10.23.2017

Weekend Recap || Hawaii

We all arrived in Maui in shifts… my parents Tuesday, our little family Thursday, and my sister + brother in law Saturday. So, Sunday felt as if it was the first official day of vacation with everyone. We’ve been operating under the “No Agenda” mindset since arriving… sitting by the pool, enjoying delicious food + libations, and relaxing as much as possible. Little miss adjusted to the time change much better this time around, so we didn’t have any 4:30am wake-up calls (yasssss). All that to say, I’m trying to disconnect as much as possible, be present with the family, and enjoy this time we all have together. In that light, today’s post is a little shorter on writing + heavier on the photo side. I hope you all have a wonderful week and find a way to disconnect a little here and there! xx

P.S. My apologies for the post that went out yesterday, it was supposed to go out Tuesday! 

(Traveling in comfort….. and the sheer joy on little miss’ face knowing she’ll be snacking the next 5 hours…. my joggers, sweater, stroller, onesie)

(Sunset with the boo)

(My uniform for the next week…. swimsuits + cut-offs (suit))

(Our first morning we were greeted with the prettiest rainbows….)

(Overloaded on the almond butter at Farmer’s Market)

(We hiked out to point Nakalele Point to see the heart shaped rock formation… (capris))

(Mai Tais, comfy pullovers, and a gorgeous Hawaiian sunset…. pullover)

(She loves anything to do with the sand, ocean, or water…. stayed out past sunset nightly)

(Sunday brunch at Down The Hatch… something for everyone…. (romper, cardigan))

(“Take me to the pool….NOW.”…… (cover-up))

(Sandy toes and a Mai Tai that spilled everywhere…. (pullover))
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We did a fairly long hike the other day, and since we’re still adjusting to time, I’ve snuck in a few sunrise runs (3 miles). I’ve also done this booty + abs workout, as well as this HIIT workout… great when you don’t have any equipment.

Despite being in the warmth of Hawaii, we do have a few cooler weather trips planned (and it looks like fall temps might arrive when we return….). Leith, a brand at Nordstrom, has some super cute items right now like this bubble sleeve sweater (so many gorgeous colors), grandfather cardigan (so comfy), double layer bell sleeve sweater, cozy longline cardigan, and this chunky knit choker sweater. Some adorable stripe pieces out there too including this bell sleeve top, comfy v-neck pullover, and stripe poncho scarf (a two for one!).

I also love this floral embroidered hoodie sweatshirt… and such a great price at $50…. and I’m slightly obsessed with this embroidered faux leather jacket.

A few cute date night tops include this gorgeous wrap top (love the color) and this crushed velvet ruffle sleeve top.

I also think this tie sleeve sweater dress is a great option to dress up or down this fall.

This pajama set, and this one too, look incredibly comfy. I also have my eye on these cozy slippers.

I also love the colors in this gorgeous sweater, as well as this one (which is a little less expensive).

10.18.2017

Wellness Wednesday || The 4 Things I Do In The Morning To Set The Tone For A Healthy Day

This post is sponsored by Organic Stevia In The Raw® and SheKnows Media. All opinions expressed are my own.

I’ve always been more of a morning person than a night owl. I’ve never pulled an all-nighter (I tried, multiple times… could never keep my eyes open…), and working out in the evening has always felt more on the sluggish than invigorating side. I guess it all started in high school, when I would go out for a morning run to get ready for the day ahead…. I didn’t do it every morning, but on the days I did, there was a noticeable difference. I took a break in college (hmmm… I wonder why…), but when I graduated and went to grad school, I put together a morning routine that set the tone for a healthy day, both physically and mentally. It’s something I’ve followed ever since, making slight modifications when little miss arrived. Yet, at the core, there are 4 things I do, daily, that set me up for a balanced day….

  1. Wake-up + Workout: For me, this is like a morning cup of coffee…. without it, I’m void of energy for the day. It doesn’t always have to be an intense workout, even a few walking laps around the neighborhood gets me moving and feeling awake. During this time, I set my priorities for the day, work through any thoughts I may be having, and get my endorphin release. Of course, when little miss arrived, I needed to wake up even earlier to squeeze this in…. which I did by waking up 10 minutes earlier, every other day, for about a week. At the end of the week, my body had adapted to the new time.

2. Eat A Healthy Breakfast: One of my favorite meals of the day, always. I’m typically pretty hungry after my workout, so skipping this meal is never an option. I try to make sure that both Harper and I are getting a filling, and nutritious, morning start. Anything from eggs and fruit, to a bowl of oatmeal, yogurt and granola, or a homemade gluten free/dairy free waffle, I like to make sure it’s tasty. Something I’ve started using, to add a little sweetness, is Organic Stevia In The Raw®. I discovered Organic Stevia In The Raw  when I was looking to do a little baking this fall (bring on all things pumpkin please. It’s organic, non-gmo (very important), vegan, and naturally gluten free. It comes in tiny packets (seen above), which means I can easily toss them in my purse to sprinkle in my morning iced tea (took a few of them to Hawaii to use them with my morning iced green teas). One of our favorite ways to use it is dusted on our morning oatmeal with berries. It adds a delicious, sweet taste. I’ve always felt that a healthy breakfast sets me up to make better choices throughout the day! You can find Organic Stevia In The Raw at Walmart or purchase it online here.

3. Make My Bed:  Having a “healthy” day goes way beyond just working out and making the right food choices. It also has a lot to do with making decisions that I know will set me up for a positive day mentally. Making my bed is one I’ve been doing for years. It’s a very little thing that takes about five minutes, but helps me feel much more organized… and for me, personally, an organized life makes me less anxious. Less anxiety means I can be more present in my relationships, which is the ultimate goal.

4. Gratitude: Another contributor to the mental health of a day. So much research has shown that having a position of gratitude improves our health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career. I don’t spend a long time on it, about 2-5 minutes while I eat my breakfast. I simply jot down a few things I feel particularly grateful for that day. I find that simply reminding myself of the things I have to be grateful for sets that stage to be able to manage smaller setbacks throughout my day.

That’s it. Nothing major, or particularly time consuming, but it’s usually a few small things that add up to a big difference. I’d love to know what you do to set a positive tone for your day!

(Outfit Details || Cardigan | Tank Shorts)

What are some of your morning rituals? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

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10.16.2017

Weekend Recap || Reconnecting

(Kicked off the weekend the right way… with tacos, of course…)

I feel as if life has been incredibly busy as of late… and that time has been passing so quickly. All that to say, as we started last week, I realized that it had been weeks since I’d seen any of my close friends. As I reached out to a few of them to simply say “Hey, thinking about you…” they too shared the same sentiments…. that time just seems to be moving so quickly….

So, as we headed into this past weekend, I did so with anticipation. We had plans, for the past two weeks, to meet up with a high school girlfriend and her family for a day at the pumpkin patch and a BBQ back at our place later….. when the little ones went down and the guys watched football, my girlfriend and I were able to sneak away for an hour by ourselves to get some Pressed Freeze….. it felt like old times in high school, driving my explorer to get some ice cream, chat, and blare the music. As TJ and I chatted about the day, we remarked how hard it is to find good friends… those friends who you just gel with. The friends where time can pass, but it’s as if no time has passed at all. Where you pick up where you left off. Can sit in silence together. Who you can just be yourself with….

I’ve always believe that if I had a handful of those types of friends, life would be good. And it is good. While I don’t see all of them as often as I’d like, just knowing they’re always there makes me feel assured. So, as we go into the week ahead, I encourage you to reach out to one of those friends. Tell them you miss them and care. A small gesture like that goes a long way! Have a good one friends! xx

*Monthly Q&A will be this Friday. Please feel free to send any questions via e-mail. 

(Cozy knit (paired with shorts) for Friday’s taco dinner….)

(Met up with friends at the pumpkin patch for the morning… it was 90 degrees…. so fall. my dress, my shoes)

(Snuck away with my girlfriend for a little sweet treat while the littles napped and the guys watched football….)

(Coziest waffle knit for a relaxed evening of homemade pizza…..)
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We’re heading out to Hawaii on Thursday for a family trip with my parent’s and sister… it’s an early retirement celebration for my dad. That being said, I’ve been working pretty hard during my workouts. This booty bands workout is hands down one of my favorites. If you don’t have workout bands, I highly recommend them. I’m taking them to Hawaii with me. I will also be making these pumpkin bites to take on the plane with us, as well as these egg muffins for a quick morning breakfast (since we have an early flight).

Packing up a lot of favorites for the trip… and since I love to wear cut-offs and long sleeves, most of the items are perfect for when we return (it’s actually going to be cooler in Hawaii than it will be in Southern California when we’re gone….). I’m planning on packing my favorite cut-offs (obviously) along with this oversized thermal, this v-neck thermal, super soft frayed bell sleeve top (in a pretty rust color), absolutely adorable ruffle sleeve button up tee (in the taupe color), oversized stripe pullover, my favorite red pom pom top (which was recently fully re-stocked!) for happy hour, white one shoulder top (currently on major sale), and my favorite fuzzy sweatshirt. This henley top and open knit sweater. For our family photos, I bought this romper for Harper, and I am bringing this embroidered dress and this maxi off the shoulder dress. I’m also tossing in this flowy blush embroidered dress (which I’ve had for years) and these cute stripe slip-ons. For our travel days, I’ll be packing these joggers and leggings, this band tee, cardigan (such a gorgeous rust color), and this stripe pullover.

A few other items that are too cozy and warm for Hawaii that I have my eye on include this gorgeous waffle knit pullover, turquoise v-neck sweater, and this adorable pom beanie (do you think I’d look strange if I wore this in Hawaii???… kidding…).

10.13.2017

21 Month Motherhood Update | Strong Willed Daughter

I’ve always known I had a strong willed daughter. In all her ultrasound photos, she was captured making hand gestures towards us (a peace sign the first time… and a few months later the hang loose sign….) and she came all on her own (literally 12 hours before I was supposed to be admitted to be induced)… there was no way anyone was going to tell her when she could make her appearance in this world. That was probably my first hint that she was going to be a firecracker….

Or maybe it was when she skipped rolling over all together and moved straight to crawling… or when, at her 12 month check-up, the doctor told me she was “feisty….” Either way, I’ve known. Yet, I think it became blaringly obvious at her baptism this past weekend. There wasn’t a tantrum, just a little girl wanting to run around, not be held, and making her desires known. For all to bear witness to.

You see, what I’ve come to realize is that it’s not my job to “tame” that personality, rather to “shape” it. Shape her, and encourage her, to express herself in appropriate ways…. whatever those thoughts and feelings might be…. to encourage her to always go after what she wants. I was recently asked to participate in a campaign with Joe Fresh (a Canadian family clothing line) and to share how I stay “True To.” I expressed the following, more as a hope of what Harper will stay true to, and what I will stay true to as I raise her:

“I can only hope that little miss is always #TrueTo what makes her happy and free from comparison… whether that’s through the activities she chooses or the clothes she wears as an expression of herself (Christmas dress in July… why not….). I hope it’s always genuinely and authentically her, and that she finds confidence in the little firecracker she is!” 

This past weekend, as our little family stood in front of a congregation of about 700 (give or take), Harper determined to do it on her own terms, all that ran through my mind was “Oh my gosh. How embarrassing” (TJ mentioned that he might have been slightly sweating….). As the laughs rolled in, and the perfectly timed jokes were made by our pastor, I was reminded of what I had written about a few days prior. I realized that my embarrassment wasn’t due to Harper’s behavior (she didn’t want to be held…. I knew she wouldn’t… I predicted how it was all going to go down the week prior….), but I was caught comparing her “always on the go” personality to that of the toddler next to us, patiently waiting in her parent’s arms, and not making a peep at all. I quickly checked myself, and released. Once I did so, I was able to find humor (actually look at my sister in the congregation… who, might I add, was crying from laughing so hard…), possibly a little joy, in the situation. My daughter, knowing what she wanted, making her presence known.

After the baptism, countless people came up to us, and my parents, mentioning that it was “the best” baptism they’d seen…. the pastor (who married TJ and me) joking and subsiding any worries we had. One person stated that they’d never “laughed so hard in church….” and another encouraging us to “love on her fiercely and enjoy her because the time goes fast.” It wasn’t until we were back home, celebrating with the family, that my dad mentioned someone pulled him aside and said, “She reminds me of my little grandson. He knows what he wants and nothing is going to stop him. It’ll serve them well as they get older.”

I received countless words of encouragement, affirmations from other moms, letting me know that their child is the same. Then, for some odd reason, a quote that I’d heard a while back popped into my head…..

“Well behaved women rarely make history…..”

And while I don’t want Harper making choices that are harmful or destructive, I don’t want her to be held back by fear. I want her to have a voice, to not be afraid to say how she feels, and to not get caught up in the comparison trap (like I so easily did that morning….) and feel as if she is not enough. So while I’ve always known what my role was as her mother, maybe this past month it became a little more defined. It’s to be her safe base. To be a place where she can learn to express herself in safe ways, where she can feel validated in her thoughts and desires, and where I can provide her with the boundaries she needs to feel secure enough to be herself and push the limits a little.

So, to all you moms out there who have ever raised a strong willed child, are in the midst of raising one now, or who might think they have one on their hands…. I will cheers to you with a glass of wine… which I will happily enjoy tonight!

(My skirt, Pullover, Harper’s Dress, Harper’s Tee, Harper’s Shoes)

Sleeping: I think girlfriend’s mind is racing with all the new thoughts she has, because I don’t think we’ve had a solid sleep through the night in a couple of months (maybe a handful sprinkled in here and there). Given that she was such a good sleeper before, I’m chalking it up to a slight regression due to her little brain’s rapid development. She still takes a great afternoon nap (2.5 hours) which I consider to be my saving grace for sanity….

I also think it has to do with teething. She seems to be getting in her canines, which I think are really bothering her. We use Little Remedies, and it seems to provide her with some relief.

Eating: We’re status quo in this department. I was recently asked if Harper eats what we do, or if I make her a separate meal. The answer was that she eats about 95% of what we eat….. I don’t make her a separate meal (my pediatrician discouraged this from day one) and we all eat dinner together. She doesn’t have to eat everything I put in front of her, and she can eat more of one food than another. I also don’t make her “finish” her dinner. I would like to encourage intuitive eating early on, and trust that when she is full she will tell us (I had a conversation with the pediatrician about this when she wasn’t eating much and she mentioned that in these early years there are times when they eat more and times when they don’t need as much food.). We’re still using these utensils and have introduced this cup (yet, we’re having issues with her realizing it’s not a watering can…..).

There was also a brief period where she was refusing to sit in her high chair. Well, that’s stopped and now she only wants to sit in her high chair. Fickle.

(My sweater, my jeans, Harper’s top, Harper’s Jeggings)

Harper’s Favorite Things: She still loves anything to do with a ball (so, you can imagine her delight when we were at the pumpkin patch…. to her, they’re all just orange balls….). Her new obsession is the moon. In the morning she wakes up at shrugs her shoulders and says, “Where’s the moon?” She insists on walking Captain, our loving, and slightly skittish, labradoodle….. Sidewalk chalk is a favorite at the park, and she has a strong preference for these shoes (as in, if you try to put any others on her she will not have it…). Her favorite animals are dogs, kitties, birdies, and monkeys…. and she loves to mimic their noises (her monkey and bird noises are my personal favorites). Jumping. Anything that has to do with jumping she’s there (we went to a friend’s birthday with a bounce house and she was all over that one….). Oh, and dancing. Her moves are on point.

(Cardigan, Camisole, Harper’s romper, denim jacket)

Favorite Products: We started using this car seat last month and we love it (Harper does too… except when she refuses to get into it….then we either have a noodle or a board on our hands….). We also switched from Pampers to Huggies (I’ve tried using Honest diapers several times and they always give her horrible rashes….) and they’re great. I always loved Pampers, but when we were in Hawaii we ran out and the store only sold Huggies…. and I was sold. We haven’t purchased any new toys, as we’ve been spending a lot of time outside, and doing puzzles, reading books, dancing, and coloring…. and and shopping with her pretend shopping cart.

(Jeans, Booties, Cardigan, Harper’s Booties, Harper’s Cardigan)

10.09.2017

Weekend Recap || Paying It Forward + A Few Sale Favorites

(Just waiting for the fall temps to accompany all these fall decorations…)

 Since the tragedy in Las Vegas, TJ and I have had several conversations about the ways we want to try and change the world Harper will grow up in. While there were some very obvious ways that we chatted about, one way that kept coming up was the idea of “paying it forward….”

When I graduated from college, part of the closing comments was a quote from Desmond TuTu which read, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Since, those words have always been with me. I used it as the theme for my graduate school application essay, and have always felt that doing a random act of kindness here and there goes a long way….

TJ shared with me that he had actually started doing it throughout the week… small gestures, such as paying for the person after him in the Starbuck’s drive through… and putting a few extra dollars on a gift card at a coffee shop and leaving it for the barista to use for the next few customers. I’ve had someone do the same for me, and I remember feeling overwhelmed by the small act of kindness. I found myself remembering it throughout the day, and “paying it forward” myself….

I guess I share this because we never really know the magnitude of our actions on an individual, both positive and negative. Those very small acts of kindness can have a profound impact on someone’s life…. and when those add up, hopefully it can make for a softer world for little miss and all her little friends out there. So, as we head into the week ahead, our little family does so with the intent of paying it forward in small ways. Have a good one friends! xx

(A flutter sleeve top to weather the heat wave…)

(Patio goals at a favorite breakfast spot- Juice Served Here)

(Favorite post-spin breakfast…. garden avocado toast… always with a runny egg….)

(Saturday morning spin dates….)

(Harper’s baptism…. she lived up to her firecracker personality during it… you know what I mean if you saw the instastories! my dress, my booties, Harper’s dress)
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This weekend ended up being fairly indulgent, with all the celebrations we had, so it’s back to clean eating and working out this week. Tone It Up is starting a 21 day fall challenge, would love to know if any of you are doing it too?? We also had a delicious brunch on Sunday after Harper’s baptism and my mom made this “skinny” pumpkin bread (without the pepitas)… it was seriously so good. Not one piece was left.

I didn’t even realize that today was Columbus Day…. and with that, some pretty good sales! Abercrombie is having 40% off the entire store. A few pieces that I am loving include this long sleeve shirt dress (in the mauve color), short marled cardigan, sleeveless suede dress (obsessed with this style for fall…), puff sleeve sweater, cable sweater dress, and this velvet tee.

LOFT is also having a huge sale and some of my favorites are included like this ribbed grey sweater (size up for it to fit like it does on the model, it runs small), ruffled sleeve sweatshirt, sleeveless coatigan (one of my favorite pieces for fall), and this longline open cardigan in white. 

And one last good sale is at J.Crew… everything is currently 30% off. I’m in love with this graphic sweatshirt, lace-up tunic sweatshirt, and this oversized v-neck sweater (in the rust color… so gorgeous for fall).

Some other favorite items I have my eye on, but that aren’t on sale, include this furry hooded jacket, slouchy pullover, sleeveless turtleneck sweater (great for those transitional fall days), hooded duster cardigan, cable knit pullover (just got it and love it!), gorgeous cabled off the shoulder sweater, and this basic pullover knit (which comes in several color options, I bought in a couple to decide which I like best). Oh, and how gorgeous is this velvet cami?

I also have my eye on a new pair of booties… and this navy pair is at the top of my list.

10.06.2017

Favorite Products Of The Month || Healthy Living, Beauty, Fashion

Happy Friday friends! I hope you all have something fun planned this weekend… we’re celebrating TJ’s birthday all weekend, with Harper’s baptism on Sunday. Looking forward to the celebrations! I hope you all have a good one with those you love. Today I’m sharing all my favorite products from the past month…. with some favorite pumpkin inspired food picks. Hope you love them as much as I do…….


FOOD/WELLNESS: 

1. Pumpkin Rx Bar: I’ll admit, some of their flavors are not the best, so I was skeptical when I saw this seasonal option sitting out at Trader Joe’s. Yet, when I opened it for my afternoon snack, it was like biting into a piece of pumpkin bread. I was sold immediately… now, how can I stock up on them so I can enjoy year round??

2. Wild Friends Pumpkin Peanut Butter: Notice a small theme? I stumbled across this jar of goodness when I was at Mother’s Market the other day. Of course, when I got home, I immediately gave it a taste test. You can most definitely taste the pumpkin…. I think it would be great on a banana as an afternoon snack, in these pumpkin bars, and in this smoothie.

3. Primal Kitchen Green Goddess Dressing: I mentioned this line of dressing in my last favorite products round-up, but since discovered this flavor and I’m obsessed. My favorite way to enjoy it is lightly massaged into a good kale salad. Reminds me of a favorite salad that I order at a health food spot.

4. Krave Beef Jerkey: When I’m craving something different for an afternoon snack, I’ve been reaching for this stuff lately (and really got into it in Hawaii). They have tons of different flavors and they’re a hit with TJ too.

Beauty: 

1. Amika Nourishing Hair Mask: My hair has been super brittle and dry lately due to the changes I’ve been working on with it (color-wise) so I knew I needed a heavier conditioner to repair it. This one works. I typically leave it in for about 5 minutes, while I finish in the shower, and then rinse. It leaves my hair incredibly soft and silky, and since I’ve started using it, I’ve noticed that my hair looks, and feels, stronger.

2. ENJOY Shampoo: When I wash my hair, I first use a purple shampoo, and then I follow it up with this one, which I recently started using after a visit to the salon. I love the way it smells, and how soft it leaves my hair.

3. OPI Infinite Shine Nail Laquer: I had been using their color polishes, without the other two steps, for over a year and was happy with how much longer the polish lasted than regular ones. So, I decided to give the entire set a try when I was looking for a new fall hue and have to stay the stuff works pretty well. It consists of a base, color, and then a top coat. The combination definitely lasts longer than a regular set of polish, which I need. They also have some amazing fall shades.

4. Doterra Tea Tree Oil: When we returned from Hawaii, my chin was breaking out and it was recommended that I try some tea tree essential oil (with a charcoal mask). The stuff worked, and the break out subsided within a few days, naturally. Highly recommend to have on hand!

FASHION:

1. Graphic Tee: Having a moment with graphic tees, and this one is in my top 3 (band tee, and this floral one being up there too). I love it lounging around the house, or tossing it on with distressed jeans for a day out. I featured a DIY distressing tutorial for it here.

2. Perforated Bootie: These booties are super comfortable, and I love the perforated details. They’re an easy throw on and go option to wear with jeans, jean shorts (for those of us living in an endless summer), and with a casual dress. They come in several color options, but I own them in the olive color.

3. Duster Cardigan: This length is one of my favorites (you can see how I styled it here, with the tee above). It’s so soft, and comes in several different colors. I can’t wait to layer it with scarves (favorite, and softest, from last year) + beanies when it gets cold enough, but for now, it easily pairs with a simple tank and jeans for a casual day.

4. Velvet Dress/Top: I ended up purchasing this (and I’ve mentioned it a lot on the blog) for TJ’s birthday dinner last night and loved it… I paired it with flat mules, and plan on wearing it later this weekend as a top layer over a tank and shorts. Or, when the temps cool, with OTK boots and an oversized cardigan. It’s a two-for-one if you ask me, and velvet is the texture of the season.

5. Lace-Up Sweater: The grommet detailing on this sweater is perfect for fall… and it’s super comfortable too. I wear it lounging, out and about with jeans or joggers, and traveled home from Hawaii in it. The price is right, and I can’t wait to layer it under a coat and with scarves in the winter.

6. Lace-Up Sweatshirt: If you’re looking for a super soft, post workout, sweatshirt, then this one is for you. It’s perfect to take you from sweat sesh to brunch (like I do on our Saturday morning spin dates)… or simply relax on the couch with a glass of vino and comfy joggers.

7. Velvet Bag: I bought this at the Shopbop sale and wasn’t sure if I was going to keep it. Yet, I ended up wearing it a few days after it arrived and fell in love. Like I said, velvet is the texture of the season, and I love the floral fall colors. You can use it as a clutch, or wear it cross body, and it surprisingly goes with a lot of different outfits (see here).

8. Floral Pants: So, these were sent to me, and I didn’t like them at first and was going to send them back (I only share things I love). Yet, I gave them a try, and ended up really liking them (TJ did too). You can see them styled here. They’re loose and flowy, and the pant style is huge for fall. You can pair them with a pretty chunky knit, or as I did with this moto jacket…. or, be bold and pair it with a band tee.

9. BodyCon Dress: I own this in the grey color (bought it when I was pregnant) and when I saw this color option (terracotta) I was sold. It’s the perfect color for fall. I’ve worn it with a blush cardigan and denim jacket… but it will easily pair with booties and OTK boots when temps cool down.

10. Mesh Crops: My favorite crops by far to workout in…. they hug in all the right places and just feel so good on. They’re also easy to move around in. They aren’t cheap, but very well made… and a good investment if you love working-out.

 

10.04.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Being Present

I initially had a different post scheduled for today. Yet, I felt pulled to write about something different in light of the recent tragedy in Vegas…..

I woke up frustrated Monday morning because I’ve been having issues with my daily newsletter sending out at the regularly scheduled time. So, I laced up my shoes and headed out the door for my typical morning run. When I returned, TJ asked if I’d heard the news about Vegas. I hadn’t yet, so he gave me some of the headline details. I thought to myself, “You can’t be serious. Again?” I immediately turned on the news and couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and hearing (we went to bed earlier on Sunday, so this was the first we were both hearing of it). The stories were, at the risk of sounding cliché, heartbreaking… and then to hear about acquaintances who were at the event was even more chilling. I went about my day, impacted, but not yet emotional about what had happened….

Until this morning (or, Tuesday morning). As I played with Harper at the park, and we swung together on the swings, the magnitude of the tragedy sank in…. people’s sons, daughters, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, and grandchildren, taken in an utterly senseless act of violence. Not only that, but the horror and trauma for those injured and/or at the event. I hugged her tighter, and kissed her little curly haired head. It scares me to think about the world I am leaving Harper with…. and I began to wonder how I would address these issues with her as she gets older. Then I remembered this quote I had seen, a couple years back, when the Paris shootings had happened….

“When I was a little boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping.'” Mr. Rogers

And while I know my conversations with her won’t stop at that, I hope they can begin with it…. a gentle reminder that there is always more good in the world than evil.

The shooting in Las Vegas certainly put into perspective the trivial frustration I experienced that morning… a minor blog glitch… in relation to what others were waking up to. A reminder that we have to make the most of the time we have with those we love. To disconnect and be more present… which, in all honesty, can be much easier said than done. So, I took some time to reflect today and to find areas where I could improve my ability to “just be” with those that matter the most…..

1. Put away the phone. I know this sounds so basic, but for me, so much of what I do is tied to some avenue of social media. So, I go a step further and utilize stimulus control. If my phone isn’t around, I can’t look at it. That means putting it in another room when TJ and I are relaxing on the couch and during dinner…. leaving it tucked in the bottom of the stroller when Harper and I are at the park (except for the occasional photo when she’s being too cute….). It’s the same thing I do with sweets… if they’re in the house, I’ll eat them… so I simply don’t buy them. If the phone is within an arms distance, I’ll look, so I put it away.

2. Be Intentional. When I wake up in the morning, I always have the best plans to do x, y, + z with Harper… but then life happens. I do know that if I was a little more intentional with saying, “This can wait….” that I would be  be more present. One of my old supervisors was such a wonderful example of this. She always told me that “not everything has to be dealt with immediately,” and I always felt her presence when we were meeting together. I guess it boils down to prioritizing and being cognizant when you’re in the moment…

3. Focus On The Now. Simply put. Being present means focusing on the moment. I’m so often thinking about what needs to get done within the next several hours that I miss the moment. I intentionally did this with Harper today, and I can tell you it felt so different than usual. I know it’s not always possible, life happens, but it’s something I want to be much more aware of.

While I know I won’t ever be perfect in all three areas, it’s my hope that by becoming more aware I we be more mindful.

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(Outfit Details || Cardigan (black + cream here), Jeans, Top,  Sunglasses)

10.02.2017

Weekend Recap || Take A Walk

(Welcoming October….)

After a seemingly never ending week (aren’t they always like that after vacation), the weekend was more than welcomed with a glass of vino…. and after a sleepless Friday night (little miss was teething) we seemed to fall into a groove with our normal Saturday morning spin and breakfast date. We met up with family Saturday evening, and called it an early night, hitting the sheets before 10pm (#GettingOld or #ParentLife??). When we woke up Sunday morning, we had every intention of making it to church, but found ourselves relishing in the rest from a full night sleep and a little miss who was willing to snuggle in bed (she’s usually ready and rearing to go the moment we get her from the crib). After we realized we stayed in our pajamas a little too long, we debated whether or not we wanted to workout. We ended up deciding on a long walk for coffee…..

TJ and I always have some of our best conversations on a walk (and for that matter, some of my best conversations with family and friends too….). It was on the walk back that we started talking a little more about the future direction of our family (namely, where we want to move) and how we want that to look…. how will it match with our values and what we hope for our little family. At the end of the walk, we had a few things figured out, and TJ remarked, “Well, that was a walk well spent….”

Which got me thinking… sometimes all you need is a new environment to gain a new perspective. So, that’s my intention this week. If at any point I feel stuck, feel in a rut, or as if I need a little inspo, I’m going to change my environment… whether that’s working from a coffee shop (as opposed to the table)…. or going to a new park with little miss… sometimes a new environment gives you a new take on life. With that, here’s to a week of welcoming new perspectives… Have a good one friends! xx

(She thinks they’re all balls…. until they get smashed… my jacket, her jacket)

(Back to our spin + avocado toast Saturday morning dates)

(Toss on this casual outfit for a housewarming party for my sister + brother in law… cardigan, cami, jeans, short crescent necklace)

(A little take-out sushi to close out Saturday night….)

(Little miss wasn’t sleeping through the night for the past week… teething we think… so we moved a little slower Sunday after the first full night in several days…. thermal, joggers)

(Morning walk for some caffeine… and to let someone exert a little energy….)

(This comfy ribbed tunic for a few afternoon errands and football….)
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It felt good to get back on a regular work-out/eating routine this past week. We made my favorite fall soup last night, and I’m thinking about making this carnitas recipe for Tuesday night… just set it and forget it… my favorite.

Not sure if it’s the new season, or if it’s because October is officially here, but there have been so many great new items in stores lately! I’m obsessed with this gorgeous waffle knit sweater in a terra cotta color, blouson sleeve sweater in the prettiest teal color, rosetta v-neck cardigan (love the rose details), gathered sleeve hoodie (such a great “is it fall or is it summer” item), and this beautiful chenille deep blue lace up sweater.

A few of my favorite items from last year that were recently re-stocked include this super soft fringe scarf, cozy ribbed oversized sweater (white + black), and this lightweight open back pullover (I have in pink).

TJ’s birthday is this Thursday and we’re heading out to a nice dinner, just the two of us. I’ve had my eye on this little velvet dress and I’m thinking it might be perfect for the evening. I mentioned this last week, but I could also wear it unbuttoned, over a white cami and jeans, for a more casual look too. I also love this wrap front sweater, cranberry colored wrap top, as well as this wrap jacket.

Asos also has some super cute, and well priced, items for fall. I love this mauve oversized v-neck sweater, wrap back sweater, blush lounge tie sleeve topoff the shoulder slouchy sweater, and this lattice back chunky cardigan.

We also have Harper’s baptism this coming weekend, and I’m considering this pretty little floral ruffle tiered dress or this floral midi dress, layered with a suede jacket.

09.27.2017

Wellness Wednesday || Gut Health + Probiotics

Before little miss was born, I struggled with stomach issues. Not for years, but for about the year prior to becoming pregnant. I had horrible cramping and often felt nauseas… and this was frequently accompanied by anxiety and sadness… and horrible fatigue (one day I literally couldn’t move… I thought I was pregnant). All of these things were not normal for me, and I was very aware of it. I went to visit my GP and she ran through the regular questions…. which I knew weren’t going to get me where I needed to be. I didn’t have a bug and I didn’t pick up a parasite on a recent travel… I had a feeling it was something much more complicated than that. She had me get an ultrasound (which I had a feeling wouldn’t show anything) which came back completely clean. At that point she basically told me there wasn’t much else she could do. Thank you… I guess…. So, I went to an acupuncturist. She had a lot of different ideas, made me shift a few things in my diet (no dairy, no chicken, no beans….), and after a few months I started to feel better.

All that to say, over the past few years, I’ve become so interested in “gut health.” I knew that my stomach issues weren’t simply a “stomach” problem that could be fixed with a prescription. That they were more complicated than that, and a bunch of different changes needed to occur. I’m no expert here, and what I know is based on surface level research, but there is a huge gut-brain connection that is rarely talked about…. which would explain a lot of the anxiety and sadness that I felt back then. In all my research, what I’ve come to realize is that a healthy gut is largely tied to a healthy individual (both mind and body). One of the best ways to balance out the gut is to take a daily probiotic (something I used to do, but haven’t done in over a year… and I can feel it). Probiotics are healthy bacteria that work to balance your digestive tract and benefit your overall well-being. This means easier food digestion, more energy, and glowing skin. If your body doesn’t have enough probiotics you can experience skin problems, digestive difficulties, autoimmune disorders, and frequent cold and flus (you can read more about probiotics benefits here).

So, when TULA (one of my favorite skin care lines) came out with their own probiotic line, and challenged me to try it out for 30 days, I said “Why not? I have nothing to lose.” So, that’s just what I am doing, and would love for you all to join me too. Taking a daily probiotic can lead to less bloating, better digestion, more energy, and better skin… and I know I could benefit from that for sure. Something else I do on a daily basis to increase probiotics in my system is drink a bottle of Kombucha a day. I have noticed a huge difference in doing that as well, so I am hoping that re-introducing the daily probiotic will help too. I’ll be reporting back to you in a month as to if I felt any changes or not. Would love for you to join along!

If you’re interested in joining along with me, check out the line here!
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(Outfit Details || Joggers | Pullover | Probiotics (use code SHANNON15 for 15% off))

09.22.2017

Champagne Chatting || Monthly Q + A Of My Most Frequently Asked Questions

(Sweater | Jeans | Necklace)

I hope you’ve all had a great week! We’re heading into the last few days of our vacation and I’m planning on soaking up every minute of it…. TJ has been working the past couple of days, so lots of family time is on the agenda…. with nothing in particular planned expect the beach, cocktails, and sunsets. Hope you all have a good one!!
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1. I’m on the hunt for an everyday low brown bootie that’s especially good for us petite girls with skinny-ish ankles!  

I bought this pair at the Nordstrom sale (in the blush) and absolutely love them… very comfortable and practical. They aren’t the cheapest, but if you’re looking to invest in a pair this fall, I highly recommend them. Other options include this diamond cut-out pair, stacked heel option, and this bootie with cut-out sides.

2. What do you use to measure how many miles you run in the mornings? 

I use the NikeRun app and find it to be pretty accurate. I’m looking into an apple watch though. My sister currently has one, and she has me intrigued. My husband uses iMapMyRun and has had success with that as well.

3. I’d love to know your thoughts on baby #2. I think your experience with becoming a mom was very similar to mine (my girl is almost 13 months) and feeling so many mixed emotions about doing it again and when/if would be the right time. Would love your thoughts!

I have so many different thoughts on baby #2. I feel so blessed to have been given an opportunity to carry, birth, and now raise Harper. I was chatting with one of my girlfriend’s moms this back weekend and she mentioned that at toddlerhood “the good is so good, and the bad is so bad.” She nailed it exactly. For me at least…..

At 33 (34 in December… ohmygosh…..) I know that I have a clock that’s ticking and with every year that passes it will become increasingly more difficult to conceive, yet I also don’t want that to be the reason we have another little one. TJ and I talk about this often. I found the transition to motherhood not as easy as others (I have always been candid about this in my motherhood updates), and while we still travel and live a fun life, in transparency, there are days I miss the ease of just worrying about the two of us… and the thought of adding another little munchkin to the mix makes me a little anxious. We also love watching Harper grow up…. and watching her take in all her new experiences. I worry that I won’t be a good mom to two little ones…. that I won’t be able to equally divide my attention and give them both all the love they deserve. Something TJ and I have both agreed upon though is that until Harper is potty trained and starting to dress herself, we likely won’t be having another one. Another thought I have (I apologize that this answer is lengthy and tangential) is “can I really do it all again??” I know the answer is yes, and it’s so worth it, but for me personally, I want to be fully prepared…..

All that to say, I am sensitive to the fact that some people cannot have a baby… that many have struggled for years, gone through rounds of IVF, and have not been able to conceive. I can only imagine the sadness and sense of loss on a monthly basis. So, I do hope that my answer is not offensive, or comes off as callous, as I do recognize that there are many who would love to go through what I explained above. 

4. What kind of face moisturizer do you use? I’m looking for a moisturizer for sensitive skin.

I’ve been using this intense evening moisturizer and this daily moisturizer for the past year and love both products (SHANNON for 20% off). I also use this daily moisturizer as well.

5. I’m looking into upgrading my hair dryer and straightener. I was wondering if you could give me any suggestions? 

I love t3 products. They aren’t cheap, but they’re very well made and not as harsh on the hair as other tools I’ve used. The hair dryer works in half the time of a cheaper option, which is very valuable time for me! I have this little travel version and it’s a great for everyday use as well!

6. What are a good brand of jeans that are in a budget friendly price? Looking for high waisted and $75 and under price range. I like skinny and jegging style!

I always think that Free People brand has some great jeans. I recently purchased this pair and they are well made and have the perfect amount of distressing (I also own them in grey). I haven’t personally tried this brand but have heard really great things about it. I’m considering purchasing this pair and this pair.

7. How do you and your family budget for trips, going out, nice things (lol!), etc… sorry if this is nosy! I just need to budget more and not live so in the “now.” 

Budgeting is always an interesting topic. A while ago, my girlfriend who is a Certified Financial Planner, wrote a blog post for me on the topic. We try to follow her tips as closely as possible. Each month, we put aside the necessary amount for savings, Harper’s college, and “accidentals.” Then we allocate the bills (never fun) and what is left we consider “fun” money. This concept has changed over the years, but we divide the funds between travel and miscellaneous (i.e. eating out, babysitter, workout classes, shopping, etc). It’s something that has worked fairly well for us over the years, and I think what has always helped is knowing exactly what he have to “play” with. If there are bigger ticket items that either of us are eyeing we typically save from that pot in order to purchase them. 

8. Do you have any tricks for slides or shoes that are slick on the bottom? Bought a pair or two that I love but I slip on certain floors chasing after my toddler. Any ways you have found to remedy this? 

I just bought a pair of slides that I had this exact same problem with. While I’m not sure if this is very ingenious, or a “trick,” I just wore them outside and scuffed up the bottoms on the concrete. Solved the problem pretty quickly.

9. Could you share some fall wedding outfit suggestions? Going to three weddings this fall and have my own rehearsal dinner this November!

I’m loving the deep hues, florals, and luxurious textures for fall… and there are so many beautiful options that are wedding guest appropriate. This maxi floral dress has been on my wish-list for a few months (dress it up with heels and down with booties and a suede jacket) and I love this gorgeous pleated velvet dress in blush. This yellow floral dress is stunning….and the cut of this burgundy off the shoulder dress is gorgeous. I also think this navy lace midi dress (comes in a pretty mauve color too) is beautiful. For your rehearsal dinner, if you’re open to not wearing white, I am obsessed with this gorgeous velvet rose colored wrap maxi (I would totally wear it to mine if I could go back…. I didn’t wear white though…) or turquoise lace midi dress (such a stunning silhouette). Yet, if white is what you’re wanting, I love this bell sleeve fit and flare dressblazer ruffle dress, and this beautiful eyelet wrap dress

10. What are you must-haves from Trader Joe’s? 

My must-haves from Trader Joe’s include the microwaveable lentils, chili lime seasoning, everything bagel seasoning, spinach super salad, rolled oats, salsa verde, cauliflower pizza crust, and their chicken sausages. Those are the items I specifically get at Trader Joe’s that I can’t find anywhere else (that I like as much….).

11. I would love to know what type of exercise you continued during pregnancy. I am newly pregnant and have this awful fear I’m going to lose the baby if I continue my cardio! I know that’s crazy but first time mama fears I guess. I ran, did stairs, and barre classes pre-pregnancy. 

First of all, congrats! Such exciting news! I feel as if your fears are so normal… we all have our own fears as first time moms since we don’t know what to expect! I jogged and did my normal cardio up until the day I have birth. I also continued weight training… and yoga as much as possible (I mean, some of the moves just weren’t possible with a belly…). I also did the Tracey Anderson Pregnancy Project, which I loved. I did consult with my doctor though when I first found out I was pregnant and she assured me that as long as I could carry on a conversation I was fine…. and to avoid road cycling and skiing since those could result in traumatic falls.

12. I love your healthy eats! Do you have any easy and tasty vegetarian or vegan recipes you can share that Harper also likes? Or just you and TJ? We’re planning to go either pescatarian or mostly plant based when we get back from our travels and wondered if you have any great go-to dinner recipes? 

A few favorites include this fried rice, lentil soup, shrimp ramen, coconut curry, and this black bean and sweet potato chili (one of my absolute favorites).

13. How did you train your hair to not have to be washed as often? 

It’s funny because i used to wash my hair every other day and my hairdresser would always tell me that wasn’t necessary. So, when Harper came along, it pretty much became necessary for me to follow her advice. I can’t say I put my hair through a “training” process though. I basically didn’t wash it, used dry shampoo, and blew it out (when the hair was dry) to make it look “fresh.” I typically like how my hair holds a curl on days 3-5 best, but after that it’s not as easy to manage and isn’t the ideal situation…. more of a time issue. I use this dry shampoo though, and often double shampoo my hair when I wash it to get it extra clean (that’s a trick I learned from my hairdresser). 

14. How do you manage meal prep and workout prep? If that makes sense?? How do you get it all done?!!

Sometimes I feel as if I don’t. Haha! You can read about how I meal prep for the week here…. I squeeze in my workouts very early, before anyone else is awake in the house. It’s the only way I can get it all done. So, I guess the answer is I wake up very early, and follow the tips above!

15. HOW do you get yourself up so early for a run? I have a half marathon coming up in December and really struggling to train!

I had to train myself to do so. Before Harper was born, I woke up around 6:30 every morning… but still had to train myself to do that by waking up 15 minutes earlier every couple of days. Once Harper was born and I needed to work out around 5:30am I did the same thing. Eventually my body got used to it (although, it’s not always easy I know I won’t get a workout in if I don’t just get myself out of bed).

16. I’m searching for a post workout cardigan open front sweater/wrap for fall/winter! Any suggestions?? 

I own this one (bought it last year) and love it… it’s slightly oversized though. If you’re looking for something a little more fitted, this one is a great post-workout and everyday choice, and I also own and love this wrap front cardigan. This one is specifically meant for post-workout wear and looks super soft. 

17. Is there a specific “diet”that you follow?

I don’t follow any specific diet, as I believe each one of them is a little too restrictive for me and it’s all about finding a healthy lifestyle that fits for you, and is manageable daily. That being said, some days I eat meat, some days I don’t. I do avoid dairy as much as possible (this was recommended to my by my acupuncturist). I prefer foods with minimal ingredients, or ingredients I can easily pronounce and don’t need to look up what they are. I also incorporate healthy carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and fruits…. and try to eat as many vegetables as possible. I try to create a balanced “diet” that leaves me satisfied and properly nourished… with small indulgences along the way.

18.What healthy kid snacks do you recommend for grab and go options…. when there just isn’t time to cut up fruit and veggies? 

I did this post on 16 healthy snacks a little while ago, but a lot of them do require some preparation. My favorite grab and go snacks for Harper include string cheese, siggi’s yogurt packs, Late July peanut butter crackers, dried cranberries, Love Grown O’s (identical to cheerios), these KIND fruit + veggie bars, both Hormel Naturals + Horizon Organics have good grab and go snack packs with cheese, crackers, and meats too.

19. Any suggestions on gift ideas for toddlers?

I think the ideal gift idea for a toddler is anything active (read: anything that will wear them out), or something that promotes imagination. I was at a birthday party recently and someone brought a slide (which was adorable). I also love this car, kitchen set, doctor kit (Harper loves taking care of her stuffed animals), and these puzzles. I also think you can never go wrong with books… and a bottle of wine for the parents (wink, wink).