Back to School Essentials

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My baby boy is starting kindergarten this fall. Cue the ugly tears. He’s only going to be 3.5 years old since he’s a December baby, but as much as it’s bittersweet watching him grow up so fast, I’m also really excited for him.

He’s a little social butterfly and wicked smart, so I think school is going to be good for him. And I wanted him to look forward to it, and be excited about going-so why not have fun with picking out some fun and cool things that are all his own to take along each day?

 

Mabel’s Labels

We went with the best of the best when it came to choosing labels for all of Ryker’s school things. Mabel’s Labels have been around since 2003 and were created by Canadian mom’s, which makes me love them even more. Not only are they dishwasher and microwave safe, but waterproof and completely customizable. We chose the rocket ships-but you can choose your own here.

 

Go Green Lunch Box

Most schools in our area are big on promoting a litter less lunch, which I think is an awesome idea, as it makes sense not only environmentally, but cost wise as well, when you eliminate constantly having to buy brown paper bags, plastic wrap and Ziplocs. Ryker is a big eater, and as much as we found other bento style, fun lunch boxes, the Go Green was the best choice for us. With each compartment individually sealed, I can throw in some of his favourite Rolling Meadows Dairy Greek Yogurt and not worry about it making his sandwich, or crackers and hummus soggy. Added bonus, it comes with a cute, insulated lunch bag that has a white board for messages, as well as an gel ice pack and stainless steel water bottle. Find them here.

 

Parkland Design and Manufacturing Backpack

I first came across Parkland backpacks at Indigo when Ryker was about 1.5 years old and I was looking for a backpack to use instead of a diaper bag. We bought a camo print one that held up great after two years of being drug around, that he still uses on sleepovers to the grandparents house or day trips. When this space obsessed kid saw the cool rocket ship print one while back to school shopping, we knew it was time for an upgrade. Not too big and not too small, with comfy, padded straps, they’re perfect for starting school.

 

Re-play Snack Containers

This little guys are awesome. They hold a substantial amount of munchies, and you’re able to stack them together to save on space in the knapsack. Made from recycled milk jugs that are BPA, BPS, PVC, lead, melamine,and phthalate free, and available in a variety of fun and bright colours, they’re durable and dishwasher safe. Find them here

 

Hope you all have a safe and happy new school year!

 

 

 

 

Zoocchini Organic Cotton Underwear 

I see London, I see France, I see super cute, organic cotton underpants.

Zoocchini, an awesome brand of children’s products, ranging from hats and backpacks, to wash cloths and underwear-really abide by their motto of being beautifully different. Promoting a love of animals, nature and colour, the company only uses materials that are BPA, phthalate and lead free and strictly work with manufacturers that abide by their same precise standards.

 

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Made with super soft, organic cotton, these boys boxer shorts are not only incredibly comfortable to wear, but also bright and whimsical-and easily help my 3 year old determine front from back with quirky little friends printed on the bum.

While sized a little generously, the fit is comfortable and loose and they’re easy for independent potty goers to pull on and off, while the elastic still maintains it’s shape.

If you’re looking for quality, fun products for your little one, I encourage you to visit Zoocchini’s official web site to find these adorable boxer shorts, and all the other amazing products they have to offer.

This post was my honest opinion in exchange for product.

Squeasy Gear

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This post is my honest opinion in exchange for product.

 

I hate plastics. I try to avoid them as often as I possibly can (although they seem to control the world), especially when buying products for my boys. So when searching for an easy-to-take-along, non plastic water bottle that wasn’t quite as costly as stainless steel or glass, I was delighted to discover the Squeasy Gear Snacker and Squeasy Gear Sport 100% food grade silicone squeeze bottles.

 

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These bottles are seriously the best. Not only are they fun to drink from because you can squeeze and squish them, but they’re also leak free, incredibly easy to clean with no small parts, and can be used for purees, apple sauce and yogurt as well-making them that much more versatile.

 

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The Squeasy Snacker is 6 ounces, and I’ve loved using it for quick snacks in the car or for after parkour class or trips to the beach. They’re quick and easy to fill with whichever squeezable snack you choose, and won’t soak up the water from melted ice in a cooler. These will be a staple for snacking while we’re camping this summer.

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The Squeasy Sport is 16 ounces, and we’ve absolutely loved using this one strictly for drinks, especially in the hot summer heat. It’s a must have for us to take along on any day trip as it holds a perfect amount of liquid for my older son, and because it’s fun to drink from really encourages him to drink a lot more water. The added bonus of it being silicone, is that when you do choose to put juice in them, the bottle won’t stain or absorb the smell.

 

Squeasy Gear bottles are now available in Canada at Wal Mart, or online at Squeasy Gear’s official web site.

GoumiKids

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This post was written with my 100% honest opinion in exchange for product.

 

 

Working in the children’s retail industry and in child care, I’ve seen a lot of different children’s clothing brands. Some are certainly cute, but the quality isn’t there. Some of it isn’t exactly my personal style but is functional and well made-and some of it, well, some is just plain ugly and cheap.

When I had my boys, I didn’t realize how much enjoyment I’d get out of dressing them in not only clothing I felt was top quality, but clothes that were cute and functional.

Enter Goumikids!

I was first introduced to Goumikids when I started working at my current job at a local baby boutique. A company started by two mom’s who were friends in high school, both on a mission to find scratch mittens for their wee little babes that would actually stay on, they created their Goumimitt. From there came their booties, hats, preemie mitts, Jamms and ‘Alls.

I fell in love with their super soft, bamboo and organic cotton Jamms for Oakley’s first outfit in the hospital. (pictured on him in photo above).

Not only did this classic style infant gown make those first diaper changes easier, but it was handy to have his teeny new toes kept warm, but also at easy access for when the nurses came around to unfortunately prick his heels for the required newborn screening. The other feature I loved about the Jamms was the built in Goumimitts ; with a high contrast pattern on one side, to help stimulate brain and eye development, and to keep his hands covered and germ free when being held by visiting family.

We’re excited to try the next stage up, in the Goumi ‘Alls-with pant legs that convert to toes-free for plenty of wiggle time, a super cute bum flap to make night time changes easier and the same built in mitts as the gown.

An added bonus to shopping with Goumikids, aside from all the bamboo softness-is they have a line called GoumiGiving-where 100% of the profits accumulated from purchases of that specific print, and 10% of their entire profits go to organizations against human trafficking, such as Solid Ground International.

If you want small, purposeful, organic and superior quality made baby essentials from a company that loves to give back, I strongly urge you to check out Goumikids.

 

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What I’m Packing in My Hospital Bag

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With about six weeks or less to go until baby boy number two is due to make his grand entrance-I figured it was about time that maybe I should have my hospital bag packed and ready-cause you never really know when baby will decide to come.

Considering this is my second, I learned the hard way the first time that I way over packed-but also forgot some things that this time I’m definitely going to be toting along.

I’ve broken the list down by two: my essentials for mama, and then what I packed for the baby.

Mama’s Bag

ErgoBaby Natural Curve Nursing Pillow- $94.99 CDN available at Bed Bath and Beyond , Toys R Us or Best Buy

I really liked this pillow due to the firmness of it, which interestingly enough, is a lot of reasons why others don’t. In my experience from working children’s retail, one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from customers is that they found breastfeeding pillows to either be too bulky, or that it was soft and comfy at first, but eventually their elbows started sinking into it, causing them to have to prop up with additional pillows. The ErgoBaby pillow is smaller then most, making it more compact, plus, it’s designed to keep baby’s head above their belly, which can assist in proper digestion, resulting in a less gassy, happier little babe.

 

 

The Honest Company Organic Body Oil ($12.99 CDN),  Sweet Orange Vanilla Shampoo/Body Wash in Costco size ($19.99 for two pump bottles), and Lavender Mint Organic Lip Balm ($10.99 for three)-available at Well.ca, Chapters/Indigo, Serenity Birth Studio and Buy Buy Baby

I love The Honest Company products. They’re gentle, natural, and lightly scented, and with the hospital being dry and arid, there’s no question what company I’d choose to help keep my lips and skin moisturized during labour and afterwards.  Plus, their shampoo and body wash is gentle enough to use for your first shower after birth-and if requested-for the nurses to use when baby has his first bath.

 

A comfy robe, slipper socks, nursing bra and organic cotton nursing pads of your choosing.

I’d suggest wearing most of this after birth. Birth can be a messy experience, so unless you have a robe or other clothing that you don’t mind ruining with blood and other bodily fluids, stick with the hospital issued stuff until you get a chance to shower and get comfy after labour. Hospitals can range from being over heated, to cold, so you want to be prepared, but also have loose, cozy stuff to wear while bonding with your new little one in the hospital room-and to look cute for the inevitable visitors.

 

Substance by Matter Company Nipple Cream-$13.99 CDN available at well.ca  and Liam and Lauren Baby and extra absorbent, extra long maxi pads-brand of your choosing.

I did not want a lanolin based nipple cream. I know people rave about the moisturizing benefits and the fact that its safe for baby to ingest-but if you look further into it, it’s actually really gross. Lanolin is a wax like substance secreted from the glands of wool bearing animals. Lanolin has to be purified with chemicals for use for human consumption and can legally contain 40 ppm of pesticides, and sheep are often sprayed directly with pesticides to prevent mites and pests. Like I said, it’s just plain gross. Substance Nipple Cream contains no lanolin whatsoever and is made from calendula, marshmallow root, plantain, witch hazel, olive oil and grapeseed oil-right here in Canada.  And well, the maxi pads-I think we all know why we’ll need those after birth.

Baby’s Bag

 

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Packing for baby is a lot more simple.

 

The Honest Company newborn size diapers ($16.99 CDN) and a pack of wipes ($7.99 CDN)-but you can choose whichever brand you’d like.

Most hospitals won’t provide you with diapers and wipes for that fresh little butt, so be sure to make sure to bring your own. I’d suggest a few extra too, as baby will likely urinate frequently and their first poo, meconium, can be pretty messy and sticky.

 

GoumiKids Jamms in Blue Forest Friends Pyjamas-$39.99 CDN available at Well.ca and Baby Land

I chose these for baby’s hospital outfit/coming home outfit not only because the organic cotton/bamboo blend is so unbelievably soft, but also because GoumiKids has integrated scratch mitts right onto the sleeper, as well as a bottom foot pouch, to make those first diaper changes super easy and convenient, and to keep germs off baby’s hands.  This company also sells adorable scratch mittens, booties and tiny little caps made of the same delicious bamboo/organic cotton blend that I definitely recommend you check out.

 

PEPPA Tino Organic Bonding Doll- $24.99 CDN available at Liam and Lauren Baby, well.ca and Smashing Baby

I love these cute little bunnies for newborns and older children (my three year old has decided his brother’s bunny is now his, so we may have to purchase a second). Filled with 100% antibacterial wool, these dolls are designed to help comfort your little one with familiar scents. Mom and Dad or any other caregiver can sleep with it, or some mom’s deposit a few drops of breast milk onto it, and the wool holds the scent, helping to encourage the bonding process, as well as prevent separation anxiety and can be used to help promote independent sleep when baby is ready. They’re non toxic and with no extra fluff, so they’re perfectly safe for snuggles and the occasional chew. They make really great gifts too.

 

Black Herringbone Bamboo Muslin Swaddle Blanket- $17.99 CDN available at Toys R Us, and well.ca

Canadian made and super soft, Lulujo Swaddles are so cuddly and perfect for baby’s first swaddle at the hospital. You generally are provided with a standard hospital blanket for your babe, but I’d also suggest bringing one from home. They can be used as nursing covers, swaddles, or to bundle baby up on that first car ride home. They also come in handy for spit ups.

 

What were your favourite things or must have’s for your hospital bag?

 

Yellow tote bag featured is courtesy of my best friend Amanda and Thirty-One-you can find her at here if you’re interested in purchasing any awesome Thirty-One products.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Must Have Items For Baby

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This is a sponsored post where I was given product in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

Everyone has certain products they love, that they can’t seem to do without. Whether it be a specific shampoo, a certain foundation or the perfectly worn in hoodie you’ve had since high school-some items really are just must haves. It’s the same when you welcome a new baby into the family. Here is my list of my favourite 4 products that I think should make an appearance in any home with a babe under the age of 1.

 

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The DockATot Deluxe-$296.00 CDN and available at Well.ca , SnuggleBugz and Chapters/Indigo

The DockATot Deluxe is an awesome little tool to have around the house, or on the road with you, as it allows you to “dock” your 8 month and under infant in a safe and comfy spot where they’re able to rest, lounge, lay, cuddle, enjoy tummy time and even have diaper changes. They’re light weight and portable, making them really easy to take with you in your travels, which is what we plan to do come summer when we enjoy family camping trips. Meant for use on safe, stable and low to the ground surfaces, and not to be used in confined spaces such as cribs and bassinets, the DockATot is great if you intend to try co-sleeping, as it gives babe a safe place to sleep and helps prevent caregivers from rolling onto the child, or the child rolling off the bed.

Made with high quality and washable fabrics, I was impressed with the fact that it came with its own little tote bag (a separate travel bag can be purchased) and I’m excited to make use of it once baby boy number two makes his debut.

 

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Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock-$49.95 USD and only available in Canada from Binxy Baby or Amazon Canada

This is a product I’m really excited to use. With this being my second baby, I’m already nervous about taking both boys out grocery shopping, or shopping anywhere, on my own. My 3 year old is very active, and I’m not a huge fan of leaving infants in bucket car seats any longer then the necessary car ride, and I wasn’t really wanting to have to take my stroller shopping each time. Binxy Baby has solved that problem by creating a very user friendly, quick install shopping cart hammock that holds up to 50 lbs, has a built in seat belt, and has the capability of supporting a infant car seat safely as well. Plus, it sits above the cart, still giving you the ability to make full use of all the space below and rolls up to easily stash in your diaper bag or purse. This is going to be a life saver.

 

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Finn and Emma Modern and Organic Baby Clothes, Toys and Gifts-range of $$$-available at Amelie and Max, Chapters/Indigo ,Well.ca and WestCoast Kids

High quality kids clothes made from top notch, butter soft organic cotton, Finn and Emma makes dressing your kids easy and fun. With products ranging from infant and toddler PJ’s, crochet rattles, hats, bibs and beautiful wooden play yards and teethers, Finn and Emma turns out beautiful product.

I ordered the hat pictured above, as well as the matching footie pj’s and bandanna bib for the new babe, and would love to order more once he arrives, for both boys.

 

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Milestone Baby Cards- $26.96 per set CDN-  available at SnuggleBugz

Being a blogger/Instagram mom, these beautifully illustrated cards will help make photo taking and documenting baby’s achievements easy. With a card for the first few weeks, through to the first birthday, ones for firsts like smiles and steps, and blank ones you’re able to fill in on your own, you won’t miss a single thing. They also give you the option to fill in the dates each moment occurred, or leave it blank if you choose to use for more then one child.  Plus, they come in a great and cute little box, making for easy storage, and the ability to keep them for years to come.

 

What are some of your favourite baby related products? We’d love for you to let us know in the comments below!

My Top 3 Favourite Things For Pregnancy 


Now that we’ve hit the 30 week mark-we’ve got about ten weeks-or less-to go-until our sweet, new little man makes his debut.

Having had an “easy” pregnancy with Little, this one was a whole new ballgame for me. I’ve had nausea, vomiting, acid reflux and indigestion-pressure and aches and pains, varicose veins in not very pleasant places and restlessness. I feel like I’ve gained over 100 lbs-where as last I knew I haven’t even gained 25. Long and short, it’s been tough-even though I know it could be a lot worse.

Through it all, I’ve been doing a lot of research for natural remedies to some of the ailments I’ve been dealing with-as I’m generally anti medication unless absolutely necessary.

Ginger Capsules -besides being great for the obvious nausea-these little guys have calmed my burbling stomach and helped settle down the flaming reflux I’ve had almost nightly. I chose to just go with the inexpensive Equate brand from Wal Mart-and they’ve done the job for me. You can get higher dose varieties or go organic if you choose to-but if you can’t get your stomach to settle, I highly suggest you give ginger a try.

Earth Mama, Angel Baby- Mama-to-be Tea Sampler- My lovely friend Allison over at Serenity Birth Studio turned me on to these organic herbal teas-and my favourite very quickly became the Morning Wellness Tea. For at least the first 25 weeks I was waking up insanely nauseous to the point of not being able to eat-but sipping at a warm cup of this before putting anything else in always helped. They also have a Peaceful Mama tea that’s a big recommend for before bed, and a Third Trimester and Heartburn tea.


The Honest Company Organic Body Oil-Anyone who knows me, knows I love the Honest Company and their entire line of products-we use them through the whole house. But this, I was hesitant with. I wasn’t sure about an oil-it can take so long to soak in and be greasy. But after I finished my first jar of belly cream (which I very highly recommend too-Mummy Tummy by Baby and Eve), I thought I’d give it a go, as I’d always heard great things. Not only does it soak into your skin almost immediately, you need such a tiny amount, as it spreads really well. And no greasy aftermath left on your hands! It has a very subtle, pleasant scent and a really easy, mess free little pump bottle. So far, we are still stretch mark free-so I definitely recommend you try it out!

As tough as pregnancy can be-try your best to enjoy it! It goes by way too fast!

Family Cooking feat. Hello Fresh Canada

  • This is a sponsored post and is entirely my personal opinion in exchange for product.


I’m a very big fan of getting kids in the kitchen and letting them help, whether it be baking, or cooking a meal, or even just meal preparation-getting them involved not only exposes them to a variety of different foods in their different forms (cooked/uncooked/whole/cut open), but also encourages them to try new things and can help with fine motor skills, as well as skills for later in life when they’re cooking on their own.

So when Hello Fresh Canada approached me about featuring one of their meal boxes in a blog post, I was pumped. I, like I’m sure a lot of mom’s out there, love to cook-but absolutely hate meal planning. It’s stressful, I always end up forgetting ingredients, and sometimes the recipes end up being more complicated then they were first thought to be.


That’s where Hello Fresh saves the day. Meal prep is as simple as logging onto their app or web site, choosing the box you want for that week, placing your order, and ding dong, the box arrives on your door step filled with all the quality, fresh ingredients you need to make healthy, home cooked meals for your family.

The look on Little’s face in this picture says it all. This kid loves food and cooking so much, he was squealing when the Purolator truck pulled up and handed us our box. He definitely did not want to wait to take a picture before we opened it.

When we did finally dig into the insulated box, it was super easy to unpack, with each meal separated into their own individual, labelled boxes filled with all the ingredients you would need for that specific recipe. We chose Hello Fresh’s vegetarian box, because as a family, we generally eat vegan about 60% of the time due to a handful of reasons.

We pulled out the bright,colourful,step by step recipe cards,and quickly picked the recipe we wanted to make that night-the Farmhouse Vegetable Gratin.


Pulling up his helper chair and laying out the ingredients-we got right to chopping, organizing and of course tasting all the yummy, fresh zucchini,eggplant, bell peppers etc and getting our dinner cooking.

It was not only really easy to make, but also really easy to eat, as we finished the entire dish in one meal.

If you’re interested in trying HelloFresh Canada yourself, they have very generously offered our Canadian readers 50% off their first box with the promo code LOVELY50 to be entered at check out. You can find them on their web site here or download their easy to use app in the AppStore today!


Hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Happy cooking!

Living Healthy As A Family With RIPE Juicery

 

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As a family, eating healthy is super important to both my husband and I. From the get go with Little, we’ve always tried our best to focus on a wide variety of organic (mostly) fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low sugar snacks (with plenty of cheating on this one lol), cruelty free meats and free range eggs. Its important to know what you’re putting into your body and especially, knowing where your food is coming from. And it’s important to know how much your body, and your overall health, can truly benefit from clean eating.

 

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When RIPE Organic Cold Pressed Juicery opened up downtown in our little city, I’ll admit, I was super excited. Not only were owners Meghan and Lindsay super friendly and welcoming, but here was a easy, and enjoyable way to make sure we were getting more then enough of our fruits and vegetables in the forms of juices, salads, acai bowls, nut milks, smoothies, energy balls and elixirs. All made fresh in store, I might add.

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Most importantly, they had their RIPE Minis Line, geared especially for kids-in four super fun, and super delicious flavours. Little adored them the first time he had them, and from then on, I started getting daily queries of, “We go get a super juice, mama?” (In reference to the Super Hero Orange he loved so much.) or “I have a strong apple, mommy?” (Referring to the Hulk Apple Juice). With pleasant fruit tastes, and added kick of greens, these kids juices are divine.

Hulk Apple- one of our favourites, made with apple, kale and lemon.

Superhero Orange- our second favourite in the line up, made with orange, carrot and lemon.

Green Monster- Made with pineapple, spinach and lemon.

Pink Candy- made with pineapple, strawberries and beets.

 

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If juices aren’t your Little’s style, I definitely recommend you try one of RIPE’s smoothies. Made fresh for you with raw, organic ingredients, they’re creamy goodness in a cup. One of our favourites is the Strawberry Fields, so yummy and subtly sweet from the addition of dates, that even the smallest of mouths (my 1 year old niece in town for a visit) enjoy it.

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For an extra special treat on occasion, we add one of RIPE’s energy balls in with our smoothies or juice. Offered in a variety of scrumptious flavours, our go to has always been the peanut butter. Dense, a little bit gooey and chewy, we could probably eat about a dozen of these little morsels in one sitting-and they are definitely a must have treat to try for everyone, large and small.

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Make sure to stop in at RIPE in beautiful downtown Barrie. And I highly recommend you check them out online HERE– they also have local delivery available.

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Photos (and beautiful baby girl) courtesy of my wonderfully talented sister Kate.

Valentine’s Day For Him With JORD Watches

This post is sponsored by JORD Wood Watches and is 100% my personal opinion in exchange for the watch.

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I have to admit, I’m a bit of a sucker for Valentine’s Day. It’s fun planning something romantic in the middle of our super long Canadian winters-and all the pink, red, and white decorations and decadent treats make it just that much better. Plus, I’m a bit of a closet romantic.

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But I struggle when it comes to buying a Valentine gift for the hubby. Everything is usually so girly and sparkly-not exactly guy friendly. And I have a guy who’s into cars, dirt bikes and tools-not exactly Valentine type stuff.

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But then a light bulb went off when JORD Wood Watches approached me and asked if I’d like to take part in their winter men’s campaign. What a beautiful early Valentine gift for my love!

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The watch arrived in an exquisite wooden box engraved with JORD’s logo. We opened it up to find the beautiful navy faced, zebra wood watch wrapped around a burlap cushion, and we were immediately impressed. The watch was not only light and comfortable to wear, but also durable and splash resistant, which, for my husband, who works with his hands for a living, is a great feature to have. The wooden box had a built in drawer on the bottom to store valuables or extra things in, and was padded on the inside for extra protection, heaven forbid it was dropped. Needless to say, we loved it and were beyond happy with it.

img_6105Now its your chance to get a JORD Wood Watch.

JORD is very generously giving away a $100 gift code to put towards your own JORD wood watch!

Click here to enter to win a $100 gift code. Contest ends 2/12/2017 (February 12, 2017) at 11:59 pm.

Click here to visit my homepage with JORD to find out more about their amazing products.

Click here to find out more about the specific watch I chose for my husband and how to order your own.

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Luxury Wooden Watch
//www.woodwatches.com/widget-article/lovelyandlittles