08.18.2017

Motherhood Update || 19 Months

I was at the park with little miss this morning, and for some reason started thinking about where we were, at this exact time, last year. I remember TJ was back in Boston for a work training, and I was staying with my parents for the week. Harper was just starting to crawl, and taking her to the park was so different than it is now. Which was a gentle reminder to me of how fast time goes… and how quickly she changes….

(My pullover | Necklace | Harper’s Romper)

Challenges: Two words. Toddler Tantrums. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will. Holy moly. Ok, I’m done….

Just kidding. In all seriousness, while I know they could be worse, a tantrum at all feels as if I’ve run a half marathon (so, I can only imagine how tired it makes her feel). It seems as if anything can set it off…. My sister and I were out at lunch the other day and when it was time to go, she simply didn’t want to leave. She didn’t want to hold my hand or be carried to the car, so, instead, she laid down on the ground and started crying. Then flailing when I picked her up and took her to the car… at which point she became a stiff board as I tried to get her into the car seat. Thankfully, it was a cooler day, so beads of sweat didn’t start dripping down my forehead. Once she was in the carseat, buckled up, and still screaming might I add, I closed the door and my sister and I just started laughing. What the heck? I got back in the car, turned a Daniel Tiger song on, and it was as if the last five minutes didn’t happen.

Toddler Tantrums. I imagine this will be my biggest challenge for the next 1.5 years. Looking forward to it….

Something else I struggle with, constantly, is mom guilt. Probably daily. I sometimes question if I’m a good enough mom, was I present enough today, did I read to her enough today… sing and play with her enough? Was I too focused on work? Did I speak too harshly to her? Don’t get me started, because the list could go on and on…. but, it’s real and something I deal with regularly…..

Favorite Part: While toddler tantrums are a real doozy, I just love her developing language. She easily said “dadda” for the past several months, but “momma” was something she said once or twice in the early months and never said again (cue sad face). Over the past few days though, it’s rolling off her tongue and it melts my heart. The more language she develops, the more fun it becomes interacting with her (not that it isn’t fun now…. it’s much more conversational)…..

I also love seeing her social personality flourish, and realizing that she is much more like me in that area than we thought. At home, and around those she is very familiar with, she’s outgoing and wastes no time exploring. Yet, when she gets around people she’s met once or twice, or doesn’t know that well, she’s slow to warm. I took her to the park on  a playdate, where she didn’t know anyone, and she refused to let me put her down. After about two minutes of taking in her surroundings, she let me put her down, but she insisted on holding my hand. Then she wanted me to push her in the swings. After about ten minutes of feeling out her environment, she joined the crowd and had a blast. Which is pretty much how I am.

(My suit | Harper’s Suit)

Sweetest Moments: Hands down, her new love for freely giving hugs and kisses. Before, when we’d ask for a kiss, there was a 75% chance we were going to be rejected. Now, she loves giving them, and will walk around the room and give each person a hug and “kiki” as we affectionately call them. She also loves to have people sit down next to her….. so, she plops herself down wherever she feels like it, points to you, points to the spot where she wants you to sit, and waits…. not so patiently…. for you to come join her. Oh, and she has to have at least three stuffed animals in her arms when I sing to her goodnight…… She also loves posing for a photo…. she gets herself in position by standing up against a wall and just waiting until we take a photo of her (see below photo).

Eating: Well, we’re back to throwing food over here (insert rolling eye emoji here….), but it seems to only happen when she’s at the end of a meal, and no longer hungry. So, we’ve been using the methods that worked before to address the issue. She has fully moved to using silverware at this point, and does surprisingly well. At first, I was just giving it to her occasionally, but the more she saw us using a fork and spoon, the more she began to request her own. I ended up buying her this fork + spoon and have been really happy with them. Harper also prefers to drink out of a regular cup, but we’re still working on the part where you don’t pour the liquid out. Happens every time. Guaranteed.

Her Favorites: Even though I started reading this book to her since she was only a few months old, she has become quite obsessed with it as of late. It’s one of the only books that she will sit through an entire reading of, at anytime of the day. She loves this bubble machine, and this flamingo, or “go” as she calls it, stuffed animal. Daniel Tiger (she loves pretend playing on this phone) and Goldie + Bear are her favorite shows. Oh, and she is obsessed with helping us vacuum… like, cries if she can’t. I’m going to ride this wave as long as possible.

(My tee | Harper’s Tee | Harper’s Shorts)

Sleeping: I know I mentioned last month that she had some sleep issues, but they seemed to have resolved… only to resurface again around nap time. It doesn’t happen everyday, but sometimes she only naps for an hour, or sometimes will fight going down for her nap, something that hasn’t happened in the past. I think it has something to do with a growth spurt, and her canine teeth seem to be coming through, so I imagine those are bothering her as well. Oh, and for about a week she was waking up around 6am every morning… which is an hour and half earlier than usual…. We seem to be getting back into the swing of a routine again, but I’m sure that can change at any moment. I’ve also started putting a little bit of lavender essential oil on her feet before bedtime…. hoping that helps with some of the sleep issues.

(Tank | Shorts)

Q+A From Instagram: I received several questions regarding stress pertaining to kiddos, so I decided to include them in today’s post, in case it relates to you as well!

1. When Harper was 5 months old, how did you manage to clean and grocery shop? 

I had Harper on fairly routine schedule from early on. That being said, I was able to clean when she was taking a nap (which, at that point, was 3 times a day). My mom also lives very close by, and was able to help me out. When Harper would nap, either she would run to the store for me, or I would go while she stayed home with her. It was incredibly helpful. When my mom wasn’t available, I usually did the grocery shopping between her morning and afternoon naps (11-2:30). I’ve always been a fairly routined/scheduled person, so finding a way to work those “chores” into our daily lives was helpful. You can also see my 5 month motherhood update here, where I shared some of my struggles in the earlier months.

2. How do you manage to get your personal care routine done with a child (getting ready, hair, makeup, skin care, etc)? 

When Harper was younger, I did it when she was napping (see above). Yet, now that she is down to one nap, I’ve had to get creative. As it goes now, I currently only wash my hair once or twice a week. I really don’t have a ton of time to blow dry it and style it more than that. When I do wash my hair, I blow dry it in her room while she is playing… and while I’m doing that she brushes out some parts of my hair and brings me books, which I read to her in between sections of hair. If I don’t wash my hair, and just need to style it and apply make-up to get ready, I allow her to watch an episode of Daniel Tiger so I can do so…. if she’s not into it, she plays around with my make-up (taking it out and giving it to me) while I apply it. I do most of my care at night (i.e. masks) after she has gone to bed… this is sort of a self care thing for me, so I don’t like feeling rushed when I do it.

3. Do you take Harper with you when you run? I am wanting to walk and exercise more and would like to take my little guy.

I wake up super early to get my morning run done (5:30am), but on the weekends, TJ and I take her with us on our family runs. I also take her on a 20 minute walk after breakfast so we can take our little pup out. She enjoys it, and I like getting outside with her. I always make sure to have a few preferred items for her when we go…. a stuffed animal, book, or her current favorite toy. While most of the time she enjoys looking around, there are times she wants something to do and those items come in handy.

4. What are some inexpensive ways to enjoy family time with an infant? 

When Harper was under a year we did a lot of really simple things…. going to the park together as a family, we took her in the pool with a little raft, we’d go out for pressed juicery, take her to a music/reading class. I know that a lot of community centers offer low cost/free classes, and some libraries offer reading time for families as well. We also went on family hikes and runs with her in the appropriate carriers.

5. My 2 year old seems to not know how to handle anger and then hits. I don’t know if it’s a problem or just a toddler being a toddler. Any suggestions? 

Oh yes, toddlers have a difficult time expressing themselves because there are so many things they can’t express, or do, on their own. Normal feelings. When Harper gets upset, as frustrating as it can be, I try to label her feelings (“You’re really mad right now because xyz….”) and then let her know what to do with her anger (“It’s okay to be mad, but just xyz….”). When I worked with families, hitting and bitting were considered “not safe” (in the sense that we don’t want them to continue that behavior) so telling them it’s not okay to hit, telling them what to do instead (“use your words,” “tell mommy, I’m mad,” etc….), and then removing them from the situation (depending on how comfortable you feel with that) for a minute. This sequence validated the kiddo’s feelings, told them what was expected of them, and also set a limit that hitting is not okay and established a consequence for the behavior. While Harper isn’t two yet, and hasn’t started hitting, I still do the first two steps. She does scream at the top of her lungs when she gets mad, so doing the first two is important to me. I also draw on some of my training in Parent Child Interaction Training and provide Harper with “when-then” “If-then” statements, as well as choices and countdowns to minimize anger and frustration. I’ll list some examples below in case you’re interested:
When-then/If-then: When Harper gets her shoes, then we can go outside. If Harper continues to throw her food on the ground then we will have to take it away…… She knows what will happen IF/THEN xyz happens.

Choices: When we are walking to the car, we always give Harper the choice “You either hold mommy or daddy’s hand or we will carry you….” It helps her to know what the expectations are….

Countdown: I do this a lot now, since suddenly ending any event seems to shatter her entire world. So, I typically tell her something like this, “Harper, in 2 minutes we’re leaving.” Although she doesn’t know time, it at least preps her that the activity she is loving will be ending soon. Then I say “When I count to 10 we will be done/leaving/finished.” I’d say it works well most of the time.
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Wish us luck this coming month!! Happy weekend friends! xx

08.17.2017

“10 Minute, No Mirror” Look || Chunky Knits + Delicate Lace

I’ve suffered from all the “brains” there are…. When I was pregnant with little miss, “pregnancy brain” took ahold of me, full force, in my last trimester. I completely missed an important meeting I had at the county until someone politely called me and asked if I would be there….. Sheer panic set in….

And, I most certainly have not escaped the “mom brain…..” A few weeks ago, I headed out to run some errands, only to get to the store and realize I left my entire purse at home. So I decided to swing by my parent’s house and “borrow” a few items that I was needing at the store. No one was home, and when I opened the door, and the alarm went off, I drew a blank on the code. Complete blank. Despite knowing it for the past twenty three years. Alarms went off.  Thankfully, I remembered the verbal code and was spared the embarrassment of the police arriving.

All that to say, when I’m getting ready in the morning, the last thing I have time to do is to spend more than ten minutes deciding what I want to wear (let’s be honest, I need those extra precious moments making sure I don’t forget something…. which I always do…..). That’s why I have my go-to’s…. for those days when looking in a mirror before I leave isn’t an option. Yesterday morning was one such day. My sister and I decided to head out to lunch, last minute (as in, I need to be out the door in 15 minutes), so I grabbed Harper’s things, tossed them in a bag, and pulled myself together. Quickly. It’s been cooler here as of late, so I tossed on a new favorite pair of jeans (obsessed with the raw hem), cozy cardi, and a little lace cami to dress things up a bit. All basic, all neutral. I knew they’d go together, and create a casual, textured look…. all without looking in the mirror. Which, as of late, is my main goal…..

Nordstrom has some of the best lace camis and raw hem jeans around… and the great part is, they have a range of prices so there’s something for everyone to create their “10 minute, No Mirror” look. My favorite lace tops include this pretty wrap option, gorgeous floral top (perfect for fall), lace edge camisole, and this satin lace trim cami. Nordstrom denim is always on point, and the raw hem is my newest obsession (I still love the step hem from last year though…). This budget friendly pair has the perfect amount of distressing and I love this high waisted black pair. I stumbled across this petite friendly pair and they fit like a dream… the perfect length, while still keeping the original hem! Oh, and the cardi collection is on point. My three favorites, all restocked from last year, include this grey cardi, oversized tan cardigan, and this cozy knit cardi (which I own in a mauve color). If you have those three items in your closet, you’ll always have a quick throw on and go get-up.
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(Outfit Details || Camisole (under $30, comes in 4 colors) | Cardigan |  Jeans (petite friendly!!) regular length | Mules | Sunglasses | Bag)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post.

08.16.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Let’s Talk About Stress….. 10 Ways I Tackle It

I almost feel the need to add an immediate disclaimer to this post: Just because I’m writing about the ways I manage my stress in no way means I am perfect at doing so. I’m like everyone else. Stress happens. Sometimes more than others. It’s unavoidable…..

I spent most of my time, when I was a practicing Marriage + Family Therapist, chatting with clients about feelings, and the fact that they are necessary and unavoidable (at some level they all serve a purpose)… and when you try to avoid them, that’s usually when other problems arise (think addiction). The key is in recognizing those feelings, and managing them effectively.

So, today I’m tackling the topic of stress, because, over the past few months, I’ve felt a lot of it. Stress sucks. It’s unpleasant, and longterm stress can reek havoc on the body, in more ways than one thinks. For starters it can lead to physical pain (that’s likely why your shoulders and neck tend to hurt when you’re under a lot of pressure), impacts your gut health (which affects so many different parts of life), causes high blood pressure, increases your desire for unhealthy foods, and shuts down the immune system (I can attest, in periods of high stress like when I was studying for my licensing exam I was frequently sick… and my girlfriend developed a serious stomach condition). All that to say, over the years, I’ve come up with a few ways to help me to manage stress on a daily basis and thought I’d share them with you today…..
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1. Prioritize: Sometimes, I find myself stressed simply because I have too much on my plate and it feels overwhelming. When this happens, I take 10 minutes to sit down and look at everything, sometimes I even pull out a few sticky notes and a calendar. I then prioritize everything that I have numerically, with the most important being at the top of the list. From there I tackle everything starting from the top. This usually helps me gain perspective, since, when I’m stressed everything feels like a priority… even though it isn’t. Sometimes, I am even able to schedule in when I will address certain tasks (example: Monday is the day to return all calls and e-mails I’m behind on….). This also helps with taking things little by little, since most of my stress stems from feeling like everything has to be done now.

2. Create A Relaxing Environment: I know that this is sometimes much easier said than done, especially, if you’re like me and have a very active toddler running around. Yet, it helps incredibly. For me, personally, the space I am working in needs to be clean in order for me to relax and manage my stress better. Since I work from home, this means the beds are made, toys are put away (obviously this happens when little miss is napping or down for the night), and clutter is gone (this is probably the one thing I can’t stand!). I have also started using some essential oils, diffused, in our home. Since TJ and I both work there, I’ve found that it’s a great way to help facilitate a calming environment. My favorite blend is lavender + frankincense. Turning on some mellow music also helps as well, as does soft lighting. When I worked a traditional 9-5 office job, we were able to create these environments in our work space, just had to get creative! (note: I’ll be sharing more on oils in future posts, but if you have questions, you can e-mail my girl kateporath@gmail.com). 

3. Deep Breathing: I know this sounds so cliché but it really works. I used to recommend it to client’s all the time. In a nut shell, deep breathing (when you breath in through your nose from your belly and out through your mouth…) tells your brain that it’s time to relax and chill out. I typically give myself about a minute to do this when I find my stress levels rising… whether it’s mid-tantrum with little miss, or in response to a frustrating e-mail. Giving myself permission to take a moment before I respond to anything, or to just pause in the middle of the day, allows me to slow down and have a clearer mind.

4. Have A “Wind Down Routine”:  I do mine all the time, and it’s something I always recommended clients (specifically moms) do on a daily basis. Having any kind of routine just prepares the mind, and body, for that specific event. So, immediately when we get home, or at the end of the day, I change into comfortable clothing. This is a must for me… taking off the clothes from the “day” and tossing on something comfortable almost instantly helps me to calm down. Make + Model has some of the softest pieces ever and I love this pullover, this one with cute ruffle details, these joggers (own in the blue), fleece shortsruffle shorts (seen above), and my favorite oversized cozy cardigan (that I’ve had for over a year).  They are my go-to’s when I need something comfortable. After little miss goes down, I wash my face which is another ritual that signifies relaxation. I love the products I use, so it’s like a little self care after a long day. I usually have some additional work to do (for about another 1.5 hours), so I sit down on the couch and finish it… and after, I make a relaxing bedtime tea. This all helps me to unwind from the stress of the day. While each piece is separate from the other, it’s almost as if it’s a countdown. The more I get through, the more relaxed I become.

5. Avoid Caffeine: I know this almost seems counterintuitive to being stressed…. the more stressed, the more energy one needs, and therefore more caffeine must be consumed. Yet, I found a while back, that it made me crazy anxious when I was drinking coffee and stressed (which is one of the reasons I don’t drink coffee anymore). In those times I opt for a lighter form of caffeine… such as a white tea. It gives me a little pick me up without getting my mind racing. For this one, understanding your body and how it reacts to caffeine is important, as some people are not impacted by it at all.

6. Workout…. Or, Get Moving: For me, personally, this is one of the most effective ways to keep my stress levels down on a daily basis. It’s why I start my day with a workout. I remember a time last December, when my site went down and lost all of it’s data (4 years worth of content). Both TJ and I were on the phone with tech help for hours and no one seemed to be able to help. My stress level was through the roof. I remember TJ said he would take care of it all, and I laced up my shoes and headed out for a walk with Harper. It was a 30 minute break that I allowed myself to take and I felt so much better when I returned. If you can find a way to incorporate this throughout the day, it will help so much with stress…. maybe on a break during work… at the end of your lunch break (this is a good time, because walking after a meal helps with digestion…. a two for one!), or even at the end of the day, before dinner.

7. Check Your Thoughts: I did a whole post on thoughts that promote anxiety and stress. If you have any of them, you’re bound to feel worse. Challenge them!

8. Hug Someone: In full disclosure, I’m not a super cuddly person. Luckily, TJ is. When I’m feeling particularly stressed, I love getting a hug from him… I immediately feel better. The science behind this is as follows: giving a hug raises our serotonin levels (the feel good chemical in the brain), in turn increasing positive mood and facilitating happiness. It also helps me feel safe, comforted, and brings me to the present moment (not about the 800 other things that need to be done). Virgina Satir, a well known family therapist, said this about hugs,“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” 

9. Take A Break: While I know this seems counterintuitive to managing “all that’s on your plate,” sometimes, that’s just what you need. My favorite supervisor ever was someone who did a good job of teaching me that, and I will be forever grateful. She used to tell me “You don’t have to respond right away.” It basically meant, take a breather, gather yourself, and then come back to everything. I’ve never forgotten that. My “breaks” typically involve a few text messages exchanged with girlfriends, an overdue phone chat, maybe a few deep breaths, a short walk, or a few uninterrupted sips of my iced tea while I recollect myself. I’d say that ninety percent of the time this “breather break” helps me feel ready to re-address the issues in front of me.

10. Get In Relation: When I feel stressed my inclination is to isolate, so I can get everything done and not get distracted. Yet, that only makes me feel alone. Which only adds to the stress. I’ve found that carving out a little bit of time, each day, to connect with someone is a great way to mitigate some of the stress I feel. Sometimes it’s chatting with TJ about what’s going on, other times it’s just chatting with someone about their life (and not about my stress at all), or a text message to my mom or sister…. and other times it’s having a small little dance party with Harper. It’s hard to know which I need in the moment, but just connecting with someone reminds me that I’m not alone, and that I have people to go through life with.

I also had a couple questions over on instagram regarding stress, and the answers are below (most were around the same topic, so they have been condensed into 2 main questions):

1. I seem to struggle with being more stressed/overwhelmed when I don’t have anything fun/trips to look forward to. How do you keep perspective/keep stress at bay in regular, everyday, situations?

I hear you on this one. It’s always easy to get through a stressful week when you have something fun to look forward to at the end of it all. While that isn’t always possible, I do think small “indulgences” are. I struggled with this one a lot for a while, and still do occasionally, and what I found most helpful was to schedule in small things that I like several times a week. Whether that’s an evening of watching a favorite movie with pressed juicery, a relaxing bubble bath at the end of the day with a favorite book, trying out a new workout class (or video), or a small date night/day that’s planned with TJ at the end of the week, I find those small things help get me through a stressful time. I think it’s so important to reward yourself regularly, and it doesn’t have to cost anything (…. bubble bath…. favorite movie you haven’t seen in a while….). Scheduling in those small little indulgences can really help manage stress when you don’t have anything “big” planned in the foreseeable future.

2. How do you manage stress and frustration from your kids, when you can’t catch a moment for yourself? 

So hard. I’ve had a lot of questions in this realm, and what I do is make time. If it’s in the middle of a tantrum, I assure Harper is safe, and sometimes I walk out of the room, around the corner and just take a few deep breaths and recollect myself before going back in and helping her work through her feelings. If both of us have elevated stress levels, nothing good will come of it. I also schedule downtime in her day, so that I can have 15 minutes to recollect myself as well. Once, when I was working with a client on scheduling in time for herself, she mentioned that there wasn’t any “down time” scheduled in the children’s day. So, we came up with a scheduled that included an age appropriate amount of time, in the afternoon, where everyone did something relaxing. Whether this was reading a book, listening to music, or just resting their eyes. She mentioned that it worked wonders for the sanity of the home.

There were numerous questions about managing stress with your significant other, which I decided to answer in a separate post next Thursday, as I have something scheduled with TJ!  So, stay tuned! 

08.15.2017

Transitional Everyday Dressing || Thermals + Booties

Well, we had another toddler incident last week. I decided to head out to lunch with little miss, so we packed up and headed out to Fashion Island (one of our favorite outdoor malls)…. She had been doing so well all morning, following directions, and staying close by, that when we walked into Nordstrom, I decided to push my luck (bad plan). As we approached the doors, I knelt down on my knees, looked Harper in the eyes, and let her know that “Mommy needs you to hold my hand, or hold the stroller. If don’t, then you will go back in the stroller.” She looked at me, and grabbed my hand. I thought, “yessss…..”

Little did I know, that little lady had other plans up her sleeve. The minute we stepped foot in the store, she pulled out of my hands and made a beeline for the dress racks, running underneath them. Embarrassed, and feeling slightly manipulated by my little human, I ran after her, scooped her up (as she was laughing… someone liked the game), and back in the stroller she went. Without a fight. She knew she did me wrong…..

Needless to say, while I wasn’t wearing my tried and true comfy kicks (seriously. so. comfortable), I was wearing these booties that I snagged at the Nordstrom sale… and I ran after her with ease, and might I add, comfort. And, as we move into the fall months over the coming weeks, I find myself looking for transitional items that will take me through that fickle weather as summer tries to become fall…..

To do that, I’ve realized that two of my favorites for this are thermals and booties. Thermals are perfectly lightweight and can easily be worn with shorts (as seen here) and then layered later in the year. When I stumbled across this bell sleeved thermal in the gorgeous plum color, I knew it would work for both a casual summer afternoon running after little miss, and a cooler fall day with jeans or under a jacket. And, of course, the low heeled bootie is a great alternative to my favorite kicks… they let me move around with ease, but also give me a more versatile option for day or night. They easily pair with a pair of cut-offs for a more laid-back look as we move into fall.

Nordstrom has the cutest selection of transitional items, especially thermals and booties…. . A few favorite thermals include this tunic length one (which I own from last year), cozy shorter option, this super cute blush lace-up top, oversized thermal tee that can be worn off the shoulder, and this grey crop which would be super cute with high waisted bottoms! My bootie selections include this tan cut-out detail pair and this perforated and whipstitched pair.
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(Outfit Details || Top (wearing XS, comes in 4 colors) | Shorts | Booties (run TTS) | Sunglasses | Necklace | Bag)

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions and experiences expressed are those of my own. 

08.14.2017

Weekend Recap || Choosing Optimism

(Fireside rosé sipping)

Over the years, I’ve referred to myself as a realist. Not overly optimistic, and not overly pessimistic… fairly neutral about life situations. Yet, as of late, I’ve found myself frequently caught in a cycle of pessimism…. stressed about situations outside of my control, and seeing the worst in outcomes. So, as I listened to TJ have a conversation with a co-worker on Thursday evening, his always-the-optimist words seemed to hit home. He said something along the lines of this, “I’m generally a really happy guy. Things aren’t perfect, but for the most part, I consider myself lucky with the life I have been given… a great job, a wonderful family, and the opportunity to enjoy life. There really isn’t much to complain about.” I let it sink in a while, and realized that we really have a choice in life… we can view it in a positive light or a negative one… and while there is always room for the “realism” (as I like to refer to it…) we choose our outlook… and in turn, our general disposition to life…..

All that to say, I went into the weekend with a renewed appreciation for all that I have been blessed with, and a general acceptance that life isn’t perfect… but it sure is pretty good. So, as we head into the week ahead, I do so with an intention of being more optimistic towards life situations…. because, it really is a choice how we view life…

Have a good one friends! xx

(Friday lunch with the ladies: little miss, sister, and mom)

(Our Saturday morning date…. a little spin, a little avocado toast from Juice Served Here Cafe. (my hat, sunglassesTj’s hat)

(Sunday morning run to breakfast…. avocado toast allll weekend)
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 Since we’ve been home the past few weekends, staying on track, with a normal amount of indulging, has been much easier. We made these halibut tacos this weekend, and looking to make these stuffed peppers sometime this week. I’m also obsessed with this workout bands routine.

A few items that I loved from the Nordstrom sale were recently restocked, so I thought I’d share them with you, since they’re some of my favorites. This stripe bell sleeve top is a perfect transitional top, as is this cute ruffle sleeve t-shirt dress (comes in three colors, I own in the mauve), these super comfortable running shoes, and my favorite (and softest) bell sleeve sweater.

 So many great basics are out there right now! I am currently eyeing this simple stripe pullover, stripe button up, super cute long sleeve swing dress, and this oversized zip up hoodie. I also just snagged this cozy blush hoodie, knot back black sweater (although, I love wearing the knot in the front), thermal button-up (seriously SO soft), thermal v-neck tee (in rose… again, SO soft), and this little jumpsuit… which I think will be super cute with a suede or leather jacket come fall. I also think this ruffle tee is a super cute basic, as with my favorite ruffle henley tee (which was just released in two other color options). This mesh sweater is also on my wish-list… it’s such a gorgeous neutral option for fall.. and how perfect is this little white top?? I also think this white lace up sweatshirt, paired with these dusty rose shorts would be a perfect end of summer look!

I also have my eye on a few pink kicks and I’m looking at this two toned pair, perforated option, and this classic shape.

I haven’t done a wishlist for little miss in a long time, but recently I stumbled across some adorable items for her, I just had to share. I love this floral zip up and jogger combo, smocked top and bloomers, ruffled embroidered top, and this adorable floral romper.

08.11.2017

The Slip Dress || Day + Night, It’s Versatile Enough For Any Occassion

I put a lot of thought into the dress I wanted to wear to the last wedding we attended. Originally, I wanted a black dress… then I had a few cute floral options in my shopping cart… then I decided I wanted something simple, not black, and silky. Then, I stumbled across this slip dress. I didn’t know what I was going to wear it with, I just knew that I loved the color and the simplicity. When it arrived, it lived up to my expectations.

I originally purchased these shoes to wear with it, thinking a few berry hues together would be pretty. It looked awful. I then tried these on with it… it looked okay, but just wasn’t the look I was going for. Then, I remembered my wedding shoes from seven and a half years ago (which, of course, are not longer available, but they looked similar to this in style, yet were two toned light gold and silver). They were just the look I was going for. After a few simple dainty gold accessories, the look was complete….

And, after one wear, the dress has been through a lot…. a 2 am pizza binge with grease stains all over it (thank you TJ)… possibly some tequila spilled in there…. and wrinkles I can’t even begin to describe. After a four washes (yes, it took that many) the pizza stains were removed (thanks Mom… yes, I still go to her for advice on that stuff….) and it looked brand new…

So, it was only a logical that I would try to wear it out to a casual, outdoor, happy hour with a girlfriend. With a few simple swaps, it easily transitioned into a casual, rosé sipping, look. Annnd, that’s why I love slip dresses so much. They are simple enough to be dressed up or down… and look great with heeled sandals and flat sandals. Tossing on a denim jacket makes it perfect for a casual brunch, lunch, or happy hour….

Six other slip dresses that I am currently loving include this floral lace slip dress, polka dot number (it’s sort of more maxi, but could work….), basic black option, shorter option in a pretty blue, cute knot front dress (lots of color options), and another neutral polka dot option,.

(Outfit Details || Dress (wearing XS) | Jacket c/o (wearing S) | Sandals | Sunglasses | Tote | Pom | Long Necklace | Short Crescent Necklace)

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08.10.2017

My Morning Routine With Kat Von D Lock-It

I’ve always been someone who is slow to warm to change. I don’t oppose the process, it just takes time for me to figure out how to assimilate it in my life. So, when little miss dropped her morning nap a few months ago, I needed to make some adjustments. Gone were the days of being able to shower, and get ready, during her morning siesta. As I navigated our way through those first couple of weeks, I had moments of frustration, as I tried to create a morning routine that worked for both Harper and myself. Since then, we’ve seemed to work out a flow that, while not seamless by any means, has worked well for us over the past few months. Today, I’m sharing that routine with you….

5:30am-6:45am: I wake up and head to the gym. I know that if I wait until she wakes up, it won’t happen.
6:45am-7:30am: Breakfast and return e-mails
7:30am: Harper wakes up
7:30am-8am: Harper eats breakfast
8am-9am: Morning walk and park time. We have a park right around the corner from us, so it’s easy to get in some outside action bright and early, before it gets too warm.
9am-10am: I hop in the shower and get ready. Here, Harper watches an episode (well, maybe 15 minutes, at most) of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and then she helps me get ready…. she combs her hair while I do mine, she hands me, and puts away, my make-up while I apply it. Given that I need my make-up application to last all day, I recently started using Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation, which is currently available at the Sephora inside JCPenney (#SephoraInJCP). It’s pretty much a busy mom’s dream foundation that provides me with flawless coverage…. I seriously feel as if my skin looks incredibly smooth, with imperfections concealed. Yet, it doesn’t feel heavy, or look cake-y at all…. and I also don’t get any weird creases under my eyes or in my smile lines. It’s free of parabens too, which is something I am trying to be much more mindful of these days. I start by applying the primer, which essentially hydrates, protects my skin, and smooths the appearance of pores, for a flawless makeup application. It uses vitamin B5, aloe vera, jojoba, and shea butter to provide my skin with the all day nourishment it needs. I then apply the Color IQ foundation, concealer creme, and setting powder

On our most recent travels back to Cleveland, we had to wake up at 3:45am (yes, it was as brutal as it sounds). I tossed on the Color IQ matched foundation and concealer creme. Both are super easy to apply with their respective brushes, and have creamy textures which blend flawlessly. I knew that when we landed, we would be in a time crunch to get to the hotel, freshen up, and head to the wedding rehearsal. I was sure that re-applying my make-up was going to be necessary. Yet, when I got to the hotel and examined my face, there wasn’t a need to touch-up, or fully re-apply, my make-up, as it had lasted throughout the long  day of travel (such a huge time saver for us!).

All that to say, the collection has been so great for me, as a busy momma on the go. I apply once, and don’t have to worry about it throughout the day…. meaning I have time to worry about more important things… like a potential toddler meltdown when it’s time to leave the park…. #SoWorthIt.
10am-10:15am: Pack up and head out… sometimes I get a lunch together so we can go to the park for a couple of hours, or we head over to my parent’s house for some pool time. I typically try to plan the next day’s outing the night before so I have an idea of how much time I will need to pack everything up.
10:15pm-12:30: Outing….
12:30pm: Lunch
1:30pm: Nap-time (yessssss!).
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 (Products Used || Foundation | Concealer | Primer | Setting Powder | Foundation Brush)

Thank you to JCPenny for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own experience with the product. 

08.09.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Easy Week Night Chicken Verde Tacos

The early evenings are, hands down, one of the more chaotic times of the day for us. It’s always been, and continues to be, little miss’ witching hour… we’re tired from the long day…. and likely, ready for some dinner. That being said, I’ve started to master the art of meals in under 25 minutes… because, who has time to slave in the kitchen with a hangry family, and a toddler hanging on the leg? Yeah, I didn’t think so….

Yet, at the same time, I’ve never wanted to sacrifice in the nutrition and taste department. Quick and nutritious don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and this meal proves it. I make the chicken in the crock pot (but, if you forget and are scrambling at the last minute you can use a pressure cooker and it will cook in 8 minutes…I own this one and use it as a crock-pot too) and it’s ready when we get home. Then, I just sauté some bell peppers, whip up some guacamole (actually, TJ does this step, he makes it the best), and sometimes cook some Mexican cauliflower rice… all of that takes, from start to finish, 20 minutes.

You can enjoy this meal several different ways… use all the ingredients to create a tasty salad (my favorite with the left overs), with corn tortillas for tacos, in a bowl (use cauliflower rice, bell peppers, black beans, avocado, salsa, and chicken), or with butter lettuce cups as I’ve been doing lately. Either way, the chicken is delish…. and approved by all in the family!

Shredded Salsa Verde Tacos

4 large chicken breasts
1 4 oz can of diced green chili peppers
1 can salsa verde (my favorite is from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup diced onions
2 minced garlic cloves
Salt + Pepper to taste

Directions: Place all of the above ingredients in a crock pot and place on low for 4 hours (this all depends on your crock-pot. I’ve found this is the best amount of time, using mine, that doesn’t dry out my chicken.). Once done, remove chicken, shred, and then add in all the juices.

Taco Ingredients: 

Butter lettuce cups (these are the perfect size and maintain their shape really well)
Black Beans
Avocado (or, if you’re like us, guacamole)
Mango Salsa (I purchased mine from a local market, but Trader Joe’s has a pineapple salsa that I think would be similar)
Micro greens (another delicious and nutritious topping)

Directions: Assemble tacos as you wish. Then, enjoy every single bite.

(I’ve also shared a few favorite workout looks at the end of this post)

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 (Leggings, Tank, Sports Bra, Tote)

(Sweatshirt, Sneakers, Shorts)

(Tank)

(Tank, Capris, Sports Bra)

08.08.2017

Closet Staple || The Most Versatile Casual Dress

So, I actually bought this dress when I was pregnant. It was one of the first pieces of clothing I purchased when my bump began to show. I remember when I began buying clothing items to dress the bump, I had a few criteria. I needed to be able to wear the item again, post pregnancy, it needed to enhance the belly, not hide it, and I needed to feel confident, and comfortable, in it. This dress nailed it in all three categories. I successfully wore it throughout the nine months (here + here at 38 weeks) and many times post-pregnancy as well….

It’s one of those closet staples that’s incredibly versatile. Perfect for a warm summer day, and transitions well across seasons by adding layers and boots. Wear it with sneakers (as see here) or a cute slide, a suede jacket or a denim one…. it dresses up or down seamlessly. I actually brought it to Cleveland to wear on our day of exploring, but it was a little too chilly and I opted for another option…

The key to a body-con dress, if you’re not looking for it to have that “bondage” feel, is to size up one. I did that with this one, due to the bump then, but love the fit of it now…. fitted, yet not too tight. A few other body-con dresses that I am currently loving include this midi tank dress (particularly in the slate color), side ruched tee dress, and this ruched tank dress in the plum color.
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(Outfit Details || Dress (wearing S, 4 color option, under $60) | Jacket (wearing S) | Shoes | Bag (less expensive option) | Sunglasses)

08.07.2017

Weekend Recap || Hitting The Reset Button

(Saturday evening salty dogs….)

We hit the reset button this past weekend, and it felt so good. We grabbed take-out Friday evening, and resumed our tradition of a little vino and John Mayer Pandora station…. and then woke up early for a morning spin class and brunch. There wasn’t anything on the agenda, so the rest of the weekend was spent lounging by the pool (tiring little miss out), bbq-ing, and sipping a few libations. We reconnected with family. Cleaned the house. Ate clean and slept in our own beds. Literally putting us back on track.

So, while the weekend wasn’t anything extraordinarily memorable, it was necessary. Reconnecting with loved ones, returning to routine, and getting life organized pulls me back to my roots and helps me feel centered…. which is exactly how I feel as I head into the week ahead. Everything is in line, and now, we just take what the week brings…. tantrums and curve balls included.  Have a good one friends! xx

(A little Saturday morning date…. soul cycle followed by avo toast from Haute Cakes Café. capris, sweatshirt)

(Summer whites for an evening sipping libations…. tank, shorts, cardigan)

(Family pool day, followed by little miss’ first ever top knot.)

(Someone thought the 6:30am wake-up call was funny…. lounge shorts, lounge pullover)

(That popsicle life)
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 We spent most of this weekend outside bbq-ing, and one of my favorite meals included these salmon burgers. I wrapped mine in butter lettuce, and topped it with avocado. So light and delicious. For the week ahead, I plan on making salsa verde shredded chicken… will share the recipe this Wednesday.

A few items I purchased over this weekend include this cute bell sleeve thermal (can’t wait to wear it with cut-offs now and layered later), lace inset cami, lace flutter sleeve tank (both black and white…. and super cute worn backwards), twist back open sweater, and these casual overalls (not sure how they will look, but I have a few thoughts in mind for styling… so we will see). Also, my favorite oversized floral sweatshirt, and open back blush pullover are both back in stock and great everyday basics for a cool summer night or fall day. I also snagged this gauzy stripe button-up for warm summer days. I also think this thermal top has such pretty detailing on the sleeves, and this ruffle off the shoulder top is super cute for a date night!

I am currently looking for a basic black dress that will transition me through fall and have my eye on this slip dress and this blouson sleeved maxi dress. I think it’s a great closet staple to have, and mine is currently lacking one!

We still have a few warm weather getaways on the calendar for the end of summer and fall…. so, I’m not yet filling the wardrobe up with all cool weather pieces. I am absolutely loving this pink bathing suit, as well as this cut-out option…. and the print of this maxi dress, and this shorter version, is so fun for the end of summer…. and sipping a few libations. I also think the color of this ruffle sleeve dress is gorgeous… a great dress for day or night. This button down polka dot top would be adorable with cut-offs and I’ve had my eye on it for a while now. I also think this stripe romper and embroidered maxi dress are gorgeous!