Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Must-Haves for First Time Mommy-To-Be

Now I know you are probably wondering why you are reading about having babies with my shopping list on a blog that is supposed to be about weddings. But I'm hoping that my stories would help somebody who's as overwhelmed as I was when I found out that I'm finally going to become a Mommy. See before I am a wedding Diva, I am first a mom of a feisty 2-year-old girl who literally had to fight her way to be here.

Three years ago today, we found out that we were pregnant with our first child. (That's another story for another day) Our daughter Amirah was born barely 5 lbs. at 34 weeks after and had a brief stay at the NICU. Now prior to her birth, I had issues with my pregnancy. I had pre-eclampsia and was required to stay in the hospital for 2 months. Luckily, I had an excellent team of Labor and Delivery nurses at Aurora Sinai who took great care of me and my baby during the whole ordeal. Because of how hectic things had been, my husband Amir and I barely had time to put our nursery space together let alone do much shopping. Plus because we had been waiting for the chance to have a baby for 6 years, we were very careful not to do too many physical activities so shopping around wasn't an option at all. I relied solely on online shopping and Amazon was my go-to place. At the time I was preparing for Amirah's arrival, I was just so occupied with researching the best things for her from cloth diapering, to bottle and breastfeeding and of course furniture selection. I made every effort to look everything up on YouTube to see what other moms are saying about them not to mention, the many pregnancy websites out there. Now with one baby, I cannot claim to be an expert on the whole experience. After all, I've only been a mom once and only for 2 years and a few months. I do hope you still take the time to read my recommendations and reviews on some of the things that I personally have tried or wish I had at the time of our child's birth.

Pregnancy must-have

Other than the many beautiful maxi dresses I've collected over the years, the other best purchase I made that was definitely for mommy's comfort is the U-shaped body pillow! As I have mentioned before, the long stay at the hospital really was the biggest challenge I had to go through. Many of you who have had the unfortunate chance to stay in one would probably attest to the fact that hospital beds, even with all their bells and whistles, are not comfortable to sleep in at all. So I was glad that I had purchased my U shaped body pillow from Kohls prior to my confinement. There is no other way to describe the comfort this gives a pregnant woman who's a wild sleeper like me. It's like being spooned by clouds. Now I thought that I definitely overpaid for mine at $99. It was definitely a splurge although the comfort it provided was worth every penny. I still have it in my closet I pull it out every once in a while. Especially when I have trouble sleeping because of my back problems. There are several options on Amazon and I've found the least expensive kind with the most impressive feedback. Other than the comfort it provides you during the pregnancy, this could also double as a baby feeding pillow especially if you do not have a recliner or an armchair in your room and have to do most of the feeding time in bed.


Crib vs. Playpen

We bought our baby a nice white Dream On Me 3 in 1 Crib by Delta from Amazon. We also were gifted with a nice pack 'n' play which was really perfect for us because we needed something portable since her grandparents and aunties and uncles borrowed her every now and then too. Given a choice, the 3 in 1 crib was very nice and we are keeping it in case we have another little one since we have it already, BUT I would have probably nixed the crib and just stuck with a pack 'n' play instead. I was hoping she would use the crib in all its stages but honestly, she did not like being in the crib at all. Not even when we took the front rail down and converted it into a toddler bed.

I know they make these things very complicated these days. They have Cadillac versions that have everything from a detachable bassinet, side organizer, diaper changer as well as toys attached to them. I find all of these unnecessary. A basic Pack n Play that allows multiple height adjustments and is easy to put up and fold away will suffice. These run about $60 and up. I would have to say though, it would be best to shop around in-store instead of doing this online so you can test out how to fold and unfold these things. We did not get to test ours out prior to purchasing as this was a gift. But if you don't have time to shop in-store, just type in the product name on YouTube, they have plenty of product reviews and demos online.

Baby Changer

We have a nice long dresser in our bedroom that looks like this.

The width of it is just a little bit wider than a standard changing pad. I had debated over whether it was necessary to have a changing table at all as I've taken care of lots of baby cousins and nieces and nephews who were changed on the bed! besides, an additional fixture in our already crowded bedroom is really the biggest problem! We thought about purchasing a crib that had a built-in changer but we opted not to. Instead, we cleared the top of our old dresser, added organizers, I did not have a changing pad at the time actually I used one of my contour pillows to change the baby on. 😁 Of course, I do not recommend this since it does not have safety restraints. But replace the pillow with an actual changing pad, and you are in business. With my back problem, it was really convenient to have everything required for changing, at waist and eye level. So a nice long dresser like this if you already have it, with a bunch of baskets and wall mounted shelves come in handy. No need to buy a separate changing table that your baby will outgrow in only a few months.

You should also have at least 2 changing pad covers. You will definitely need them! I used pillow covers since I did not have a changing pad.


We had the fisher-price 4-in-1 Sling and Seat Tub Set in our baby registry which we did get yay! This definitely functioned as promised and we loved the drain plug feature. This made clean up so much easier. The sling held up to her weight. This is very important as I have heard horror stories from many reviewers that some tubs came with slings that couldn't even hold up to a newborn baby's weight. The seat helped a lot when she was finally able to sit up. The little shower bottle and dipper were also cute additions.


Baby bottles

My baby never had gas issues, I can't really say that it is due to the fact that we used these award-winning AVENT bottles by Philips. They come in 3 different sizes. At birth, we had 4 of 4-ounce ones and 4 of the 9-ounce bottles. After about 2 months she outgrew the 4-ounce ones so we just added 4 more 9-ounce bottles. They say you are supposed to replace them every 3 months or so but I really did not see the need to replace them as I cleaned her bottles well all the time and there was never an issue with discoloration or residue. She's 2 and we still have her original bottles. The only thing we replaced was the nipples. They have replacement nipples available in 4 stages. 1 being the slowest flow and 4 the fastest. I've seen the ones that have 3 different flows in one and all you have to do is turn the bottle to adjust the milk flow but I opted not to use this. I didn't want to have to worry about whether or not the bottle is turned the right way. besides, you will have to replace the nipples overtime anyway. Especially when your baby starts to teethe.
Recently Avent bottles have gone through a makeover. They've come out with these cute designs. I love the fact that these have wide mouths so filling these bottles are easier. They also have glass versions but I worried too much that I might fall asleep while feeding and accidentally drop the heavy glass bottle on her head. OUCH!

Bottle warmer

The Born Free Tru-Temp Bottle Warmer is super convenient and very easy to use. It has a setting for thawing out frozen milk and milk that's been sitting at room temperature (which could still be quite cold in the winter). If your fridge is on another floor, you could store frozen breast milk conveniently in the insulated compartment which is completely detachable by the way. You could use this compartment for travel as well. It holds 2 milk bottles. The wide profile Avent bottles fit in this warmer just fine.

Over time the warmer and the water compartment may start to have hard water build up /water stains, I would suggest spritzing these compartments once a week with a little white vinegar and letting it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it off and rinsing it.

Co-sleeping Pod

My nurse friends will probably say definitely NO to co-sleeping. We tried not to but we did not purchase a bassinet for her to sleep in and the crib was in was way too big for her at birth. We didn't feel comfortable leaving her in the big crib by herself especially since she was very active and even managed to flip herself over on her own a few times very early in her infanthood. This worry kept me up most nights. I wish we had this pod at that time.

Wipe Warmer

At the time I bought this I thought the product might have been a little frivolous. I mean, I remember we washed babies butts in the sink when they pooped and that was with cold water too! 😁 But hold on, there might actually be a logical explanation as to why this wipe warmer is important. Honestly, I do not remember ever having to worry about Amirah crying while we changed her diaper. It may have a lot to do with the fact that the wipes weren't cold! My husband was skeptical about this purchase but the warmer did prove to be a great help. We got the one with the spray but the ones without a sprayer to wet the wipes in case they dry up in the warmer (and they do) would do just fine. At some point, we got tired of spritzing the sheets and just poured a little bit of water in the compartment to keep the wipes wet.

Diaper Pail

I swear I thought I must have been going crazy when I made some of my pre-baby purchases. I mean come on! It's a trash can! Now I had to watch LOTS of YouTube reviews for this. Which I must say by normal standard was quite obsessive. I had to justify the cost you know. You kinda have to explain this to your hubby and convince him that it's absolutely necessary. And of course, unfortunately, there's no such thing as smell-a-vision yet so we couldn't know for sure that they really worked. A lot of people say well, babies' poop doesn't really smell bad anyway so maybe just wrapping up soiled diapers would be just enough to keep the odors under control. NOT! My child's excrement, bless her heart, smelled of rotten broccoli and really pungent cheese since day one. No bag and no amount of Febreeze could keep our room from smelling just like a dirty public restroom. This diaper pail was heaven-sent. Full disclosure I did not pay $60+ dollars for my pail. This may require some extensive googling but I remember buying ours from Toys 'R' Us online and picked it up at the store. only for $30. But this was in 2015. Look for coupons and subscribe to baby websites they are very helpful. 

Poop Bags

Now some of you may find this off-putting because of the name of the product. Amazon Basics Dog Waste Bags with Leash Clip Honestly though, let's be practical here, it's going to hold dirty diapers people! Most of us would probably go for the fancy arm and hammer bags or diaper sacks with odor-lock or scented with ocean mist that is way more expensive than these. I would argue that this is really a poor choice. We bought the pack of 500 bags, she's 2 and a half and we're just about to run out of bags! This came with a dispenser too. Get over it! If you didn't know about these waste bags anyways you would've probably just rummaged through your drawer full of used grocery bags.


On your baby's first few months I know it's very tempting to get just about every cute outfit you will find out there. I know I did! Which I, later on, felt like I should have been smarter about. Wait for your baby shower before purchasing your baby clothes so you won't have an issue with having too much of one thing or one size. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all deal. Also if you're creating a registry, make sure you specify the kind of onesies and shirts that wrap around and snaps instead of the pull on onesies and shirts. Amirah was barely 5 lbs. at birth and could fit in a shoebox. She was so tiny that the premie sized clothing we had for her fit like 2xl on a medium sized person. It was difficult to get her into clothes you have to pull over her head because she just looked so fragile! I really did wish I had more snap on clothes for her. I wouldn't worry too much about designs. They are usually in a swaddle anyway so who's really going to see them?! I say, get some plain looking shirts and onesies and jazzy up with cute swaddle prints.
Also, another tip, sleepers, and pajamas that have what's called MITTEN CUFFS are the best.
Note: They grow out of their clothes FAST! And I mean within 2-3 weeks so don't overbuy you will probably just need one to two sets per size and 1 or 2 fancy outfits for each month for doctor's appointments and photo ops. And expect to do laundry at least twice a week. Especially if you want to try cloth diapers.


We did not get rattles or other noisemakers for Amirah until she was about 4 months. All we had was this Rainforest mobile by Fisher Price. It had a nightlight feature and it played classical songs. It also had 2 volume settings as well as a mute mode that allows for the animated mobile to function without any music. The best part about this mobile is that it came with a remote! So no more getting up to turn a key or press a button to activate this thing, as long as you are within range.

I have listed other items on the Amazon List that I saved for you. If you have questions about them and other things that you might be concerned about, feel free to leave me a message here or on Amazon and I will most certainly try to be as helpful as possible.
I love being a mother and I would gladly do it again if we were blessed with another child. In the meantime, I am learning just as much at the same time as our child is learning and discovering new things every day. I have photographed her every single milestone and shared maybe too many things about her on my facebook page. I cannot be more proud of this little lady we will always call baby. The best advise I could give any mommy-to-be is when in doubt ask your mommy! She knows best.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Amirah's Fun to be ONE Wreck-it-Ralph Party

It's been a year since our daughter Amirah was born. April Twenty Five has taken a little bit of a turn since we had her. We have since added a section on Baby showers and Party items. I think having a little one changed me personally. I've become very interested in things that has to do with kids in general. In my family we always make a big fuss of birthdays. We go all out on decorations, food even costumes. Amirah's first birthday is no different.

After seeing Disney's Wreck-it-Ralph movie with my nieces and nephew I knew Amirah had to have a SugarRush Party. I envisioned her as Vanellope Von Schweetz, Daddy as Ralph and her cousin as Felix. We sort of ran out of time planning so a portion of the costume design fell through we Amir couldn't come as Ralph. BUT with a borrowed tool belt from PawPaw (Amirah's Grandpa) blue jeans, blue polos and a baseball cap, Fix It Felix, Jr. made it! Amirah's Auntie turned the dining room into a Dylan's Candy Bar inspired party room and let's not forget she also built a replica of the Apartment building from Cardboard boxes. Everything was just awesome.

My part of the party was the birthday cake, cupcakes, favors and Amirah's costume. I DIY-ed them except for the cake topper.

I have included the links and printable artworks below that you can use for the favor boxes. Feel free to fill in the name part with your own kid's name. The Gable boxes are available on our Etsy Site.

The Vanellope figurine I used for the cake topper was a used Disney infinity piece that I purchase from Amazon. For some reason most Wreck-it-Ralph items are now mostly out of stock or being sold at a very steep price as collectibles so Icombed through eBay's and Amazon's offerings for option and this was the most economical way to do it. The chevron cupcake containers were from Target's dollar section and the clear tops were actually these rigid 4" tall plastic cocktail cups from Sam's Club . I've had requests for the things that I used for my baby's cupcakes and cake decorations which led me to wanting to start a new line of party items to be sold in our Etsy Site. For now I will be giving away the templates here for free.

Downloadable Templates:
Wreck-it-Ralph Gift Tags
Wreck-it-Ralph Stickers
Vanellope Von Schweetz Stickers

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

YOUnique Ring Pillows

This week we are all about ring pillows! These precious symbols of love deserve just as much special attention on the big day as the bride and the groom. April Twenty Five is always on the lookout for unique and inspiring finds on ETSY. Here are a few one-of-a-kind ideas by some of our favorite ETSYans.


1 Vintage Style Post Card by LittleWeeShop 2  Yarn Heart Ring Pillow by BluePearls 3 Set of 2 Ring Pillow Books by ThePaperWalrus 4 Personalized Tree Ring Pillow by LittleWeeShop 5 Monogrammed Ring Dish by PromisePottery 6 Come Sail Away Ring Dish by CakeandLace

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Beach Wedding Footwear

Appropriate footwear has always been an issue with beach weddings. Stilettos definitely won't work wedges kinda would but you'd still have to worry about tripping on your way down the aisle. Avoid unwanted big day accidents with these elegant and very appropriate barefoot sandals. Find them on etsy.com.
Some sellers even make uber adorable barefoot sandals for your chubby little flower girl's baby feet!
Creits: Beyonce Barefoot Sandal Beach Wedding Sandals.Silver chain & Crystal Filigree Pendant for Destination Wedding by PassionflowerJewelry, Handmade Pair Barefoot Sandals Nude Shoes with Antique Silver Plated Hearts by HappiFeet, Daisy Baby Lace Sandals-Crochet by myknittingworld HANDMADE Gypsy Caribbean Summer Barefoot Sandals byDuendeYCaliente,Baby Barefoot Sandals Foot Jewelry FancyFeetSandals

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The nature of customer service

Customer Service
I was thinking the other day about the nature of our business as Memorial Day came and went. I realized that in the world we live in today, we have created a culture that availability should be immediate and constant.  That means that no matter what time of day or what day, availability for any company should be priority.  If you look at customer service as being one of those crucial elements you start to think about how often you request customer service.  From my standpoint I think about my relationships with my cellphone company Verizon and my relationship with Intuit and other places of business.  The interesting thing is that most of these companies are not available 24/7.  Each company creates hours of operation that they try to ingrain into customers regardless of the need.  However, in a fast paced world this model may not serve the better interests of customers.   Problems go wrong all the time and is certainly not hindered by hours of operation.  Thus, it strains to imagine how can these companies can operate customer service today. 

Solutions Solution Solutions!!
With the creation of the internet we can now access the collective knowledge base of the world in an instant and gain our customer service from people we barely know.  This relationship is something that companies often miss out on.  This is why companies should pay more attention to ensuring that their products and the customer service that follows it is available.  When I think about it from our perspective as wedding invitation and event designers, I think we have always had a high form of availability to our customers regardless of the time or day as a means to ensure our customers feel like they are getting the help they need.  Granted even we cannot be awake 24/7 and there are even events in life that can prevent even the most dedicated company from being available.  However, I still think there is wisdom in making customers and their experience as comfortable as possible.  We value the "relationship" we establish with our customers.  That is something I will look forward to more companies accomplishing in similar ways that simply just makes sense.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Under the weather Friday!!!

Usually our Friday's are dedicated to wedding favors we have seen that we really liked.  However, as I am feeling very under the weather today I will just be offering a feature of one of our products that we recently released.  This week it is the guestbook design theCzarina.  It is very vintage and very classy.  Because we do love vintage, we thought this design would show just how much.  Click the link below to go to the website.  Thanks and Happy Friday.


Monday, May 7, 2012

In the works: Lisa Boarding Pass Save-the-Date Announcement

Straight-forward and frill-free is the theme of our latest boarding pass save-the-date challenge. The bride, Lisa, asked for a sophisticated and modern interpretation of the plane ticket. Inspired by AirFrance's, Delta's and American Airline's updated designs, we came up with something just as contemporary looking without losing our unique and quirky touch.

The Result

The inspiration