Fitness Adventures In Mexico

2 Apr


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7am Aqua workout with moi!

Teaching Aqua fitness to a pool full of LadyBosses may just be the highlight of my year, but this whole trip was an epic exploration and I just want to share a few of my favorite moments.

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Working my best poolside Britney Spears impersonation.

Daily Workouts


Workouts on the beach with Coach Jan and Coach Ang.

Let’s be real, I’m here for the exercise.  Every morning we hosted a workout from Aqua, to dance and yoga, to After Burn At Home.  Our talented coaching team led indoor, outdoor and all around workouts that were the best way to get our bodies and brains primed for each day.

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Body Sculpt workout with Coach Jessica!



Client focused!


As a coach, I got to have one on one time with clients that was precious and valuable.  Getting to know my clients, really helps me to expand my capability to help them.  Then getting to know and connect with other women in the program and build those relationships opened doors of communication that as a coaching team continued to unify are already cohesive team of coaches, and further enabling us to best serve our clients.

Fabulous Food

Ok, I am NOT here for the food, but it was pretty darn great. I’ve never been to an all inclusive before but I didn’t have a bad or greasy meal.  They were very accommodating to requests and even remembered my no cheese breakfast burrito every morning from room service.  My only complaint is the menu on the TV was irritating because I am an impatient Xennial who literally hates TV anything.

The Resort

I don’t know if I’ve simply been in Tahoe to long (I’m convinced we have the worst service on the planet) or what but the service at this resort was ABOVE and BEYOND.  Every single person I encountered on their staff was excellent and attentive.  I highly, highly recommend them for creating a stellar experience from top to bottom and thinking of literally everything.  If you weren’t sure  if you wanted to come to the El Dorado Royale, you do.


Not my room, but dang….

The Dream Team

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Retreat Coaching Team


Incase you don’t know I work with amazing, passionate and driven women.  Gah! I’m so lucky and this isn’t even all of them, but every day spent around these folks levels me up and re-ignites my passion for health and fitness.

The Beach y’all!


This photo really needs no words…

The LB Obstacle Course


Cheering on while Lady Bosses completed the plank and body arches challenges.

So the workouts were cool, and the beach was cool…but put them together and I’m in heaven.  On this trip I got to tap into my passion for OCR and work with the fabulous Coach Shanda to design and run obstacle course challenge.  We had such a great time and the ladies really took to the challenge and teamwork, got outside their comfort zones and got dirty!  I laughed, I cried tears of joy, I loved every second.


Rise and splash!

I am filled with gratitude, and smiles looking back on these photos all  I have left to say is THANK YOU to Kealin and Brandon, the entire LadyBoss Company, and the Coaching team, especially my senior coach Piper and the director of coaching Jessica for giving me these opportunities to shine, share and experience.


Attitude is everything.

Much Love,

Coach Christine


Don’t miss the highlight reel here:

Athletes and Active Agers alike discover the benefits of Aqua X

25 Apr

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Recently I had a humbling experience that apparently is not all too unusual for a land based trainer or athlete. I took an aqua HIIT class at the Truckee Community Pool.  In this class I was clearly the rookie. I felt like I was really working hard, which mind you, is saying a lot.  I train in and out of the gym at least 6 days a week, in addition to teaching group, personal and athletic clients. Somewhere in the back of my mind were these little whispers of facts on recovery, and how great being in the water can be for your body.  I knew water felt good after workouts.  I knew water workouts existed, but that was really the extent of my knowledge. Nevertheless I was intrigued, as an athlete and a trainer as to what water could bring to my personal training and recovery, as well as what incorporating it could bring to my clients.  So when I was contacted by the Truckee Community Pool with the prospect of bringing some of my land based prowess to the water I jumped, literally and figuratively right in.

First I set out to see what other instructors were doing.  Hence, my butt kicking Aqua HIIT experience.  I was astounded by how satisfyingly worked aqua exercise made me feel, but without the next day soreness.  I was acutely aware of my pounding heart and deep breathing during the workout. I also had fun, and was challenged by watching other class participants who were clearly more practiced and seemingly working way less hard than I. That’s when I knew there was more to this method than meets the eye.  I subsequently attended a fitness professional conference with the intention of spending four days educating myself about aqua, what I learned there really got me excited to share this method of training, especially with those of you who are thinking things like; aqua exercises is easy, and imagining groups of leisurely movers in bathing caps.  You’ve got it all wrong, and here is why. 

The properties of water are astounding and make for a fantastic addition to your training protocol.  Water offers a drag resistance that is 12 times that of air.  That’s right, if you are a bodyweight trainer, like me, or if you train with weight or resistance, imagine the possibilities there.  There are no eccentric muscle contractions in the water, and since it is generally thought that eccentric contractions are what cause muscle soreness that is likely why you won’t experience that unpleasant exercise side effect, which will lead to faster recovery time.  If you have low body fat, aqua exercise will be especially hard since you lack the especially buoyant quality of the less lean.  So potentially, the fitter you are, the harder the workout.  Other benefits include; water increases exercise caloric output by up to 28%, the forgiveness of aqua training on the joints (while still being hard on muscles), it relives pressure on the spine, and results up to a 90% reduction of body weight, which is what makes it so great for our active agers, and injury recovering populations.  The hydrostatic pressure of water surrounding your entire body improves circulation and breathing , quickens return of blood to the heart, and reduces swelling.

Think about how you can work water training into your current regiment for great benefits.  Maybe you need an active recovery day, or maybe you want to find a unique way of improving your cardiovascular function, and performance thresholds that aren’t your typical dry land intervals.  In my new class at the Truckee Aquatic Center, Aqua X, we will explore how water can regress or progress exercise.  Imagine busting out your max of an exercise on land and then hitting the shallows for some water support and digging a little deeper, finding a few more reps.  Or preforming a body weight exercise on deck, then moving to the water for an intense cardio interval, minus the pounding on your joints.  Gone is the image of synchronized swimmers waving and kicking (although I have way more respect for how hard that probably is now) replaced with an athletic exerciser wearing training gear just like you would see in a gym, maybe even shoes, ready to for an intense, challenging and fun workout for all levels.  Be ready to be humbled by aqua, and likely, fall in love with it too.

Aqua X starts Thursday May 10th at 2pm, ongoing.  At the Truckee Community Pool,  (530) 550-4406 for more info.

Consistency is KING – Camille’s Story

27 Mar


Introducing Camille, a dedicated client who has made some great strides losing over 20 pounds and getting super strong with consistency in our FitCamp class as well as participating in our Go Gold Challenges (2 time runner up).  Listen to my first foray into recording interviews below to find out what makes her successful, and maybe some tips and tricks you can use on your own personal journey.

“Wow! What a difference a couple years can make!  I’m so proud that this is what 40 looks like for me.  I am so motivated to keep it up!”

Congrats Camille!  Thanks for sharing, and keep it up!

FitCamp, cleanses, and clean eating. Our most recent challenge winner dishes.

7 Nov

Another Clean Eating Challenge winner in the books here at Stay Gold Fitness & Athletics.  I was super excited to talk to Lisa Frass yesterday.  Lisa has been working out with me for over a year now and is one of my favorite students to have in class because she is so dang hard working!  Lisa took a little time to meet up with me and chat about what has made her a success over the past year and specifically during our most recent challenge.  Just to give you a snapshot of her success she has lost over 17 pounds in the past year, dropped almost 5% body fat and gained about 2% muscle.  Lisa took home a SGF&A “Mind on my Muscle” tee, a tub of delicious chocolate Vega Sports Performance Protein, two personal training sessions, and her $20 entry fee.  Let’s see some of the highlights of what Lisa had to say about her journey:

C: During the challenge can you tell me what your exercise regimen was?  I know you did FitCamp, but…

L: Yeah I did FitCamp every week day morning from 6am to 7am, hot bikram yoga four times a week and I’d walk my dog 3 to 4 miles a day.  The times of the classes helped a lot, because you can’t really argue that anything is going to get in the way from 6 to 7am.  That’s a beautiful thing.  I used to do the 7:15, and I liked that to but then you start getting into your day, or appointments come up, so it’s nice to get it out of the way.

C: In class we do a lot of modalities, you know we have strength, cardio, and you were doing yoga so you had A LOT going on.

L: The best thing about your program for me is that I would never, ever, for any reason, do strength on my own.  If I was to go on my own I would just walk in, and walk back out, I don’t know how to do it.  Then I do it in class and I love the fact that it’s like set up, I see that, and think, OK, I can do that.

C: Right, you don’t have to think about it.  I think that is part of what’s so great about the class, and about personal training, is just that…we do that for you!

L: It is, it’s awesome.

C: Then as far as diet goes, what were you doing?  I know you were working with a nutritionist.

L: Yeah, I was working with a nutritionist, who is Claudia (@vitamincclaudia) and she is amazing.  And she got me changing a lot, and she came over and consulted with me a few times.  And one of the things I did was I did a 21 day cleanse where I did no alcohol, no sugar, and no simple or refined carbs.  And, that was nice because it was easy, just Ok, your not allowed any of those so that helped a lot.  In general she has me juicing once a day, so I juice every day.  I either have a beet and carrot based juice, and like half an apple and that’s like a meal replacement, usually in the morning, and then I’ll replace another meal with a protein shake or something if I’m staying away from carbs, no pasta, she never wants me to have pasta.  Other than that you can eat almost anything you want, like salads and veggies and meat and olive oil.  It’s more trying to change the way you eat every day, rather than having some specific “diet” or program.

C: Trying to make sustainable lifestyle changes?

L: Right.

C: And you were doing the challenge so you were tracking as well, and using MyFitnessPal?

L: Yes.

C: Did you learn anything through the food tracking, or did you kind of already know what was going on?

L: Yeah I knew a lot about that.  Like I said, last year, when I did the 6 weeks and I did almost all the same stuff (exercise wise) but I didn’t change my diet, I didn’t lose any weight or make any changes at all, so I knew I had to change my diet.

C: Unfortunately exercise is not enough sometimes.

L: Well for me, my weakness is alcohol, I love having a cocktail in the evening.  You know, wine is my total weakness, so when I cut that out of my diet, ya know in MyFitnessPal I’d be under or make my calories almost every day.  I don’t have a problem with eating, but you know, 300 calories in a glass of booze, totally throws you off.  Not to mention, OK, a couple of glasses of wine, I think I’ll have some cheese, or I’ll have some pasta, you know.

C: Yep, alcohol completely lowers your inhibition as far as food choices go, and as well the quantity of food you consume tends to be more.

L: Right, right.  And I try not to label stuff “bad” or “good” but that is not the best choice for you.  And then sleeping, I sleep so much better.  I was tracking my sleep too (as part of the challenge), I was sleeping a ton, not only because you sleep better because you don’t have alcohol, but also your not just up watching TV or whatever, having another glass of wine, so your like oh, OK, my day is done, I’ll read or whatever, and you tend to go to bed earlier.  Especially with the morning class, cause you have to get up, so you want to get to bed by 9:30.

C: Yeah, so you definitely get better quality of sleep without alcohol, and they are now finding how important sleep is for recovery.  So if you are going to be working out 5 days a week you really do need to be mindful that you are getting the right amount of sleep as well as getting quality sleep.  And, the booze unfortunately, does not help with that.  Being able to come to class that early in the morning and to preform at your best is, in my opinion, another little part of you being successful in the class and/or the challenge. Being able to show up and work intensely as intensity is such an important aspect when it come to exercise in regards to physiological change.

L: Right and that’s another thing that is hard to do on your own, to know that you are working hard, whether in the group or with a trainer.  That’s the class worked so well for me.  I am competitive so whether it’s competing against the clock, myself or my classmates, it works for me.

C:  What would you say your biggest take away from this challenge?  We didn’t talk at all about macros, did you pay attention to macros?

L: A little bit. Like I said, I would say my biggest take away was the diet changes. One of the things I noticed was the macros would go screwy with a lot of fruit so I was trying to stay away from that, and I am learning a lot more about grains, what to stick with and what not to.  She (Claudia) is teaching me and I’m learning what works for me, and what it means to have different things in my diet.  Just changing things to have like red quinoa, instead of pasta, and just having that there.  She is having me eat a lot of good oils and fats, including avocados, and they are very filling.

C:  I think that is important and a huge piece that many folks miss is that you need to learn these things, learn about what your putting in to your body.

L: Yeah, and it’s not easy.  I had the added advantage of having a nutritionist to work with.  She actually comes in my house, she opens the cupboard, and she’s like, “Oh no, you gotta get rid of all this stuff.”  And she is teaching me to teach my kids too, because you know they eat crap, but I let them eat crap cause they’re so skinny (laughs).

C: Yeah but when they are 30 that won’t be the case.

L: Exactly, and she also says they will feel better.  My son is 17, he still eats a lot of crap and he’s been complaining about it.  But my daughter who is 15, she has changed her diet with me, and she has lost weight, she looks great.  She will pack herself a salad in the morning, peanut butter and apples.

C: That’s cool and very important that you can share that with your family.  It’s awesome that your daughter has really embraced it.  As far as nutrient timing, you said you were doing shakes?

L: Yeah, I would grab a little bit of protein and carbs in the morning before class, like you said, which is hard to do, you want to walk out the door without eating but I was always grab like a couple of nuts and like half an apple or something.  Just a little something so I’d have some gas in the tank, and a protein shake for after.

C: Nice, and there are different strategies to fueling yourself for workouts but because we are often working at very high intensities you don’t want to hit the wall in the middle of a workout so thats my general recommendation is to have some fuel to work off of.  I think that is something that can be really disappointing to folks they want to just come to class and (have me) tell them eat this, and have it magically work for them.  The reality is, it takes work, to learn what to eat, and when.

L: Right, and thats’ why I made the investment in Claudia because she taught me, one time she just came in and we cooked, she cooks raw, and she taught me all these different recipes.  And it’s like, I had no idea!  This way of eating is that much healthier.

C: Cool, that is a great compliment, and something I often encourage people to do and they often won’t.  I have personally spent a lot of time figuring it out for myself which takes a lot of time and effort.

L: Yes! It takes a lot of time and it’s overwhelming because you’ll get into some areas and be like I have no idea what their talking about and then you shut down.

C: Yeah and I mean, this is my job, so I can commit the time to thinking about it and doing it on my own, but someone like you, you have a very demanding job, that takes a lot of time and effort and brain power, and if you have to think about nutrition as well, that’s a lot.  It kind of goes back to, you get to show up to class, I do all the heavy lifting as far as the planning goes.

L: Yes, yes!

C: Working with a nutritionist, it’s sort of the same deal.

L: Yeah and I’ve been working with her since August, on and off, and you kind of take the tools.  You know when you’re picking something up.

C: Yeah, I think it’s a great compliment to exercise and a very important part.

L: And she’ll tell you as well, this won’t all work without exercise.  They go hand in hand. Well, you were the first one who told me, after one of the FitCamp rounds where none of my body comp numbers changed, that if I wasn’t seeing results I had to look at my diet.

C: Thanks Lisa!



Lisa, always smiling during her workouts!

And there you have it folks, diet and exercise together.  Sustainable changes, not quick fixes, and straight up commitment and dedication.  Thanks Lisa for being such a dedicated class attendee and working as hard as you do!

If you are looking to make some sustainable changes, hit us up today.  There is still time to jump into our 6 week Fit Camp that just started today and/or join in on this round of the challenge which can be started any time within the next week.  Find out more here:

Clean Eating Challenge Winner

31 Dec

Nancy celebrates her win!

In November we kicked off the first gym wide, open, entry clean eating challenge.   Participants were required to track 6 metrics over a 6 week time.  Including; workouts, food tracking, macro nutrient consumption, water intake, sleep, and nutrient timing for points.  Each participant received a starting fitness assessment by our trainers including; BMI, body fat%, skeletal muscle %, visceral fat, weight, and measurements.  Participants who completed the challenge completed fitness assessment at the end as well.

Today we took a little time to conduct a short interview with Nancy, our first place prize winner.  I’ve been working with Nancy in one on one personal training for over a year now.  She has made great leaps in her strength and over all fitness in that time.  The challenge proved as a great way for her to hone in one the missing piece, her diet, but also exercise frequency.  Nancy finished the challenge with a drop of almost 3% body fat and gained 1% muscle.  She earned 126 points out of a possible 180.  I asked Nancy a few questions so she could share her challenge experience and what she learned for the benefit of all.

C:  During the challenge, can you tell us, what your exercise regiment was?

N: Lots of variety.  Yoga, Zumba, workout with you, once a week.

C: How many days a week do you think you did?

N: I know I did at least 3. Once I did 4, in fact the goal was to do three, but I really wanted to do 4.

C: And that’s a variety of strength training, flexibility, you name it?

N: Yep, cardio, yeah, I did alot of stuff.

C: As far as diet goes, I know you specifically have been dealing with a lot of food allergy things; which lead you to be doing a cleanse at the beginning, correct?

N: Correct.

C: And that ended?

N: Yeah, I’d have to check but it ended early.

C: Like week one or two right?

N: Yeah, and then I started adding food back in.

Nancy was doing an elimination diet, suggested by and monitored by her doctor.

C: So as far as diet goes, what would you say was your biggest take away from the challenge?

N: Yeah, the tracking, and macros.  And the realization of those macros, that they existed in the first place. I was often able to meet one, or two, but never all three.  So now I’m thinking, hum, I don’t know why?  We need to figure out how to meet those, or change them.  But, I never met them once the whole time.

C: But you were striving?

N: Yes, and I would find too, that when I put foods in, because I was so used to the same things, like tons of sweet potatoes, cashews, nuts and things, that now I’d KNOW exactly what to do.  When I put something in (to MyFitnessPal) and it would say, oh I need X amount of carbs, my brain knows what to go and eat.  So THAT was huge for me.

C: And you and I talked a lot about nutrition timing?

N: Yeah, that was a biggie for me. I met it EVERY single time I worked out.

C: How were you successful; in doing that?

N: I would bring it here (referring to a post workout shake)  , but then I switched the kinds, and it was one that couldn’t sit for an hour.  So I’d just make sure I’d do it, I’d run home and eat.  I’d have a regular breakfast, a shake for breakfast, or something else.  And before I’d come workout I’d either have another shake again, or we talked about, like a banana and some nuts or something like that. And then when I got back I immediately had a shake.

C: And that was a new thing for you during the challenge?

N: It was totally new, I had not done both of them, it was usually one or the other.  I either did before or after, I never did before aaaand after. So that was huge.

C: So fueling yourself for your workouts, and for muscle recover?

N: Yep!

C: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to let people know, that you were successful with or that you learned that they can use to help themselves?

N: Hummmm, I need to think about that…

C: Big question, I know.

N: You know, I think it was really the nutrient timing, and identifying good sources of carbs, proteins and fats and where they came from.  And not eating something that may be high in carbs (because you need them to fulfill your macros) but otherwise not a good food choice.

C: So just really, awareness?

N: Yeah, awareness of what your putting into your body.

C: Super!  Super important.

N: Yeah!

C:  Cool, thank you!

Nancy’s take home prize for winning the challenge included a month of gym membership, a tub of Vega Sport Performance Protein, a Stay Gold Fitness tank, and her $20 entry fee returned.

If you would like to get in on the next round of the Clean Eating Challenge that starts January 9th-16th you can sing up at the gym or via the website at .

Overcoming Injury

17 May

I am bionic.

I’ve been hearing a lot of injury stories lately, I was going to repost someone else’s words of wisdom but most of them tell the same story and I have first hand knowledge of this recently.  Here are my tips for overcoming injury.


Right after arriving at the hospital.  The bloody gauze is where my tibia popped out of my skin when my fibula snapped.  Cute…I know.

Allow yourself time to be sad about being injured. It sucks, but you have to deal with it.  Don’t dwell too long, but it’s OK to be down a bit.  Then as soon as you can get moving again with the understanding everything will be much harder and take so much longer, but you will be happy with your small victories, even if it’s just doing laundry or making yourself a snack.



Post-surgery with lots of ice

Remember what you love to do besides train/sports.  Injury does not define who you are, nor does whatever sport you play or activity you do.  You like/do other things, you just need to remember what they are.  When I broke my leg I decided to start reading more, and I busted out my kindle.  Guess what I read about?  Two things, first whatever I enjoyed, light things that allowed me to just enjoy my reading.  Secondly, about happiness.  I delved into what makes people happy so I could be better at it too.  Both of these things I have carried on beyond injury and they have been tremendously helpful and stress reliving activities.


Accept help.  In the beginning it will be hard to adapt, but you will.  It is tremendously helpful to have someone who can help you until you figure it out.  My mother-in law came out and was so helpful when I broke my leg.  When she got there I felt helpless, by the time she left, I felt like a superwoman ready to take on almost anything with my one legged self.

Figure out what you can do and get good at it.  My first obstacle was learning to use my crutches, I sucked when I got on them.  I am a very lower body dominate person.  By the end of six weeks I was crutching like a boss, I could probably walk just on the crutches.  I began to find another blessing within my injury:  my upper body strength and training went to new levels.  Once I figured out I could do battling rope seated or on my knees, I would gather any weights I needed or props, and make myself a little workout area and destroy myself, without standing.  I even figured out how to work my legs without putting any pressure on my injury.  So I really didn’t lose much anywhere but the part of my leg in the boot.  If anything my upper body got tremendously more strong and I learned to hop on one leg and crawl, pull myself up, and so many other movements got so much better.  Now, post recovery, I work diligently to keep the new skills I learned while injured.  Not the crutches though…may they burn in hell.

Do your PT, and listen to your doctor.  I, admittedly, only went to PT once.  But when I did, I did so with the intention of picking my PT’s brain so I could go home and do it, for real.  She showed me how to work on my deficits, got me over the mental barrier of high impact and back to running.  She also showed me how to test my injury to make sure I was progressing in my workouts back to full strength and balance.  If you don’t have a gym, like I do, and a strong knowledge the body and strength and condition, I would recommend going to all your sessions and doing everything they tell you to do diligently.  I asked a lot of questions of my doctor, and I took well researched advice from professional I know and respect about exercise and supplements to hasten my recovery.  I pushed my limits safely and I always made sure it was OK with my doc.  His answer was typically pleasing,”As long as you are not bearing weight on the broken bone….go for it.” Know the difference between pain, and hard…pain is never OK.



Most grateful for my son, chilling with me during my recovery.

Practice gratitude.  Be thankful for all that you are, have and can do.  Life and mobility are a blessing.  When you start to look around at all the things you can be grateful for when you are injured or down, when you recover they world looks just that much more fantastic.  I still get up everyday and think how amazing it is that I can walk, run, skate, jump, move, breathe.  Never take those things for granted.

Stay Connected. So what you can’t participate like you used to.  Go anyway, cheer on your teammates or training-mates.  Volunteer for non-playing positions or administrative tasks.  Staying around the things and people you love will keep your spirits up and you may even find something else you are good at.  I coached most of my teams practices during my injury, and hobbled my way through leading group fitness classes.  I even learned some sweet new exercises to share with everyone.  I also learned how to be a stronger verbal cuer, and how to explain to do things without showing everything.  This just made me a better coach, and trainer.


Back to my old shenanigans, with a nifty ankle brace.

Set a Goal and commit to it.  If your injury is one you will fully recover from, set a goal to do something you always wanted to do or did before your injury.  I signed up for Tough Mudder pretty much right after I got my boot off.  I knew I would be six months out, and I figured that was a good time to run 11 miles and slay some obstacles.  Having a goal like that can often really put things into perspective, and force you to forge ahead even on your most down days.  Make is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Specific) and you will be on your way to being more bad ass then before in no time.


Felt so good to put these back on!

Don’t give up.  Injury is rarely a career ender.  Especially if you are new to a sport, or activity, don’t just throw in the towel.  If you loved it, and you cared enough to break yourself off, then you were challenging yourself, and that is how you get better.  Failure truly is the precursor to success, so just keep swimming.


Baby Gear Top 10

7 Feb

Since I am now a seasoned veteran of motherhood for almost four months (lol), and because it seems I have a boatload of friends and family now expecting their own little bundles of joy, I have decided to share my baby gear top ten.  Keep in mind while reading this that my wee man is only four months old and he is admittedly changing every day, and because of that the things it seems that we find to be essential are changing as well, but I put alot of thought into this and the things we have found we absolutely cannot live without.  Another thing to consider is that every baby is truly different, and just because my babe loves this stuff doesn’t guarantee yours will or you will.  With each item I have included a small description of why we found this item essential, so you can decide for yourself.  Many of the items I researched extensively before adding them to my registry or buying them, so maybe this can help some mommies and daddies to be save some time. Let the list begin.

10. Angel Care Video Baby MonitorAC So this item has become more and more handy since our baby has been sleeping in his nursery, so really only in the last month or so.  Admittedly I wish i had taken the time to figure the thing out erlier though because we could totally have used it sooner, because it doesn’t HAVE to be used in a crib or with the motion sensor pad.  As a matter of fact, because our baby still isn’t sleeping in a full sized crib, we have not yet used the pad, but the monitor has all kinds of other cool features.  The video monitor included night vision so you can check on your babe while darkening the room to help promote sleeping through the night.  It also has a handy night light feature.  The sound portion of the monitor is awesome because there can be sounds in the room like music or a heater and it only turns on to a change in the sound level, so you never miss a coo or cry, but baby doesn’t have to sleep in silence and you don’t have to listen to white noise.  The touch screen really allows you to customize your experience, for everything to how sensitive you want the monitor to be, video zoom, to room temperature, and a talk back feature, I look forward to using when we have a bed escaping toddler.  As soon as our baby is in a full sized crib we will be sing the motion sensor, that I imagine will add even more piece of mind for us, as our baby sleeps longer and on his own.

9. Baby Katan katanWe find this baby sling carrier incredibly versatile and useful.  Here are the secrets to the Katan, because I know not everyone loves this item.  Firstly, the Katan WILL stretch, so buy it smaller than you think you need.  This feature can be frustrating but also nice.  We got an XS, both my hubby and I are roughly the same size but I found it harder to use initially because well, I have boobs.  It felt super tight, but it did stretch eventually and that was sort of perfect because our baby was so small when he was born, we have been able to use it so far from 6 pounds to 12 pounds.  The second secret to the Katan is patience.  You have to be willings to take the baby out and put him back in several times until he is comfortable, sometimes it’s just not right and you have to start over, sometimes you get it right the first time.  The Katan allows you to carry the baby many different ways.  We mainly use it with the cradle position, but now that he is bigger we have begun using the hug position as well.  Also, take the time and watch a million videos on You Tube, it really helps to see actual people demonstrating it’s use.  The Katan has allowed me to do laundry and dishes, or grocery shop while my baby happily snoozed in the carrier, it also works as a nursing sling in a pinch.

8. Medela Pump in Style Advanced On The Go Tote

Medela This kit rocks!  Everything you need to get started with pumping and do it successfully at home or anywhere!  I use this stuff every day.  The kit includes the pump itself, tubing, shields, bottles, caps, nipples, a cooler, AC adapter and battery pack.  The only things I would add to this are some additional bottles and freezer bags for storage so you can store milk for when you need to be away from baby, and the handy dandy hands free bra thingy so you can pump while you work on your computer or make phone calls.  I take the kit to work with me daily.  I feel confident my hubby can provide my baby with milk when I’m away because the bottles and cooler are easy to use.  It’s all exceedingly easy to clean and seems to be a workhorse pump.  Must have for the active breast feeding mommy.

7. Eddie Baure TriTreck Travel System EB This stroller car seat combination has been a real winner for us.  Our little man has happily cruzed around town in this stroller, and enjoyed his car seat from Reno to Tahoe and back many times.  The car seat snaps in and out of the car and stroller with ease.  When baby gets bigger you can ditch the car seat and put him directly into the stroller.  The stroller is a bit on the big side, especially with the car seat in it, but it is super light for it’s size, and has tons of storage beneath, as well as it folds up easily for storage or to stick it in your trunk.  I love the clam shell design that allows me to keep the sun off my babies fair skin while still seeing him through the mesh peek hole.   The wheels are rugged enough to navigate almost any surface, without being too big or cumbersome. The car seat is easy to handle on it’s own and doubles as a seat for baby to chill in if need be, that can be rocked to lull baby to dream land.  It also has a nice adjustable and removable head support for before baby can hold up his head.  A couple sweet additions include a custom car seat canopy from Annitta’s’ Creations, an Eddie Bauer baby travel soother a pacifier leash and a cute tiger toy and baby is good to go!

6. Burp Cloths burp Babys spit up a lot.  They are dirty little creatures.  My little man is currently in the “everything goes to the mouth” stage, consequently his hands are always wet, yuck.  I love these type of burp cloths , the size and shape make them great to sling over your shoulder or knee for burping, shove into a diaper bag, or drape all over the house for quick clean up.  We have at least 10 of these bad boys and I give them a big ol’ thumbs up.  Get many and use them often.

5. Binky IMG_0722 People will tell you all kinds of things and you will read all types of things about pacifiers that will scare you, like “your baby will get nipple confusion and quit nursing”, but let me tell you, the binky has been a life saver.  I was afraid it would effect his nursing but it has not and it really has helped me save my sanity, because if you don’t use a pacifier your breast fed baby will use you as one.  That’s all fine and dandy if you don’t ever want to leave your couch, but I’m sorry I do.  It has also helped us with teaching our baby to sleep through the night, because sometimes it’s just the right amount of soothing to get baby back to sleep.  Get a couple of sizes, we started out with little ones for 0 to 3 months and graduated to some medium sized ones now.  Our favorite is this cool mustache one, and we also have a beard one too!

4. Relax Melodies Phone App Relax_Melodies Forget the white noise machine, and the janky sounds that come on baby swings and cradles.  All you need is your phone and this free app!  Or if you are like us and you probably are, dig up your old iPhone or iPod and dedicate it to baby.  The soothing sounds in this app have sent our baby off to dream land a thousand times and most importantly helped him stay there so exhausted mommy and daddy could get some rest too.  Best of all it’s portable!  My hubby and I even use it for ourselves now, and we love sleeping to all the fun sounds, for an uninterrupted restful sleep when it’s the other guys “turn” to tend to baby.

3. Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Swing swing We stumbled upon this gem.  Someone handed this item down to us, and it quickly became an important institution in our home.  When our baby was colicky or when he wouldn’t sleep or nap longer than a half an hour, swing to the rescue!  Mommy confession time, we let our baby sleep in the swing.  Another thing that will scare the crap out of you, is reading all the things that say not to do that, swings are not made for sleep, but when you haven’t slept in a week and you want to kill your spouse just after gouging out your eye balls….screw it.  Seriously though, you can’t be a good parent without sleep, and you are more likely to do some dumb ass dangerous stuff, so if your baby is like ours, you may love the swing.  Our baby loooooves the fish and the light.  Don’t bother with the crappy sound and follow my advice above for white noise.  Our swing just died (we are the third family it’s graced) and we are seriously considering buying another one, even though our baby needs it less now.  I only wish we had it sooner.

2. Halo Sleep Sack IMG_1182 The Halo is also a life saver.  Swaddeling is an art, and we have some great swaddle blankets, but if you have a baby Houdini like us you’ll want to invest in a Halo. Swaddeling helps soothe baby and promote longer sleep because they have no control over their little hands and arms and wake themselves up constantly.  We have two Halos because little man is just about to outgrow his first one.  Ours are both fleece, since it’s winter, but they make all types of thicknesses and materials.  You can swaddle your babes arms in or out which is great for transitioning baby from swaddling and it’s safer then a blanket.  Did I mention they are cute too!

1. Fisher Price Rock and Play IMG_1200 Forget the expensive bassinet, this is all you need for AT LEAST the first 3 months.  Why is it so awesome, well let me tell you.  It is inexpensive, light, and portable so you can take it anywhere in the house, which is especially awesome when baby is super young (think baby can go in the bathroom with you so you can shower!!!).  It promotes back sleeping for safe sleep but it provides a sublet angle so babies with reflux are more comfortable.  It also rocks, so you can soothe your baby off to sleep with the motion they love so much, giving your arms a break.  We have used the Rock and Play since the beginning and found it fantastic for transitioning our little man into the crib and keeping us out of a full time co-sleeping situation.

Honorable Mention

IMG_0716Bandana Bibs Remember that spit up deal, yeah, well if your baby has cute clothes, and what respectable baby doesn’t, you don’t want drool all over.  Bandana bibs are the bomb because they look cute AND serve a function, win win.

IMG_1497Boppy Pillow – I didn’t love the boppy for nursing but I used it enough to give it a high five.  But, it also has other great uses including a prop for baby who is learning to sit up and a tummy time buddy.

IMG_1392Fisher Price Rainforest Jumper – Our little man is just getting strong enough to enjoy this extravaganza of stimuli.  With lights, sounds, and a 360 rotating seat surrounded by interactive animals, I foresee this jumper becoming more and more valuable.

IMG_0519Skip Hop Portable Changing Station – Keep your baby off gross bathroom floors and other mysterious surfaces with the sweet mat that folds up nicely into any diaper bag.

HBOBHappiest Baby on the Block – Disclaimer: I HAVE NOT read this book.  I read the internet, extensively, while I struggled with my newborn colicky baby.  I learned many of the supposed secrets from this book after reading parenting message boards for hours while I nursed my son.  Many of the items from my top ten will be found here within.  I wish I had just read the book before my son was born.

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