08.21.2017

Weekend Recap || The Comparison Trap

(Prettiest florals on our Sunday morning walk)

We spent this weekend, fairly balanced, with workouts, family time, alone time (my sister babysat little miss while TJ + I snuck away for some early cocktails and dinner), and good food. Yet, something that’s been weighing on me for the past several weeks has been the comparison game. I’m not sure why, but it’s as if I’ve become overwhelmed with feeling “not good enough” when compared to my external world. I wrote a blog post about it, over four years ago, and felt compelled to touch on the issue a little today…

I had a moment, sitting in the car this afternoon, where I had to apologize to TJ for being short and snappy. I had been feeling a little down most of the day (could have been the fact that my period is coming shortly…..) and as I reflected, I realized it was solely due to the comparison trap…. other people’s gorgeous homes, success, trips, kiddos who take photos easily (that one is a little lighter in nature….), etc… you get the drift. I’ve always believed it, but seem to have forgotten it as of late, but, comparison is the thief of all joy. As TJ and I sat there, we chatted about ways to work through this feeling, one that’s so easy to fall into, and came up with a few ways that I thought I would share as we embark on a fresh week ahead…..

1. Make A List Of All That You Are Grateful For: It’s pretty simple, and something I’ve written about a lot… but I have so much to be grateful for…. it’s when I forget those things that I start comparing, and feeling bad.

2. My Own Uniqueness: I recently saw a quote that said, “I didn’t ask you to be her. I asked you to be you.”~ God. Whether you’re religious or not, it pretty much reminds me that I was created to be me, with my own quirks and qualities, not someone else… and that being a first rate version of myself is a heck of a lot better than feeling like a second rate version of another person.

3. Beginning + Middle: So often, I know where I should (or want) to be, that I get ahead of myself and see people where I want to be… and feel bad. I have to remember that my journey is mine… our family journey is our own… and remembering that everyone has a beginning and to not compare it to someone’s middle.

Those three reminders are typically good enough to bring me back to neutral, and to have a more positive outlook. With that, my intention is to remember them, use them, and stay out of the comparison trap this week. Have a good one friends! xx

(Friday comfies, thermal is so soft)

(Saturday morning family run for the weekend favorite: avocado taost)

(Date night! lace top, jeans which I cut)

(Impromptu Sunday morning walk in Balboa)

(Post walk grub…. decisions, decisions)
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Towards the end of last week, my body was craving something different from a workout standpoint. So, I did this yoga booty workout, and when I woke up the next day, my body was sore in all new places. Always a good sign of a good workout.

During little miss’ nap this afternoon, I was able to get on-line and look around a bit…. and Abercrombie has some of the cutest pieces right now. I love this oversized v-neck sweater, perforated cardigan, thermal henley tank, basic shirt dress, and this ruffle hem top. Such great basics, that will transitional between seasons. Some other basics that I am also loving include this ruffle cold shoulder top, flare sleeve sweater, bell sleeved sweater, and this super cute cold shoulder sweatshirt (I’m obsessed with it). I’ve also been loving layering this super soft button-up over tanks and cut-offs… such a great transitional outfit. I also love this lace up shift dress… would layer perfectly with a denim or suede jacket (my favorite was just restocked in all colors/sizes) for fall. Also, how cute is this knot back sweater? I own this one too, and love that both can be worn forward too, when paired with high waisted bottoms.

Also, a few favorites that were re-stocked recently include this soft and basic stripe tee (which is under $30), stripe bell sleeve top, and this bell sleeve sweater (a serious favorite, I sized up two).

We have a staycation this weekend in Long Beach, and I plan on bringing along this tunic dress (love the print for fall) and this straw hat (on sale!) for a casual evening sipping cocktails. I plan on brining this floral off the shoulder swimsuit along with this culotte jumpsuit (since temps are supposed to spike this weekend, after some relatively mild summer weather).

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

08.16.2017

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! 

08.14.2017

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.

08.07.2017

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!

08.04.2017

Monthly Q+A Series || July

(Shorts | Pullover)

Happy Friday friends! Sharing the answers to questions asked over the previous month…. I consider it a happy hour conversation with you!! Cheers to the weekend, hope you have something fun planned!! I’ll be sharing a fun post on Sunday as well, so I’ll see you then!
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1. Would love to get a pair of everyday sneakers from the Nordstrom sale. What would your top picks be??

The sale is such a great time to snag a great pair of sneakers for fall. A few favorites include this platform dusty rose pair, white perforated pair (such a great option!), velvet platform slip-on, and these Adidas Stan Smith kicks.

2. What do you wear when you run?

When I run I like to wear items  that I know I will be comfortable in (i.e. they don’t ride up). That being said, I opt for cropped pants, a good sports bra, loose shorts (biker shorts tend to ride up on me….), and a tank. Some of my favorite running bottoms include these high waisted crops (currently on sale), these mesh capris, racerback tank (currently on sale), lightweight tank (obsessed with how soft it is), sports bra, shorts, and most recently these running shoes (on sale and run small).

3. How many days a week do you run and how did you work up to 4.5 miles? 

I run about 5 days a week, and cross train on the others (spin or stairs). I’ve found that this is the most effective workout for me, personally. My body responds well to it, and it’s mentally refreshing for me. I get a lot of thinking done when I run. I’ve been running for several years, and when I started, I gradually worked my way up each week. I would start by running/walking, then I would increase the time and distance each week. For example, I would set a goal of running 1 mile for each run during the week. Then, the following week, I would increase the mileage by 2. This worked really well for me when I was training for my first half marathon (my training schedule here). My girlfriend also created a guide, which is very comprehensive.

4. What are your favorite rosés? I really want to try some. 

Rosé, and champagne, are my two favorites. I love Whispering Angel, Miraval, Cotés des Roses, Zinké, Brander, and Tolossa. They range in price points, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.

5. What is your stroller preference? I’m looking for something that is in between a jogger and umbrella stroller. 

My favorite stroller is hands down the UPPAbaby Vista. I have two other strollers and whenever I return to this one, it just makes life easier. It’s not cheap, but worth the investment. It has amazing storage capabilities (that’s what I miss the most when I use the other ones), excellent handling capabilities (I can easily navigate it), and Harper really likes sitting in it as well. I also own the BOB jogging stroller and it’s fantastic for running. Storage is minimal, which I don’t need when we’re running. We also have this Nuna PEPP stroller (read about it here). It’s much smaller than the UPPABaby, which we like for traveling and quick outings. It collapses easily, and is much easier to travel with than the other two.

6. What are some comfortable, yet stylish shoe choices for the fall? I love sneakers, flats, booties/boots? Heels are a thing of the past for me! 

So many great options for fall! One of my favorite fall bootie options is this low heeled grommet detailed bootie, which is currently part of the anniversary sale (super comfortable too). These booties are also a great option, as the brand is typically very comfortable. I always love a good pair of cross trainers to wear on a walk (or indoor HIIT workout) and to run errands (multi-purpose items give you a great bang for your buck). For that I love the Adidas Tubular kicks… they aren’t comfortable for running, but excellent for cross training, errand running, and chasing after a toddler. I wear mine all the time for those purposes. I also think a good over the knee boot is a great option…. you can wear it with dresses, with jeans, and when the heel is flat they can work for daytime or evening. I own and love this pair. A great pair of flats are these espadrilles (I own them in two colors) and I think this pinot color is gorgeous. I am also a huge fan of mules and these scalloped flats (they look like the chloé version).

7. I had my son last week and I am exclusively breastfeeding, but I’m interested in starting to pump to build up a supply and allow for dad to feed. I remember you saying you also did that early- any tips or tricks to help build a back-up stash successfully? 

First of all, congrats on the arrival of your little man! Breastfeeding, for me, was one of my biggest challenges as a mom, since Harper wouldn’t take a bottle for the first 9-10 months. That being said, in the beginning, to build a supply when she was taking a bottle, I pumped while I was nursing. So, while she was nursing on one side, I pumped on the other, and when she switched, I pumped on the other side. It worked well for me, and it didn’t impact my supply for her. I ended up with a huge stash using this method. Hope that helps!

8. I am about to apply to graduate schools for Psychology. I would love to know what drew you to the field and what you liked/disliked about graduate school and your career. 

I have always been drawn to the reasons people do what they do, as well as how relationships impact individuals. I also grew up in a family that emphasized helping others. So, the field of psychology seemed to fit when I was choosing a major/career. I loved graduate school and don’t really have anything bad to say about it. I loved learning, and gained so much knowledge about human nature and relationships. I also grew a lot, personally, during that period of my life and met a few of my best friends through the process.

When I graduated, I started working for a county funded agency that provided in home therapy services to children, adolescents, and their families who were at risk for losing placement (i.e foster system, juvenile hall, or psychiatric hospitalization). In all honesty, it was such intense work, that I began feeling burned out after about 5 years. I eventually moved into a more case management role, which was something I really enjoyed. In that role I did less direct care and more management of individual cases. I think it’s very important, when you choose the population you want to work with, that you put a lot of thought into it. There are so many different areas of psychology (i.e. substance abuse, family therapy, couples therapy, depression + anxiety, intense psychiatric care, eating disorders, dual diagnosis, etc) to choose from, so I would recommend working in a few different areas for your practicum and internship, if possible. That way you will be able to see which areas work best with your interests.

One thing that challenged me most about the career was that not everyone seeking help was willing to do the work themselves. There was a misconception that the therapist had the magic to fix all problems, or tell them how to fix the problem. It was often a difficult to help people understand that only they could create the change they wanted to see, and that the therapist was a helping agent along the way, providing a mirror and reflection, as well as some tools to use. Yet, when clients worked really hard, and changes occurred, it was incredibly rewarding to see that process!

9. How do you store your jeans and sweaters in your closet? Do you hang or fold them? 

I store my jeans by folding them in this tiered storage container. I’ve done it for years and it works pretty well. I do the same with my sweaters. Most of them stretch out when I hang them, so I’ve found that folding them works best to maintain their shape.

10. I have a question that night be sort of strange. So I LOVE the way you dress. I want nothing more than to own your whole closet! My only problem is I’ve always had a pretty large chest but small everywhere else. For example, I am a DDD but I wear a size 2. I’ve found that when I wear the oversized look it just doesn’t look the same on me and makes me feel like I am wearing a tent. Do you have any tips or ideas for incorporating your gorgeous style with a strange body type like mine?

Thank you! While I know it’s not exactly the same, I do remember that when I was nursing (I grew 2 cup sizes), a lot of the pieces I wore before just didn’t look the same… That being said, I acquired a few tips over that period of time that I hope will help! I think wearing a v-neck always elongates the neckline and makes pieces look less tent-like. I also found that I needed to wear longer items if I wanted to do oversized… or else it just looked too boxy. Front tucking a longer, v-neck top (like this one) looked better than an oversized crewneck option. I could also do an oversized, longer, off the shoulder sweater or top… showing the shoulder seemed to break up a “boxy” or “tent” like fit. So, I guess that my top two tips would be a v-neck option and to make sure that the items are a longer fit. I hope that helps a little bit!

11. I am looking to buy a new tote, that will transition from the gym, carrying baby things, and stylish enough to run errands and travel with. Any suggestions?? 

I love this leather tote bag, which I own in the blush color. I have also been considering this black quilted bag as well. I’ve used this bag for several years and it’s great too!

12. I would love to know what foods you give to Harper?!

I try to give Harper lots of different foods (see post here, here). For breakfast she eats scrambled eggs, fruit, yogurt, homemade waffles (without the protein) + pancakes, and oatmeal. For lunch she loves veggie burgers, chicken nuggets, almond butter sandwich, grilled cheese (she loves this), avocado, fruit (watermelon, plum, cantaloupe, berries….), veggies (carrots, broccoli, peas, green beans), yogurt, string cheese, turkey slices, and chicken. For dinner, she typically eats what we have…. shrimp, salmon, cauliflower rice, brown rice, lentils, quinoa, lentil pasta, and veggies. Oh, and she LOVES this mac n cheese. Of course, sometimes she eats more than others, and sometimes she doesn’t want what I make her. Yet, I don’t fix her anything else… which was recommended by the pediatrician and it seems to have cut down on pickiness.

13. Did you use a walker, exersaucer, jumper, or none for Harper? I can’t decide which one is best.

We used this jumper for Harper and she loved it! We didn’t end up using a walker just because my pediatrician recommended against it, saying that it can actually hinder a child from learning to walk on their own.

14. I’m looking for a super cute, everyday romper that I can wear. Nothing too short, any ideas welcome!

My favorite everyday romper for summer is this black one. It’s such an easy throw on and go option and will easily transition into fall with a suede jacket and booties (or kicks). I also just added this long sleeve jersey romper to my cart… so perfect for fall too. I also love jumpsuits as we move into the fall, and even for the end of summer. My favorite is this grey option and love it paired with a denim jacket and kicks.

15. What do you use to store your jewelry? I’m looking for a smaller jewelry box, but not having any luck! 

I am horrible at this! My jewelry collection is probably the least organized section for me! All that to say, I have small trinket dishes for rings, a Waterford ring holder my Nana and Papa brought back for me from Ireland years ago, and I use this glass jewelry case for some of my pieces. I also have a box very similar to this one (not cheap) and it holds a lot of my “investment” pieces.

16. I saw on your insta-stories that your refrigerator was stocked with Kombucha. How much do you drink a day and what are the benefits? I really want to get my family on a clean eating routine and would like to include it. 

We love kombucha. I had a lot of gut problems for a little while and decided to do an experiment of drinking one a day for a month. After a month, I noticed a significant difference, for the better, in my digestion and gut health. My favorite flavor is HealthAde (which you can find at Trader Joe’s). This is a great article on it’s benefits.

17. What kind of sweet wine would you recommend? I like sweeter wines. 

If you prefer your vino on the sweeter side I recommend the Riesling, White Zin, or Muscat varietals.

18. Did you experience an 18 month sleep regression with Harper? Do you ever lose your temper with her? We’re struggling over here! 

I don’t know if we went through a full blown 18 month sleep regression, but for about 1.5 weeks, we had some major problems with little miss going down at night. Like, she wouldn’t let me put her in the crib. She wanted to stay up and play, despite the fact that she was very tired (rubbing her eyes and yawning). We handled this by sticking with the routine (bath, book, songs, bed) but spent a little longer rubbing her back at night. Over that time period, it became progressively better, until she just started going down like she did before.

Do I lose my temper with Harper? Ha! What mother doesn’t feel like pulling her hair out from time to time (and if you don’t, please let me know your secrets). I do find that there are time I speak much more firmly with her, but I try my hardest not to yell and to walk away from the situation (assuming she is safe). Sometimes I close the door, if TJ is home, and ask him to take over. I think it’s just so important to know that you aren’t going to be patient 100% of the time (although, that does make me feel guilty… hate #MomGuilt)… that helps me to become more self aware that there are going to be times that I become frustrated, and that I need to be able to walk away and compose myself. There was a situation a couple of weeks ago where Harper looked at both TJ and me and threw a glass bottle on the floor. It shattered everywhere. We were both caught off guard and spoke much firmer and louder than we typically do. It happens. It’s not the norm. 10 minutes later she was running around and laughing with our dog.

19. What kind of workouts did you do while pregnant and did you stick to your clean eating? Any tips on how to keep up with working out and clean eating while pregnant?

Congrats!! So exciting! When I was pregnant, my doctor told me that as long as I could carry on a conversation, I could continue all of my cardio workouts (except road biking). So I continued to jog, spin, and swim which helped me a lot. I also continued to strength train, and used Tracey Anderson’s Pregnancy Project, which is a great fitness program for pregnant women.  As far as eating went, I made sure to listen to my body, but was also aware that I wasn’t technically “eating for two.” I followed the recommended caloric increase, and accounted for that increase with healthy foods…. peanut butter on my banana, extra avocado, extra piece of fruit, etc…. I made sure to have healthy food readily available at all times. If I found myself craving something salty or sweet, I’d have a small serving of it, just as I would pre-pregnancy, to satisfy that craving. I hope that helps! Have a great pregnancy, and congrats again!
20. Not sure if you have already covered this before, but was interested to know how you fit in workouts, self-care, and just daily responsibilities with a toddler. The struggle is real over here!
I feel you on this one! Adjusting to life from a baby to a toddler wasn’t easy over here, and took some time. To squeeze in my workouts I have always woken up at 5:30am, every morning M-F, in order to get them in, along with breakfast, before Harper wakes up. It’s worked well for me over the past year and a half. For self-care, I wrote an article here on the topic. I also try to have some help once a week…. whether that’s my sister, mom, or a babysitter, having some time to myself is very helpful…. but something I have to make time for or I am a hot mess! Daily responsibilities aren’t easy, but I try to get those done in the morning, when her mood and attention span are at their best (evenings are no bueno for this). Life as a mom is about balance and shifting…. I’ve come to understand.
07.31.2017

Weekend Recap || Letting Loose

(Cute little streets in Cleveland)

I went into this past weekend with good intentions…. plans of going to bed at a reasonable hour, working out, eating as clean as possible… all while still having a great time catching up with friends. My hope was to take advantage of not being on a schedule…. seeing and doing as much as possible in the short amount of time we had…. Yeah, that didn’t happen. At all. All my pre-plans for this trip went out the window the minute we were reunited with old friends we hadn’t seen in years. We stayed out until 2:30am every night, indulged in every way possible (think pizza, cake, cookies, tacos, and sliders…..), and drank more than we should have….

My longest workout was 25 minutes, which I barely pulled myself together for…. and we slept until 11am daily. I boarded the plane utterly exhausted, and slept pretty much the entire way home…..

Yet, I wouldn’t change a minute of it. While I veered way off course of my usual self (didn’t eat the same, stayed up way later than typical, let myself get a little tipsier than I ever do….), sometimes, it’s okay to do that. Healthy even. This weekend reminded me that throwing routine and schedule out the window is necessary from time to time. Do I care to live in that state permanently?? No thank you. Did I have a heck of a time while we were in it? Oh yes. Do I need another weekend like that soon? Again, no thank you. That’s why I lived it up when we were there.

So, as I head into the week ahead, I am grateful for the fun we had over the few days we had away…. and excited to get back into the routine we’re so used to. Have a great week ahead friends! xx

P.S….. my monthly Q&A will be up on Friday. Feel free to send questions by Thursday afternoon!

(A 3:45am wake-up called for an oversized sweater and comfy slides for the long day of travel)

(Thursday night’s rehearsal dinner landed us at a post-party at Punch Bowl… such a fun time! TJ’s top, My romper)

(Woke up craving something healthy to undo the previous evening’s indulgences… think pizza, tacos, cake…. so we headed to Restore Cold Pressed. Such a cute spot, with some of the yummiest smoothies. I got the #1 and added spinach and almond butter….)

(My dapper boo…. we forgot how much fun it was to drink, dance, and stay up waaaay past an acceptable bedtime. My dress)

(We stumbled upon Azure Rooftop Lounge Saturday morning and relaxed there with our friends until it was time for us all to depart and head to the airport…. a great spot if you’re in the area! Black Romper)

(Ending the first leg of our trip home…. gorgeous views of the Vegas Strip.)
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As I mentioned above, to say this weekend was indulgent would be a huge understatement. That being said, the refrigerator is stocked with nourishing and healthy food choices and we’re ready to get back on track. I made a batch of these egg muffins, have this ground turkey dish on the menu for one of the evenings, and will be making this smoothie and this one for my afternoon snacks.

I was looking around some new arrivals for some upcoming posts and came across some of the prettiest little blue tops… not sure why, but I was really drawn to this color. I especially love this bell sleeved blue thermal, stripe peplum top, polka dot silk tie tank, stripe button-up, and this stripe one shoulder bow top. All of them are such great options for the end of summer, and such a gorgeous color. I also stumbled across this drapey henley tee, black one shoulder teetie open back tank (just bought it and love it), slit v-neck tee… both great basics for everyday.

And, even though most of the Nordstrom sale focused on fall, there are still so many great warm weather pieces out there, that can easily transition come the fall (or, if you live in CA, you wear them well into October). I love these blush stripe drawstring shorts, which would easily transition with this cozy pullover (featured above in my travel photo). This white embroidered jacket is gorgeous. A few cute dresses for the end of summer include this cute drawstring drop-waist option, tiered ruffle long sleeve dress (which I’m obsessed with), ruffle sleeve t-shirt dress (part of Nordstrom sale), and this blush stripe dress. This sweater tank is also such a cute option for summer and fall.

07.24.2017

Weekend Recap || A Renewed Appreciation

(My Friday evening rosé sipping sweatshirt…..)

I had been feeling slightly overwhelmed with a few things as of late, and two different interactions made me stop and reflect. One involved a reader who shared with me a part of her family that touched me deeply. Another involved my evening drive home. My route home every afternoon involves a drive past a cemetery (I promise this isn’t a morbid post). This particular Friday, I couldn’t help but notice three, new, heaping piles of dirt, and a larger than normal gathering of people at grave sites. Needless to say, heading into the weekend, I had a lot of different feelings…

TJ and I hadn’t had a typical Friday evening together in over a month…. so, when the Friday rolled around, we picked up our takeout, opened a bottle of wine, and cozied up on the couch with John Mayer Pandora station playing in the background. As we started chatting, we realized that we both had some of the same thoughts sitting in the forefront of our minds. We both chatted a little about our experiences, and both had the same thoughts when driving by the cemetery (we take the same route home)….

We pretty much chatted about how, so often, we get wrapped up in our own daily lives and struggles, that we forget there are others out there too… with their own struggles, stresses, and losses. That it’s easy to take the blessings in your life for granted, and assume that they will always be there. I was reminded that behind every person is a genuine story. A story that makes them who they are. I was reminded to cherish those I love, and to not take the small things for granted. It was a great way to head into the week, with a renewed appreciation for all that we have been blessed with and given…. and a reminder to take things slower and appreciate life’s moments…..

With that, I hope you all have a great week ahead! xx

(Headed up to Venice, at the end of last week, to check out this gorgeous mural wall! top, mules)

(Saturday morning family run for some of our favorite avocado toast. mesh top, shorts, sneakers)

(Harper was in ball heaven at one of our best friend’s son’s first birthday parties! my top)

(We headed up to Venice + West Hollywood Sunday morning for a little bit of work… and attempted to work in a little pleasure…. with a 20 minute breakfast. I think that’s an all new record for the quickest meal we have consumed with little miss. We eventually finished our beverages outside, where she was free to roam. my dress, TJ’s top)
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We have a short week, since we will be leaving for Cleveland late Wednesday evening, but I’m planning on hitting the workout routines pretty hard this week. I’m thinking a few longer runs, and mixing in daily strength training. I did wear my new sneakers for a longer run this past weekend and they were incredibly comfortable. Highly recommend.

I wanted to share a few deals that I found from the weekend with you, since most of them are some of my personal favorites, on sale for great prices. My super soft slouchy pullover (from this post) is currently on sale for $30 (40%). The blush joggers that I love so much were marked down, and this soft striped v-neck pullover and my favorite cargo pants are currently on flash-sale for 60% off. The white dress I am wearing above is also marked down… and it’s such an excellent throw on and go piece… I literally did just that as we raced out the door this morning. I also think this knee length cardigan looks incredibly soft and luxurious, and this bell sleeved fleece top is currently in my shopping cart. I also wore this super soft (clearly, I am obsessed with soft things…) basic black tee Sunday after an afternoon spent at the pool. It’s under $20, comes in multiple colors, and fits amazingly well.

As I mentioned above, TJ and I will be traveling at the end of the week. The dress I decided to bring for the wedding was recently restocked, and it’s such a great price (on sale) and I love the color and simple shape. I plan on wearing it with these low kitten mules (I hope it all comes together, as the shoes arrive tomorrow and I don’t have much time!!) and embroidered bag. For the rehearsal dinner I’m bringing my favorite floral romper (I’m being told there is quite the shindig happening after the dinner….). There is a long day of travel to and from Cleveland (6 hours!!) so I’m planning on wearing these comfy joggers and considering this camo pullover, this ruffle pullover, or this v-neck sweater (currently on sale)… along with my favorite terry cloth black romper with this travel shawl (although, I am obsessed with this pink shawl too). I’ll also be bringing this lace up black top and and this sweater tank for the two afternoons we have to explore.

07.21.2017

18 Month Motherhood Update

I’m pretty much two weeks late with this update… so, that probably gives you an idea of how crazy life has been lately. Yet, better late than never, right? Without rambling too much, I’ll just get right into the raw and honest truths about this past month of motherhood!

(My top, wearing S)

Challenges: I’m starting here this month… because, well, these past two weeks have been just that. I don’t know what happened, but over the course of the last couple of weeks I feel like my sweet little girl was replaced by a defiant booger. Seriously. Like, looking at me and doing exactly what I asked her not to do. Screaming. Throw herself on the ground tantrums…. you name it, I’m pretty sure we’ve experienced it over the past two weeks. This is pretty much how I feel at the end of the night,…..”I’m just a girl. Standing in front of a clock. Asking it to be my child’s bedtime.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the crap out of that little lady…. buuuuut, sometimes you just need a good 12 hour break…. and I’ve been needing them more often than not lately.

I guess this is where I fall back on some of my training as a Parent-Child-Inteaction-Therapist and give her natural consequences. If she throws something, I make her help me pick it up before we move onto another activity (natural consequences). I try to give her as much positive attention, as possible, provide her with a lot of positive praise for the things she is doing, and give her lots of “If-Then” + “When-Then” statements…. oh, and lots of choices. Basically, I give her the power to choose if she gets a consequence or not. Take today for example. She was throwing a bottle of lotion and I let her know that if she threw it again, then I would take it away from her. She looked at me, paused, and decided to throw it anyway…. and then run away. So, I calmly told her that she made the choice to throw it, and that she can’t play with the lotion bottle anymore. I say “calmly” but inside I wanted to pull every hair on my head out…..

Favorite Part: While I just laid it all out there with regards to the challenges I have faced this month, one of my favorite parts is seeing her ability to process, and assert her own personality. She has also become so loving, saying “I love you” (obviously not that clearly), and giving lots of hugs and kisses. Actually, after she makes a bad choice, she immediately comes up to me, from behind (if I’m on the floor), and wraps her arms around me. It’s that engagement, and reciprocal relationship, that I love so much and, in turn, creates the limit testing…. so, I take the good with challenging.

Sweetest Moment: For me, this moment was last weekend, at my sister’s wedding. Harper missed her afternoon nap (of course, through the business of the day, we forgot her pack and play at home, and she couldn’t sleep in the one provided by the hotel) and when she arrived at the venue, she was on the fiesty side. When it came time to line up and walk down the aisle, we were sure that I was going to need to carry her. Yet, I ended up walking down, and  by the time I got the end, I saw my dad walking Harper down. He tried to let her go at the beginning of the aisle, but when she saw all the people looking at her, she quickly ran back and grabbed his hand and pulled him back with her. Together they walked down, she threw one handful of flowers, and then insisted on throwing them once she sat down. Little moments like those make all the challenging ones so worth it.

(Harper’s Dress)

Eating: This has been an area of transition over the past few weeks. Harper used to have a huge appetite, but over the past couple of months it has fluctuated. Some days she eats a lot, others she eats like a bird and I’m thinking to myself, “She has to be starving.” I actually brought it up to the doctor at her 18 month check-up and she mentioned that it was normal. She said that at this age kiddos eat more some days and because of that, it’s as if it’s been stored, so they aren’t as hungry. I never force her to eat, because I do want to instill some sort of mindful eating in her… so, she can tell when she is full and trust that feeling.

That being said, she has some favorites. A grilled cheese sandwich is usually never refused (I use this bread and cheese), cauliflower rice (when I make it like this or this), sliced grapes, a banana (or “nanana”), avocado, broccoli (not sure why this one….), oh, and mac n’ cheese. She also loves eating with a fork or spoon now and almost refuses to eat without one (which results in a much bigger mess, but love that she’s developing this skill!). We also continue to use this placemat and these sippy cups (both are currently on sale).

Her Favorites: She is obsessed with drinking her water out of an iced tea cup… so, I pretty much rinse mine out and then she drinks her water through it (like, she begs for it….). She loves music and insists on playing an old record player and cd player simultaneously. Balls. She. Is. Obsessed. If you want to put a smile on her face, hand her a ball. She also loves swimming, being outside, and brushing her hair… and putting sunscreen on me. That’s another thing she is obsessed with… opening the sunscreen bottle and getting a tiny drop on her finger and then rubbing it on my legs.

(My dress, Shoes)

Sleeping: For the most party, everything is pretty status quo over here. We’ve successfully weaned down to one nap. She goes down around 1:30 and wakes up around 3:30-3:45 (and, when I’m lucky, 4!)…. lately, she’s struggled to go down at night, and is extra clingy. So, it involves singing her a few extra songs, and then rubbing her back once I put her down in the crib. I recently bought her these pajamas (since our house is set at a cool temperature in the evening) and she looks so cozy in them…. oh, and she loves sleeping with a little stuffed animal. This one is currently her favorite (it’s so soft!).

(Harper’s Tunic/Dress | My Tee)

Reality:  Sometimes, I find myself getting caught up in what I think other people’s motherhood journey is like. I see glowing photos on instagram and wonder if they, too, deal with some of the daily struggles of motherhood. I quickly remind myself that what is seen is only half of the reality, just as it is with me. In a bit of transparency (as if I haven’t shared enough already in this post) I went to Harper’s 18 month check-up seeking validation for some of my feelings and actually left feeling very invalidated. So, I picked up the phone and called a girlfriend… posted about some of it on instagram stories, and received tons of feedback that others were experiencing the same thing. I think that the motherhood community can be so powerful and supportive when we all just stop and remember that we’re all doing the best we can!

Marriage: TJ and I got away to Vegas a few weeks ago for a couple of nights and had such a blast being on no schedule… and I always think it’s so important to re-visit the roots of your marriage (not that Vegas is… but traveling together and enjoying uninterrupted meaningful conversation is….). At the end of a long day, I love that I have TJ to share the parenting challenges with. Don’t get me wrong, we get frustrated, snap, and have to apologize… but that all comes with the territory. As Harper gets older, it’s really nice to see how our own individual strengths tend to compliment each other in the parenting realm.

Favorite Products: With Harper loving the pool (we’re getting her lessons in the next couple of weeks) these puddle jumpers have been amazing, and she loves them. She’s so confident with them on, and she loves jumping into our arms (from steps already in the pool) and floats out to get her ball. These water shoes are a great option for when she is around the pool…. she actually asks to put them on. This is my favorite sunscreen for her face… I love the easy application it provides… she even likes to do it herself sometimes. She’s also been loving these little ruffle one pieces… they’re such a great option in this summer heat! We also got her these little shoes and they fit her perfectly and she seems to love them…. they’re well made and really soft.

07.17.2017

Weekend Recap || The Wedding Day

(A little vino to kick off the festivities)

What. A. Weekend. Friday seems like forever ago… which is when the entire wedding weekend began. It all started with a fun day of pampering with the bridesmaids, followed by a bridal luncheon, and then the rehearsal dinner…. where we sipped glasses of wine, enjoyed meaningful toasts, and might have partaken in a wine shooter or two… Which then eventually rolled into Saturday morning where the excitement and anticipation for the wedding ceremony was palpable. The day was full of beauty prep, giddiness, and by the time the ceremony rolled around, I could barely keep it together…. I pretty much bawled throughout the entire ceremony…. with touching vows, and maybe disbelief that my younger sister was getting married, I was filled with happy tears for her…. and then a reception…. and somehow a 2am bedtime…. which resulted in a very mediocre evening of sleep, and a toddler ready and rearing to go bright and early. Both TJ and I were kicking ourselves for staying up so late the night before when we heard the chatter of little miss bright and early….

Yet, we wouldn’t have done it any differently. There are those once in a moment times, in everyone’s life, where you pretty much throw caution to the wind and live by the YOLO notion. And while I can barely keep my eyes open as I type this (I guess that’s what 5 hours of sleep will do to you….), I can’t help but have a smile on my face as I reflect on the love of the weekend. In all weddings, there is a joining of two families…. and I feel so blessed to now have someone to call my brother.

I hope you all have a great week ahead! xx

(Rehearsal dinner ready….)

(Wore these comfy robes to get ready for the big day… pink robe, white robe)

(Little miss made quite the flower girl…. Harper’s dress)

(The prettiest duo in white)

(Someone missed her afternoon nap….. we were on borrowed time with Harper….)

(Excited to add a fourth best friend to the trio…..)

(My two favorite people)

(Couldn’t be happier for her…. my top, my dress)

(The happy couple)

(What you wear when you’re running on 5 hours of sleep but your toddler got 12…. shorts, sweatshirt)
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I did my fair share of indulging this weekend, but was able to fit in a few good workouts here and there. I did a quick HIIT workout early Saturday morning, and this yoga booty workout on Friday morning. I woke up sore after both of them. I’m in the mood for some healthy curry this week, so I am considering one of these recipes.

While most of my weekend was spent with family and wedding festivities, I finally got a chance to sit down and do a little online perusing. I took another look at some of the Nordstrom Sale items and found a few other cute items that I thought I’d share with you. A few cute tops include this black and white stripe bell sleeve top (looks like such a cute everyday item), cold shoulder sweatshirt (which comes in so many colors), great v-neck swing tunic top (another great basic option), this floral top with the prettiest ties at the wrist, cozy funnel neck poncho (which I saw in the store, and it was sooooo soft), super cute sleeveless ruffle blouse (which is a great layering option), and this neutral thermal top (I like the mauve and cream options). I’m also kind of obsessed with this distressed denim jacket with embroidered details. And, because I’m all about comfort, a few other items caught my cozy craving eye…. like this high-low fleece cardigan, cowl neck knit top, and this tie front fleece pullover (this brand is seriously the softest). I also realized that one of my favorite ruffle white tops from last year was also included in the sale. It’s a great twist on a basic white blouse.

I also have my eyes on a new pair of jeans and saw this raw hem cropped pair (comes in petite sizes too), this distressed girlfriend jean, and this step hemmed distressed pair.

A few pairs of shoes that made me look twice include this whipstitched pair of over the knee boots, these black air max kicks (I’ve had my eye on these for a couple years now….), and this perforated cutout bootie (so many pretty color options). Oh, and how adorable is this little floral cross body bag (it may or may not have come home with me the other day….).