Saturday, September 10, 2016

New Gig: Little Mango Children's Boutique

As some of you know, I took a big step outside of my comfort zone. My work comfort zone.  And I opened Little Mango, an online baby and children's boutique filled with brands and small shop merch that I've found and fell in love with.

For 12 years I worked in the casino industry, in the only big girl job I've had since graduating college. I worked a ton, I traveled a ton. And I loved it. Until I didn't. I was burned out and didn't have the love for my work that I used to. I knew something needed to change.

For the longest time, I had wanted to open my own shop. I loved kids clothes and putting together fun, trendy outfits for Cruz and I loved sharing them with family & friends. And I usually got really great feedback on the items I found.

I found myself daydreaming about my own shop. Seeing others take the leap and loving it. Making themselves happy doing what they loved. And I knew I needed that in my life something fierce.

So in April of this year I put in my resignation at work, while on maternity leave with our second son, Leo.

I was scared shitless.

What was I doing quitting my good paying, stable job to open an online boutique? What did I know about it? Would people buy my stuff? Would they like the stuff I chose to carry in the shop? What if, what if, what if...

And on June 20th, Little Mango opened it's virtual doors and we haven't looked back since.

Sure I don't know what I'm doing most days. And I know there are things I should be doing but I'm not. But I'm loving the challenge of trying to figure it out. Of reaching out to other mamas in the same boat and hearing their advice, their struggles and knowing I'm not in this alone.

If you haven't already, I would LOVE for you to take a look.

Check the site out here

Give us a follow on Facebook and Instagram.....pretty pretty please :)

And let your family & friends know - I would love you forever if you shared the shop with them! <3

Whether you have kiddos of your own. Or maybe grand babies. Or maybe your friends are having babies. Or you need a super cool birthday gift for a niece or nephew. We have so much great stuff - I'm in love with it all and love all of the brands we work with.

And if you have already followed the shop, shared the shop, purchased from the shop, tagged your goods - seriously I can't thank you enough <3 <3

Because I love all of you who have stuck around this blog, especially in my lengthy absence, here is a little code - take 25% off your entire purchase. Everything in the shop using code YELLOWMANGOLIFE at checkout. (This will be valid through September 30, 2016 but you can use it as many times as you like.)

And just check out these cuties in our goods. You might recognize the little blonde boy :)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Birth Story: Leo Florian Manganaro

After waiting for what felt like forever and at the same time sped by so quickly, our second Little Mango joined our family on Thursday, February 4th at 9:33am. He weighed a whopping 8lbs 8 1/2 oz (all thanks to his big ol' head) and was 20 3/4 inches long. And he is absolutely perfect. The most amazing addition to round out our little family of four.

It all started on Wednesday. Since my doctor had scheduled me to be induced on Thursday morning, we had lined it up that Cruz would go to my sister's (aunt Titi) and spend the night since we had to be in the hospital for delivery so early the next morning. Nick and I decided to take advantage to our last free night - we got pedicures and had dinner at Baby Blue. Sushi (cooked, of course) had been my go to during this pregnancy for sure. It was at dinner that I started having contractions. I didn't mention it to Nick because it felt like I had been having real contractions so many times in the weeks leading up to his birth that I felt like I was becoming the girl who cried wolf. The Braxton Hicks with Cruz had definitely been different than they were this time around.

Once we got home from dinner, the contractions got stronger and were coming closer together. After a couple hours, I called my doctor to get her thoughts on if we should go in. She gave me some tips on how to keep them at bay (drink tons of water, walk around when I felt them coming on, etc) and if they didn't slow down to call her and head to the hospital. Since I was scheduled already to see her in the morning, I don't think she wanted to drag herself out of her house on that cold night for an earlier birth. =) I could tell Nick was nervous because he was pacing around the house and throwing stuff into a hospital bag, asking me repeatedly if I was ok, should we go in, are you sure, you just tell me when.

My contractions continued getting closer and stronger, so we decided to head in around 9pm. It would be better to labor through them at the hospital versus trying to get comfortable at home knowing I wouldn't be able to sleep that night. And the hospital has drugs. Always go where they have the drugs. By the time we left for the hospital, my contractions were about five minutes apart.

At the hospital, we got checked into the room where I would give birth. They ran tests and got me hooked up and after talking to my doctor determined they were going to try to get me to hold off until morning. The night was rough, I'm not going to lie. The nurse gave me some meds to help with the pain and while they worked for a while right after she gave them to me, they didn't last. I did manage to get a couple cat naps in here and there.

By 7am, a new round of nurses and residents came in and got me ready for the pitocin. Once that was given, the Anaesthesiologist came in around 8am and set up my epidural. Surprisingly when I had Cruz, Nick watched them administer the epidural needle into my back. Surprising because he does not do well with needles. This time around, the nurse set up a chair in front of me and made him sit in it. They said they do this for all husbands these days because they've had too many hit the floor and didn't want to risk it.

By that point, I was feeling no pain...

Then my nurse asked if we wanted a mirror to watch the delivery. I had no intention going into this thinking I would ever want to watch it...and Nick definitely didn't want any part of that. I surprised myself by telling her I wanted her to move the mirror in and if I changed my mind, I would have them move it. I figured this is the last time I'm doing this, if I don't watch now, I may never see it happen live.

Around 8:30am, I was 9cm dialated and by 9am I was at 9 1/2 cm. It was at this point I started feeling what can only be explained as hot flashes and then nauseous. Then I puked. A lot. My nurse told me this was common at this point in the labor. Now it was go time. My doctor came in, the nurses got me set up, and I was told a resident was going to do the delivery while my doctor stuck close to manage. (Whatever....if you get this kiddo out of me quickly, I really don't care who does it.)  This was approximately 9:25am.

With Nick at my head (grasping my arm, headphones in and looking toward the wall behind me - I promise this was for the best, we didn't need a man down) and my nurse at my side, I started pushing. All I know at this point with both my deliveries is that they are asking you to push as hard as you can, and you think you are, but you can't really tell/feel it so you don't know. After one push and a look in the mirror, I could see the top of the head and a mass of dark black hair (holy surreal). Throughout, Nick kept squeezing my arm and looking down at me, almost completely oblivious to what was going on just a few feet away. =)

A few more pushes and they realized that his shoulders were stuck by my pelvis. They used the forceps to guide them out and the next thing I know little Leo was out. They cut his cord, swaddled him up and immediately handed him to me...goopy, gross and all. Tears were streaming down our faces. I was in love. And I wanted to hold him forever. After a few minutes of them stitching me back up, the nausea came back and I called to the nurses that I was going to be sick again. I quickly handed Leo off and threw up yet again. After they cleaned me up, I got my baby back and got to feed him for the first time. He ate quickly and feverishly.

Labor hair. Don't care.
How was watching the delivery? Well, the best way I can describe it is as the most disgusting, interesting, weird, crazy, amazingly beautiful train wreck. Even if I wanted to look away, I couldn't. "How is that coming out of there?" kept repeating in my head.

Once all the tests were run on Leo and I and after they cleaned him up (finally), they moved us down to our recovery room where we would stay for the next two nights. Fortunately we lucked out again and got a double bed, which is so nice. Nick was able to stay right in bed with me and not have to park it on the uncomfortable couches in the rooms. Similar to Cruz, we took advantage of having the nurses and sent Leo to the nursery each night. Some may not agree with this, but for us it was some of the best advice we were given. It gave us a chance to rest up while knowing our little man was getting attentive care in the nursery.

Throughout this pregnancy, I struggled with how I could love another human as much as I love Cruz. I mean, I am nothing short of obsessed with Cruz. He is my best friend and my favorite person in the world. There was no way I could have that much love to give another baby.  And I can't explain it, but as soon as they put Leo in my arms, I was overcome with the biggest feeling of love and pure blessing. It was such a surreal experience, but I immediately knew that I loved this little guy as much as his brother. And I'm equally as obsessed with him. I'm so lucky that I get to be a mama to two of the most amazing little boys.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Well, hey there.....


It's been a over a year. An entire year since my last post.

I never intended for this little break of mine to be so lengthy, buuuuuuut the proof is in the pudding.

I'm not sure if there is anyone who still cares about this little old blog (except my sister and sister in laws), but I've been missing it something fierce and wanted to get it going again.

So a lot has happened in a year. Weird, I know, right?

How about a lil' recap.

{I got knocked up!}
I finally made good on one of my New Year resolutions (remember, from this post) and I went and got myself pregnant.  After what seemed to take forever...and in comparison to Cruz it was, we finally got pregnant.

{It's a BOY!}
We found out this little bun was a boy. I'm not going to lie, I was a tad disappointed at first. You know that dream, that perfect little family where the older brother looks after his younger sister? Yeah, I had that. I was sure it was a girl. It wasn't. And it didn't take me long to forget about that first dream and fall in love with the fact that Cruz would have a little brother to take care of and I would get to watch our two boys grow up together and be the best of friends.

{Six years!}
Nick & I celebrated making it six years on August 1st. I mean, that's an accomplishment, right? The fact that he puts up with me...that I put up with him. Let me just tell you, it's a BIG accomplishment.  And there isn't another I would rather have spent these past six years with.

{We bought a bar!}
It wasn't in the master plan, but the opportunity came up and we partnered with friends of ours and took over a bar in Omaha. In September, we immediately closed it and got to work on making it into what we envisioned this area of Omaha needed.

{Cruz turned four!}
In November, we celebrated Cruz-A-Palooza and our little man turning FOUR!  We made it a mix of all of Cruz's favorite things - dinosaurs, carnival, baseball pinata, rootbeer floats, cake - if Cruz liked it, it was there. Even the weather cooperated and we were able to enjoy time outside.  We had the best time celebrating our boy with our favorite family and friends.

{Leo Florian Manganaro was born!}
And just like that, little Leo joined our family. We couldn't be more excited to see Cruz and his little bro grow up together, they are already just the sweetest. We decided on his name soon after finding out he was a boy and knew from the start that his middle name would be Florian in honor of Nick's grandpa who had passed away the year prior. Grandpa Florian was a hard-working, genuine, determined, kind, thoughtful man - exactly the characteristics we hope to instill into our boys.

{We opened our bar!}
In March, we opened Blue Chip. All of the credit really goes to Nick, Jeremy & Sirvan. Nick busted his ass and immersed himself into all things Blue Chip for the three months the bar was heavily being worked on. The end product is nothing short of exactly what we imagined. A cool spot that we would see ourselves spending time at. A focus on happy hour and after dinner drinks, a great place to watch the game but not a sports bar, good music, great staff. I'm so proud of him and what he created.

As you can see, we had an extremely busy and amazingly blessed year. We traveled a lot, enjoyed watching Cruz grow, spent time with family and friends, worked our asses off and now here we are.

And I'm excited to be back in this little space of mine sharing the happenings in our life. I promise I will be here more frequently.

Thanks for stopping by!