All posts by Holly

What To Pack in Your Hospital Bag

There is a lot of prep going on over here as we anticipate baby number 3’s arrival.
Some say pack your hospital bag by 35 weeks and have it in the car…I am almost 39 weeks, am packing it now and want to share what I am packing.
what to pack in hospital bag
Here are my absolute must haves for the hospital bag.

  • Music player- we use the jawbone jam box with my favorite music on it to play during labor.
  • Inflated birth ball- if you’re planning on a natural delivery these are great to rock on, get in a comfortable position, etc.
  • Lip balm. You know me? You know I’m addicted to always covering my lips in lip balm, and hospitals and labor have a habit of drying you out so pack some now.
  • Hair bands. I have a new fresh pack so I know there will be no way I will go without. You will want your hair back during labor.
  • Essential oils (I used lavender) to breathe in for the calming properties.
  • Lollipops or hard candy- it’s nice to have something other than ice chips to suck on during labor
  • Rescue Remedy- this worked to keep me calm and peaceful while I was in labor with baby #2.
  • Gum and mints
  • Refillable water bottle so you don’t have to drink out of plastic water bottles and be exposed to xenoestrogens.
  • Dark colored nightgown and robe for after delivery. Dark colored so you don’t have to worry about blood showing if your pad leaks. Nightgown should have easy access for baby to nurse.
  • Breast pads and nursing bra
  • Comfy Socks to keep your feet warm
  • Slippers or flip flops to walk around your hospital room
  • Baby wash if you’d like to use a natural and organic kind instead of the one the hospital provides. Or better yet, avoid the bath altogether!
  • Non-toxic diapers by if you’d prefer not use the ones the hospital supplies
  • Organic cotton squares and Organic/non-toxic baby oil. We use these as wipes and to get that first sticky meconium off of baby’s bottom
  • Nursing pillow- this is my hands down favorite one. I’ve tried them all, but the Blessed Nest is the best.
  • Journal and pens
  • Phone charger
  • Camera
  • Selfie stick? hey, why not.
  • Snacks- trail mix, nutrition bars, for middle of the night cravings.
  • Change and small bills for the vending machine
  • Swaddle blanket
  • Hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, makeup, other toiletries
  • Going home outfit for baby
  • Going home outfit for you
  • An extra bag- the hospital give you tons of diapers and wipes, pads, disposable undies, etc. and it’s nice to have the extra room. I also took home a few packages of the bed pads. They are so convenient!
    Something else to consider-
    A string of white Christmas lights. That way you don’t have to turn the harsh hospital lights on and off, and can use the warm peaceful light the whole time.

Things you probably won’t need:
Underwear- the hospital gives you these amazing stretchy disposable undies
Pads- unless you want organic cotton ones, then bring your own
Towel- yes, the hospital towels are thin and not super soft, but I would so much rather just leave everything behind after showering for the first time post baby

That’s my must have list!
Continue reading What To Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Dates For a Faster Labor

Looking for ways to have a quicker labor? Try eating dates! I recently found this study showing that eating 6 dates per day in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy has a significant impact on a woman in labor.

In the trial, women who ate 6 dates per day were compared to women who ate none. The women who ate the dates:

  • Were more dilated upon admission to the hospital than those who had none
  • Were more likely to have intact membranes (meaning their water had not broken) upon hospital admission. (This is significant if you know what it’s like to labor before your water has broken compared to after. That cushion makes a difference!)
  • Went into labor spontaneously (date consumers-96% versus non date consumers- 79%)
  • Had a lower need for Pitocin use

If all of the above is not enough to convince you to try eating 6 dates a day in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, the women who did not eat dates labored for 6 and a half hours LONGER than those who ate the dates. That sold me.

Dates are high in fiber, iron, potassium, b vitamins- especially b6 which helps with pregnancy related nausea, vitamin K, calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

Here is an easy way to get your 6 dates per day!

faster labor recipe

Banana Date Smoothie


  • 6 pitted raw dates
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups organic milk or alternative milk
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds or cashews
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 3 or 4 ice cubes
  • optional- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon chia seeds (for those brain building omega 3s!)

Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until smooth.

Pour in a tall glass and enjoy!




noonday ambassador
The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.

-Henry Ward Beecher

I am still reeling from the annual Noonday Ambassador Conference that I recently attended in Austin.

We had many amazing speakers including Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery fame, Jen Hatmaker, Melissa Russell of International Justice Mission, and John Ruhlin.

noonday ambassador conference

In my opinion the real stars of the weekend were the women who traveled from Uganda, Guatemala and Ethiopia to speak to us about the artisans they employ. Artisans who make beautiful, handcrafted goods that Noonday Collection purchases from them.



{This is Jalia- she is the founder of African Style and creates all of the incredible jewelry made using paper beads in Uganda. Seconds before my friend snapped this photo, she said blessings over my baby and kissed my bump!}

I heard first hand how women have been rescued from the pit of prostitution, abusive marriages, and hopeless poverty. All because they now earn a dignified income.

These aren’t just stories, they are lives. And these lives are forever changed thanks to Noonday Collection and our fearless founder desiring to make a difference in the world. We’ve created a marketplace for them in the United States that they would otherwise not have access to.

Many of these women are moms who now are able to keep the children they were considering giving up for adoption because they now have money to buy food to feed them.

So if you ever wonder if your Noonday purchases really make a difference, let me reassure you- they do. Every single order, no matter how small, means a new order for our artisan partners. The ripple effect is huge. And I felt it last weekend.


2017 Noonday Sample Sale

Click here to go directly to my Sample Sale!
UPDATED AUGUST 1st 2017! New Items added!

I have always been weary of direct sales. Not sure why, I just mostly steered clear. Then I discovered Noonday Collection, and thought about it for a long time.


Why did the thought of selling something bother me? And why do I assume friends feel awkward buying from friends?

I mean, in this case, if you’re going to purchase jewelry anyway, wouldn’t you rather support a friend and fair trade artisan hand made business than walk into a big box or department store and pad the pockets of the CEO while the people in the factories get paid nothing and are most likely abused?

If you haven’t heard about Noonday Collection yet, I urge you to check out the website, peruse the impact section, and check out the blog.

And I’m having another online sample sale! Here is the link to some great items at a discount (many of which can still be purchased for full price on the website!) Most of these items have never been worn, and are in like new condition.

Items still available:

Adrift Necklace

Sunburst Necklace

Pathway Necklace

Dauntless Necklace

Trapeze Necklace

Nomadic Necklace

Violet Tassels Necklace

Flora Bib Necklace


Golden Bough Necklace

Quito Necklace

Shine Necklace

Bombay Necklace

kinfolk bag

Santa Fe Earrings

Rashmi Earrings

Carved Pillar Earrings

Raja Earrings

Elongated Brass Earrings

Glasswork Earrings

Compass EArrings

Carved Pillar Earrings

Athena Cuff

Meera Bracelet

Entwined Bracelet

Briye Bracelet

Desert Flower Infinity Scarf

Primrose Headband

Arm Warmers







Gift Ideas for the Women In Your Life (Some Ideas for Men Too!)

For the past few years my husband I and have decided to give gifts that give back. That’s why I am recommending these two socially responsible companies for gifts! AND, you can shop from the comfort of your own home.

fairtrade gifts

Noonday Collection works with 28 artisan groups in over 10 countries, and provides dignified jobs, no interest loans, scholarship programs and emergency assistance to these artisans. In turn, through YOUR purchases, we create a marketplace for these artisans here in the U.S..
Noonday has an amazing selection of beautiful jewelry and accessories. Many under $40! Everybody wins.
You can check out the website here.
fairtrade gifts
One of my favorites is the Paper Dreams Necklace– only $38! It is made from PAPER beads in Uganda, and looks like turquoise. I love it.

fairtrade jewelry

If the women in your life love the idea of natural products, or you’d like to introduce them to some, look no further.

Ava Anderson Non Toxic is an incredible skincare line. Almost completely organic.
organic skincare
They also have home cleaning products, products for men, and baby/kids items!
organic skincare


I love the pet deodorizer (it works as a stain remover! The best one I have ever tried), the dishwasher pods, the cotton pads and the entire skin care line.

And there is a limited edition candle that is perfect for the season- this candy cane candle is subtle, but refreshing. Not in the least bit overpowering. It is made with organic coconut oil and an organic cotton wick.

ava anderson non toxic

PLEASE contact me directly if you have any questions about any items recommended above. As always, I only recommend products I can whole heartedly get behind, and these products make such fantastic gifts with meaning.