Category: a few of my favorite things…

carseats and strollers oh my!

I have a problem…I’m a hyper-researcher. Now, I know what you are thinking…that isn’t even a word right?! Well I am one so it is…have I lost you yet?

I’m not sure if it’s part of my personality type or what but at any point in time if anyone asks me a question that I don’t know the answer to I have to google it. I have to know this answer. This has left me with a brain full of useless and unusual facts that I can impress people with once in a blue moon. My hubby makes fun of me all the time with the weird stuff I know, and he’s learned not to question me because he’s lost lots of bets in the last 6 years from my weird knowledge!

englexas lifestyle blog strollers car seat

This presents me with a problem when I have to purchase anything. I am an extremely frugal person and so I always want to get the best value for my money. Occasionally this paralyzes me. If there is no clear ‘winner’ then what do I do?! Honestly, usually I go for the cheaper option (did I mention I’m a cheapskate yet?!). It’s also a problem for me because I could literally spend hours of my time researching one purchase, which is absolutely not a good use of my time!

So I thought that it might be a good idea to share all of my findings and research with you so that I would maybe feel like it wasn’t a big fat waste of time, and who knows? maybe you’ll find some of this actually helpful! And if you don’t, lie to me and tell me you did kay?!

Alot of information included in here is stuff that I wish someone had told me with my first child. The first thing is that I wished I had realized how expensive baby stuff is, if I had realized that I wouldn’t have been so slow to part with my money. Just bear in mind if you are starting out with your first little one it is WORTH spending a little extra to get good, neutral gear for your baby and remember, if you get good stuff it will last through ALL your children! It’s SO worth doing it that way…you will regret it down the line if you don’t, believe me!

With my first child we were given a travel system by Graco that was very blue. I wasn’t a big fan, but hey, it was free! So then when we were pregnant with my second I knew I needed something less boyish. We bought the cheapest car seat we could find ($80 at Walmart) and bought the ‘frame’ to use as a stroller. I hated that car seat and eventually a sweet friend of ours let me borrow a car seat from her. One purchase that we did make and I have never regretted was the Combi Umbrella Stroller we saved up for this purchase and it has gone all around the world with us, it folds up very easily and it’s so compact…a great stroller!

OK, back to the point.

englexas family blog car seat strollers review

Stay with a neutral color, that is why all of the options I’ve given you are black. It’s a neutral color and you can buy accessories to girl or boy it up but it can be used for both and your style may (probably will) change over the years of having kids so getting a pattern is a risky idea.

Car Seats
One of the major things I was concerned about with car seats was weight, getting these things in and out of cars with the added weight of baby is not easy! And you’ll find that until your baby has good head control (3-6 months) you will be constantly carrying them around in their car seat. Some of the heavier car seats that I ruled out were the Graco and Chicco seats. Also, I read reviews all over and if there was difficulty unlatching the seat from the base it got nixed too. The Combi Shuttle seat was one that had these reviews and I had this problem with the Graco seat I had and it drove me nuts! Another reason I cut out the Chicco (which are among the usual popular choice for car seats) is that they had many reviews that said they didn’t have much padding on the seat, not comfortable for baby :(

So here are my picks:
1. Maxi Cosi Mico $189 // This is one of the lightest seats on the market at 8lbs and lots of people raved about how nice the fabric and padding was. It’s also a slim car seat which is important for me now that our car will have 3 seats in the back!
2. Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air $199 // Be sure that you don’t mix this up with the S1 by Safety First that I found had terrible reviews – the $40 difference really does matter! It also comes in at 8lbs and is a slim seat at 17″ but it’s longer than the Maxi Cosi (better if you are likely to produce taller babies!). A lot of people loved the air technology for safety.
3. Britax B-Safe Car Seat $149 // This is the most cost effective of the seats that I chose (ding ding ding!!) and there were lots of great reviews about the material and padding of this seat. It’s only a 1/2 inch wider than the Maxi Cosi and Safety 1st at 17.5″.

Double Strollers
Weight was also a huge factor in picking a stroller, and also size when folded. And I hate to say it but lots of the double strollers on the market right now are very patterned and honestly, kind of cheap looking. There is a huge price gap between the cost-effective strollers (which pretty much always have bad reviews for how cheaply they are made) and the ‘luxury’ strollers. I also decided that I wanted to buy a tandem stroller rather than side by side. Although most of the side by side strollers say that they are able to fit through the average door, it just seems like I would be the super awkward person trying to constantly not injure people (or myself!) while trying to squeeze through a door frame, it just didn’t sound like a good idea for me!

4. Graco Ready2Grow Double Stroller $199 // This stroller weighed in at 37lbs, which was on the lower end of the scale. This was by far the most cost-effective, good looking stroller with not-terrible reviews that I could find. The only problem with this stroller is that it only takes Graco car seats (boo!). As you see by my reviews above, Graco car seats were probably the worst reviewed that I found. It also does not fold up small at all, it’s something like 54″ long when folded!

Which brings me to a new popular breed of strollers…the convertible stroller. The wonderful thing about these strollers is that you can buy the single stroller with your first kid, and then when you have your second you just simply buy the conversion kit and second seat – SO much more cost effective than buying a single stroller, then another double later on!

5. Britax B-Ready Double Stroller $599 // This stroller is 36lbs, one of the lightest of the strollers. The turn radius and steering has really high ratings and the balance is supposed to be so good that even if a toddler climbs into the lower seat, it won’t tip over! The only thing I’m not a huge fan of is that the child in the lower seat can’t see out in front, although there is a lower car seat adapter that you can buy so that the infant seat can be on the lower seat and your toddler can face out in the front seat. There is also a universal car seat adapter you can buy so that you can use any car seat with this stroller.

6. iCandy Pear Tandem $629 // This stroller is heavier, it weighs in at 44lbs but also has a great turn radius and lots of different options for seat configuration. The car seat adapter that you can buy fits the Maxi Cosi and Graco seats.

7. City Select Double $669 // This is the stroller that has come most highly recommended to me. It has 16 different configuration, is only 36 lbs, has awesome turn radius, allows both of your children to look out and also takes all car seats but Britax. The downfall would definitely be the price, this is one expensive stroller but if you bought it as a single stroller first, then added the double seat later it would definitely impact the price.

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help me pick a camera bag…

After our house was broken into last July one of the things that we lost were my camera bags, since then we’ve been saving and I’m finally to the point where replacing everything that was lost is finally a possibility. My last camera bag was the standard ‘professional photographer’ bag – but with all the blogging I’ve been doing I’ve decided that I need a bag that I can take with me wherever I go…more of a purse/camera bag. I’ve also heard that these bags make for great diaper bags because of all the compartments and I’ll be needing that very soon! Here are the ones I’ve narrowed it down to:

camera bag collage
1. Epiphanie Stella Bag // 2. Ona ‘The Brooklyn’ Bag // 3. Dre Hartman “The Liza Satchel” // 4. Cheeky Lime “Livy Bag” // 5. Ephiphanie Lola Bag // 6. Ketti “Chevron” Handbag // 7. Theit “The Bossi” Bag // 8. Kelly Moore “Mimi” Bag

Let me know your thoughts in the comments – I’d appreciate any input, especially if you’ve had experience with any of these bags!

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