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In my career as a journalist and television personality, I have been fortunate to have met extraordinary individuals from all corners of the world. Their lives are as unique as their DNA, but they’re bound by a common thread – passion. Here are their stories.

My Hospital Essentials

My Hospital Essentials 1800 988 Kanika

 

After three kids and two pregnancies, I’ve learned exactly what is needed on d-day (aka your baby’s date of delivery!) During my twin pregnancy, I hurriedly packed a bag at 3 am when my water broke. Talk about hectic! But with baby #3, I was better prepared since I knew what was useful during my stay and what wasn’t. This video is all about my hospital bag essentials.

Here’s a list of products for mom and baby.

Products for Mom:

Products for Baby:

I am a minimalist so didn’t want to overpack with items that weren’t necessary. What items did you pack for your big day that I didn’t mention? Leave them in the comment section below. Thank you Mamas!

Pretty Mommies Skincare Review

Pretty Mommies Skincare Review 1496 981 Kanika

PrettyMommies was my skincare line of choice during both my pregnancies and hereafter, so I am proud to be partnering with the brand to offer my readers 20% off their first order. To redeem, click here

During my first pregnancy with my twins, I was literally on a scavenger hunt to find natural products for my skin. I quickly discovered that the beauty brands I swore by my whole life were jam-packed with chemicals (Retin-A, hydriquinone, etc.) and even the so-called “organic” mainstream options had long ingredient lists and weren’t completely free of harmful additives. Here’s a list of the skincare ingredients to steer clear of when pregnant.

After spending hours doing research online, asking 20 questions of my doctor during visits, and calling hotlines like the La Leche League International for breastfeeding mothers, I finally nailed down a skincare regimen comprised of 100% organic products which produced optimum results. Watch my YouTube video on my natural skincare routine here.

In this article, I’d like to highlight a skincare collection made specifically for expectant and breastfeeding mothers, which happened to be a game changer for me. It’s called Pretty Mommies and has been recognized as the #1 physician recommended pregnancy skincare line. Founder Gina Gordy launched the collection because she suffered from acne, melasma, and sensitive skin during her own pregnancy. Real talk – not everyone is lucky enough to flaunt that “pregnancy glow.” She said that “as her belly got bigger, my breakouts and hyper-pigmentation worsened.” Soon after, she made it her mission to provide safe, effective skincare products to expecting women. She used her industry connections with top cosmetic chemists, leading physicians, and labs to create Pretty Mommies.

When I came across the site, I called the customer service line and actually spoke to Gina on the phone. I asked her what made her formula so unique, and she explained that her products do not contain soy or soy peptides. Soy mimics estrogen in the body and should not be ingested or used topically when our hormones are raging from pregnancy. Most organic products on the market use soybean oil, but it should be avoided. In addition, many skincare products contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a known skin irritant. Pretty Mommies uses vegetable glycerin instead, which is non-toxic, colorless, and odorless and has antimicrobial effects to heal wounds and restore elasticity. Another common chemical is oxybenzone, a sunscreen found in almost all SPFs out there. It’s a synthetic estrogen and hormone disruptor and studies have shown links to low birth weight in babies. Pretty Mommies uses a chemical-free sunscreen made of pure non-nano zinc oxide that has been micronized so it cannot penetrate the skin. I was sold.

When I tried the 3-step system, I was really impressed with the results. The cleanser, “Let’s Be Clear,” is a gentle exfoliant and leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated, not to mention, it has a clean, all-natural scent from fruit/vegetable extracts. The “Truth Be Told” skin enhancer is a multifunctional moisturizer and feels as smooth as silk when you rub it into your skin. It helps brighten and reduce inflammation. Lastly, the “Protect & Reflect” sunscreen gives you superior broad UVA/UVB protection (SPF 32) and fills lines, wrinkles, and pores without clogging them. When I got the occasional pesky zit, I dabbed a bit of the sunscreen on there and it was gone by morning like magic. Amazing!

Pretty Mommies sent me the 3-step skin care system for my honest review (the first package I bought lasted a whole year which is worth the price tag!) and I have to say, I’m happy to be sharing this with expecting mothers out there. I would never endorse a brand I didn’t personally believe in; in fact, this is my go-to skincare line because I can’t imagine going back to using brands that use chemicals and parabens now.

I have a special promotion for you, my dear reader! You receive 20% off your first order using my link –  click here. Let me know how Pretty Mommies works for you in the comments below. I’d love to hear your stories and help in any way I can! PrettyMommies.com.

5 Parenting Tips When Raising Twins

5 Parenting Tips When Raising Twins 2323 1549 Kanika

You’re Expecting Twins!

My husband and I nearly fell over. We looked at each other in disbelief and then back at the sonogram screen feeling a surge of emotions at once – joy, shock, gratitude. We always wanted a big family so having two babies in one pregnancy certainly put us on the fast track.

My boy-girl twins are a year old now and I’ve learned so much since the day they were born. From double strollers to tandem breastfeeding, tummy time to their first steps, we’ve all grown as a family and I have to say I’ve become well-attuned to their needs and am always thinking two steps ahead!

Here are my top 5 tips on what to do when raising two:

1. Have your babies follow the same schedule.

If you ask any parent of multiples, they’ll tell you this is a cardinal rule to follow from day one. Imagine this: it takes up to an hour for just one feeding, and newborns feed every 2 – 4 hours. Then they burp. Then they need a diaper change and go back sleep. And the cycle continues. If you were to do this back-to-back day and night, you would never get a break!

In the beginning, I breastfed my twins simultaneously (using a Twin Z pillow) and once they outgrew it, I breastfed one while my husband/nanny/family member gave the other a bottle. That way, their feeding and sleeping routine was in sync. The same went for bath time, play time, etc. As toddlers, they have grown accustomed to doing everything together. They both wake up at 7 am, nap from 12 – 3 pm, and wind down for bedtime around 7 pm, with their breakfast/lunch/dinner, bottle feeds, bath time, and play time allotted for. I put a printout of their schedule on our fridge so that everyone knows what the twins are up to, which has made life so much easier.

2. Assemble your village.

Sure you may want to prove to the world that you can handle child rearing all on your own, but believe me, you’ll be tired, cranky, and won’t be able to give your 100%. The better care you take of yourself, the better caretaker you’ll be for your family.

I have been fortunate to have a husband who enjoys being a hands-on super dad. He does diaper changes better than anyone (no leaks!), orders their baby products on time (thank you Amazon subscribe and save), and reads books to them before bedtime with sound effects and Hindi translations to boot. Ask your partner to partake in all the childcare duties. It’ll help build a stronger relationship between the two of you and the kids will be thankful for that quality time.

If you’re a working mom, hire a nanny or opt for daycare. Our nanny works on weekdays and some weekends and has helped look after our twins since the day they came home from the hospital. That familiarity is key as they are so comfortable with her and adore her. We are eternally grateful to her and trust her with what’s most precious in our life – our kids.

Lastly, have your family members get involved. We live a stroller ride away from my in-laws; Our kids’ faces light up when they go to Dadaji and Dadiji’s place. My sister visits on her free weekends and my parents come stay with us when they can. Any help is a huge load off your shoulders, so don’t hesitate to ask your family and friends to come by for play time so you can take a nap or have them bring over food so you won’t have to cook. And don’t forget to thank them and return the favor in any way you can.

3. You actually don’t need two of everything.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to go on a crazy shopping spree buying two of everything. There are some essentials that you’ll have to double up on like diapers, clothes, bottles, bouncers (we bottle-fed them at the same time this way when they were infants), and high chairs, but there are other baby items where you can get by with just one. For instance, there are strollers on the market, like the Baby Jogger City Select, that are versatile because they can convert from a single stroller to a double stroller (with attachments for infant carseat and toddler that are interchangeable with this adapter). We have one baby tub, one jumper, one walker, and one of each toy, and guess what, they have to take turns and learn to share.

Don’t get me wrong, our kids have their moments where they fight over the same puzzle or blocks, but we let them resolve their issue on their own rather than mediating every single time. It’s the only way they’ll learn to compromise as adults and meet each other halfway.

4. Allow them to embrace their innate bond.

The bond between twins is so unique. From womb-mates to roommates, they understand each other like no one else and can truly feel what the other feels. My husband and I always thought this was special and try to capture photos of them interacting, whether they’re giggling together or giving each other high-fives.

When our kids were newborns, our pediatrician told us they should sleep in separate cribs. Somehow this didn’t sit well with me. They were together in my belly for so long, I couldn’t bear to separate them in the outside world. So I went with my gut and swaddled them (in aden + anais swaddles) and laid them to sleep side by side (this was not a SIDS risk since they were not able to take their arms out of their swaddles or roll over at this time). They looked so peaceful and content sleeping this way. Twins have an innate connection so allow them to embrace their bond; it’ll last a lifetime/.

5. Encourage them to develop a sense of individuality.

I feel I may have an easier time with this since I have boy-girl (fraternal) twins. Since they are physically different, it’s natural to accept their different tastes and interests. My son loves eggs, potato flatbread (parathas), and blueberries; my daughter likes to eat lentils and rice, string cheese, and apples. My son loves kicking his toy soccer ball and playing with cars and trucks while my daughter prefers musical toys and her mini laptop. It’s fascinating to see what they gravitate towards and how they’re happy playing with their chosen toys on their own.

Lumping your twins together as one unit, especially if they’re identical, may create a complex later on. Pay heed to the foods and toys they like. Also, accept that they may be different weights and heights and reach milestones at various times. They are still two distinct human beings with different DNA. They shouldn’t be attached at the hip or be forced to do the same things. Instead, allow them to shine as individuals with their unique preferences and opinions.

Wrapping Up

I hope these tips were helpful to you and remember, go easy on yourself, trust your gut, and enjoy the ride, you supermom of multiples!

Dougmary & Kausar – Fitness for Moms

Dougmary & Kausar – Fitness for Moms 2290 1735 Kanika

Childbirth is the most miraculous thing a woman’s body can go through. It’s incredible how we are built to produce a human being inside of us, with a beating heart, functioning brain, organs, and limbs. The aftermath, however, can be difficult for many – the stretch marks, deflated breasts, C-section scar, and overall pockets of weight gain that don’t seem to disappear.

I think all moms can relate to feeling some level of body dysmorphia after giving birth. I used to look in the mirror and barely recognized myself. I’ve been a fitness enthusiast and dancer my whole life so it was hard to stomach (quite literally!) my extra weight, which was due to the fact that I was carrying twins and breastfeeding (btw, it’s a myth that all women lose weight from nursing. Sure it may have helped my uterus shrink back to size, but my caloric intake had increased in order to produce milk for two hungry babies!)

When I was about six months postpartum, a friend of mine told me about a Mommy-focused fitness challenge she participated in and won (Go Aarti!) in our area. Right away, I asked “where do I sign up??” The Jersey City Slim-down Challenge was launched by moms Kausar Rasul (Founder of Golden Sneaker) and Dougmary Esquijarosa (Founder of A Green Unicorn) who aim to help mothers achieve their fitness goals, build confidence, and lead a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their families…for good.

How did you two meet and what compelled you to join forces to launch the Jersey City Slim-down Challenge?
Kausar: I began teaching “Mommy and Me” Zumba classes in 2016, and Doucky (Dougmary’s nickname) was one of my students. A year later, she launched her business as a certified nutritionist. I always wanted to offer programs other than just Zumba, so I reached out to her to see if we could work together. We both had a common mission, which is to help moms get their body back and start feeling healthy again. Our ideas and expertise gave birth to what is now the JC Slim-down Challenge.

Were you always into fitness & healthy living?
Kausar: My background is in biochemistry, but on a personal note, my whole life I struggled with my weight. Zumba was the best decision I made after having my first born. I began teaching Zumba and Zumbini (Zumba for kids) for a few years. I decided to go back to school and this year I graduated as a Nutrition and Fitness expert, which has helped me tremendously not only in my business but in my personal life as well.

Doucky: I really liked playing sports in school and while at university. I practiced gymnastics, soccer and Tae Kwon Do but nothing serious; I was never consistent with exercise as my studies took priority. I graduated with a degree in mass communications and worked for over a decade in advertising.

I became interested in living a healthy lifestyle when I found myself 25 pounds overweight, with very low energy, mood swings and digestive issues that I thought was normal after having a baby. I started exploring new foods and recovered my energy levels, which drove me to exercise regularly and allowed my digestive issues to disappear. At that point I knew I wanted to share my experience with the world. I used my Instagram account to post healthy, simple recipes and then I decided I wanted to become a Fitness and Nutrition Expert and dedicate myself to helping people change their eating and exercise habits.

Did you have an “aha” moment as a mom, where you decided you had to make a change in your life?
Kausar: When my daughter was 15 months old, I felt like I had no energy to keep up with her. I was always tired. I lived on 3-4 cups of espressos a day. I was still carrying 20 pounds of post-pregnancy weight at the time. I knew I needed to get bring about some serious lifestyle changes and get my body back to feel like myself again. That motivated me to get certified as a Zumba instructor.


Doucky: When my daughter started solids, my husband and I were really sick and overweight. I felt concerned because I didn’t want to raise a sick kid. I read a lot, practiced tons of recipes and learned about food labeling (the good, bad, and ugly!) in this country.

Also, after going to several doctors and finding no cure for our digestive issues, I felt the need to get to the root of the problem myself and go back to the basics. Now my husband and I are very active, eat the healthiest we have in our entire lives, and we even feel younger.

Tell us about the Mommy challenge, the criteria, and benefits.
Kausar: This JC Slim-down challenge is carefully designed for moms who are ready to get back into the fitness world. We provide support and accountability which is one of the biggest factors for most moms who have clear weight loss goals. We provide unlimited Zumba and conditioning/strength classes, a personalized nutrition plan, weekly meal plan, grocery shopping list, simple recipes, meal prep plan, 24/7 Q/A support, 2-3 at-home exercises, before and after photos, and fitness assessments & measurements so you can actually see the progress.

Doucky: After experiencing our own transformations, Kausar and I sat down and evaluated what worked for us. We analyzed the challenges that many mothers face when it comes to losing weight. For instance, we offer on-site childcare for anyone who needs it. Everyone knows that they have to exercise and eat vegetables so why are moms not doing it? We came up with ways to keep moms motivated like a private Facebook group for our challengers where they post their daily progress (photos of themselves post-workout, or what we call a “sweatfie,” their meals for the day, water intake, healthy recipes, and more). Having a support system makes a huge impact and helps keep people accountable.

What are some of the success stories?
Kausar: Our average weight loss/inches lost is between 5-13 lbs and 18-25 inches in just 6 weeks! Check out our challenger reviews here.

Doucky: Every single mom has her own success story because each comes with her own goals in mind. The end result is not only losing weight, but gaining confidence, feeling energetic, and being happier because their kids are eating healthy and are learning from them. You can check out more testimonials here

Have you noticed an evolution from the first challenge until now?
Kausar: We are constantly trying to learn, grow, and perfect our programs. After each challenge, we request evaluations so that we can come up with improvements as we go. From our first challenge till now we have added several features. It used to be 4 weeks but now it’s 6 weeks, we added a point system to encourage the challengers to work harder, and we tapped local businesses to sponsor fun gifts and prizes for our winners.

Doucky: We have had seven challenges thus far and they keep getting better. In fact, most of our challengers come back and want to participate again because we are constantly changing things up!

What do you like most about motherhood and running your own business?
Kausar: I love being able to spend ample time with my kids. I chose this career to give me flexibility and I LOVE it.

Doucky: I changed my career because I genuinely wanted to help people but also because I wanted to be there to raise my daughter. I didn’t want to miss a thing in her life. I had her after 8 years of marriage and I really, really wanted to witness her grow up. Now that I have this flexibility, I go to all her activities in school and am present in her daily routine. I love it and she loves it. It has been a win-win.

What are some songs on the Zumba playlist?
Kausar: My absolute favorite songs on my playlist are Badtameez Dil, Dura (Daddy Yankee), Mi Gente (J. Balvin, Willy William), Echame la Culpa, and Guarachar Salsaton.

What are some of the HIIT exercises you have the ladies do?
Doucky: I love burpees! It is one of the most complete total-body exercises. I know most people are resistant to do them, but they are really good for your overall endurance and strength. Suicide planks and plank jacks are my other favorites.

If you were to share one tip (fitness/nutrition) with moms, what would it be?
Kausar: Make time for yourself and your health. You are IMPORTANT.

Doucky: Make ‘living healthy’ a lifestyle, not a trend.

To learn more about these Kausar & Dougmary’s programs, visit Golden Sneaker and A Green Unicorn.

Baby Proofing Must-Haves

Baby Proofing Must-Haves 1500 846 Kanika

 

Each milestone in your baby’s life comes with a host of changes you have to make to your own lifestyle. As newborns, they can only placed down on their backs, then explore the joys of tummy time, start rolling over, crawling, cruising, walking, and before you know, your little one is running around the house amuck, curiously exploring every corner and gadget he can find. We are in the thick of our twins toddler phase and took these precautionary measures to baby proof our home (without having to compromise our interior design and aesthetic!) 

Baby Gates

We use the Retract-a-Gate mesh, retractable gate for all our stairways. Firstly, these gates are the only ones that fit our broad main entrance steps. Secondly, they’re discreet and retract away when not in use. When they are locked in place, they’re fixed and taught so the kids can’t push their way through.

Child Safety Locks

We use Magnetic Child Safety Cabinet Locks which have hooks that you place inside your cabinet drawers and a magnetic opener which you hover over the hook to open it up. I bought small 3/8″ circle felt black stickers to use as indicators from Etsy. You can’t see them at first glance and they match my white and black kitchen.

Crib Rail Covers

For the first two years of their lives, kids have to grapple with teething and gnaw at everything in sight! My husband and I were shocked to find that our twins left teeth marks in the wood of their cribs and the paint had chipped off. Not only is the wood & paint toxic for the little ones to ingest, their beautiful cribs look worn out. I came across Trend Lab Waterproof Crib Rail Covers, which are perfect for covering the crib rails, protecting the kids teeth since the fabric is a soft felt/shearling, and they’re waterproof and easy to throw in the wash as needed.

Play Yard

One of the first things you want to buy when your toddlers are walking everywhere is a play yard. Throw their toys, games, and books in there so they can play in this confined space. We have this North States Play Yard at home. As a DIY project, I covered the play yard rails with felt/shearling fabric that I bought from JoAnn Fabrics and had my tailor sew in strings every 10 inches to tie around the rails. They get the job done and protect our little teethers much like the crib rail covers.

Play Mat

Lastly, invest in a good play mat for your kids. We have the Skip Hop Geo Grey/Cream Playmat, which matches our cream/grey decor. Your kids will tumble and wrestle and bang their toys on the floor, so the thick foam cushioning protects them (and your home!)

What baby proof items do you have at home that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comment section below! 

Family Beach Vacation (With Packing List!)

Family Beach Vacation (With Packing List!) 1100 825 Kanika

 

Since I’m due with baby #3 this summer, I know my family and I won’t get much of an opportunity to travel or go on vacation with our newborn. So, shortly after the Memorial Day weekend rush, my husband and I decided to take a long weekend trip to the beach in Long Branch, NJ (just 45 min. away from home!) with a bunch of our friends and their kids. This was the first time we took our 16-month-old twins to the beach and pool, and given how much they LOVE splishing and splashing at bath time, I knew they would love it.

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We made a group decision and chose staying at a resort over a beach house. First off, there weren’t many viable options available since houses get booked up months in advance. Secondly, I knew I didn’t want to have to deal with the upkeep involved — making the beds, laundry, cooking, and cleaning the kitchen after meals. No thanks! I already do that enough at home and I wanted housekeeping and room service! We stayed at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa and had an amazing experience. The hotel staff were very friendly and provided us with everything we needed (1 pack & play, 1 crib, microwave). We ate our breakfast at the Seaview Restaurant in the main lobby and enjoyed our private entrance to the beach where we were given umbrellas, chairs, towels and were close to the boardwalk to be able to pick up snacks & drinks while we lounged. We also taught the older kids chess and let them play in the designated kids play room.

As for dining out, we explored the family friendly restaurants along the boardwalk. We took the kids own food along just incase (oatmeal, squeezable fruit) but mostly ordered items off the kids menu like grilled cheese & fries for them to eat.

Here’s what we packed for our toddlers (and managed to fit in our sedan!)

Beach Vacation Toddler Packing List:
Clothes & Toiletries:

  • 6 outfits for 4 days
  • 2 pairs of pajamas
  • Headbands for my daughter
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of sandals
  • Toothbrushes
  • Tom’s baby toothpaste
  • comb/hairbrush
  • coconut oil (we use this instead of lotion) in a small tub
  • Eucerin baby body wash/shampoo we transferred into a small travel size bottle

Diaper Bag:

Sleeping:

  • Toddler Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Teddy Bear & Baby Doll

Beach/Pool:

Food:

  • Trader Joe’s unsweetened applesauce
  • Trader Joe’s string cheese
  • Earths’s Best Organic baby oatmeal
  • Plum Organics squeezable fruit
  • Frozen aloo parathas from our local Indian grocery store
  • Homemade kichdi (rice and yellow moong daal) in glass containers which are microwavable
  • Gallon of milk (lasts us 2 days)
  • Gallon of water

Toys:

  • Books
  • Mini Football, Basketball
  • Plush Toys
  • Android Tablet with Case

Misc:

We stuck to our nap and bedtime schedule for the most part (which was fine with me since I napped with the kiddos at the hotel in the afternoon!), but we also allowed ourselves to go with the flow, like enjoying evening strolls well after bed time and dancing at the hotel Tiki Bar! The most important thing is to have fun — family vacay memories will last a lifetime!

This blog was featured on TotScene, a hub for parents to share and review family-friendly destinations and venues.

Natural Skincare Routine

Natural Skincare Routine 1000 685 Kanika

 

Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I was never stickler about skincare brands, makeup, or shampoo having to being organic. I just used the most well-known brands on the market and didn’t read the labels. Fast forward to my first pregnancy with my twins, I decided to become acutely aware of what I was putting on my skin and what I was eating on a daily basis. If certain chemicals are harmful to a growing baby, why use them at all?

Here’s a list of skincare products that are certified organic, all natural, and have actually produced optimum results for me.

Pretty Mommies Skincare System

This line was founded by Gina Gordy, a mom who suffered acne, melasma, and sensitive skin during her pregnancy and was determined to find a natural solution for the numerous skincare issues that expecting women face. She leveraged her industry connections and met with top cosmetic chemists, physicians, and labs to launch Pretty Mommies and ensure that her 3-step system (cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF) was just as effective as its counterparts. Ingredients include vitamin C and a rare Japanese mushroom, which is rich in niacin and folic acid. The line does not use soy, licorice, mulberry, or bearberry which are great for skin brightening but can cause complications during pregnancy like estrogen imbalance and potentially premature contractions.

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

This is a great alternative to the toners which contain alcohol, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid. It’s gentle on the skin and smells amazing!

European Wax Center Exfoliater

With pregnancy comes crazy hair growth! (You can thank your hormones and prenatals for that!) I go to the European Wax Center to get waxed and use this exfoliator to slough off dead skin and prevent ingrown hair. 

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel

I found out about Dr. Dennis Gross’ peels on Molly Sims’ blog. Don’t you just love her?? You can read her pregnancy skincare list here. I used to go to my dermatologist for regular peels (VI, Jessner’s) to correct hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, so I was happy to make a switch to these easy-to-use at-home daily peels. 

Ranavat Botanics

My friend Michelle Ranavat founded this skincare system comprised of potent masques and toniques inspired by ancient traditions and made from high-performance botanicals. Each masque combats a skincare concern, be it detoxification, illumination, or hydration. I love the Eternal Reign mask which is made of French clay, neem, and Manuka honey, and helps remove oil/dirt/pollution from your skin leaving it feeling supple and fresh. Watch my fun #RoyalRitual #MasqueMonday hyperlapse video here

Honest Beauty Eye Cream

Super mom Jessica Alba’s Honest line never fails to disappoint. The Younger Eye eye cream provides deep hydration for under-eye circles and puffiness, which is oh-so-necessary for moms (even the lucky ones who have kids who sleep through the night!) 

Mother’s Special Blend

Yes, stretch marks are hereditary so there’s no avoiding them if your mom had them when she was pregnant, but I find that this belly oil may help to lessen the appearance of stretch marks during pregnancy and postpartum and helps control itchiness. What we mamas have to go through, right?? 

Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil

We go through bottles of coconut oil at our house. An ancient Indian home remedy, it’s great as a healthy fat for cooking, to massage on your scalp for hair growth, for oil pulling, and as a moisturizer to hydrate skin. I use this instead of a lotion for my kids as it’s natural and unadulterated leaving their skin baby soft, as it should be!

Do you have any skincare solutions that you’ve discovered during your pregnancy? Fill me in on them by commenting below!

My Royal Ritual

My Royal Ritual 1280 720 Kanika

 

After binge watching the Royal Wedding (from the ceremony to past interviews to everyone’s viewing party posts!), I thought about how nice it would be to grow up in a castle or become a princess (every girl’s dream, right?!) We’ll leave that to Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton who are doing an exceptional job at setting an example for young girls – they’re following expectations of the monarchy without compromising their authenticity and roots.

Today I decided to have my own little “royal ritual” at home before my kids woke up at 7 am. I used Ranavat Botanics Eternal Reign Masque which detoxifies, removes daily build-up and grime, and leaves skin feeling clean, smooth and supple. It’s like a refreshing green smoothie for your face! Ingredients include French green clay, neem, Manuka honey, and vitamin C – all certified organic. The mask is safe to use a few times a week. Believe me, there’s nothing like turning a #caseofthemondays into a #MasqueMonday. Treat yourself like the queen you are. You deserve it ladies!

Shop the Ranavat Botanics collection here.

Music Video: Becoming a Mother of Twins

Music Video: Becoming a Mother of Twins 1800 864 Kanika

 

Before we became a family of four, it was just me and my husband, Sunil. We both were ecstatic when we got the news that we were having twins. We found out from our ultrasound technician during my 16-week check-up. She was looking for a steady heartbeat. “There it is. Loud and clear. [Long pause] Wait a minute. I hear something else.” She quickly swiped the probe to the other side of my stomach. “There are two heartbeats. You’re having twins!”

We couldn’t believe it. A few weeks later, we discovered the genders – a boy and a girl. Our faces lit up, “we EACH get a clone??!” It was at that moment we decided to keep the twins a surprise for our family and friends until D-day (my delivery, that is). It was hard to keep this huge secret, believe me, but it was the beginning of our special bond as a family. Sunil and I would wink at each other whenever anyone asked, “So what are you having??” Sometimes I’d send him Google Hangouts messages like, “Hey babe. How are you? The ‘three’ of us are just hangin’ around.” The anticipation was exhilarating.

The journalist in me wanted to document each moment, from pregnancy to motherhood, to show the arc of where are story began and how our lives have changed because of Krish and Suhana. I came across Coke Studio’s song “Laadki” on one of my emo Hindi song playlists and felt a soul-stirring connection to the lyrics, which led me to produce this music video. This one’s for Sunil, Krish, and Suhana. Love you, my dear family.

Copyright Music Credit: “Laadki” by Sachin-Jigar, Tanishka S, Kirtidan G, Rekha B (Coke Studio @ MTV Season 4)

Filmed/Edited by: Shravya Kag

Organizing Your Kids’ Nursery Closet

Organizing Your Kids’ Nursery Closet 1771 996 Kanika

 

Can you believe how fast kids grow out of their clothes? I feel like I am constantly ordering things online, or making a run to the mall to pick up outfits for my twins (and even when I size up, they are done with them in 3 months or less). I have been mindful of what I’m keeping because we’re expecting baby #3 (hello hand-me-downs!)

  1. Door
    1. I use an over-the-door hanging rack for the kids towels and sleep sacks.
  2. Hanging Space
    1. Opt for kids skinny velvet hangers to optimize space.
    2. Use dividers to separate clothes into sections (e.g. pajamas, dresses, ethnic wear)
    3. I have a hanging shoe rack for their cute little shoes. I keep switching out their shoes as they go up a size. 
  3. Portable Drawers
    1. I store their onesies and outfits in portable 3-tier drawers that way I don’t have to hang everything.
  4. Storage
    1. I love this grey lattice print bins for their swaddles, socks, and accessories.
    2. I use under the bed storage bins for long term storage and label them (e.g. 0-3 months, 3-6 months, and so on). 
  5. Hampers
    1. Fabric hampers are a lovely touch to store toys and are portable!
  6. Drawers
    1. Drawer organizers make it easy to create compartments for baby burp cloths, shoulder cloths, wash cloths, etc. 

My babies are still young, but once they’re older, I’ll be teaching them how to keep their room and closet organized so they can easily find things and Mama doesn’t go nuts! 🙂