How to Plan for Your Second Baby


If you have a little one running around the house do you ever think about the things you would do differently if you had another one?  Well now’s your chance.  If you’re pregnant with your second baby it’s time to take everything you learned from your first pregnancy and apply it to the next nine months.

Here are four things to consider when planning for your second baby:

How is your budget different?

According to Women’s Health Magazine it can cost over $5000 to have a child, that’s a lot of money and if you don’t have insurance then that dough has to come right out of your pocket.. Hopefully you still have baby clothes, accessories like bottles, toys and blankets as well as necessities such as a crib and changing table from your first baby.  This will help you save a ton of money on your second pregnancy.

If having a second child was always in your plans then hopefully you still have your maternity clothes in the closet, or at least in a box in the basement.  The first pregnancy is usually more expensive but if you kept everything you can save thousands of dollars by using the hand me downs and recycling other items.

Will you set up the nursery differently?

The last two baby showers I went to were gender neutral.  My mother completely disagrees with this concept; she feels little boys should be surrounded in blue and baby girls should own everything pink.  I don’t think the trend of gender neutral nurseries, clothes and toys are necessarily because parent’s want to avoid labelling their children.

I honestly believe it’s a budget issue.  If you don’t have to redecorate and buy new clothes in a new color then you’re saving tons of money by reusing what you’ve already got.

Are you thinking about your  health?

If you’re getting ready for baby number two to pop out you’re older than you were the first time you were pregnant.  This is both a gift and a curse.  You probably learned a thing or two about your body during pregnancy and this time around you can make adjustments to make the pregnancy a little bit easier (if that’s even possible), but at the same time this is the second time you’re putting your body through the “trauma” of giving birth.

What to Expect says to take your health seriously during your second pregnancy.  “You’ll want to be as fit as possible before tackling your second pregnancy.” says the popular family website.  They also suggest that women wait a full year after giving birth before starting to conceive a second baby because that’s how long it takes for your body to fully recover.

Will you set up an education fund?

It’s no secret that raising a child is expensive.  College Data says the average annual cost to send a child to an in-state school is just over $23,000.  The cost to send your kids away for college is a lot higher. Given the fact that you probably have 18 years and nine months to save for your child’s education now will be a good time to start.

Bankrate says that there are several ways you can save for your child’s education including opening up a savings account and setting up a  529 College Plan. Visit your local bank and discuss different options to find a savings plan that works best for you and your family budget.

If you’re planning for baby number two what are you doing differently this time around?


Photo from Pixabay


The One Thing That Will Help You Lose Weight


If you’re on a recent or lifelong quest to get healthy there are several changes you can make to help you lose weight.  However I’ve discovered that there is one thing you can do starting today to help you lose weight.

Eat smaller portions

I started consuming less food, it’s that easy.  Originally I just cut out my morning and afternoon snacks which gave me more energy.  Then I cut down my Starbucks visits to once a week instead of once a day.  This is helping save money but also cutting back on sugar and calories as well as snacks such as banana bread.  I really love banana bread.

It took me two weeks to adjust to the lower calorie intake but if I don’t think about eating then I don’t want to snack.  After that I just became obsessed with everything I ate.  I started ordering my daily breakfast sandwich on an English muffin instead of a home-style biscuit, I started ordering smaller menu items at lunch and I started putting my at home dinner on small plates.  Smaller plates mean smaller portions and I don’t go back for seconds.  I feel lighter and healthier.  I still eat the same foods, just in smaller portions and I avoid binge eating.

Of course eating properly is only a portion (pun intended) of adopting a healthy lifestyle.  However I’ve heard experts say that what you eat accounts for 80% of your weight loss.  The other 20% is about exercising, staying active and trying to be as stress free as possible.

Here are some other things you can do to help lose weight:

Get a good night’s sleep

Cassie from Blogilates says a healthy lifestyle includes a solid 7-8 hours of sleep every night.  If your body can’t rest then it can’t relax.  When your body is constantly going and always harboring stress it’s also harboring fat cells.

I know some of us don’t think there are enough hours in the day to get everything done and therefore we get up really early and go to be super late,  But that’s an unhealthy habit that could be prolonging our weight loss.

Exercise regularly

Lifting weights builds your muscle mass and keeps your bones healthy.  Getting your heart pumping with cardio keeps your heart healthy.  But exercising regularly also helps burn all of the extra calories you’re consuming.  Weight loss is very easy actually, it’s kind of like calculating your net worth.  When it comes to money Assets – Liabilities = Your Net Worth.  When it comes to your health Calorie Intake – Calories Burned = Your Weight Loss.

Keep in mind your body naturally burns calories with your normal daily activities such as walking and moving around, but exercising burns even more calories; more calories burned equals less fat stored and that equals weight loss.

Cut down sugar

Eating an excessive amount of sugar is never healthy because it leads to health risks such as diabetes and unbalanced sugar levels.  However did you know that sugar also causes you to gain weight?  That’s true.  Consumed sugar that is not burned off by exercising turns into fat and is stored by your body.  Sometimes our sweet tooth can be comforting, but it’s not always good for us.

Photo from Pixabay

In Your Face: Fruit Acid is the New Fountain of Youth

girl-781155_1280Acid is one freakishly potent chemical. If you’re a fan of the movie Aliens, you know firsthand how lethal doses of acid can punch a hole through steel and eat away human tissue. Lucky for us, these types of Aliens don’t exist, and blood really can’t be made out of acid. Right?

From Cleopatra, With Love

Cleopatra was probably the first documented case of someone who understood the anti-aging benefits of a mild chemical peel. History suggests that she used sour goat’s milk to refresh and rejuvenate her skin. Milk contains lactic acid, part of the alpha hydroxy acid family and a bit milder than glycolic acid, but still used in peel preparations today.

Elizabeth I of England and Elizabeth of Bavaria were also reported to take frequent “milk baths” to rejuvenate their skin. Lavender, honey and essential oils were often mixed in with the milk to enhance its effectivity, but the lactic acid content was usually enough because it dissolved the proteins holding dead skin cells together, promoting new skin growth.

My Acid is Better Than Yours

Not all acids are created equal. Before we go into detail, let’s take a gander at the two main acid groups: alpha hydroxy acids are exfoliants derived from fruit and milk sugars, which include glycolic, lactic and citric acid. There’s only one in the beta hydroxy acid group – salicylic acid – which is either biosynthesized or derived from the bark of a willow tree.

The main difference between the two acid groups are their lipid oil solubility. Alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble only, while beta hydroxy acid is lipid oil soluble. What this means is, for oily skin that’s prone to blackheads and whiteheads, beta hydroxy acid should be used because it can penetrate deep into the pore that contains sebum.

It’ll then exfoliate all the dead skin cells inside the pore and dissolve the glue that holds the cells of the epidermis together. The dead skin cells will then fall off, promoting new skin growth. Alpha hydroxy acids on the other hand, are best used on thickened and sun damaged skin that’s not prone to pimples.

Big Acid, Small Molecule

In terms of effectivity, glycolic acid stands out as one of the most used (and most popular) in chemical peel preparations. This is in large part due to glycolic acid being a naturally occurring substance derived from cane sugar, and its effects are mild when compared to other acids.

Glycolic acid also has the smallest molecules, and the smaller the molecule, the easier it is for the skin to absorb it. That’s why glycolic acid is used in most anti-aging products and doctor’s peels. Used as a chemical peel, glycolic acid is one of the most effective peel preparations to date, and it’s effects are somewhat dramatic.

Similar to lactic acid, glycolic acid penetrates the skin and breaks down the cement that holds each layer together. It’s applied evenly on the skin using a sponge and left for a set amount of time, depending on the concentration. Once the desired effect is reached, the acid can be washed off safely with water. Red skin and peeling follows for several days.

Which Peel Should You Go For?

This really depends on a lot of factors: your skin type, your location on the globe, what you want to accomplish and how far you’re willing to go. People in South East Asia have problems with open pores because of the hot and humid weather conditions, while people in the Baltic States don’t have the same problem because it’s cold.

The best thing you can do is go to a good dermatologist. Avoid the fancy salons. They may have people trained to do the procedures, but they aren’t doctors and won’t be able to diagnose any underlying conditions you may have. Skin doctors will also be able to determine which peel is right for you and how deep they should go to see results.

Over the counter “overnight peels” are OK, but always consult your doctor first before playing dermatologist on your face. After all, you only have one, and if you accidentally melt it off with acid, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

3 Money Lessons Every College Student Needs to Know


Every fall students around the country leave home to attend college for the first time.  It’s definitely an adventure, some students are ready and some aren’t.  That’s not harsh, it’s just reality.  I don’t think anyone can ever be fully ready to change their entire life, yet every year a lot of students do it.

College life is definitely an adjustment.  There are new people to meet, new living habits to form with complete strangers, new surroundings to get used to and of course new financial responsibilities to learn.  If being good with money has never been your strong suit then there’s no time like the present to learn how to manage your money.  After all you are a grown up college student now.

Use these three tips to get your financial life off on the right foot:

Wait until next year to get a credit card

Learning how to be financially responsible with credit is an important lesson to learn early on in life because it will help set the tone for your post college life.  Using credit responsibly will help build a credit score which will help you rent an apartment, be approved for a mortgage and obtain other types of financing such as car loans.  It can also be the deciding factor in whether you get a job offer.

With all that being said I don’t think the right time to get your first credit card is during your first year of college.  So much will change in your life and you need time to settle into your new routine before you start applying for a credit card.

If your first year of college is a little chaotic it’s best to stay away from  using credit cards so you don’t form bad financial habits.  When you are more comfortable and settled in during your second year you can visit your bank and apply for your first credit card.

Find a part time job

Working during college is a great way to meet new people, gain valuable experience and put some extra cash in your pocket.  There are a lot of job opportunities for college students right on campus from the college bookstore to the administration of your department.

However you can also look off campus at local restaurants and retail stores.  Employers in college towns are often very flexible with schedules because they understand students have to juggle classes and their work load.  US News says that creating a realistic budget is an important part of college life and having a regular income from your part time job will make the adjustment that much easier.

Volunteer for a local non-profit

Just like finding a part time job, volunteering your time can help make valuable connections, enhance your resume and possibly lead to a full time job after graduation.  It won’t put any extra money in your pocket, but it can definitely lead to bigger and better things.

Do you have any advice for college freshmen?

Photo from Pixabay