Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy 1st Birthday, My Darling Gracie!

Happy 1st birthday to my Gracie! From the moment I first laid eyes on you one year ago, I felt an indescribable love that I never knew existed. I love you with every inch of my being, and I am so blessed that you chose me to be your Mommy. You light up your dad’s and my lives more than you will ever know. You are the most happy, loving, kind, energetic, beautiful, strong, goofy, and charismatic person, and you radiate love and light to all those around you. I have loved watching you grow this past year and sharing your “firsts” with you, and I look forward to what this next year brings. I love you with all my heart, Monkey. I met you on June 30 last year, but the truth is, I’ve loved you my whole life. Happy 1st birthday my love<3


Love,
Mommy




Thursday, March 3, 2016

2016 March For Marrow 5K Run & Walk

Almost four years ago, on March 13, 2012, my Mom lost her short 3-month battle with MDS (a very rare bone marrow failure disease affecting less than 1% of the US).  My Mom was my mentor, my idol, my confidant, and my best friend.  She was the kind of person who would drop everything to help a friend or a stranger in need.  She devoted her life to her family, her friends, and the community. 

Her passing shook our world, but following in my mom’s footsteps, I had to do something productive.  That was when I discovered the AA&MDS International Foundation, and more coincidentally, their annual fundraiser, March for Marrow 5K Run and Walk, that was to be held in our own city of Long Beach the following month!  I immediately became involved and spread the world to family and friends and the entire Long Beach community.  Within three weeks, Team Pat Reep had raised more than $20,000 for the Foundation and more than 50 people showed up to walk for Team Pat Reep.  Each year since, we have carried on the tradition of walking and running in memory of Mom, and have raised nearly $15,000 each year.

Three years ago I underwent a bone marrow biopsy, and I was diagnosed with Familial Platelet Disorder with a Predisposition to Myeloid Malignancy (it’s a mouthful, I know).  This means that I carry the rare gene that my mom and her mom had, that has a 45% chance of mutating and causing leukemia or MDS (don’t worry, I won’t let this happen to me :)).  We never knew my mom carried this gene until after she passed away, so lucky for me, we are way ahead of the curve.  I am being monitored on an ongoing basis at the USC Norris Cancer Center by the best team of MDS specialists in the nation, and my health couldn’t be better!

As you can see, this cause is very near and dear to my heart.  I experienced firsthand with my Mom how awful this disease is, and unfortunately because it is so rare and there is very little research, there is no cure.  It is my greatest wish to see progress in this field so that no one has to go through what my mom and family went through.  Please consider walking or running with us on Saturday, April 30th to raise awareness for MDS, or please consider donating even if it’s one dollar…every dollar counts towards finding a treatment and hopefully even a cure for MDS.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

To make a donation, please click here, then choose “Support Me”.
To register for the walk/run, please click here.

My mom was the most kind, generous, loving, and giving woman I have ever known.  She was my best friend.  Everyone who knew her loved her.  She was a leader in the Long Beach community, and devoted much of her time to philanthropic work.  It’s my turn to give back.  Please consider joining me or supporting our cause in honor of my beloved mommy, Pat Reep.
The last picture we took together, 2012
On my wedding day, three months before she passed




Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Vintage Honey Shop Review + Giveaway!

Before Gracie was born, I researched everything we would need from birth to her first birthday.  Upon my research and planning, one of the things I wanted to buy was a teething necklace.  I had heard great things about them; not only are they are good for teething, but also for baby to grab onto during feedings or when being worn.  Through Instagram, I stumbled upon a shop called The Vintage Honey Shop (henceforth TVHS) that sold handmade, natural, and adorable teething + nursing necklaces.  I purchased two of them, and liked them so much, I purchased another one at a later date.  I loved them!

Recently I was asked to review one of their necklaces, and they kindly gave me a new one to review.  My review below is based on ALL of my experiences with TVHS (including my own purchases and the one they provided), but the pictures are of the necklace they kindly gave me to review.  Even though they gave me this necklace, these opinions are my own and in no way were influenced by them.

TVHS necklaces are handmade and wrapped in beautiful fabric to match any style!  Here is a blurb from their “About” section on their website because it takes the words right out of my mouth:
Every necklace is handmade with massive amounts of love, hard work & dedication in creating the very best teething + nursing necklace on the market. The Vintage Honey Shop is all about making moms feel special, from the design of the necklace to the stunning packaging. Its more than a just a necklace, its about having something that makes new mamas feel pretty & knowing that they are wearing a handcrafted piece of jewelry that is safe, functional and stylish!

This statement couldn’t be more true.  You can tell each necklace is made with love and care from the packaging to the product.  When you open up your package, you see a delicate and shabby chic wrapping of tissue paper with a lace doily and tied with striped baker’s twine and a button with their signature bumble bee; it’s absolutely delightful.
The wrapping was so pretty I didn’t want to open it!  Once I did, the beautiful necklace was revealed.  It was the traditional teething necklace (no wooden teething ring attached) in a gorgeous green floral fabric.  The color is so vibrant, that my pictures don’t even do it justice.  I just love this color.

The necklace closure is a satin tie that is very easy to tie, yet secure around your neck when baby pulls on it.  After opening the package, I tied my green floral teething + nursing necklace around my neck and picked up Gracie.  She was immediately drawn to it and couldn’t stop playing with it.  She was grabbing at it, putting it in her mouth, and moving her arms up and down with excitement while still grasping it.


Playing with her new necklace worked up an appetite.  As I sat down to feed her, she continued holding on to it, and did so during her entire feeding.  She loves this necklace as much as I do.  Like I said, before the opportunity to review this fabulous green floral necklace, I had purchased a few on my own in both styles (the traditional necklace like the green floral one, and the teething ring necklace which includes a wooden teething ring).  Below is a picture of all my TVHS teething + nursing necklaces.
There are so many colors and patterns to choose from on their website.  Seriously, there is a necklace to fit any style!

Gracie and I are so thrilled with our TVHS necklaces that we are giving one away to one lucky reader!  To enter:
  1. Comment below with why you want one of these fabulous necklaces.
  2. *Bonus entry* follow me on instagram @sparklemags and comment here to let me know that you are following me on instagram.

Giveaway closes next Wednesday, January 20th at 12:00pm (noon) PST.  The winner will be announced here on the same day at 2:00pm PST.

***UPDATE 1/20:  THE WINNER OF THE VINTAGE HONEYSHOP NECKLACE IS REBECCA GAINEY!  Please email me at magsoneil (@) gmail (dot) com by Friday, 1/22 :)**

And for all my readers, here is a 15% off code to The Vintage Honey Shop:  VHSHARE.  Go check out their site and choose your own fabulous necklace(s) at an awesome discount!!



Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 In Review

As I look back on 2015, I can’t help but smile.  This is the year our beautiful daughter was born.  After a long journey to become pregnant, we met our sweet miracle girl on June 30th, and our lives were forever changed for the better. 
So many wonderful things have happened in 2015, including the following:

Births and Announcements
  • My cousin, Rach, had her twin boys in January
  • My friend, Lisa, had her baby girl in March
  • I had Gracie girl in June
  • My cousin, Aysha, had her daughter in July
  • My friend, Amanda, had her son in September
  • My friend, Koko, had her son in October
  • My friend Viviane, announced she is having a baby boy in January 2016
  • My cousin, Maliha, announced she is having a baby boy in January 2016 too

 Celebrations
  • My daddy got married to a wonderful woman who I absolutely love!
  • My big brother got married to a wonderful woman who I adore!  Love my new Sis!
  • My friend, Ali, got married in NY in July; unfortunately I couldn’t go because Gracie was not even 2 weeks old
  • I was lucky enough to have 6 baby showers!
Travel
  • January:  NYC to visit all my college friends
  • February:  Montana with family to go snowboarding, although I had to sit this one out since I was pregnant
  • April:  Palm Springs with my hubby for our baby moon
  • August:  Montana with the family including all the babies...Grace's first vacation and first time on an airplane!!

Misc.
  • Gracie celebrated some of her first major holidays, including, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas
  • I celebrated 6 years in my career at Molina Healthcare
  • My hubby and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary with dinner at Morton's followed by the Ducks game (we had glass seats too!!!)
  • Ran/walked the Turkey Trot this year with 5 month old Gracie in the BOB jogger stroller...my first 5K post partum and her first 5K ever!
  • Dad sold his house, which is the house my brother and I grew up in...we had a final farewell party that was pretty epic! :)
  • Gracie took swim lessons for a few months and loved them! 
I'm sure there are other exciting happenings I forgot to mention, but I will just blame that on my mommy brain :)  2015 was an incredible year filled with so many blessings and new beginnings.  I look forward to see what 2016 has to offer!  Until then, have a safe and happy New Year's Eve tonight!








Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy 1/2 Birthday, Gracie!


And just like that, my little monkey is 6 months old!  She loves chewing on her hands, grabbing her feet, and playing in curtains.  She loves to laugh and smile, and she thinks her dogs are the funniest things in the world.  She is constantly rolling over, so we have to keep a watchful eye on her.  She can sit unassisted for a good period of time but she prefers to stand.  I swear this girl is going to walk before she crawls.  Her favorite thing to do is bounce/jump.  She loves to grab everything and put it in her mouth {toys, mommy’s necklaces, spoons, paper, and more), except bananas or avocado.  Her favorite foods are peas, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash; she is not a fan of apples.  She lights up when she sees Mom and Dad.  She is approximately 17 pounds of pure happiness, and is the light of my hubby’s and my world.  Happy ½ birthday, my darling girl. Your daddy and I love you to infinity and beyond.













Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!



Love, The O'Neils



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Festivities!

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 
The children were nestled all snug in their beds; 
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads."

Merry Christmas Eve!  It's hard to believe that Christmas is tomorrow, and it's Gracie's 1st Christmas!  Even though she will only be 6 months on the 30th, she has more presents under the tree than anyone else :)  We definitely spoil our little girl, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

This year is a little unconventional, as my hubby and I are hosting Christmas Eve dinner tonight!  This is the big celebration in my family, and for the past 40+ years, Mom and Dad have always hosted; Dad makes his famous spaghetti and meatballs that he learned from his Italian god father many years ago.  Recently, some very exciting things have happened that gave hubby and I the opportunity to take on the family tradition and host.  My Daddy got married!!!  I absolutely love his wife, my stepmom, and I am beyond happy they found each other.  More of that in a later post though :)  Since they recently got hitched, and are moving in together and settling in, my house is the party house this year for tonight's festivities.  Dad is still cooking though (phew!).

I am so excited for tonight.  As I said, Christmas Eve is our big shindig...lots of wine, laughter, Christmas music, more laughter, and this year, BABIES!!!!!!  We have four babies in the family who will be celebrating their first Christmas Eve and Christmas this year...my Gracie, my cousin's daughter who was born 10 days after Gracie, and my other cousin's twin boys who are 6 months older than Gracie.  We cannot wait to see their little faces light up :)  And I have a super cute Christmas Eve dress for Gracie to wear :)

With that said, I am going to leave a few pictures of our happy girl here for you to enjoy:
Gracie's 1st time meeting Santa

Sweeter than a Gingerbread Latte (onesie courtesy of @perfectlysparkledd)

Head Elf (onesie courtesy of @perfectlysparkledd)

Our happy girl :)

She was absolutely fascinated by the lights

Her stocking made by her cousin...it's HUGE!!!

Always smiling

She loves her doggies and they love her

My family <3