Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Cheers to Health

It's hard for me to write this post. I have had weight problems my entire life and it stems from low self esteem growing up. I was always the one taking the pictures to avoid being in them, faked my period for gym classes so I didn't have to swim and heard the gnash comments about being the "fat one"of the group.

If I had self esteem back then, I would have embraced my body and just grinned for the camera. I would have rocked a beautiful swimsuit and did a cannon ball. I would have stood up for myself instead of treat others unfairly creating a vicious cycle of low self esteem. But now I am a mom and I worry about the self esteem of my two little kids.

I want Jack and Bailey to embrace how they were made, make healthy choices for themselves instead of to please others and have the courage to go after everything they desire. Lead by example right? I wanted to feel my best, no longer be stressed having a short fuse and showcase that this mom can love her body.

After much soul searching - and diets, my friend Julie introduced me to an amazing organic nutritional cleanse through Isagenix. Skeptical; I waited two months, stalking posts about others that have had successes and failures with the products. I saw a community of support, celebrating bodies in all shapes and sizes but most of all, I saw a pattern of results and opted to invest my money in myself.

I started on the 30 day Cleanse on June 1st 2013. Let me alert you that I quit caffeine COLD TURKEY because caffeine is basically a toxin to your system, causing problems related to stress, metabolism, energy and more. The 30 day cleanse program is 26 days of "shake days" and 4 days of "cleansing days".

My daily "shake day" program consisted of taking a energy boost drink called Ionix Supreme that helps with cravings, a nutritional shake - basically super food for your body - 2x a day. A shake is a meal replacement but I ended up taking a shake in the morning and one for dessert with a light lunch and light dinner since I am always sitting down eating with the kids. My calories will kept in tact according to the chart that the program comes with and I followed that schedule relatively close.  The first two days for me were "shake days" to get my body used to the right amount of nutrients.

The 3rd day on the program is a "cleanse day". This day involves NO EATING WHATSOEVER. It allows for the cleanse drink to remove impurities in your body and give yourself a break from digestion. You get the right amount of nutrients in the cleanse drink and your body doesn't go into starvation mode. You just drink 4 cleanse drinks 4x a day, 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water and delicious green tea CHOCOLATES called IsaDelights. It was a day to get used to but waking up and checking out the scale that I dropped 6# was a major motivator for "cleanse day" #2.

The 4th day on the program is "cleanse day" #2. This day is built to boost your metabolism and start breaking down fat cells. It is recommended to get moving on this day so I made sure to do some retail therapy and mall walking. After day 2, i was down 11# already.

Over the course of this 30 day program, I lost a total of 16 lbs and 27". Your body literally melts because the cellular cleansing that is involved boosts your metabolism to properly break down fat cells. My hair, nails, skin, energy and mood were improved and all on NO CAFFEINE! I am not a scientist but all I know is that the only time I have ever lost weight is when I have the flu or am pregnant - and I certainly do not welcome either of those right now. Finally, a product that helped me feel better in all aspects of life and I was on the right track...

After a lull, I took time off of the products and added some emotional eating from very stressful family times into my daily routine and of course I gained some weight back. With the holidays here and nearly gone, I vowed to get a jump start on my program again, kick starting my New Years Resolution early.

I am back on my daily routine of Ionix Supreme in the AM, Shake for breakfast and a daily cleanse 2 oz bottle before bed, shedding pounds already. I feel like myself again. I am taking charge of my body and showing my kids what it is like to be in control, loving how I feel and look.

My cleanse coach Julie has been an amazing support and friend. She knows what it is like to not feel like yourself and need a boost and have been a great resource for me during this process. She also helped me learn the business side of Isagenix where you can pretty much get your products paid for by referrals. It's been a whirlwind of 6 months on and off these products but I am an ISA girl for life and can't go a day in the morning without my Ionix Supreme drink.

If you are interested in getting in touch with Julie and costing out a program that fits your lifestyle and health goals, please visit my Isa website for more info to get in touch!

10 Momventions Giveaway via Mommy Shorts

If you don't know about Mommy Shorts, go follow her blog immediately.  Her real & raw talent for comedic snark in everything parenting adds a lightness to the every day world of being a mom. Plus, her kids are adorable and her eye for fashion is spot on. Ilana is married to Mike and is a mom of two, Mazzy (4) and Harlow (1) and is the creative voice behind Mommy Shorts. She is also a freelancer for Huffington Post and this year debuted her own show on ulive called The Mommy Show

I am a forever fan. 

Being someone that is envious of anything New York City, I love everything about Ilana. She is kind, real, creative and a mom so I already feel this commonality with her; except I live in the 'burbs of Milwaukee in Wisconsin so I live my city life dreams through her Instagram photos and posts. I first took notice when #babymugging went viral. You know, when you are drinking coffee and you look out of the corner of your eye and your baby looks like it is jumping out of your mug...try it. You will laugh. 

When I first started following Mommy Shorts I saw that her daughter's name was Harlow. Oddly enough, a custom embroidered blanket sat beside me that day I had accidentally personalized with the name Harlow instead of Harper. (My niece's middle name is Harlow so I am sure she was on my mind!) Immediately I reached out to Ilana happy that this creation would have a home and sent it her way. What I didn't realize was the other opportunities that would arise for baby Jack blankets down the road like being seen on The Mommy Shorts episode with Rachel Dratch and being invited to their 2013 Holiday Gift Toy Guide. Every mistake leads to an opportunity and this was clearly showcased. 

Now, Ilana has excitedly agreed to work with some of our friends for a large giveaway! Being a mom inventor, I partnered with some other brands that are friends of Baby Jack Blankets and reached out to Mommy Shorts. Today Ilana has posted 10 of 20 of the Momventions and a mass giveaway for all of her audience in recognition of the great products we create with moms in mind. Visit her blog for a chance to win, Like her Facebook page, Follow her blog, Comment away and Pin via Pinterest. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Following a Passion

I found myself in this business by learning how to sew after being let go from my marketing job after having Jack. My hobby grew into a business because I had the passion behind it. I saw the reaction from my customers and how much their little ones loved our creations that I had to keep going. It was a calling. To me, it's more than just a blanket, it's creating comfort. The validation I receive knowing that something I make and sell helps soothe babies at night, during a hospital stay or transition into a crib/bed makes Baby Jack Blankets feel like we are right where we belong.

Recently I came across a YouTube video from a recent X Factor contestant Christopher Maloney. His powerful ballet of Bette Midler's The Rose earned a standing ovation but what made this story so unique and emotional was his journey to get to that stage. Like many others, we have a passion - a calling - for what we are meant to do in life. In order to pursue that work, you have to have instinct, follow your gut and just put yourself out there. It took Christopher Maloney years to put himself in front of others to hear his magical voice after many telling him not to and this video captures the raw emotion, talent and passion this man has for the love of singing.


No matter how big or small your idea or calling may be, follow it. Try it once. Fail. Try again. It's the stories behind the performance that makes it truly a passion and worthy for everyone to hear when the time comes.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Win it Wednesday with Piggy Paint Natural As Mud Nailpolish

Melanie Hurley is a mom of two bubbly, fashionable girls. She is a mom inventor who created a product out of the concern for her own children after seeing solvent-based nail polish literally eat away at a foam plate while painting their nails. She later designed and developed a natural children's nail polish to prevent any chemicals from interfering with fashion. Piggy Paint is now a huge brand that is featured in many small retailers, big box stores and online throughout the world.

Click here to Enter!
Baby Jack Blankets mini executive board #CEOJack and #VPBailey frequently use their products taking turns expressing themselves through colored nails and we at BJB are excited to work with them on a join promotion. Today they are hosting a Win it Wednesday giveaway with Baby Jack Blankets and LillyBit Uptown Diaper Clutch - for mamas on the go that want to diaper in style.

Visit the Facebook page of Piggy Paint and click their icon for the giveaway or simply ENTER HERE.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Oh The Places We Will Go!

Baby Jack Blankets continues to grow in more ways than I have ever imagined.  We started our business as a hobby since I needed an outlet upon being let go from my job after having Jack. Now, it has grown into a business that proves to the government that we are making money, provides jobs and we continue to add to our team. Of course with all that hard work, comes more investments!

Since March, we have added a team of skilled seamstresses that work from their homes. They are contracted employees and have alleviated stress off of me to hand sew all of our orders. It is extremely important to me to ensure that our items are still handmade and I feel hiring this local team gives them a source of added income and a creative outlet allowing flexibility where it doesn't feel like work. Todd is our go-to embroidery guy that adds a touch of personalization to our creations which will be available in 2014.

Recently I have added Heather to personally help me as a virtual assistant. She handles all administrative functions and set up for new vendors, compliance, insurance and customer service. We now have a toll free customer service number where the voicemail message gets emailed to us direct! Heather has proven to be a guru with working with all sizes of stores and knows more about the procedures for and our new vendor Toys R Us. We are hoping to sell exclusive prints via their website and also provide exclusive prints to only our small retailers so they do not have to compete. Keep an eye out for our items all over the place!

I have been managing all marketing and PR for Baby Jack Blankets but it is very time consuming and a lot of follow up. I feel (and other family members who will remain nameless) that I am at my computer constantly. Connecting with Tracy from MODTot Media has allowed me to learn more about social media marketing, make the most with my posts and in time, I am hoping to add her to the Baby Jack Blankets team. If you happen to see a post that doesn't sound like me, please welcome Tracy as she has administrative rights to our Facebook account!

Upon networking with Tracy, I was introduced to her partner Amanda. Amanda is working with me to develop a clear strategic sales plan for 2014 and I am hoping to hire her as a sales rep to get into more baby boutiques. Wish us luck and we will keep you updated!

My husband and I currently handle all the packing and shipping of outgoing orders. Purchasing the DYMO labelwriter 450 has made this process easier. It requires no ink or toner and heat stamps each shipping label onto sticky label paper. You can find one + rolls of labels on Amazon. Well worth the cost! For now, the shipping/receiving and packaging department will stay as is until we have sustainable growth. Then we will add more to our team and perhaps a facility to handle all the inventory. Baby steps...

So there's a brief update on what has been happening.  We have a lot of great opportunities in 2014 including and fingers crossed, working with Team Ellen in Spring. We definitely want to introduce #CEOJack and #VPBailey and show Ellen some dance moves!

Lots of love from our BJB family to yours,

Kelley - owner

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Great Holiday Gift Hunt Giveaway

As a parent, you are always searching for something; shoes, a favorite toy / blanket, peace and quiet or a product to help make your life easier. Well, these mom-inventors who all create great products just sponsored The Great Holiday Gift Hunt Giveaway making searching for something Fun and Free! 

Baby Jack Blankets has partnered with Oops Sheet, Le Bibble, Cuddlecloth, The Diaper Clutch,  and Lalabye Baby to give you some great baby products to WIN.

All you have to do is find the Gift on each individual website (links above) and enter below to win!

Good luck and happy holiday hunting!

*Contest begins on December 9, 2013 and ends on December 15, 2013 at 11:59EST.

Enter to Win 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Baby Jack Must Have

I just purchased my very own #melon watch from Benbini Watches! Once I saw this watch while scoping out #ABCKids13 posts on Instagram, I knew immediately it was going to be a huge hit and that I wanted it. It is literally the only thing on my Christmas wish list this year and I just completed the purchase today to have in time for Christmas.

The Benbini watch is a #mominvented product made up because as we know with parenting, time flies. The double-bezel can be used for all stages in life: timing contractions, breastfeeding, time-outs, naps, and in my case: how many minutes I have before picking up #CEOJack from school! My dear friend Heidi and publicist is pregnant with her second baby, due in April so it's on my buy list for her as well.

Recently Baby Jack Blankets and Benbini Watches were showcased in Mommy Shorts 2013 Holiday Gift Guide and lucky for you, there's a coupon for you in her guide!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Love from the OR. The Story of Bailey's Cesarean

It's Monday night and I am scouring through Facebook and see a link a friend shared about a couple that documented the home birth of their daughter. Lately, I have shed a lot of tears from the many videos that have gone viral but these photos are a must to share.
It took me back to the moment when I heard the cries of my children. That feeling of pure love knowing that your life has completely changed. Your heart is now full upon seeing that face and all that work/worry/anxiety that you faced is worth it. The adventure begins.

I didn't have a home birth nor a natural one. I see the strength that this couple endures together and the light in their eyes. Together as parents, we share this common ground.

With Jack, I do not recall a lot that happened that day as I was exhausted, dehydrated and he was our first. I am proud of the scars that came from delivering my two babies, Jackson and Bailey via cesarean. Jack was first an emergency C-section upon having his cord wrapped after a long labor and Bailey was my planned out operation. I call it drive thru baby with #2. I was blessed to have our nurse take our camera and snap all of these images, documenting her birth on our behalf.
Here's her story...Bailey Louise Legler born on May 5, 2011.

Getting ready to go into the OR 8:45AM

After a quick chat about McDonald's and the weather, the spinal was in and I am numb.
My nerves were not as intense as the first time.

Within seconds, my husband arrived and already they had begun. With Jack, my first, it took 45 minutes for prep and to begin the initial cut. When Brian walked in the room, he saw me open.
It's a's a girl. Wait, it's a boy? Girl? What is it? We were told 5 months prior it was a girl.
The room was decked in pink.
It's a GIRL! 9:03AM

I hear her crying. Brian sets his hand on my head. I begin to tear up. She is here.
Bailey began to wail. When Jack was born he made three soft cries but it was clear that Bailey was making her grand appearance. She kept at it until she was all snug.

7lbs, 10oz, 20 inches long.

Brian takes a moment with his little girl.
To this day, her dad's touch soothes her. Daddy's girl.
A beautiful full head of hair, healthy pair of lungs. 10 fingers, 10 toes.
Bailey has been blessed with adorable assets. 

My first time seeing her. The moment makes me cry. Pure joy and love radiate.

First kiss from mommy.

From this day, she would have her dad wrapped around her finger. He is amazing with babies and did the AM feedings, bonding with her and lulling her to sleep.
Recovery room for one hour post cesarean. A special time of bonding for mom and Bailey.

No matter how you decide to have a child - be it your own discretion or a medical team, it is truly one of the most remarkable experiences in life. I didn't plan on a cesarean with my first born Jack, it happened because it was the safest route for him and I. With Bailey, I just wanted my little girl safe and in my arms as fast as possible. In the blink of an eye, she was here. 

Isn't she lovely
Isn't she wonderful
Isn't she precious
Less than one minute old
I never thought through love we'd be
Making one as lovely as she
But isn't she lovely made from love
Happy family of four Baby Jack Blankets owners Kelley, Brian, #CEOJack and #VPBailey
Bailey with her Merry Cherry Satin lovey created by mom of Baby Jack Blankets at birth. To this date, she carried around her "B" everywhere.

xo Kelley