side by side double stroller love

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I was scrolling through Facebook’s marketplace the other day (part of my never-ending search for a mid century credenza on the cheap) and spotted a side by side double stroller for $40. My stomach did a little flip! This time two years ago I was in an absolute (hormone induced) frenzy over finding a good deal on a sturdy, jogging style double stroller.

I was a little obsessive researching them and looking for deals! Along with that nesting urge that had me cleaning my appliances, I spent a good chunk of time for about a month straight on this double stroller hunt.

I ended up paying more like $150 used for a Bumbleride Indie Twin , but it has been well worth it because I love my “BRIT” and still use it all the time for my 1.5 and 3 year old. Once I realized what they cost new…I knew I got a deal!

I struggled myself with the side by side vs tandem (front/back) version of a double stroller and found out that I am 100% team side by side. I know there is no wrong answer here, but if you must pick one and if you’d rather not spend precious moments of your life doing the same research, maybe this blog post in argument of the side by side will be of use to you!

1. Maneuverability. My double has “real tires” that need to be pumped up with air, not the plastic stuff that skids across the concrete and makes that nail on a chalkboard sound. I hate those plastic wheels! My front wheels in the side by side jogging style can swivel and turn 360 degrees and the stroller honestly feels like it has a zero turn radius. It’s sooo easy to push that it glides. And that’s with a 30 and 40 pound kid in tow!

I can push it even with one hand and walk the dog simultaneously. Tandem strollers are so long they are like trying to turn a barge (only pushed them in store without a kid inside, so I can’t even imagine with weight). It’s a slow process that needs two hands and some oomph!

2. Equal viewing/seating. I was surprised at the number of reviews I read where moms lamented the inevitable arguing their kids would do over who got to sit in the better seat in front/back strollers. I would like to think my kids would know I wouldn’t put up with that (yeah right) but still, why risk it?

It is true that a side by side offers equal everything. Equal foot space, equal views, equal air flow, etc. Sometimes the front and back style appears to have one kid super scrunched up or blocked by their sibling.

3. They can be buddies. I can’t tell you how many times I look down to find my kids holding hands! They talk to eachother and interact. In a front back, they can’t see eachothers faces and more likely than not, that back kid is messing with front kid’s hair or kicking the back of their seat like mine do to me in the car…

4. They do fit through doors, really they do. A lot of people struggle with the idea of a double fitting through doorways. After 2 years of use I have never once had this issue. I store it in my front entry closet and walk it out the front door with ease each time I use it. I am much more of an outdoor stroller person and I don’t take it to a ton of indoor stores, but it has been to zoos, crawfish boils, those huge consignment sales, etc. without ever having an issue of not making it through a door way.

I often hear the argument that side by sides are too wide to navigate in a mall, but I have only attempted a mall with a stroller a few times, so it wasn’t as important to me. I read during my research that side by sides are required to fit anywhere a wheelchair does, which may surprise some people.

5. Terrain. The side by side strollers work better on grass, gravel, brick, cobblestone etc than a front/back style. Since we use the stroller for outdoor walks 99% of the time, this was a no-brainer for us. Something about the tandem style makes me feel like it could tip over if one kid wanted to lean just right while on rocky terrain! Probably not so, but the wide base of the side by side makes it very sturdy.

Tandem may very well be the style for you, but I wanted to share why I am all about the side by side!

Other things I discovered in my hard core stroller research was that people out there really take time to customize their strollers. I saw some go so far as to dye the fabrics a custom color or even paint the frames, in matte black for example. They add special add-ons and features, etc.

I like to craft  and DIY…but not so much with a stroller. One thing I do love for a stroller upgrade are unique handlebar grips ….especially since my stroller was previously used. I love the leather look but they also make a sort of neoprene material as well. You can use these for comfort or for looks, or like me to hide a little wear and tear!

Here are a few more shots of us enjoying the double stroller life through the years. This is probably my three year old’s last summer in the stroller 🙁 Time truly flies!

Mid Century Monday #4

Happy Monday everyone! We stayed so busy this weekend I can hardly believe it’s Monday already.

Despite the rain, we enjoyed taking the boys to the new hibachi restaurant, going up to Cape to visit with the boys’ cousin from Atlanta, playing at a cowboy birthday party complete with bounce house, and going to more cousins’ pond for kayaking, fishing and hot tubbing for my mom’s birthday. We all slept good last night!

Speaking of sleeping…the master bedroom is on display for this week’s Mid Century Monday! Check it out:

That’s an old picture of Sam but it highlights the brick as a headboard look we have going on. I have considered adding a headboard before but hate to cover the brick!

The sconce lighting had been on my wish list since we moved in. Because the windows on either side of the bed are actually sliding doors (with sliding screens as well that I LOVE for sleeping when it’s the right weather for leaving windows open), there isn’t much room for night stands. We have some that do fit, but they don’t leave room for lamps. So, Travis got me these sconces for Christmas and I just love them!

Here it is with them turned on. Also that is our favorite wedding photo on canvas 🙂

And now for one of my favorite features: an insane amount of closets. NOT cleaned out so don’t zoom in!

As you can see I don’t really know what to put up top in the “hidden” storage. Large luggage fills up about 1/4 of it. Super handy! My favorite part of it all is I just close the doors and don’t have to look at any of it, even dressers and dresser clutter are hidden.

We have always been a bit spoiled by having a huge master bedroom. Our first house had an attic that had been finished and was roughly the size of the whole first floor…so even though it was a smaller home we had a huge space and huge closet. The only headache was going downstairs for the
bathroom…especially while pregnant!

Our current master is quite the opposite; it is extremely open to the bathroom. There is a pocket door that closes off toilet and shower but it’s still an open concept. So much so I wondered about putting up a partition at first, but we have grown accustomed to the layout now.

Eventually, I would replace the carpet in that area with hard flooring and would love to figure out a way to add a second sink. But, counter space and storage space are not lacking!

I know, I know…Boudreaux’s kennel makes for a lovely design element! I would love to wallpaper this wall in the near future. Although, in the little research I have done I’ve been shocked at the cost of wallpaper! Who knew?! I have only ever wanted to rip the stuff down so I never dreamed it was
expensive…

If we settle on any wallpaper you know I’ll blog about it 🙂

yearly memory box

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If you read my last post you’ll know I’m on a bit of an organizational kick…so here is a little project I knocked out last night that I wanted to share.

The great thing about this project is I have to say it came about out of actual necessity. Often times, (I am learning from my read–A Simplified Life: Tactical Tools for Intentional Living),  people rush out to buy grand organizational tools then bring them home to find a use for them….and it flops.

In this situation, the opposite is true. I realized I had a need for something and because the need actually arose ( I felt unsure of where to stick a newspaper clipping…first world problem) the solution just might stick!

If you have even preschool aged kids I know that you know the struggle of the sheer amount of paperwork they bring home. Some are forms to sign or flyers to hang onto or calendars. These live on my kitchen counter…unfortunately.

The others are art work of some sort but not the “best of.” Sam doesn’t really like to color, so a coloring book page with two scribbles is just not getting saved. Other people disagree but I look at it, tell him how much I love it, maybe display for a while, but ultimately do not keep it.

Then there are hand print projects (my weakness!) or art where you can tell a lot of the kid’s effort went into. Recently I got a laminated bookmark that was a picture of Sam. These are keepers.

And even still you may have certificates, diplomas for preschool or kindergarten, awards, first communion paperwork, programs from plays or talent shows, ribbons, Christmas lists, stories or book reports they are proud of, or in our case, our first newspaper appearance! All worthy of saving!

So where do you put it all?! I really want to know the answer from those people in the “never throw away anything camp”! I skimmed Pinterest ideas and settled on a simple filing system. I ran out of tabs so my kids are currently set til high school 🙂

There are some pretty fancy ones out there with custom labels and tabs, as well as vinyl names personalizing the boxes…the opportunities to make this cute are endless!

But at the end of the day I’m always trying to save money and I am happy to say I executed these two boxes for $22 total. Around $5 each for the boxes at Walmart and another $10 for the hanging files. I went with 20 folders for each kid to cover: baby, daycare, prek 3-12, college (okay I won’ helicopter over their college work, I was thinking more for college entrance essays and scholarship info) and a misc. or two.

I love having a school picture each year (you know you always wind up with extras of the wallet size ) and the teacher/school/year info.

And, one of the best things about this project is that it’s theirs to keep. You don’t need to find a home for it in your office or storage or kitchen. This belongs to the child, so put it up in their closet or on their desk–goodbye clutter!

 

I tried writing their names in paint pen and it was not pretty. I think I’ll just print off a word doc with their names and tape to the inside front so it shows through. I’m so happy I took an evening to put these together and hope the boys will appreciate looking back on them some day.

keep it simple

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Well….it’s been a week since I posted anything and I even skipped Mid Century Monday. This usually happens when I find a good book!  I spent a little birthday money I’ve been hoarding and picked out Emily Ley’s A Simplified Life. I am only a few chapters in but I can already tell I’m going to love it so I wanted to share a little!

We have cleaned out a few t-shirt drawers and it feels great, as always, to throw away! I lean towards minimalism anyway, so it’s right up my alley!
But this book has me thinking about way more than purging clutter. It asks what things are a struggle for me right now.

My immediate answer is laundry, although it seems silly that laundry should be so hard with only 2 small kids and their tiny laundry and all the time I have after their early bed times. Still, I’ve said it once and I’ll say
it again– I want a laundry lady!! But, not really. Because Dave Ramsey.

Anyway, other than laundry, a struggle for me right now is family dinner. I often come down with a case of mom guilt when I think about how much time I spend working compared to how much time I see my kids. The numbers are sad and there is just no point tallying up the hours.

What the book has helped me realize so far is that I can maximize the hours I DO have with the kids and with the family all together and make those the best most enjoyable hours of my week. The theory is this will occur when you live simply.

I can get on board with this. My New Years resolution was, after all, “to simplify.” But in reality I sorted some baby clothes January 2nd then called it a day. I am ready to take her book to heart and try again!

I’d like to have a family dinner where we talk about our day and enjoy each other. Sam is becoming such a little conversationalist and keeps us laughing. And ideally Tom will soon abandon this shrieking stage….

Here are the things that make it hard for us to rock family dinner with a 3 year old and 18 month old:

1. They like to eat as close to 5pm as possible. How in the world does a working family have dinner ready at 5pm? I have a goal of just breaking them of this and pushing it to 6:00.

2. They like to eat hot dogs and chicken nuggets. This is SO hard for me because it works. We fall into the trap of feeding them what they will eat and then sitting down for our adult meal around 7:45 after they are asleep. Plus if we work out at night we prefer to work out before we eat, so again we feed the kids, then load up for the gym, then eat later on ourselves. Family dinner is lost in the shuffle…

3. They are demanding. The youngest isn’t proficient at feeding himself. They drop food a lot. They ask for refills often. Honestly trying to eat alongside them is a recipe for a cold dinner for yourself.

Now, I don’t exactly know what Emily Ley would have me do because I’m not finished with her book yet. But she has already inspired me and I do have a plan!

I cleaned out the pantry. I stuck a sheet on the fridge that simply lists what’s for dinner each night. This will remind me in the morning if I need to throw anything in the crock pot or do any prep!

And I have decided not to be hard on myself if Travis and I eat something spicy or a grilled chicken salad while the kids eat mac n cheese alongside us. In fact that is exactly what we did last night! It really isn’t about what we eat anyway–it’s about the 3 year old telling you his favorite part of the day 🙂

Also, since there is no laundry lady in sight, I made myself a little laundry routine (don’t knock it til you try it!) where I’ll only need to do 2 loads a day, 2 days a week. This seems super manageable and I know it’s not any less laundry than I do now…I just figure if I do laundry because it’s laundry day and not because the hamper is overflowing it will help me feel more “with it.”

That’s my excuse for not blogging lately…it’s not a full review but I had to share because it’s been a fun read so far. I’ll definitely keep you posted on A Simplified Life, I think you’ll want to read it!

free botanical art

I have a little DIY for you this Friday.  I am certainly not the first to share this one, I got all my inspiration from Chic on a Shoestring one day while scrolling through Pinterest! Check out how beautifully she pulls it off here: https://www.chiconashoestringdecoratingblog.com/2012/10/31-days-of-decorating-on-shoestring_5.html

A few years ago we were just moving into our first house and overwhelmed by blank walls! I have talked before about how expensive wall art is. I am always looking for a way around spending tons of money on it.

So one day around the time we moved in I happened to walk into WalMart to find diploma frames for $1 each. Let’s be honest–these were really unattractive frames but I happily grabbed four for under $5 and went on the hunt for something to put in them!

I settled on some leaf prints on Etsy for about $10 each (before I knew about the FREE) and created a little botanical wall. Here the same prints are at our new house in the bedroom. I am not super thrilled with them in here…but I had them so I used them. I have one-day plans of wallpapering this one wall and revamping the leaves in gold frames with clear matting!

Now, for my second round of botanical prints  for the even more blank walls we faced in the new house, I used the huge and FREE collection available at the Missouri Botanical Garden website!

Click here http://www.botanicus.org/item/31753002839139# and on the left side you can scroll past everything that says “text” until you see things that say “plate 1″ plate 2” etc. Click on those are they are nice looking!

I ended up sending mine to the UPS Store and paid around $3 to have about 10 printed on card stock (in case a few didn’t turn out right).

This time I bought frames from Hobby Lobby (with a coupon of course) and ended up spending $6 per frame…not super cheap when you need 6 of them, but it turned out so nice looking I think it was worth it! Here is my finished product:

I get compliments on this little collection all the time and everyone is amazed to hear I printed them off the Missouri Botanical Garden site for free, so now you know too!

 

the argument for carpet

There is nothing like binge watching HGTV for a few hours to make you realize you completely and utterly hate carpet, am I right? I mean you loathe the thought of any and all carpet so much that you know you must rip it all up, right away, and install hardwood. Before something crazy happens…like you start to enjoy it…gasp!

We’ve heard it so much from design standards of the last decade or so that I started trying to come up with a good reason for hating carpet so much. And I have to tell you…I’m for it. In some spaces.

When we first moved into our home about 2 years ago it had wall to wall carpet in 4 bedrooms, a massive hallway and the family room. (Spoiler alert, it still does!) And even though we had very little room in the budget for fun stuff (hello new roof), we talked for weeks about how we would take out the carpet in the hallway, the master bedroom, and maybe more places right away and put down tile.

But here we are two years later and the only time we’ve  had any carpet ripped up was last week just hours before the brand new stuff was installed!

I was really inspired by the texture of fancy sisal carpet but I knew I wanted it to be soft. Plus the natural coloring may have blended right in with our walls. We landed on gray with a little texture and I am so happy with it!

Here is our new carpet in a room I should have picked up and with Boo the photo bomber:

 

Now, here is my argument for carpet:

  1. The comfy factor. We have little kids who are always at ground level. Not only are they on the floor to lay down and watch a movie or on their knees pushing a truck across the floor, but we are also often sitting down playing with them, allowing them to ride on us like horses and whatnot. We honestly just get down on the floor and play with them so much more than when our living areas were all wood. See proof below:                                                 
               
  2. The quiet factor. Houses with all hard floor surfaces are LOUD. They echo and click and clack. I could RUN with my dog up and down the hallway where the boys’ bedrooms are right off of and they would not hear a peep. The padding is super thick and it’s the best noise reducer. If you think I haven’t run laps in my own house to try to hit all my apple watch rings you are mistaken. There isn’t any photographic evidence of this one–thankfully.

3. The homey factor. I think our new living room is so homey and lacks the somewhat sterile look that cold flooring can give. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE tile, wood, stamped concrete, etc. so I don’t always think it looks sterile. I just think there is something to be said for the texture and warmth wall to wall carpet can bring to certain rooms. And the idea that there is enough room for everyone to pile in for movie night because the whole room is so homey you can just sprawl right out on the floor, and not just to the edge of an area rug. Carpet seems to say: plop down, it’s homey here!

4.  The safety factor. If you haven’t watched kids learning to sit or walk this may sound trivial. But the cushion of wall to wall carpet brings so much peace of mind during the young years. When our youngest finally mustered up the desire to walk around we stuck to half of the home that was carpeted and let him have at it! In our old house I was more likely to take the new walker outside on the grass than the porcelain or hardwood inside. Thinking beyond that early walking stage there are still falls, wrestling matches and pillow fights we are sure to endure. I’m glad to have the added cushion!

5. The affordability factor. I was surprised what we got for the cost. Removal of old carpet, a new pad, new carpet and installation was really about the cost of a few 9×12 rugs you’d buy over the years to go over hard flooring. I didn’t price specific hardwood or tile because I knew we wanted carpet, but from what I’ve ready, hardwood would be over 2 times the cost!

To address the point that hard floors are easier to clean: this may be true but I will say carpet cleaning is amazing and they can put down a stain protector when they do clean it. We did it ourselves when we first moved in but used professionals about a year later and that’s probably something we’ll do each year. It’s like getting brand new flooring!

If you’re on the fence, carpet in the right rooms can be great. I can’t wait for the day we get brand new carpet for the other carpet areas of our house, and I never thought I’d say that.

 

 

Mid Century Monday #3

I can’t believe it’s another Monday already! We went to a Cardinals game Friday night, had a crawfish boil to attend Saturday, and had a big family brunch for my dad’s birthday yesterday. Then I realized I had no idea which room to do for Mid Century Monday…

I decided to go with our dining area since we definitely won’t be making any changes to it. I do eventually want to swap the large chairs in front of the fireplace for a little sectional, but overall this was completely move in ready. and I appreciate the timeless appeal!

Less talk, more Mid Century Monday action below:

 

 

 

In our first home I could barely squeeze our wedding china in anywhere. Here we are so fortunate with these built ins I am able to store two sets! Have I mentioned I love built ins? 🙂

 

Ignore the fact that I still have a football on my Happy Everything platter… Love the lighting underneath the storage!

 

This child table came with the most perfect match chairs! They are the exact same color as our kitchen cabinets.

I hope you liked my Mid Century Monday dining room tour! I will eventually run out of rooms in my own home so remember I am taking submittals for anyone who has a great MCM room, feature, piece of furniture, etc that they’d like to share!

 

have a picnic

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The weather is finally improving and it’s outside play time again! I know I was getting a little stir crazy over this long winter watching Frozen most weekend mornings. But now that we can go outside, what do you do with a 1 year old and 3 year old?

That sounds like an easy question. You play, of course. But we haven’t settled on exactly what type of play equipment the yard needs. So, as it stands, we have no swingset, no sandbox, no see saw, no pool (okay sometimes an inflatable) no playhouse. Nothing yet, at least.

We do have a tricycle and sidewalk chalk and bubbles and a kite, all of which are great fun and hits with the boys, but for right now when we head outside it’s a little bit of work!

Enter picnics.

This is one of my favorite ways to get the boys outside, soak up some sun and fresh air (and allow mama to relax!) all while eating a meal we needed to eat anyway. The boys love it and will cheer and clap when
I say we’re going on a picnic. (In our own yard…how easy is that!?)

Since I bought these awesome Bento lunch box containers from Amazon, they have been my go-to for picnics (in addition to being the best things for packing lunch).  The kids can carry their meals and not spill…win!

 

Sam is always in charge of carrying out a picnic blanket…

Miraculously, they stay on the blanket and stay pretty interested for quite a while. We stretch out on our backs and look at clouds and birds. I honestly think they eat better out there!

It’s crazy to me that Sam is pushing 3.5. I can have a complete conversation with him and enjoy his goofyness and his wit. And Tom is over 18 months…not talking much but he is eating that grilled cheese like such a big boy. How different from all the spoon feeding picnics last summer!

If you’re like me and feel like going outside to play is sometimes more work than fun. Try a picnic. You get to relax, eat (already sounding like a winner in my book)  and most importantly slow down and make memories with your kids that you’ll always remember.

Here are some of my favorite picnic memories over the years from bedtime picnic dinners to now. I’m not pretending to be Susie Homemaker as you’ll see a few lunchables and happy meals making an appearance!

We miss it during the winter, so we started having picnic dinners every now and then by the Christmas tree with a Christmas movie. Here they are for a winter picnic in their fuzzy monster slippers.

I really is the simple things! Get outside (or even stay in) and enjoy a picnic!

Mid Century Monday #2

I have always loved going thrifting or even keeping a close eye on the curb for awesome furniture pieces. When we moved into our current home, I thought we would need truckloads of furniture to fill it up since it was about twice the square footage.

What we found, though, was the custom built-ins around every corner (how very mid century modern!) really cut down on the amount of things we needed. Bedrooms at our house, for example, need beds and mayyybe a bedside table. That is it! The kids rooms each have built in desks (for two) and have built in dressers inside one of the room’s three closets. Above the closets you’ll find hidden storage built into the wall!

Likewise, our dining room has one huge wall to wall built in buffet complete with about 15 solid feet of china storage and no less than 10 cabinets underneath that include built-in pull out drawers.

Needless to say we don’t need desks, buffets, bar carts, dressers, chests of drawers, hutches….it has forced me to be very selective with what furniture we DO decide to bring home. So today’s Mid Century Monday post is an example of one out my favorite built-in areas in the house as well as a lucky Heywood Wakefield table find!

First, the hallway. You know you are a little crazy over your own home when you think people care to read about your hallway… but I just love it!! We are talking over 30 feet of extra-wide hallway space with built in bookcases (with under-mount lights) cabinet space, drawers, even a built in gun safe and night lights!

Check it out:

The windows need a serious scrubbing but I love the natural light they let in. The are the perfect height (about chin high for me) to allow privacy so we don’t ever need to cover them!

 

I love the pretty woodgrain on the drawers! And the sliding storage is where we house extra linens and pillows, the air mattress, and honestly a few of them are just empty because it’s SO. MUCH STORAGE. A good problem!

This tall cabinet on the left is actually a built in gun safe!

Built in under cabinet lighting and the little wire doors slide. I am not 100% set on how I styled this thing because it’s 25 feet long a little overwhelming! So stuff has been thrown onto it along the way.

It’s the little things….but I feel like I couldn’t go without them now that I’ve lived with built in night lights. I know when the boys are old enough to get up and use the bathroom they will appreciate them too.

 

Now for one of the very few furniture finds I’ve brought into the house!

It spins! I saw it on a FB for sale post for $15 and knew it was a little funky and perfect for the sunroom. When I got it home I was cleaning it up and saw the Heywood Wakefield stamp on the bottom.

I have never stumbled upon a piece of “designer” furniture before so of course I was pricing it against Ebay and Etsy! Some are listed for upwards of $400! But, this one isn’t in perfect shape. And I think it looks too good right where it is 🙂

apple watch review

I am nearing a month of wearing my Apple Watch every day and wanted to do a review of it for those who are curious. I tend to stalk blogs for reviews of products when I am on the fence about them. When it first came out, I honestly thought it was a little silly. I thought it was just something to buy for those people who love to buy the latest gadget but that it didn’t really seem to serve much of a purpose.

Well, I officially LOVE my Apple Watch, and here’s why:

1. Fitness tracker. This is probably my favorite feature on the watch. I wore a Fitbit in the past so I was familiar with counting steps and avoiding sitting too long, but the Apple Watch rings are way more motivating to me. If I don’t close those three little rings (move, exercise, and stand) by
the end of the evening, you can find me walking laps around my house or doing jumping jacks in my living room. Even better is sharing activity with others for some friendly competition. There is nothing like your wrist buzzing at 6:30am to tell you Mary has finished her workout to get
yourself in gear!

2. Hands free. Have you ever realized how often you walk around with your phone in your hand (or is that just me)? Sometimes for me it wasn’t even enough to have it in my purse that I was carrying or on the table in front of me. I had to have it IN MY HAND, you know, in case it buzzed! The Apple Watch has the ability to alert me to a text or call or whatever it may be so I still feel connected all the time, I just don’t feel like such a slave to my phone. I have noticed that I’ll come home from work and leave my phone in my purse for an hour or so–but I’ll still be able to answer a call if needed on the watch!

3. Pinging my phone when I “lose” it. I can’t tell you how many times I say “I lost my phone!!” My husband could probably tell you…I think it drives him a little crazy! But the Apple Watch has that handy little button that allows you to ping the phone so you can find it. This seems like a minor thing but in the rush to get my kids out the door in the morning, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost 5 minutes only to find the phone in a closet or under a pillow. The ping actually makes it a little game and my boys help me look and we locate it quickly!

4. Cool factor. Okay, there’s no other way to say it, but it’s just cool! Apple pulled it off to where this watch is stylish and functional. I’ll admit I thought they were a little nerdy looking when they first came out…but now I just feel like a cool kid, ha!

If you are on the fence—I do recommend it! I think I would feel a little lost without it now. I have the one that you can set to waterproof mode, so I can bathe kids and wash dishes with ease. I really only take it off to shower and sleep. I think I’ve even lost a few pounds thanks to this watch. What will they think of next?!