02.06.2017

Weekend Recap // Savoring Life Slowly

{Friday night’s tradition}

It’s crazy to think that a year ago, to this date, we were celebrating little miss’ 1 month birthday. We were overly fatigued, first time parents, who could barely keep their eyes open during our family’s Super Bowl party. Fast forward to yesterday, and instead of being fatigued parents who could barely keep their eyes open…. I was busy running around with a very active toddler. What a difference. A good difference. And I’d have to say that’s how most of the weekend was spent… mini dance parties with little miss, park dates (with small tantrums when it was time to leave)…. and efficiently sneaking in a quick brunch. I’m left wondering where the weekend went and how we’re already at Monday morning….

It’s a small reminder to me that life goes quickly… so, I did a little check-in with what my intention was for this coming year (which was to “Savor Life Slowly.”)….. and, while nothing is done slowly these days (I wonder why….), I’d have to say that I’ve been much more intentional in taking in every moment…. from that first sip of wine on Friday evening, to my alone time during my long Saturday morning runs…. I’ve been working on enjoying the moment, however it comes, more fully. And, while little miss presents me with new challenges daily (motherhood update coming later this week….), I know this time will pass and I’ll be left wondering where it went….

So, as we head into the week ahead, I’m keeping my intention at the forefront of my mind. Have a good one friends!

{Booch for me, a bloody for TJ for Saturday brunch}

{My little firecracker. Such a big personality in such a little body- my pullover}

{Post brunch dessert… and may have snagged one for post dinner.}

{A new favorite booch flavor- leggings, sweater, sunglasses}
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 Planning on whipping up a batch of my favorite egg muffins for quick breakfasts this week, along with my cauliflower ground turkey for dinner and some lunch leftovers. Also working on some yummy Valentine’s Day donuts… stay tuned.

As always, I did a little bit of online perusing this weekend…. I snagged this sand colored drapey cardigan (which is on sale!) for transitional weather…. I plan on wearing this henley tank underneath. I’m also loving this asymmetrical top (which comes in so many color options), oversized cold shoulder tee (I’m partial to the black), lightweight long sleeve tunic top, and this short sleeve pullover sweatshirt for everyday living. I also think this grey ruffle and lace tank and this striped long sleeve tee are cute alternatives to a plain top. Oh, and these grey terry joggers are looking perfect for a day of errands or day at the park.

It’s actually been fairly cold these past few days, and I have a feeling temps are going to go back and forth for the next few months. So, I snagged this grey fuzzy sweatshirt (but it comes in so many different color options), and have my eye on this gorgeous sleeveless sweater, off the shoulder sweatshirt,  and this open stitch grey sweater (which looks so pretty!). I’m also in the market for a good transitional coat and am looking at this lightweight khaki trench coat, white drape front jacket,  and this adorable blush blazer (love the shape and drapery).

I also couldn’t resist a few pieces for little miss (spring fever I guess….). My mom bought her this adorable striped ruffle one piece (she’s already worn it twice). I bought her a few of these ruffle onesies (she grew out of the ones I bought her last year…. obviously, but they were the best), and these adorable light grey and polka dot joggers….. and these striped pink and white bubble shorts are just tooooo cute.

02.01.2017

Wellness Wednesday: Self Love

The running joke on my birthday (which coincides with the beginning of a New Year) was that 2017 was going to be “The Year Of Shannon….” (and we meant that in the lightest of ways possible…. no narcissistic intentions here). It all stemmed out of a conversation I had with my sister and TJ one day…. I had the realization that for the past 2 years of my life, so much was focused on getting pregnant (I had to change my diet {no dairy, no gluten, no sugar} and attend acupuncture regularly for 6 months), being pregnant (read: no sushi, no runny eggs, no wine amongst the few things….), and keeping a newborn alive (I don’t think I even need to expound here… but nursing isn’t easy….). At the end of 2016, I felt drained…. I was ready to have my body back. To myself. So, it jokingly came about that this would be “my” year…..

Yet, when I got to thinking, I wasn’t sure what that really meant… I mean, it’s not like I’m going to abandon all responsibility and throw caution to the wind. All of my girlfriends have little families too…. so it’s not like I’d have a partner in crime (well…… just kidding)…. So, as I got to thinking, what it all boiled down to was increasing the ways I show myself self love….

For me, self love has to come from internal validations, as opposed to external influences. It comes from knowing myself, my needs, and how to meet them on my own….. not relying on others to validate and fulfill them for me (that’s pretty much setting myself up for failure)….. For so long, a big part of who I was revealed around getting pregnant, carrying a baby, birthing a baby, and then sustaining life. I wouldn’t say I lost myself by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just that a lot of effort was focused into that facet of my life, that it took up a very large space….. I started to think about a lot of things I used to do… and then thought of the things I still do, and compiled a list of the ways I plan on showing myself love over the next year…. and, since it’s February 1… the month of love, if you will… why not kick it off by loving yourself too, right??

1. Activity: This is typically number one for me. Always. My reasons for being active have changed throughout the years, from the vain to the more practical… I want to feel good, look good, and be a healthy parent. Yet, I want to get back to the ways I used to be active… I (and TJ does too) have a road bike that I used to ride religiously (together with TJ we rode from Angel’s Stadium in Orange County to Oceanside…. a 65 mile bike ride) which had to be put away when I became pregnant (doctor’s orders…). I’m hoping to get back on it again this year, and while 65 miles might not be in the cards, I’d happily accept 30….. I want to resume my long hikes, long(er) runs, and finally complete that post-pregnancy half marathon I promised myself I’d do last year….

2. Connect: I’ve always been of the belief that having a handful of friends is much more valuable than a bunch of acquaintances. I like to invest in my relationships…. and this past year was definitely a challenge.  I feel so fortunate that pretty much all of my girlfriends either had a first baby, or grew their families, this year and we were all on the same page. Which pretty much meant automatic understanding and forgiveness (sorry it took me 2 weeks to return your text…..). Yet, this year, connecting is a priority. I feel so refreshed after a long chat with a girlfriend…. or a quick visit. First on the agenda this year? An evening away with one of my girlfriends…. location TBD, date is scheduled.

3. Small Self-Indulgences: I don’t mean anything monetary here. I’m talking about allowing myself to take a 20 minute bubble bath, actually finish the book I started back in May (not sure what made me think I’d actually finish it during the summer)…. allow myself a morning to sleep in (TJ offers it all the time and I come up with all the reasons I don’t have time for it….)….

4. Self-Forgiveness: I’m hard on myself. Sometimes not very nice. So, I think I saved the best for last. While the above mentioned ways are a priority, this one takes the cake. I just need to be nicer to myself, period. I think as women, we all do. One of my girlfriends posted a photo of a coffee mug her sister gave her. It read “World’s Most Okay-est Mom.” I literally laughed out loud. I’m not perfect. Don’t have to be perfect. Oh, and to laugh at myself… because if you can’t, then what’s the point of living, right??!
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{Outfit Details // Leggings | Sweatshirt | Sneakers (run very big, I went down a 1/2 size) | Sunglasses}

01.30.2017

Weekend Recap // What A Difference A Week Makes

{Weekend exploring with this little gal (sweatshirt)}

What a difference a week makes. Last weekend, and at the beginning of this week, we played hibernation. Hiding out from the rain, being lazy, not doing much for fear of being drenched in the storms… also, nursing a cold, and feeling under the weather for most of the weekend…. fast forward 7 days later to temperatures in the high 70’s, cold free (everyone!), and a weekend spent exploring….

I was actually quite proud of myself this weekend. I’m not one for spontaneous, spur of the moment decisions (much more of a planner since having little miss)…. but when TJ and I went to bed on Friday evening, we decided to wake up Saturday morning and see what sounded fun. When our alarm went off (aka Harper), we decided workouts were a must (I headed out for a 6 mile run… the longest in many months), and when I returned, we decided that after little miss’ morning nap we’d head up to LA for brunch and the afternoon. We took off without a plan, made one up on the drive, and it couldn’t have been more fun (minus the obscene amount of traffic on the drive home)….

And, so, given how much can change in a week, and the adventures that can come when we welcome a little spontaneity into our lives, I go into this week looking forward to what changes it may bring! Hope you all have a great one!

{A delicious brunch at Au Fudge… a must see if you have kiddos and are visiting the LA area.}

{A “Mamma Mimosa…..” the fact that they have a cocktail for moms makes me love them more…. (sunglasses)}

{Love her}

{A stop at our favorite before heading back home… and sitting in massive amounts of traffic….}

{Inevitably late for Sunday morning church… but we made it regardless (crochet kaftan)}
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For the next week or so, we’re expecting pretty mild weather… mid-70’s… which is a nice change from the cooler temps we had for a few weeks. Of course, this weather gets me thinking of warmer weather clothing. I still had some birthday money left over (not sure how that happened….) and snagged this gorgeous open knit pullover…. and thinking about this crystal cuff or this crystal bracelet as simple pieces to dress up my everyday basics….

And, speaking of basics, since I think you can never have too many, I currently have this front tie white tee, ribbed henley (in grey), open shoulder white tee, striped popover top, and basic black tank in my cart. I also love this loose fitting grey tank… such a perfect layering option. This open shoulder pullover, which comes in so many color combinations, is also a great transitional piece and perfect for everyday living. I’m also thinking this sleeveless sweater would be great paired under a suede jacket now… and alone in the warmer months…..

 I have my eye on this shorts/ribbed henley set (don’t know if I like the black or grey option better)… and these color block leggings, pink hooded pullover, and long sleeve top for working out…. I’ve been enjoying longer runs as of late and these items would be perfect.

I’m also in the market for a new pair of jeans… I haven’t bought a pair since before Harper was born! I’m currently looking at this high-waisted, raw hem pair, this classic high-waisted option, and this lighter wash girlfriend jean. And, I’m looking to pair them with some cute slides in warmer weather…. I’m loving this rose gold sandal, espadrille slide, and cognac colored kitten heel slide.

Two items I’m loving for little miss right now are this striped dress and peplum zip up jacket. Both are just so cute.

01.27.2017

Relationship Talk // It’s All In The Small Moments


{If the video doesn’t start on first try, refresh the browser}

 My understanding of a meaningful relationship has changed, and thankfully, matured, over the years. I read an article, not too long ago, that suggested we all have three loves of our lives. The first is the romanticized version of love… the idealistic love… the immature love based in fantasy, that high school love. The second love is the one that’s hard…. the one we come back to time and time again…. it’s not healthy, it’s not equal, and it’s a rollercoaster… and it typically ends badly, with lots of hurt. I’ve considered myself fortunate to have had both of these loves (and while I didn’t consider myself lucky back then, in retrospect it was a wonderful learning and growth experience)…..

And while I believe I was fortunate to have the first two, I’m even more blessed to have had my third…. the one that breaks all your stereotypes about what love is supposed to be like… the one that catches you off guard…. unexpected….. where the puzzle pieces fit…. where vulnerability is welcomed… and who you are, just as you are, is perfect. And, of course, like every relationship, it’s far from perfect, but the beauty lies in the fact that that’s okay. 

I was recently asked to share what I felt love meant to me…. I thought for a while, and this was what I came up with:

“Before little miss arrived, TJ and I thought long and hard about how we wanted our marriage to look…. and while having a baby changes a lot, the root of what love is to me hasn’t. For me, it’s always been about having fun in the simple moments with your best friend…. and while the way we have fun together has changed over the last year (those long getaways and weekly date nights out aren’t always possible), we continually put forth the effort to create tiny and meaningful moments, where we laugh together, connect with one another over music and conversation, and just be silly. To me, love is about laughter, effort, and vulnerability to be yourself in both the good and bad.”

Nothing profound… pretty simple…. kind of how I think love should be…. grand gestures are not necessary…. because, for me, it’s usually in the moments one would never consider demonstrative where I find myself feeling the most connected…..

So, today, TJ and I decided to share our favorite ways/moments to show love to one another, in case you’re looking for a little inspiration too:

1. Together we commit to Friday evenings. After a long week, we find it’s the best way to unwind and connect. We decide on a take-out spot, have a little bit of wine, and listen to some music. Phones go away, television is off.

2. Since it’s not as easy to get out for a weekend away, we sometimes like to get creative with at home date nights…. s’mores by a fire pit (kind of reminds us of our Deer Valley trip….. without the snow)…. themed dinner nights where we cook the meal together…. creating our own wine tasting by picking up a few bottles in our favorite varietals and doing blind taste tests….

3. Mini date nights mid-week…. they don’t always happen, but we try. They are usually more likely to happen if on Sunday evening we pick a night and commit to it… this often involves popcorn + a good movie… or maybe it means watching a marathon of our favorite television show… but it means the phones and computers are away.

4. We read the 5 Love Languages before we got married, so we try to show love to the other person based on their preferred way… it really makes such a difference.

5. In little, everyday ways…. those ways that aren’t over the top, but because we care about each other… cutting a run short because the other person has somewhere to be and someone needs to watch Harper, letting the other person sleep in a little longer after Harper wakes up on the weekend, listening to the other person when they’ve had a particularly stressful day, picking up the other person’s favorite post-dinner dessert…. those moments that often go overlooked, are usually the most profound and connecting.

I know that this list will probably change over the years, as our love grows and evolves, but, if at the core we remain true to what we feel love is, then I think we will be ok!
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{Post Details || Mauve Cardigan | Grey Fleece Pullover | TJ’s Pullover (color sold out) | Moroccan Blanket (similar) | Faux Fur Throw}

01.25.2017

Wellness Wednesday: My Top 4 Tips For Staying Healthy When Busy + A Delicious Sweet Potato Crust Egg Muffin

Over the past year, the term busy has taken on a whole different meaning. Gone are the days when a “hectic” day at work was immediately followed by a relaxing evening at home (although, Harper does go down around 7:30pm, I still always feel like there is something left to do)… or a weekend day is filled with “nothing.” It seems that there are endless to-do lists, friends to catch up with, a toddler running everywhere all the time, and sometimes it just seems like it would be so easy to just say “forget it” to healthy habits (I mean, going through the drive-through is much easier than actually preparing a meal….). Yet, over the years I’ve found ways to ensure that making healthy choices is a natural part of my lifestyle….. and, as I figure my life is about to get a whole lot busier with little miss running around, I figured now is as good a time as ever to refresh my mind, and share them with you!

1. Have Pre-Made Snacks/Meals Available: I have always found this to be the most effective option when ensuring I eat nutritious foods/meals.Having something that I can make, in bulk, ahead of time is such a helpful option. Which is why I recently made these egg muffins you see here today. They take about 30 minutes to make 12…. they’re kiddo and husband approved…. and so easy to store and re-heat when you want. I also love making my favorite oatmeal bake (can also be distributed into small containers to store for an even easier grab-n-go option)… or this dairy free chia seed pudding option. I know that these are all breakfast options, but sometimes I feel as if the mornings are the most rushed time of the day…. but also the most important meal… so I’m always sure that it’s a nutritious one.

2. Have Healthy Grab-N-Go Snacks Available: I love to snack in between meals. I get hungry, bottomline. So, I am certain to have healthy options readily available. Some of my favorites include a hard boiled egg (on the days I don’t have one of the egg muffins… no need for an egg overload…), pistachios (I like the roasted, and salted option from Trader Joe’s), Rx Bars (blueberry + chocolate sea salt are my favorite), and Lara Bars (peanut butter and lemon are my fav)… both of the bars have simple ingredients, which I love… and beet chips (Sprouts and Trader Joe’s have excellent pre-packaged options).

3. Keep Healthy Items In The Refrigerator + Cabinets: I only buy items I find to be nutritious…. if I buy the other ones, it’s probably just going to create temptation that isn’t needed (it’s what I talked to my clients about in my therapist days….. stimulus control… if it’s not around, it makes it pretty hard to get into….). When I have healthy items, and it comes time to making meals, it kind of ensures that a nutritious meal will follow. I follow this grocery list (I need to update it) pretty closely.

4. Move Whenever + Wherever You Can: When I don’t move, in some way, shape, or form, I simply feel off the entire day. I schedule it in… I figure that I have no problem scheduling in other activities… so why not this one, that’s an investment in my health? I typically wake up pretty early to get a workout in…. but if TJ is out of town, it makes it more difficult to leave the house. So, I do one of my at-home workouts, or go for a long walk, or quick run, with Harper in our BOB stroller.
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{Outfit Details || Fleece Pullover | Jeans (identical)}

Mexican Sweet Potato Crust Muffins

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs
1 large white sweet potato (not a yam)
2 cups spinach (cut off stems)
1 large red bell pepper (chopped into tiny pieces)
3 strips of bacon (I buy this kind…. it’s amazing)
1/2 cup red onion (chopped)
1/4 cup vital proteins collagen (they don’t add taste… only good for you collagen, read more here)
1/4 cup almond flour (I use this kind)
Avocado
Salt, Pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 450°, and spray cupcake tins very well (or they will stick). Wash + peel the sweet potato, then cut it in half. Use a cheese grater and literally grate the sweet potato on the side with the larger holes. You’ll want to grate the entire potato. Then divide the grated pieces evenly across the muffin tins (I used a standard tin with 12 muffins). Once done, place in the oven for about 10 minutes.

While the sweet potato is cooking, sauté your spinach, red onion, and bell pepper. Cook your bacon…. I just microwave mine for the sake of time, and when it is done break it into small pieces. In a large bowl crack all the eggs and whisk them together, and then add in the almond flour and vital proteins, stir to combine. Next, evenly distribute the bacon, red onion, spinach, and bell pepper mixture amongst the muffin tins. Then, place 1/4 cup of the egg mixture in each of the tins. Then, place in oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes. They will rise (and possibly spill over slightly) and will brown a little on top when they are finished… to be sure just stick a toothpick in the middle. Remove immediately. I like to serve mine with a little smashed avocado on top…. with a side of salsa…. TJ recommended a sirracha drizzle too.

You can store these in a baggie, or tuber ware, in the refrigerator and heat up whenever you want.

01.23.2017

Weekend Recap // Slowing Down

{A rainy Friday + Sunday meant a pretty lazy weekend}

I went into this weekend with a pretty obnoxious cold, so the rainstorms were welcomed. Whenever it’s sunny outside, I feel as if I have to be doing something… so when the clouds rolled in and the rain started to pour (in sheets) I couldn’t help but feel a little relieved. I have a difficult time just letting myself “do nothing” and have to remind myself that often “doing nothing” is what’s best. We hibernated inside all Friday and Sunday (after arriving pretty late to church…. hey, we made it, right?), not worrying too much about plans. It was relaxing. It was renewing. In line with my motto for the year of “Savoring Life Slowly,” we did just that… savored the slow moments inside, and savored a little time by the beach when the rain let up for the day on Saturday. I’m slowly teaching myself to let things be…. Did I have so much I could have been doing? Yes. Could I control the weather? No. Would I just ruin the weekend if I worried about it all? Yes. Logic would say just roll with it and savor the time. So, I did just that…..

As we embark upon the week ahead, I’m hoping I don’t forget the lesson I learned over the weekend! Have a good week friends!

{Juice Served Here’s new cafe menu is pretty delicious…. especially that carrot curry soup.}

{Smiles for the weekend- (thermal peplum top, cardigan)}

{Her big ol’ eyes always get me every time (polka dot sweatpants).}

{Took advantage of the break in the rain to play outside for little while… Lido Marina Village is gorgeous}
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We made this chili last night and it was super tasty…. little miss + hubby approved.

 As much as I enjoyed the rain this weekend, it also made me think of warmer weather (even though we’re only a month into winter…). So, I went on the hunt for a few items I could buy now, wear now…. and wear then…. My favorite cable knit fringe wrap (which is on sale!! and comes in two colors) is a great layering option now and would pair great with my favorite distressed shorts and lightweight pullover (which is also on sale, and I just snagged it) in warmer temps. This cozy peplum top, grey flutter sleeve v-neck tee, and slouchy striped v-neck tee are all excellent options as well. Layer under your favorite coat now, and wear them solo in the spring. This v-neck sleeveless sweater is also an excellent choice… I love it layered under a suede jacket now but by itself with my favorite distressed jeans and slides for the spring. I am also obsessed with this open knit sweater in the blush color (although it comes in several options) and just ordered it…. I’m also considering this tie-hem cold shoulder top (would be so cute layered under my favorite motto jacket which is currently on sale for $60!), and this duster cardigan in olive (comes in several colors, layer it with a thermal now, and in the spring with a simple cami).

I also found so many amazing items at Anthroplogie over the weekend… since they were having a great sale (which might still be going on today…). I snagged this cold shoulder sweater, white oversized tee, and this one shoulder ruffle top. I also have my eye on this white eyelet bomber jacket, sweater with tie wrists (such cute feminine details), and this jumpsuit (paired with a suede jacket now!).

01.16.2017

Weekend Recap // Los Olivos, Toddler Edition

{Traveling isn’t a joke with this little cutie!}

We headed up to Los Olivos this weekend for a little wine tasting and exploring, with little miss in tow. It’s funny, the first time we came up here, post her arrival, she slept, in our carrier, as we relaxed sipping a little vino….. and while we’ve been up several times since, this time was a completely different experience… maybe it was our induction into #ToddlerLife, but let me tell you, this girl was all over the place. Yet, if there is anything I learned from the first year of motherhood, it’s that flexibility is key. So, while this trip was markedly different than previous ones, it was still worth it…. My new saying is that a day of wine tasting with a toddler beats a day at home with a toddler…. or, maybe just that a day away, no matter how different than it is from past experiences, beats a day at home…

So, as we head into a new week, I welcome new experiences and pray for a higher level of flexibility! Have a good one friends.

{Picked up a little kombucha at our favorite spot on the way up.}

{We found spots that were kiddo friendly and allowed her room to roam, and us to sip!}

{When little miss sleeps…..}

{Morning stroll to breakfast in our favorite cozies (leggings, pullover, beanie, Harper’s leggings)}

{Yummy frittata}
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When we get home, I plan on making my favorite oatmeal bake for a quick, and healthy, morning option. And, since we will be welcoming some colder weather, I’m thinking about my favorite vegetable orzo soup too.

I grabbed a few last minute items for this upcoming trip including this crossover sweater (which I order in 1 size up), fringe cardigan, ruffle blouse, and this crochet tunic (I love it tied in front with my high waisted jeans)… oh, and I mentioned these platform shoes in last week’s weekend recap and ended up buying them for the trip. They’re super comfortable and run TTS…. and such a fun blush color for spring (even though we are in the middle of winter).

A few other everyday items that I am looking at include this open knit tunic (literally obsessed…. layer with a long sleeve tee underneath in the winter, and by itself in the spring), lace up cold shoulder option (I actually purchased it and sized up one, seems to run small), and these basic v-neck tees (I bought them last year and own them in grey, black, and white. They’re perfect for layering, a casual day, or even under a blazer for a more dressed up look.). I also love this tie front stripe tee, as well as this oversized option (pair them with any cardigan for a daytime option). I also think that sweatshirts are a great option as well, paired with a pair of distressed jeans, or layered with a favorite tunic. A few that I love right now include this option that has a side tie (and comes in a few colors), this open back option, and this velour pullover. I also love sleeveless sweater to layer under cardigans (one my favorites now comes in a rose color). These two are an investment, but excellent basics…. this black one, and this black option.

I also saw a few pairs of shoes that I absolutely love… this white flat (obsessed with the shape) and these slides…. both so cute and versatile.

There are also so many cute Valentine’s Day options for little miss… like this heart print romper, quilted roll cuff heart sweatshirt, red and white striped dress, and this floral dress.

01.13.2017

A Year Of Motherhood In Review + My Favorite Baby Products Of The Year

It’s hard for me to comprehend that a year has already gone by and little miss is 1 year old. I was filled with so many different emotions leading up to her birthday. A part of me was sad in realizing how fast her little life is already flying by…. and the realization that it will likely only continue to go faster. I am excited for this new chapter in motherhood…. and while having a toddler will present it’s own challenges and transitions, I look forward to watching her grow, flourish, and develop. I also felt incredibly nostalgic. So much of the last couple of years has been focused on transition and change…. from carrying her in my belly, to birthing her, to countless sleepless nights… learning how to travel with her…. breastfeeding…. baby snuggles and smells, the first smile, baby coos, how perfectly she fit in my arms…. I could go on and on….

I’ve shared this journey with all of you from the beginning (1, 3, 4/5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 moth updates) and have so appreciated your words of encouragement and support! My hope is to continue these updates, maybe on a bi-monthly basis…. it all just depends on how much change happens in a month… I’d love to know if you’d still like that!

With that…. here’s my 1 year motherhood update…..

General Thoughts + Feelings: In the very beginning of my motherhood journey I remember talking with one of my girlfriends about some of the difficulties I was having. She validated and encouraged me and I vividly remember her saying, “The days are long but the years are short.” Now, looking back 365 days later, I couldn’t agree more. I so remember those first few nights, when TJ nor I could get Harper to stop crying (no matter how well we swaddled her)…. we were incredibly sleep deprived (I think we were going on hour 72) and I just broke down crying (just what we needed right… another person crying!), feeling like such a failure. I remember people telling us, “Just wait until she is 3 months old…” and thinking to myself, “90 days?! WTF.” My mom encouraging us with “so much changes everyday, just be patient.” And all of that advice was so right. Every month that went by I was in awe… literally couldn’t believe how much she would change and how much time had passed since those first few sleepless nights.

I don’t think there is anything anyone can tell you to prepare you for motherhood. What works for one baby might not work for yours…. what works for one mom might not work for another mom (which is OK!!)… when someone tells you the sleep deprivation is real, you swear it won’t happen to you. I feel as if I had a fairly realistic image of what motherhood was going to be like, and I was still in shock as to how much change and transition there was. Yet, while no one can prepare you for the lows, no one can even come close to describing the highs…. my heart literally melts when I pick Harper up for the first time in the morning (her little smile and bed head curls… omg)…. and multiple times after that throughout the day. The excitement I felt when she did anything for the first time…. especially when she laughed (when I was singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star….” not sure what that says about my voice….)…..

I remember though, when she was first born, not being certain as to what my role would be….. scratch that, I knew I was mom, I just didn’t know if I was doing it right… the trial and error, the tears I shed (and still do occasionally… I mean, do we ever really know exactly what we’re doing as moms?? As parents for that matter….) at thinking I had failed, how perfect I wanted to be for her…. I also was under the impression that the moment she was placed on my chest that I would feel an instantaneous connection…. I know that happens for many moms, but for me, that took time (don’t get me wrong, I love her, I just didn’t know her…. we didn’t know each other). While I had an immense love for Harper, it was more one sided. It wasn’t until she began reciprocating in coos and laughs that I began to feel a special connection with her…. it’s one that has continued to grow and flourish over the months. One I feel so incredibly blessed that God provided me with.

So, in between those highs and lows, the certain and uncertain moments, are the everyday moments. Those might be the ones I love most. The mornings when we hang out together in her room… where she brings me books to read, explores independently…. the moments where we’re having lunch together…. or where we run errands together…. those are some of my favorites. It’s the homeostasis, it’s our groove, and it’s special for us…..

Feeding/Sleeping: Sleep. Oh sleep. Before becoming a parent, there was a lot of sleeping in on the weekends… now? I don’t think my body knows how to sleep in. Even when TJ and I had a few nights to ourselves we were up around 7:30am. Yet, I do considered myself blessed in this department. After the first several weeks, we seemed to fall into a schedule that worked for our family, and Harper began to sleep for longer segments in the evening. While we’ve had a few bumps along the way with sickness, teething, sleep transitions, and time changes, she’s maintained a 7:30pm-7:30am sleep cycle for about 9 months… and let me tell you, the first night this happened was ah-mazing. Heck, the first evening I got 5 straight hours of sleep I felt like a new woman (and immediately wondered if she was still alive!). I relied heavily on Baby Wise for the schedule, as well as my own tweaking based on Harper’s independent needs (oh, and if you’re looking for an eye cream to help with tired eyes, I swear by this eye serum!)

Nursing was a different story though. I remember when she was first born, being so worried that I wouldn’t be able to produce enough milk for her… or that she wouldn’t latch… or that something would go wrong….. Yet, none of those issues were problematic (thankfully). What ended up being my difficulty was something that wasn’t even on my radar before she was born. About 6 weeks postpartum, little miss flat out refused protested (with screams and cries) taking a bottle. We tried so many different bottles (8 to be exact) with no success. That period of time was probably the most difficult part of my motherhood journey (again, tears…. I’m an emotionally expressive person). I felt that I had lost a lot of independence…. that date nights were a thing of the past, and that she needed to be tied to my hip. I got 1.5 hour segments of time alone in the afternoon to run a quick errand… and it was hard. Very hard for me. For some women this wouldn’t be an issue. Yet, for me, it was my struggle. Nursing is demanding. It’s amazing what the female body can do, and I feel so blessed that I was able to nurse Harper for as long as I did (10 months), but it was also the hardest part of motherhood for me….

We eventually found Como Tomo bottles, and those helped immensely. We started by having TJ give her the bottle first thing in the morning, when she was hungry and hadn’t seen me yet. It was slow going, but she eventually warmed up to it. I remember when we were in Ojai for the weekend with some friends. I had a bottle of pumped milk and decided to just try to give it to her. When she took it, I felt such a sense of relief. It was at that point that we were also increasing her intake of solid foods… with the bottle + solid foods, we began the weening process. We dropped one feeding a week to ensure that Harper was emotionally okay….. the process took a month in total (she used this formula and it worked very well for us). I felt guilty when I made the decision to ween. Yet, I ultimately remembered what one nurse told me and that was, “A happy mom makes for a happy baby.”

Now, feeding time is an adventure. She’s a year at this point, and already has so many food preferences… avocado, bell peppers, salmon, strawberries, blueberries, almond butter and toast…. it’s easy to take her to a restaurant… it’s actually quite fun to have her sitting and eating at the table with us. We have dinner as a family…. she participates in those family dinner rituals too. Although…. since she is a toddler, we’re also testing limits…. so throwing food on the ground has become quite entertaining to her lately (any suggestions on how to stop this are welcome!)….

Postpartum Body/Fitness: I feel as if I had fairly reasonable expectations in this department, yet, it wasn’t at all what I expected. During pregnancy, I was at one of my most confident points…. post pregnancy was a little more difficult. I was under the impression, from everything I had read (from reputable sources too….) that because I was nursing the weight “would fall right off.” Um, that is not at all what happened for me…. and I wish I had never read that statement. I was very hard on myself (which you can see from previous motherhood updates), often wondering why I wasn’t losing the weight as fast as sources said I would with the nursing, healthy eating, and working out trifecta. It wasn’t until I dug a little deeper that I realized your body can also hold onto fat while you are nursing…. I mean, you have to have some sort of reserve to produce that milk…..

Once I read that statement, I started to be nicer to myself. There are definitely still parts of my body with a little more jiggle + wiggle than before, and I wouldn’t say I’m 100% happy with it, but I also try to remind myself of the miracle my body produced. I also try to be so very careful about the comments and views I have towards my body in front of Harper….. even though she isn’t talking up a storm (just yet) I know she sees and hears everything that goes on (I mean, she pretend cleans the floor like I do…. it’s funny, but a reminder that she’s already watching!)… the last thing I want her to have is poor body image.

In that light, I try to model healthy habits. I work out regularly and engage in physical activity that I like (as opposed to it being a chore). If I feel like a HIIT workout in the morning, I do that. If I want to run, I do it…. I try to be mindful of where I am physically and mentally…. I also try to demonstrate a healthy relationship with food. I don’t restrict anything (except dairy…. that’s just because my acupuncturist recommended I stay away from it for gut issues….)…. I eat bread, I eat meat, I eat fat…. and I also indulge here and there in sweets. By restricting I am teaching her nothing about moderation (or “Itsy bitsy indulgences” if you will.) or the value certain foods provide to my body.

While I say all of that, my fitness journey post pregnancy was quite a process. It was hard to figure out how to fit it all in…. yet, I made do with what I could and started out with at home workout videos (post here), BBG, and then runs and getting to the gym. I miss my regular spin and yoga classes and hopefully, as we progress in this year, I’ll be able to pick them up with a little more consistency (TJ bought me a bunch of SoulCycle classes for Christmas… and said he would rearrange his schedule to watch her whenever I wanted to go… so I’m taking advantage of that soon!). What I’ve realized in this whole journey is that you do what you can with what you have…. and if it’s important you’ll make the time for it…… which takes me to my next topic…. Relationships…

Relationships: This is a two fold topic for me: marriage + friends. Both of which are incredibly important to me.

When I found out we were expecting I was initially scared (post here). We had been married for 5 years before little miss… we had our routines and we were spontaneous. I was worried how our marriage would be impacted. TJ and I spent a lot of time talking about what we wanted our marriage to look like postpartum…. as well as the traditions and values we wanted to instill as a family. We both agreed that a strong marriage makes for a strong and happy family, so the commitment to always invest in us was paramount. How that was going to look was a little harder to plan. The first few weeks were hard…. we were sleep deprived, probably said things we didn’t mean at 1am with a screaming baby, and were in complete shock. Yet, as the weeks went by, and we communicated our needs to each other, things leveled off. And communicating is (was) the key to it all. We are constantly communicating…. whether that be appreciation or frustration…. it’s discussed. Which means we’re open and honest, something we hope Harper will feel too….

We continue to invest in the couple dyad. While date nights don’t happen with as much frequency as they did before, we have our weekly wine + music nights, with a favorite takeout meal… something that I look forward to every week. No TV, phones away. Lately, with Harper taking the bottle, we’ve been able to get away for a couple of nights. I remember sitting out at dinner and having a completely relaxed feeling come over me (maybe that was the wine….). It was so nice to be out with TJ, at night, with no need to rush home. We laughed, talked about the future, and of course about our little miss. When we came home the next day, we were recharged and ready to go. Maybe that’s something that has changed. Maybe I took it for granted before we became parents…. now, I cherish and look forward to those small little escapes.

As far as my friendships go I consider myself lucky that we’re all pretty much going through this journey of motherhood together. We don’t see each other as much as we would like, or catch up, but we all understand. A text that takes a few days to return is never something to apologize for… and it’s always nice when we catch up… it’s as if I am instantly validated in all my concerns. I’ve always felt as if girlfriends are an extension of your family. So it’s something I cherish and hope to pass on to Harper as well…

Favorite Moments: There have been so many over the past 365 days that I am surely forgetting most, but:

That first moment we heard her laugh was so special… we all looked at each other and said, “Wait, was that a laugh….” and then she just kept going. It was probably one of the moments I started to see her little personality flourish…..

Her dance moves. Oh. My. Gosh. If you follow along on instagram stories her twerking moves are unreal. This is the only time in her life that I will condone those moves. Ever.

Her sneaky little smile when she knows she is doing something that might not be ok….like running for Captain’s dog food.

Our trips to Hawaii. It was so special to have her in a place that has so many wonderful memories with my family.

Watching her take her first timid steps on our trip to Deer Valley…. and seeing her wonder at all the snow falling.

Our first Christmas together…. from her curiosity with tree flocking and ornaments…. to her complete disinterest in the presents that were carefully wrapped up for her.

When she slept through the entire Easter Bunny.

How nervous we were driving home with her in the car the day we left the hospital. I think I sat in the back seat with her for over a month.

Her little facial expressions. The newest is when she scrunches up her nose and smiles so big with squinting eyes. Heart melting.

How she says “hiiiiiii” to anyone and everyone…. with a little wave.

Playing chase with her…. it’s her new favorite game. It’s a great workout too.

One evening, in the very beginning, when she wouldn’t fall asleep at night, I remember just laying with her on my chest and she immediately fell asleep. It was just one of those moments that when she’s going off to college, or getting married, that I will always remember.

Favorite Products Of The Year: 

UppaBaby Stroller: We took this baby everywhere. From traveling to running errands, it has been our go-to…. I love that it grows with her as well…. she’s now in the toddler seat…. you can read more about my review here.  We have used this travel carrier for all of our travels… it’s great!

Nuna Carseat:  Excellent safety ratings, lightweight (for a car seat), comfortable for her, and airline safety approved, this has been the best first car seat (which was recommended to me by a friend). As she grows, we’re thinking about purchasing this option.

Highchair: We have two (one at our house, one at my parents), and this one is by far my favorite. It’s compact, no crevices for food to get stuck in, and it’s the perfect size for her.

Bumbo Seat: This was such a great item to have when she was learning to sit. We brought it everywhere…. to restaurants, wine tasting…. it also had a little tray in front of it so we could put toys on it for her. I remember the first time she sat in it, I think it was the first time I realized how much she was growing.

Baby Bjorn Carrier: When I was able to go hands free it was a #GameChanger. I could cook, apply mascara, have a glass of wine (kidding, sort of, see below) and still have her close to me. We loved this one and can’t wait to use it more as she grows. (more reviews here)

Moby Tub: This was one of our absolute favorite finds (full review here). It made bath time so much easier…. and it grew with her from infancy to about just a couple months ago. I highly recommend.

Nail Filer/ Nail Clippers: I used the nail filer for the first few months of Harper’s life and they were an excellent alternative to clipping the nails. I never had to worry about hurting her and they were just as effective. As she got older, I switched to the nail clippers and they were another great option. I never clipped her and she didn’t seem to mind them (full review here).

Diaper pail: So, I think this speaks for itself, but this one was great. Sleek, minimized the smell, and incredibly sturdy. Loved the color options too.

Wipe Warmer: I think this was incredibly helpful in the early months… especially when we were doing evening diaper changes at night. It always ensured that the wipes would be warm and comfortable for her. I’d use it all over again, and will when we have another one someday.

Rock N’ Play: This girl loved this thing…. and we did too. This is what she slept in for the first few months… and we took it everywhere…. even down to the pool on our trip to Hawaii.

Nursing Cover: This was my go-to for nursing in public. It allowed easy access, while still covering up.

Wellness: When Harper was sick back in December, we relied on this humidifier (we actually all use it!) and this nasal aspirator. We highly recommend both… easy and effective.

Diaper Bag: I had two that I switched between depending on the activity. If we were traveling or doing something pretty active we relied on this backpack (TJ was even confident wearing it too!). When I was running errands, we were heading out to eat, or walking around the mall this one (almost identical) was my go-to.

Freshly Picked Moccasins: These have been my favorite shoes for little miss. While they are an investment, they are incredibly well made and perfect for her as she walks (and almost runs) around. They come in so many fun color options too!

High Chair/Shopping Cart Cover: I swear by this thing. Use it all the time. Love how it provides a little extra stability…. and helps things stay a little more sanitary..

Owlet Monitor: I wrote a whole post on this product. It helped us have peace of mind (especially when she transitioned into her own room at 6 months) and was just an added level of security. Please read the post for more information. 

01.12.2017

5 Ways I Stay Efficient During The Week + The Jacket That Makes It All Possible

I feel as if I’ve always been relatively efficient…. yet, when Harper arrived, I needed to tweak a few things here and there. You see, before little miss, I had all day long to finish what I needed to do (even in my 9-5 job I was able to complete work at home….)…. that all changed on January 7, 2016. Completely. And, with TJ being gone this past week, it really put the changes I made to the test…. and while I felt relatively frazzled, I still got crap done (I didn’t say it always looked pretty….). So, today I decided to share a few tips on how I attempt to remain efficient with a little one in tow 24/7…. and if you have anything to add to this list, I’d love to hear….

1. List, and more lists: So, I’ve always been a list maker… and have always used a paper planner (currently using this one)…. the phone just isn’t visual enough for me. I love the act of crossing items off as I go…. sort of like a “mini” accomplishment. Before little miss’ arrival, these lists were completed on Monday morning and were meant to be accomplished throughout the week…. yet, that’s a little too loose for me these days… “Ohhhh, I’ll just do that tomorrow….” and then it’s Friday. So, now I complete the list for the following day the evening before. I don’t pile stuff up, as to not set myself up for failure. I keep the list prioritized too. Low, medium, high…. and then…..

2. Schedule: I schedule in when I will get all the “things” completed… during little miss’ nap (easy e-mails, phone calls, shower (yes, sometimes that needs to be scheduled in….)), during her awake hours, during her afternoon nap, and then in the early evening when TJ gets home from work. It sounds rigid and not fun, but it’s actually what allows me to have some flexibility and fun…. after all that…..

3. Reminders: I set reminders. While I don’t use my phone for planning out my days/weeks/months, I do use the phone to give me reminders of important events (doctor’s appointments, a phone call that needs to be made, e-mails….) which ensures that I won’t forget. It’s kind of like my backup system to my daily planner….. (since I seem to have major #MomBrain lately….)

4. Versatile Pieces: When I was growing up, I always planned out my outfits the evening before… it helped me get out the door in time (I was terrified of being tardy… #RuleFollower). Not much has changed. So, since I could spend hours staring at my clothes, trying to figure out what to wear (#WastingTime), I still outfit plan the evening before, or reach for my go-to pieces (I shared my favorite basics yesterday) when I am in a pinch. These joggers and new fleece hooded pullover (which is so incredibly soft) are pieces I wear on the regular. I also believe that having items in my closet that I can wear for more than one activity helps immensely. I can simply toss them on, and seamlessly transition. I have a mom’s group that I am part of on Thursday mornings. I dress up more than usual for that, so when it’s time to get on the floor with Harper, I change. This jacket is one of those items perfect for a day like that. I wore it running errands as it’s featured today over said favorite pullover and joggers…. yet dressed it up for a casual dinner with TJ and Harper wearing my favorite mules (sick of them yet?), jeans,  petal pink silk blouse (which, if you’re looking for an amazing silk blouse to invest in, I recommend this one… I’ve had it for several years and it’s still in perfect condition.), and bolero hat (which I still wear, even though it’s winter….).

5. Meal Plan: I typically follow this shopping list/meal planning foundation for the week. It’s not always seamless, and I do occasionally have to head to the store in the middle of the week, but all-in-all it helps me to eat healthy and for us to have a delicious dinner at night! Annnnd, for those times that I am really not feeling the store (and that’s been a lot lately) I just joined instacart…. and let me tell you #GameChanger. Have any of you tried it??

6. Divide + Conquer: Since TJ and I value our time together, and because we enjoy having our evenings to watch a movie or just chat, we divide and conquer when he gets home. He typically takes Harper for about an hour so I can work on/finish a blog post and start dinner…. and then after we all eat together he washes the dishes (#keeper) and gives Harper her evening bath so I can wrap things up for the day. Again, it doesn’t always happen this way…. like this week for example…. but when it does, life just seems to run a little smoother.
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{Outfit Details || Jacket (olive color is on sale) | Joggers (TTS) | Hoodie (wearing XS, size up for a looser feel) | Beanie (similar) | Sneaker | Bag | Sunglasses}

01.09.2017

Weekend Recap // Little Miss Turns 1

This weekend was pretty much spent either reminiscing over the past year, or celebrating our little miss turning 1. On Friday evening, TJ and I chatted for a little bit about where we were a year ago (our last night together as just a couple) and where were now (sipping wine…. stark contrast from a year ago)…. then on Saturday morning we woke up and celebrated little miss…. which was followed by a little champagne and pizza where TJ and I cheers-ed to surviving our first year of parenthood together…. and to the memories of this coming year….

It’s funny, I went back and forth as to the type of party to have for Harper. It initially was only going to be our family…. then we decided to invite a handful of close and local friends. I had zero intention of decorating as much as I did, but then last Sunday, as my mom and I got to talking about the logistics of the day, things got a little festive and what you see here today is what we ended up with (I took almost all of my inspiration from this party with some small, personal tweeks). It ended up being a small gathering of about 15 adults and 8 kiddos, which was the perfect size….. we could chat with everyone who was there (which is always important to me), the little ones all got along, and we enjoyed delicious Mexican food and treats. And while I know little miss will never remember it, as I look back, it was a celebration of our little family. A year of growth, a year of change, and a year with the most special gift we’ve ever given our marriage…. I’ll be sharing a “Year of Motherhood” post this Friday, but in the meantime, I’ve shared all the details of this past weekend’s festivities…..

{I was obsessed with all the decorations which I found on Amazon… and they were surprisingly very affordable. Tassel balloon, 1 gold balloon, white papel picado, tassel garland, white garland.}

{We opted for pretty succulents and bright gerbera daisies + wax flowers to decorate the tables. My mom made the succulent pots for my sister’s engagement party, so I was excited to be able to use them to decorate this party.}

{These ombré plates + cups were my fav!}

{One of my childhood friends, who has two kiddos of her own, made these amazing cactus cookies for the party. I was obsessed.}

{We got Harper this little naked cake for her to smash…. yet, she was much more timid than this picture would lead you to believe…. that handful of cake was thanks to daddy!… but once she had a bite she went back for seconds and thirds….}

{And just like that our little baby became a toddler…. (my sweater (on sale), Haper’s dress}

{We celebrated surviving our first year of parenthood with some champagne + pizza.}
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I’ve been having some database issues with the blog, so if you are looking for any post from last week, they have mysteriously disappeared. So, I guess you know what my plans are Monday morning…. That aside, I’ll be switching up Wellness Wednesday this week by sharing a delicious recipe on Tuesday. Stay tuned….

We are heading up to Los Olivos for the extended weekend this coming Saturday, and I can’t wait (little miss is joining us this time around and I’m thinking a visit to the ostrich farm is in oder…). The weather is going tot be nice and mild so I have my eye on this mid length ribbed cardigan (in black, but the grey is pretty too), this grey wrap sweater (thinking about sizing up for a looser feel), this grey sweatshirt (I love the little ties around the wrist), and this off the shoulder open knit.A few other items I’m loving for everyday living include layered grey and striped pullover (seriously so cute), asymmetrical drape front cardigan, open knit cardigan (perfect for layering and an excellent price!), and this easy going hoodie (I think I like the lilac color….).

I’m also loving chambray tops…. a welcome change from heavy knits I guess… and have my eye on this one shoulder ruffle option, frayed edge popover, and this tank. I think the chambray looks super chic with black denim…. white denim in the spring and summer…. and denim x denim (one of my favs) with a chic loafer.

I also spotted these platform sneakers in blush and I’m pretty much #obsessed (they give my 5’1 frame a boost!)…. I also love these chambray slip-ons (perfect for spring), and these perforated peep-toe booties.

 Harper received a few Nordstrom gift cards for her birthday so I’ve done a little shopping for her and am debating between these adorable polka dot sweat pants, embroidered jeans (um, tooooo cute!), chambray embroidered top, and this chambray dress.