half I had gotten to 8 cm. For me the epidural was crucial, the contractions had gotten so intense and I was beyond exhausted. With the help of the pain relieving drug I was able to nap and regain my strength for the next phase of labour.
Just after 4 pm our families had arrived and Louise told me that we were almost ready to start pushing. With continuous encouragement from Trevor, I pushed for 15 minutes and at 4:53 pm, 2 minutes before sundown, on the coldest day of the year, our son was born. Sterling weighed 6.9 lbs and was absolutely perfect, those first few hours with him are ones I’ll never forget.
I am so grateful for the amazing nursing staff at Trillium Health Partners, who took care of every worry, anxiety and complication that arose during my labour.
Maternity shoots are a right of passage that I feel that all pregnant women should spend the time and money on. After everything your body does during these 9 months it’s important to embrace and celebrate all the changes by documenting it. Picking an outfit that makes you feel glamorous and comfortable is key to having a successful shoot.
This gown was created by the amazing team at Sew Trendy Accessories, a brand that specializes in handmade maternity gowns, formal gowns, boudoir clothing, gown accessories and newborn outfits ideal for photo shoots. I picked the timeless Krysten gown in white, because I loved the long sleeves and elegance of the cut.
When you order your gown and send in your measurement there are some options you can choose from to customize the dress. I chose the boat neck, rather than a droop back, to ensure I could wear a bra and picked to have a simple train instead of the exaggerated ones. If you are looking for maternity shoot inspiration, check out their Instagram account, as it served as a daily source of the most magical and beautiful images.
We shot this at 35 weeks pregnant on a freezing cold day at the Scarborough Bluffs. Other outfits that I’ve shot that could have worked for a maternity shoot are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and one of my favourites 6.