Brand Rep Search for a Beautiful Business and an Amazing Cause… The Borrowed Boutique

Many of you are aware that I have a styling and rental business called, The Borrowed Boutique. Well, things have taken off in the past year and this “baby” of mine has become a full-time job, apart from caring for my 3 year old, freelance health writing, blogging, and trying for baby #2 the hard way (aka IVF). My heart for medical missions and public health lead me down a path I wasn’t fully anticipating. I’ve always had a love for children’s fashion, styling, and creative design; but, I didn’t want to leave my medical background behind. Instead, I decided to become a social entrepreneur. You may not be familiar with this term, but most of you are probably familiar with TOMS Shoes. Same idea, except, for every item rented from my shop; I currently donate funds to help protect young girls from sex-trafficking, childhood prostitution, and exploitation. GIVING BACK is what my shop is all about. Those renting give the dresses back, and in return, I give back to non-profits doing amazing work. 12118842_521452064699858_5224801051532503696_n12027668_10207385755860235_5895045795442512388_n

The journey to start this business has pushed my comfort zone on all levels. While my natural skills make styling easy, and my medical and public health background make the giving portion easy, the business side of things has been a bit more challenging. That’s okay. As most of you know…I’m up for a challenge. Getting through med school and residency taught me that perseverance and a positive outlook are more than half the battle. Sprinkle in some infertility with 10 cycles of IVF and I would say determination is part of my portfolio. So, late nights, dreams (and nightmares) filled with tutus, tracking packages, manually invoicing, filling orders, running to the post office and UPS, steaming dresses, etc. etc. have all been worth the sweat and toil when I consider the difference this business is making. In July, I travelled to Brazil where I was able to work with an amazing non-profit that helps protect young girls from sex-trafficking, childhood prostitution, and exploitation. A partnership was born, and now Esthers Children is our first giving partner.M88B8847

Visiting the broken down homes of destitute little girls…broken windows, missing front doors, men passed out on filthy beds after shooting up all night, mothers intoxicated, food in scarce supply; and hearing the stories of girls as young as 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 being exploited by 40-year-old men stirred a fire in me that I refuse to extinguish. In addition to giving back for each item rented, I have now launched a #Styledtogive campaign. 100% of proceeds from this campaign will be donated to our giving partners. While fashion may seem frivolous, and expensive photos a luxury, using these aesthetically gorgeous things (which I deeply appreciate) to bring inner beauty and hope to a less fortunate child or mother is anything but frivolous or luxurious. It is justice. It is compassion. It is empowerment. It is true beauty at its best.

I don’t say all of this to make myself into a hero. I’m simply sharing so that you too will be inspired to find creative ways to make a difference too. Make the ordinary…extraordinary. Add meaning to the mundane. Approach each task with the intention to incorporate giving. A truly full life is one full of generosity.

If you’re excited about my new venture and want to get involved, I’m definitely looking for partners in giving and business. I’m also looking for Brand Reps (which is why I started writing this blog in the first place!). Check out the details below to be considered. And, for more info on The Borrowed Boutique follow on Facebook and Instagram. The website is due to launch early February, but in the meantime you can still rent through the Facebook page.

BRAND REP SEARCH DETAILS!!!!

READY…SET…GO!!! The Borrowed Boutique will be choosing brand reps every several months to help promote our brand and business by posting images using our rentals; giving us major shout outs; promoting our events, and telling everyone you know about our business. This is a fun way for you to get rental items for free. Many of you have asked for trades of product for images. Here’s a way to have that dream come true. For those selected, we will send you free rentals each month that you are serving as a brand rep or enthusiast. Both photographers, bloggers, child models, and ordinary kiddos who love to have their picture taken will be considered.

Here’s how to qualify and how to enter:
1. Follow The Borrowed Boutique on Facebook and @theborrowedboutique on Instagram
2. Repost the picture below on Instagram and tag @theborrowedboutique and ‪#‎theborrowedboutique‬‪#‎theborrowedboutiquebrandrepsearch‬
3. Include these rules when posting the image so others will know what’s going on.
4. Share the image with three friends that you think might be interested on Instagram
5. You may tag up to three photos daily with #theborrowedboutiquebrandrepsearch
6. Your instagram account must be set to public to be considered. And, yes, you must be active on Instagram.

We will be selecting the first set of Brand Reps very quickly. READY…SET…GO!!1

From,

The Mom in Me, MD and The Borrowed Boutique

Protect Your Babies From The Freezing Cold…winter weather car safety tips

Winter has arrived…cold temps, snow drifted driveways, and icy roads. Since most of us don’t have the luxury of hibernating all winter long, it’s important that we are prepared just in case a winter storm hits while we are out and about-especially with our little ones. No one ever thinks they are going to get stuck, stranded, lost, or in an accident, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Keep your cell phone fully charged, your gas tank fully topped off, and let someone know that you are heading out. In addition, throw these items in a Tupperware container and keep them in your trunk during the winter months. You probably won’t ever need to use them…but, just in case! You can purchase pre-packaged winter survival kits in many stores and online, but make sure that they have these items before you purchase them (or be prepared to add to the kits).Car tire tracks in snow

Winter Weather Survival Kit Checklist:

1. Cell Phone, portable charger, extra battery

2. Small Shovel and a Windshield Scraper

3. Battery Powered Radio and a Flash Light with extra batteries

4. Snack Foods and Bottles of Water- some great options include hard candy, jellybeans, candy bars, raisins, nuts, dehydrated fruit, and jerky. You want foods that are dense in calories, protein and sugar. If you have a little one make sure that you have extra formula if you aren’t breast-feeding or age appropriate foods.

5. Blankets and Clothing-Keep several blankets or a sleeping bag in the car. Extra warm clothes such as long underwear, heavy socks, hats and mittens, and even a ski mask are also important to have on hand. Hand warmers and foot warmers can also come in handy.

6. Nylon Rope and a Bright Colored Flag or piece of fabric along with a whistle to signal for help

7. Waterproof matches (sometimes lighters won’t work in extremely cold temperatures) and a can to melt snow for water

8. Compass, map, and jumper cables

9. First Aid Kit

10. Road Salt and Sand

11. Toilet paper and paper towel (if you have a little one make sure to have diapers, wipes, and formula)

12. A source of heat is incredibly important in case your car won’t run. A multiple wick candle can heater is a good option (along with water proof matches). Even having a hand full of standard pillar candles can generate a significant amount of heat.Mother And Child On Foggy Snow Farm Road

Some Important Safety Survival Tips if You Get Stranded (throwing these in for free:)

I grew up in Michigan, so I was aware of most of these tips…but not all of them. Even if you’re from Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Montana you may want to refresh your memory! If you’ve transplanted from a warm weather state, then you definitely need to read these life saving tips!

1. Always stay with your vehicle (don’t go exploring in a blizzard!)

2. Run your engine sparingly (15 minutes every hour). If the weather is extremely cold you may need to run the engine continuously because it may not restart if you turn it off.

3. Don’t go to sleep with the engine running! Read something to keep yourself awake and to pass the time.

4. Make sure that the exhaust pipe of the car is clear of snow. You don’t want carbon monoxide poisoning.

5. Keep your feet off the floor if you don’t have the heater on. You can’t afford to lose heat through your feet!

6. Tie your colorful flag or banner onto the car antenna. If you do have to leave the car for any reason make sure that you tie your nylon rope to the car and then to yourself so that you can find your way back.

7. Move everything from your emergency kit from the trunk of your car into the interior of the car. Look through your supplies to see what you have. If you have to sleep, eat a high calorie snack just before you go to sleep so that you can increase your metabolism and thus heat production while sleeping.

8. Start layering up now with all extra clothing. You want to stay warm! It is a lot easier to stay warm than it is to regain lost heat. Try to loosen any of your clothing that may be tight. This can help maintain body heat circulation. Take off all metal jewelry since this can decrease your body temperature as it gets cold.

These are just some important winter weather safety highlights that I’ve pulled from the following sources. Click on the links for more information. Stay safe! Stay warm!

North Dakota Department of Transportation

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: Emergency Preparedness and Response

The AllState Blog

 

 

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7 Tips About Car Seat Safety That NO PARENT can RISK missing!

I picked up the phone expecting to hear my father’s cheery voice. Instead, I felt the wind being knocked out of my chest with each word he spoke. There had been a car accident. He hadn’t made it. He had suffered severe head trauma; and even with the best neurosurgeons fighting for his life, they had been unable to perform the miraculous. Who else was in the car? Who else was hurt? My mind was racing. Her tiny toddler frame had suffered several fractures, but she was going to be fine. My mind buzzed. He wasn’t even 10 years old. How could life be so fragile?

Some moms have called me crazy for my car seat paranoia. “What are the odds of getting in a severe car accident in the first place? What are the odds of something bad actually happening to your child?” Unfortunately, the odds are greater than you might think. In fact, motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death for children living in the United States according to the CDC. I know first hand what it is like to lose someone you love in a car accident. In fact, three funerals for three different children from three different families have solidified my paranoia that car accidents CAN hit close to home. Standing over countless bodies in the trauma bay, bloodied and disfigured from motor vehicle accidents has only further cemented this scary and gruesome fact in my mind.Melancholy And Sad Young  Woman  At The Window In The Rain

Car accidents DO HAPPEN. And, while preventing all of them in the first place would be ideal, the reality is that even with concerted efforts to eliminate texting, drunk driving, distracted driving, reckless driving, and poor judgement calls (all of which are paramount efforts); 100% prevention is impossible. So if we can’t prevent all motor vehicle accidents, apart from doing our best to drive safely, what can we do?

We can do our best to protect the little ones that we love by making sure that their car seats, booster seats, and seat belts are doing their jobs. Again, 100% protection is not a guarantee, but by paying attention to the safety resources and recommendations that we do have, we can significantly decrease the risk of injury and even death. According to the CDC, properly using a car seat reduces the risk of infant death by 71% and toddler death by 54%; and, the appropriate use of booster seats reduces the risk of serious injury for children aged 4-8 by 45% compared to just using a seatbelt. These numbers alone prove the importance of child passenger safety efforts.Toy Cars Crashed

Here are 7 Tips You NEED TO KNOW to make sure that your child has the maximum protection while in the car:

1. Choose a Safe Car Seat

-Make sure that your car seat has a label that says that it has been rated by the NHTSA. These all meet federal safety standards and strict crash test ratings.

-Make sure that it has the label with the Model number and the Manufacturer date

-Make sure that you register your car seat in case of recalls (which do happen!). Simply click on the highlighted link to register.

-If Choosing a USED Car Seat:

If you are choosing a used car seat you MUST know the HISTORY of that seat. Do not use a car seat that has been in a previous moderate to severe crash. If it doesn’t come with instructions, do not use it. If it lacks a safety label, model number, or manufacture date, do not use it. Contact the manufacturer and check to make sure that its specific make and model have not had any recalls issued before you use. Make sure that there is not obvious damage or missing parts-this could make it structurally unsound. Make sure that it is not more than 6 years old or expired. If you are missing even one piece of the history…move on and find another car seat.woman choosing child car seat for newborn baby in shop supermark

2. Choose Your Car Seat Based on Age, Height and Weight: 

Make sure that your child is buckled in an age and size appropriate car seat or booster. You can double-check the age, weight, and height restrictions of your seat in the owner’s manual and sometimes it is even labeled on the seat itself. You can find a more detailed chart from the CDC and from Healthy Children detailing appropriate seats based on age, height, and weight at the highlighted links here. Or, use this helpful calculator to determine the appropriate seat for your child. The general rules are as follows:

Infant to 2 years: Rear Facing Car Seat (this recommendation has recently changed. Previously parents were advised that if their child met the weight and height regulations they could be turned around after only a year of age. The recommendation now is to keep your child rear facing until at least 2 years or until they meet the maximum height and weight restrictions for their rear facing seat. This is the safest position to prevent and limit severe injury.

2 Years to At Least 5 Years of age (or they outgrow the weight and height restrictions)-Forward Facing Car Seat

Age 5 Up Until a Seat Belt Fits Properly: Booster Seat

3. Use Your Manual to Install Your Seat and Get Your Install Double Checked

Make sure that you take the time to review your car seat owner’s manual and even your car owner’s manual. Car seats are not all the same, and all cars are not the same. Simply clicking and tightening doesn’t ensure a safe installation. The location, the angle, and the latches are just a few things to consider. Click HERE for some helpful install tips and then follow your owner’s manual installation instructions step by step. When you have finished installing, make sure to have someone double-check your work. You may consider yourself an expert, but studies show that 90% of car seats are not used correctly! Yes, that was 90% according to Johns Hopkins. Many hospitals have staff that will double-check your car seat before you head home with your newborn, but it is always best to get your install double checked by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician several months before your baby is expected to be born just in case your little one decides to come early and your hospital doesn’t offer this inspection service. If you are able to get it checked in advance or if you are simply changing car seats, most fire stations or public health departments will also offer install inspections free of charge or at a minimal cost. To locate a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in your area, click HERE.Portrait Of A Cute Toddler Boy

4. Choose the Safest Spot in the Car!

Car Seats should ALWAYS be placed in the back seat of the vehicle. If for some reason this is not possible (your car consists of only one front row of seats), and you do not have another transportation option, then you must make sure that the air bags are turned OFF in the front seat especially if you are using a rear facing car seat. If your child is in a car seat in the front and an airbag deploys, it could cause severe brain damage or even kill your child. So in general, the rule stands…PUT YOUR CHILD IN THE BACK SEAT OF THE CAR. Again, all vehicles are not set up with safety latches in the same locations, nor do all cars have the option for a middle seat (in the case of vans with bucket seats), and if you’re installing more than one car seat then the middle will not be an option either. But, if you are able to safely install your seat in the rear MIDDLE or CENTER SEAT, it is the safest spot in the car for your child according to current research. While placement of a car seat in any rear seat position does provide excellent protection if installed correctly (decreasing the risk of injury by 62% compared to front seats), the center rear position has been shown to reduce the risk of injury for children an additional 43% compared to the rear side seats, according to evidence published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

5. Rear Face Your Car Seat As Long As Safely Possible.

As I mentioned above, the safety recommendations on how long to rear face a car seat has changed. The longer that you are safely able to keep your child rear facing the better! Previously the recommendations had allowed for turning the car seat around (for convertible seats) or switching to a forward facing car seat at 1 year of age as long as the minimum weight and height requirements were met. Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to keep their child rear facing until they are AT LEAST two years of age unless they have outgrown the height and weight recommendations for their rear facing seat (some small children can stay in a rear facing seat well past the age of 2 years). We now know that the rear facing position is the safest for protecting the head, neck and spine in infants and toddlers.In Troubles - Unhappy Woman In Car

6. Secure the straps properly

Double check your car seat straps each time that you put your infant or child into the seat. Often times they will have loosened when you take your child out of the seat. The straps should be snug and leave no room for slack! If you can pinch the strap, then it is too loose. Grab the strap at shoulder level. Try to pinch the harness from top to bottom. If you can pinch a fold then the harness is too loose. It should fit snuggly like a hug. You want it snug not overly tight…you do want your child to be able to breathe! The shoulder straps and the lap belt should all be securely fastened. All 5 points of the restraint system should be used every time! The chest clip should be secured at the mid-chest level. Double check that it has not slid down lower (which often happens when previously removing your child from the seat). If your child is old enough to buckle himself in, make sure that YOU still double-check the security of the latches and the tightness. For more on safely securing boosters and seat belts check out this link.

7. Avoid Puffy Coats, Snow Suits, or Extra Padding or Positioners

Winter is a tricky time for car seats. As parents we often bundle our little ones up before we trek through the cold out to the car. The problem with this scenario is that bulky coats, snow suits and layered or bulky clothing could actually be putting our children in danger and limiting the protection of our car seats and safety restraints. Bulky clothing does not allow for safety restraints to be tightened appropriately. As parents we may have a false sense of security that they straps are tight enough, when in fact they may not be secure. In the case of a motor vehicle collision, bulky clothing often compresses leaving extra slack in the harness which could allow an infant or child to be ejected from the car seat, or it could allow for more severe neck or head injury. Instead of using bulky winter wear, simply put your child in a thin winter coat and hat, warm up the car ahead of time, or drape your child with a winter coat or a small blanket over their lap.

Additionally, extra positioners for the head and neck (or any extra positioners that do not come with the car seat) are not recommended. These positioners have not been safety tested with all car seats and could interfere with the safety features of your car seat.

This list is not meant to be an all-inclusive safety lesson on car seats, nor is it meant to substitute for following your owner’s manual or your pediatrician or family physician’s recommendations. For more resources check out the highlighted links throughout the article. As parents we want to protect our children. Knowing that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death from injury for young children should motivate all of us to take extra precautions each time we put our child in the car. We can never be too safe or double-check too many times!

As always, I love to hear from YOU! Please leave a comment with your questions, experiences, or concerns.

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Avry Couture Creations’ Vintage Princess Crown Giveaway…Hosted by The Mom in Me, MD

Every little girl dreams of becoming a princess one day. A glass slipper, an enchanted kiss, a knight in shining armor…all essential, but the crowning glory is well…the crown. And, since the fairy tales of childhood last for such a short time, we must indulge our little girl’s fantasies now, before the clock strikes midnight.Ballet, ballerina - young and beautiful ballet dancer

I have loved the vintage inspired headbands from Avry Couture Creations for some time now. I even included this online shop in a recent blog post review, Babylicous Hair Bows. As I was looking for a birthday crown to match my daughter’s fancy dress for pictures, I happened to notice that Avry Couture Creations also makes several different styles of crowns! I was sold at first sight. DSC08150 DSC08151DSC08152

While the Glitter Birthday Crown was perfect for smash cake photos (and daily wear of course), the Vintage Cake Crown was just as cute and could easily be thrown in a suitcase without being damaged. It could even be folded! Perfect! My daughter’s crown needed to make it to Paris and back in an overstuffed suitcase. I didn’t want to take something that could get smooshed during the journey. Nothing is worse than a crumpled crown! I also wanted to make sure that it fit my daughter’s head. Solution…a crown that ties in the back with a ribbon. Yep, an adjustable crown. Perfect for your growing princess.DSC08178

Devon from Avry Couture Creations was kind enough to overnight me a gorgeous crown to use for our Paris pictures, free of charge. Don’t worry, she didn’t have to twist my arm to get me to say nice things about it. Like I said before, “Love at First Sight!” And, because I know that you all have little princesses in the making, I thought it might be nice for one of you to give it a royal home.DSC08179 DSC08180 DSC08181

Yes…the GIVEAWAY starts now! Make sure to enter here before your carriage becomes a pumpkin…the clock is ticking! You must leave a comment on this blog post AND you must share this blog on either Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to qualify. Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. FOR MORE GREAT GIVEAWAYS CLICK ON THE GIVEAWAY TAB ON THE HOME PAGE.

Congrats Sharla!!!!!! You have won!!!!

For more amazing headpieces and accessories from Avry Couture Creations, click on the hyperlinks above. Devon will even customize to match your colors!

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France Now…Blog Later!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I hadn’t fallen off of the face of the earth…but, I have changed time zones for about 10 days. In an effort to let vacation be vacation, my husband and I decided to step away from our computers and mobile devices for the week.

DSC08658Don’t worry, the camera has been snapping away…French country side, Versailles, Paris! I will be back to daily blogging soon; but, for the time being, I’m enjoying the beauty of French culture, bike rides along the water, chocolate croissants, and best of all my family!

Follow The Mom in Me, MD on Facebook for more pictures of our trip!

 

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Au Revoir for now from The Mom in Me, MD

Trip to Paris Sweepstakes…Oh La La!

I selfishly thought about keeping this to myself-in an effort to increase my odds of winning-but the nicer side of me decided to share the inside scoop…World Market has a TRIP TO PARIS Sweepstakes going on right now. Not only will the winner get free airfare, they will also get culinary lessons, a free hotel stay, dinner on top of the Eiffel Tower, and a dinner cruise on the Le Seine-all this for two. DSC01105

Lately, I’ve been craving Paris-a walk in the park, a view of a ferris wheel, a macaroon from Laduree. Who knows…maybe I will win! Or, maybe it will be YOU. If so, I’d like to be your plus one…pretty please! Click the hyperlink above for entry details. Ends this week!

SORRY THIS SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY IS NOW CLOSED. 

au revoir,

From The Mom in Me, MD

Retro Toy Cooktops that can Play Anywhere…giveaway details included

photo 2Recently, Green Toys was generous enough to ship me two of their new retro toy cooktops (One for a giveaway, and another for my daughter, Ayla, to play with). These cooktops are too cool! Not only are they super cute…they are incredibly practical for play. Because of their small size, they can go anywhere! Ayla has used hers in her playroom, her bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, the grass, and the car. These cooktops are a great toy option for road trips. Because they don’t take up much room, these can be thrown in the trunk and then pulled out for play in any hotel room or lobby. Bring along a pan and a spoon and you are good to go!photo 4

In addition to being travel friendly, the Green Toy Retro Cooktop is dishwasher safe-perfect for any mom who doesn’t want any extra hand-washing (that would be this mama!) I love this company because their mission is to provide children with safe and eco-friendly toys. All of their products are made from either recycled or eco-friendly materials…the cooktop included. Check out these products on their website for more details and to purchase. They come in both pink and aqua. If you are interested in winning a free cooktop…click the link below for giveaway entry details. Who wouldn’t want a free toy! Although I was given both of these cooktops free of charge, all of my opinions are always my own!

a Rafflecopter giveaway SORRY EVERYONE!! GIVEAWAY ENDED!

From The Mom in Me, MD

My Love Affair with George Clooney’s Italy…Lake Como

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Why the stars love Lake Como…umm who wouldn’t? My husband and I had been planning to revisit Italy after he graduated from residency. Although I was 23 weeks pregnant, I was up for the journey. Who wouldn’t be up for three weeks in Italy? We started in Rome but then made our way north toward Lake Como. I love European train rides, but I don’t love getting luggage on and off of them. Thankfully, I was pregnant (excuse central) so I left the heavy lifting to Dave.Iphone 1157Iphone 1129

I hadn’t anticipated the temperature difference between Rome and Lake Como, but I was grateful for the comfortable drop in temp. Rome had been almost unbearable, as had pretty much every part of the world that summer. Pregnancy, 120 degree weather, and limited air conditioning are not a happy combination. My favorite place in Rome was in the pool or in front of a fan!

Seeing Lake Como for the first time was like stepping into a scene from a movie. It is breathtaking! The charm of the winding streets, the beauty of the mountains against the water, the picturesque villas…a fairytale destination for sure. We decided to split our week between two hotels on opposite sides of the lake. Our first stop was the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. This charming hotel is situated on a hillside, offering great views of both the mountains and the lake. The restaurants and spa were charming, and the lounge and billiards room were like something from a different era. Although the hotel had an in-ground pool on the hillside, they also had a floating pool on the lake! Yes, floating! It was one of the coolest and literally coldest pools I have ever been in (okay, my TOES have ever been in. That’s as far as I made it!) Lake Como is chilly! And, while they say that the floating pools are heated…I question the Italian’s definition of heat.IMG_1461Iphone 1260Iphone 1310

We spent our time roaming the streets, lounging by the pool, and enjoying the pizza and pasta. On our second day we hired a driver for a day trip to Switzerland. I figured that if we were that close we had to make a dedicated chocolate run across the Swiss border. The following day we took a ferry-boat over to Bellagio. On the way, we passed the house where the James Bond Casino Royal movie was filmed, Villa La Gaeta! Too cool!

Bellagio is beautiful. Little shops and restaurants comprise this town filled with antiquity. My favorite stop was for Hot Chocolate! You may question this on a hot summer’s day, but Caffe Bar Rossi, the oldest coffee shop in town with a front row view of the lake, is known for their amazing coffee and hot chocolate. Since I was pregnant I was staying away from coffee, but I wasn’t going to pass up chocolate! I also had the best risotto that my tongue has ever tasted at a little restaurant down the strip (unfortunately, I can’t recall the name). We took the time to enter the historic gardens and park in Bellagio, Giardini di Villa Melzi. It was a beautiful hike and it offered amazing views of the lake.Iphone 1276Iphone 1183

Hopping back on our ferry, we headed back to our hotel for the last time before moving across the lake to Casta Diva Resort and Spa. This hotel comes with all of the amenities. It was recently built and the accommodations are probably the best on the lake. The service and food at the time was so, so, but I would return for the spa, pool, grounds, and accommodations. It was here that we met a lovely couple from the Ukraine who decided to host us for a couple of days. Oh, did I mention that they were mulit-mulit-mulit-millionares! They were Lake Como regulars and were generous enough to show us the sites on a private boat. The way to see Lake Como is definitely by boat! They were able to point out George Clooney’s villa and even took us to a luxury hotel, Villa d’Este that evening for dinner where Clooney was dining! What more could a girl ask for????? Okay, on a disappointing note, Clooney was hidden in a private tent away from the rest of the diners (poor Clooney…he didn’t get to enjoy the spectacular view of the hotel or water. It must be tough being famous). I’m not usually a star struck kind of girl, but knowing that Clooney was only a few yards away from me…!!!!Iphone 1300Iphone 1453

Iphone 1430Getting into the restaurant was quite the process. We were taken by a private driver, and then the guys were brought ties on a silver tray (since they were slightly under-dressed). Once their attire was up to code, we were led to an enchanting candle lit outdoor dining room. Tables were filled with fine china, gourmet pasta and risotto, and of course branzino and sea bass. Local fish is a huge part of the Lake Como experience. Since I was pregnant and unsure of the mercury content…I passed. However, the parmesan Risotto was love at first bite. How anyone can make something that spectacular from rice and cheese…???Iphone 1449

The following day, Dave and I took our own boat ride on the lake. It was amazing. When we returned, we headed to the spa and to this hotel’s floating pool (still freezing!) For dinner that night we went to another Clooney favorite, Ristorante Navedano. Although we didn’t get lucky with his presence two nights in a row, the food was still delicious and the setting charming. Make sure to have cash on you when visiting Como because many of the restaurants don’t accept credit cards! We learned the hard way. Dave ended up doing dishes and I cleared tables (okay, not really, but almost!)Iphone 1323

Iphone 1186As our time in Como came to an end, we sadly packed our bags and headed south from Milan toward Rome. With less than a dollar left in cash (again, Lake Como is pretty much a cash only destination…which we were unaware of!) and one pregnant momma dying for some bottled water, Dave generously handed me the last of our coins. In the meantime he said a prayer and felt in the bottom of the vending machine. Can you believe that someone had forgotten their change! It was just enough for another water. After a week of luxury, it was funny that we were now foraging vending machines for change:) It was worth it though! I’m not sure when we will make it back to Lake Como, but I’m sure we will return at some point. My one week love affair was amazing, but it definitely left me wanting more!photo

From The Mom in Me, MD