01.19.2018

Champagne Chatting || Monthly Q+A

Happy Friday friends! I hope you all had a great week…. we’re laying low this weekend, and I can’t wait. We’ve been go, go, go for the past few weeks, so having nothing planned sounds amazing. I hope you all have a great weekend…. below you’ll find all the answers to some frequently asked questions this month!…..
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1. We are going to Hawaii this summer and I know you have been often. How do you handle the time change with your little one? 

The past two times we had different experiences with Harper adapting, even though we followed the same process each time. Since by the time 7pm comes around in Hawaii, it’s 10pm at home. So, we put her down at the normal bedtime, and then wait to see what time she wakes up. The first time she woke up at 4am (which is CA time 7am). The second time she slept until 6:30am, which was glorious. When that happened, we were able to maintain the regular schedule we had at home. The time she woke up at 4am, I reverted back to her double nap schedule (9am-11am + then 2:30pm-4pm) and then put her down at the regular bedtime. She slowly adapted after about 2 full days. Hope that helps!

2. What are some of your spring fashion go-to’s that are really easy? I find myself always going towards a plain v-neck tee and ankle jeans. I’m looking to change it up a bit this year!

I think henleys are a great way to go. You get the same basic feel of a tee, but the cute buttons make it look a little different. My favorite is this flowy option, along with this one with a ruffle detail (which I’ve worn a couple times on instagram), and this one with a tassel tie (I own in gray). I also love a relaxed boyfriend jean…. finding the perfect fit on these can be tricky… you don’t want them super baggy. I think they look super cute with flats, a cute tee, and some gold accessories. Toss on a lightweight cardigan, or kimono (super big this spring and I like to wear this dress like one), and you’re good to go.

3. What is your favorite brand of v and scoop neck tees?

I love this raw hem v-neck tee (I own it in a couple of colors) and it’s under $20. Such a great basic to own. I also love Make + Model tees and own a few colors of those as well. And, of course, you can count of Free People to make a great oversized basic tee.

4. What are your favorite Orange County restaurants and coffee spots, along with your go-to orders? Favorite Soul Cycle instructor? 

KIT is great for the avocado toast + tea/coffee (I like the white peony tea and TJ gets the cold brew). Cannery Seafood has amazing sushi (upstairs) and I love the spicy tuna roll, shrimp tempura roll, and pretty much anything else…. Babette’s in Newport Coast is great too (I’ve only been for breakfast and got their bowl with kale, quinoa, and an egg…). Driftwood kitchen in Laguna is a beautiful spot. Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen in The Orange Circle is delish too (they change their menu often, so I can’t say wha I get every time). Cucina Enoteca has delicious pizza + an arugula salad I love. We usually get the brussels sprouts and prosciutto pizza. The Lost Bean is my favorite spot for my daily iced teas. Urth Cafe has a great breakfast too (I get something different each time though…).

My favorite instructors are Josh, Alexa, Daniella, Jeff, and Jasmine!

5. Where are your favorite places to stay in Hawaii and what are your favorite places to eat, do, etc….? We’re going to Maui in June and would love any suggestions. 

We love both the Westin Kaanapali Villas + The Marriott Ocean Club. Since we have a toddler, we love the ability to make a costco/grocery store run and make some of our meals. We also love the extra space that it affords us when she is napping and down for the evening. If that’s not your thing, I think the Hyatt + The Westin (non-villas) are both gorgeous properties on Maui.

These are our favorite restaurants: Mamma’s Fish House, Cheeseburger In Paradise (yes, totally tourist, but so good), Monkey Pod for a great Mai Tai (and food!), Duke’s for a beautiful oceanfront dining experience, The Fish Market Maui for great tacos (the lobster tacos were delish!), Choice Health Bar for delish acai bowls and healthy selects, Mala/Honu for dinner and drinks (the ahi toast!), Sansei Sushi (some of the best I’ve ever had), Maui Brew Co, Kaana Kitchen (super cute and trendy), + Down The Hatch for an indulgent breakfast. The Westin has a great buffet brunch as well. There are also tons of spots for delicious Acai Bowls.

Favorite Things to Do: Makena state beach “big beach” on the Wailea side. Also just past Makena beach is La Perouse which is a lava fields. Pretty to walk and explore. Nakalele blowhole and heart shaped rock. Catch a beautiful sunrise in Haleakala.  

6. I am pregnant with my second, and I was wondering if you could suggest some good pregnancy style ideas for 2018. I want to buy some stuff that work for pregnancy and postpartum. One thing that made me feel good during my first pregnancy was dressing well – I didn’t love being in my pregnant body, and it helped a lot. I was pregnant in 2016, and your pregnancy fashion posts from when you were pregnant with Harper were really helpful to me. 🙂 I was going to get a dress or two from Isabella Oliver again because they look gorgeous during pregnancy and beyond, but I was wondering what else you might suggest that is more current.

I completely understand what you mean! Dressing for your body in pregnancy can make you feel so good. My all time favorite dress, non-maternity, was this body hugging option (long sleeve). I always thought it showed off the belly so well, and was able to grow with my other expanding body parts. Since we’re heading into the spring/summer months (no sure how far along you are) I am obsessed with this white bodycon maternity dress (I actually put it in my favorites in case I get pregnant sometime this year!). Susana Monaco has a few on trend, gorgeous dresses, around the same price point of the IsabelIa Oliver. I also love love maxi dresses too. I love this stripe one and think it would be so cute with kicks, flats, and some gold accessories. I also swore by the bellaband so I could wear my regular shorts/jeans throughout. I loved pairing them with gorgeous free people flowy tops (which I still wear to this day). A few good FP tops, that would be great post as well, include this basic oversized tunic, thermal tunic, sleeveless tunic, gorgeous printed tunic, and this embroidered tunic. I also wore this embroidered tunic dress while I was pregnant, and still wear it to this day!

7. I have been getting more into working out and love carrying the work out wear throughout the day. I really like your style but some pieces are pricey do you have any suggestions for lower priced items (under $50)? 

Yes! My all time favorite perforated tank is under $40… the other day I wore it to the gym and then tossed a denim jacket and slides on with it and headed out for some errands. Beyond Yoga makes some of the softest pieces ever, and this cute crossover tank is currently on sale and would be super cute in the same way I recommended the tank above. I’ve also been working out in this camo tee lately and love it too. Onzie has some of my favorite items, and their sports bras are great too… and under $50. For the top layer, this hoodie from Zella (that I own in black and a light grayish blue color) just went on sale for under $50. It easily layers underneath a denim jacket, or is great solo. As far as leggings go, these high waisted crops (they’re one of my favs in the longer version) are an excellent, basic, option. I’ve also heard excellent things about this brand, and these joggers are great for a brisk walk and then lounging after (I own them in a couple colors). Target also has a great selection of activewear… I own and love this sports bra, this zip-up hoodie jacket comes in tons of color options, and these tri-colored leggings are super cute. I also recommend Old Navy, as they have a great activewear selection as well… like this stripe sports bra, mesh stripe top (great for a run), sweater knit moto jacket, and mesh leggings.

8. We will be spending Christmas at a resort in Phoenix, AZ and I am at a loss for what type of outfits to pack! Do you have some winter time, warm weather outfit go-tos? We will have a mix of relaxing by the pool and evenings out. The weather forecast looks like highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 50s. This Kansas girl only knows how to pack for snow at Christmas time.  Any ideas are appreciated!

My suggestions would be jeans and cute top for the evening. I think this bodysuit and this blush silk top are gorgeous. I also love this floral tunic top over a pair of skinny jeans with OTK boots or booties. I also just purchased this wrap sweater and it’s perfect for the evenings paired with a pair of mules. A suede or leather jacket is a perfect evening layer.
For the daytime, maxi dresses with a suede or denim jacket would be super cute. This embroidered maxi is one of my all time favorites, and super casual t-shirt dress would be great with some cute slides or sandals.  If you’re looking to lounge by the pool, a cute cover up (or cut-off shorts + an open knit… one of my fav combos) with a suit is perfect. Sandals for the day will be warm enough if it’s in the 70’s.
Overall I just recommend layering. Sometimes mornings are cool, afternoons are warm, and the evenings cool off again. A lightweight cardigan is always a great option too.
9. How did you build your instagram following? Can you create a step by step on how to start a blog? 
I’ve built my instagram following very slowly over the past 5 years. I know that there are a lot of opportunities to build with loop giveaways, yet, I have found that they typically result in a small number of people who actually engage with you and your content (which is why I’ve only done a handful). It’s important to remember that an engaged following is much more important than a large following. That being said, working with brands and having them share your content helps, regrams from brands, as well as doing “follows” with other bloggers are all great ways to gain an authentic and engaged following.
As far as a step by step guide, there are tons of great tutorials on the web that can help with that! I can share what my sister and I did when we started (yes, this blog began with my sister!). We brainstormed names, researched hosting platforms (we ultimately decided on wordpress), purchased our domaine name, and picked a design. Each bloggers journey and evolution of their blog is unique and part of the process. This blog has been through 3 site re-designs, and has improved over the years.
10. Did you ever struggle with your weight/dieting? If so, what did you do? Any tips? 
I think everyone deals with some sort of body insecurity at one point or another in their life, and I’m not immune to that at all. I think the hardest struggle I had was after I gave birth to Harper. I was overwhelmed with the changes to my body, and had never had to “loose weight” so I wasn’t sure where to start. What worked for me was to remember that eating clean and nutritious foods + watching portion sizes was the best way to feel good about myself and fuel my body in the way it needed to be. It was also important for me to remember why I work out… for clarity of mind, the endorphins it releases, and the amazing feeling I have once I am done. I haven’t specifically dealt with weight/dieting issues, but I do believe that it’s so important to see your body as much more than a number. What does your body do for you on a daily basis? What has it done for you in the past? While I don’t like everything about my body, there are specific parts that I think are pretty great… and we should all be able to identify those parts we love about it! When I look at my body I see legs that are muscular and have gotten me through several half marathons, a belly (ok, uterus, but the belly shows it more) that carried my sweet Harper, + arms that carry her when she’s tired or needs comforting.
11. When did you know your husband was the one? 
I can’t say there was one ah-ha moment that made me know that TJ was the one. After dating a few people, I confidently knew what I didn’t want and knew how I wanted to feel in a relationship. As the months and years (we dated for 5 years before we got married) went on I realized that TJ was someone who I could always be myself with, who I could talk to about anything with, who, despite disagreements and arguments, we were always able to come back and work through the disagreements, and someone who I genuinely enjoyed spending time with. Someone I had fun with and missed when we were apart. Knowing that we could effectively solve problems together, have fun together, and genuinely loved each other made me confident that we would be able to handle all the ups and downs of marriage.
12. Where did you shop for clothing in your 20s that you’ve since stopped, or still do? 
In my 20’s I did (and still do) a lot of shopping at LOFT for my work clothes. They were (and still are) very reasonably priced, especially when they would have their sales (which is what I waited for). I was able to purchase a lot of work appropriate clothing for a great deal. For example, right now they are having a 50% off sale and I would be able to purchase a pair of pants, cardigan, and blouse (that could be worn at the office or out at night) for around $100. I also found J. Crew factory to have a lot of great items for work as well. For trendier items I think H&M is an excellent choice! This flounce top, satin lace top, and dotted chiffon blouse are always gorgeous, budget friendly, and perfect for a night out with friends! Also, BP brand at Nordstrom is still one of my favorites. 
13. Will you share some spring outfit looks for a trip to Sonoma in March? Going on our first real vacation post baby with some friends and I hate all my clothes! 
So jealous of your  trip! You’re going to have a blast! I love pairing distressed jeans with cute mules and a pretty top. I wore this top last weekend and it was perfect for the day spent wine tasting! I also love this gorgeous white ruffle lace top (just purchased it)… pair it with cute white mules (or this pair in blush, they’re sitting in my cart) and some gold accessories and you’ll look perfect for an afternoon in Napa/Sonoma. If it’s on the more mild side, I love this crochet sweater. A few cute dresses include this ribbed button up dress (which can double as a cardigan), adorable floral tie front dress (with cute espadrilles), and this gorgeous maxi dress. I think bringing along a cute wide brimmed hat would be a perfect accessory to any of the above mentioned pieces. Distressed white denim jeans (high waisted) and this tie front stripe top would be super cute as well.
14. How many kids do you want? I’m secretly hoping you’re knocked up soon bc I just found out we are having a third and I loved seeing your maternity fashion, not to mention seeing champagne on your feed will be hard. LOL! Just kidding!
This cracks me up… the champagne part! We want two kiddos. We were lucky enough to be blessed with Harper and hope we will be blessed again with another little one. I always say I can plan out my life, there is no guarantee that it will unfold that way. All that to say, hopefully sometime this year!
15. I wanted to ask more about your experiences with Tone It Up. My concern with their program is that they have to make “cookies” and all sorts of things with protein powder…. to sell products. What are your thoughts. Also, what nutrition plan would you recommend, where you are eating “real foods” not engineered food? 
Great question! I actually don’t follow their meal plans, I only do the workouts (which I do love). I followed the detox meal plan out of curiosity, and enjoyed it! I don’t use their protein powders and instead use Vega when, and if, I incorporate a plant based protein (typically in smoothies). I’ve seen Skinny Taste’s meal plans and they look delicious… I haven’t used them though, so I can’t recommend it on a “as tried” basis. For me personally, I just stick with correct portion sizes, clean ingredients (foods that have ingredients I can pronounce, or minimal ingredients in them), and a balanced portion of proteins, carbs, and fats.
As far as their workouts go, some are free and some have to be purchased. I don’t mind, as I have found them to be very effective in helping me tone up.
16. I’m visiting my sister in April (she lives in Irvine) and wondered what your favorite places were for coffee, tacos, and bubbles… I mean, does one NEED anything more?? 
 Love it! I recommend KIT coffee (great atmosphere, avocado toast, and TJ loves their cold brew… I only drink tea), Wild Taco for delish tacos (such a great menu), and Orange Hill has gorgeous views and an outdoor patio for bubbles (service is typically hit or miss though)… or if you’re wanting somewhere down by the beach I recommend Pacific Edge Hotel for a gorgeous water front libation! Or 180 Blu at The Ritz (probably not cheap though!) has gorgeous views as well! Hope you have a great time!
17. Do you have any tips on being dairy free?
My biggest tip would be to find good alternatIves that you like. For me, it wasn’t that hard, since I wasn’t a huge dairy fan to start with…. but cheese on my pizza was something I didn’t want to give up, and I do like yogurt now and then. I’ve been able to find some good cheese/yogurt alternatives (mainly Kite Hill) which make the transition really easy! If you’re worried about calcium, you can get that from spinach, seafood, legumes, and some fruits. When I was pregnant, my doctor had me take a vitamin D supplement.
18. Any tips for surviving with a traveling spouse? 
Having a husband who travels for work, with kiddos at home, is challenging. Whenever TJ  goes out of town (which isn’t super often) I am always left wondering how single moms do it all with such grace! All that to say, when he does travel, I try to line up a babysitter to help out during the days so I can get some work, errands, and a workout in….  I think being able to escape for a couple hours makes managing everything on your own a bit more manageable. I also try to plan fun activities out with friends during this time, since it’s a great sense of support and community being around friends. I wish I could be more help in this area, but since he only travels a couple times a year I don’t have a ton of advice.
19. Would love to know your favorite workout clothes! Not athleisure, but clothes you actually workout in. Also, why don’t you ever wear Lululemon? Just curious because I have tried other brands before and keep coming back to Lulu as it just seems to fit me! 
All the items I feature on my instagram account I actually workout in, unless it’s a heavy top layer, then I toss that on after the workout. Aside from what you see on instagram, my favorite tank is this lightweight option, sports bra, and I’ve been loving these crops. I spin in this crop top all the time as well.
As far as Lululemon goes, I have a few of their items, namely this tank (which I’ve had for years). I think I started to explore other brands a couple of years ago and have just liked what other’s offer just as well. I still love their products, but recently have found other items that I’ve been liking just as much!
20. How do you always make everything look so easy and delicious? I’m a working momma (teacher) and the hubby also teaches and on top of that is a varsity b-ball coach. Any suggestions on how to get a handle on cooking healthy and delish for the familia? 
I swear by the crock pot or pressure cooker when we’ll be gone all day and won’t have a ton of time to prepare meals in the evening. Skinny Taste has great crock pot recipes that are healthy for the entire family, and we’ve tried so many and have loved them. The pressure cooker is great because it can cook chicken or soups in less than 30  minutes… perfect if you forgot to plan something but can swing by the store on the way home. I also recommend meal planning at the beginning of the week (Sunday). I follow this grocery store list and am able to make really simple dinners (less than 20 minutes) based on all those ingredients (with some recent modifications). We make super easy meals too…. and I don’t shy away from the microwave for certain foods (easy way to steam broccoli in a bag in less than 3 minutes). Skinnytaste also has free 7 day meal plans that she includes a grocery shopping list with as well (and nutritional information as well).
21. How do you find a local therapist. I love all your mental health/strength insights, but for those of us that would find personal care helpful what would be your insider tips on how to go about finding a therapist? 
Great question! I highly recommend starting with your General Practitioner. If you like them, they should be a good resource for referrals of therapists who might have a similar disposition. You can also start your search on Psychology Today. Look for someone who specializes in what you’re looking for (i.e. depression, anxiety woman’s issues…. etc…), read their bio… does it resonate with you? As far as experience goes, I don’t necessarily believe that more experience equates to a better therapist. Make sure you feel heard and that they do a thorough assessment. I always like to add that some of the best therapist will confront you on the hard issues, called “care-frontation,” to help you realize things that maybe you have never thought of. Therapy is a process and a journey that takes time and work, but if you see it through, it can be so very powerful! Hope that helps a little.